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F r o m t h e p r es i den t

Historic N E W E NG L A N D Summer 2011 Vol. 12, No. 1

Aaron Usher

What is “history” for some is “current events” for others; events, objects, and stories that are fully familiar to me may well be unknown to those younger than I. Because history has different meanings for different people, our views of preservation, collecting, and heritage interpretation need to be broadly inclusive. In this issue of the magazine, we examine what can be learned from looking at the home of one of New England’s most distinguished families, as well as at antique clocks and historic vehicles, and we consider how laundry was done in the days before the labor-saving appliances of today. Why do we look at topics like these? Historic sites and collections open windows to the past and offer glimpses of lives lived differently, whether they are those of prominent people or of washerwomen, whose stories rarely come to our attention. I suspect that you can find parallels in your own experience and that you can compare the clocks and cars of the past to those you use today. This is why we preserve houses and landscapes, collections and documents, and especially the stories of New England’s past. We use these things to better understand our own world and the changes we face in it every day.

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Next to Godliness 19

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100 y ea rs , 100 co mmunities

In History’s Wake be hind the sc enes

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Piecing the Puzzle historic pr ese rva tion

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Preservation That Lasts

—Carl R. Nold President and CEO

Looking Back

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Ambition in a Bottle m a king fu n of his tory

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Transportation co lle ctions Historic New England 141 Cambridge Street Boston MA 02114-2702 617-227-3956 historic new England magazine is a benefit of membership. To become a member, visit our website, HistoricNewEngland.org, or call 617-994-5910. Comments? Please call Nancy Curtis, editor. ­­­Historic New England is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Executive Editor: Diane Viera Editor: Nancy Curtis Editorial Review Team: Nancy Carlisle, Senior Curator; Lorna Condon, Senior Curator of Library and Archives; Jennifer Pustz, Museum Historian; Sally Zimmerman, Manager of Historic Preservation Services Design: DeFrancis Carbone

The Codman Estate in Lincoln, Massachusetts, comprises the main house overlooking a pastoral landscape, several outbuildings, and two secluded gardens. Photograph by Aaron Usher.

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A Tale of Two Clocks d iscov er ed tr eas ures

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“I have a great desire to seek knowledge” On The R oad

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Getting About a cquisitions

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Icon of Sorrow

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Except where noted, all historic photographs and ephemera are from Historic New England’s Library and Archives.

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In History’sWake The Last Trap Fishermen of Rhode Island

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above At sunrise, the lead boat tows longboats from the shore to the fishing traps, a trip that takes less than half an hour. By comparison, commercial trawlers need twentyfour hours to reach the now-overfished grounds of Georges Bank. below Corey Forrest and her daughter represent the fourth and fifth generations of the Wheeler family in the industry.

The exhibition is on view from June 12 through September 3; please visit southcountymuseum.org or call 401-783-5400 for information on open hours and directions. The showing is partially funded by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. For more on Historic New England’s 100 Years, 100 Communities initiative, please visit HistoricNewEngland.org.

n the nineteenth century, fishermen based in Rhode Island ports made a good living by trapping fish in nets and shipping them to markets in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. Trap fishermen set out floating nets, which are anchored to the shoreline and can extend as much as 1,500 feet into the water, and then wait for schools of fish to swim into them, passing through a series of chambers until they are finally trapped. Today, the once-thriving commercial fishery of Narragansett Bay is in decline. Stocks of fish have diminished, and trawlers with advanced equipment can pursue their catch offshore. Recently, photographer Markham Starr spent time with the last four families in the area still working at trap fishing. He visited the men and women on the docks, went to sea with them, recorded their oral histories, and photographed them at work—in effect, documenting their historic industry before it disappears. One of the fishermen Starr interviewed, Tom Hoxsie, remembers when whole neighborhoods were involved in trap fishing, and the work often passed from father to son. “My father did the fish-trap thing when he was a kid. That was kids’ work… the guy that helps me mend the twine, he’s seventy-three or four—that was what they did when he was a kid. Nobody had any money but it didn’t matter. You didn’t have to buy expensive toys to entertain yourself. You could entertain yourself with what was available—the world.” Many trap fishermen now find themselves struggling to make a living. As Anthony Parascandolo comments, “It’s just about squeaking by every year, and it seems to be getting tighter with the increase in prices of fuel and things.” Starr’s photographs record the daily lives of these families within the context of economic pressures, social change, and government regulations. Forty of his stunning images, accompanied by first-hand accounts, make up the exhibition In History’s Wake, featured this summer at the South County Museum in Narragansett. The exhibition is a collaborative project among the South County Museum, Markham Starr, and Historic New England, and is part of Historic New England’s ongoing 100 Years, 100 Communities initiative to document and share twentieth-century history. —Cara Iacobucci Museum Consultant

Summer 2011 Historic New England

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Piecing the Puzzle

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ew England gives up its secrets grudgingly. The Boardman House in Saugus, Massachusetts, has been playing hide-and-seek with architectural investigators since William Sumner Appleton acquired it for Historic New England in 1914. Only recently though, within the past three years, has it given up answers to two big questions that have baffled historians for almost a century: When was it built? And how did it function? It turns out that the answer to the second question fits a critical missing piece into a larger historical puzzle that scholars have long been trying to solve.

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As the seventeenth century drew to a close, many New Englanders grew less and less comfortable with their traditional living arrangements. To them it just didn’t feel right to go on cooking meals in the front room or retiring to bed in the parlor. Little by little, they made alterations to older houses and built new ones that pushed unsightly kitchen activities into back rooms and moved bedsteads, even the best featherbeds, to upstairs chambers. Their aim was to leave the front rooms––still usually termed hall and parlor––free for entertaining polite company and for genteel living generally. Ordinary farmers were becoming gentleman

farmers. Historians want to know how and when this gentrification of rural New England began. The Boardman House turns out to be a star witness to this change. Seldom do written records and surviving physical evidence come together so perfectly to give historians the answers

The 1692 William Boardman House as it appeared c. 1885. Before 1750, Boardman’s son and later descendants began remodeling the farmhouse, removing two front-facing gables, rebuilding the kitchen lean-to, and eventually installing sash windows. Wilfred French photograph. above

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David Carmack

downstairs and two corresponding chambers overhead. The lean-to kitchen behind the house was a later addition. That was plain enough. A portion of the rear wall had been torn out to make room for a new flue from the kitchen fireplace. But when? The answer was surprising— by 1696, shortly before Boardman died. The inventory was unequivocal. The hall, formerly the kitchen (with a bake oven built into a corner of the firebox), had already been upgraded to become “ye best room.” Cooking and dairying had moved into the new lean-to with all the necessary kettles and churns, plus, significantly, the trammels and andirons that prove that the lean-to shed had indeed become the household’s working kitchen.

The full-length kitchen lean-to was added in 1731. The small room beyond was probably a dairy. below Split-oak clapboards on back wall of attic space above the kitchen. To the right of the nail heads, the clapboards are deeply weathered, having been exposed to the elements from 1692 to 1731. Those on the left were protected inside the original, shorter lean-to. (The board at bottom above

left showing saw-marks was a later repair.)

David Carmack

they’re looking for. Over fifty years ago, Abbott Lowell Cummings figured out that this house was not the “Scotch House” used around 1650 to lodge Scottish prisoners consigned to the ironworks at Saugus (then still called Lynn), as antiquaries had long believed. As proof, he found property records that conveyed the farm to a “William Bordman of Maulden,” a joiner (and farmer), in 1686/7. Accordingly, he revised the building date to c. 1687. Fortunately for the historical record, when Boardman died only nine years later in 1696, he left not only a last will and testament but also an inventory of all his possessions, recorded room-byroom. Unlike most probate inventories that were drawn up after many years, here was a snapshot of a First Period New England house that had been built less than a decade earlier. That inventory was full of surprises. As first built, Boardman’s twostory house provided a hall and parlor

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When the kitchen was moved into the original lean-to sometime before 1696, the studs in the back wall of the attic were amputated to make room for a brick flue.

