Fashioning Ethnicity: Clothing and Culture in Early Pennsylvania

Fashioning Ethnicity: Clothing and Culture in Early Pennsylvania

PLEASE NOTE: This program takes place on a Wednesdaynot Thursday.

NOTE FOR ATTENDEES: Registered attendees for this evening’s Zoom lecture will receive a reminder email with the Zoom link around 12pm ET today. If you believe you have registered and do not receive this email, please contact prior to 4:30pm ET. Thank you!


On Wednesday, March 22, join LancasterHistory virtually as we welcome Mississippi State University professor Dr. Judith Ridner to explore the impact that dress, accessories, hairstyles, and personal artifacts had on identifying, labeling, and reacting to others in early Pennsylvanian multi-ethnic communities.

(right) Dr. Judith Ridner
Dr. Judith Ridner

Eighteenth-century Pennsylvanians were well aware of the diverse ethnic and religious identities of those around them. At a time when so many Europeans were newcomers, Pennsylvanians routinely identified their neighbors as being of Irish, Scottish, or German ancestry, or of the Quaker, Moravian, or Jewish faiths. But how did this process of identifying and labeling others actually work? Specifically, how did the way people dressed, the accessories they wore, the way they styled their hair, or the tools or implements they carried with them determine how others perceived and reacted to them? Dr. Ridner’s talk on ethnic clothing and styling draws upon research for her latest book project, Clothing the Babel: The Material Culture of Ethnic Identity in Early America.

Dr. Judith Ridner is a Professor of History at Mississippi State University and Co-Editor of Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Her research focuses primarily on immigrant communities in early America, particularly the Scots Irish. She is the author of two books, A Town In-Between: Carlisle, Pennsylvania and the Early Mid-Atlantic Interior (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010), and, more recently, The Scots Irish of Early Pennsylvania: A Varied People (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2018), as well as various articles and book chapters. She is currently working on two new book projects, The Dirty History of Soap, under contract to Reaktion Books, and Clothing the Babel: The Material Culture of Ethnic Identity in Early America.


This event will take place online via Zoom on Wednesday, March 22, 2023 at 5:30pm ET. This is NOT an in-person event. The event will be streamed live and then recorded and made available on LancasterHistory’s YouTube Channel.

The program is free and open to the public but requires advance registration. Register online or by calling (717) 392-4633. Your link to the Zoom will be emailed to you on the day of the presentation. If you are unfamiliar with Zoom, we highly recommend reading our Virtual Event Guide & FAQ in advance of the event. Registration will close online on Wednesday, March 22 at 5:30pm ET.

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Lecture Online/Virtual Event

March 22, 2023 Online via Zoom 5:30pm Free | Registration Required