James Alexander Coverlet

Did you know that a family’s textiles were a large indicator of wealth and status in the 18th and early 19th century? Bedcoverings were coveted items found often in wills and inventories as high valued items in rural New York communities. After 1790, Scottish, Irish, and English weavers, escaping financial depression in the British Isles, relocated to what we now refer to as the mid-Hudson Valley. They settled into communities of rural families who wanted and could afford fancier textiles, a situation that both drove and supplied a demand for fancy geometric and figured coverlets.One of these weavers was James Alexander born in Belfast, Ireland to Scottish parents. Alexander, a trained weaver, settled in Orange County, NY in 1789 and opened a workshop employing several weavers. He kept very detailed account books, giving us valuable insight into his daily business. The last entry in his account books was made in 1828. These account books are owned by the New York Historical Association at Cooperstown.Today, we are highlighting a coverlet from the James Alexander workshop. The fancy figured coverlet is blue and white and features tulip medallions in the center with a border of eagles, twin pine trees, and masonic columns. “ANN BLAKE OCT. 11 1820” is on each corner.The coverlet was on display with several others from the HHS Permanent Collection in 2010-2011 at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art in an exhibition entitled “Binary Visions: 19th Century Woven Coverlets”. The exhibit featured a digital component, which has recently been updated to our new online exhibit. Visit the updated exhibit and learn more about the art of coverlets at https://omeka.hrvh.org/…/show/binary-visions/introduction.

Written by Ashley Campone, Collections Manager

Woven coverlet by James Alexander, 1820. HHS Permanent Collection, Gift of Annette Innis Young (1960.1277.01).

Jambless Fireplace & Five-Plate Stove

Keeping with our theme in recent posts about staying warm (hot chocolate, foot warmer, and knitted sock pattern), the Curatorial Department is pleased to highlight two 18th-century methods of house heating.The first is the jambless fireplace, or an open hearth without sides, venting into a overhead chimney. These large hearths were used for cooking, as well as heating. Jambless fireplaces were common in Netherlandish homes in the 17th century, such as the example shown in a painting by the Dutch Master Pieter de Hooch entitled “Woman with children in an interior” (ca. 1569). The kitchen of the Jean Hasbrouck House (ca. 1721) features an original jambless fireplace, while other fireplaces on site have been recreated based on architectural evidence. Another method of heating interpreted at the Jean Hasbrouck House is the use of a five-plate or jamb stove. These cast iron stoves actually depended on access to the firebox through a hole in the wall. Burning coals would be loaded through the hole from a jambless fireplace in the room behind the stove (see illustration). This method of heating allowed for a smokeless—and, therefore, much cleaner and healthier—source of heat, in contrast to having an open fire in the room. The use of five-plate stoves originated in Germany and spread throughout northern Europe and to North America in the 17th and 18th centuries.At the Jean Hasbrouck House, the hole for loading coals into the stove can be seen on the back wall of the kitchen’s fireplace, while the stove itself is located in the more formal grote kamer (great room). There is architectural evidence of the same stove/fireplace set up at both the Bevier-Elting House (where the hole is apparent) and at the Abraham Hasbrouck House (where the hole was covered over at some point long ago).HHS looks forward to sharing our house interiors once again this summer. Please watch our Facebook page for upcoming information about 2021 tours, programs, and curatorial projects!

Written by Josephine Bloodgood, Director of Curatorial and Preservation Affairs

Jambless fireplace at the Jean Hasbrouck House, ca. 1721
Pieter de Hooch, “Woman with Children in an Interior,” ca. 1569. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation

Sock Pattern

This sock pattern, made available through the John I. Hinchman store in New York City, was part of a large effort of the United States Sanitary Commission, a civilian organization that provided medical and sanitary relief to sick or wounded Union Soldiers during the Civil War. The pattern came with a small yarn sample attached to illustrate the referenced color and weight of the yarn. The measurements indicate a small, medium, and large sizing. It was also published in the “American Agriculturist” December 1861 issue for further distribution.

Finished socks were sent to the Women’s Central Relief Association (WCRA) for distribution, and from 1861-1863, handled over 90,000 pairs of socks! This is in addition to the many other items made and donated by women during the war. The WCRA was founded by Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States.

The No. 15 needle size is no longer standard but may be either the U.S. Steel or Bell Gauge system, which indicates the required needles to be either 1.5mm or 1.75mm, the modern equivalent is 00 or 000 size needles.

Civil War Sock Pattern, 1861. HHS Permanent Collection and Archives, Brown/Phinney Family Papers.

