Author Archives: mansionmusings

Classical Reflections: Recent Gifts from Richard T. Button

A monumental giltwood mirror from about 1840, which has now been installed in Bartow-Pell’s entrance hall, may be the largest known documented New York mirror of the first half of the 19th century. This splendid piece was recently given to … Continue reading

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More than Summer Style: An 1840s Straw Bonnet

  Nineteenth-century fashion editors in Paris, London, Philadelphia, and New York loved to write about straw bonnets. Why all the chatter? This charming headgear was a spring and summer favorite for decades. The female population relished the thrill of buying … Continue reading

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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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