David Carmack

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So that was the Boardman House story for over fifty years: dwelling built c. 1687, lean-to kitchen added before 1696. Yes, there were one or two worrisome loose ends. It bothered Cummings that the feather-edge boards that lined the kitchen walls looked too late for the 1690s and much more like the 1720s or ’30s. But of course, stylistic dating is art, not science. Then in 2006, Cary Carson examined the house. Good luck often attends new discoveries. The light was just right 4

that afternoon. It cast long shadows across the clapboard-covered back wall in the attic space above the kitchen. There, he noticed that the oak boards showed no signs of weathering whatsoever. They looked as fresh and new as the day the carpenter nailed them up. No, wait—their appearance changed farther along the wall. To one side of the chimney post they did look brandnew, but to the other all were deeply weathered.

There was only one logical explanation. Boardman’s house had been built with a rear shed from the beginning. Not the lean-to we see today, but a smaller one that ran behind the hall but not the full length of the house. The portion of wall preserved inside the shed was protected from the elements. The rest was left exposed, and there snow and rain scoured the clapboards season after season. This discovery led to two more. The first lean-to was not built as a cook room. It became one before 1696. The inventory proved that. But the fireplace and its flue were later additions, though not much later. Their insertion required cutting away those amputated framing timbers still visible upstairs behind the chimney. At first, this unheated shed serviced the adjoining hall-kitchen. Long ago, Cummings had argued that the iconic New England saltbox lean-to evolved from these cold sheds, which were used mainly to store kitchen equipment, tools, and bulk produce. The Jonathan Fairbanks House in Dedham, Massachusetts, preserves one still. Now we learned that the Boardman House had one too. The 1696 inventory describes the relocated kitchen hearth replete with cooking utensils but makes no mention of the oven. Was it new too, or maybe a later improvement installed when the larger lean-to replaced the original? That made sense. The same feather-edge boards seen throughout the lean-to today were also used to sheath a cupboard that enclosed the oven. The question was settled when

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on a return visit, Carson squeezed into the cupboard and found evidence that the oven was indeed contemporary with the firebox. The cupboard itself belonged to the later lean-to period; the earlier seventeenth-century oven had once stood free on its own masonry plinth. That too was something worth knowing. Side-loading ovens were only just coming into fashion around 1700. The Boardman evidence puts a precise date on this development: the oven in the original hall fireplace, the first cooking hearth, was the old-fashioned kind located at the rear of the firebox. By the time both kitchen and oven moved into the shed adjoining the hall, that is, by 1696, Goodwife Boardman had come to fancy the new-model oven that opened from the side. How long had she taken to change her mind? One last mystery remained unsolved, the date when the house (now with original shed) was built. Two years ago, Historic New England invited two dendrochronologists to take tree-ring samples from the house frame and the existing lean-to kitchen. Care-ful laboratory analysis of tree-

rings can reveal the exact date that trees were felled to build a timberframed house. No more “circa.” This time, too, the scientific answer came in right on the button. Boardman bought the farm in 1686/7, but he didn’t get around to building a house until 1692. His wife wasn’t so pokey. She remodeled her kitchen less than four years later. Gentility came to Saugus in a hurry. The dendrochronologists also cleared up the mystery about the bigger, better lean-to that’s attached to the house today. It replaced the first one in 1731. Cummings’s hunch about the feather-edge boards had been dead right all along. —Historian Cary Carson, vice-president for research at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, now retired, and Abbott Lowell Cummings, former director of Historic New England and author of The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625–1715, collaborated on this article.

Abbott Lowell Cummings (left) and Cary Carson (right), with Historic New England’s Ben Haavik (center), discover that the side-loading bread oven is a generation older than the 1731 kitchen cupboard that encloses it. below Floor plans show the changing use of rooms from 1692 to 1731. above

The Boardman House is open on the first Saturdays of the month from June through October. For information, visit HistoricNewEngland.org or call 978-768-3632.

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P r ese r v a t i o n

Aaron Usher

H i s t o r i c

Preservation That Lasts Establishing a standard for long-term maintenance

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hen you visit Casey Farm in Saunderstown, Rhode Island, during the growing season, you can expect to find a flurry of activity. This year, in addition to farmers and members of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program at work in the fields, you’ll see carpenters and masons repairing the farmhouse and outbuildings. The property is currently receiving the focused attention of the Preservation Maintenance Fund.

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Following a thorough assessment of conditions at the site, Historic New England is undertaking a major conservation effort to address shortcomings and ensure the property’s long-term well-being. The work, supported by a $150,000 grant from the Champlin Foundations and matched one-to-one by an anonymous donor, will make the farm sustainable with only routine maintenance needed for a long time to come. A web of scaffolding will encase the c. 1750 main house and facilitate access to areas that need work. Deteri-

orated siding on the west elevation is being removed and replaced with new wood siding to protect the building from winter winds. The house also is being topped off with a new roof of cedar shingles. The window sash are being removed and temporarily replaced with plywood blanks as part of a comprehensive conservation effort that will require the removal, in stages, of every window on the site. These sash will be taken to a specialized shop for repair of the wood frames and muntins. The historic glass will be preserved, damaged

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panes will be replaced, and the sash will be repainted. Finally, weather stripping will be added to the windows when they are reinstalled to improve energy efficiency. The farm’s numerous barns and outbuildings are also receiving some well-deserved attention. New cedar shingle roofs are being installed on the horse barn and well house. Throughout the farmyard, deteriorated siding and trim are being removed and replaced. Every effort will be made to preserve as much original fabric as possible. Replacement materials will match the existing fabric and will be marked, so that the careful eye of future carpenters will recognize which areas have been disturbed. The corn crib, perhaps the most humble of all buildings on the farm, is the focus of structural stabilization work. A proper footing will be installed while leaving the original foundation stones in place; afterwards, the boardand-batten siding will be repaired. Photographs and notes on the reasoning behind the restoration decisions

will document every step of the work at Casey Farm to inform staff involved in future preservation work at the site. Meanwhile, following an assessment done in January, work is underway to correct deficiencies in the electrical systems. Much needed lighting is being installed in the share barn work area used by the CSA and the Coastal Growers’ Market. Both wiring and fixture upgrades are being installed in the main house, office, shop, and the horse and cow barns, bringing all buildings up to code and providing the farm managers with a suitable work environment. Repairs will also be made to Casey Farm’s magnificent stone walls, one of the site’s defining features. Built with stones extracted from the fields two centuries ago, these walls stand as reminders of the perseverance, strong backs, and skill of the men who constructed them. Stone masons special-

The c. 1750 Casey Farm, surrounded by impressive stone walls, is still a working farm. above Damaged sections of the stone walls will be carefully repaired. below The corn crib will also be stabilized.

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ized in the preservation of historic stone walls are making repairs in a number of areas. Stones that have shifted or dislodged are being carefully removed and reinstalled, matching the traditional dry-laid technique. Thanks to this care, these walls will stand proud for another two hundred years. Your support of the Preservation Maintenance Fund will enable Historic New England to continue efforts like these at all our historic sites. Come to Casey Farm and observe the improvements underway. We hope you will lend your support to our efforts here and elsewhere throughout New England. —Tim Walsh Preservation Project Manager

To learn more about the Preservation Maintenance Fund challenge grant, or to make a donation, please visit HistoricNewEngland.org/PMF. Casey Farm is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 5 pm, and Saturdays, from 9 am to 2 pm, through October 15. The Coastal Growers’ Markets are held on Saturdays, May 14 through October 29, from 9 am to noon.