Written by Carrie Allmendinger, HHS Archivist/Librarian

Foot Stove

These cold days have us wondering: how did people stay warm before the invention of centralized home heating and while traveling? If you’ve ever taken a tour of either the Jean or Abraham Hasbrouck houses, you may have seen a foot stove under a dining table. Foot stoves were often made of tin and sometimes encased with wood. They were used primarily by women. The tin box interior of the example we share today has a hinged door with a container to hold hot coals. The tin was pierced to radiate the heat out, often with folk art motifs, and swinging handles for portability. The stoves were used at home, during long services in poorly heated churches, and in carriages from the 17th century until the development of more practical heating methods in the mid-18th century.

Foot stoves were not only commonly used in the 17th, 18th, and early 19th century Hudson Valley. They were often found in the Netherlands. Many 17th and 18th century Dutch paintings by masters such as Jan Steen and Matthijs Naiveu feature foot stoves. Dutch stoves were often more ornately decorated, made of brass or wood. An example was featured in our 2017 exhibition and catalogue, “Living In Style: Selections from the George Way Collection of Dutch Fine and Decorative Art” (the catalogue is still available from the HHS Museum Shop). Today, we highlight an American example from the HHS Permanent Collection. The foot stove you see here dates to the late 18th-early 19th century. The tin body is pierced with a heart design, a common decoration in household items from this period.

HHS Permanent Collection, 1970.1791.01, Gift of Elliot Edsall

Written by Ashley Campone, HHS Collections Manager

Chocolate Pot

How are you keeping warm as we begin the New Year? Much like today, in the 18th century tea, coffee, and chocolate hot beverages were common cold weather drinks. Chocolate served as a hot beverage was quite popular in Colonial America, but the drink’s flavoring was a bit different from what most Americans enjoy today. Early recipes for “hot” chocolate included spices like cinnamon, cayenne pepper, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, and anise, as well as orange flower and rosewater. Chocolate and coffee were often served in pots made of pewter or glazed ceramic, like the one you see here from the HHS Permanent Collection. This “Jackfield-type” pot is made of red earthenware with a blackish glaze. Cups, pitchers, and bowls were also made in the same way. Evidence for this type of imported ceramic is represented in both the archaeology and the archival records of Huguenot Street. Indeed, “1 Dozen of Black Chockalat Cups/ 1 Dozen of Quart Bowlls,” were listed on the 1768 inventory of Roelof J. Eltinge’s store in what today is known as the Bevier-Eltinge House. According to history consultant Kate Johnson, the term “Black,” in this context, very likely refers to Jackfield-type earthenware. These ceramics are associated with the town of Jackfield in Shropshire, England, but they were also made in Staffordshire by potters like Thomas Wheildon (hence the term “Jackfield-type”). This particular pot is typically on display in the Jean Hasbrouck House as part of our historic house furnishings.Looking to make some warm and delicious treats this winter? Check out Peter Rose’s book, “Delicious December,” available through the HHS Museum Shop. The book includes three different hot chocolate recipes.https://historic-huguenot-street-museum-shop.myshopify.co…Coffee/Chocolate Pot, mid-18th century. Red earthenware with a blackish glaze.

Historic Huguenot Street Permanent Collection, Gift of Shirley Shefsiek.

Written by Josephine Bloodgood, Director of Curatorial and Preservation Affairs

Hezekiah Elting’s Handmade Dominoes

Did a game of dominoes make its way under your tree this holiday? If so, it was almost certainly created more recently than this wooden version in Historic Huguenot Street’s collection! This particular set is composed of a rectangular, wooden case with a slide lid, as well as 28 wooden dominoes. The markings on the dominoes are composed of small holes which have been burned into the wood. According to our records of the object, it was created by Hezekiah Elting during his youth, meaning the item most likely dates to the 1850s.

Hezekiah Elting, (born May 13, 1845, and died Dec. 18, 1928), was the son of Tobias H. Elting and Sarah Saxton. Hezekiah married Selina Ann Crawford in September of 1871 and the pair had five children together. Their daughter, Martha Elting, lived an impressive 102 years and is responsible for the Historic Huguenot Street’s acquisition of this set of dominoes. It is her handwritten note (pictured here) which tells us of the item’s origins. 

Wooden Domino Set, 1850s. Historic Huguenot Street Permanent Collection, Gift of Miss Martha Elting.

Written by Mary Lee, Collections Care & Retail Assistant. 2020.

Ladies’ Home Journal, December of 1890

This issue of the Ladies’ Home Journal dates to December of 1892. The magazine, produced by The Curtis Publishing Company in Philadelphia, sold for just ten cents per issue. This particular edition, as well as a few others in the Historic Huguenot Street Archives, was mailed to a Miss Libbie of Clintondale, NY. 

