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Local Civil War reenactor brings history to life

May 9, 2012

Photo by Colin Deppen - Liz Baldwin of Ridgway speaks with SMAMS students at Friday's Civil War Reenactment Day. Baldwin discussed creating the character or impression she performs at reenactments and how to make it authentic.

With the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg drawing near, the art of the reenactment was on display at the SMAMS grounds this past Friday as part of the school's annual Civil War Reenactment Day.
Liz Baldwin, a reenactor from Ridgway, described the process of creating her character and impression, that of a refugee, and making it authentic in her participation in a reenactment.
Baldwin said that in researching and becoming her character, she focused on details, including what a refugee would have worn and possessed.
"So I'm creating an impression, my impression is a refugee. My impression is to have possessions that look like they're from the period or, if I'm lucky enough, actually are. In your research you look long and hard and you study fabrics and you look at photographs and they didn't all wear black and white; there were lots of colors in the 1850s. Aniline dyes were introduced in the 1700s so you do have bright pinks and bright colors, but more rustic people used what they called matted dyes and that's these shades of golds and browns. How many buttons on my clothing are hand-sewn, that makes me more authentic," Baldwin said.
"I had one man walk up to me once and say, 'You look real,' and that's the whole point-- you want to look real."

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