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Aaron Usher

A country house transforms and matures

over two hundred years

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ew places in New England are as reminiscent of the popular image of the English country house as The Grange,

the Codman Estate, in Lincoln, Massachusetts. The impressive three-story structure sits on a terrace above landscaped grounds, conveying an image of wealth, cultivation, and family pride. Its rooms are filled with an accumulation of furniture of different periods, family portraits, old master paintings, books, china, and bric-a-brac; there are yards of chintz, and some of the upholstery is a bit frayed and tattered. There are also stories of illustrious and not so illustrious ancestors, fortune and misfortune, and the eccentricities of later generations. And, like an English country house, the property has matured over its two hundred and seventy years. Through a series of complicated architectural and decorative changes, it has grown from the six-room house built around 1740 by Chambers Russell to become the twenty-two-room mansion crammed with family possessions and memorabilia that visitors see today.

The first person to make a major change to the property’s appearance was John Codman, the third in a line to bear the name. This John, later known as the Honorable John Codman, was born in 1755, the year his grandfather was poisoned by three of his slaves. Like many of his generation who were consumed by optimism and ambition after the Revolution, Codman amassed both wealth and success, making his money in shipping and trading with Spain, Portugal, France, Scandinavia, and Russia. In 1791, he took his brother Richard into the firm and later sent him to Paris

John Codman’s expansion of the house created an impressive stair hall. The arch on the landing marks the position of the rear wall of the original house. ABOVE LEFT John Codman by John Singleton Copley, 1794. ABOVE RIGHT The drawing room was redecorated in the 1930s. Ogden Codman, Jr.,’s favorite chintz, Les Roses, covers the furniture.

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The Codman Estate is open through October 15 on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month, from 11 am to 4 pm, tours on the hour.

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left These two models illustrate the dramatic changes made to the original house in the Federal period. The drawing room bay is visible on the left of the lower model.

to manage the company’s European interests. Richard, however, was more interested in living the high life in France. He almost bankrupted the firm with his extravagances, purchasing and furnishing several chateaux and a Paris townhouse, before his brother went to France and brought him home, a somewhat broken man. John Codman’s connection to the Lincoln property came through his marriage to Margaret Russell, niece of the man who built the house. In 1790, John was co-executor of the estate of Margaret’s brother, Chambers Russell II, a bachelor, who had named Charles Russell Codman, his six-yearold nephew and John and Margaret’s son, as residual legatee. Although John was not the legal owner of the property, it is clear that he treated it as his own, investing both his son’s legacy and much of his own money into improving the place to create a country seat for his family and heirs. Between 1797 and 1799, he transformed the two-story L-shaped Georgian house into a four-square three-story mansion in the Federal style. Codman retained much of the elegant interior paneling of the main rooms and remodeled the original kitchen into a back parlor. At the rear of the house, he extended the main entry, adding a second stairway that rose to the top floor, and a large room, called the hall, complete 10

middle The Victorian updating of the house in the 1860s retained the elegant 1740s paneling of the best parlor.

with a bay end containing three floor-length windows. The fourteen-room house was elegantly furnished with a few pieces of French furniture, many dining tables for entertaining, and twenty-two of the more than one hundred old master paintings that Richard Codman had shipped to his brother from France. John Codman’s grand plan for the estate extended to the grounds as well. In 1800, he took the opportunity while on business in England to visit many country houses to gather ideas for improving his landscape. He wrote to his wife, “I do not know of any place in America so much like Gentlemen’s seats in this country as Lincoln (dear Lincoln),” and he must have been quite puffed up when his friend Rebecca Gore, who was traveling with him, told him Lincoln was “the handsomest place in America.” His plans to totally reshape the landscape in the English manner, however, were cut short by his death in 1803 at the age of forty-eight. Codman’s dream that the estate continue in the family was also short-lived. His son, Charles Russell Codman, preferred to live in Boston and travel in Europe. He sold the place in 1807, shortly after coming of age. It was his son, Ogden, who fifty-five years later would continue his grandfather’s objective. Ogden Codman had been orphaned at age

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thirteen and no doubt regarded Lincoln as a lost inheritance and a means to reestablish family identity. A year after his marriage in 1861, he announced “the Lincoln plan” to his young wife, Sarah Fletcher Bradlee. He proceeded to purchase the estate, rename it The Grange, and hire his brotherin-law, John Hubbard Sturgis, to remodel the now somewhat derelict building into a year-round residence. Sturgis, trained in England, was well-versed in the most up-to-date ideas of Victorian style and comfort, but he was also aware of a new interest in studying older buildings. His changes to the exterior were subtle and gave the structure a more substantial appearance than the refined Federal detailing of John Codman’s house. Quoins now defined the corners of the building, and new pediments enhanced the windows of the first and second stories. A porch with columns and capitals echoing those on the 1790s portico balanced an addition on the opposite side of the house. Sturgis’s changes to the interior were more radical and swept away much of the earlier woodwork. The former sitting room became a billiard room, with the paneling replaced by oak wainscoting and a simple mantel. The back parlor was transformed into a dining room in the Elizabethan style, complete with an elaborately carved mantel and strap-work

David Bohl

Aaron Usher

The sideboard was custom-made for the Elizabethan dining room, while the table and chairs were stock items purchased from

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Marcotte’s New York showroom in 1863. The red and green wallpaper illustrated on the next page was used in this room.

ceiling as well as custom-designed sideboards. New mantelpieces were installed in the bedrooms. But Sturgis also respected the building’s past. He retained one complete room of Georgian woodwork and some of the staircase from the Russell period as well as the Federal period mantel in John Codman’s hall, which was now referred to as the drawing room. Perhaps part of his interest in preserving some of these earlier elements stemmed from the battle then raging in Boston to save the Hancock House, which had been built about the same time as the Russell House and of which he made detailed measured drawings. Because Ogden and Sarah had been living since their marriage with her parents, they needed many new furnishings. Rather than shop in Boston, they traveled to New York to the firm of Leon Marcotte to purchase fashionable furniture, curtains, carpets, and wallpaper for the main rooms. They chose comfortable upholstered chairs and a sofa for the library and suites of furniture for the dining room and their bed chamber. All these items still serve as the core furnishings in the rooms of the house. In addition to updating the interior, Ogden focused a great deal of attention on the landscape. He planted many trees and shrubs, but his real interest, continuing the tradiSummer 2011 Historic New England

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left The butternut mantelpiece installed in the dining room in the 1860s is the most elaborate in the house. below Ogden and Sarah Codman purchased French wallpapers in New York for the

tion of the self-sufficient gentleman’s farm, seems to have been in agriculture. Within a decade, however, the family’s idyllic life in Lincoln came to an end. The Great Boston Fire of 1872 destroyed many of Ogden’s real estate investments; two years later, with the idea of living more cheaply, he moved with his wife and three young children to France. The move had a profound effect on ten-year-old Ogden Codman, Jr. While it began a lifelong love affair with France, where he would eventually spend most of his adult life, the absence from Lincoln led him increasingly to romanticize his boyhood home. It already had a hold on him, as it has had for most who have lived there. Like his great-grandfather John, he often referred to the place as “dear Lincoln.” In 1882, eighteen-year-old Ogden returned to Boston by himself, at first living with his uncle John Hubbard Sturgis. With the encouragement of his uncle Richard Codman, a decorator, he enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study architecture. He made frequent trips to Lincoln, which had been rented out fully furnished to a series of tenants, and became increasingly upset at its deteriorating condition. 12

