Saturday, July 7, 2018

Thank YOU !

Thank you to everyone who attended the Vikings in New York talk and the packed room for the Four Yellow Love Drawers. Who knew so many people were so curious to learn what Love Drawers were!

A number of people asked if a book was available... A guide to the often funny but also saucy history of 16th and 17th century drawers is on its way. Packed with primary sources, and I am working on getting the images in place for publication. Fingers crossed copy rights go well!

I am also sourcing a pattern maker. The goal would be to provide patterns based on the drawers that were available in 16th Century and the ones brought over and worn in New York during the 17th and 18th Century.

For those who have not heard, I am moving to Europe for a few years while I do some research and writing. The blog will continue. The original goal was to do roughly 12 post for one year to get primary sources out into the hands of the average reader...but it has been evolving and the requests for speaking engagements and a book has encouraged extending the blog further.

Thank you to Lee at Boston History Camp, YOU are AWSOME ! And to all my readers for checking in each month from around the world !

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Drawers for Men and Women

"Four Yellow Love Drawers" - 1685

I have thought for sometime on how to broach the topic of underwear as I have found out the hard way that there are many established ideas on what was and wasn't. However, the story of how "underbeeches" and what were later called drawers came to be actually reflects just how human we all are.

When Wina who was from the province of Horn in the Netherlands arrived in America, she was a whip of a business woman. She had to have known her market as she arrived with an extensive list of exotic goods from the east. She opened her shop right next to her husband's doctoring practice. With side by side storefronts, everything in their lives seems to have been intimate. Her wares were so numerous they spilled over into his office with porcelain stacked on shelves on the walls. Wina's wardrobe was no different as it included 5 work day suits, a fine suit in silk and a number of calico gowns plus over 50 fontages and headbands. But it is the four yellow drawers in silk that let us peek into the lives of those in 17th Century New York. Her husband an apparently reserved person in comparison only owned 2 capes, 2 black or gray suits and a dressing gown... plus 7 pairs of drawers that range from linen to silk. In one chest, there was even a blue and white feather. The couples of New York even if reserved on the outside as was Wina's husband, or spectacular on the outside as was Wina herself... all seem to keep something special and dare I say flirtatious in the marriage.

Wina and her husband were not alone, while most of the 112 drawers that have shown up in the the 28 inventories referenced are linen, there is also the saucier side.

Due to the PG nature of this blog we'll have to skip the naughty bits... but I am looking forward to my presentation at Boston History Camp this Saturday.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Journal Entry 1: Diligence, Determination and Discipline

"When going through old probate inventories force oneself to record all items into the database, not just the juicy stuff." - Me 2018

Notes to Self:

It seems like there are always more inventories, just when I think I went through and found them all. I am currently adding five or six more. It is not that I record every single inventory, but I record every inventory that has 1) clothing OR 2) fabric/ textiles OR 3) Weapons OR 4) Food / Spice... my areas of interest. An inventory could just have only one of the categories or more than one. The problem comes from stripping out the items I am interested in and not entering all the other stuff like furniture, pewter, etc. The problem with not recording the other items is trends and patterns can be overlooked. For instance, an inventory with china cups, china cabinet, and East Indies robes tells a bit about a person especially since the next one may have Delftware plates, Earthen ware plates and cups, a Dutch salt cellar, gold hoop rings and Amsterdam style gowns. Then there are the inventories with things like "shirt as made by the wilde", shoes as made by the wilde, wilde stockings, knife with sheath with sea-wan hung around the neck, snow shoes, fur hat, .... he was a trader up in near Albany. One is not worth more than the other, but they show the landscape these people were living in. We can zoom in on one probate and see one person, then back up and take several from one town in one decade and imagine what a "market scene" or "the street" looked with all the the different people. People during the 17th Century had very complete outfits, looks and styles.

If a movie from the 17th Century were ever made, according to inventories and visitors, people from the continent including the supposedly reserved Dutch Reformed goers should be outfitted with fashionable styles from around the world, whereas the local English should have a reserved subdued look with more solids and browns. Not to mention there literally should be more Continentals than English/Scottish from Manhattan to Saratoga, more English and Scotts out on Long Island prior to the 1710s and 20s. One should literally be able to pick out an Englishmen or Scotsman and their preference for English styles according to inventories and observers, and everyone else should be more international.

Its not that one is "better", it is that people were clinging to their cultural ideals. This is important because it was important to them. The Continentals had a mix of Continental and far eastern clothes, British people loved their Russels and "sad" colors. Both have their benefits. The only thing they all had in common was their "New Yorker" taste for large print calicos and silks which continued almost as a badge right through the 1740s and possibly further.

The Pull: 

I use to be particular... but Now I think I have become obsessive. When I am happy I go through inventories for the joy of it, when I am down I go through inventories for the joy of it, when I am frustrated I yet again use inventories for the absolute delight of them. One inventory in particular, Hanna is a treat, spinning wheels, whorls, carders, skien after skien of yarn, knitting needles, and more... plus a half pound of chocolate, a loaf of sugar and chillies. Inventories like this are the pull.

It is predominantly about the different lifestyles and heritages of the people. I love the diversity, the little things that make all of these people different but the "in it together" world they lived in. There is the scene and a number of examples where when someone was down and out... another person did business with them or at least helped them get a job.

In many ways the people of the second half of the 17th century remind me of the people of Japan. When I lived in Japan, it was not unusual for a person to match pattern garment with pattern garment. They'll do this will their kimono but also modern clothing. When I asked why? One person said because they were both beautiful, beautiful matches beautiful. That is New York, and New York wouldn't be New York without New Netherland.

When looking at the material culture that was brought with the founding families, out of all the cultural traits, the traits that were most important were the love of liberty, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, and shear interest in the world and appropriating the global economic into the Province that stands out. This idea of always looking out into the world mentality would stay with the Province into modern times.

When you walk the streets of Albany or Manhattan the cities are all the same but different. You are possibly just as likely to find a lacquered cabinet or Japanese kimono in a 2000s home as you would in the 1600s. The towns haven't changed much either, again one finds snow shoes, gardening books, gardening hoe and fowling guns in the 2000s home as you would in the 1600s.

Even something like pierced ears, no really... I know it wasn't a thing most places, but New Yorkers had them in the 1600s too... yes, the stones were huge then too according to the rather shocked New Englanders.

But Tara, we don't run around with swords ! Yes, thats true...but we still play with them as there are a number of fencing clubs. See we simply can't let go.

Those are the Pulls

The Push: 

The push is something different. It is what gets under my skin, I write a post that will never be published, all because I wish to kill off an old tale that is not based on primary sources. They are a little edgy, and usually written as a way to vent. If it is on a topic I obsess about I usually have traced its history back until it disappears from the records. When I say disappears, I don't mean just from records written in English, I mean the western hemisphere. I do make mistakes, but then obsess until the correct answer is found. Short of new records being found, my obsessive nature will have me up till about 1 or 2 (sometimes the sun comes up and I think ... Oh, Sh! I forgot to go to sleep.)

