Victorian bicycles and corsets: Two Village Books events co-sponsored by The Bureau!

Join us Saturday, June 7th from 2pm-6pm for the two events below, followed by a punch and pie reception hosted by yours truly! Read on for all the details:


Gabriel & Sarah A. Chrisman, “An Ordinary Bicycle: The Fascinating Way In Which The Wheelmen Changed Our World”

Event co-sponsored by The Bureau!

Start: 06/07/2014 2:00 pm

Location: Village Books Readings Room: 1200 11th St., Bellingham

Event listing.


When and why were roads first paved on a major scale?  What's the difference between an Ordinary and a safety?  What revolutionary change came to cycling in the 1890's, what significance did the bicycle have for women - and why did penny-farthings have such a big front wheel? Learn the answers to these questions, and many more. Join husband and wife Gabriel and Sarah Chrisman as they give a presentation about Victorian bicycles. They will travel to Bellingham from Port Townsend on their historic bikes, Gabriel on his 1887 Singer Challenge bicycle.

Sarah A. Chrisman (B.A., International Studies, B.A., French) is the author of Victorian Secrets: What A Corset Taught Me About the Past, the Present, and Myself. She approaches Victorian life as a cultural studies project: examining everyday intimacies of the late nineteenth-century, debunking myths, and exploring the ongoing relevance of the Victorians to our modern world. She has been interviewed by journalists in the US, U., New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Spain and Italy, and has appeared on The View with Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters. To read articles about her and see some of her interviews, please visit:

Gabriel Chrisman, (B.A. History, M.L.I.S.) is a trained archivist and research specialist. In 2008, he was the first student to win both the junior and senior categories of the UW Libraries Undergraduate Research Award at the same time. He has a lifetime of experience with bicycles, and is the full-time manager of a bicycle shop on Bainbridge Island. The late 19th-century is his particular focus and he has served as a consultant for maintenance of private collections as well as advising period-appropriate details for movies and books. To read more about his work and outreach projects, see:

photo credit: Estar Hyo-Gyung Choi  

This event is co-sponsored by The Bureau of Historical Investigation.

Sarah A. Chrisman, Victorian Secrets: What A Corset Taught Me About the Past, the Present, and Myself--Sponsored by The Bureau of Historical Investigation

Event co-sponsored by The Bureau!

Start: 06/07/2014 4:00 pm

Location: Village Books Readings Room, 1200 11th St., Bellingham

Event listing.


Join Village Books and The Bureau of Historical Investigation for an author presentation by Sarah A. Chrisman for her book, Victorian Secrets. The Bureau will provide punch and pie for a reception in the Readings Gallery following Sarah's event, so we hope you'll join us! 

On Sarah A. Chrisman’s twenty-ninth birthday, her husband, Gabriel, presented her with a corset. The material and the design were breathtakingly beautiful, but her mind immediately filled with unwelcome views. Although she had been in love with the Victorian era all her life, she had specifically asked her husband not to buy her a corset, ever. She’d heard how corsets affected the female body and what they represented, and she wanted none of it. However, Chrisman agreed to try on the garment . . . and found it surprisingly enjoyable. The corset, she realized, was a tool of empowerment, not oppression. After a year of wearing a corset on a daily basis, her waist had gone from thirty-two inches to twenty-two inches, she was experiencing fewer migraines, and her posture improved. She had successfully transformed her body, her dress, and her lifestyle into that of a Victorian woman, and everyone was asking about it.

In Victorian Secrets, Chrisman explains how a garment from the past led to a change in not only the way she viewed herself, but also the ways she understood the major differences between the cultures of twenty-first-century and nineteenth-century America. The desire to delve further into the Victorian lifestyle provided Chrisman with new insight into issues of body image and how women, past and present, have seen and continue to see themselves.

photo credit: Estar Hyo-Gyung Choi