2003 Issue

Compiled by
Bruce Gventer

 Three new sites for you this month. I learned a lot from these sites and hope you do too. Please let me know what you would like to read about in the future by emailing bgventer@bcn.net.

Miniature transferware toy service circa 1820.


             A club for collectors of transferware maintains this website. No surprise then that it features transferware. What is transferware? Before I visited the site, I had no clue. But the homepage fixed that with a definition: "Transferware is the term assigned to ceramics decorated with motifs applied by means of engravings transferred from a copper engraving to a special tissue, then onto a pottery base.” As you can see from the picture, it can be quite lovely.

            The Transferware Club wants to share its interests and pass along information to collectors, dealers, scholars, and anyone else who might be interested in English transferware. The Club hones in on transferware produced between 1760 and 1880 in England.

            Transferware uses many different colors and motifs. While many collectors focus on specific colors or motifs, all are welcome to join. A bulletin is issued to members with articles on transferware including discoveries, significant collections, and book reviews. Membership is $30.

            On this site you will find titles of article published in previous bulletins and read sample articles. One of the articles by Judy Wagner that is on the site provides a great deal of information about white Earthenware, Creamware, Pearlware, Whiteware, Ironstone, and White Granite.

            The links page has links to members' pages, many of which are interesting, and a link to the British counterpart of this American collecting club.


Betsy Ross house, one of the three most visited historic sites in Philadelphia.

A Virtual History Tour of Philadelphia

            Here is another virtual tour, this one brought to you by the Independence Hall Association (IHA). IHA was founded in 1942 to create Independence National Historical Park. In the last few years, they have placed a great deal of American historical information on the Internet. Sit back, relax, and join the nine million people who take this historic tour of Philadelphia.

            You can do the virtual tour in two ways. Click the “next stop” arrow in the top right hand corner of your browser or use the alphabetical text links to visit the pages you want to view.

            Places to visit on the virtual tour using the alphabetical links include: African-American Museum, American Indian Cultural Center, American Philosophical Society, Arch Street Friends Meeting House, Athenaeum of Philadelphia, Atwater Kent Museum, Bartram's Garden, Betsy Ross House, Bishop White House, Bourse (stock exchange), Chinatown, City Tavern, Congress Hall, Constitution Center, Declaration House, Dream Garden, Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site, Fireman's Hall, Free Quaker Meeting House, Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, Library Hall, National Liberty Museum, National Museum of American Jewish History, Norman Rockwell Museum, Old City Hall, Penn’s Landing, Physick House, South Street, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the United States Mint. This is just a sampling of what is on the list.

            In addition to all of this, the site also offers information for people who wish to actually visit Philadelphia in person. Tours are listed, hotel information presented, directions, maps, bus schedules, and places to visit are all online for you.

            If you take the tour using the “next stop” arrow, your first visit will be to the Liberty Bell. On July 8, 1776, the bell was rung to summon the people to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. The Old City Hall was where the Supreme Court met in the late 1700s. The U.S .Congress originally met at Congress Hall. Carpenters' Hall, which had just been built, hosted the First Continental Congress. The Continental Congress met here to formulate opposition to British rule. Edgar Allen Poe lived in Philadelphia for six years and wrote The Murders of the Rue Morgue and twelve other tales here. American history abounds on this site.


Sample of beadwork.


Some trade beads.


Anasazi Indian dwelling in Chaco Canyon.

American Indians and the Fur Trade

      Here is a great site maintained by O. N. Eddins, who lives in Wyoming. He is a veterinarian and an author of historical fiction. His first book, Mountains of Stone, deals with how the first trappers, traders, and explorers affected the Native Americans who lived on the Plains and in the Rocky Mountains. Dr. Eddins has spent a lot of time riding his horse on the trails that appear in his books. Right now, he is researching and writing Winds of Change, the sequel to Mountains of Stone. This book deals with the impact of the fur trade on Native Americans.

            Of special interest is the information about the Anasazi Indians of the Southwest. But Dr. Eddins states his site is for the collecting and sharing of information on the fur trade and its affect on the Indians. He goes into great detail, and this site is worth your time if you have an interest in the topic.

            One of the first things Dr. Eddins says concerns what the new arrivals brought to the natives - diseases, alcohol, guns, and horses. Disease and alcohol had horrible consequences for the Native Americans. In 1781 more than half of the Plains Indians, died from a smallpox epidemic. Alcohol was responsible for turning proud men into drunken beggars. The guns that were brought for trading were of poor quality. The horses, on the other hand, spread quickly throughout the New World and were bred and used for trade.

            The Ancient Enemies, or the Anasazi, lived in the Southwest from 1 AD until 1300 AD. They are credited with building the earliest pueblos. These people, known as the Basket Makers, used baskets for containers. They even made woven baskets that could hold water. They grew corn in their irrigated fields. Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde were early, large Anasazi settlements.

            Intricately tied into this area are Lewis and Clark, the Oregon Trail, and the early trading posts. Important to the fur trade was John Jacob Astor, who was born in Walldorf, Germany in 1763. When he was twenty one, Astor sailed for America. In the New World Astor married Sarah Todd. In 1808, the American Fur Company was started by Astor and others.

            Through the trading posts along this frontier, the Indian and the white man traded bead and pelts and the white man was introduced to the buffalo. You will discover lots of information, much of it with pictures on guns, such as the early muzzleloaders and single-shot rifles. Wampum (purple beads had twice the value of white beads) is thoroughly discussed, as are beaver pelts.

            At the bottom of each page, you are encouraged to fill out the reader response box to send in your feedback. References for the page are cited, too. The site is updated on a regular basis so check back often. The date of the site’s update is given at the bottom of the first page.

            You can purchase Dr. Eddin's book right from the site. The author asks your help with certain topics he is researching. Visit the site to find out how you can help. I rate this site fantastic. You will find a great deal of information and plenty of pictures here, and the links are great too.


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