Tuesday, June 29, 2021

1803 Washington DC - History of 19C Capitol Hill

On this day in 1802, Washington DC was incorporated as a city. And it is a great opportunity to look at the development of the gardens around the White House and the United States Capitol.

Classical Temple Dedicated to Liberty, Justice, and Peace. James Trenchard. Temple of Liberty. The Columbian Magazine, (Philadelphia) 1788, Library of Congress.

Below this engraving was written,

"Behold a Fabric now to Freedom rear'd,
Approved by friends, and ev'n Foes rever'd,
Where Justice, too, and Peace, by us ador'd,
Shall heal each Wrong, and keep ensheath'd the Sword,
Approach then, Concord, fair Columbia's Son,
And faithful Clio, write that "We Are One."

In 1788, Philadelphia's Columbian Magazine published an engraving by James Trenchard called the Temple of Liberty. Trenchard, born in 1746, at Penns Neck in Salem County, New Jersey, was an engraver & seal cutter in Philadelphia, and the artist for many of the plates for the Columbian Magazine, whose circulation was the largest of any 18th century magazine published in America.

The engraving of a classical temple building depicts statues on the roof, including Libertas (liberty), Justicia or Themis (justice), & Ceres (peace). Libertas is at the peak with the others on the corners. In the background a rising sun radiating beams of light with one shining upon Libertas holding her staff & freedom cap. Emerging from the pure, bright sunlight in the distance is the new nation--lady Columbia with an eagle headdress. Standing below is Concordia holding a horn of plenty; Columbia's winged son holding a scroll with CONSTITUTION written on it; and Clio, the muse of history, beginning to write the history of the new nation. Scrolling across the front of the classical temple are the words: SACRED TO LIBERTY, JUSTICE AND PEACE.

While studying 18th century buildings which were sited on the highest prospect, I kept running into depictions of the United States Capitol building, America's Temple of Liberty.

Dr. William Thornton [Sketch of Section of Monument and Conference Room], c. 1797 Prints and Photographs Division Library of Congress. Thornton's drawings and concept won the contest to design the capitol.

Built on what came to be called Capitol Hill, its grounds changed greatly over the first half of the 19th century. I thought you might enjoy seeing the various depictions of the changing landscape.

Dr. William Thornton [East Elevation for North Wing], 1795-1797 Prints and Photographs Division Library of Congress.

Fierce competition over the site of the capital city had raged for years, reaching its height during the First Federal Congress, in New York between 1789 - 1790.

Dr. William Thornton [Plan of Ground Story of the Capitol,] c. 1795-1797 Prints and Photographs Division Library of Congress.

The always clever Alexander Hamilton helped broker a compromise in which the federal government would assume the war debt incurred during the Revolution, in exchange for support from northern states for locating the capital further south than New York or Philadelphia.

Dr. William Thornton's winning plan for the Capitol of the United States of America.

The compromise between the advocates for the North and those favoring a Southern location ended the feuding by agreeing on a nearly neutral location on the Potomac River, equidistant between North & South, and easily defended. (It had been George Washington's choice all along, and it was Hamilton's goal to please the General.)

c 1800 A View of the Capitol of Washington Watercolor by William Birch.

The agreement called for a 100-square mile federal district to be located somewhere along the Potomac River at a site to be chosen by fellow river-property owner, George Washington. Washington picked the junction of the Potomac & Anacostia Rivers. He then chose Pierre Charles L'Enfant, a military artist who had served under him at Valley Forge, to design the new federal city.

An 1801 View of George Town and the Federal City, or the City of Washington before its development into the federal city. Color aquatint by T. Cartwright of London after George Beck of Philadelphia. Published by Atkins & Nightingale of London and Philadelphia.

The Capitol of the United States crowns what was then Jenkins Hill in Washington, D.C., and houses the legislative branch of government, the House of Representatives & the Senate.

1806 Benjamin Latrobe View of the Capitol of the United States.

Pierre Charles L'Enfant chose Jenkins Hill as the site for the United States Capitol building, which rose 88 feet above the Potomac River, and sat 1 mile from the White House. L'Enfant declared, it "stands as a pedestal waiting for a monument."

A view of the still undeveloped East Branch of Potomac River at Washington. Watercolor by August Kollner (1813-1906) in 1839.

"Jenkins Hill" was owned at that time by the well-to-do Marylander Daniel Carroll of Duddington, and it stood on a tract of land originally known by the more classically-inspired name of "New Troy."

1814 George Munger (1781-1825). United States Capitol after the British burned the capitol.

Thomas Jefferson came up with the name Capitol Hill, consciously invoking the famous temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitoline Hill in ancient Rome. The building would be America's Temple of Liberty.

