Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Few Girls of Summer by American Clement Rollins Grant 1849–1893

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Clement Rollins Grant (American artist, 1849–1893) A Seat in the Garden

Clement Rollins Grant was born in Freeport, Maine in 1848. In 1866, he sailed for Europe, spending time in Great Britain & France.

Clement Rollins Grant (American artist, 1849–1893) Gathering Flowers

Upon his return, Grant worked in Portland, Maine, before establishing a studio in Boston by 1882. He was a member of the Boston Art Club, where his works were exhibited between 1877 & 1905.

Clement Rollins Grant (American artist, 1849–1893) Young Woman in Profile

Grant painted in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Great Britain, & France. By 1887, he had relocated to New York City, where he produced reproductive etchings of well-known paintings. Grant exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1878 and at the National Academy of Design in 1882, 1887-89, 1891-92, and 1894 (posthumously).

Clement Rollins Grant (American artist, 1849–1893) Repose

Clement Rollins Grant (American artist, 1849–1893) Woman in the Landscape

Clement Rollins Grant (American artist, 1849–1893) The Visit

Clement Rollins Grant (American artist, 1849–1893) Ethel of Cambridge
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19th-Century Women Playing Tennis

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Otto Henry Bacher (American painter, 1856–1909) Portrait of Mary Holland

George Goodwin Kilburne (English painter, 1839-1924) A Game of Tennis

Francis Sydney Muschamp (British artist, 1851-1929) A Game of Tennis

John Lavery (Irish painter, 1856-1941) A Game of Tennis

Leopold Franz Kowalski (French painter, 1856-1931) A Game of Tennis

John Strickland Goodall (British artist, 1908–1996) A Game of Tennis

Horace Henry Cauty (English genre painter, 1846-1909) The Tennis Match

Arthur Hacker (English Pre-Raphaelite painter, 1858-1919) The Artist's Sister 1882

John Strickland Goodall (British artist, 1908–1996) A Game of Tennis

Max Liebermann (German Impressionist Painter, 1847-1935) Tennis Player by the Sea

Tom Simpson (British artist, 1877-1964) The Tennis Party

John Strickland Goodall (British artist, 1908–1996) A Game of Tennis

James Wallace (British artist, 1872-1911) A Game of Tennis in Battersea Park

Max Liebermann (German Impressionist Painter, 1847-1935) Tennis Court with Players

Samuel John Peploe (Scotland artist, 1871-1935) Game of Tennis, Luxembourg Gardens, c 1906

Tom Simpson (British artist, 1877-1964) Edwardians at Tennis

Tom Simpson (British artist, 1877-1964) The Tennis Party, c 1930s

John Lavery (Irish painter, 1856-1941) Tennis

 Edith Hayllar (British Painter, 1860-1948) After Tennis

Friday, June 3, 2011

Almshouses for People in Need in Maryland

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Almshouses in Maryland

Almshouses, residences for the care and housing of people in need, once served as the primary institutions for the housing and care of the poor and homeless. Few, however, realize that the blind, lame, chronically ill, epileptic, developmentally disabled, and mentally ill also shared the same quarters. In addition to the resident population, the almshouse offered aid to the transient poor by providing a meal and temporary shelter.

Almshouses first appeared in Colonial America during the 1660s. Maryland founded its initial almshouses in the 1760s, with most counties setting up their own during the nineteenth century. Though the demographics of the inhabitants changed over time, these institutions persisted until the 1960s when government assistance programs made them obsolete.

Pre-Almshouse Poor Relief

During the Colonial period, poor relief in Maryland was coordinated on the individual county or local level. The Levy Court of each county supervised the payments for the care of the poor, the dependent, and the mentally ill. Persons without family or relatives to provide care were boarded with community members. In certain cases, a direct payment allowed the poor to remain within their own homes.

