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The State Parks of Arkansas - The Natural State: E-Newsletter

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A Must for a Lady

In the early Victorian era, fans measured only about eight inches in length. As the Victorian era lengthened, so did the fan. By the late 1800s, fans measured as long as 20 inches. The Edwardians kept this length until the beginning of World War I. As lady’s hemlines grew shorter, so did the fan. By the Age of the Flapper, fans were almost as short as a lady’s hand, but still provided a much needed compartment for lipstick and the newest fashionable accessory, the cigarette.

Because the coquette was often depicted using a fan, sometime between 1711 and 1740 the “language of the fan,” was born. This new fad allowed women to convey secret messages to their suitors across a crowded drawing room. See the sidebar for more details about these hand signals and their meaning.

This “language” was quite complicated and cumbersome. Motions of the fan translated into letters of the alphabet. The alphabet was split into five sections. These sections then corresponded to one of five movements:

1. Moving the fan with the left hand to the left arm;

2. Moving the fan with the right hand to the left arm;

3. Placing the fan against the bosom;

4. Raising the fan to the mouth; and

5. Raising the fan to the forehead.

To signal a letter, two movements were required. The first corresponded to one of the five alphabetical groups and the second told the letter’s position within that group. Thus, to signal the letter “D,” movement number 1 above (indicating the first section of the alphabet) would then be followed by movement 4, for the fourth letter in that section of the alphabet.

Obviously, communication via the fan was neither quick nor easy. A famous Parisian fan maker, Pierre Duvelleroy self-published his version of the fan language, presumably to assist his clients by eliminating any uncertainty to a lady’s meaning, as ignorance could result in embarrassing situations.

Fan collecting has become a popular pastime with national and international groups all over the globe. Many museums in large cities have fan collections, such as the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco and the Victorian and Albert Museum in London. For more information about fans and fan collecting, view the Fan Association of North America (FANA) website,

Read the entire Citizen's Companion Magazine article at

Widows by the Thousands

Many of you joined the staff at Historic Washington State Park for a special evening in celebration of Valentine's day. Special guests attending were treated to their choice of beef or chicken dinner and some scrumptious desserts! The meal was accompanied by music on the violin and a song with an endearing theme. A special program featured Holly Ballard and Chris Adams providing a dramatic reading of actual letters that passed between a husband and wife during the tumultuous years of the Civil War. Those letters were among the ones found in the book "Widows by the Thousands" which was offered at the park gift shop. The program highlighted the blessing of having loved ones close. Thank you all for joining us!

Father and Baby

National Celebration of the Military Child Outdoors
On April 27, 2013, as part of National Celebration of the Military Child Outdoors, Historic Washington State Park will be offering half priced tours and surrey rides to Military Families.
irector, Greg Butts said " It’s a chance to say thank you, that we’re thinking about military families, and we want them to take advantage of all that their Arkansas State Parks offer."
One place to learn more about Celebration of the Military Child Outdoors is .
We hope you will share this information with military families you know and join us in helping them have a great day in appreciation of them.

African American Soldiers

Celebrate Black History Month with Free Access

to Black History Records

Explore millions of military records and photos documenting the history of African Americans, from before the Civil War to the War in Vietnam. Join us as we recognize Black History Month and provide free access to the Black History Collection on Fold3. * Free Access ends February 28, 2013 at Midnight

Receipt and Recipe

During Frontier Days last weekend, we had an impromptu cheese-making demonstration by one of the re-enactors camped at Historic Washington State Park. We were delighted to learn how easy it is to make fresh cheese from simple ingredients. We hope to offer a workshop on this in the future. In the meantime, you adventurous cooks can try this at home.

Queso Fresca

1/2 gallon whole milk

3-4 lemons

salt seasonings and flavors of choice

Juice the lemons.

Lay a piece of cheese cloth, or similar, over a colander. Set the colander inside a large bowl to catch the whey.

Warm milk in a sauce pan until it reaches 185 degrees. Stir it often or it will stick or scorch. When the milk reached 185 degrees add the lemon juice gradually while stirring. The curds will begin to form and separate from the whey. When the liquid surrounding the curds is clear, take it from the heat.

Pour the cheese into the cloth covered colander.

Carefully lift the corners of the cloth and tie it closed with the cheese curds inside. Hang the cloth bag until it quits dripping (approximately one hour) Do not squeeze the fluid from the bag.

After draining, open the cloth and put the cheese in a bowl. Add salt to taste and any spices or herbs, such as garlic, sun-dried tomatoes.


This will keep for two days in the refrigerator, if it lasts that long.

Thank you, James.

Check out a similar version with pictures -

Hands-On Historic Happenings

Basic Dutch Oven Cooking Workshop - February 23,--10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Shakespeare in the Park - March 1, --7:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Shakespeare in the Park - March 2, --7:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Dutch Oven Cooking 2-Beyond the Basics -  March 2, -- 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

The Art of Candle-making Demonstrations -  March 8 - March 10, --9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

45th Annual Jonquil Festival -March 15 - March 17,--9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Hands-on Hat Decorating, 19th Century Style - March 23,--10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Heritage Gardening in the Spring - March 23, --  10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Call 870-983-2684 for details  or check the online Calendar of Events

Ways to Be Involved
Volunteer! Call Vicky at 870-983-2558 or email.
Special Rates
Coupon - $1.00 off Horse drawn surrey ride.
Group Rates
- Book a reservation for your group of 20 or more and everyone gets $1.00 off.
Annual Passes - Unlimited visits and special events-Individual -$20.00 or Family- $30.00
For more information - 870-983-2684


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  Historic Washington State Park
P.O. Box 98
Washington, AR 71862

Phone: (870) 983-2684
Fax: (870) 983-2736

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