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18th century fashion show with 4 historic women and visit to a sewing workshop


Tue, March 10, 2020 2:20 p.m.

Dressmakers from Fort Suzannah Emerson and Hanae Weber outfit Charlotte Clark, left, PR manager of Old Fort Niagara, for a dress. Clark will play Madame Contrecoeur, wife of the commander of Fort Niagara in New France in 1752, at Women of Distinction at the Officers' Club. Three other women from the history of the fort will also be presented.

Dressmakers from Fort Suzannah Emerson and Hanae Weber outfit Charlotte Clark, left, PR manager of Old Fort Niagara, for a dress. Clark will play Madame Contrecoeur, wife of the commander of Fort Niagara in New France in 1752, at "Women of Distinction" at the Officers' Club. Three other women from the history of the fort will also be presented.

Old Fort Niagara will mark Women's History Month with a brand new program and special access to its sewing workshop from 2:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday March 21, for "Women of Distinction from Fort Niagara". The program will feature four women from the fort's past, each representing different periods, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds, wearing period-specific clothing currently sewn in the fort's sewing workshop.

Fort performers will introduce these women while their stories are told by fort seekers. Then, a tour of the studio will allow customers to see where all of the fort's historic clothing is made.

"Think of it as an 18th century fashion show," said Robert Emerson, executive director of the Old Fort Niagara Association. “Most people know that soldiers in red coats from the 8th Regiment parade around Old Fort Niagara. Not this time! This program concerns women and their material culture – clothing and accessories – which is currently designed and sewn in our sewing workshop. "

The program will feature Madame Contrecoeur, wife of the commander of Fort Niagara in New France in 1752; Isbella Graham, wife of a 1760s British surgeon; Molly Brant, an influential Mohawk woman, in 1777; and Betsy Doyle, an American heroine, from the War of 1812.

"There were not many women in the fort during the 1700s and early 1800s, as the armies greatly limited the number of wives of ordinary soldiers who could accompany their husbands. It was also a grueling experience to travel to this border land, ”said Emerson. "However, our research has revealed that there are influential women who have honored these motives and that they have stories to share, which we look forward to doing later this month."

Refreshments will follow the presentation and attendees will be able to go behind the scenes to visit the Old Fort Niagara sewing studio, where historically accurate clothing is made by skilled personnel from the fort. Guests will also meet with clothing designers and sewers and will be able to ask questions about their processes.

The program will take place in the Ballroom of the Fort Niagara Officers Club, located at 2 Scott Avenue, Fort Niagara State Park, Youngstown.

Tickets for "Women of Distinction" will be available at the door and will include the program, studio tour and general admission to Old Fort Niagara. Members of the Old Fort Niagara Association will receive free entry. General admission is $ 15 for adults, $ 10 for children 6 to 12 and free for children 5 and under.

More information on Old Fort Niagara membership and upcoming events and programs is available at

Old Fort Niagara is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admissions end 30 minutes before closing. Old Fort Niagara is a registered national historic site and a New York State historic site managed by the Old Fort Niagara Association (a non-profit organization) in cooperation with the Office of Parks, Recreation and historic preservation of New York State.

This is the back of a worsted woolen dress – a work in progress – which will be worn by staff interpreter Kelly Hoyt, who will play Isbella Graham, a surgeon's wife 1760s British artist at the Fort Niagara's Women of Distinction event.

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