Founding of Almshouses

With a growing population, the need for assistance and the financial burden on the counties increased accordingly. In 1766 about 40 percent of Worcester County's expenditures went for housing the poor in private homes. Almost one-seventh of the families in Anne Arundel County received aid by the late 1760s. In 1765, a bill was proposed in the General Assembly to found institutions for the poor and "houses of correction" for the confinement of "vagabonds." Legislation finally passed in 1768 to establish the first almshouses in Anne Arundel, Prince George's, Worcester, Frederick, and Charles Counties.

Besides being places to aid the poor, almshouses served as a mechanism for social control by removing what the public considered undesirable persons from the greater community. The 1768 law gave unconditional power to the county's Trustees of the Poor "for.setting the poor to work, and punishing vagrants, beggars, vagabonds and other offenders." Inspired by a 1697 English law, the act stipulated that all almshouse residents must wear the letter "P" (for poor or "poorhouse") on their clothing under the penalty of whipping. Authorities in Maryland (as elsewhere in America) sometimes arrested and placed homeless or unruly people they considered a "public nuisance" in their almshouses.

Almshouse Settings

Almshouses were often located on the outskirts of a town or a rural part of a county on farmland of considerable acreage. The farm employed and provided food for the almshouse inhabitants (called "inmates"). Some almshouses featured a workhouse, where certain residents might weave cloth, sew clothing, or perform other labor to help pay for their upkeep. During the late 1830s, several Eastern Shore almshouses planted stands of mulberry trees, as habitat for silk worms, so that the almshouse farm and its residents might defray the cost of administration by harvesting raw silk. The Maryland climate ultimately proved hostile to the enterprise, and it was abandoned.

The county Trustees of the Poor or a grand jury empowered by the county circuit court periodically examined the conditions of the almshouse. The 1874 founding of the Maryland State Board of Health led to the first regular state inspections. Officials during the 1890s found that almshouse conditions varied in the different counties. Generally speaking, more modest accommodations were found in the less wealthy counties. Yet, fancy brick facades often hid the same troubling circumstances inside.

Lax administration characterized the sparsely furnished settings of most almshouses. Superintendents, often local farmers appointed through political influence, sometimes changed yearly. Inspections speak of the "almshouse diet," a subsistence diet of hominy or oatmeal as the daily fare for residents. A local doctor would call on an "as needed" basis only, with few medicines kept on the premises in case of sickness. Though most institutions in Maryland practiced racial segregation at this time, certain county almshouses did not bother because two separate buildings created an additional expense.

Reform movements in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries helped to improve conditions and remove certain individuals from the almshouse setting. Children were transferred to orphanages. A protracted campaign of some thirty years by the Maryland State Lunacy Commission prompted the state legislature to pass a law in 1910 to move the mentally ill into hospitals. Yet this left the developmentally disabled and epileptic individuals to languish in the almshouses.

Written by Robert W. Schoeberlein for the Maryland Online Encyclopedia.
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African American Schoolhouse by William Wallace Wotherspoon (American painter, 1821-1888)

.William Wallace Wotherspoon (American painter, 1821-1888) Scene Outside Southern Schoolhouse (perhaps during Reconstruction).

A Slaveholder's Daughter - Belle Kearney 1863-1939

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Women of the Old South

Belle Kearney, 1863-1939
A Slaveholder's Daughter.
New York: The Abbey Press, c1900.


The life of the great landowners and slaveholders resembled that of the old feudal lords. The overseer stood between the master and the slave in matters of detail. He conducted the local business of the plantation, managed the negroes, and was the possessor of almost unlimited power when the less serious-minded planter preferred his pleasures to his duties.

The middle class carried on the concerns of commerce and the trades incident to a vast agricultural area, and were the men of affairs in its churches and municipalities.

The third class constituted a yeomanry, - small farmers who, for the most part, preempted homesteads on the poorer lands, sometimes owning a few slaves, and who lived in a world of their own, - the westward drift from the Atlantic seaboard and the Blue Ridge mountains, with an inherited tone of life that defied change until the public school, of post-bellum origin, began its systematic inroads on the new generation.

Ladies of wealth and position were surrounded by refinements and luxury. They had their maids and coachmen and a retinue of other servants.