1860s redecoration. They chose the ivy and trellis pattern for their bed chamber. Middle Tom Codman photographed the billiard room in the late 1880s. The room was later changed to a library

“Every time there is a change in tenants, there is a dance of death among the furniture,” he wrote to his mother in 1883. A year later he suceeded in persuading his parents to return to the ancestral home. His letters to them before they returned from France reflect his increasing interest in decoration and antiques and are filled with comments about fashionable taste in Boston and

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(see contents page). right Another photograph by Tom Codman shows that the drawing room became quite cluttered after the family returned to Lincoln for good in 1897.

ideas on how to refurnish and redecorate the rooms. It was during this period that the final expansion of the house occurred. A new service wing added to the rear of the house boasted a modern kitchen, a laundry and drying room, a butler’s pantry, and six servants’ rooms. It is also at this time that we get the first photographs of the interiors. Ogden’s younger brother Tom, now in his late teens, had become quite competent with a camera. Tom continued to photograph the rooms at intervals into the 1930s, creating a remarkable record of the changing tastes of a family intensely interested in decoration. His earliest views reveal that most of the Marcotte decoration remained in the paneled and billiard rooms while much of the furniture brought back from France created an increasingly cluttered drawing room. Ogden got to decorate the new guest room and his own room, using antiques and the William Morris fabrics that he was charmed by at that time. When the family returned to France in 1893 for another four-year stay, Ogden again began writing his weekly gossipy letters to his mother. He proudly reported on his growing list of design clients, his move to New York City, and in 1896, his excitement about the book, The Decoration of Houses, that he was writing with Edith Wharton. This, of course, would

completely change his idea of the tasteful interior and indeed have a major impact on the appearance of the rooms of The Grange after the family returned to Lincoln for good in 1897. During the 1880s and 1890s, Ogden had made a careful study of the house’s architectural elements that had been reused or removed and stored during the 1860s remodeling and drew detailed plans of how the house might have looked around 1800, which to him had become the golden age of the place. Perhaps as a conscious gesture to celebrate the centennial of John Codman’s Federalization of the house, Codman restored the walls of paneling in the two front bedrooms in 1899, replacing “those dreadful mantels” that his Uncle Sturgis had designed. He took a less archaeological approach to furnishing and decorating the rooms, perhaps in part because his mother had her own ideas and also held the purse strings. Before she returned from France, Ogden had sent her shopping for a toile fabric for her bedroom just like the one Edith Wharton had used in hers. Sarah eventually bought the fabric as well as some others that were used in the newly redecorated rooms. Ever frugal, she made up the curtains before leaving France so they would be considered used goods and therefore she would not have to pay duty on them.

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The family redecorated Sarah Codman’s bedroom after her death in 1922. below Alice Codman, Ogden Codman, Jr.,’s sister, in the newly redecorated paneled room about 1900. right Some left

In the early twentieth century, life at The Grange settled into a quiet pace. Gone were the ambition and optimism of the previous two centuries. Ogden, the father, lost interest in the place and preferred to travel. Sarah was quite content to stay home. She surrounded herself with her unmarried children, and they enjoyed music, painting watercolors, gardening in the new Italian garden, and reading a prodigious amount, both in French and English. It was almost as if they were trying to recapture the life they had missed during the time they were away in France.

of the toiles purchased in France in the 1890s by Sarah Codman. The design on the bottom is the one her son Ogden urged her to buy because Edith Wharton had used it in her bedroom.

After Sarah’s death in 1922, the children focused their attention on redecorating the house for a final time. Tom spearheaded the project, and Ogden directed from France, supplying both ideas and new chintzes for curtains and slipcovers. Many rooms were repainted and some repapered, including the dining room, the only room where Sarah never changed the decoration of the 1860s. Like his father, Ogden Codman, Jr., had also developed a “Lincoln plan.” Before he left in 1920 to live in France, he made arrangements with William Sumner Appleton to ensure the future of the property that meant so much to him and his family. It would be almost another fifty years before it came to fruition. In 1968, his youngest sister Dorothy bequeathed the property to Historic New England, her wish appropriately being “that said premises, furniture and furnishings shall be maintained and preserved by said Society as a specimen of a New England country estate.” —Richard C. Nylander Curator Emeritus

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L o o k i ng

Ba c k

Andrew Davis

These bottles are among the collections at Historic New England’s Barrett House, New Ipswich, New Hampshire, open the second and fourth Saturdays of the month, from June 1 to October 15. For more information, visit HistoricNewEngland.org.

Ambition in a Bottle

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n the years leading up to the Revolutionary War, most glass in New England came from Britain. Restrictive economic policies limited the number of glass factories allowed in the colonies. During the war, in response to shortages brought about by a British embargo, a number of colonial entrepreneurs established new glass factories. The New England Glass Works in Temple, New Hampshire, founded in 1780 by Robert Hewes, was one such enterprise. A Boston native and an entrepreneur at heart, Hewes had already expanded his family’s lucrative business of butchering and soap-making to produce goods like starch, hair powder, glue, and candles. After experimenting with glassmaking, he successfully petitioned the New Hampshire House of Representatives for permission to build a glass factory in Temple at his own expense. Hewes

may have selected this location because it had an abundance of timber to fuel his glass furnaces. More importantly, Hewes knew a number of German glassblowers who could provide the knowledge and skill necessary for mixing and blowing glass. These three bottles from Historic New England’s Barrett House are thought to have been made at the Temple factory. Charles Barrett, Sr., was one of several prominent New Ipswich men who invested in the factory. By the spring of 1780, New England Glass Works began producing sheets of crown glass for windows and olive-hued bottle glass, whose color was caused by impurities in the sand. Bottles of this shape were used for beverages like ale. Typically, different glass forms served for different products, such as spirits, wine, pickled goods, or medicines. Few examples of glass from

New England Glass Works survive because the factory was plagued by multiple fires and a cracked furnace. In 1781, declining funds forced Hewes to abandon the venture. Not to be deterred, he returned to Boston and, in 1787, became a founding partner of the Boston Crown Glass Works, which operated successfully for fifteen years. Hewes also was an expert fencer who taught Boston’s elite and authored two books on sword exercises for cavalry. He was known for his bone-setting skills and created a popular treatment called Hewes Liniment. This versatile and ambitious man not only could set a broken bone but also could mix the healing liniment and make the bottle it came in. —Adrienne Donohue Former Collections Manager

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m a k i ng

f u n

o f

h i s t o r y

For most of human history, people got around on foot and never traveled very far. Even after horses and cattle were domesticated, travel was difficult because roads were often impassible. Today, we think nothing of getting in a car to go somewhere. Let’s look at how transportation has changed.

Transportation 3500 BC

2000 BC

Sumerians in Mesopotamia (present day Iraq) use wheeled vehicles for transport.

Romans start building roads across their empire.

Horses are domesticated.

500 BC

1600–1800 Travel in New England is mostly done by water.

what is it? This is a view under the hood of a 1936 Pierce-Arrow limousine at the Phillips House in Salem, Massachusetts (see p. 33). The shiny object is the car’s oil can, which sits on a special hinged shelf just near the engine in front of the driver’s seat. The family’s chauffeur, Clarence Sullivan, would use this oil can to help keep the car engine running smoothly.

u u 16

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u u

matching game Horse-drawn vehicles Match the number of the photograph to the description of the vehicle. Phaeton, 1880–90 The Phaeton was a lightweight and sporty carriage that would be driven by the owner. With an open body, it was well adapted to show off ladies’ costumes.

Rockaway, 1830–40 The Rockaway, a light, fourwheeled carriage with a driver’s seat at the front under a projecting top, was intended as a family carriage. Portland Cutter, c. 1850 The popular Portland Cutter, a one-horse open sleigh, was developed in Portland, Maine. In winter, people loved to bundle up in a sleigh and glide easily over snowy roads.

