Sharon Ann Burnston brings to bear 55 years as a scholar and living historian who has specialized in studying the details of 18th century working-class American clothing. For twenty-one years, she was the designer and sole-proprietor of Mill Farm Patterns. She is the author of Fitting & Proper, and its in-progress companion-work For Good Measure, as well as numerous magazine articles, website articles, and conference papers.
Sharon Ann Burnston, 76, of Epsom, NH died November 12, 2022 at her home with her family by her side.
Born June 22, 1946 in Brooklyn, NY, she was the daughter of Sidney and Lenore (Meller Sohn) Burnston. Sharon Ann grew up in Brooklyn, and graduated from Brooklyn College with a bachelor's degree in anthropology. She went on to obtain a master's degree in anthropology from Temple University. She did archaeological field work in ancient settlements in Israel, unearthed Native American prehistory in Washington state, and excavated important findings from American colonial history in Philadelphia and Maryland.
Later in her career, Sharon Ann worked as a museum curator, and became a leading expert on late 18th century American clothing. In the latter half of her life, she produced countless historically accurate replica garments and patterns, schooled a generation of clothing historians and historical re-enactors, and even advised Hollywood. The book she published on the subject, "Fitting and Proper", is regarded as a seminal work in the field.
Sharon Ann will be remembered by her family and friends for her warmth, her wit, and her compassion. Informed by her Jewish faith, she was a passionate and lifelong advocate for all forms of social justice. She was propelled by her curiosity and her love of knowledge. She was generous with her time and attention, and was always at her happiest when she could share some of her knowledge and experience with others.
Sharon is survived by her daughter Adah Murray and her husband Keith Girard of Concord, NH, son Schuyler Erle and his partner Elizabeth Grey of Vancouver, WA, brothers Sheldon Burnston and his wife Stella of Teaneck, NJ and Robert Burnston and his wife Linda of Marlton, NJ, and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents Sidney and Lenore.
Donations in Sharon Ann's name may be made to the Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation, a non-profit living history museum in the Delaware Valley where she spent much of her life as a dedicated volunteer. They can be reached at 610-566-1725 or found online at colonialplantation.org