- RSS Channel Showcase 8301575
- RSS Channel Showcase 8745573
- RSS Channel Showcase 3321683
- RSS Channel Showcase 3804152
Articles on this Page
- 06/03/13--01:00: _Everyday folks - Fi...
- 06/04/13--01:00: _Love & Marriage: Fr...
- 06/05/13--01:00: _Everyday folks - Th...
- 06/03/13--01:00: _Everyday Life - Flo...
- 06/06/13--00:52: _Hunting & Shooting ...
- 06/07/13--01:00: _Everyday Life - Ind...
- 06/08/13--01:00: _Fishing in 1800s Am...
- 06/09/13--01:00: _Life in the streets...
- 06/10/13--01:00: _Everday Life - A Swing
- 06/11/13--01:00: _Perennial Alert! f...
- 06/12/13--01:00: _Everyday Life - Cro...
- 06/13/13--01:00: _Over the River & Th...
- 06/14/13--01:00: _1825 The tow path b...
- 06/15/13--01:00: _Ladies Boating by F...
- 06/16/13--01:00: _1850 Yale College &...
- 06/17/13--01:00: _Croquet in the Garden
- 06/18/13--01:00: _John Warner Barber ...
- 06/19/13--01:00: _Edgar Allan Poe (18...
- 06/20/13--01:00: _1810-20 George Wash...
- 06/21/13--01:00: _Post Civil War fash...
- 06/03/13--01:00: Everyday folks - Fishing
- 06/04/13--01:00: Love & Marriage: Frakturs from the National Archives
- 06/05/13--01:00: Everyday folks - The War Pension Agent
- 06/03/13--01:00: Everyday Life - Flower Girl
- 06/06/13--00:52: Hunting & Shooting in 19th century America
- 06/07/13--01:00: Everyday Life - Industrious Family
- 06/08/13--01:00: Fishing in 1800s America
- 06/10/13--01:00: Everday Life - A Swing
- 06/12/13--01:00: Everyday Life - Crossing the stream
- 06/13/13--01:00: Over the River & Thru the Woods to Grandmother's House We Go
- 06/14/13--01:00: 1825 The tow path by the Concord River
- 06/15/13--01:00: Ladies Boating by Frederick Frieseke (1874-1939)
- 06/16/13--01:00: 1850 Yale College & State House, New Haven, CT
- 06/17/13--01:00: Croquet in the Garden
- 06/18/13--01:00: John Warner Barber (1798-1885) View of Salem
- 06/21/13--01:00: Post Civil War fashions for American Women
Frakturs are elaborate illustrated family records usually made in Pennsylvania German communities. They are equivalent to modern birth, marriage, & death certificates. They were often created by professional artists or by pastors living in the town, & became treasured family heirlooms. The National Archives has over a hundred of these rare & sought-after examples of folk art. Following the Revolutionary War, the government offered pensions to widows who could prove their relationship to a veteran of the war. These handmade family treasures were sent to the government to support Revolutionary War Pension applications.
John George Brown (1831-1913) The Flower Girl 1877
John George Brown (1831-1913) The Industrious Family
Born in Naples, Nicolino Calyo was an accomplished American nineteenth century painter who worked first in Baltimore, Maryland, and then moved to New York City. Before coming to America, he studied at the Naples Academy learning Neoclassical, Italian, & Dutch landscape techniques. Calyo fled Italy in 1821, having participated in an unsuccessful rebellion against Ferdinand I.
John George Brown (1831-1913) Give Me a Swing 1882
My Grandmother Carrie
When I was young, we lived very close to my grandmother's house. My grandmother was a product of the last quarter of the 19th-century in the mid-west. Each day my mother would take my hand & we would walk to visit her. The path led through the woods & across a little stream, where wildflowers grew. It was beautiful. I cannot remember a day that my grandmother was not baking or sewing. She always wore her hair up on the back of her head, and her eyes sparkled just like my mother's. Her house smelled delicious. These paintings remind me of those visits, even of the wonderful scents of both the woods & of her house with its big windows gently covered with lace curtains.
Julius Garibaldi "Gari" Melchers (1860-1932) Lady Reading
Julius Garibaldi "Gari" Melchers (1860-1932) Young Woman Sewing
Julius Garibaldi "Gari" Melchers (1860-1932) Woman Sewing
Frederick Frieseke (1874-1939) Before The Bath
Frederick Frieseke (1874-1939) Frederick Carl Frieseke - On the River
Frederick Frieseke (1874-1939) On The Epte
Frederick Frieseke (1874-1939) On The River
Frederick Frieseke (1874-1939) Repose At Noonday
Croquet is, like pall mall, trucco, jeu de mail & kolven, clearly a derivative of ground billiards, which was popular in Western Europe back to at least the 14th century, with roots in classical antiquity. Researchers claim that both golf & croquet evolved from these ancient sports, and that billiards was a modified inside game of croquet.