See... even with the Push, there is the Pull of the high from doing research.

Back when I was working on my degree in chemistry with a minor in biology... with a few classes on cultural anthropology and Japanese tossed in, I would go to the library and sit for hours. I would pick up a science, economics, or anthropology journal. Open the cover and start reading from beginning to the last page. Each month I would read through the journals. I had a period of time when I could not do this and noticed I was getting anxious, almost like trying to quite coffee, sugar, or something else addicting. I started to get edgy and realized I didn't have a constant flow of data to process. At that time, my information-data-addiction was controllable. I swear it still is.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Playing Little Merchants

"This small Adventure I send to please a little boy & Girl who want to be merchants as soon as they can speak like their play fellows the Dutch Children here." -  New York 1724

It is not unusual for visitors or new immigrants to notice that New Yorkers whether in Albany or Manhattan raise their kids a bit differently. Observers note that the children are raised with a sense of "industry" but also fun. The parents intended to instill two very important lessons 1) they needed to make time for  trade or mercantile-play just as much as 2) the parent needed to make time for fun-play. This tendency for New Yorkers to strike a balance between fun-playtime and little merchant-playtime in childhood, regardless of gender, may have been the fertilizer for the future mega-merchants that would rule over the massive warehousing businesses that would eventually lead to the stock exchange and Wall St.

The citizens of the Netherlands, New Netherlands and even English New York did something rather surprising with their children. They got it in their heads that 1) children were not little adults, 2) a proper parent reserves time specifically for both "free playtime" and "modeling playtime" and 3) little ones could be trusted with money !

Note in the images and records that it appears that playing little merchants or simply being sent to the store to make small purchases is a genderless play activity that seems to start when they are old enough to reach up over the counter to hand over the payment.

Job Berckheyde (Dutch, 1630 - 1693)
The Bakery Shop, c. 1680 Here

The Idea of Playtime 1)  Free Play and 2) Modeling Adult Behavior Play:

The macro - or umbrella - idea is that children are not little adults, and need child size toys and actives for them to practice with, including both free playtime and modeling playtime to model adult behavior where mistakes can be made without major consequence; which is different than a child producing a tangible result with child labor or apprenticeship.

The "playtime revelation", as we'll call it, was developed during the 17th Century in the Netherlands and is unique to this region. This idea was first emphasized in the book, "Houwelyck" with the first chapter titled "Kinder-spel" published in 1618 by the Dutch author Jacob Cats (1577–1660). This book not only describes reserving time for play, but also provided images. It is important to point this out because often the 18th Century is cited as the time when "people" began to think of children as children and not little adults. However, it is roughly from the time of the publication of the Houwelyck book in 1618 that this is accurate and practiced by the average person in the Netherlands, New Netherland and New York during the 17th Century.

The Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, New York recently acquired a 17th century copy of the book and the images are available on-line Here. I recommend reading this article as it explains the unique culture of the Dutch. Even today, the State of New York is obsessed (relative to many states) with child welfare, the installation of a multitude of playgrounds, and even a museum dedicated to children at play. For those not familiar with New York, the State has provided free pre-school for 4 year olds since 1997, all children are covered by medical insurance since 2008 and New York City deemed it a necessity that every child in the city should not have to walk more than 10 minutes to find a green space, paying for it with public funds.

In addition to the below, ninepins, backgammon, ticktack and ball games were forbidden on the sabbath according to court records, plus checker boards are found in 17th and 18th inventories and marbles and dice are found in both NN and NY archeological digs:

Account Left by Josua and Mordakay Emriques 1st January 1656 (Shipped to NN):

24 dozen spinning tops that cost me 25 a dozen. That comes to a 2 lb. sack of sugar per spinning top.

4 gross [bell] rattles are 48 dozen that cost me 200 lb. sack of sugar per gross. That comes to a 17 lb. sack of sugar per dozen.

Monsieur Van Imbroch, Town of Kingston, NY a doctor, 1665: 
One childs chain of braided black and white sea-wan [trade beads] 

Sybrant van Schaick of Rensselaerswyck, a brewer, 1686:  
1 N.B. a little coral chain for Catie

Cornelius Steensyck, Mayor of Albany, and Merchant, 1686: 
Gold Child's whistle 

Garret Jansen Roos, NYC, Carpenter, 1698: 
A whistle 

Peternela Tenycke, NYC, Shop Keeper, 1724: 

23 Joynted Babies .........................................................................1:3:0

A Parasoll of Toyes broken and whole .........................................2:0:0

A parasol of Small looking Glasses & Toy Pictures * ..................2:0:0

One "flaybanib", 1 bottle** e Sundry Toys .......................................5:0:6

A parcel of Toys.............................................................................0:7:7

*  In another section there is 1 small picture the words match up, possibly for doll house.
** Nipples for feeding babies have been found in archeological digs in the Albany region.

How affordable were those 23 jointed babies for 1:3:0? Well we can see that 27 stone jugs cost 2 pounds (or 27 jugs for 40 shillings or 480 pence). Also based on a 1722 inventory some comparisons are as follows: 16 yards of check [linen] 1:4:0, 13 and a quarter white flannel 1:3:2, 33 pairs of gloves for all sorts 2:0:0, 15 woolen caps 1:1:0 and a pair of men's worsted stockings. A 1719 inventory has 12 pairs of Boys stockings 1:4:0 and 14 yards red & white calico for 2:6:0 and 'imbosed' petticoat at 0:4:0. Considering a pair of men's stockings cost 0:5:0 and an 'imbosed' petticoat 0:4:0 we can see that this little dolls were relatively affordable and cost less than a pair of men's stockings or woman's petticoat. 23 Jointed babies for 1:3:0 or 23 shillings or 276 pence, 1 jointed baby at one shilling or 12 pence. For reenactors, it seems that the child of a farmer was just as likely to own a doll as a large estate owner. The main difference, based on one letter, is that a large estate holder may have silver miniature doll accessories for their child's doll, and a farmer's child may have little wooden tables and accessories for her doll. In either case, the kid would still have a doll at these prices. More interestedly, most as in the majority of kids would have the same quality doll because they were only a shilling per doll and being bought from a few shops.

Below an example of a toy and middle class family at a tavern: Jan Steen, Couple Dance, 1663

Later, as the French entered the 18th Century enlightenment they will adopt the idea that children need playtime and are not little adults; see Rousseau's classic book Emile published 1758. This is something we will come back to as how children are raised is not the only thing the French adopted from 17th Century Dutch which includes the fontage lace headbands and the robe that the shopkeeper above is wearing in the first painting which had become popular in the Netherlands by 1658 according to primary sources.

