The Fowler Family’s Field of Phrenology

Sold for $2 by Lorenzo Fowler from his London office in the late 1800s, the head displays phrenological organs on the left side and collective groupings of traits on the right.

Sold for $2 by Lorenzo Fowler from his London office in the late 1800s, the head displays phrenological organs on the left side and collective groupings of traits on the right. Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera, Winterthur Library

On a March day in 1848, James Terry, grandson of famous clockmaker Eli Terry, stepped into Orson and Lorenzo Fowler’s New York City office to have his head examined. He walked away, $3 poorer, armed with a detailed analysis describing his character traits, both strengths and weaknesses. As tempting as it is to cherry-pick parts of Fowler’s analysis, such as “good perception of physical arrangement, are quite annoyed to see things in disorder,” and apply it to Terry’s profession of lock manufacturer and owner of Eagle Lock Company, we can’t assess either its accuracy or Terry’s opinion of the reading. However, his son James Jr., anthropologist, antiques dealer, and collector, saved it as a tangible link to his father.

Much more is known about Orson Fowler (1809–87), his younger brother Lorenzo Niles Orson (1811–96), and their phrenological empire. While not the originators of this pseudoscience, these two brothers and their family were largely responsible for phrenology’s popularity in America during the 19th century. Originating in Vienna at the end of the previous century, phrenology arrived in the States in the 1820s, taking several years to catch hold. Converted in the mid 1830s, the Fowlers traveled the lecture circuit entertaining and educating curious audiences with talks and readings. A reading consisted of first measuring the circumference and areas of a participant’s head, and then feeling for enlarged areas and indentations—not reading bumps as was and is commonly believed. Rather, the concept taught a classification schema for the brain, the organ of the mind, with each organ or area representing a different character trait with size of the organ indicating a trait’s power. Since the skull conformed itself to the brain, a hands-on reading was essential in noting areas that were large and well-developed or small and undercultivated. After a reading, a person, enlightened with self-awareness, could capitalize on strengths and work on weaknesses to attain perfection.

First page of Lorenzo Fowler’s 1848 reading of James Terry.

First page of Lorenzo Fowler’s 1848 reading of James Terry. Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera, Winterthur Library

The Fowlers themselves reached perfection in their timing of riding the wave of this self-help movement and expanded beyond the lecture circuit by opening offices in Philadelphia (1838), New York City (1842), Boston (1851), and London (1863) to store their research collection of casts of heads and offer readings. While impossible to estimate how many heads they read during the span of their careers, their clients included such 19th-century notables as Walt Whitman, Allan Pinkerton, Lydia Maria Child, Clara Barton, John Brown, Margaret Fuller, Hiram Powers, and a skeptical Mark Twain, who submitted at least twice. By the time James Terry visited their New York office, it was a thriving business where, in addition to readings and gazing at casts, guests could take classes for 25 cents or private lessons for $1 and buy mementoes such as a bust for $1.25 for home study.

With business booming, more personnel were needed to satisfy demand for readings and manage more aspects of the growing empire. Fired up with phrenological zeal, younger sister Charlotte also gave readings, taught classes, and managed the New York office with husband Samuel R. Wells, who operated the publishing arm that cemented the Fowlers’ influence. The American Phrenological Journal and Miscellany, in circulation for more than 70 years, introduced phrenology into the homes of millions who could not visit the offices in person. As a premium, journal subscribers were offered plaster of paris busts, also marketed as “ornamental, deserving a place on the center-table or mantel, in parlor, office, or study,” to read their own skulls at home using an accompanying illustrated key. Besides issuing numerous phrenology tracts that the Fowlers wrote, Fowler & Wells also published titles on architecture, home economics, etiquette, and books on other major 19th-century reform and self-help movements, such as temperance, hydropathy, homeopathy, vegetarianism, anti-tobacco, and dress reform.

Phrenology introduced Lorenzo to his wife Lydia when reading her father Gideon Folger’s head during a business trip to Nantucket in 1844; a satisfactory reading of Lydia on a return visit resulted in an offer of marriage, which brought her into the fold. Their phrenologically blessed union prompted them to preach the importance of finding one’s mate in such books as Marriage: Its History and Ceremonies: with a phrenological and physiological exposition of the functions and qualifications for happy marriages. Lydia quickly became involved in the business with lectures and readings, and studied medicine, becoming the second woman to graduate from an American medical college and the country’s first female professor of medicine with a specialty in anatomy and midwifery. After successful lecture tours in England, Lorenzo and Lydia opened a London office in Fleet Street near Ludgate Circus in 1863. Despite their busy schedules, the couple raised three daughters, with the youngest, Jessie, carrying on the business into the 20th century.