Some researchers believe the game was introduced to Britain from France during the reign of Charles II of England, & was played under the name of paille-maille or pall mall, derived ultimately from Latin words for "ball and mallet."
Played during the 17th century by Charles II & his courtiers at St. James's Park in London, the name of the game was anglicized to Pall Mall, which also became the name of a nearby street. "Mall" then evolved into a generic word for any street used for public gathering & strollings.
In his 1810 book entitled The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England, Joseph Strutt describes the way pall mall was played in England in the early 17th century: "Pale-maille is a game wherein a round box ball is struck with a mallet through a high arch of iron, which he that can do at the fewest blows, or at the number agreed upon, wins. It is to be observed, that there are two of these arches, that is one at either end of the alley."
In Samuel Johnson's 1828 dictionary, he defines the game, "A play in which the ball is struck with a mallet through an iron ring."
A similar game was played on the beaches of Brittany. Some researches believe that the rules of the modern game of croquet arrived from Ireland during the 1850s, perhaps after being brought there from Brittany. Records show the similar game of "crookey" being played at Castlebellingham in 1834, which was introduced to Galway in 1835 & played on the bishop's palace garden, and in the same year to the genteel Dublin suburb of Kingstown (today Dún Laoghaire) where it was first spelled "croquet."
The oldest document to bear the word "croquet" with a description of the modern game is the set of rules registered by Isaac Spratt in November 1856 with the Stationers' Company in London.
The tale is that the game traveled from Ireland to England around 1851. An unidentified Miss MacNaghten observed peasants in France playing a game with hoops made of willow rods & mallets of broomsticks inserted into pieces of wood & introduced it in Ireland. Sometime around 1850, she passed the idea to a Mr. Spratt and the result was Spratt's rules for croquet published in 1851. Spratt then passed the game on to John Jacques; who claimed that he made equipment from patterns he bought in Ireland & had published rules, before Spratt introduced the subject to him. Whatever the case, Jacques was the first to make equipment as a regular business; and in 1864, published his first comprehensive code of laws.
At first, croquet was most popular among women, It was a new experience for them to be able to play a game outdoors in the company of men. Early games of croquet were carefully chaperoned. The game's popularity grew in the 1860's, where garden parties began to be called croquet parties.
1868 saw the formation of the All England Croquet Club with the purpose of creating an official body to control the game and unify the laws. They needed to find a ground, and in 1869 leased four acres in Wimbledon.
In 1875, one lawn at the club was set aside for exciting new game of lawn tennis, which was gaining popularity much more quickly than croquet. In April, 1877 the club name was changed to the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club; and in July, 1877 the first lawn tennis championship was held at Wimbledon.
Croquet began to decline as tennis grew & proved to be more of a money maker. In 1882, croquet was deleted from the club title. However, croquet continued & went through a regrowth. In 1899, the name was restyled again to to the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club which it remains today.
While croquet was on the decline in England, it was beginning to be the latest rage in America. Croquet equipment was advertised in the New York Clipper in 1862. In a story of an elopment in the November, 1864 issue of Godey's Ladies Book, they described the intended bride, "her petite figure and dove-like eyes caused her at once to become "the rage of the park, the ball-room, the opera, and the croquet lawn." In 1865, the Newport Croquet Club was formed in Rhode Island. The April 1865, Godey's Ladies Book published a few rules for the game declaring, "As this game is now becoming very fashionable, we give some of the rules that govern it."
When Vassar College opened , an announcement Godey's Lady's Book. August, 1865, stated, "The play-grounds are ample and secluded; and the apparatus required for...such simple feminine sports as archery, croquet (or ladies' cricket), graces, shuttlecocks, etc. will be supplied by the college." In the same issue, the magazine explained, "A NEW
By April of the next year, Godey's was featuring a croquet dress in one of its fashion plates, "Croquet dress of black alpaca, trimmed round the edge of the skirt, up the front, and up each breadth, with bands of green silk cut out in points. The basque is made quite long, slit up to the waist at the back, and turned over with green silk both back and front. The sleeves are trimmed with points of green silk to match the skirt, and the corsage is turned back, in revers, showing a fine worked chemisette. Hat of black straw, trimmed with a puffing of green silk, and a long white plume."
