Happy New Year! Well, kinda. If we still measured our year according to the Julian calendar, March would be the time we’d sing “Auld Lang Syne” instead of “When Irish Eyes are Smiling.” In the March/April issue of American Spirit, which we publish for the DAR, Bill Hudgins writes about the challenges that came with Colonial America’s adoption of the Gregorian calendar—and the confusion the switch still causes genealogists.
Whether or not your grasp of etiquette would past muster with Emily Post, be relieved that you didn’t have to abide by the rules of courtesy books, 18th-century manuals on the proper behavior of gentlemen and women, which we also spotlight in this issue. From table manners—“Make not a noise with thy Tongue, Mouth, Lips or Breath, either in eating or drinking”—to personal appearance—“Wear not your clothes foul, ripped or dusty, but see to it that they be brushed once every day at least”—these books provide surprising glimpses into the everyday lives and aspirations of early Americans.
The issue also covers the recent International Preservation Trades Workshop, where experts demonstrate hands-on techniques for preserving historic structures. We feature some talented craftsmen and women who are whizzes at reglazing vintage windows, renewing wood finishes, repairing ornamental plaster, carving bricks and stone, and dozens of other traditional methods of historic preservation. This story is especially fitting now that DAR has embarked on a multimillion-dollar restoration of its many historically significant buildings, including the century-old Memorial Continental Hall. The next time you’re in D.C., stop by for a tour of the complex, only steps away from the White House. On 1776 D Street, of course.