What we can see from quotes and documents is that while the idea of a child centered family is not invented by the Dutch (it was becoming universal in the 16th and 17th century),  they quantified and developed it into a system. Two types of  play were first developed in the Netherlands; 1) "playtime" with toys for fun and 2) "modeling" adult activities play such as making purchases and playing little merchant. This style of child rearing was imported to New Netherland and instilled to the point that after English sovereignty, it continued to be a part of many children's lives in New York.

Below is a thesis paper on children during the Dutch Golden Age with emphasis on the development of childhood and the influence of humanist ideals. The introduction gives a good overview for general understanding of why and what was developing in the Netherlands was so different.

"Constructions of Childhood in the Dutch Golden Age and Pedagogical Theory in the Dutch Republic as Reflected in Children’s Portraiture: The Dog Motif, The Apple Attribute, and the Meaningfulness of the Dutch Rinkelbel" Here.

Interestingly, something that is not found in probate inventories are bodices or stays for small children. This type of clothing was used by some parents in the hopes that their children will have straight backs and good posture. However, they can be mildly restrictive and possibly part of the reason they have not yet been found in New York inventories prior to the French and Indian War. Additionally, children in New Netherland and New York were not usually apprenticed until about 12 or 14 years old, having long childhoods seemingly with few chores. This free roaming childhood may have contributed to healthy bodies as there was a lack of restriction and repetitive movement.

There are a number of court cases where children are described as running through farmer's fields, playing outside the home, and other activities but not doing chores. There are a couple accounts about   low income families where the parents cannot afford to keep their children. The child is apprenticed at less than 12 years old but regularly runs away back to the parents and the parents reprimand the master for having hit their child.

Some Background and The Landscape:

Here, it is important to point out that most western nations were developing a concept of family that is different than in the middle ages. What would emerge are families where the ideal is "self-contained" (grand parents, parents, children, etc) vs. "extended" (includes 2nd. and 3rd. cousins, etc.). In addition to family make up,  children become "part of the family's purpose". An easy way to think of 17th Century families is vertical (which can include aunts and uncles who often take in orphaned related children and leave inheritances to nieces and nephews) vs. horizontal (2nd and 3rd cousins are living near each other or doing business together). Looking back we don't always notice the "reason for", but do see the end result. How were these children treated? How were expectations instilled - or more accurately enticed into?  In essence, how were children educated? How educations were given or the methods used are where the variations emerge, but are due to specific reasons.

The two ends of the spectrum appear to be the Dutch and the Puritan ways of education with the Dutch preferring "the carrot", playtime and followed by short 3-4 yr trade apprenticeships to the Puritan's literal use of "the stick" and long 7-8 yr trade apprenticeships.

"The Puritan family in England or the American colonies was seen as an institution based on ensuring the salvation of family members by proper education in the rules of good behaviour and the importance of faith. This responsibility was seen as resting primarily with the father, who was seen as the head of the household in religious as well as economic terms. The need was to ‘school’ the child in correct behaviour using appropriate punishments... to enforce discipline. Children were seen as inherently sinful and in need of guidance. At the extreme they were compared to wild animals whose spirit needed to be broken in order that they might develop the humility and obedience which would lead them to be good Christians (Ozment 1983)." - Histories of Childhood by John Clarke
"Not all families followed this extreme model, even in Protestant communities. Simon Schama describes seventeenth-century (Protestant) Holland as a society ‘besotted with the children’, where the idea of children and their pastimes played a major part in family life and in art (Schama 1987: 495)." - Histories of Childhood by John Clarke
"For the great mass of the population of Western European countries like Britain and France, children’s lives were characterized by poverty, hard labour and exploitation. This set up a contradiction which was to dominate writing and thinking about child- hood through the nineteenth century and into the twentieth. There was a contradiction between a romantic idealized view of childhood rooted in eighteenth-century Enlightenment and the brutal reality of most children’s lives." - Histories of Childhood by John Clarke

This is something we inherited from the Netherlands, and was practiced here in New Netherland and amazingly survived into English New York. While there would be many children that experience poverty in this colony, there was obviously a strong preference for creating ways for children to have a childhood which included charity and orphanages rather than work houses.

Below: abt. 1670 - A Poulterer's Shop - Gerrit Dou -

There is possibly a solid reason for the carrot method being used by the Dutch... these children were not being groomed solely for religious reasons (though it is noted that Dutch schools used religious books as daily reading material) but because they were part of a "family business". We have to remember, many families had mothers who grew food and sold it at market. Mothers were shop keepers or even merchants who owned ships, but also tavern keepers, tailors and shoemakers. This meant that children were part of the family business simply because mom was. There are actually very few images of children "helping" around the house and plenty of images of children running wild; playing cards, blowing bubbles, playing with spinning tops, and torturing their cats... plus a number a them going to the store to "practice" shopping.

Note the woman wants to sell him the one in her hand, and the kid points to a different one. Ode vrouw met haring en een jongen in een venster. Ook wel genoemd: de haringverkoopster. ca. 1650-1675. Pushkin Museum, Moscow.

This idea of placing not just a shopping money in the hands of children but an accounting book and expectation of making transactions has been part of New York's culture since the 17th Century. In 1724 Colwalder Colden records he makes mention of the Dutch children playing little merchants. However, It is important to note that by the 1700s, whether one was Dutch-Dutch, Walloon-Dutch, German-Dutch, Norwegian-Dutch, Swedish-Dutch, etc was not as clear as the previous century. Essentially, we could guess that all those people who had arrive prior to the English taking Sovereign control in 1674 were likely sharing a culture. This founding culture will survive English sovereignty and into the 18th Century.

It is one that the Englishmen Cadwallander Colden is willing to adopt.

To Mr. John Falconer Mercht. in London,

... Enclos'd you have a Bill of Excha. on Mr. David Mitchel at 30 days sight drawn by your Governor which I have endorsed to you...the remainder on my Own Acct. This small Adventure I send to please a little boy & Girl who want to be merchants as soon as they can speak like their play fellows the Dutch Children here. I know this consignment is but a small matter to trouble you with Yet I do not doubt you will take care to buy the following goods mention'd underneath to our best advantage. 
Envoy of Goods to be sent to Cadwallader Colden at New York as advice P. viz. 
6 ps Striped Narrow "Callemineos" } Lively colors but not Taudry *
12 ps Striped "Cambletts" } [same] **
1 ps black Broad Cloath about 12 s p yd } Let the "Cloaths" be substantial & well thickened
1 ps Drab colour Do about 20 s p yd} [same]
1 ps Do about 7 s p yd } [same]
6 ps good Sheldon viz. 2 ps of the same colour w/ each ps of "cloth" Sheldon of the fineness I intend come about
[... Continues...]

- Cadwallader Colden, New York May 4th, 1724

It is noted that Colden's daughter, though she did not grow up to be a merchant, became Ameria's first food scientist, second Botanist and would go on to apply Linnaean system (an analytical scientific system) for describing 300 different species of plants in New York. The organizational skills, and knowing when to ask the right questions likely developed during her little merchant years and seems to have benefited her. 

