Saturday, January 30, 2021

19C American Women - Artist Charles Waldo Jenkins 1821–1896

Charles Waldo Jenkins (American artist, 1821–1896)  Anna R. Taylor 1856.

Charles Waldo Jenkins (American artist, 1821–1896) 

From the New York Times, November 17, 1896
Charles W Jenkins, at one time a well-known portrait painter, died suddenly yesterday at his residence, at 543 E 143rd St. He was 75 years old and was born in the village of Owaseo, Cayuga County, NY, and began the study of art at age 14. 

In 1848, he came to this city and followed the profession of painter, and was associated with Huntington, Daniel B. Johnson, and other artists. 

He was also an accomplished musician, and was at one time a member of Dodworth's Band and also vice president of the New York Skating Club. His best works were portraits of the Faculty of Princeton College. For many years he contributed to the exhibitions of the Academy of Design. Death was caused by severe cold, contracted several days ago. He was not married.
. Charles Waldo Jenkins (American artist, 1821–1896) Portrait of a Lady

Thursday, January 28, 2021

A well set table was a sign of a well kept home.


Book: John Henry Walsh, A Manual of Domestic Economy, 1874.

Image Caption: "Modified Dinner A La Russe, Set Out For Eight"

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

American Folk Art - George Esten Cooke (1793–1849)

George Esten Cooke (American artist, 1793–1849) Joseph Fairfax Lapsley.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Spreading the News 1830s-1850s in Rural America by William Sidney Mount 1807-1868

William Sidney Mount (American painter, 1807-1868) California News

William Sidney Mount (American painter, 1807-1868) Caught Napping 1848

William Sidney Mount (American painter, 1807-1868) Coming to the Point 1854

William Sidney Mount (American painter, 1807-1868) Farmers Nooning 1836

William Sidney Mount (American painter, 1807-1868) Politics of 1852

William Sidney Mount (American painter, 1807-1868) The Long Story 1837

William Sidney Mount (American painter, 1807-1868) The Painter's Triumph 1838

Friday, January 22, 2021

19C American Women - Shepard Alonzo Mount 1804-1868 brother of William Sidney Mount 1807-1868

Shepard Alonzo Mount (American artist, 1804–1868) Rose of Sharon

Shepard Alonzo Mount 1804-1868 was the brother of William Sidney Mount, the well-known American genre scene painter. Shepard Mount began his career as a carriage painter in New Haven, Connecticut, before attending the National Academy of Design in New York to refine his techniques. After school, the two Mount brothers entered into a portrait painting business together but soon parted ways. Shepherd became an itinerant portrait painter. He traveled widely, completing portrait commissions as he went & painting nature still lifes & larger landscape scenes, as well.

Shepard Alonzo Mount (American artist, 1804–1868) Plugging the Enemy

Between 1829 & 1860, Shepard exhibited over 100 works at the National Academy of Design. He is known than his brother; because he did not leave diaries & letters behind like his more famous brother, William. However, Shepard wrote poetry throughout his life, which offers some insight to his family life & personality. After his death in 1868, his work was all but forgotten until Albert D. Smith, director of the Heckscher Museum in Huntington, Long Island, put together a one-man show of his work in 1945.

Shepard Alonzo Mount (American artist, 1804–1868) Girl with a Bird's Nest

Shepard Alonzo Mount (American artist, 1804–1868) Boy with an Arrow

Shepard Alonzo Mount (American artist, 1804–1868) The Breakfast Call

Shepard Alonzo Mount (American artist, 1804–1868) Girl Peeling Apples

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

James Monroe's wife Elizabeth Kortright 1768-1830

On this day in history, January 16, 1786, future President James Monroe married a 17-year-old New York beauty named Elizabeth Kortright (1768-1830). She first caught Monroe's attention in 1785, while he was in New York serving as a member of the Continental Congress.

Detail of a Miniature

The 6 ' tall, 26-year-old Monroe, already a famous revolutionary & a practicing lawyer, married not for money, but for love. Elizabeth's father, once a wealthy privateer, had lost most of his fortune during the Revolutionary War. She was the daughter of Lawrence Kortright, an officer in the British army who had made his fortune privateering during the French & Indian War, & his wife Hannah Aspinwall.

James Monroe

After a brief honeymoon out on Long Island, the newlyweds rode back to New York City to live with her father, until the Continental Congress adjourned. The Monroes returned to Virginia, where he had graduated from the College of William & Mary, & promptly started a family.

Elizabeth & the girls followed Monroe to Paris, when President George Washington appointed him ambassador to France in 1794. There, he & Elizabeth became enthusiastic Francophiles. Elizabeth, with her sophisticated social graces, adapted easily to European society. The French aristocracy referred to her as "la belle americaine."

The violent fallout of the French Revolution marred the Monroes' sojourn in France. Members of the aristocracy whom the Monroes befriended were increasingly falling prey to the rebels' guillotine. In 1795, Elizabeth succeeded in obtaining the prison release of the wife of the Marquis de Lafayette, the dashing Frenchman who had served on Washington's staff during the American Revolution.