Depiction of the United States Capitol before the fire of 1814.

George Washinton & his allies wanted buildings that would embody the nation's hoped-for future. "In our Idea the Capitol ought in point of prosperity to be on a grand Scale, and that a Republic especially ought not to be sparing of expenses on an Edifice for such purposes."

1815 1st known depiction of the Capitol in Relation to Its Grounds by Benjamin Henry Latrobe [Plan of the Mall and the Capitol Grounds], Geography and Map Division Library of Congress.

The 1792 competition for its design was won by Dr. William Thornton (1759–1828), a physcian & an amateur architect, with a proposal for a Palladian-inspired building featuring a central domed rotunda flanked by the Senate & House wings.

Watercolor Presented to Marquis de Lafayette to Commemorate His 1824 Visit to Capitol. Charles Burton's West Front of the Capitol of the United States. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

President George Washington, dressed in masonic attire, laid the cornerstone in 1793, in a masonic ceremony.

1828 Contrast Between the Temple of Liberty and Nearby Log Cabins by John Rubens Smith. [West Front of the Capitol]. Prints and Photographs Division Library of Congress.

Construction proceeded slowly under a succession of architects, including Stephen Hallet (1793), George Hadfield (1795-98) and James Hoban (1798-1802), architect of the White House, who completed the Senate wing in 1800.

1830-40 Early Perspective Drawing of Completed Capitol Attributed to George Strickland [Perspective drawing of the Capitol from the Northeast,] In the Collection of the Architect of the Capitol.

Though the building was incomplete, the Capitol held its first session of United States Congress on November 17, 1800.

Das Capitol in Washington. Steel engraving by E. Gr├╝nenwald after an earlier drawing by H. Brown. Published in 1851.

Benjamin Latrobe took over in 1803; by 1811 he had renovated the Senate wing and completed the House wing.

1839 Capitol Overlooks Pastoral Landscape by Russell Smith. Capitol from Mr. Elliot's Garden. In the Collection of the Architect of the Capitol.

Benjamin Latrobe first considered the Capitol building in relation to its grounds and made a watercolor of the possible landscape design in 1815.

1839 Charles Fenderich's Elevation of the Eastern Front of the Capitol of the United States.

The Senate wing was completed in 1800, while the House wing was completed in 1811. However, the House of Representatives moved into the House wing in 1807.

August Kollner (1813-1906). West Front of the United States Capitol. New York: Goupil, Vibert, & Co., 1839. Library of Congress.

The Capitol was burned by British troops in 1814; and in the following year, Latrobe began its reconstruction and redesign.

1840 W.H. Bartlett's Ascent to the Capitol in Nathaniel P. Willis, American Scenery, vol. 1. London Virtue.

Boston architect Charles Bullfinch succeeded him in 1818; and completed the building, with only slight modifications of Latrobe's master plan, in 1830.

1840 W.H. Bartlett's View of the Capitol at Washington in Nathaniel P. Willis, American Scenery, vol. 1. London Virtue.

By 1837, the Washington Guide reported, The Capitol Square has been enlarged to the west, by taking in that part of the Mall extending from the circular road to First street, west; making about eight acres additional. This space has been properly graded and planted with trees and shrubs by Mr. James Maher, the public gardener:—the other part of the square was planted by the late John Foy, a man of excellent talents and taste. A good substantial stone wall, surmounted by an iron-railing, surrounds the whole square. When the walks are completed, and the water-fountains arranged, this square will afford the most beautiful and healthful walks: a subject well deserving public attention.

1839 South Gateway of the Capitol at Washington, D.C. showing stone walls & iron rails. Gray and sepia wash drawing by August Kollner (1813-1906).

The Capitol Grounds cover approximately 274 acres, with the grounds proper consisting mostly of lawns, walkways, streets, drives, and planting areas.

Daguerreotype by John C. Plumbe, Jr., taken about 1846, is the earliest known photographic image of the Capitol. Library of Congress.

Finally, on June 23, 1874, Congress passed an act making Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) the first landscape architect of the United States Capitol.

Arieal view of the United States Capitol.

The neoclassical Capitol building (or as Pierre L'Enfant called it in 1791--Congress House) has housed the legislative chambers of the U.S. Congress since 1800, and was home to the U.S. Supreme Court from 1800 until 1935. Presidential inaugurations are traditionally held here, the physical symbol of the United States of America, the Temple of Liberty.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

The Dreaded Dentist


I had a tooth pulled Monday, and I am still regretting it. Today Accessible Archives posted this 1859 notice.