Along with some documentation and paintings, a rather interesting surviving example of how parents teach their children the workings of playing little merchant has survived, while easy to miss. A doll house owned by Petronella Oortman includes many rooms of a house... including what could be Mr. Oortam's parlor or office. In the office is both "Mr. Oortman" doll and a middle class man - a small merchant or shop keeper - likely settling accounts. With the middle class man is a similarly dresses little boy, a doll who's clothing clearly does not match up with the wealthier merchant son's clothes. We can see through Oortman's eyes her perspective on 1680s Netherlands. The doll-child's relative height appears to be similar to those children portrayed in paintings making purchases at stores. See image here.

An example of this culture surviving after the colonial era, is shown in an account by Mr. Rockafeller who lived in up-state New York. Mr. Rockefeller would give his son a little note book and a $1.50 allowance. Every time he made a purchase he was to record the amount spent. His son would present these little book to his parents, for praise and the rules were clear and repeatable. Interestedly, just as the Dutch were famous for their negotiations and contracts, this agreement was recorded as follows:

Memorandum between PAPA and JOHN. Regarding an Allowance.
1. Beginning with May 1st, John’s allowance is to be at the rate of One dollar and fifty cents ($1.50) per week.
2. At the end of each week during which John has kept his accounts accurately and to Papa’s satisfaction, the allowance for the succeeding week will be increased ten cents (10¢) over the week just ended, up to but not beyond a total per week of two dollars ($2.00).
3. At the end of each week during which John has not kept his accounts accurately and to Papa’s satisfaction, the allowance for the succeeding week shall be reduced ten cents (10¢) from the week just ended.
4. During any week when there have been no receipts or expenditures to record the allowance shall continue at the same rate as in the preceding week.
5. During any week when the account has been correctly kept but the writing and figuring are not satisfactory the allowance shall continue at the same rate as in the preceding week.
6. Papa shall be the sole judge as to whether an increase or a decrease is to be made.
7. It is understood that at least Twenty Per cent (20%) of the allowance shall be used for benevolences.
8. It is understood that at least Twenty Per cent (20%) of the allowance shall be saved.
9. It is understood that every purchase or expenditure made is to be put down definitely and clearly.
10. It is understood that John will make no purchases, charging the same to Mama or Papa, without the special consent of Mama, Papa or Miss Scales [a family governess].
11. It is understood that when John desires to make any purchases which the allowance does not cover, he will first gain the consent of either Mama, Papa, or Miss Scales, who will give him sufficient money with which to pay for the specific purchases, the change from which, together with a memorandum showing what items have been bought and at what cost and what amount is returned, is to be given to the person advancing the money, before night of the day on which the purchases are made.
12. It is understood that no governess, companion or other person in the household is to be asked by John to pay for any items for him, other than carfare.
13. To any savings from the date in this account which John may from time to time deposit in his bank account, in excess of the twenty per cent (20%) referred to in Item No. 8, Papa will add an equal sum for deposit.
14. The allowance above set forth and the agreement under which it shall be arrived at are to continue in force until changed by mutual consent. 
The above agreement approved and entered into by
John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
John D. Rockefeller 3rd
Smithsonian Magazine: See article here.

The children of New Netherland and New York are being taught from a young age the How-To of playing "little merchants" and may have been the precursor to our modern Lemonade stand; which is distinct and different from apprenticeships. They are opportunities for pre-teenaged children to "play" with real money, real accounting books, and real transactions. The accounting books seem to be as important as the transaction and valued as much as doing the deal. While they don't seem to be taught the savings part, they are consistently exposed to the charity part. The idea that the parents of both New Netherland and New York purposely set time aside to play at little merchants is a defining point of child rearing and cultural difference.

BONUS Painting:

Two more paintings Here and Here and a little kid possibly on her first mission not doing so well Here. A short article on the first Lemonade stand about 130 years ago Here.

1650-75: "The Grocery Shop", 1672 ~ Gerrit Dou - Shopkeeper in background behind counter, shop maid in red jacket, a young customer with bucket.

Instead of buying fabric and trying to have your kids sell it like colonial times, try the little merchant idea out in modern ways 1) At the grocery store, hand a toddler in a grocery cart seat the money for  the groceries to hand over to the clerk. 2) Try a Lemonade stand 3) When they are about 8 years old or older hand them $10, $15 or $20 at the start of the month (not week) and a small account book. Show them how to write their name, date and the amount given to them at the top. Then each week recount what they spent in a list.  (So they don't fall behind or wait too long and forget.) Then explain that the accounting book has to be turned in to you in order to receive their next allowance. When accounting is the only hoop they have to jump through, they will catch on quickly. The most amazing part... they develop patients ! 4) A separate payment for work done can be given like a monthly car detailing shop in the driveway where they earn $5 for cleaning out the car... and you play along as customer. Or put little one's to work making popsicles and you purchase them for a quarter each. Or with no money involved, instead of playing house or similar... play grocery store with pretend money and don't forget to remind them to sort and organize the food stuffs. It all adds up to skills that will get them ahead and doing math in their heads.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

July 7th, 2018 - Talks at Boston History Camp

Hi All !

I will be giving two talks at the 2018 Boston History Camp. Below are the titles and descriptions.

Vikings in New York and Delaware

While the raiding of other peoples comes to an end in the 12th century, the Viking culture and material goods continues with their wadmal, knitwear and their decedents arriving in Manhattan during the 17th Century. 

Four Yellow Love Drawers: An (Early) Modern Married Couple's Wardrobe

Why would a good man need bright red drawers? Why are hers yellow? And what were love drawers? We'll dive into the personal wardrobes and hampers of New Yorkers and explore the various types, colors and styles of underwear that were worn on the streets of 17th Century Manhattan. 

See You There ! 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Music & Instruments For All Ages

"2 transverse flutes" - 1700

The Following is a list of references for music from New York to the frontier. While not an exhaustive list of instruments in New York the following can show us that the region was not shying from music and dance. Parties were not unusual for the average person nor were balls for the politicos.

But this first inventory is interesting because we can see that even on the frontier of Schohary we can't do without culture, music and a good old time ! 

Nov 25th, 1773, Peter V. Ziellie
Late of Schohary in the County of Albany sold at Venue: 
1 Violine to Dennis Eckeser? 0:12:0

The above violin was sold for less than a pound in cash, making it more affordable than a suit, or even a jacket. Music as far as affordability goes was accessible. It is likely more so finding a teacher that would have prevented anyone from playing.

The 18th Century: From Organs and Spinets, to German Flutes and Bassoons: 

Mid-Century was a popular time for the learning or playing of instruments. A number of advertisement were posted for violins, German flutes, fifes and other instruments. German flutes are particularly popular. During the 17th Century the largest population demographic was Dutch, then Germanic people. New York takes in German immigrants on a regular basis possibly due to their ease of integration (as compared to assimilation) into a colony with a preexisting Central European culture. Below are some examples of advertisements from 1749 to 1775. 

