Victorian Society at Falls Church, Virginia

Victorian Society at Falls Church, Virginia The Victorian Society at Falls Church promotes an interest in all aspects of the Victorian era. We are a chapter of the Victorian Society in America.

The Victorian Society at Falls Church (VSFC), Virginia, was founded in 1995 to promote the Victorian heritage of the City of Falls Church. While its primary focus is still the history and heritage of Falls Church, the Society’s interests have expanded to include all aspects of the Victorian era. During this time the membership has expanded, too, with members throughout Northern Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC.

Operating as usual


Two dresses, one by a couturière in Paris and the other by a local dressmaker in downstate Illinois, both about 1875-76, demonstrate that while we can recognize which gown is from Paris, the rural American girl could keep up with fashion just fine, thank you (with the help of paper patterns from Demorest’s or Butterick, most likely).
The recently elongated bodice and curvy torso, the dropped bustle, and the shirring and knife pleated flounces, plus the fancy silk cording all show that Mary Abbott of Logan, Illinois was perfectly au courant with the latest shift in styles. She wore this at her wedding in 1875.
The Paris dress bears the label of Mme. La Ferrièrre, Rue Taibout, Paris (in the chic shopping neighborhood, near other more famous names like Worth and Doucet).

Timeline photos

Timeline photos

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth Thorn!

Elizabeth Thorn was born on this date in 1832. Thorn, a German immigrant, lived with her three young sons in the Evergreen Cemetery Gatehouse during the Battle of Gettysburg. Pregnant at the time of the battle and with her husband off fighting in the war, Thorn and her elderly father and sons buried over 90 Union soldiers within weeks of the battle. Thorn died in 1907 and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, where a statue is dedicated in her honor.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

History of Electric Christmas Tree Lights
History of Electric Christmas Tree Lights

History of Electric Christmas Tree Lights

The history of electric Christmas lights began in the 1880s, when an employee of Thomas Edison created lights to hang on his family's Christmas tree.

The Life and Death of London’s Crystal Palace
The Life and Death of London’s Crystal Palace

The Life and Death of London’s Crystal Palace

From the opening of the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park to the tragic fire that destroyed it, the Crystal Palace inspired photographers on the ground and in the air.


We are thrilled to announce that the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum in Washington, DC will be open this Friday!

Join us from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. without a reservation. Just snag your ticket at the front desk and explore Barton's Civil War home.

Photos from DAR Museum's post

Photos from DAR Museum's post



19th Century vampire hunting kit.


Picture this: A mosaic quilt made from scrap silk fabrics belonging to 19th century seamstress Elizabeth Hobbs Keckly, who designed dresses for many high society clients, including First Lady Mary Lincoln.

Such a piece exists, aptly referred to as the Keckly quilt! The quilt was made between the years of 1862 and 1880 while Keckly was working in Washington D.C. It includes possible scraps from Mrs. Lincoln’s dresses as well as any number of Keckly’s other clients, featuring edging of red fringe, red tassels at the corners, and an embroidered floral design. At its center is a gray bird with a flag, and a sole word: “Liberty.”

The Keckly quilt ties first lady fashion into America’s rich history of quilt-making, a common pastime for women during the Civil War, that has remained popular today. It also provides an early example of sustainability in fashion, an initiative which has resurged in popularity.

Learn more about Keckly and her quilt in our Digital Library exhibit, Glamour and Innovation: The Women Behind the Seams of Fashion at the White House, which highlights the storied – but often forgotten – careers and lives of eight designers, seamstresses, and couturiers who made their mark on first lady style and fashion history:

Image: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution


On August 31, 1842, Boston activist and journalist Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin was born. During the Civil War, she and her husband, George Lewis Ruffin, helped recruit African American men for the Massachusetts 54th and 55th regiments. After the war, she dedicated much of her activism to women's suffrage, helping to form the American Women Suffrage Association with Lucy Stone and Julia Ward Howe. In 1886, she founded "The Women's Era" the first newspaper to be published by an African-American woman. In 1910, she was one of the charter members of the NAACP. She died March 13, 1924. Portrait appears in "The African Abroad" by William H. Ferris, 1913.

Photos from Spirits of Tudor Hall's post

Photos from Spirits of Tudor Hall's post

Edgar Allan Poe Museum
Edgar Allan Poe Museum

Edgar Allan Poe Museum

This museum devoted to the gothic author holds such interesting ephemera as his socks and walking stick.

