The Green Velvet Album Starring Elvira Deyo

By Catherine Rubino

For this week’s object, we have a photograph album dated 1892. The album has a worn green velvet covering with a large bell imprinted on the front. The album has brass ornamentation on the top right corner of the cover, which consists of decorative trimming, a bumblebee, a bumblebee on a ladder, and an owl. There is also a brass latch on the side. The album containing several pictures of Elvira Deyo belonged to her daughter Katherine Deyo Cookingham.1


All of the photographs that feature Elvira Deyo are cabinet cards. They originated in the 1860s and were mostly used to capture Victorian-era portraits of individuals.2 Their height of popularity lasted from the 1870s into the 1890s. The cabinet cards usually measured 4in x 6in and were mounted on stiff cardstock similar to cardboard.

In one photograph, Elvira is seen standing in a floor length dress with a black corset worn over it and a decorative pin worn at the collar. In another photograph, Elvira is seen in her wedding dress adorned with long sleeves and an extended collar. In her hair, Elvira pinned a floor length veil and an array of flowers.


IMG_4271 (1)


Elvira married Miles Harris Cookingham on December 14th in 1892.3 She was the second oldest child of eight siblings born to Matthew Deyo and Julia Etta DuBois. Gertrude Deyo, the oldest, married Abraham Deyo Broadhead in 1890. Gertrude and Abraham lived in the original Deyo stone house and remodeled it into the Victorian house it is today.  In one photo, we see three sisters, Petronella, Gertrude, and Elvira, in which Elvira’s simple and classic look of pulled back hair and a black dress really stands out amongst her sisters.

The photos of Elvira illustrate how family memories have been preserved in the past. Next time you’re looking through family photos, try comparing yours to Katherine’s family photos. See the differences you find and notice how the family album has developed over a hundred years!

1 “Elvira B. Deyo.” Hudson River Valley Heritage. Web. 16 Mar 2016.

2 “Cabinet Cards.” Collectors Weekly. Web. 16 Mar 2016.

3 Hasbrouck, Kenneth E., and Heidgerd, Ruth P. The Deyo (Deyoe) Family. New Paltz: Deyo Family Association. 2003. Print.


Time for Love

By Deanna Schiavone

This week, we will be looking at a 1788 French clock adorned with Cupid resting over the clock face. This clock is protected with a glass dome and rests on a black wooden base. The clock itself is on an oval base with black painting and adorned with gold gilt and has a porcelain face with black roman numerals on the dial. Cupid is reclining above the clock on leaves and grapes. He is holding his iconic bow and arrow as he waits for time to pass by. This piece was made in the midst of three important movements to French history and during the most important revolution in France. Two of these movements were art movements, Rococo and Neoclassical, which were in transition during the Enlightenment era and the French Revolution.


The arts in France in the early 18th century were dominated by Rococo. This movement was inspired by the ornamental arts in Europe. There was a heavy focus on “asymmetry, naturalism, pastel colors, light-heartedness and delicate shell-like and watery forms.”1 Artists tended to depict scenes of erotic mythology and genre scenes. However, during the Enlightenment there was a shift away from this light movement and a shift toward Neoclassicism.

The Enlightenment era was dominated by politics and philosophies from classical antiquity. During, and right before, the French Revolution (1789-1799) artists tried to depict the moral and political purposes of public virtue and personal sacrifice in their artwork.2 This began the transition from Rococo to Neoclassicism. Neoclassicism started in Rome in the mid-18th century and was heavily influenced by the excavation and exploration of the ancient world.3 The excavations and influence from archaeologists helped to fully understand styles of art and architecture in Ancient Greece and Rome.

This clock is fun because it teaches a lot about the transition from Rococo into Neoclassicism. Cupid, someone the modern person associates with Valentine’s Day, was known as Eros to the Greeks and as Cupid to the Romans. He was the god of desire, affection, and erotic love whose arrows would fill a person with uncontrollable desire. This depiction of the god of love is Eros because the Greeks depicted their version as a slender winged youth, unlike the Romans who depicted this god as the chubby baby we associate with Valentine’s Day.4 The Greek god Eros was one of the premortal gods, meaning he was self-born at the beginning of time.  He was thought to help form the world because his uniting power of love brought order and harmony to the conflictions from chaos.5 This god is a great transitional depiction since Eros embodies the erotic mythology of Rococo but also had the uniting elements appreciated in the Enlightenment and Neoclassical styles.

1Neo-classicism & The French Revolution.Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press, n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2016.

218th– and 19th-Century France – Neoclassicism.” National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art: Washington, D.C., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2016.

3Neo-classicism & The French Revolution.Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press, n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2016.

4 Atsma, Alan J. “Eros.” Theoi Greek Mythology. New Zealand, The Theoi Project: 2000. Web. 16 Mar. 2016.

5 Ibid.

The Once Unknown Dubois Girl

By Deanna Schiavone

This past week, I was asked to research a portrait of an unknown woman related to the Dubois family. I really wanted to find out who this woman was; however, all that was known was the donor’s name, Nathaniel Dubois Clark; who had it before him, Louise Clark Wygant; and that the girl lived in Marlboro, NY. Our curatorial department at Historic Huguenot Street dated the painting to circa 1830s. So, I was left with the face of a young woman from the early 19th century. All the time that had passed since this painting was made was lost to archives and genealogical records, which are very frustrating after one gets no results after three hours of research.


