Life in the Governor’s House: A Quaker Love Triangle!

Two young Quaker women conversing in Pennsbury's front court garden.

Two young Quaker women conversing in Pennsbury’s front court garden.  Marriage was an important decision, one that would require serious discussion with friends and family.

Ann Shippen’s Story (Part II)

In an earlier post we shared the story of Ann Shippen, who at age 17 was living with the Penn family at Pennsbury Manor.  Ann was being courted by two men, James Logan and Thomas Story, both loyal confidantes of William Penn and fellow Quakers.  Ann’s father, Edward Shippen, voiced his opinion regarding the courtship and favored Thomas Story over James Logan. He thought Logan, who was 10 years older than Ann, to be too young, too naïve, and not successful enough to support his daughter. He preferred Thomas Story because he was more mature (20 years older than Ann), and as a Quaker minister and a member of the Provincial Council, was more established.

Despite the discouragement of Edward Shippen, Logan continued to court Ann at the same time as Story. Their competition for Ann’s hand in marriage became so well known in Philadelphia that William Penn wrote of his concern in this 1704 letter to James Logan –

“I am anxiously grieved for thy unhappy love for thy sake and my own, for T.S., [Thomas Story] and thy discord has been no service here any more than there.”

After several years of courtship from both James Logan and Thomas Story, Ann was finally convinced of Thomas Story’s love for her.  Story confessed his love to her by saying that he had “ the patience beyond what was common,” and that he would, “reasonably try all or stretch upon the rack, which had no common heart, nor soul could be able to endure.” Ann overlooked the 20-year age difference, listened to her father, and finally accepted Thomas’s proposal.

The couple married in July, 1706 and lived in Philadelphia. Sadly, their marriage was short-lived.  Ann died in 1710. There were no children. Thomas, who died in 1742, never remarried.

Melanie Hankins, Intern

Further Reading

John W. Jordan, Colonial and Revolutionary Families of America, 1978.

Albert Cook Myers, Hannah Logan’s Courtship: A True Narrative, 1904.

Craig W. Hortle, Lawmaking and Legislators in Pennsylvania: A Biographical Dictionary Volume Two 1710-1756, 1993.

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Our amazing (rain-free) Holly Nights Spectacular!

We had such a wonderful time with our visitors on Holly Nights this year!!  The rain gave us a 5-hour window to enjoy our Friday night, and we were so excited to see so many visitors come out.  This has been a long-standing tradition at Pennsbury Manor for at least 30 years, and both evenings turned out to be beautiful and full of holiday spirit.

We wanted to share some awesome photos of this year’s event:

 decorations Putting up the decorations!

DSC_0065 Volunteers help offer demonstrations every year, including this fan-favorite – Pomander Balls are made by sticking organges with cloves and rolling them in a mixture of cinnamin, nutmeg, and other spices

cooking over an open hearth

 Cooking over the open-hearth for visitors – looks delicious!

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 Candlelight makes the 17th-century manor house come alive

 william penn

William Penn defeats the notorious pirate Captain Kidd in our classic 17th-century Mummer’s Play!

blacksmith

Our awesome blacksmiths working in the warmest spot on site – lucky guys, but try doing this on a hot august afternoon…

the site with luminaries

Thank you so much to everyone who came out for Holly Nights!  We had between 80 and 120 volunteers participating each night (not including all our amazing performers!), so we owe all our success to their dedication and joyful holiday spirit.

Have a wonderful holiday season and we look forward to blogging with you in the New Year!

 

By Hannah Howard

Photographs courtesy of Tabitha Dardes, PR, and Joseph Long, volunteer

Confessions of a Costumier: Dressing the Community Leaders

Throughout the year we’ve been celebrating the unique clothing of the various peoples living and visiting Pennsbury Manor in the late 17th century.  After featuring the Laborers and the Servants/Tradespeople, we can highlight the Community Leaders! 

This painting by Matthijs Naiveu, “The Cloth Shop,” 1709 depicts two different couples. The couple in the foreground is obviously from a wealthy and aristocratic background. The business owners in the background have a more limited but substantial position in the community. Their clothing modeled the rich textiles they might sell.

Continue reading

Keep Your Wig On!

We just got out new “William Penn” wig today, and we’re wiggin’ out!!

Pennsbury Society board member Sue Crook is having a “Hairspray” moment – William Penn’s going to have to work hard to pull this look off better than her!