Milton Bradley & Co in 1866, published "Croquet - It's Principles and Rules." In February of 1867, Godey's explaned that croquet, "requires for its full development a level ground of well-mown and well-rolled grass (unless all are equally acquainted with the inequalities, when slight undulations may add to the interest of the game); but it can be played on the sand of the sea-shore where it is hard and level, or upon well-rolled grave, or asphalte covered with a thin layer of fine broken shells."
John Sartain (1808-1897) Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), the 18th President of the United States (1869–1877) with his family
Later in 1867, a New York newspaper editorialized, "never in the history of outdoor sports in this country had any game achieved so sudden a popularity with both sexes, but especially with the ladies, as Croquet has."
The Delaware County Republican newspaper of July 10, 1868. carried an announcement of a variety of wooden croquet sets for sale, "BOX WOOD, Rose Wood, Lignum Vitae, Rock Maple, and less expensive sets of Croquet Games." By 1869, churches were offering croquet to their guests. The Delaware County American announced on June 2, 1869, next to the Maple Church, "a strawberry and ice cream FESTIVAL, provided and served by ladies...a Concert, Vocal and Instrumental ...also, a croquet lawn, with the requisite conveniences." When the strawberries ripened the following June, the church ladies once again offered their festival including croquet. The popularity of croquet was growing by leaps and bounds in post Civil War America.
In 1882, a convention in New York of 25 clubs formed the National American Croquet Association. Croquet was introduced as an Olympic sport in the 1900 Paris games. Early 1900 American croquet leaders disagreed with many of the new English rules which outlawed mallets with heads made of rubber & had introduced the 6-wicket court layout. They kept the 9-wicket version & short handled mallets with heads of metal face on one end and rubber on the other. The Americans introduced their version of 9-wicket croquet at the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis which was won by an American but never played in the Olympics again.
Pierre Bonnard (French painter, 1867-1947) Crespuscule ou La Partie de Croquet
William McGregor Paxton (American painter, 1869-1941) The Croquet Players
Croquet Fashions for players and observers
Croquet grew in popularity with women during the 1860s; however, the sport was hampered by their heavy, full skirts & the crinolines worn underneath. Many women took to looping up their skirts to prevent soiling them or brushing against the croquet balls. Designers began to have the exposed petticoats develop tabs to button up the skirts, & the hems on croquet dresses became increasingly bold & decorative. In 1864, one croquet player advised, “the dress should be looped up, or not only will it spoil many a good stroke, but with its sweeping train will probably disturb the position of some of the balls.”
Edgar Allan Poe was born just over 200 years ago, and he died in 1849. The writer & poet, is known worldwide for his surprise-ending horror mysteries & macabre poetry. Poe was one of the earliest American short story writers of both crime & science fiction. His most recurring gothic themes deal with women & death.
Beyond horror, Poe also wrote both merciless & seductive literary criticism; satires from the dark corners of his mind; humorous intrigues; & outright hoaxes. For comic effect, he used irony & outrageous extravagance to lure the reader away from the cultural conformity of the era, while maintaining a fairly conservative view of the proper role of women in 19th century America.
1802 Unknown Artist. Eliza Arnold Hopkins Poe (Edgar Allan Poe's mother) (1787-1811).
Both of Poe's parents were professional actors, who died when Poe was just turning 3. Poe was with his mother, who was performing in Richmond, Virginia, when she died. Of his mother, Poe wrote in 1835, "In speaking of my mother you have touched a string to which my heart fully responds. To have known her is to be the object of great interest in my eyes. I myself never knew her — and never knew the affection of a father. Both died . . . within a few weeks of each other. I have many occasional dealings with Adversity — but the want of parental affection has been the heaviest of my trials"
Taking pity on the orphaned toddler and having no children of their own, wealthy tobacco exporter John Allan & his wife Frances raised Poe as a foster child in Richmond. The Allans took Poe to England for 5 years, where he attended the best boarding schools. But they did not adopt the young boy, who would always be known as the poor orphan of an itinerant actress.
Sarah Elmira Royster (Mrs Alexander Shelton) (1810-1888). Childhood sweetheart of Edgar Allan Poe. I doubt that this is a period depiction of Poe's childhood & later sweetheart.