I began my research with a simple Google search to try to figure out which Dubois family line donor Nathaniel and/or Louise was related to. All I knew were their names and that Louise Clark Wygant was married to a Foster Wygant of Marlboro. Using context clues I could tell that Nathaniel and Louise were related in some way so I repeatedly tried to look up various versions and combinations of their names. Yet, the surname Clark and Dubois are very common in the Hudson Valley.  I could not specifically tie them to anyone I was researching. I then thought to give Louise’s husband’s name a shot since it was my last hope. After about 30 minutes of researching Foster Wygant I finally found something promising.  A link to a Google book mentioned his marriage to Louise on April 10, 1888, which automatically registered as an encouraging link. “Foster Wygant” brought me to a genealogical record of Samuel Clark: an original settler of the Hudson and an ancestor to Louise Clark Wygant.1 The short mention of Foster relayed information about his wife Louise, which finally tied the donor to a family line!

The blurb on Louise and her immediate family informed me of her parent’s names, her two siblings and where she resided after her marriage; her parent’s names were Augustus Clark and Elizabeth Dubois!2 Finally, I could start to look at the genealogical records we have in our library and any census information about these people. Historic Huguenot Street’s Archivist & Librarian, Carrie Allmendinger, helped me to piece together the puzzle of how all these names were related. At first, we looked into the genealogical records; however, there were too many similar names and sometimes things can be transcribed incorrectly. Therefore, Carrie did not want to only rely on our record to officially understand how all the names related and who the young woman was since it is a primary resource. So, we turned to census records where Carrie was interested in firstly and foremost relating Nathaniel D. Clark to this family.  We found out that Augustus’s only son, Franklyn, was the father of Nathaniel.3  Therefore, Louise was the aunt of Nathaniel! Now, we could have a definite understanding of which family line to tract in the records.


At first I thought our unknown woman might be Elizabeth Dubois, the mother of Franklyn and Louise. But she was born in the year 1830, so she was way too young to be painted to fit the time period.  Thus, we went further into the records to look into Elizabeth’s background.4 Her parents were Nathanial Dubois and Deborah Ann Bloomer.  Deborah was born in 1800 and fit into the time period very nicely. Of course, we can never definitely know who this portrait is of; however, through the research that has been done on the portrait we have concluded that the woman depicted is Deborah Ann Bloomer.


We narrowed down the possibilities of how Deborah’s portrait fell into the hands of Nathanial Clark to two possibilities. One, the portrait was passed down from Deborah to her first child Elizabeth. Elizabeth then gave the portrait to her daughter Louise since she still lived in the area who then gave the portrait to her nephew for safe keeping. Or, the possibility that I believe, Deborah had the painting hung in her house where it remained for decades.  When Louise and Foster Wygant married, they moved into their grandparent’s house: the home of Nathanial Dubois and Deborah Bloomer.5 Regardless, now we can finally put a name to this lovely face and will be able to do further research on this woman and her family.

1 Clark, Rev. Edward W. History and Genealogy of Samuel Clark Sr. and his Descendants from 1636-1891 – 255 years. Nixon Jones Printing: Missouri, 1891: 51.

2 Ibid.

3 “1880 United States Federal Census.” Operations Inc.: Utah, 2010. Web. 1 Mar. 2016.

4 Heidgerd, William. The American Descendants of Chretien Du Bois of Wicres, France. Dubois Family Association: New York, 1998.

5 Clark, 51.

So Appeeling!

Hello! My name is Miriam Ehrlich. I am a history and women’s/gender/sexuality studies double major at SUNY New Paltz. I am very excited to be a curatorial intern this semester at Historic Huguenot Street.

This week, I will be looking at a piece of kitchen equipment from the mid-19th century- an apple peeler. It is 25 inches in length and 8.5 inches in width. It is a rectangular piece of wood, missing its top left corner. It also has a three pronged turn arm, which is separate from the blade arm. The words “apple peeler” are written on the bottom. This object can give us an insight into what domestic life was like during this time-period, especially when contrasted with the sophisticated kitchen technology available today. While today handheld peelers are very common, these type of manual hand cranking devices are still used for both personal and industrial use. There is another apple peeler on display in the basement kitchen of the Abraham Hasbrouck House for educational purposes.



Women were largely responsible for domestic life’s activities in early America, including preparing meals. This apple peeler would have been of great assistance for cranking out apples at a higher speed than the average kitchen knife could. Larger peelers than the one documented here were used for greater quantities of apples.

Apples were frequently used for making drinks in early America. Cider was one of the most popular options because it was cheap to buy due to the plentiful amount of apples from local orchards. John Hull Brown writes, “apple orchards had been set out early in New York…[a local traveler] describes these apples as the finest in America.”1 It is recorded that an orchard once “…produced sufficient apples to make five hundred hogsheads of cider in 1671.”2 A hogshead is a barrel of liquid which is usually used to contain alcohol. To make a current day connection, the Hog’s Head Inn is an inn and pub in the wizarding village of Hogsmeade in the Harry Potter book series.

Today, New Paltz is home to many apple orchards. Perhaps this very apple peeler was used to turn some hand-picked apples into apple ciders. As you drive through the village you can see some apple orchards and even enjoy a day of apple picking, when in season.

This object was donated by Henry J. DuBois in 1916, and was 75 years old at the time of donation. It is from Otisville, NY.

1 Brown, John Hull. Early American Beverages. Rutland, VT: C.E. Tuttle, 1966. Print. 22.

2 Ibid, 16.