Category Archives: Mansion Musings

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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Sleeping Beauty: A Romantic Ruin Awakes

In 1914, the beautiful old Bartow mansion was falling apart. Overgrown ivy crept up the walls and over the windows of the derelict old stone building. Broken glass panes allowed rain, snow, wind, dirt, insects, and small animals to enter … Continue reading

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Theodoret and Sarah: A Bartow Love Story

It was an ill-fated Gilded Age romance. Theodoret, the handsome youngest son of Robert and Maria Bartow, fell in love with Sarah Elliott Marshall, a blond Southern beauty from Natchez, and married her in 1886. Although this privileged couple seemed … Continue reading

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Spills: Let There Be Light

What in the world are spills? A British dictionary published in 1855 defined a spill as “A strip of paper rolled up to light a lamp or cigar.” The word loosely derives from “spile,” a small wooden peg. Although “spills” … Continue reading

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A Bartow Thanksgiving, 1843

Thanksgiving on December 14? Yes, that’s right, if we’re talking about New York in 1843. At that time, individual states determined when—and if—an official recognition of the Thanksgiving holiday would occur. In fact, the New-York Daily Tribune reported on November … Continue reading

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A Peek Inside the Wardrobe: Busks, Gloves, Shawls, and Shoes

This post discusses some of the fashion accessories in Bartow-Pell’s fall exhibition, The “Quiet Circle”: Women and Girls in 19th-Century America, on view until November 19. Sometimes part of the fun of going to museums is seeing objects that are … Continue reading

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Haunting Likenesses: The Anonymous 19th-Century Woman in Photographic Portraits

This post discusses photographic portraits in Bartow-Pell’s fall exhibition, The “Quiet Circle”: Women and Girls in 19th-Century America, on view until November 19. The faces look out at us. Their eyes lock ours. Long ago, they stared into a camera … Continue reading

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