June 18, 1859, Vincennes Indiana Gazette

Notice. - A couple of men whom I believe to be downright imposters , and who call themselves by the name of Jones, have been traveling about over this country pretending to be dentists , and circulating the report that I had left. Now this is a falsehood, I am here yet and intend remaining here.

The public is informed that I may be found at my office one door north of Van Trees' store.

The persons referred to, know nothing about the profession, and mutilate most horribly, all on whom they operate. I believe them to be impostors of the most dangerous kind. Look out for them.

J.A. DALE. Washington, Indiana Washington Telegraph

Friday, June 25, 2021

1830 On Frugality and Economy in Housekeeping

Lydia Maria Francis Child
The Frugal Housewife - Dedicated to Those Who Are Not Ashamed of Economy 2nd Edition To Which is Added Hints to Persons of Moderate Fortune
Boston: Carter and Hendee. 1830

Introduction to Frugality and Economy

THE true economy of housekeeping is simply the art of gathering up all the fragments, so that nothing be lost. I mean fragments, of time, as well as materials. Nothing should be thrown away so long as it is possible to make any use of it, however trifling that use may be; and whatever be the size of a family, every member should be employed either in earning, or saving money.

'Time is money.' For this reason, cheap as stockings are, it is good economy to knit them. Cotton and woollen yarn are both cheap; hose that are knit wear twice as long as woven ones; and they can be done at odd minutes of time, which would not be otherwise employed! Where there are children, or aged people, it is sufficient to recommend knitting that it is an employment.

In this point of view, patchwork is good economy. It is indeed a foolish waste of time to tear cloth into bits for the sake of arranging it anew in fantastic figures; but a large family may be kept out of idleness, and a few shillings saved by thus using scraps of gowns, curtains, &c.

In the country, where grain is raised, it is a good plan to teach children to prepare and braid straw for their own bonnets, and their brothers' hats.

Where turkeys and geese are kept, handsome feather fans may as well be made by the younger members of a family, as to be bought. The earlier children are taught to turn their faculties to some account, the better for them and for their parents.

In this country, we are apt to let children romp away their existence, till they get to be thirteen, or fourteen. This is not well.--It is not well for the purses and patience of parents; and it has a still worse effect on the morals and habits of the children. Begin early is the great maxim for everything in education. A child of six years old can be made useful; and should be taught to consider every day lost in which some little thing has not been done to assist others.

Children can very early be taught to take all the care of their own clothes.

They can knit garters, suspenders, and stockings; they can make patchwork and braid straw; they can make mats for the table, and mats for the floor; they can weed the garden, and pick cranberries from the meadow, to be carried to market.

Provided brothers and sisters go together, and are not allowed to go with bad children, it is a great deal better for the boys and girls on a farm to be picking blackberries at six cents a quart, than to be wearing out their clothes in useless play. They enjoy themselves just as well; and they are earning something to buy clothes, at the same time they are tearing them.

It is wise to keep an exact account of all you expend--even of a paper of pins. This answers two purposes; it makes you more careful in spending money; and it enables your husband to judge precisely whether his family live within his income. No false pride, or foolish ambition to appear as well as others, should ever induce a person to live one cent beyond the income of which he is certain. If you have two dollars a day, let nothing but sickness induce you to spend more than nine shillings; if you save one dollar a day, do not spend but seventyfive cents; if you have half a dollar a day, be satisfied to spend forty cents.

To associate with influential and genteel people with an appearance of equality, unquestionably has its advantages; particularly where there is a family of sons and daughters just coming upon the theatre of life; but like all other external advantages, these have their proper price, and may be bought too dearly. They who never reserve a cent of their income, with which to meet any unforeseen calamity, 'pay too dear for their whistle,' whatever temporary benefits they may derive from society. Self-denial, in proportion to the narrowness of your income, will eventually be the happiest and most respectable course for you and yours. If you are prosperous, perseverance and industry will not fail to place you in such a situation as your ambition covets; and if you are not prosperous, it will be well for your children that they have not been educated to higher hopes than they will ever realize.

If you are about to furnish a house, do not spend all your money, be it much, or little. Do not let the beauty of this thing, and the cheapness of that, tempt you to buy unnecessary articles. Doctor Franklin's maxim was a wise one, 'nothing is cheap that we do not want.' Buy merely enough to get along with, at first. It is only by experience that you can tell what will be the wants of your family. If you spend all your money, you will find you have purchased many things you do not want, and have no means left to get many things, which you do want. If you have enough, and more than enough, to get everything suitable to your situation, do not think you must spend it all, merely because you happen to have it. Begin humbly. As riches increase, it is easy and pleasant to increase in hospitality and splendour; but it is always painful and inconvenient to decrease.