Elizabeth Monroe by John Vanderlyn

When Monroe's term as ambassador ended in 1796, he brought his family back to America & settled on the Oak Hill plantation in Virginia. For the next 15 years, he shuttled his family between stints in Virginia political office & the occasional foreign appointment. In 1811, Monroe accepted President James Madison's offer to serve as U.S. secretary of state. Six years later, Monroe himself was elected president from 1817-1825.

During their 1st year in Washington, the Monroes lived in temporary lodgings until the White House, which had been destroyed by the British during the War of 1812, was repaired. As first lady, Elizabeth, usually very social, deferred to her husband's wishes to minimize White House social events. He & Elizabeth both deplored the opulent displays of the previous first lady, Dolley Madison, preferring more private, stately affairs modeled after European society. The White House social life was also curtailed by Elizabeth's declining health. Washingtonians, worrying about being seen with the powerful even back then, mistook the lack of White House social events for snobbery.

James Monroe by Gilbert Stuart

Just after he assumed off, in June 1817, President Monroe embarked on a "Goodwill Tour" of the United States. Paying expenses out of his own pocket, the new president was greeted by cheering crowds & treated to celebratory picnics, dinners, & receptions in every city he visited. After touring New York, Philadelphia, & Baltimore, Monroe stopped in Boston, where a newspaper hailed his visit as the beginning of an “ERA OF GOOD FEELINGS.” Despite this phrase, while in the White House, the Monroes endured the depression called the  Panic of 1819 & a fierce national debate over the admission of the Missouri Territory. Monroe is most noted for his proclamation of the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, which stated that the United States would not tolerate further European intervention in the Americas.

James Monroe, painted by Rembrandt Peale about 1824-1825

To add to James Monroe's woes, his beloved Elizabeth died in 1830, at the age of 62. According to the family, Monroe burned 40 years' worth of their intimate correspondence. Upon Elizabeth's death in 1830, Monroe moved to New York City, to live with his daughter Maria Hester Monroe Gouverneur who had married Samuel L. Gouverneur in the White House.

Monday, January 18, 2021

19C American Women - New England ladies by Ethan Allen Greenwood 1779-1856

Ethan Allen Greenwood (American artist, 1779-1856) An Older Woman

Portrait painter & lawyer Ethan Allen Greenwood attended school at the Academy at New Salem, & the Leicester Academy, before heading for college. He graduated from Dartmouth & attended Columbia College, where he studied law.

Ethan Allen Greenwood (American artist, 1779-1856) Ann Gewyer Amory

In 1806, after he graduated from Dartmouth College; & he trained under artist Edward Savage, whose New York museum he bought from Savage's son in 1918. Greenwood produced perhaps as many as 800 portraits using the physiognotrace technique. By 1813, he was keeping a studio in Boston, & associating with other artists, including Gilbert Stuart.

Ethan Allen Greenwood (American artist, 1779-1856) Eunice Hardin

His New England Museum enjoyed considerable popularity. Greenwood also established museum branches in Portland, Maine, & Providence, Rhode Island. However around 1834-1839, he experienced financial difficulties, & as a result his assignees conveyed the collections of the New England Museum to Moses Kimball.

Ethan Allen Greenwood (American artist, 1779-1856) Harriet Hawking

Following the death of his father in 1827, Greenwood returned to his hometown of Hubbardston, MA, where he entered politics.  He married Caroline Carter Warren in 1829, & built a large house on the family homestead.

 Ethan Allen Greenwood (American artist, 1779-1856) Martha Bridgham

The Barre Patriot newspaper reported in July of 1849, "The large mansion house of the Hon. Ethan A Greenwood, of Hubbardston,was entirely consume d by fire on Friday, July 13, between the hours of eight & ten. All of the barns & other buildings, some half dozen in number we learn, together with 25 tons of hay, 160 bushels of grain, twowagons, a cart, & many farming tools were likewise consumed. The house was situated some two or three miles from the village & was not inhabited at the time of the fire. It was without doubt the work of an incendiary. The loss is said to be about $5000, - insurance $1500. Since writing the above we learn that an Irishman formerly in the employ of Mr Greenwood has been arrested on suspicion of having fired the buildings. Some difficulty had arisen between him & Mr Greenwood, & he had threatened retribution."

Ethan Allen Greenwood (American artist, 1779-1856) Mrs Prescott

Greenwood died in Hubbardston in May of 1856.

Ethan Allen Greenwood (American artist, 1779-1856) Rebecca Tufts Whittemore

Ethan Allen Greenwood (American artist, 1779-1856) Sally Reed Sessions

Ethan Allen Greenwood (American artist, 1779-1856) Sally Shurtleff (Mrs Benjamin Shurtleff)

Ethan Allen Greenwood (American artist, 1779-1856) Sarah Ward Brigham

Ethan Allen Greenwood (American artist, 1779-1856) Woman in Blue Dress

Ethan Allen Greenwood (American artist, 1779-1856) Zillah Chenery Abbott

Saturday, January 16, 2021

German-born American artist Raphael Strauss (1830—1901)


This portrait of 2 children near the banks of the Ohio River is my favorite painting by Raphael Strauss who worked in the United States during the last half of the 19th century. Strauss was born in Bavaria. He sailed to the United States & was married to Caroline Baermann in 1858. They lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was vice president of the Cincinnati Art Club & was listed in the city directory for more than 20 years.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Before the I Phone...

