Mary Miley Theobald
Death by Petticoat: American History Myths Debunked
Every day — in museums and historic sites across America — myths are repeated and spread. Many believe that so many colonial women died from burns when their petticoats caught fire that it was the second-most common cause of death for women after childbirth. Others perpetuate the myth that beds were shorter because people slept sitting up; that men posed with one hand inside their vest so portrait artists did not have to paint the fingers, cutting the price of the portrait.
In her new book, Death by Petticoat, historian Mary Theobald separates truth from “myth-understandings.”
“Some of these stories really are true,” says Theobald. “But many are nonsense.”
Lucky for readers of her new book, Theobald’s true stories turn out to be every bit as entertaining as the myths she debunks. In this book, the author will separate fiction and the topics covered grew out of a series of articles in Colonial Williamsburg, the journal of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
[Recorded on 14 July 2022.]