My obsession with the Civil War era began young. And yes, it was the clothes. My mom would go to the local hospital thrift store and buy donated Eastern Star gowns for me to play dress-up. I loved living history. The old Circle Vision at Disneyland introduced me to Williamsburg and Civil War battle sites. I was a history nerd by age 10.

My little Gold Rush town in California had plenty of history, named for a survivor of the Donner Party in the county where the rescue team organized, and a supply town and jumping off spot for the Gold Rush camps in the foothills; unfortunately, most was destroyed by urban renewal and my little town had other civic issues with which to deal. Promoting history was way down on the list, so I decided I needed to start heading east. My grandmother would turn over in her grave (if she had one) if she knew that I wanted to return to the area she so eagerly left.

Annette Jorgensen started at SMREC a little over three years ago as administrative services coordinator. She is now the membership and development coordinator. She enjoys reproducing Civil War era women’s clothing, studying the home front during the Civil War in all parts of the country, and participating in various living history events.

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