Author Archives: mansionmusings

Sea Breezes and Business as Usual: Mayor La Guardia’s Summer City Hall, 1936

New York City mayor Fiorello La Guardia smiled broadly at photographers as his motorcade reached the historic Bartow mansion at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 2, 1936. The diminutive dynamo arrived for his official duties at the new summer city … Continue reading

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Under the Willow Tree: A Schoolgirl Mourning Embroidery

A hauntingly beautiful schoolgirl memorial in Bartow-Pell’s collection has perplexed staff, volunteers, visitors, scholars, and even paranormal investigators for many years. Now, new research has solved some of the mystery. Gilt lettering on églomisé glass tells us that this silk-on-silk … Continue reading

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The Pleasures of Imagination: R. & W. A. Bartow and the Book Trade in Early 19th-Century New York

Imagine this: you open the door of a small New York City bookseller and publisher on Pearl Street in the 1820s and are greeted by the smell of new leather bindings and fresh printer’s ink. Outside, nearby Franklin Square hums … Continue reading

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A Taste for Poetry: R. & W. A. Bartow, Asher B. Durand, Mozart’s Librettist, and British Verse

Poetry got people excited in the 19th century. Some readers appreciated its literary value, and others enjoyed it as a fashionable pursuit. It could cross the line between highbrow intellectualism and pop culture. Poetry set a certain tone and created … Continue reading

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Fresh Farm Milk from a Historic Estate: How a New York City Garden Club Helped the War Effort in 1918

It was time to step up. One hundred years ago, America had entered the First World War, and patriotic civilians were eager to contribute on the home front to help defeat the Germans. Meanwhile, milk prices in New York City … Continue reading

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Portrait of a Patron: Isaac Bell and Saint-Mémin

Who originally slept in Bartow-Pell’s Lannuier bed? Isaac Bell (1768–1860) and his wife, Mary Ellis Bell (1791–1871), of New York City commissioned the bedstead from Charles-Honoré Lannuier (1779–1819) upon their marriage in 1810, and the cabinetmaker completed it between 1812 … Continue reading

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Fashion Passion Redux: Making Reproduction 1850s Undersleeves

Wearing a new dress is fun—and accessories are part of the excitement. Who doesn’t want to create the perfect look? That hasn’t changed over time, and it is as true for historical interpreters as it is for trendy fashionistas. Besides, … Continue reading

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