Researching and writing about puritan poet Anne Bradstreet

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Miss Colonial America, or Inner Beauty Only?

I have the fun job of deciding what Anne Bradstreet looked like. We have no likenesses of her. What do you think -- should I make her a beauty, or not -- and if not, what should characterize her appearance?

The only immediate family member of whom a portrait has survived is her father, Thomas Dudley, pictured here. He was a rigid and doctrinaire man, but that doesn't come out in this picture -- what do you think?

Nice hair on this fellow, hmm? It's hard to tell, but I think he's wearing it long and past his shoulders. Wigs for men had not come into fashion yet, so this was the real thing. I think Anne will definitely get his thick hair.


  1. So far, one vote for nice eyes, brown hair, ordinary looking otherwise. BTW -- smallpox scars would be part of her appearance.

  2. Hey, historical fiction, right?

    Hm, really, is this the only relative you have to go on? No lengthy and detailed description of her mum?

    How about strong eyebrows? But maybe a bit of a weak chin. Hard to know without the other half of her gene pool! and even then! You insane historian!

  3. There are no other pictures that I could find -- mother, sibs or even kids. Which means I have more freedom to choose, heh heh. I do like her father's strong brows. But if I do thick dark hair and strong brows -- it seems like I'd be only high-cheekbones away from making her a beauty -- and I dunno, I don't think I want her to be a beauty.

  4. I could draw a feminized portrait of her father. Her father seems to be a little portly. I wonder if that runs in the family too?

  5. I think go with halfsies. Nice looking, but not drop-your-hatchet-when-she-walks-by pretty. Maybe the men could have different opinions of her beauty.