Miss Blanchard’s results recorded in her copy of “New Illustrated Self-Instructor of Phrenology and Physiology” from 1859. Her lowest score for “continuity” meant that she needed to “cultivate consistency of character and fixedness of mind, by finishing all begun.”

Miss Blanchard’s results recorded in her copy of New Illustrated Self-Instructor of Phrenology and Physiology from 1859. Her lowest score for “continuity” meant that she needed to “cultivate consistency of character and fixedness of mind, by finishing all begun.” Printed Book and Periodical Collection, Winterthur Library

Phrenology had many detractors in its day—some critiques leveled against the number of organs or traits increasing several times (from the original 27 to over 40) and its use by some in promulgating racism. Yet it did champion many positives: encouraging people to use readings to choose the right occupations and spouses, helping parents understand and direct their children on worthy paths, and rehabilitating instead of punishing criminals and the mentally ill. Falling out of favor towards the end of the century with the rise of new disciplines psychiatry and psychoanalysis, phrenology nevertheless influenced them with its belief that areas of the brain had certain meanings. While easy now to dismiss phrenology as quackery, it helps to take the measure of the reasons for its popularity and its historical context.

Post by Jeanne Solensky, Librarian, Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera


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As Night Falls on Downton Abbey

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The dazzling dinner parties on the period drama Downton Abbey are known to yield some of the character’s best one-liners, especially those uttered by the Dowager Countess of Grantham played by Dame Maggie Smith. Responding to Matthew’s statement about working five days a week, “What is a week-end?” In addition to these delicious quips from the characters the evening costumes showcased on the period drama series are as equally delightful.

harem exhWinterthur is fortunate to display a selection of the exquisite costumes and accessories worn by the upstairs and downstairs characters on Downton Abbey in the original exhibition Costumes of Downton Abbey.  The exhibition divides the costumes into sections based on the stages of the day on the country estate: Early Morning, Leisurely Afternoon, and Dazzling Dinnertimes. While summer dresses and leisure activity clothing reign during the Leisurely Afternoon section for the upstairs characters, the evening attire takes center stage for its beauty, elegance, and tailoring.

_JIM2897The costume designers for the series try to reflect each character’s personalities in the costumes, especially the evening gowns worn by the upstairs women. Lady Mary’s character is outfitted in elegant, tasteful dresses that reflect her traditional values. The beaded evening dress displayed in the exhibition is in the style of 1919. In the same respect, for Lady Sybil’s costumes, designers seek to show her free spirit and her more individualist style. On display are the harem pants worn by Sybil in Season One. This costume was one of the most popular ever worn on Downton Abbey. The pants, first introduced by couturier Paul Poiret in 1911, were shocking at the time because, as author Jessica Fellowes notes in her book The World of Downton Abbey, “no woman of her class, before Poiret’s harem look, had ever been seen in trousers.”

While about a third of the costumes are made entirely new, costume designers try to use vintage pieces wherever possible. The evening dress worn by character Cora, Countess of Grantham, that is displayed in the exhibition is modeled on a similar dress by high fashion house Lanvin. The costume features a strip of vintage embroidery down the front.

Downton Promo shot_5The upstairs men were equally as dapper in evening attire. One of the most beautiful scenes from Downton Abbey, Matthew’s proposal, is captured in the exhibition. On display, character Matthews’s evening white tie and tails is in the style of 1919. Also on display is character Mary’s beaded, silk engagement dress, inspired by 1920 tiered dresses designed by Lanvin. The exhibition adds a charming interactive element accompanying the costumes—the screening of the proposal scene as “snow” falls all around.

Henry Francis du Pont would have dressed in a fashion similar to the high-style Crawleys during his dazzling evenings on the Winterthur estate. On his first trip abroad, in 1901, du Pont became a client of Henry Poole & Co., considered among the best of the gentleman’s bespoke tailors on London’s Saville Row. The company is known to have introduced the dinner jacket in England and what would become known as the tuxedo in America.

Layout 1A dinner party planned by Henry Francis du Pont at Winterthur was as elaborate as the scenes that play out on screen at the fictional Downton Abbey estate. Throughout its history, Winterthur has been a destination for entertaining. During the weekends, Winterthur was filled with elegantly dressed guests lounging by the pool, enjoying the grounds, and, of course, cutting a rug to tunes from the jazz age. Like the downstairs characters on Downton Abbey, who make it look like entertaining comes together effortlessly, du Pont and his butler would plan meticulously for the event down to every last detail of the menu and table setting. The head butler, like the character Carson on Downton Abbey, had the dining room under his care. Wearing a black dinner jacket, waistcoat, trousers with white tie, the butler would serve at dinner but would not wait on the table, except to pour wine.

