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Research & How To


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Research and How To:

We are always seeking new information to help us better our impressions. If you have a link you'd like to recommend, or a research article you've written that others might find helpful that you'd like us to post directly on the unit website, please contact us. For general reenacting links and broader information sources, please also visit our Links Section.

First & Third Person Techniques

This section includes a variety of articles and worksheets on how to do first person interpretation: developing a character, coping at an immersion event, getting the dialogue right, etc, plus additional resources on third person interpretation for the public. Includes articles on this website and links to key resources on other websites, plus a bibliography.

Impact of the War on the Citizenry

Resources on the impact of the War on daily life, both North and South, with an emphasis on coping with shortages in the blockaded South and life in Virginia and Maryland, including areas where loyalties were divided. Includes articles on this website and many links to key resources on other websites, plus a bibliography.

Period Crafts

This section contains reports on our past AGSAS workshops, and links to a variety of online resources about a number of period crafts, including spinning, weaving, dyeing, needlework, basketry, etc. It will continually be expanded.(Also see the Farming, Occupations and Rural Skills Section for resources on agricultural skills, and the Clothing and Personal Appearance section for sewing information) This section includes a list of recommended sources for workshops as well as a bibliography.


Links to a variety of online patterns for knitting, crocheting and sewing, including the AGSAS Soldiers' Sock Pattern (adaptation of a period original to modern needle sizes), the AGSAS adaption of a period sontag ("bosom buddy") pattern, as well as links to various websites with good free patterns or sewing instructions, or that sell recommended patterns, or that review commercially available patterns.

Period Food & Food Packaging

A wide range of research resources on 19th century American foodways, seasonal foods, cooking techniques and recipes, including articles on this website and a large number of links to other websites with good information.

In addition to covering food basics and recipes, this section also covers the packaging of the era and includes a bibilography.

Farming, Occupations and Rural Skills

Most reenactors nowadays are products of a suburban upbringing where groceries come shrink-wrapped and bar-coded. In contrast, the overwhelming majority of people in mid 19th century America lived on farms or in small rural towns, particularly in the agrarian South. This section of the website provides articles and links to resources about 19th century farming practices and crafts, as well as common occupations of the era such as blacksmithing, cooperage, and the like. Also includes a bibliography.

Leisure & Pastimes

This section covers a variety of public and private entertainments of the era: music, literature, the theatre, dancing, parlour games, children's toys, sports and the like. It includes some on-site articles, but primarily links to resources on other websites, as well as a bibliography.

It will eventually be expanded considerably and does not currently pretend to be comprehensive.

Soldiers Aid Societies

What were "soldiers aid societies" and what did they actually DO during the War? This section provides some answers, as well as information on how to interpret various activities such as producing boxes for soldiers, rolling bandages and picking lint. Much of this information is in the form of links to external websites. This section also includes a bibliography.


Camping Skills & Coping With Weather

Civilian reenacting often puts us in situations where the only accommodation is to set up a "camp of convenience". In addition, we have to cope with sleeping outdoors in the cold and trying to keep cool at hot weather events, both of which can pose health risks.

This section covers these issues, as well as tips for a refugee portrayal, and, like other sections, includes a bibliography.

Clothing and Personal Appearance

This section provides a wide range of links to key online resources online about male and female clothing, hairstyles, and toiletries of the era, as well as a bibliography. Also includes a sewing section.

In addition, please also visit our section on Getting Started and Getting it Right , our Standards section and our Vendors List.

19th Century Life & Society

Includes a variety of information resources, consisting of articles hosted on this website and links to other websites, covering the structure of society in mid 19th century America and daily life: social classes, demographics, customs and etiquette, health and medicine, the role of religion in daily life, marriage and family relations, communications and transportation. This section is by no means comprehensive and will be expanded on an ongoing basis.

Race Relations in 19th Century America

Historically accurate portrayals of the many facets of 19th century race relations pose a considerable challenge to living history interpreters, as these issues are still a source of sensitivity among much of the spectating public. AGSAS probably has the largest percentage of African American and Asian reenactors of any authentic civilian reenacting group, and we are committed to tackling this interpretative challenge with honesty and historical accuracy.

Originals for Documentation

NEW section, featuring original men's, women's and children's apparel and material culture items for study.