After all, these things are viewed in their proper light by the truly judicious and respectable. Neatness, tastefulness, and good sense, may be shown in the management of a small household, and the arrangement of a little furniture, as well as upon a larger scale; and these qualities are always praised, and always treated with respect and attention. The consideration which many purchase by living beyond their income, and of course living upon others, is not worth the trouble it costs. The glare there is about this false and wicked parade is deceptive; it does not in fact procure a man valuable friends, or extensive influence. More than that, it is wrong--morally wrong, so far as the individual is concerned; and injurious beyond calculation to the interests of our country. To what are the increasing beggary, and discouraged exertions of the present period owing? A multitude of causes have no doubt tended to increase the evil; but the root of the whole matter is the extravagance of all classes of people! We never shall be prosperous, till we make pride and vanity yield to the dictates of honesty and prudence! We never shall be free from embarrassment, until we cease to be ashamed of industry and economy! Let women do their share towards reformation--Let their fathers and husbands see them happy without finery; and if their husbands and fathers have (as is often the case) a foolish pride in seeing them decorated, let them gently and gradually check this feeling, by showing that they have better and surer means of commanding respect--Let them prove by the exertion of ingenuity and economy, that neatness, good taste, and gentility, are attainable without great expense.

The writer has no apology to offer for this cheap little book, of economical hints, except her deep conviction that such a book is needed. In this case, renown is out of the question; and ridicule is a matter of indifference.

The information conveyed is of a common kind; but it is such as the majority of young housekeepers do not possess, and such as they cannot obtain from cookery books. Books of this kind have usually been written for the wealthy: I have written for the poor! I have said nothing about rich cooking; those who can afford to be epicures will find the best of information in the 'Seventyfive Receipts.' I have attempted to teach how money can be saved, not how it can be enjoyed. If any persons think some of the maxims too rigidly economical,--let them inquire how the largest fortunes among us have been made. They will find thousands and millions have been accumulated, by a scrupulous attention to sums 'infinitely more minute than sixty cents.'

In early childhood, you lay the foundation of poverty or riches, in the habits you give your children.--Teach them to save everything,--not for their own use, for that would make them selfish--but for some use. Teach them to share everything with their playmates; but never allow them to destroy anything.

I once visited a family where the most exact economy was observed; yet nothing was mean, or uncomfortable. It is the character of true economy to be as comfortable and genteel with a little, as others can be with much. In this family, when the father brought home a package, the older children would, of their own accord, put away the paper and twine neatly, instead of throwing them in the fire, or tearing them to pieces. If the little ones wanted a piece of twine to play scratch-cradle, or spin a top, there it was, in readiness; and when they threw it upon the floor, the older children had no need to be told to put it again in its place.

The other day, I heard a mechanic say, 'I have a wife and two little children; we live in a very small house; but, to save my life, I cannot spend less than twelve hundred a year.' Another replied, 'You are not economical; I spend but eight hundred.' I thought to myself,--'Neither of you pick up your twine and paper.' A third one, who was present, was silent; but after they were gone, he said, 'I keep house, and comfortably too, with a wife and children, for six hundred a year; but I suppose they would have thought me mean, if I had told them so.' I did not think him mean; it merely occurred to me that his wife and children were in the habit of picking up paper and twine.

Economy is generally despised as a low virtue, tending to make people ungenerous and selfish. This is true of avarice; but it is not so of economy. The man who is economical, is laying up for himself the permanent power of being useful and generous.--He who thoughtlessly gives away ten dollars, when he owes a hundred more than he can pay, deserves no praise,--he obeys a sudden impulse, more like instinct than reason: it would be real charity to check this feeling; because the good he does may be doubtful, while the injury he does his family and creditors is certain. True economy is a careful treasurer in the service of benevolence; and where they are united, respectability, prosperity, and peace will follow.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

On Quilts & Uncle Tom - Harriet Beecher Stowe 1811-1896

Harriet Beecher Stowe; 1853 portrait by Alanson Fisher

Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly was the most popular American book of the 19th century. First published serially in the National Era magazine (1851- 1852), it was an immediate success. Forty different publishers printed it in England alone, and it was quickly translated into 20 languages, receiving the praise of such authors as Georges Sand in France, Heinrich Heine in Germany, and Ivan Turgenev in Russia. Its passionate appeal for an end to slavery in the United States inflamed the debate that, within a decade, led to the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865).

