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The Archive > 1970s: REMEMBER THE LADIES


Do you know why the courtship custom of bundling was practiced in rural American areas during the colonial period.  Long distances often hindered the ambitions of ardent suitors, so practical parents offered them overnight accommodations to be shared with the prospective bride.  Sometimes separated by a bundling board, the two young people could spend more time together without wasting candles or overtiring the girl’s parents.

How “separating” was the bundling board? Here’s a humorous warning in “A New Bundling Song”, from the exhibition “Remember the Ladies…” Women in America 1750-1815.

“For some, we may in truth suppose,
Bundle in bed with all their clothes,
But bundler’s clothes are no defense:
Unruly horses push the fence!”

Remember the Ladies opening at The New-York Historical Society May 10 1976. Will tour Plymouth, Mass, Atlanta GA, Washington, DC and Chicago, IL.
The exhibition title derives from Abigail Adams’ request of her husband John that, in formulating the laws of the new nation, “… I desire that you remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors.”

Abigail Adams is one of many women celebrated in the exhibition, from slaves and indentured servants to American Indian women to wealthy plantation mistresses and Presidents’ wives.

The wide-ranging participation of all women in American society during the founding period will be documented with portraits, artifacts, engravings, printed materials, craftwork, period costumes and furnishings. Many of the objects are from private collections and historical societies, some on public view for the first time.

A major section of the exhibition will uncover the forgotten story of the heroism of women who fought in or actively supported the Continental Army. Other areas will examine the domestic life and fluctuating status and influence of American women from the Revolution to the height of the Republican era. Topics covered range from love and marriage, fashion, the arts, child-rearing and education to war, politics, religion, and liberty and equality. (Carole Sorell spearheaded this project as Senior Vice President at Ruder & Finn.)