Newspaper Ad Placed By Man Looking For Wife In 1865 Is Hilarious
Newspaper Ad Placed By Man Looking For Wife In 1865 Is Hilarious

Newspaper Ad Placed By Man Looking For Wife In 1865 Is Hilarious

Newspaper Ad Placed By Man Looking For Wife In 1865 Is HilariousInspireMore If you think online dating is a hard gig, try finding a significant other in 1865. Somehow, someway, this ‘wife wanted’ ad, found in a newspaper from the 19th century, was passed down until a photocopy made its way onto ...

How Suffragists Used Cookbooks As A Recipe For Subversion
How Suffragists Used Cookbooks As A Recipe For Subversion

How Suffragists Used Cookbooks As A Recipe For Subversion

Women seeking the right to vote published the cookbooks both to raise funds for their cause — and as a strategic rebuttal to those who painted them as neglectful mothers and kitchen-hating harridans.



Photos from The Victorian Historian's post

Photos from The Victorian Historian's post


Ten years after the first women’s rights convention Elizabeth Cady Stanton was still struggling for the freedom to pursue her goals.

On July 4th, 1858, she wrote a letter to Susan B. Anthony talking about how different her husband’s life was from hers…

“How rebellious it makes me feel to see Henry going about where and how he pleases. He can walk at will through the whole wide world or shut himself up alone, if he pleases, within four walls. As I contrast his freedom with my bo***ge and feel that, because of the false position of woman, I have been compelled to hold all my noblest aspirations in obeyance in order to be a wife, a mother, a nurse, a household drudge, I am fired anew . . .”

This Independence Day learn a little bit about one of the women who helped pave the way for the freedoms we enjoy today Women's Rights NHP:

Image 1: Melinda Grube, as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, sitting in the Stanton parlor telling a story to several young women seated on the floor.


The ‘Sociable Tricycle’ of 1877 allowed two riders to sit side by side, giving women the chance to ride with their husbands. 🚴

However, these machines took up a lot of space, and later models adopted a tandem arrangement with one rider in front of another. ➡️

The Raven that Inspired Dickens and Poe
The Raven that Inspired Dickens and Poe

The Raven that Inspired Dickens and Poe

The taxidermied remains of Charles Dickens' pet raven, which helped inspire one of Edgar Allan Poe's most famous poems.

Here’s the list of Queen Victoria’s Burial Request in her Final Moments
Here’s the list of Queen Victoria’s Burial Request in her Final Moments

Here’s the list of Queen Victoria’s Burial Request in her Final Moments

In an era of unbridled patriarchy, when women were advocating passionately for the right to vote, Queen Victoria was such a formidable figure that an entire period is named after her: the Victorian age. When we think of Victorian England, Victorian houses, or the Victorian style, we tend to think of...


Did you know Abraham Lincoln loved cats? Mary Todd Lincoln once remarked that collecting cats was Lincoln’s hobby. We have no way of knowing how many cats Lincoln had over the years, but he did have at least two while in the White House. In August of 1861, Secretary of State William Seward () gave Lincoln two kittens which he named Tabby and Dixie. During one visit to the White House, Seward’s daughter F***y witnessed the kittens playing with Lincoln and she wrote in her diary, “Mr L. seems quite fond of them. Says they climb all over him” According to one story, he even let them eat at the dining room table much to Mary’s frustration. When Mary told him to stop feeding the kitten from the table, Lincoln responded, “If the gold fork was good enough for former President James Buchanan, I think it is good enough for Tabby.”

Photos from Victoria and Albert Museum's post

Photos from Victoria and Albert Museum's post


Maria E. Beasley was an American entrepreneur and inventor. Between 1878 and 1898, she patented fifteen inventions in the United States that included a footwarmer, an improved life raft, and an anti-derailment device for trains. However, her primary success as an inventor rose from a specialty in barrel-making machines and processes. She licensed a patent to the Standard Oil Company, exhibited her work at the World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition and the World's Columbian Exposition, and founded two companies for the design and manufacture of barrels (one of which later sold for $1.4 million, the equivalent to $42,222,963 in 2021).

Timeline photos

Timeline photos

The Women's Building at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893 highlighted contributions from women in art, science, literature, and much more.

