Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935) Women in Gardens in France & America

Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935). Reading in the Garden at Villers le Be 1889
Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935). After Breakfast. 1887
Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935). Lilies.
Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935). Mrs Hassam in the Garden. 1896
Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935). Reading. Date Unknown
Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935). In a French Garden. 1897
Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935). The Artist's Wife in a Garden Villiers le Bel. 1889
Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935). Lady in the Park. 1897
Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935). Woman Cutting Roses in a Garden. 1888-89
Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935). In the Garden. ca 1888-89
Back to Maine!!! Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935). Lady in Flower Garden. ca 1891
And finally, Maine, of course. Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935). Celia Thaxter's Isles of Shoals Garden (also called The Garden in Its Glory) 1892.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

1824 On Doweries in America

James Fenimore Cooper, Notions of the Americans

1824 America's Lack of Doweries American lady would be very apt to distrust the affection that saw her charms through the medium of an estate. Indeed he mentioned one or two instances in which the gentleman had endeavoured to stipulate in advance for the dowries of their brides, and which had not only created a great deal of scandal in the coteries, but which had invariably been the means of defeating the matches, the father, or the daughter, finding, in each case, something particularly offensive in the proposition.

A lady of reputed fortune is a little more certain of matrimony than her less lucky rival, though popular opinion must be the gage of her possessions until the lover can claim a husband's rights; unless indeed the amorous swain should possess, as sometimes happens, secret and more authentic sources of information.

From all that I can learn, nothing is more common, however, than for young men of great expectations to connect themselves with females, commonly of their own condition in life, who are pennyless; or, on the other hand, for ladies to give their persons with one or two hundred thousand dollars, to men, who have nothing better to recommend them than education and morals.

Friday, May 14, 2021

1824 On American Women Traveling Alone

James Fenimore Cooper, Notions of the Americans

1824 On Women Traveling in America

There is something repugnant to the delicacy of American ideas in permitting a lady to come, in any manner in contact with the world. A woman of almost any rank above the labouring classes, is averse to expose herself to the usual collisions, bargainings & etc of ordinary travelling.

Thus, the first thing an American woman requires to commence a journey, is a suitable male escort; the very thing that with us would be exceptionable. Nothing is more common, for instance, when a husband or a brother hears that a respectable acquaintance is about to go in the same steam-boat, stage, or on the same route, as that in which his wife or sister intends to journey, than to request the former to become her protector. The request is rarely refused, and the trust is always considered flattering, and commonly sacred.

Here you see that the very custom which in Europe would create scandal, is here resorted to, under favour of good morals and directness of thought, to avert it. Cadwallader assures me that he was pained, and even shocked, at meeting well-bred women running about Europe attended only by a footman and a maid, and that for a long time he could not divest himself of the idea, that they were unfortunate in having lost all those male friends, whose natural duty it was to stand between their helplessness and the cold calculating selfishness of the world.

Monday, May 10, 2021

1824 Conversations of American Women Are More Reserved

James Fenimore Cooper, Notions of the Americans

1824 Reserved Conversations of American Women

There is another peculiarity in American manners that should be mentioned. You probably know that in England far more reserve is used, in conversation with a female, than in most, if not all of the nations of the continent. As, in all peculiar customs, each nation prefers its own usage; and while the English lady is shocked with the freedom with which the French lady converses of her personal feelings, ailings, &c., the latter turns the nicety of the former into ridicule...the women of America, of all classes, are much more reserved and guarded in their discourse, at least in presence of our sex, than even the women of the country whence they derive their origin...

The vast majority of the men like it, because they are used to no other custom. Many, who have got a taste of European usages, condemn it as over-fastidious; but my friend Cadwallader, who is not ignorant of life in both hemispheres, worships it, as constituting one of the distinctive and appropriate charms of the sex. He stoutly maintains, that the influence of woman is more felt and revered in American society than in any other; and he argues, with no little plausibility, that it is so because, while she rarely or never exceeds the natural duties of her station, she forgets none of those distinctive features of her sex and character, which, by constantly appealing to the generosity of man by admitting he physical weakness, give strength and durability to her moral ascendancy.

I think, at all events, no intelligent traveler can journey through this country without being struck by the singular air of decency and self-respect which belongs to all its women, and no honest foreigner can deny the kindness and respect they receive from the men.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

1824 On Chaperones for American Women

James Fenimore Cooper, Notions of the Americans

1824 About the Custom of Chaperones for Women

Because American women are very reserved in conversation, "you will readily perceive that the free intercourse between the unmarried is at once deprived of half its danger.

"But the upper classes in this country are far from neglecting many necessary forms. As they have more to lose by matrimonial connections than others, common prudence teaches them the value of a proper caution.

"Thus a young lady never goes in public without the eye of some experienced matron to watch her movements. She cannot appear at a play, ball, etc. without a father, or a brother, at least it is thought far more delicate and proper that shc should have a female guardian.

She never rides nor walks - unless in the most public place, and then commonly with great reserve - attended by a single man, unless indeed under circustances of a peculiar nature. In short, she pursues that course which rigid delicacy would prescribe, without however betraying any marked distrust of the intentions of the other sex.

These customs are relaxed a little as you descend in the scale of society; but it is evidently more because the friends of a girl with ten or twenty thousand dollars, or of a family in middle life, have less jealousy of motive than those of one who is, rich, or otherwise of a particularly desirable connection."

Sunday, May 2, 2021

1824 Gentlemen - Always Avoid Using the Language of Idle Gallantry

James Fenimore Cooper, Notions of the Americans

1824 Beware of Using the Language of Idle Gallantry

The language of gallantry is never tolerated. A married woman would conceive it an insult, and a girl would be exceedingly apt to laugh in her adorer's face. In order that it should be favourably received, it is necessary that the former should be prepared to forget her virtue, and to the latter, whether sincere or not, it is an absolute requisite that all adulation should at least wear the semblance of sincerity.

But he who addresses an unmarried female in this language, whether it be of passion or only feigned, must expect to be exposed, and probably disgraced, unless he should be prepared to support his sincerity by an offer of his hand. I think I see you tremble at the magnitude of the penalty!

I do not mean to say that idle pleasantries, such as are mutually understood to be no more than pleasantries, are not sometimes tolerated; but an American female is exceedingly apt to assume a chilling gravity at the slightest trespass on what she believes, and between ourselves, rightly believes to be the dignity of her sex. Here, you will perceive, is a saving custom, and one, too, that it is exceedingly hazardous to infringe, which diminishes one half of the ordinary dangers of the free communication between the young of the two sexes.

Without doubt, when the youth has once made his choice, he endeavours to secure an interest in the affections of the chosen fair, by all those nameless assiduities and secret sympathies, which, though they appear to have produced no visible fruits, cannot be unknown to one of your established susceptibility.

These attractions lead to love; and love, in this country, nineteen times in twenty, leads to matrimony.

But pure, heartfelt affection, rarely exhibits itself in the language of gallantry. The latter is no more than a mask, which pretenders assume and lay aside at pleasure; but when the heart is really touched, the tongue is at best but a miserable interpreter of its emotion; I have always ascribed our own forlorn condition to the inability of that mediating member to do justice to the strength of emotions that are seemingly as deep, as they are frequent.