Patriots & Poisons - Additional Resources

If you'd like to read more about some aspect of late-eighteenth century Philadelphia or the early Federalist period, Patriots & Poisons Booklist is a somewhat extensive but varied list of possible suggestions for further reading. 





Resources for Children

Colonial and Revolutionary Virginia - A few of the many

additional resources for education and fun



Websites Colonial Williamsburg's "Kids Zone"- lots of fun things. - Mount Vernon's website pages for students includes videos, searchable digital encyclopedia, virtual tour. - From Gunston Hall, fun activities and lesson plans about George Mason, the Bill of Rights, and aspects of 18th century life. - The website of Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson, has enormous detail on Jefferson and his times.




Historical Fiction

Amanda's Secret - living on a plantation near Williamsburg, twelve-year-old Amanda is excited to be going to her very first Twelfth Night Ball.Little does she know, however, that her life is about to change forever - a twelfth night charm and a spiteful servant send her on a quest to find out the truth about her past, a secret that's been hidden from her all along.

Caesar's Story: 1759 - part of the Colonial Williamsburg Young Americans Book Series, this tells the story of young Caesar, a slave, who wants to be with his family but when the master selects him to be a personal servant in the big house, Caesar has to obey. Others in the series - Nancy's Story: 1765, Will's Story: 1771, John's Story: 1773, Maria's Story:1775

Meet Felicity - in the first of the American Girl Felicity series, Felicity falls in love with a horse and names her Penny. But Penny is owned by a cruel man who beats his animals. When Penny's life is in danger, Felicity knows she must help.

Shadows in the Glass House - part of American Girl's History Mystery series, this tells the story of twelve-year-old Merry Shipman, kidnapped from the streets of London and taken to the Jamestown Settlement in 1621. She's put to work making glass - the most magical thing she's ever seen. Problems arise, however, when a midnight intruder makes trouble and tries to frame her only friend.

The Sign of the Beaver - Although he faces responsibility bravely, thirteen-year-old Matt is more than a little apprehensive when his father leaves him alone to guard their new cabin in the wilderness. When a renegade white stranger steals his gun, Matt realizes he has no way to shoot game or to protect himself. When Matt meets Attean, a boy in the Beaver clan, he begins to better understand their way of life and their growing problem in adapting to the white man and the changing frontier.

More reading ideas from educational & library booklists-




Dancing the MinuetMinuets were a customary opening for an 18th century American ball.  They were danced by one couple at a time, beginning usually with the most important personages.  This must have led to dilemmas for those later in the sequence, since the minuet is ultimately a dance for showing off.  What are the consequences of upstaging the earlier couples who are more important than you?

The best overall resource at present for learning and practicing minuets (apart from a proper dance instructor) is Minuets for Dancing, by Charles Cyril and Frances C. Hendrickson -- this version, with the CD.  The booklet contains general instructions for the minuet step, geography, and deportment, as well as the music and figures for 12 minuets.  The CD contains performances of 11 minuets along with music for practicing the steps.  

Practicing the steps is of essential importance - to learn the minuet, the first thing is to practice the steps over and over and over, until they are second nature, in parking lots and at odd moments throughout the day.  Only then can you focus your full attention on the rest of the minuet.  Music is helpful, but you can practice the steps at any time by counting to yourself.  ("ONE two three FOUR five six, ONE two three FOUR five six, ONE two three . . . ")  

Like the Tango, a minuet is an intensely romantic dance that relies on relatively simple movements, but executed sublimely with an effortless perfection of overall style.   

Additional resources on the minuet:

     A simple introductory description can be found on the Colonial Music Institute website.

     The Baroque Dance page of the Library of Congress collection of Dance Instruction Manuals online contains a short description (see toward the bottom of the page) and links to three period dancing manuals that describe the minuet and video clips of two minuet steps.  The above illustration and a number of others can be found in the latter pages of the Tomlinson book.  





Period Cookbooks & Receipts

Whether cooking over a camp fire or preparing treats for a banquet or ball, it can be handy to have authentic period recipes -- or receipts, as they were called -- that are presented in a more comprehensible modern format, with clearer instructions and measurements but without sacrificing authenticity.  


Many period cookbooks can be found online. Here are some useful links – and Google books offers others.

Savoring the Past – 18th and early 19th century cookbooks

Winterthur Digital Collections -- recipe books from 1600s to 1900s

Feeding America Online – late 18th century onwards

The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies – "Curious recipes and hidden histories from Westminster City Archives" includes among many other receipts one for haggis and another for a lovely cake.

Larsdatter links to Cookbooks more 18th century cookbook links on 18th Century Notebook

Jas Townsend has a collection of period cookbook reprints

Searchable links to 18th and 19th century cookbooks on Savoring the Past.

A Book of Cookery, a modern publication, is a handy compendium of receipts from different period cookbooks

For historic receipts written in a present-day style, the Historic Foodways component of Colonial Williamsburg has transformed many original receipts into useful modern ones.  

For 17th century recipes (often antecedents of 18th century dishes and interesting to compare), check out the website Gode Cookery.

Here are a few other useful receipts that have been tested by us or knowledgeable friends.  

Nun's Cake Mrs. Townley's Cake

Spiced Beef  

Acworth Plane Cake 

Moxon Carraway Cake 


 Additional contributions are welcome.  (See - Submitting Receipts.)

Toys and Games

A Brief Discourse on 18th-Century Games, by M. Richard Tully, Ballendalloch Press (Google for various sellers)

The Merry Gamester or Games Through The Ages, by Walter Nelson 

The Village Gamester, by Jon Truitt, Nova Anglia Press (available through Amazon)

A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist, Edmond Hoyle 1750

An epitome of Hoyle: with Beaufort and Jones's Hoyle improved (1791)

Colonial Virginians at Play, Jane Carson (1989)

 The Game of Loo (Loo is a very much simpler form of whist, more a game for gambling.  This website describes the rules for loo and a number of other games as well.)

History of Mother of Pearl Gaming Chips (the history of betting fish and other gaming chips)

Thomas Rowlandson, "A Gambling Table at Devonshire House," 1791

Chardin, "The House of Cards," about 1736-37 

Links to Period Objects and Illustrations from "18th Century Notebook" Website:  Gaming EquipmentPlaying Cards and Card Games, and Toys