Wednesday, August 28, 2019

One Last Chance to Wear White before Labor Day

Historically, coaching parades were one of the last chances to wear white before Labor Day - and what a lot of white they wore. White was a small part of the larger language of color, sound and pageantry of that era. This is an undated photo from the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room (accession #2019.003.018). It is part of a large recent donation.

Note the arch in the back reads "North Conway Welcomes You" (click on image to enlarge it).

A recent email to the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room led to reviewing our collection of the periodical The White Mountain Echo for information on coaching parades. As part of this project I rediscovered an interesting edition from August 28, 1915, one hundred and four years ago from today.    

The cover shows the transition from horse drawn coaches to decorated automobiles.

One of our roles here at the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room is to connect our collection to other collections to help patrons find answers to their questions. I found another set of coaching parade pictures at the Conway Historical Society including a photo (CHS 2018.267.001) very similar to the first one above.  This photo, dated on the back August 31, 1893, may help date ours as the banner and other details look the same, so it is probably from the same day.

It also shows the same arch in the background reading "North Conway Welcomes You."

Here is another photo in which the streamers on the towers are different. 

Here are some other parade photos. 

There are two especially interesting items at the Conway Historical Society. The first is this poster from the first North Conway coaching parade, held Tuesday, August 26, 1890.

There is also a coaching horn awarded for 3rd prize best decorated mountain wagon from the second east side parade in 1891.

We also have a recent donation that has an advertisement in it for that 1891 coaching parade.

It is part of a bound version of the 1891 season of The White Mountain Echo. While it is a little tattered, it has a lot of stories and is a great treasure.

More on this donation in a future blog.

By the way, it may be interesting to note that while Labor Day had been celebrated in various forms since the first Labor Day parade in US history in New York in 1882, it was not made a federal holiday until 1894, when our own Grover Cleveland signed it into law.

You might look for some decorating ideas from these pictures to prepare for our upcoming Fall Ball event to celebrate the fall equinox on September 23. See the link here. Remember, just don't do a faux pas and wear white after labor day. 

In the mean time, please let me know what you think. For more details on this or any other historical subject in the White Mountains, contact us at the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room.

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