Author Archives: mansionmusings

The Girl in the Portrait: Emma Beach and Mark Twain

The rain came down on wind-blown seas in New York Harbor on June 8, 1867, when about sixty-five passengers boarded the side-wheel steamship Quaker City for a highly publicized five-month “pleasure excursion” and pilgrimage to Europe and the Holy Land. … Continue reading

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Quills and Steel: Using Pens to Interpret the Past

Why does the pen-maker do wrong, and try to make others as bad as himself? Because he makes the people steal (steel) pens, and says they do right (write). Cassell’s Educator for the Young This childhood riddle tells a story … Continue reading

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Parlor Must-Have: The Center Table in Nineteenth-Century Interiors

What’s the big deal about center tables, and why does Bartow-Pell have so many of them? The center table was an essential piece of furniture in American parlors in the middle of the nineteenth century. It was not only useful; … Continue reading

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What’s a Girl to Do? Nineteenth-Century Lifestyle Guides for Young Ladies

To quote pop star Cindi Lauper, “Girls just want to have fun,” and it was often the same in the nineteenth century. Plus ça change, as they say. There were just a lot more rules back then. And let’s not … Continue reading

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Greek Revival Mystery: Who Designed the Bartow Mansion?

  The present proprietor has lately erected a fine stone house, in the Grecian style, which presents a neat front with projecting wings. Robert Bolton Jr., A Guide to New Rochelle and Its Vicinity, 1842 Robert and Maria Bartow wanted … Continue reading

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Crowning Glory: Bartow-Pell’s Lannuier Bedstead

Some of our visitors have probably imagined spending the night at Bartow-Pell, luxuriously ensconced in our magnificent mahogany bedstead made in New York sometime between 1812 and 1819 by the remarkable French émigré cabinetmaker Charles-Honoré Lannuier (1779–1819). This splendid and … Continue reading

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Summer Mourning: Death at Bartow, June 24

On June 24, 1867, twenty-seven-year-old Robert Erskine Bartow died at his family’s bucolic country estate. Exactly one year later, his father, Robert Bartow, followed him to the grave at the age of seventy-six. Both are buried in the family plot … Continue reading

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