Reasons for the success of Uncle Tom's Cabin are obvious. It reflected the idea that slavery in the United States, the nation that purportedly embodied democracy and equality for all, was an injustice of colossal proportions. Stowe herself was a perfect representative of old New England Puritan stock. Her father, brother, and husband all were well- known, learned Protestant clergymen and reformers. Stowe conceived the idea of the novel -- in a vision of an old, ragged slave being beaten -- as she participated in a church service. Later, she said that the novel was inspired and "written by God." Her motive was the religious passion to reform life by making it more godly. The Romantic period had ushered in an era of feeling: The virtues of family and love reigned supreme.

Stowe's novel attacked slavery precisely because it violated domestic values.
Uncle Tom, the slave and central character, is a true Christian martyr who labors to convert his kind master, St. Clare, prays for St. Clare's soul as he dies, and is killed defending slave women. Slavery is depicted as evil not for political or philosophical reasons but mainly because it divides families, destroys normal parental love, and is inherently un-Christian. The most touching scenes show an agonized slave mother unable to help her screaming child and a father sold away from his family. These were crimes against the sanctity of domestic love.
Stowe's novel was not originally intended as an attack on the South; in fact, Stowe had visited the South, liked southerners, and portrayed them kindly. Southern slave owners are good masters and treat Tom well. St. Clare personally abhors slavery and intends to free all of his slaves. The evil master Simon Legree, on the other hand, is a northerner and the villain. Ironically, the novel was meant to reconcile the North and South, which were drifting toward the Civil War a decade away. Ultimately, though, the book was used by abolitionists and others as a polemic against the South.

Harriet Beecher Stowe
The Minister's Wooing, Derby and Jackson, 1859

The Quilting

Harriet Beecher Stowe tells of Mary and her intended preacher husband and an 1859 New England tradition for brides-to-be...

The quilting was in those days considered the most solemn and important recognition of a betrothal. And for the benefit of those not to the manner born, a little preliminary instruction may be necessary.

The good wives of New England, impressed with that thrifty orthodoxy of economy which forbids to waste the merest trifle, had a habit of saving every scrap clipped out in the fashioning of household garments, and these they cut into fanciful patterns and constructed of them rainbow shapes and quaint traceries, the arrangement of which became one of their few fine arts. Many a maiden, as she sorted and arranged fluttering bits of green, yellow, red, and blue, felt rising in her breast a passion for somewhat vague and unknown, which came out at length in a new pattern of patchwork. Collections of these tiny fragments were always ready to fill an hour when there was nothing else to do; and as the maiden chattered with her beau, her busy flying needle stitched together those pretty bits, which, little in themselves, were destined, by gradual unions and accretions, to bring about at last substantial beauty, warmth, and comfort,—emblems thus of that household life which is to be brought to stability and beauty by reverent economy in husbanding and tact in arranging the little useful and agreeable morsels of daily existence.

When a wedding was forthcoming, there was a solemn review of the stores of beauty and utility thus provided, and the patchwork-spread best worthy of such distinction was chosen for the quilting. Thereto, duly summoned, trooped all intimate female friends of the bride, old and young; and the quilt being spread on a frame, and wadded with cotton, each vied with the others in the delicacy of the quilting she could put upon it. For the quilting also was a fine art, and had its delicacies and nice points, — which grave elderly matrons discussed with judicious care. The quilting generally began at an early hour in the afternoon, and ended at dark with a great supper and general jubilee, at which that ignorant and incapable sex which could not quilt was allowed to appear and put in claims for consideration of another nature...

By two o'clock a goodly company began to assemble... Good Mrs. Jones, broad, expansive, and solid, having vegetated tranquilly on in the cabbage-garden of the virtues since three years ago, when she graced our teaparty, was now as well preserved as ever, and brought some fresh butter, a tin pail of cream, and a loaf of cake made after a new Philadelphia receipt.

The quilt-pattern was gloriously drawn in oakleaves, done in indigo; and soon all the company, young and old, were passing busy fingers over it and conversation went on briskly.

At the quilting, Madame de Frontignac would have her seat, and soon won the respect of the party by the dexterity with which she used her needle; though, when it was whispered that she learned to quilt among the nuns, some of the elderly ladies exhibited a slight uneasiness, as being rather doubtful whether they might not be encouraging Papistical opinions by allowing her an equal share in the work of getting up their minister's bed-quilt...

This speech was founded on a tradition, current in those times, that no young lady was fit to be married til she could construct a boiled Indian pudding of such consistency that it could be thrown up chimney and come down on the ground, outside, without breaking...

"Girls a'n't what they used to be in my day," remarked an elderly lady. "I remember my mother told me when she was thirteen she could knit a long cotton stocking in a day."