One of the interior pages of the catalogue features an array of advertisements for Christmas gifts. The top of the page features “Three Christmas Beauties,” a bookcase, a music cabinet and a parlor desk. All three items are made of antique oak and are priced at $6.75 or cheaper. Further down the page are ads for a few different corsets. One of the corsets “The Genuine, Famous Jackson Favorite Waist,” is described as snug-fitting, beautifully made, and easy as a glove. The ad boasts multiple testimonials from happy customers such as; “I use it as a breakfast corset: send 3 in colors,” and “I simply cannot exist without the Jackson Favorite Waist.” Other items advertised on the page include Kleineft’s Dress Shields, Dr. Lyon’s Perfect Tooth Powder and Littleton’s Patent Dress Fastenings. 

Ladies’ Home Journal, December, 1892. Historic Huguenot Street Archives. 

Written by Mary Lee, Collections Care & Retail Assistant. 2020.

1890s Christmas Stocking

This Christmas stocking from the 1890s is one of the more festive items in Historic Huguenot Street’s Permanent Collection. Made of cotton and more elaborately decorated than the standard red and white stockings many of us are familiar with, this item depicts a story of Christmas evening.

On one side, Santa can be seen perched atop the roof of a small yellow house, a hefty bag of presents resting on his back. Further down the stocking, his reindeer and sleigh are lying in wait. The bottom of the snowy scene features the text “A Merry Christmas.” On the other side of the stocking, we get a glimpse at the inside of the yellow house. The top of the scene features imagery of several red and blue stockings hanging along the mantle of a lit fireplace. Below them, a child can be seen nestled in bed, under a red and yellow blanket. The text along the base of the stocking reads, “Hang up the Baby’s stocking, be sure you don’t forget. The little dimpled Darling has ne’er seen Xmas yet!” 

Christmas Stocking, 1890s. Historic Huguenot Street Permanent Collection, Gift of the Stillwell Family.

Written by Mary Lee, Collections Care & Retail Assistant. 2020.

Prohibition Era Prize Medal

Did you know that during the Prohibition Era school children participated in programs to discourage their future consumption of alcohol? As the result of religious fervor during the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Prohibition Era followed the ratification of the 18th amendment to the U.S. Constitution which forbade the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol.  Not entirely unlike modern anti-drug programs such as D.A.R.E., these early 20th century activities were meant to educate children during their impressionable youth, so as to prepare them for religiously moral adulthood. These campaigns most commonly took the form of elocution contests. Children would practice and recite well-known speeches from leaders of the temperance movement. Those who excelled in the recitations would be awarded a silver medal. Winners of the school level contests would later compete against one another for higher status gold or diamond medals.

This particular medal from Historic Huguenot Street’s collection is a Demorest Prohibition Prize Medal. It is believed to be created around 1886 by William Jennings Demorest. Demorest was a well-known leader within the temperance movement. Among his accolades are a mayoral run representing the platform of the Prohibition Party, and a role in founding a “Temperance Town,” a community specifically inhabited by passionate members of the temperance movement, which was named after Demorest. 

Prohibition Prize Medal, 1886. Historic Huguenot Street Permanent Collection. 

Written by Mary Lee, Collections Care & Retail Assistant. 2020.

Clemmy Deyo’s Recipe Book

During the holiday season, you may find yourself turning to a family recipe for guidance. If you do so, know that you’re in the company of Clemmy Deyo (1815-1857), daughter of Josiah Deyo and Hannah Merrit. The book pictured above was Clemmy Deyo’s personal recipe book. In many instances, the recipes call for familiar ingredients such as butter, sugar, milk, and eggs. Also mentioned among the pages are “emptin,” a homemade yeast typically obtained from the remains of homebrewed alcohol, and “pearl ash” which serves in a similar role to baking soda. The recipe book was originally used by Zachariah Hoffman to record financial transactions and was later used by Clemmy to record her recipes.

Recipes include a variety of cakes such as sugar, loaf, and pound, as well as some less recognizable pastries such as rusk. Rusk is a fermented bread, most often sliced and baked twice. Benjamin Franklin once described it as, “the true, original biscuit.” This assessment is not far off, as the word biscuit is derived from the Latin phrase “bis cotus” quite literally translated to, “twice baked.”  It is also worth noting that many of the recipes were designed with feeding a large group in mind. For instance, the loaf cake recipe calls for 6 pounds, or roughly 21 cups, of flour.

Handwritten Recipe Book, mid-19th Century. Merrit Deyo Family Papers and Photographs (1832-1879), Historic Huguenot Street Archives.

Written by Mary Lee, Collections Care & Retail Assistant. 2020.