Brougham, mid-1800s The Brougham was a fashionable enclosed carriage with a coachman’s seat, invented in Great Britain. Governess Cart, c. 1900 This type of carriage, often used for transporting children, was drawn by a small horse or pony.

3

1 2

c. 1850 Travel by carriage increases as road conditions improve.

4

5

1869

c. 1900

2010

Transcontinental railroad is completed.

First cars are introduced.

1890s

Henry Ford produces cars using an assembly line.

The Nissan Leaf, the first all-electric car, goes on sale.

Bicycles become popular.

1908

do you know

Boston b uilt the nation’s first subway.

In the late 1800s, downtown Boston was so crowded with horse-drawn carriages, carts, and omnibuses that traffic was frequently at a standstill. Something had to be done, and the solution was to build a subway. The first line, which ran only a few city blocks, opened in 1897. Today, the Boston subway system serves the metropolitan area and averages 600,000 passenger trips each weekday. 1. Brougham 2. Phaeton 3. Governess Cart 4. Rockaway 5. Portland Cutter Answers to matching game Summer 2011 Historic New England

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m a k i ng

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h i s t o r y

Soapbox Truck Materials small cardboard soapbox acrylic paint and brushes scissors glue or tape craft wire 4 buttons 2 beads toy figure stickers, beads, marker Instructions 1. Paint the box and let it dry. 2. Set the box on one of the long sides. The box top will become the front of the truck. 3. Cut away the upper corner of the truck front and glue the lower part closed. 4. Glue the beads to make headlights on the front of the truck. 5. To attach the back wheels, insert craft wire through one side of the truck and out the other, about one inch from the back and close to the truck floor. Slip each end of the wire axle through one of the holes in a button, and then bend the wire back through another hole and twist to secure. Repeat this process for the front wheels, inserting the wire just behind the driver’s seat. 6. Decorate the truck with stickers, additional beads, or permanent marker, and let your toy figure take it out for a spin.

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Soapbox Cars Around 1900, boys started making small cars by attaching wheels to wooden soapboxes or orange crates and racing downhill. The races attracted spectators. Soon, local community groups began organizing and sponsoring them. In 1934, the Soap Box Derby World Championship Race, a highly competitive national event, was founded. By that time, the cars were no longer assembled from makeshift materials but were designed for speed, although they still had to be powered by gravity alone. The derby’s heyday came in the years after World War II, when celebrities and movie stars, along with thousands of other Derby fans, attended the annual race.

Co urt esy Lib rar y of Co ngr ess

Make a soapbox truck for your favorite action figure to drive.

—Carolin Collins Education Program Manager

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da i l y

l i fe

Next to

Godliness

A

c. 1900 trade card from Portland, Maine’s, Universal Steam Laundry offered the following advice, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness. If you can’t be Good, Be Clean.” Even more than they represented godliness, snowy white linens and clean shirts indicated status—those who had them displayed that they could afford the time and labor required to appear immaculate. Regardless of whether the wash was done by hired help or the housewife, achieving “cleanliness” in the era before automatic washers required heavy work as well as space, equipment, and a great deal of time. ➢

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➢ For centuries, laundry was done in the kitchen, with its ready supply of heat and water. But by the late nineteenth century, many women and domestic science experts began to think that washing soiled clothing in the same room where meals were prepared was unhygienic. The author of Laundry Work for Use in Homes and Schools, 1909, noted that a separate laundry room would provide “a place where laundering operations may be carried on without mussing up the rest of the house or rendering its atmosphere foul with escaping odors, steam, and dampness.” An above-ground room with ample natural light was ideal, but a basement laundry room was also suitable if properly ventilated and outfitted with windows and whitewashed walls. The heat and moisture associated with laundry made it advisable to have walls and floors of brick, tile, or cement rather than wood. Efficiency experts advocated a well-planned and appointed space for laundries, just as they did for kitchens. 20

The laundry in the Phillips House, Salem, Massachusetts, is a bright, well-equipped work space in the basement. below

David Carmack Photography

This late nineteenth-century trade card uses a goddess to promote Keystone Wringers. Above Soapine, touted as “the Dirt Killer,” was one of the first manufactured laundry powders.

facing page

Proper equipment made laundry work more efficient. For sanitary reasons, experts disapproved of portable wooden washtubs and recommended installing enameled iron, cement, or soapstone tubs in the laundry room. Over the course of doing one week’s wash, these tubs would be filled and emptied multiple times. One wash, one boiling, and one rinse could use up to fifty gallons of water, a quantity that weighed as much as four hundred pounds. The first home washing machines became available after the Civil War. Early models rubbed and scrubbed but still had to be filled, agitated, and emptied by hand, though attached wringers did make it easier to squeeze the water out of the clothing. The introduction of electricity and municipal water service made it possible to use electric motors to power the agitation process, while the machines could be filled by turning on a faucet. The first electric washing machines for home use were available by

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Cataract washing machine, c. 1924, and instruction booklet. Washing machines lightened the physical

effort of doing laundry. below Wringers saved strain on hands and arms and caused less damage to clothing.

David Carmack Photography

above right and left

David Carmack

1914, but for many years were limited to middleclass and wealthier urban households. Poorer families and rural households continued to make do with washtubs and hand labor. Soap, the other essential laundry item, was traditionally made at home using wood ash leached with water to create lye, a strong alkali. The lye was combined with cooking fat and left to solidify into a block of soap. As the nineteenth century progressed, a market for commercial soap developed because fewer households had access to wood ash. Households were switching to coal for heating and cooking, and coal ash could not be used to make soap. Some women, like Mollie Tucker at Castle Tucker in Wiscasset, Maine, continued to make their own soap even after alternatives were readily available. Mollie wrote to one of her daughters in 1894 that she had made soft soap the previous day, and that “I’m about the last of the housekeepers to do that.” Achieving the goal of getting the laundry truly clean required a series of steps. First, dirty items were soaked overnight to loosen the soil. The next day, both sides of the clothes

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David Carmack

below A laundry stove with multiple irons and a set kettle at the Phillips House. By the early twentieth century, a single electric iron began to replace the battery of flat irons needed to do the ironing. bottom left Starch gave clothes a crisp texture and glossy surface, which helped them stay clean longer. bottom right This trade card, c. 1880 for the Conqueror Wringer depicts ironing as a pleasurable activity.

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were scrubbed on a washboard in soapy water and rinsed in a new tub of clear water. Some families installed copper set kettles in a corner of their laundries to boil their white clothing and bed and table linens, though not every woman thought boiling necessary. However, Mary Chambers, in her A Guide to Laundry-Work, 1915, noted that “to boil the clothes will cleanse, sweeten, and purify them to a greater degree than merely washing in the tub.” After five minutes of boiling in soapy water, the whites were again thoroughly rinsed. Over time, white items could take on a yellowish cast, which would need to be corrected by bluing—adding a small quantity of blue dye to the water to give the appearance of whiteness. Sunlight was also used to bleach whites, and some families, like the Bowens of Roseland Cottage, Woodstock, Connecticut, devoted portions of their lawn to laying out linens and clothing to bleach in the sun. Lastly, starch was applied to shirts, collars, and cuffs. Colored flannels, chintzes, and wools were treated differently. Lydia Maria Child’s The Frugal Housewife, 1830, recommended using ox gall to restore colors to fabric, “An ox’s gall will set any color—silk, cotton, or woollen. I have seen the colors of calico, which faded at one washing, fixed by it. Where one lives near a slaughter-house, it is worth while to buy cheap fading goods and set them in this way. The gall can be bought for a few cents.” Laundry was hung outside to dry on the line or in the basement during foul weather. Wealthy families sometimes dedicated space to elaborate clothes drying racks within their homes, but for most Americans, a mechanical