"I haven't much faith in these stories of old times, — have you, girls?" said Cerinthy, appealing to the younger members at the frame.

"At any rate," said Mrs. Twitchel, "our minister's wife will be a pattern; I don't know anybody that goes beyond her either in spinning or fine stitching."

Mary sat as placid and disengaged as the new moon, and listened to the chatter of old and young with the easy quietness of a young heart that has early outlived life, and looks on everything in the world from some gentle, restful eminence far on towards a better home. She smiled at everybody's word, had a quick eye for everybody's wants, and was ready with thimble, scissors, or thread, whenever any one needed them...

The husbands, brothers, and lovers had come in, and the scene was redolent of gayety. When Mary made her appearance, there was a moment's pause, till she was conducted to the side of the Doctor; when, raising his hand, he invoked a grace upon the loaded board.

Unrestrained gayeties followed. Groups of young men and maidens chatted together, and all the gallantries of the times were enacted. Serious matrons commented on the cake, and told each other high and particular secrets in the culinary art, which they drew from remote family-archives. One might have learned in that instructive assembly how best to keep moths out of blankets,— how to make fritters of Indian corn undistinguishable from oysters, — how to bring up babies by hand, — how to mend a cracked teapot, — how to take out grease from a brocade, — how to reconcile absolute decrees with free will, how to make five yards of cloth answer the purpose of six,— and how to put down the Democratic party. All were busy, earnest, and certain,—just as a swarm of men and women, old and young, are in 1859.

Vain, transitory splendors! Even this evening, so glorious, so heart-cheering, so fruitful in instruction and amusement, could not last forever. Gradually the company broke up; the matrons mounted soberly on horseback behind their spouses....

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Why is June 19th celebrated as Juneteenth?

Celebrating Juneteenth in Austin, Texas on June 19, 1900 (Austin Public Library)

June 19th marks 2 anniversaries.  On June 19, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law a bill that was passed by both the House and Senate declaring,

"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That from and after the passage of this act there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in any of the Territories of the United States now existing, or which may at any time hereafter be formed or acquired by the United States, otherwise than in punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”
Martha and Pinkie Yates in a buggy decorated for the annual Juneteenth celebration in front 319 Robin St. in the Fourth Ward (c.1895-1905). (Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library)

This law would ban slavery in the existing & future federal territories of the United States. The federal law followed the April, 1862 emancipation of the slaves in the District of Columbia. It preceded the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, & the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which was passed by Congress on January 31, 1865 & ratified on December 6, 1865.
Major General Gordon Granger

On June 19, 1865, a declaration was made in Galveston, Texas by Union Army Major General Gordon Granger stating that:

"The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer."
Emancipation Day celebration in Richmond, Virginia, ca. 1905.

Despite the fact that the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued 2 1/2 years earlier & the 13th Amendment was awaiting ratification by the states.  The pronouncement, during this period of legal limbo for slaves, was greeted as a momentous occasion all the same. What has since been known as “Juneteenth,” this day marks the celebration of the end of slavery in the United States.
Juneteenth celebration in Eastwoods Park, Austin, 1900 (Austin History Center)

Thursday, June 17, 2021

1830 A Few Home Remedies for Ailments from the American Frugal Housewife

Lydia Maria Francis Child
The Frugal Housewife - Dedicated to Those Who Are Not Ashamed of Economy 2nd Edition To Which is Added Hints to Persons of Moderate Fortune
Boston: Carter and Hendee. 1830


Cotton wool wet with sweet oil and paregoric, relieves the ear-ache very soon.

A good quantity of old cheese is the best thing to eat, when distressed by eating too much fruit, or oppressed with any kind of food. Physicians have given it in cases of extreme danger.

Honey and milk is very good for worms; so is strong salt water; likewise powdered sage and molasses, taken freely.

For a sudden attack of quincy, or croup, bathe the neck with bear's grease, and pour it down the throat.
A linen rag soaked in sweet oil, butter, or lard, and sprinkled with yellow Scotch snuff, is said to have performed wonderful cures in cases of croup: it should be placed where the distress is greatest.

Cotton wool and oil, are the best things for a burn.

A poultice of wheat bran, or rye bran, and vinegar, very soon takes down the inflammation occasioned by a sprain. Brown paper wet is healing to a bruise. Dipped in molasses it is said to take down inflammation.

In case of any scratch, or wound, from which the lock-jaw is apprehended, bathe the injured part freely with lye, or pearl-ash and water.

A rind of pork bound upon a wound occasioned by a needle, pin, or nail, prevents the lock-jaw. It should be always applied. Spirits of turpentine is good to prevent the lock-jaw.