Many thanks to Colonial Williamsburg’s Wig Shop, who constructed this wig along with another on display here at Pennsbury Manor.  I know it’s not their typical time period, so we appreciate them taking on the challenge of late 17th-century styles! 

Curator Todd Galle models our first “William Penn” wig, put on display in the Manor House in November 2011. We are excited to premiere the “Penn Wig 2.0” at Holly Nights next week!

Our official “William Penn” was in desperate need of a properly style ‘do, so I know he’s excited to try this on for size.  The new wig will settle in nicely as it travels all over the community visiting classrooms, bouncing down parade routes, and welcoming visitors at Pennsbury Manor.

Come to next week’s Holly Nights and see William Penn vanquish the infamous pirate Captain Kidd in our traditional Mummer’s Play!  Visit Pennsbury’s website for event details and a coupon! 

 

By Hannah Howard, Volunteer Coordinator and Costumier

Miniature Models – Dressing Children in the 17th Century

As the school year quickly shifts into high-gear and stores advertise their latest sales on backpacks and sneakers, the staff at Pennsbury can’t help but notice the differences between modern life and childhood back in the 17th century.  We spent the summer posting on children’s daily lives and education, so maybe it’s time to feature what they’d be wearing! 

Pieter de Hooch – A Women with a Baby in Her Lap, and a Small Child (Detail) -1658

“Dress to impress”  is surely a phrase we’re common with this day in age, but not something you would necessarily abide by in William Penn’s time. In 17th century England and the colonies thereof, clothing was expensive. With the majority of the common folk working solely to survive, the average household could not afford to pay as much attention to fashion as their modern counterparts. 

What was purchased and worn had to be durable enough to endure the work they’d be doing – silk brocade mantua gowns and embroidered coats were not going to cut it!  The secondhand clothing found in the markets of the day actually became a great source among the working class for affordable and up-to-date options for dress.

A portrait of a commonly dressed mother with her child. Adriaen Jansz van Ostade – “Mother Holding her Child in a Doorway” -1667

However, this lack of emphasis on fleeting fashion does not to diminish its true importance of clothing. “What people wore defined their social position and every colonial government tried with sumptuary legislation to keep class lines clear.” In 1619 in Massachusetts, legislation was passed “against excess apparel” among plain people . The court ordered that offenders be fined by local priests. Nevertheless, the lines blurred in many cases and it became sometimes difficult for guests in well-to-do families’ households to distinguish between the lady of the house and her servant!

Children of the time followed the same standards as their parents. “Dressed as miniature adults from the time they could walk,” children always knew their families’ status in society and were direct representations of such status. “Wives of the well-to-do imposed standards of proper dress on the children” and likewise, if you were from the country and a farmer’s child, the same aprons, straw hats, and patterns your mother wore would also be your attire. 

A prime example of a miniature adult of the upper classes. Gerard Terborch -“Helena van der Schalcke as a Child” – 1644

In the 17th century, what you wore was much more telling of who you were then in our modern society.  In our world, many people can afford even the cheapest imitations of the season’s latest fashions, and children of all families are often dressed up like dolls!  But for the Penn Family, their clothing would have reflected their social position and their Quaker beliefs.

Although a man of power and money, William and his family would have dressed in the best fabrics and high-quality materials, but their religion would have demanded the fashionable embellishment and frills be left off.  This was sure to define the family in a rather unique way, in comparison to their Protestant and Anglican English counterparts of equal social rank. 

Written by Mary Barbagallo

Edited by Hannah Howard

 

Further Reading: 

 Everyday Life in Early America, David Freeman Hawke, Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc. 1988,  New York, NY.

The Criers and Hawkers of London: Engraving and Drawings by Marcellus Laroon, Standford University Press, Standford, CA,1990.

Confessions of a Costumier: Dressing the Tradespeople

Following our 17th-century Fashion Show last spring, I posted an article highlighting the Laborers and their clothing – next up are the Servants & Tradespeople!

These men and women did not have to break their backs in the fields or peddling wares on the streets, but they still lived a humble life.  Perhaps they performed a trade, like turning table legs in a Joyner’s shop, or worked as a housemaid on a large estate like Pennsbury Manor.  Perhaps after saving their wages, they would have enough to purchase a small farm or open their own shop.  They had enough to live on, but their modest clothing reflected their lower station in society. 

Pennsbury volunteers Valerie and Joseph Long are pictured here modeling appropriate ensembles.  Valerie is wearing the latest in 17th-century gowns: the Mantua (featured in a previous post).  Her gown is a modest cut and color, and the fine wool fabric would last a long time.   Her serviceable coif may not have been the latest style in caps, but it kept the hair off her face while she worked. 