After they returned to Richmond, the Allans sent him to the University of Virginia, where Poe excelled academically. Less than a year at the university however, he was forced to leave, when the Allans refused to pay his mounting gambling debts. In 1828, Poe wrote of his worry about losing his foster mother's love, "My dearest love to Ma — it is only when absent that we can tell the value of such a friend — I hope she will not let my wayward disposition wear away the love she used to have for me"
He returned to Richmond to find that his longtime childhood sweetheart had married another in his absence. Now his foster parents & his first love had abandoned him; just as his parents had, when they died. Poe's fears & anxieties about his relationships with women provided inspiration for some of the most darkly romantic poems & wrenching short stories of the early 19th century.
In 1835, the 27-year-old Poe married Virginia Clemm, his 13-year-old cousin from Baltimore. Feeling alone in the world since the death of his parents, when he was only a toddler; Poe was devoted to his child bride.
Thomas Sully (1783-1872) . Virginia Clemm Poe
Her new husband guided her education, personally tutoring her in the classics & math. She excelled during singing & piano lessons, developing a beautiful voice.
Thomas Sully (1783-1872) . Portrait of a Girl Reading. This may or may not be Virginia Clemm Poe.
In Philadelphia on January 20, 1842, Virginia, when playing the piano & singing, began to cough & blood poured from her mouth. This pulmonary hemorrhaging was a symtom of tuberculosis, a disease which had already killed so many of Edgar's loved ones.
1837 Unknown Artist. Virginia Clemm Poe. Westminister Burying Ground, Baltimore, Maryland.
"My dear little wife has been dangerously ill. About a fortnight since, in singing, she ruptured a blood vessel, and it was only on yesterday that the physicians gave me any hope of her recovery. You might imagine the agony I have suffered, for you know how devotedly I love her." Edgar Allan Poe to Frederick William Thomas, February 3, 1842
Edgar Allan Poe daguerreotype painted by John M. Fasano.
Virginia's diminishing health drove Edgar into deep depression, to heavy drinking, & into loving friendships with other women. Some of his female companions helped him deal with Virginia's approaching death, while others angrily turned on him.
Poe became an associate editor of the New York based Broadway Journal in February of 1845, and in March he became editor & part owner. Here Poe met "Fanny" Osgood (Mrs. Frances Sargent Osgood), estranged wife of portrait painter, Samuel S. Osgood, in March of 1845. Poe fell in some sort of love with the woman he described, "She is ardent, sensitive, impulsive...above medium height, slender to fragility, graceful...complexion usually pale; hair very black and glossy; eyes a clear, luminous grey, large, and with a singular capacity of expression."
1848 Frances "Fanny" Sargent Locke Osgood (1811-1850). In Female American Poets
When the New York weather became too much for the frail Mrs. Osgood's health, she left New York for a season. Taking advantage of her absence, the younger author, Mrs. Elizabeth Ellet, began a relationship with the ever lonely, ever searching Poe. The jealousy between the two women led to Poe's dying wife Virginia finding out about his possible romantic entanglements.
Elizabeth Fries Lummis Ellet (1812-1877). Godey's Lady's Book # 34, 1847.
"Kindest--dearest friend--My poor Virginia still lives, although failing fast and now suffering much pain. May God grant her life until she sees you and thanks you once again! Her bosom is full to overflowing--like my own--with a boundless--inexpressible gratitude to you. Lest she may never see you more--she bids me say that she sends you her sweetest kiss of love and will die blessing you. But come--oh come tomorrow!" Edgar Allan Poe to Marie Louise Shew, January 29, 1847
1848 Daguerreotype of Edgar Allan Poe.
"She called me to her bedside, took a picture of her husband from under her pillow, kissed it, and gave it to me. She took from her portfolio a worn letter and showed it to her husband, he read it and weeping heavy tears gave it to me to read. It was a letter from Mr. Allan's wife after his death. It expressed a desire to see him, acknowledged that she alone had been the cause of his adopted Father's neglect." Marie Louise Shew, March 28, 1875
"She (Mrs. Shew) tendered her while she lived, as if she had been her dear sister, and when she was dead she dressed her for the grave in beautiful linen. If it had not been for her, my darling Virginia would have been laid in her grave in cotton." Mary Gove quoting Maria Clemm, 1863
Virginia Clemm Poe on her deathbed.
On January 30, 1847, Virginia died.