If you happen to cut yourself slightly while cooking, bind on some fine salt:
molasses is likewise good.

Black, or green tea steeped in boiling milk is excellent for the dysentery.  Cork burnt to charcoal, about as big as a hazle nut, macerated, and put in a tea-spoonful of brandy, with a little loaf sugar and nutmeg, is very efficacious in cases of dysentery and cholera-morbus. If nutmeg be wanting, peppermint water may be used. Flannel wet with brandy, powdered with Cayenne pepper, and laid upon the bowels, affords great relief in cases of extreme distress.

Dissolve as much table salt in keen vinegar, as will ferment and work clear. When the foam is discharged, cork it up in a bottle and put it away for use. A large spoonful of this in a gill of boiling water is very efficacious in cases of dysentery and cholic.

Whortleberries, commonly called huckleberries, dried, are a useful medicine for children. Made into tea and sweetened with molasses, they are very beneficial, when the system is in a restricted state, and the digestive powers out of order.

Blackberries are extremely useful in cases of dysentery. To eat the berries is very healthy; tea made of the root and leaves is beneficial; and a syrup made of the berries is still better. Blackberries have sometimes effected a cure when physicians despaired.

Loaf sugar and brandy relieve a sore throat; when very bad, it is good to inhale the steam of scalding hot vinegar through the tube of a tunnel. This should be tried carefully at first, lest the throat be scalded. For children, it should be allowed to cool a little.

A stocking bound on warm from the foot, at night, is good for the sore throat.

An ointment made from the common ground-worms, which boys dig to bait fishes, rubbed on with the hand is said to be excellent, when the sinews are drawn up by any disease, or accident.

A gentleman in Missouri advertises that he had an inveterate cancer upon his nose cured by a strong potash made of the lye of the ashes of red oak bark, boiled down to the consistence of molasses. The cancer was covered with this, and about an hour after covered with a plaster of tar. This must be removed in a few days, and if any protuberances remain in the wound, apply more potash to them, and the plaster again, until they entirely disappear: after which heal the wound with any common soothing salve. I never knew this to be tried.

If a wound bleeds very fast, and there is no physician at hand, cover it with the scrapings of sole-leather, scraped like coarse lint. This stops blood very soon. Always have vinegar, camphor, hartshorn, or something of that kind in readiness, as the sudden stoppage of blood almost always makes a person faint.

Balm-of-Gilead buds bottled up in N. E. rum, make the best cure in the world for fresh cuts and wounds. Every family should have a bottle of it. The buds should be gathered in a peculiar state; just when they are well swelled, ready to burst into leaves, and well covered with gum. They last but two or three days in this state.

Plantain and house-leek, boiled in cream, and strained before it is put away to cool, makes a very cooling, soothing ointment. Plantain leaves laid upon a wound are cooling and healing.

Half a spoonful of citric acid, (which may always be bought of the apothecaries,) stirred in half a tumbler of water is excellent for the head-ache.

Boiled potatoes are said to cleanse the hands as well as common soap; they prevent chops in the winter season, and keep the skin soft and healthy.

Water gruel, with three or four onions simmered in it, prepared with a lump of butter, pepper, and salt, eaten just before one goes to bed, is said to be a cure for a hoarse cold. A syrup made of horse-raddish root and sugar is excellent for a cold.

Very strong salt-and-water, when frequently applied has been known to cure wens.

The following poultice for the throat distemper, has been much approved in England. The pulp of a roasted apple, mixed with an ounce of tobacco, the whole wet with spirits of wine, or any other high spirits; spread on a linen rag, and bound upon the throat at any period of the disorder.

Nothing is so good to take down swellings, as a soft poultice of stewed white beans, put on in a thin muslin bag, and renewed every hour, or two.

The thin white skin which comes from suet, is excellent to bind upon the feet for chilblains.

Always apply laudanum to fresh wounds.

A poultice of elder-blow tea and biscuit is good as a preventative to mortification. The approach of mortification is generally shown by the formation of blisters filled with blood; water blisters are not alarming.

Burnt alum held in the mouth is good for the canker.

The common dark blue violet makes a slimy tea, which is excellent for the canker. Leaves and blossoms are both good. Those who have families should take some pains to dry these flowers.

When people have a sore mouth, from taking calomel, or any other cause, tea made of low-blackberry leaves is extremely beneficial.

Tea made of slippery elm is good for the piles, and for humors in the blood. To be drank plentifully.

Winter evergreen is considered good for all humors, particularly scrofula.
Some call it rheumatism-weed; because a tea made from it is supposed to check that painful disorder.

