December 1, 2011

Woolly-sheep Farm

It took years of collecting and saving, but Harry and Hazel Harman eventually got their dream home in the Blue Ridge region of western Virginia. Their Woolly-sheep Farm is a showcase for their extraordinary American country antiques, plus serves as home base for Hazel's rug-hooking business. Harry and Hazel are a fun-loving and spirited couple and their little farm reflects it.

To read the article, click here.

October 1, 2011

Engraved Powder Horns

Engraved powder horns were a rifleman's fashion accessory during the days of the muzzle loader, and today can bring $50,000 or more at auction. Here's a fascinating history of the engraved horn, along with tips on collecting them and spotting the reproductions so popular with today's re-enactors.

To read the article, click here.

September 1, 2011

Stars and Stripes

The history of the American flag is one of the most fascinating historical topics I've ever researched. The flag's origins are murky and filled with half-truths such as the Betsy Ross legend. We don't even know what our nation's earliest flags looked like, and our museums often unknowingly display fakes. No wonder flags are one area where collectors need to be especially wary.

To read the article, click here.

August 1, 2011

Scenic Murals

Some of America's most charming wall decorations of the 1800s were murals wandering artists painted in homes of people who could afford them. This article examines the history of America's 19th century murals, the artists who painted them, and discusses the work of some excellent contemporary artists who faithfully reproduce these uniquely American scenes.

To read the article, click here.

July 1, 2011

Bathing in Early America

Bathing was not a priority in early America, and it would be 200 years before we began to understand the connection between filth and disease. And if any country was dirtier during the colonial period, it was England. This article was fun to research because of its strange revelations.

To read the article, click here.

March 1, 2011

Primitive Rug Hooking

Rug hooking continues to grow in popularity, with colorful patterns being recreated from antique rugs, as well as new rugs using traditional themes. This article discusses the history of rug hooking in America, the varying styles, plus includes interviews with some of the leading rug hookers in the country today. I was honored to co-author this article with well-known rug-hooking authority Edyth O'Neill.

Click here for the article.

February 1, 2011


Early America's distances between homesteads complicated courtship, so our ancestors developed a practice called "bundling," where the young man shared a bed with his sweetheart. Propriety called for no physical contact, yet a number of brides in rural areas were pregnant. Here's a look at this unusual custom that we don't usually associate with the 18th and 19th centuries.

Click here to read the article.