"I bought her coffin, her grave clothes, and Edgar's mourning, except the little help Mary Starr gave me." Marie Louis Shew, January 23, 1875
Her obituary was printed in both the Daily Tribune and the New York Herald on February 1, 1847: "On Saturday, the 30th ult, of pulmonary consumption, in the 25th year of her age, VIRGINIA ELIZA, wife of EDGAR A. POE. Her friends are invited to attend her funeral at Fordham, Westchester county, on Tuesday next, (tomorrow,) at 2 P.M. The cars leave New-York for Fordham, from the City Hall, at 12 P.M., returning at 4 P.M."
Almost a year later, Edgar wrote George W. Eveleth, describing how Virginia's illness and death had affected him. "Six years ago, a wife, whom I loved as no man ever loved before, ruptured a blood-vessel in singing. Her life was despaired of. I took leave of her forever and underwent all the agonies of her death. She recovered partially and I again hoped.
At the end of a year the vessel broke again. I went through precisely the same scene. Again in about a year afterward. Then again--again--again and even once again at varying intervals.
Each time I felt all the agonies of her death and at each accession of the disorder I loved her more dearly and clung to her life with more desperate pertinacity. But I am constitutionally sensitive--nervous, in a very unusual degree. I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.
During these fits of absolute unconsciousness I drank, God only knows how often or how much. As a matter of course, my enemies referred the insanity to the drink rather than the drink to the insanity. I had indeed, nearly abandoned all hope of a permanent cure when I found one in the leash of my wife.
This I can and do endure as becomes a man--it was the horrible never-ending oscillation between hope and despair which I could not longer have endured with the total loss of reason. In the death of what was my life, then, I receive a new but--oh God! how melancholy an existence." Edgar Allan Poe to George W. Eveleth, January 4, 1848
Last known daguerreotype of Edgar Allan Poe.
Poe continued drinking excessively, and he continued searching for a woman to love who would not die or leave him. He wrote this letter to writer & poet Sarah Helen Whitman, on October 1, 1848,
1865 Detail. C. Giovanni Thompson. Sarah Helen Power Whitman (1803-1878).
I cannot better explain to you what I felt than by saying that your unknown heart seemed to pass into my bosom – there to dwell forever – while mine, I thought, was translated into your own.
From that hour I loved you. Yes, I now feel that it was then – on that evening of sweet dreams – that the very first dawn of human love burst upon the icy night of my spirit. Since that period I have never seen nor heard your name without a shiver half of delight, half of anxiety… for years your name never past my lips, while my soul drank in, with a delirious thirst, all that was uttered in my presence respecting you.
The merest whisper that concerned you awoke in me a shuddering sixth sense, vaguely compounded of fear, ecstatic happiness, and a wild, inexplicable sentiment that resembled nothing so nearly as the consciousness of guilt.
Shortly after Miss Whitman rejected him, mostly because of his excessive drinking & pressure from her mother, Poe met & fell in love with Mrs. Annie Richmond. Mrs. Richmond, wife of paper manufacturer Charles Richmond of Lowell, Massachusettes, lovingly consoled Poe after his heartbreaking separation from Whitman.
On November 16, 1848, he wrote to Annie,
Ah beloved, think—think for me & for yourself—do I not love you Annie? do you not love me? Is not this all?...Can you, my Annie, bear to think I am another’s? It would give me supreme—infinite bliss to hear you say that you could not bear it.
Three months later on January 11, 1849, Poe declared,
...I am so—so happy to think that you really love me...Indeed, indeed, Annie, there is nothing in this world worth living for except love...
And only days later, on January 21, 1849, he wrote:
...as long as you and yours love me, my true and beautiful Annie, what need I care for this cruel, unjust, calculating world? Oh, Annie, there are no human words that can express my devotion to you and yours. My love for you has given me renewed life.
After being rejected by Whitman & finally realizing that the married Annie was unattainable, Poe sought out his first young love, Sarah Elmira Royster Shelton, now a widow in Richmond, and asked her to marry him. She, too, demanded sobriety.
On September, 1849, Poe wrote his last letter to his mother-in-law, "Elmira has just got home from the country. I spent last evening with her. I think she loves me more devotedly than any one I ever knew & I cannot help loving her in return. Nothing is definitely settled..if possible I will get married before I start — but there is no telling."
But, on October 7, 1849, at age 40, Poe died alone after collapsing at a tavern in Baltimore, without ever achieving an ongoing, loving connection with a woman; just as the married narrators of his tales never are able to attain lasting relationships with their brides.
Edgar Allan Poe wrote, “Beauty is the sole legitimate province of the poem... Melancholy is thus the most legitimate of all poetical tones...The death, then, of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world—-and equally is it beyond doubt that the lips best suited for such topic are those of a bereaved lover.”