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Thor’s Gladiron promised an end to “back-breaking ironing days.” This portable, foldable mangle, c. 1940, could be used anywhere in the house and on just about any type of garment, in addition to flatwork. below Granulated soap flakes became more popular as the number of washing machines increased. Lux, introduced in 1906, was recommended for delicate fabrics. Borax softened the water in addition to whitening dirty clothes. left

solution to drying clothing was not available until the midtwentieth century. Linens and cottons required ironing to restore a supple texture; otherwise, they would feel stiff and coarse. Typically, the day after wash day was devoted to ironing, yet another hot and physically demanding task. Irons, of varying sizes and weights, were heavy and had to be constantly reheated in front of the fire, on the range, or on a special laundry stove. Models heated by coals or gas were an improvement, but it was the electric iron, first sold in 1893, that reduced the heat the laundress had to withstand because she no longer had to be beside the hearth or stove to do the ironing. For those households that could afford one, another electric appliance, the mangle, made short work of flatwork like bed and table linens. Understandably, laundry was one of the housewife’s most despised chores and one of the first she hired out when she could afford to. In some homes, a live-in servant did the wash in addition to other duties. A few wealthy families employed a laundress as part of the household staff. More commonly, a laundress came to work by the day in the home or took the laundry out. Despite the hard work involved, some women elected to work as laundresses because, as opposed to live-in service, it gave them independence. By the late nineteenth century, commercial laundries began to appear in big cities. Families used them primarily for men’s shirts and collars as well as for sheets and table-

cloths. Some women saved money by collecting their laundry when it was still damp and ironing it at home. World War II briefly stalled the development of all consumer goods, including washers and dryers. Afterwards, as families began their moves to new houses in the suburbs, they outfitted them with the latest appliances. Today, thanks to modern fabrics and more sophisticated appliances, generations of Americans have grown up without having to do the heavy work it used to take to achieve a goodly display of “cleanliness.” —Jennifer Pustz Museum Historian

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c o lle c t i o ns

A Tale of Two Clocks

C

locks used to scare me. When I say clocks, I don’t mean everyday alarm clocks or modern digital timepieces. Instead, it is the antique tall clock—the stately grandfather’s clock of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s day—that always unnerved me. As the poet wrote in “The Old Clock on the Stairs,”

David Carmack

Half-way up the stairs it stands, And points and beckons with its hands From its case of massive oak, Like a monk, who, under his cloak, Crosses himself, and sighs, alas! With sorrowful voice to all who pass, — “Forever — never! Never — forever!”

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As if the passing of time wasn’t enough to worry about, as a curator during my days at Historic New England, I also fretted over the challenge of moving and conserving these fragile objects. On occasion too, the question of how to put one in running order cropped up and with it the anxiety of what was best to do for the long-term preservation of the clock. My fears began to fade when I met Gary Sullivan, an antiques dealer with a special interest in the clocks and clockmakers of southeastern Massachusetts. Gary taught me how to dismantle, move, and reinstall a clock. And with this training came frequent impromptu comments about the early clockmaking industry as well as the construction of clocks and their cases. His passion for the subject and the region

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Laszlo Bodo

Tall clock. Allen Kelley and Eliphalet Edson, Sandwich and Yarmouth, Massachusetts, 1815–1819. Mahogany, satinwood, and white pine. right Dwarf clock. Joshua Wilder and Abiel White, Hingham and Weymouth, Massachusetts, 1819. Mahogany and white pine. below The dwarf clock’s bill of sale was found on back of the pendulum door. facing page

previous owner attached to the back of the pendulum door a bill of sale written in Wilder’s hand. It begins: “1819 11 month 20 day Ebenezer Loud to Joshua Wilder Dr [debtor] to one clock and case price agreed [$]42.50.” This fragile bit of ephemera hits the proverbial homerun, providing the name of the seller, purchaser, price that he paid, and date of the transaction. The last of these deserves a word of explanation. A member of the Society of Friends, Wilder followed the Quaker practice of numbering both the day and month. The purchaser was certainly someone known to Wilder. Ebenezer Loud (1792–1863) had grown up in Weymouth, married in Hingham, and resided there at the time he bought the clock. His brother, Solomon Loud (1787–1833), had served an apprenticeship with Abiel White, the maker of the clock case. Such ties of town, trade, and kinship guided many busi-

Laszlo Bodo

took hold, and in 2004, we began a comprehensive survey of local furniture, which resulted in the book and exhibition, Harbor & Home: Furniture of Southeastern Massachusetts, 1710– 1850. Jack O’Brien and Derin Bray, along with several volunteers, joined our team; over the next three years we visited more than 220 sites and photographed thousands of pieces of furniture. Clocks turned up everywhere. At one remarkable location, Historic New England’s Winslow Crocker House in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, we found two exceptional examples. One caught Gary’s eye immediately because of its size. Just four feet high, it is a miniature version of a tall clock and, indeed, operates in the same manner. The weight-driven brass movement runs for eight days, and a bell atop the movement strikes on the hour. The maker of the works, Joshua Wilder (1786–1860) of Hingham, specialized in these small clocks, called dwarf clocks today, producing nearly two hundred during his career. He customarily turned to a nearby cabinetmaker, Abiel White (1766–1844) of Weymouth, for the cases and ordered the dials from a Boston “Clock Dial Manufacturer,” such as Samuel Curtis. In nearly every detail, this particular example echoed the sophistication of its full-size counterparts. A small slip of paper offers additional clues to the clock’s past. A

ness dealings in rural communities at the time. In today’s terms, the price of this clock, $42.50, may seem insignificant. But in 1819, when a pound of flour cost about 5 cents and butter 10 cents, when a cabinetmaker earned about a dollar a day, the clock represented a substantial investment. Of this charge, about thirty percent covered the cost of the case; the remainder went for the movement, dial, and hardware. Yet the total price still fell well below that of a tall clock, such as the second of our discoveries at the Winslow Crocker House. This impressive example ranks among the most ornate made on Cape Cod. For the case, the cabinetmaker Eliphalet Edson (1788–1859) of YarSummer 2011 Historic New England

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David Carmack

mouth chose figured mahogany and curly satinwood. The latter, which outlines the door and base, has now faded to a light brown but originally was a vibrant yellow that contrasted dramatically with the reddish tones of the mahogany. The flamboyant case followed a design familiar to Edson’s customers. It resembled cases sold by Boston craftsmen since the mid-1790s, and Edson probably based his pattern on an example ordered from Boston by a Cape Cod client. Though Edson’s handiwork stands out, it was the maker of the movement who took responsibility for the clock. His name appears in florid script on the dial. Allen Kelley (spelled Killey on this clock) was born in Yarmouth but after learning his trade, had settled in nearby Sandwich by 1813. He soon discovered that business opportunities were limited in the small towns on Cape Cod, and he became a man on the move. His peripatetic career took him throughout southeastern Massachusetts, to Falmouth, Yarmouth, Provincetown, Nantucket, New Bedford, and finally back to Sandwich, where he died in 1876. The two clockmakers, Kelley and Wilder, had numerous connections. Both were Quakers, and, through their mothers, distantly related. These ties led Kelley’s parents to apprentice him to Wilder for several years. The

younger man learned well. His method for building clock movements echoed that of his master (and Wilder’s master as well). Both men, for example, often cut openings in the brass plates to save costly metal, an efficient but rarely employed technique. Historic New England has long been special to me. I cherish the years that I worked there and retain fond memories of cataloguing its furniture. Yet the clock collection always seemed daunting, even intimidating—until I met Gary Sullivan. “Clocks are all that matter,” he sometimes says. As I’ve learned from studying these two examples at the Winslow Crocker House, he may be right.