An ointment of lard, sulphur, and cream-of-tartar, simmered together, is good for the piles.

Elixir Proprietatis is a useful family medicine for all cases when the digestive powers are out of order. One ounce of saffron, one ounce of myrrh, and one ounce of aloes. Pulverize them; let the myrrh steep in half a pint of N. E. rum for four days; then add the saffron and aloes; let it stand in the sunshine, or in some warm place, for a fortnight; taking care to shake it well twice a day. At the end of the fortnight fill up the bottle, (a common sized one) with N. E. rum, and let it stand a month. It costs six times as much to buy it in small quantities, as it does to make it.

The constant use of malt beer, or malt in any way, is said to be a preservative against fevers.

Black cherry tree bark, barberry bark, mustard-seed, petty-morrel root, and horse-radish, well steeped in cider is excellent for the jaundice.

Cotton wool and oil, are the best things for a burn. When children are burned it is difficult to make them endure the application of cotton wool. I have known the inflammation of a very bad burn extracted in one night, by the constant application of brandy, vinegar, and water, mixed together. This feels cool and pleasant, and a few drops of paragoric will soon put the little sufferer to sleep. The bathing should be continued till the pain is gone.

A few drops of the oil of Cajput on cotton wool is said to be a great relief to the tooth-ache. It occasions a smart pain for a few seconds, when laid upon the defective tooth. Any apothecary will furnish it ready dropped, on cotton wool, for a few cents.

A poultice made of common chickweed, that grows about one's door in the country, has given great relief to the tooth-ache, when applied frequently to the cheek.

A spoonful of ashes stirred in cider is good to prevent sickness at the stomach. Physicians frequently order it in cases of cholera-morbus.

When a blister occasioned by a burn breaks, it is said to be a good plan to put wheat flower upon the naked flesh.

The buds of the elder bush, gathered in early spring, and immersed with new butter or sweet lard, makes a very healing and cooling ointment.

Friday, June 4, 2021

19C US Women Flower Sellers


Flowers are the mementoes of an earthly paradise. They are said to be “the alphabet of angels, whereby they write mysterious things”- the mysteries of God's love & goodness. Earth would be a wilderness without them. 

Girls sell flowers most profitably at opera houses, theatres, & other places of amusement. They buy of those who devote themselves to the raising of flowers, & arrange them into bouquets. A number dispose of flowers on Broadway; &, summer before last, I observed a French woman at the Atlantic ferry selling bouquets to people waiting for the boat. 

A florist told me he disposes of flowers to girls who make up bouquets & sell them. One of them pays $500 rent for her room. It yields a handsome profit when a person has a good stand. He would like a stand at the opera house, but a great many others are looking forward to it. Some pay for the privilege, .others obtain it by being known to the managers. 

I was told by a man who supplies bouquets that he pays to florists from $8 to $10 a day for flowers, & then makes up his own bouquets. I have been told that at some hotels in Germany, girls pass around the table at dinner, & give bouquets. Such recipients as feel disposed, pay a small sum. 

The Employments of Women: A Cyclopaedia of Woman's Work by Virginia Panny Published Boston, MA. by Walker, Wise & Company. 1863

To read about women's changing roles in the 19th century. see:
Boorstin, Daniel. The Americans: The Democratic Experience. New York:Random House, 1973.
Clinton, Catherine. The Other Civil War: American Women in the Nineteenth Century. New York: Hill and Wang, 1984.
Cott, Nancy. A Heritage of Her Own: Toward a New Social History of Women. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1979.
Cott Nancy. History of Women in the United States, Part 6, Working the Land. New York: K. G. Saur, 1992.
Degler, Carl. At Odds: Women and the Family from Revolution to the Present. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.
Green, Harvey. The Light of the Home: An Intimate View of the Lives of Women in Victorian America. New York: Pantheon Books, 1983.
Juster, Norton. So Sweet to Labor: Rural Women in America 1865-1895. New York: The Viking Press, 1979.
Kessler-Harris, Alice. Out to Work: A History of Wage Earning Women in the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982
Mintz, Stephen and Susan Kellogg. Domestic Revolutions: A Social History of American Family Life. New York: Free Press; London: Collier Macmillan, 1988.
Ryan, Mary P. Womanhood in America front he Colonial Times to the Present. New York: F. Watts, 1983.
Smith-Rosenberg, Caroll. Disorderly Conduct: Visions of Gender in Victorian America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.
Strasser, Susan. Never Done: A History of American Housework. New York Pantheon Books, 1982.
Welter, Barbara. Dimity Convictions : the American Woman in the Nineteenth Century. Athens : Ohio University Press, 1976.