This official exhibit guide, available in our Digital Library, offers an important look at how women were described at turn of 20th century. Browse it online:

Walter Crane's Painting Book (1889)
Walter Crane's Painting Book (1889)

Walter Crane's Painting Book (1889)

Long before the current craze for adult colouring books came this 19th-century painting book from one of the finest contributors to the Golden Age of illustration.


On April 6 and 7, 1862, the battle of Shiloh engaged more than 65,000 Union troops against nearly 45,000 Confederate troops. A nurse named Almira Fales, one of the first women to offer aid to Union soldiers during the war, was on the scene tending to thousands of wounded and sick soldiers.

“Almira flew into action with the force of a hurricane. ... She slept in tents and ambulances, sharing the rigors of life in the field alongside boys less than half her age. Behind the front lines, Almira personally delivered reading material to 60-70 forts, opened more than 7,000 boxes filled with supplies and distributed in excess of $150,000 of comforts to needy patients.” Learn more about Almira's life and war efforts via The Library of Congress.


When and collide! This trade card for Boston and Worcester photographer Simon Wing has a small gem sized tintype attached to it, possibly of Wing himself. Wing was located at 144 Washington street in the early 1860s.


Falls Church, VA

Opening Hours

Monday 9am - 5pm
Tuesday 9am - 5pm
Wednesday 9am - 6pm
Thursday 9am - 5pm
Friday 9am - 5pm
Saturday 10am - 5pm
Sunday 8am - 3pm


The Victorian Society at Falls Church produces a bi-monthly newsletter filled with a detailed calendar of Society activities, educational articles, historical information, profiles of fellow members, Victorian-era recipes and etiquette, and other matters of interest to our members. Membership costs $35 per year; contact us at [email protected] for a membership flyer, sample newsletter, or for more information.


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Nearby arts & entertainment


one last video the Greatest abandoned mansion in USA Lynnewood Hall!
This you tube video is more about Rennaissance period and Marie De Medicci but the farthington hoop skirt and beginning of the corset are relevant enjoy!
Here is a you tube video about the art of layering in victorian times:
Massachusetts home where Lizzie Borden's parents were axed to death selling for $2M

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The Victorian-Era British Theatrical Plays Reading MeetUp Group has scheduled monthly plays until July 2021 (so far). We hope you can join our fun group to learn about plays with interesting angles. In November, we had one member who dressed up in his Victorian garb. We meet virtually on Zoom. Check out our plays selection. Many Thanks All.
Hello, John & I are leaving FC city and will be selling some Victorian furniture (including 2 victorian sofas, 1 empire sofa, & beautiful ornate cherry mantle piece w/mirror and small cabinets w/ 1" bevelled glass on each side of the mirror). If anybody is interested in looking b4 I send these items to an auction house, please let me know asap. Thanks!
Many of our favorite Christmas tunes were written in the Victorian Era including "Silent Night", "O Little Town of Bethlehem", "O Holy Night", "Up on the Housetop" and "Jolly Old St. Nicholas".

Learn about how some of our favorite songs came to be, next Tuesday Dec 31 hosted by the Victorian Society at Falls Church, Virginia.

Learn more at Christmas Carol Sing-a-long
What we saw on Father's Day..
Gilbert & Sullivan's The Gondoliers, Feb. 22-24, March 1-3, F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre, Rockville.

I'll be performing as part of the chorus in VLOC's production of Gilbert & Sullivan's 1889 operetta--everyone is welcome!

From the G&S Archive: "The Gondoliers, or, The King of Barataria, was the twelfth collaboration by Gilbert and Sullivan. Opening on December 7, 1889 at the Savoy Theatre, The Gondoliers ran for 554 performances, and was the last of the G&S operas that would achieve wide popularity. Its lilting score has, perhaps, the most sparkling and tuneful music of them all and calls, perhaps, for the most dancing."

For more details, including plot, performance times, and tickets, go to Victorian Lyric Opera Company's website ( or page (Victorian Lyric Opera Company).

Other Arts & Entertainment in Falls Church (show all)

Cosmostales Clay Cafe Studios McGrath Morgan Irish Dance Academy Adorndc Falls Church Tree Fest Tim Carll LIVe Celtic Pink Ribbon 38NorthStudio The Guitar Lab Carlyn Davis Casting, Inc. El tutumaso Speakeasy Press A R T M E L L O W Drew Magic Baldwin Graphics & Illustration