—Brock Jobe, Professor of American Decorative Arts, Winterthur Museum, Winterthur, Delaware

Bonnet and face of the tall clock. left To conserve valuable metal, clockmakers sometimes cut openings in the brass works, leaving a “skeletonized” appearance. The leftover metal could be recycled for use in another set of works. above

Harbor and Home: Furniture of Southeastern Massachusetts, 1710–1850, by Brock Jobe, Jack O’Brien, and Gary R. Sullivan, won the Historic New England Book Prize in 2010. The book may be ordered from the Museum Store at HistoricNewEngland.org or by calling 617-227-3956.

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D i s c o v e r ed

T r eas u r e

David Carmack

✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠

✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠

a great desire “toI have seek knowledge”

Two pieces of needlework found in a drawer at the Sayward-Wheeler House, York Harbor, Maine, document the historic connection between New England and the Hawaiian islands in the early nineteenth century. ➢ THIS PAGE AND NEXT

Samplers by Hannah and Loka, made at Wailuku Mission, Maui, 1844.

✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠ ✠✠✠✠✠✠✠

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n 1844, when Hannah and Loka (we do not know their full names) set the first stitches in these samplers, they were two of more than fifty Hawaiian girls learning the art of embroidery in the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions’ Female Seminary at Wailuku, on the island of Maui. Richard Nylander, Historic New England curator, discovered the two embroideries at the Sayward-Wheeler House, York Harbor, Maine, after the organization acquired the property in 1977. How did these examples of missionary students’ work end up halfway around the world? The answer lies in the long-term connection between New England and Hawaii. Around 1820, the first Congregationalist missionaries arrived in the islands from New England to bring the gospel to the Hawaiian people.

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Henry T. Cheever, a Congregational minister who supported the missions, acquired the samplers, either by gift or by purchase at a fair. A lively journalist and correspondent, Cheever made several visits to the Sandwich Islands, as they were then called, and published his impressions of island life in two volumes, Island World of the Pacific, 1850, and Life in the Sandwich Islands, 1851. The samplers descended in the Cheever-Wheeler family and remain part of Historic New England’s outstanding needlework collection. The encounter between the New England missionaries and the Hawaiians must have been attended by incomprehension on both sides. The New Englanders, like many missionaries, arrived with preconceptions and almost certainly had little understanding of Polynesian culture. Many of them deemed the Hawaiians sinful and lazy.

They founded missionary schools to make converts and also to reform what they considered lax habits in everything from dress to marriage. Students were separated by gender. Wailuku Female Seminary trained young Hawaiians to become “good wives and mothers with cultivated minds and civilized manners” for their future husbands. The teachers at Wailuku, following the custom of their own school days, had their students make samplers to practice and showcase their skill with a needle. Samplers like these were often the first kind a girl would make. They demonstrated the decorative letters she would stitch onto her personal and household linens. Undergarments, towels, sheets, blankets, and other items had to be marked with the owner’s initials and a number so they could be used and laundered in rotation and thus wear evenly. Marking linens was

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have chosen her own motivational text; translated, it reads, “I am not sitting, I am going, I have a great desire to seek knowledge.” Whether her choice or that of Miss Ogden, her instructor, the verse touchingly expresses Hannah’s aspirations for improvement. The Reverend Jonathan Green oversaw the Seminary, with assistance from Maria Ogden, who arrived in the islands in 1828 as an additional “domestic arts” instructor. Ogden wrote, “I feel more and more for these poor daughters of Hawaii. O they must some of them at least be rescued from ruin. If our boarding school with the blessing of God cannot do it What else can!” Maria Chamberlain, who also came to Hawaii as a missionary, noted that Ogden “teaches them to make their own clothes,—make straw bonnets, piece bed quilts & quilt them, to make samplers and knit stockings.” Ogden also taught her students to spin and weave their own cotton cloth. These earnest Christian missionaries offered a curriculum similar to that

provided for girls in New England. Learning spinning, weaving, knitting, dressmaking, and embroidery prepared the girls for the future and developed virtuous industry. Throughout the 1840s, Wailuku Seminary struggled on a tight budget to teach and feed its students. To raise funds, the seminary proudly trumpeted the numbers of converts baptized, graduated, and led to become missionaries elsewhere in Hawaii. These extraordinary survivals are two of only three Wailuku samplers known. Their silken stitches document the complicated relationship between the Hawaiians and the Christian missionaries, between the Native culture and the nineteenth-century American ideals imposed upon it. —Laura Johnson Associate Curator Female Seminary at Wailuku, Hawaii. Drawn by Bailey and engraved by Kapeau, c. 1840.

below

Courtesy American Antiquarian Society

a crucial part of setting up house for a young bride, and the sampler served as a useful training tool for forming numerals and alphabets in script and block letters. Girls often included an inspirational verse or quotation from the Bible on their samplers. Wailuku samplers, while superficially similar to those produced by girls in New England, were distinctive because the Hawaiian alphabet has only twelve letters. To encourage potential converts to read the Bible, the first missionaries developed a written version of the Native language and translated scripture into Hawaiian. The mission also imported a printing press to print pamphlets, teaching tools, and books in Hawaiian. Male students supplied the labor, engraved copper plates, set type, and ran the press. Hannah and Loka probably used a Hawaiian handwriting broadsheet printed on that press to copy their letters and numbers on the bast (a group of plant fibers that includes linen and yucca) textile ground. Hannah may

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On

t h e

r o ad

Captain Tucker sits in a gig before Castle Tucker, c. 1859. The family’s hired man, John Comrie, holds the reins. facing page top The Tuckers’ high-style sleigh, 1858. bottom In this winter view, Comrie stands at left, while the Tucker children and friends pose with the sleigh at right. Probably January, 1886. left

Getting About

Cutting a Dash

Castle Tucker, with its vehicles on display, is open June 1 to October 15. The Phillips House is open year round, and its vehicles are on view from May through October. Don’t miss the Tenth Annual Phillips House Car Meet on Sunday, August 14, from noon to 3 p.m. Please visit HistoricNewEngland.org for details.

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n 1858, when Captain Richard H. Tucker, Jr., moved his young family into their new home, Castle Tucker, in Wiscasset, Maine, he filled the house with fashionable furniture and the barn with new vehicles. It was important that his family should travel in style. He wrote to his wife’s sister that “Our horses are in splendid order … I have received my new wagon and it rides beautifully—our team attracts attention wherever we go.” Even in fine weather, traveling by land was not easy. Vehicles bounced and shook to a rattling clatter of metal and wood on unpaved, often muddy roads. When purchasing a carriage, well-to-do families like the Tuckers balanced price and practicality with the desire to project the right public image. The Tucker conveyances certainly made an impression. “I saw Dick when they went with their horses, he and Mary on the back seat, with their man to drive them in style, there was a vacant seat, they could have invited someone to have gone with them … I never saw anybody that liked to cut a dash so well as they,” sniped Richard’s sister-in-law, Frances, in a letter to her husband, Joseph Tucker. For warm weather travel, the Tuckers had two four-wheeled carriages and an outing wagon. The wagon served for carting and informal excursions like visiting friends on nearby farms or going blueberry picking. The carriage Frances referred to was a Curtain-Quarter Rockaway, a family vehicle popular because of its versatility—the front seat backs could be turned to the rear or to the front, depending on whether a servant or a fam-