There was a time-honored social routine from which they seldom varied; a decorous exchange of visits, elaborate dinings and other interchanges of dignified courtesies. Every entertainment was punctilious, strongly suggestive of colonial gatherings.

No young woman went out unchaperoned. Marriage was the ultimatum of her existence and was planned for from the cradle by interested relatives.

When the holy estate had been entered, women glided gracefully into the position of the most honored occupant of the home and kept their trust faithfully, making devoted wives and worshipful mothers.

The popular delusion is that the ante-bellum Southern woman, like Christ's lilies, "toiled not." Though surrounded by the conditions for idleness she was not indolent after she became the head of her own household.

Every woman sewed, often making her own dresses; the clothing of all the slaves on a plantation was cut and made by negro seamstresses under her direct supervision, even the heavy coats of the men; she ministered personally to them in cases of sickness, frequently maintaining a well managed hospital under her sole care.

She was a most skillful housekeeper, though she did none of the work with her own hands, and her children grew up around her knees; however, the black "mammy " relieved her of the actual drudgery of child-worry.

The women of the South, in the main, realized their obligations and met them with reflective efficiency. Notwithstanding their apparent freedom from responsibility and their outward lightness of character, there was the deepest undertone of religious enthusiasm pervading their natures; and this saving grace has clung to the Southerners through all their changing fortunes. They are the most devout people in this nation to-day. Among them is found less infidelity, - fewer "isms" have crept into their orthodoxy. As they have remained the most purely Anglo-Saxon, so have they continued the most reverent.

The army of governesses and public school teachers was made up of gentlewomen of reduced means, the large middle class, and of women from the North. Teaching, sewing and keeping boarders were about the only occupations open to women of that day by which they could obtain a livelihood.

About the Author

Belle Kearney, a Mississippi temperance reformer, suffragist, teacher, and state legislator, was born on her parents' plantation in Madison County, Mississippi on March 6, 1863. As a wealthy plantation owner, Belle's father, Walter Guston Kearney, briefly studied law and dabbled in state politics prior to the Civil War.

After the war, however, his plantation suffered serious financial losses, and, like many members of the old southern aristocracy, he had to curtail his lavish lifestyle as his plantation shrank to 400 acres of unprofitable land. When Belle's father could no longer afford her five-dollar monthly tuition at the Canton Young Ladies' Academy, she educated herself, and eventually opened a private school in a spare bedroom of the plantation house as a means of income.

Deeply concerned about the growing need for public education in the South, Belle began teaching in the newly established public school system despite her father's protests. Her keen interest in education and women's roles in the New South led her to accept a position as superintendent in the Women's Christian Temperance Union in 1889. Guided by her mentors, Frances Willard and Susan B. Anthony, Kearney became an acclaimed orator and traveled on the national and international circuits advocating temperance and women's suffrage.

She was also a white supremacist and used these speaking opportunities to forward her ideas about race relations in the South and the nation. In 1903, she made her most famous speech in support of white supremacy at the National American Woman Suffrage Association Convention. While delivering the keynote address, Kearney claimed that women's suffrage would bring about "immediate and durable white supremacy, honestly attained." Following in her father's footsteps, Belle entered the southern political arena, becoming the first woman elected to the Mississippi state senate in 1923. She died February 27, 1939 at the age of 75.

In her autobiography, A Slaveholder's Daughter (1900), which went into ten printings, Kearney intertwines her personal history with commentary on the changes the South experienced during the first half of her life. As a member of the southern aristocracy, she offers an insider's perspective on plantation life and recounts its inevitable demise during Reconstruction. No longer limited to the circumscribed existence of a slaveholder's daughter, Kearney has the freedom to take on more progressive roles as educator and women's activist. Her story is ultimately about education, as she writes of its importance not only for her personal growth but also for the South as a whole. Kearney's narrative continues through her roles as suffragist and temperance advocate under the guidance of Francis Willard and Susan B. Anthony. She ends her story before she becomes involved with the Mississippi legislature. Written by Armistead Lemon & Harris Henderson.

© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text. To read this book online, click here.
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