Alexander Graham Bell & the 1876 Telephone

On March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell made the 1st telephone call in his Boston laboratory, summoning his assistant from the next room.

In Scotland, Bell was born into a family of speech instructors, plus his mother & his wife both had hearing impairments.

As Professor of Vocal Physiology at Boston University in 1875, on a device to send multiple telegraph signals over the same wire by using harmonics, Bell reported that he heard a twang, which led him to investigate whether his electrical apparatus could be used to transmit the sound of a human voice.

Bell's journal, now at the Library of Congress, contains the following entry for March 10, 1876:  "I then shouted into M [the mouthpiece] the following sentence: "Mr. Watson, come here -- I want to see you." To my delight he came and declared that he had heard and understood what I said.

Bell continued in his journal, "I asked him to repeat the words. He answered, "You said 'Mr. Watson -- come here -- I want to see you.'" We then changed places and I listened at S [the speaker], while Mr. Watson read a few passages from a book into the mouthpiece M. It was certainly the case that articulate sounds proceeded from S. The effect was loud but indistinct & muffled.  Watson's journal, however, says the famous quote was: "Mr. Watson come here I want you."

That disagreement, though, is trifling compared to the long controversy over whether Bell truly invented the telephone.  During the 19th century, the development of the modern telephone involved an array of lawsuits founded upon the patent claims of several individuals.  Another inventor, Elisha Gray, was working on a similar device, & recent books claim that Bell not only stole Gray's ideas, but may even have bribed a patent inspector to let him sneak a look at Gray's filing. After years of litigation, Bell's patents eventually withstood challenges from Gray & others.

When telephone exchanges were first established, the companies primarily employed men to act as the operators. However, many of the young boys initially employed proved to be untrustworthy, likely to play pranks whilst on the phone and not connecting the phone lines correctly. This resulted in the telephone becoming one of the first businesses to extensively employ women. In America, Emma Nutt became the world's first female operator, working at the telephone exchange in Boston. Customers were reported to have been so pleased by Nutt's voice that over time, the early phone operating profession became strictly women-only.

Early American telephone exchange

Early telephone exchange in Paris


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

19C American Women - Rembrandt Peale (American painter, 1778-1860)

Rembrandt Peale (American painter, 1778-1860) Portrait of Harriet Cany Peale 1840
Rembrandt Peale (1778–1860) was an artist & museum keeper. Rembrandt Peale was born the 3rd of 6 surviving children (11 had died) to his mother, Rachel Brewer, & artist father, Charles Willson Peale in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The father taught all of his children the general arts & science & to paint scenery & portraits.
Rembrandt Peale (American painter, 1778-1860) The Sisters (Eleanor and Rosalba Peale)

Rembrandt began drawing at the age of 8 but left his father‘s instruction at 13, a year after his mother’s death & father’s remarriage. Peale visited Europe several times to study art especially Paris, where he studied the neoclassical style.
Rembrandt Peale (American painter, 1778-1860) Rosalba Peale at a Window

Motivated by his father’s 1786 American Museum of Philadelphia, Peale opened his own museum in Baltimore. Peale painted over 600 paintings, concentrating on popular depictions of George Washington & Thomas Jefferson. But he also painted many 19th-century American women as well.
Rembrandt Peale (American painter, 1778-1860) Rosalba Peale 1820

Rembrandt & his wife Eleanor May Short had 9 children: Rosalba, Eleanor, Sarah Miriam, Michael Angelo, & Emma Clara among them.  He taught his children to paint, just as his father taught him.  And he painted their portraits.
Rembrandt Peale (American painter, 1778-1860) Portrait of the Artist’s Wife Eleanor May Short Peale, ca. 1805.

Rembrandt Peale (American painter, 1778-1860) Olive Foote Lay

Rembrandt Peale (American painter, 1778-1860) Mary Denison, Later Mrs. Alexander C. Bullitt 1822

Rembrandt Peale (American painter, 1778-1860) Marie Wheelock Allen 1825

Rembrandt Peale (American painter, 1778-1860) Juliana Westray Wood

Rembrandt Peale (American painter, 1778-1860) Jane Griffith Koch 1817

Rembrandt Peale (American painter, 1778-1860) Helen Miller (Mrs. Charles G. McLean) 1806

Rembrandt Peale (American painter, 1778-1860) Dolley Madison

Rembrandt Peale (American painter, 1778-1860) Alida Livingston Armstrong and Daughter 1810.

Rembrandt Peale (American artist, 1778–1860) Caroline Louisa Pratt Bartlett

Rembrandt Peale (American artist, 1778–1860) Michael Angelo and Emma Clara Peale