Category Archives: Mansion Musings

A New Floor with an Old Look: Bartow-Pell’s “Floor Cloth”

The Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum is thrilled to unveil a new entry hall floor covering in the manner of the period around 1842, when the residence was completed. The new “floor cloth” replaces linoleum flooring that was laid 35 years ago … Continue reading

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The Bartows and Art: A Lost Portrait, Famous Relatives, and Artistic Neighbors

We don’t know if the Bartow family had an interest in art, but we do know that they lived in the midst of artists, collectors, and a thriving art market. Robert Bartow and Maria Lorillard married in 1827 and set … Continue reading

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Bridget, Mary, Hannah, and John: Who Were the Bartow Servants?

In the nineteenth century, a lot of people lived in the Bartow mansion, but not all of them were named Bartow. As anyone who has watched Downtown Abbey or Upstairs, Downstairs knows, that’s because the household included live-in servants. Servant … Continue reading

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The International Garden Club Goes International: The Barra School Children’s Garden Competition, 1936–1952

The Isle of Barra, a remote windswept island in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, is a world away from Bartow-Pell and New York City, but there is a fine story to be told about these two places and their forgotten connection. In … Continue reading

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Let’s Talk Silhouettes: An Edouart Conversation Piece

One hundred thousand. That is the astonishing number of recorded silhouette likenesses produced by the French-born artist Augustin Amant Constant Fidèle Edouart (1789–1861), according to British scholar Sue McKechnie. One of those portraits, a so-called “conversation piece,” is in Bartow-Pell’s … Continue reading

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Holidays Past: A Bartow Christmas in the Civil War Era

The year is 1860, and it’s Christmastime at the Bartow estate. The family’s home is in the country, but New York City, with all of its holiday temptations, is nearby. The start of the Civil War is just a few … Continue reading

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Chicken Pie and Blindman’s Buff: What You Might Not Know about an Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving

Pies, pies, and more pies. It must be Thanksgiving in the nineteenth century. Pumpkin pies, cranberry pies, huckleberry pies, cherry pies, green-currant pies, peach, pear, and plum pies, custard pies, apple pies, Marlborough-pudding pies [apple custard pie]—pies with top crusts, … Continue reading

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