Just like his wife, Joe’s simple linen waistcoat and justacorps (also featured previously) was fashionable yet serviceable.  Linen is a hard-wearing fabric that would last, which is important when every piece of clothing you buy is an investment.  Tradesmen like Joe would dress informally when working in their workshops – shops were for manufacturing, not selling; that would happen at a store or at least a separate room at the front of the building.  But when walking through town, he would still want to look like a man of business and stature. 

Notice this housemaid’s appearance – her clothing is made of high-quality fabrics but in a simple style, and she obviously keeps them clean and in good repair. John Roley, “Bridget Holmes, a Nonagenarian Housemaid,” 1686

A person’s outward image was a reflection of their status in society and served as a walking advertisement to others on how to treat you.  Earlier in the 17th century, English law actually restricted what people could wear based on their social class.  But as the gentry class increasingly sold their clothes to secondhand shops in order to fund their new, more fashionable wardrobes, the lower classes began to buy those high-quality garments.  In wearing these gently-used pieces, just a fraction of the price for new clothes, they started looking just as nice as their employers.  The gentry were NOT HAPPY and wrote in their letters and journals how frustrating it was when the maid looked just like the mistress!

Marcellus Laroon, “Old chairs to mend,” published late 17th-century.

 

Written by Hannah Howard, Volunteer Coordinator & Costumier

 

**You might be wondering why our models don’t have any shoes on in these pictures?  That’s because we haven’t been able to afford any.  We are fundraising to purchase reproduction shoes, since a costumed interpreter in sneakers ruins the whole atmosphere…  To help out, you can visit our official website www.pennsburymanor.org and click the “Donate Now” button at the bottom.**

William’s World: To Butter and Beyond

 Just as in the time of William Penn, the work was never done, and so too do we find our fourth post in regards to Dairying! 

Our first posts covered the business of being a milk-maid, the history of dairying and cheese-making .  Now let’s take a look at the importance of cream and butter, which held an important place at the table long before cheese was acceptable to anyone but “common folk.”

In these aristocratic households, their status and wealth meant their butter was made purely of cream. In addition, cream was used in pasties, dressings for meat, and custards.

The butter itself took on a purpose all its own in a number of different forms.  Initially, butter was acceptable for children and the old, but not middle-aged gentlemen of higher stature like William Penn. Even the most basic thoughts for butter (such as being spread on bread) were something that came from Flemish practices, who were influenced by the Dutch on this matter.  Eventually it became common practice for the English toward the late 16th– to early 17th-century.

Still Life with Glass, Cheese, Butter and Cake, Floris Gerritsz. van Schooten, mid-17th century

The trend eventually went away from butter as a hard spread; as butter began to be melted and poured over vegetables, it became more prominent at the dinner table. Melted butter was also used for sauces of fish, meat, and other main dish delicacies.  Moreover, it became an important element of preserving food, which was always important in regards to ensuring enough sustenance for the winter months. “Butter was used lavishly to seal the cooked food from contact with the air, and, in order to ensure that no cracks appeared in the sealing, many pounds of  butter were used in large households”.  “The improved arts of preserving food also involved another use for butter, by filling pies after they had been cooked with melted butter to make an airtight seal, and filling jars and pots of cooked meat and fish in the same way. Thus they kept for days or weeks”.

Landscape with Cows, Anthonie van Borssom, 1649

Furthermore, just as cheese took hold and started to become an area specialty, so too did butter.  It began to be made with less-expensive dairy products (whey, milk, town milk, etc), which allowed it’s accessibility to all classes. The variations in butter also came as a result the cows’ diets, which would affect the taste based on what was eaten. Fresh grass from the pasture was preferred for the best quality milk to turn to butter (just as it was with the milk to be used for cheese too) yet, this was not always the case due to the a large portion of cattle eating clover as well. Resultantly, this variation created noticeable differences and would often affect the flavoring and coloring of butter.

The dairy industry boomed and the growth of butter lead to its export from England from the 1630’s onward.  The height of which was between 1638 and 1675.  Does that mean we could perhaps call it… the bread and butter of the English economy?  Oh c’mon, that’s funny!

Written by Mary Barbagallo, Intern

Edited by Hannah Howard, Volunteer Coordinator

Further Reading:

Food in Early Modern England – Phases, Fads, Fashions 1500-1760, Joan Thirsk, Continuum Books, 2007, New York, NY