Daniel & Philip Pelton, Drums Made and sold by Phillip Pelton, upper end of Queen-street, and by Daniel Pelton, in Chappel street, now called Beekman street, equal to any that have been imported for sound or beauty. As said Persons have great variety on hand any gentlemen may be served at the shortest notice, and on the most reasonable terms. The purchaser may depend upon having their Drums tun'd to sound well.—The New-York Journal or the General Advertiser, October 5, 1775.
John Sheiuble....N.B. He has now ready for sale, one neat chamber organ, one hammer spinnet, one common spinnet.—The New-York Gazette and the Weekly Mercury, October 10, 1774. F
Robert Horne, Musical Instrument-Maker, from London, on Golden-Hill, near Burling's Slip, Makes and repairs musical instruments, viz. Violins, tennors, violon-cellos, guittars, kitts, aeolus harps, spinnets, and spinnets jacks, violin bows, tail-pieces, pins, bridges; bows hair'd, and the best Roman Strings, &c. N.B. Country stores supply'd on the shortest notice.—The New-York Gazette and the Weekly Mercury, January 6, 1772.
David Wolhaupter, Takes this method to inform his friends and customers, that he has removed from the place he formerly lived, to the house where Mr. Muller, leather breeches maker, formerly lived, nearly opposite the Flattenbarrack-Hill, in the Broadway; where he makes and mends all sorts of musical instruments, such as basoons, German flutes, Common do. hautboys, clarinets, fifes, bagpipes, &c. also makes and mends all sorts of mathematical instruments, and all sorts of tuning work done by said Wolhaupter. Any gentlemen that will please to favour him with their employ, may depend upon being served at the cheapest rate, by their humble servant.—The New-York Gazette and the Weekly Mercury, June 18, 1770.
Simeon Coley.—Just imported in the ships Edward and Hope, from London, and to be sold cheap by Simeon Coley, Silver-smith, near the Merchant's Coffee house; A Large assortment of jewellery, diamond, garnet, and other rings; the neatest paste & stone buckels, garnet and paste necklaces, ear rings, egrets and solatiers, ditto neat etwe cases, silver-handle knives and forks in cases, ivory ditto, neat small swords, and cutteau de chase, and sword belts, great variety of pocket books for gentlemen and ladies, silver and other watches, ditto chains, neat clocks in mahogany cases, best gilt and other buckels, masons broaches and jewels, gold buttons and seals, silver ditto, neat tortise-shell snuff-boxes and smelling bottles, plated bits, and stirrups, best violins, german and common flutes, fifes, aeolus harps, hand organs, and a variety of other articles.—The New-York Mercury, October 5, 1767. 
Charles Shipman, Ivory and Hardwood Turner, lately from England: Takes this Method to acquaint all ladies, gentlemen, &c. that having served a regular apprenticeship to a very considerable Turning Manufactory in Birmingham; he purposes carrying on that business here, in all the various undermentioned articles;... Cruet frames repair'd and German flutes tip'd in the neatest manner, oval picture frames, and sundry other articles too tedious to mention.—The New-York Journal or the General Advertiser, August 6, 1767.
Robert Horne, Musical Instrument-Maker, from London, at Mr. Francis Cooley's, on Golden-Hill; Makes and repairs Violins, bass viols, tenor viols, Æolius harps, gauiters, German flutes, Kitts, violin bows, &c. in the neatest and compleatest manner. All orders punctually obey'd, with the quickest dispatch;: The favour of Gentlemen and Ladies shall be duly honour'd with their Commands. N.B. Merchants may be supplied with any of the above, cheaper than in London on proper notice given.—The New-York Mercury, September 14, 1767. 
Jacob Trippell, Musical Instrument Maker from London, at the House of Mr. John Ent, Watchmaker, opposite to, on the West Side of the Old Slip Market, a few Doors below Duyckinck's Corner, makes and repairs all sorts of Violins, Base and Tenor Viols; English and Spanish Guitters, Loutens, Mentelines, Madores, and Welsh Harps, at reasonable Rates, as neat as in Europe, Having work'd at the Business Nine Years, with the best Hands in London, since I left Germany; I shall Endeavour to Give Satisfaction to those Ladies and Gentlemen, that shall favour me with their Custom.—The New-York Gazette, August 24, 1767.
Gottlieb Wolhaupter, living at the Sign of the Musical Instrument-Maker, opposite Mr. Adam Vanderberg's has just imported from London, a Choice Parcel of the best English Box-wood; Where he continues to make and mend, all Sorts of Musical Instruments, such as German Flutes, Hautboys [Oboes], Clareonets, Flageolets  'fipple' flute] , Bassoons, Fifes, and also Silver Tea-Pot Handles.—The New-York Gazette, November 16, 1761. 
Mathematical Instrument Maker.—The late invented and most curious Instrument call'd an Octant, for taking the Latitude or other Altitudes at Sea, with all other Mathematical Instruments for Sea or Land, compleatly made by Anthony Lamb in New-York: where all Persons may be supply'd with German Flutes, and sundry other small Works in Wood, Ivory, or Brass, and Books of Navigation; and a proper Direction given with every Instrument. Ready Money for curious hard Wood, Ivory, Tortois-Shell, and old Brass.—The New-York Gazette Revived in the Weekly Post-Boy, January 23, 1749.

The 17th Century: Transverse Flutes, Recorders, Fiddles, Drums, Trumpets and Bells:

As mentioned in a previous post one can purchase up to "30 knots of fiddle strings" on Long Island in 1691.  Later, the New York  governor (1720-1728) William Burnet has a "large Violin or Tenor Fidle" in his inventory. Tenor violins or tenor fiddles, are what English called the viola. Flutes also make an appearance at the turn of the century. 

The following was written in the inventory for Jan Cock.

Est. 1699-1701 based on preceding and post wills and inventories. 

Inventory of the state left by Jan Cock, a young man who by the bursting of a cannon in their majesties fort at Albany was killed on the 9th of February 16th, when the French destroyed Schenectady, made by Albert 'Ryckman' and Jan Lansing, aldermen of the city of Albany.  
Inventory of Jan and Widow Katelyntie Cock
2 transverse flutes 

1664 - Beverwijk (Albany) 
Inventory of Jan Gerritsen van Macken a farmer and sometimes collector of liquor taxes 
20 children hats, both girls and boys hats
some "hansioos" jewelry
10 wooden recorders

It seems that New Yorkers enjoyed banging on things as part of their New Years celebrations. Stuyvasent was quick to make it illegal to shoot guns randomly into the air but also: 

"Therefore, in order to prevent such in the future the director general and council expressly forbid henceforth shooting and planting of May poles on New Year and May days within this province of New Netherland; also, any noise making with drums or dispensing of any wine, ....and this only to prevent further accidents and trouble, for a fine of 12 guilders for the first time, doubled for the second time and arbitrary punishment for the third time;...Dated the end of December 1655, and renewed the 30th of December 1658." - Laws and Write of Appeals, 1647 - 1663. 