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ily member was driving. No matter how stylish the carriage, however, travel was never without the chance of hazard. In May 1860, Richard’s nineteen-year-old wife, Mollie, wrote to her sister that “I nearly had a broken neck last week. I went over to Bath with the horses & John [John Comrie, the Tuckers’ man-of-allwork] taking Father with me—coming home about two miles from here a part of the road gave way under the horses feet throwing Chloe down and … Dinah completely over her, broke the pole all to smash if either horse had sprung a foot farther we should have been thrown three or four feet off from the road down upon some sharp rocks—against which there was no protecting rail—the horse behaved beautifully so calm & quiet & your sister was very calm also… everyone says it was a narrow escape this is the second time the horses have fallen down with me.” Whether frightened or exhilarated, Mollie clearly delighted in describing the incident to her sister. Sleighs were the vehicle of choice for winter travel in Maine. Huge rollers pulled by teams of horses or oxen packed snowy roads down hard to make sleigh travel smooth and safe. Even roads that ran along steep hills like Lee Street in

old t Pe te r Ha rh

Wiscasset were easier to traverse over snow. Horses were trained to provide braking for sleighs. When a strong brake was required, the best trained pairs would gradually sit down on the icy snow until the vehicle came to a safe stop. The Tuckers’ letters from this period are filled with mentions of parties, dances, and other winter social events. They tell us that the winter of 1858–59 was a particularly good sleighing season. One of Richard Tucker’s ship captains teased him about having attended two dinner parties in one week. The Tuckers’ sleigh was made by Dennett & Potter. The body is dark brown with thin gold and yellow piping, a small

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mounted hussar complete with sword and fez on the dash and tiny miniatures, each of a different dark-haired lady, on each side. After the original upholstery wore away, the family replaced it with a colorful floral design pile covering from the seat back to the floor. Fully conserved and on view in the Castle Tucker carriage barn, Captain Tucker’s sleigh is still the pride of his fleet. Love of Locomotion Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Willard Phillips, both from prominent families in Salem, Massachusetts, could afford the very best. At the turn of the twentieth century, they not only furnished their home with the newest heating, plumbing, and electrical systems but also selected vehicles that allowed them to travel in comfort and style. Their everyday carriage was a Five-Glass Rockaway, used for errands around town or to convey Mr. Phillips to and from the train each day. In snowy weather, the family took a sleigh, a Portland Cutter, which they had inherited from Stephen’s father. Anna, Stephen’s wife, enjoyed riding in the cutter up and down Chestnut Street. Another vehicle, a Ladies Wicker Driving Phaeton, passed down to her from her aunt, afforded her the choice of being driven by her coach32

David Carmack

David Carmack

The Phillipses’ Brougham was made in the 1880s by Ferdinand F. French of Boston. Rubber tires offered a smooth ride, and luxurious fittings provided comfort and elegance.

left

The original interior survives in remarkable condition. The Pierce-Arrow was a top-of-the-line automobile, and relatively few were produced. The 1924 Touring Car stands in RIGHT

opposite top

man or of taking the reins and driving the carriage herself. By far their finest carriage was the Extension-Front Brougham, which formerly belonged to Anna’s mother. The intact original interior combines russet-colored leather trim with matching satin tufting on the sides and back walls. A working call bell and a speaking tube allowed passengers to contact the coachman while en route. Silk curtains and spring-loaded shades, which pop up at the push of a button, provide privacy. This vehicle would have been used for shopping trips and social outings requiring a more elegant ride than the Rockaway. The horses that pulled these vehicles were kept at a livery stable owned by Mrs. Phillips. The noise, comings and goings, and odors of the stable yard were thus kept at a suitable remove from the residence. In 1912, Stevie, the Phillipses’ eight-year-old son, wrote to Santa requesting a pony and pony cart for Christmas. In his letter, he gave specific instructions that the pony and equipage should be delivered to the stable at 34 Warren Street. Afterwards, the little boy and his friends were driven on jaunts around town by Cornelius Flynn, the coachman. Like horses and carriages, automobiles required a great deal of care and maintenance, but they offered greater speed

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David Carmack

David Carmack

Stevie’s boyhood coincided with the transition in transportation from carriages to cars. After graduating from Harvard in 1929, Stevie and four friends explored the western United States in a Model A Ford Phaeton, an adventure-filled trip that included driving from the Canadian Rockies, down the Pacific Coast Highway to the Grand Canyon and ended with watching the annual Pike’s Peak Hill Climb in Colorado. In 1942, Stevie and his bride, Bette, purchased a 1929 Model A Phaeton to keep at the family’s summer home in New London, New Hampshire. For Stevie, the car likely brought back fond memories of his bachelor days, in addition to providing the couple with a means of exploring the countryside. Evidently, the Phillipses were attached to their vehicles, for they continued to store them in the carriage barn behind the house even when they were no longer in use. The well-preserved collection of five carriages and three automobiles continues to delight visitors to the property today.

and convenience. The family rented a car from Cooper’s Garage in Salem. Patrick O’Hara, the chauffeur, would collect the car from the garage, bring it to the house, and then drop Mr. Phillips at the train station, run errands, or take the family to call on friends. When the Phillipses ventured on longer trips, some of the domestic staff accompanied them to ensure their needs would be met both on the road and at their destinations. In 1924, Mr. Phillips purchased the family’s Pierce-Arrow Series 33 Touring Car. At the time, Pierce-Arrows enjoyed the reputation of being among the finest automobiles available. Buyers would choose the chassis and then select the engine size, ignition system, and color, as well as any trim, like monogramming, for a cost ranging from $5,250 to $8,000. Mr. Phillips was so pleased with the car that in 1936 he purchased a second Pierce-Arrow—an Enclosed-Drive Limousine—for around $5,000. Featuring a twelve-cylinder engine, white ash framework, and a vacuum-powered brake system, the vehicle was used until his death in 1955.

—Peggy Konitzky, Wiscasset Site Manager, and Julie Arrison, Phillips House Site Manager

David Carmack

the foreground, while the 1936 Limousine, with its aerodynamic form, is at the rear. below Designed for fair-weather driving, the Ford Phaeton has a folding top and no side windows.

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Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Boston, Massachusetts Permit No. 58621

141 Cambridge Street Boston MA 02114-2702

aC q u i s i t i o ns

Icon of Sorrow

O

ne hundred and fifty years after the start of the Civil War, photographs related to the conflict continue to fascinate. An ambrotype of three young children found on the body of an unidentified Union soldier at the Battle of Gettysburg is one such image. After the battle, Dr. John Francis Bourns of Philadelphia, seeking to identify the dead soldier, had a description of the photograph published in newspapers throughout the Northeast. Eventually, Philinda Humiston of Portville, New York, identified her children as the subjects of the portrait and her husband, Amos, of the 154th New York Volunteers, as the casualty. Dr. Bourns had the ambrotype reproduced for sale as a carte de visite, with proceeds dedicated to found an orphanage for the children of the fallen. Sheet music for a song about the photograph was sold for the same purpose. As a one commentator wrote, “No other incident of the present fratricidal war is known to have so touched the heart of the nation.” Historic New England

is fortunate to have copies of both the carte de visite and the sheet music in its collection. Find links to several articles about this poignant story, as well as about the subsequent scandal involving embezzlement of funds and abuse of the children in the orphanage, at HistoricNewEngland.org. —Lorna Condon Senior Curator of Library and Archives

Carte de visite copy of the ambrotype by Wenderoth & Taylor, Philadelphia, found with the body of Sergeant Amos Humiston. Anonymous gift in honor of Susan P. Sloan. above right Sheet music for “The Children of the Battlefield,” by James G. Clark, published by Lee and Walker, Philadelphia, 1864. Barrett House Collection. above left

The award-winning Historic New England magazine is a benefit of membership. To join, please visit HistoricNewEngland.org

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Historic New England Summer 2011  

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