Also in the Laws and Write of Appeals:

"The director general, Petrus Stuyvesant, as captain of his company, observing that the last issued order, dated 7 October 1655, concerning the appearance before the colors at the beat of the drum, and the posting of and remaining on guard, is not observed and obeyed by the superior and inferior officers as it ought to be, and as is customary in all garrisons; therefore, notifies and commands all officers and soldiers of his com many:..." 

In 1648, Both Pieter Leendersz and Albert Pieterson were "Trumpeters" living in New Netherland. Plus Hendrick Jansen Sluyter, was a drummer, in 1654. The New Netherland merchants Mordakey and Captain "Beauline" made sure even babies and toddlers got in on the fun. They acquired items from the Caribbean and then shipped them north. These are the same two merchants Mordakey and Captain "Beauline" who purchased and sold the Venetian pearls. While the harps are not meant for children, the bells are. Below is an excerpt. 

Account left by Mr. Josua and Mordakey Emriques, 1st January 1656 

4 gross of rattles are 48 dozen that cost me a 200 lb sack of sugar per gross. That comes to a 17 lb. sack of sugar per dozen. 

Cont. Summary         October 28th 1656,                           April 23rd 1659
In Curacao                Captain "Beauline" Receives:           Sold since receipt:              
               ---                        20 dozen and 11 Jews harps        12 dozen and 11 at 8 st[ivers] a dozen
800 Rattles                19 dozen copper bells                      19 dozen at 8 st. a dozen

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Salem Pouris: Calico Fabric in Solid Blue or Plain White

4 1/4  [ells of] Pouris Blue Calico 0.3.8 - 1722

There is a reenactor conundrum where someone wants to use cotton fabric in order to make a historically correct outfit on a budget, and they are told to only use cotton that comes in prints, checks or stripes. This is because of the huge number of surviving examples of cotton fabrics in museums or private collections that are chintz and calicos patterns. The designs preserved in surviving garments and textiles are almost always in at least two shades or two or more colors, but almost none are in solid (plain) colors.


There has been some confusing information out there in fashion history books that do not line up with economic history books. It is not unusual for fashion history books to claim that solid colored 100% cotton (both cotton warp and cotton weft) fabrics did not exist. However, economic history books not only claim that they did exist but they were being shipped around the world. One particular inventory from New York City demonstrates that it even existed in America. Why all the confusion? 

There are two reasons; terminology and the customer demographic. Much of it has to do with technical terms being used for specific fabrics by weavers and merchants while laymen's terms are being used by shopkeepers and end customer. A merchant needs to be accurate in their letters and purchase orders, learning very quickly that they will receive the wrong item if the exact term is not used. Bills of lading are less descriptive but useful. This is what we see happen with solid blue 100 % cotton fabric. The technical term or term used in merchant purchase orders and bills of lading is "Salempouris" by the French and "Salempuris" by the Dutch. The second reason is customer demographic, of which there were at least three. The Dutch in the Golden Age were curious about the world, had a middle class with 64% of people working non-agrigrarian jobs, and could afford the importation of both the cheap calicos in solid colors and the more expensive painted versions. Salempouris continues to be imported to the Netherlands and greater Low Countries region from the 17c through the 19c. Salempouris or "course blue cotton" was being imported by an American Dutchmen in 1651 and sold by a Dutchwoman in 1722. The second customer demographic are the free people of Africa, Asia, some America Indigenous people, and those in English New York. The third customer demographic are people of African heritage in bondage, who prized the blue cloth of their motherland. For people in bondage, the blue cloth was part of their ethnic identity.  

While it is tempting to call salempouris blue or white a slave trade fabric, the "guinees" blue or white was actually used specifically for this purpose. Guinees could also come in more varieties, usually check or striped. It is likely that if a solid (or plain) blue or white was called "guinees", it was really a Salempouris. Noting also, that Salempouris increased in quality over time. Also, "plain" is the key word historically, rather than "solid". Salempouris is sometimes used in the slave trade as payment and as clothing, though it was also worn by free people in the Low Countries, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. It was favored outside of the slave trade, and interestedly crossed classes and incomes. 

Manuscript from 'Tashrih al-aqvam, India Early 19th Century.  

Salempouris and the African Trade:

Salempouris comes in only two forms "blanc" and "blew", bleached white or solid blue, and is named for the town of origin, Salem. This is in contrast to a fabric such as "guinees" which is named for the destination place in Africa and also comes in "blanc" and "blew". The solid blue or white salempouris was not expensive, was very affordable and perfect for New York's hot humid weather. 

"How India Clothed the World", Edited by Riello, Roy, Prakash and Sugihara, Global Economic History Series by Brill. 
Salempouris: A broad cotton cloth produced in the Coromandel Coast, usually white or blue, between 14 and 16 metres long and about 1 meter wide, with thread counts ranging from 50 to 90 threads per inch. These cloths were among the most common cloths exported from South India by the English, Dutch and French companies during the seventeenth and eighteenth century
Muris:  Plain [blue] cotton cloths about 8 to 9 meters long and about 1.3 meters wide, with thread counts ranging from 70 to 90 threads per inch and sometimes as high as 130 thread per inch for very fine cloth

We can see below that it was popular in Senegal along with other African regions too. The same book explains that a supplier could trade poor quality pepper for either counterfeit goods, blue cotton cloth from India, painted Indians, or white cotton canvas. The link below is a free google books copy. It is an amazing resource.

Dictionnaire universel de commerce, d'histoire naturelle et des arts et metiers

Philemon-Louis Savary, 1742
Commerce Du Senegal
Toiled Basta "bleu", & "Salempouris", de 12 aunes & demi a la piece, ............6100p

Grand Sestre, & Coste De Malaguette, ou Maniguette
Ce poivre est beaucoup plus acre que celui des Indes Orientales; mais il y peut supplier, quand les retours de la flore Orientale de Hollande n'ont pas et e heureux en cette marchandise; & alors il y a beaucoup a gagner, ce poivre ne s'achetant le quintal que 3 liv. en marchandise "contrebordee" jeune & noir, ou noir & blanc; ou en toiled de cotton "bleues" de Indes, nommées Salempouris; en Indiennes "peintes", ou en toiles de coton blanc. 
This pepper is much more acrid than that of the East Indies; but the supplier may beg, when the returns of the Oriental flora of Holland have not been happy in this commodity; & then there is much to gain, this pepper only buying the quintal 3 liv. in counterfeit goods young & black, or black & white; or in cotton cloth "blue" from India, named Salempouris; in "painted" Indians, or in white cotton canvas. 

A study mentioning Salempouris can be found in "The textile industry and the economy of south india". Plus, Salempouris is spoken about in detail in "Dutch-Asiatic Trade 1620-1740" by Glamann, page 146. 

"The supply of coarse [cotton] fabrics has also been unsatisfactory. It was especially the gathering of "guinees" and salempouris on the Coromandel Coast that failed [in the 1690s due to interlopers]. The Directors suggested that it should be attempted to transfer the production of these goods to Bengal, or if possible, to supplement the deficiency on the Coast." 

By about the 1690s, the English had opportunities to displace some of the Dutch trade in India by paying for the finished textiles before they were made. This is compared to how the Dutch did business which was to supply the weavers with "free" cotton, then choose higher quality finished products when the textiles were finished. The only issue with paying upfront was that the English took the good with the bad in one bale. 

Here we can see the ship's bills of lading on their return trips from India to Amsterdam in 1732 & 1733. 

30 December 1732
Carga, or Ladinge, of four East Indian Return ships, to we ten, Oostrust and Meermond, to the Chamber of Amsterdam, Wickenburg and Schuitwyk, to the Chamber of Zeeland: on the 30 December 1732. van Ceilon left.
19140 ps. Salempouris divers.

Done in the Hage den 20 July 1733. 
In this month there are several East Indian Return ships in the Ports of these Countries arrived, of which the next Cargaas are seen. Carga, or Ladinge, of seven East Indian Return ships, namely, Stadwyk, 't Hof not altyd Winter, and Geertruid, for the Amsterdam Chamber; Meyenburg and Westcapel for the Zeeland Chamber, Maria-Adriana, for the Rooms Delft and Rotterdam; the Cornelia, for the Chambers Hoorn and Enkhuisen: they had left from Batavia on November 30, 1732.
9960 ps Salempouris 
11 May 1733 
On the 11th of this month, in the evening at 7 o'clock, the Queen of Vrankryk happily gave birth to a Princess. On the 19th, April and 4th May, arrived in the Port of Orient, the Ships the Mars, the Duke of Chartres, and the Attalante, of Mocha, and Pondichery, their load consists in:

6400 stuks Guinees divers.
9360 stuks Salempouris divers.
26537 stukken witte [white] Salempouris.
30090 st. witte [white] Gninees.
5358 st blaauwe [blue] Salempouris.
3900 st blauwe [blue] Guinees.

Salempouris, is not expensive. It is actually a cheap affordable fabric, though the color was sought after, the prices do not reflect the popularity. It is likely because such huge volumes were made. "Guinees"- which were woven in many different towns in India - were valued at about twice that of Salempouris. As the table below shows, the cotton fabrics from India were able to hold their prices compared to silks which became more and more affordable in the Netherlands in part due to the Dutch specializing in luxury fabrics, they were able to reduce the price. Silk and Calico become so affordable in the Netherlands and due to the ties many New York merchants had with Holland, that they are found in most wardrobes. 

Calico textiles of a variety of types were in wealthy merchants, middle class tradesmen, and the working class inventories in New York. 

"Dutch-Asiatic Trade 1620-1740" by Glamann, page 284, 285, 286.  
            Persian Silk      Bengali Silk    Chinese Silk    Salempouris    Guinees
            fl. per pound         same               same             fl. per piece      same 

1698         8.45                 11.89             14.90                 8.66               21.10
          1700           -                      7.97               9.30                 8.20               21.40
          1705           -                  -                         6.62                 8.66               19.25 
          1706         5.30
 1731           -                      5.85                 -                     7.75               16.50

South America: Venezuela and the Caribbean

While looking around for sources, I came upon this quote from a Dutch WIC employee looking to establish relations with the indigenous population of South America. He mentions the flow of goods to and from the Caribbean, which is possibly how he received in the salempouris. However, it also provides one example of how solid blue cotton was used.

May 5th, 1769 - List of Goods which I have advanced on behalf of the West India Company at the Post of Cuyuni [post van 'Coejanie'], in payment of 'togas' to the 'Indiejanen'. Hired five 'Indiejanen' to fell, bum, clean, and plant a bread-garden; paid to each 'Indiejan' 'live' yards salempouris, two woodsman's knives, two mirrors, tow fine razors, two shears, two trumpets, two fine combs, two coarse combs, some pins and needles, some steel hooks, three strings of beads [ die mast 'cralen'], two strings fine black beads, and one string fine white beads - this is payment for one garden. 

January 31st, 1774 - The common Caribs (Indigenous Chiefs) having already been sufficiently rewarded at the time of the revolt, [with hats and silver tipped canes because the Indigenous chiefs no longer desired the large silver breast plates of which they had many. We have, after due deliberation....[concluded] that it would be best to divide the salempouris and other trinkets amongst the Honorable Company's slaves who also distinguished themselves on that occasion, and who are therefore making continual and daily applications for rewards and presents. 
The above quotes are from "British Guiana Boundary: Arbitration with the United States of Venezuela", Volume IV, 1769-1781, Published Unknown. 

Splinter's Inventory:

New Netherland inventories are very helpful because they tend to be very particular often including a color and the textile, this trait mellows but seems to be carried forward into the New York colony in the July 1722 inventory of "Gertye" (Wessells) Splinter. Splinter was the widow of the cordwainer Abraham Splinter (B. 1684 - D. 1721). They are found to be witness to a baptism of Brent who's parents were Jacob Brat and "Aefje" Wessels, held in the Dutch reformed church. While Abraham was a shoemaker with his workroom noted as a separate room from the shop, Gertye appears to have ran the store. In her shop located in New York City we see the following:

25 1/2...yards Cotton 2/p          2.11.0
2 Ps.....'Callicoa' 10/ p ps          4.16.0
52.........Cotton handkerchiefs   4.11.0
4 1/4.....Pouris Blue "Callicoa"   0.03.8
5...........yards Blue "Linnon"       0.13.1 1/2
4 1/4.....yards Striped Cotton e Linnon [the stripe is cotton] 0.2.10
4 1/4.....[pounds?] Cotton Yarn   0.08.6
100.......L Cotton Wool                4.03.4

Sometimes, when a solid colored fabric is mentioned as being "cotton" it is pointed out that the town of Kendal in England made what was termed "Kendal Cotton" which is a brushed fuzzy wool fabric. The recorder of Splinter's inventory used the popular term "Pouris" to ensure the reader understood that this was cheap blue dyed 100% cotton, not to be mistaken for more expensive woolen, linen, painted calico, printed calico or just plain calico in white. The blatant use of "cotton" for the cotton handkerchief avoids the term calico and any implications of printing all together. 

We can see in the following inventory that local merchants who imported goods, such as Lisbet van Eps of Albany 1683 made distinctions between her fabrics. The original inventory is in Dutch. The Dutch did not have the term "Cotton" for wool fabrics. However, in the inventory below, we can see that when cotton was used for a wool, she simply used the term Kendal cotton.

5 3/4 el.........Carsey
6 1/2 el.........Fine Laken
2 ps..............'Blauen' Bay
11 el..............Kendal Cotton
91 el..............'Blau' Cotton
20 1/4 el........'geprint' [printed] Cotton
3 1/4 el..........sits [chintz]
1....................Cotton petticoat
1....................Cotton chimney valance

What is great about Van Eps's inventory as it shows that there was a distinction between "cotton wool" which is a brushed wool and cotton from the plant. It also shows that there is a difference between for instance "cotton", "blue cotton", "printed cotton" and "chintz cotton" so we know that the "blue cotton" is not printed nor chintz leaving few other options of what it could be. The "1 cotton petticoat" is not kendal cotton wool, nor a chintz or printed calico. It is likely simply white. 

An 1683 inventory from NYC shows the following, "4 ell of Painted Calico", "8 ells of striped calico", and "11 ells and a quarter of 'Cours' blew Calico", "6 ells and a quarter of Painted Calico" and "one painted flowered cotton "cloat" for a chest". Here we can see a distinction is made between painted, striped and "coarse blue calico".  Due to the quote mentioned in "Dutch-Asiatic Trade 1620-1740" above we know that Pouris is referred to historically as a "coarse fabric".  

The above gives us two good references in NYC plus a maybe in Albany. 

What can white or blue cotton be used for? 

White is the easier of the two as it is found in aprons, drawers, shirts, handkerchiefs, cravats, caps, under petticoats (Image), waistcoats ( Image ), linings (Image )  ... and stockings ( Image ) in New York inventories whether in big cities or small towns. White cotton is being used everywhere white linen is being used... but to a lessor extent. A number of garments in solid white cotton fabric have survived in the Netherlands, in part because they were embroidered, used as children's clothing or as lining. So far, I have seen few garments that have survived with solid blue cotton fabric in museums. There are three 1750-1800 garments lined in solid blue cotton in the Netherlands. There is one very late 1775-1800 dressing robe with a blue cotton lining. The lining can be seen at the neck, though not easily, enough so that it can be seen that it matched the exterior blue, Image. 

Items labels "blue", "white" or "cotton" turn up early in inventories, however, blue linen and white cotton turn up more than blue cotton. This said, there happened to be a small merchant who died while importing a bulk load of shoes, canes, caps and "blue cotton".

Museum Rotterdam: 1750-1775: Pair of mittens of white cotton with border work


Idea Stoffelsen ran her own sheep wool farm and was the wife of the Commissary of Store for the WIC. Her 1641 inventory shows "4 new blue cotton aprons". Had these been made from printed calico the recorder would have likely stated "4 new blue sits aprons", sits is chintz. Blew aprons whether from linen or cotton was not unusual during the 17th century. In 1651, we can see "One package of blue cotton" in the inventory of Jacob Rooy who was importing a shipment with shoes, canes and, "...3 boys caps, one pair of green stockings, four remnants, or pieces of cotton,...". Again, if this was printed it would be labeled as so because painted and printed calicos cost more. Also, if this was an expensive import from England it would have been mentioned. Both above inventories were in Dutch which helps with the "Katoen" vs. "Kendal Cotton" issue. 

White Cotton Lining: A long jacket for women called a "went­ke" specific to the Netherlands, 1725 - 1750, Nederlands Openluchtmuseum: Lining in white cotton: Vrouwenjas of ‘wentke’ van Indiase sits uit circa 1725-1750, gedragen in Hindeloopen. De jas is gevoerd met wit katoen. 

The 1651 inventory of  Jan Jansen Damen includes "1 cotton cravat,...2 reels of spun cotton" and knitted items. Cotton for children is also seen, 1657, Kit Davidts at Fort Orange, "7 cotton swathing cloths". The 7 cotton drawers found in the 1685 inventory of van Horen were likely white calico or salempouris blanc, of these "three calico white drawers" belonged to her husband. Van Horen's inventory also mentioned "5 pairs of white calico stockings". Also, in their chamber we get a sense on how they used their cotton and linen fabrics, "2 'paire' women Calico gloves", "8 ditto long 'Callico' 'Towells'", "16 curtains of 'Linnen' before glass windows", "2 ditto Calico Striped", "11 'callico' 'smoks'", "13 mens shirts calico", "3 linen mens shirts", "3 linen sheets...", "1 ditto [calico] spread lined with white calico". While it is possible it became fashionable to wear printed shifts and shirts, they were more likely plain white. The pair of women's Calico gloves however were possibly printed as a number of women's gloves have survived in printed/ painted calico in European museums. Alternatively, we see in the same inventory "2 'blew' calico mix checker valance"... or blue striped checkered on white background.

A Cotton men's shirt dated at the center front to "1764", Nederlands Openluchtmuseum

Cotton men's shirt from the Kampereiland. The number 12 shows that this shirt was part of a set of 12 shirts. The shirt was made in 1764 and it belonged to a man with the initials 'D R'.

Both men and women had "shirts" and "undershirts". Above is a "shirt" here is a Link to a cotton undershirt. The undershirt is worn over the shirt, but under a jacket.
The 1693 inventory of Elizabeth van Eps of Albany who traded goods with the local indigenous population has 1 colored woman's petticoat, 1 purple ditto, 1 black silk petticoat, 1 stuff women's petticoat, 1 cotton ditto... the inventory is in Dutch so there is no doubt that the cotton petticoat was anything other than a cotton fabric and not a brushed woolen. 

Interestingly, when the term cotton is used above, it presumes white unless otherwise stated. When calico is used it is presumed printed unless stated as being white or blue.

Q & A:

If there was blue what about red or other colors ?

Strange as it sounds, despite India having a variety of dyes, economic books have only written about plain fabrics in blue, red and purple plus white and black. Most towns are making "Guinee" blue or white plus "diverse types" such as striped or checked. There is also solid red muslin (called "beatilha" or Golconda) and solid purple cotton fabric like the Pouris mentioned in these books. Red cotton fabric also turns up in New York often enough it is an option for reenactors. A purple petticoat is in one inventory, whether it was cotton or wool is unknown. Though, if red and blue turn up in New York it is likely someone had purple. 
There is a solid black called "canequins". 

While limited in color choice, this does open the door up a little for reenactors and historic sites for the 17th and 18th century. For those looking for authenticity sticking with solid blue, red, purple and white would be reasonable. I have not seen evidence for solid green, yellow, orange, brown or black... at least for New York. If these same items are listed in the Netherlands they would likely also be accessible to New York buyers as a number of families in New York (and Albany) were making purchases in Amsterdam even during English sovereignty. 

This Link shows a fabric sample card with solid colored fabrics made in India. Unfortunately, I don't know which of the solid colored ones are 100% cotton, 100% silk or blend of cotton and silk. But it does provide the tone and shades available. Note the sites claims black was also available.