“A good butler knows everything, from the antecedents of the guests to the time-tables of most suburban railways. He is very apt to have a fine taste in the arrangement of the flowers, and the weather probabilities are seldom hidden from him.” —Vogue’s Book of Etiquette (New York, 1924)

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Character Charles Carson’s evening costume on display is in the style of 1912–30. The butler and his employer’s white tie evening clothes are very similar except for the quality of fabric and tailoring.

P62 OV Dancing in MMV    003The du Pont’s entertaining traditions were not unlike those enjoyed by the Crawley family. To honor this tradition, Winterthur invites guests to join us for “A Night at Downton: Costumes of Downton Abbey Cocktail Party,” July 25. Guests are invited to arrive early and enjoy a summer night, strolling through the garden. Inside, visitors will be treated to delicious food, fizzy drinks, and the exquisite Costumes of Downton Abbey exhibition on display in the Winterthur Galleries.

Downton-inspired costumes—though not required—are heartily encouraged to transport you back in time. Be sure to bring your dancing shoes and dance the night away to the live Downton-era jazz and swing music, courtesy of “Songbird and the Tweeters.”

Reservations required. Members $75; nonmembers $90, includes entrance to Costumes of Downton Abbey. For more information, please visit

Costumes of Downton Abbey is on display in the Winterthur Galleries through January 4, 2015.

For more information, please visit

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Fellowes, Jessica. The World of Downton Abbey. Harper Collins, September 2011.

Post by Hilary Seitz, Marketing Communications, contributed by Regina Lynch, Public Programs

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The Sun Is Shining Bright on ‘Costumes of Downton Abbey’


Photograph © Nick Briggs, Carnival Film & Television Limited, 2010. All Rights Reserved.

The momentum is going strong! The original exhibition Costumes of Downton Abbey is receiving national acclaim and breaking visitation records on the former du Pont estate. There are no signs of things slowing down, but for those who have not had a chance to visit Winterthur yet, there is still time; Costumes of Downton Abbey is on view in the Winterthur Galleries through January 4, 2015. In the meantime, here is the next post focusing on the “Leisurely Afternoon” section of the exhibition.

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While the morning costumes featured in the exhibition are primarily centered around the downstairs characters on Downton Abbey, the afternoon activities put more emphasis on the outfits worn by the upstairs characters. It was English custom for the local gentry, like the Granthams, to host village fetes to benefit local charities. The exhibition displays two summer dresses and hats worn in Season One by characters Mary and Sybil to the town’s annual flower show and to the family’s garden party. The contemporary-looking print on Sybil’s Edwardian-style dress shows how designers look to the past for inspiration. Housemaid Anna’s formal dress in the style of 1912 is also displayed. During the afternoon, the downstairs characters would have changed from a morning dress into a formal black dress with apron. Aprons were traditionally worn with dresses by housemaids in the early twentieth century.

The exhibition also features costumes worn to the christening of Sybil’s baby. The lavender dresses worn by Cora, Countess of Grantham, and by Mary are both in the style of 1920. Also featured is Matthew Crawley’s gray suit in the style of 1921. Traditional colors of mourning of the time were lavender, gray, lilac, and mauve. An interesting fact from the exhibition for fans of the show: the costumes are treated as part of the character’s wardrobe, the dress worn by the character Cora to the christening was also worn by Cora to Lady Mary’s wedding.

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Photograph © Giles Keyte, Carnival Film & Television Limited, 2012. All Rights Reserved.







Summer whites and ivory were traditionally worn during leisure hours. Displayed in the exhibition is character Matthew Crawley’s cricket ensemble in the style of the 1920s, including a sweater, sports shirt, and flannel trousers. Cricket, widely considered the national sport of Great Britain, became popular in many East Coast cities in the United States in the 1800s. In fact, many country clubs can trace their origins to cricket clubs. The Wilmington Country Club, which borders the Winterthur property, can be traced back to the 1882 Delaware Cricket Club.

While men and women typically spent their leisure hours in the summer playing cricket and walking, respectively, the fall activities centered on foxhunting and shooting. Each activity required its own outfit. Foxhunting on horseback had distinctive attire, including scarlet coats, while cool-weather tweeds were worn for shooting game birds.

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Photograph © Giles Keyte, Carnival Film & Television Limited, 2012. All Rights Reserved.

A trip to the country was common practice not only in England but also for Winterthur founder Henry Francis du Pont. A three-day house party might require 12 complete ensembles. A large trunk like H. F.’s, which is displayed in the exhibition, would be one essential piece of luggage packed by the man’s valet or the lady’s maid or for the trip.

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Ruth Wales du Pont and her lady’s maid, Juliette Dordonette, had an affectionate relationship; Juliette’s duties included helping to dress her employer and fixing her hair—quite like the relationship on Downton Abbey between the characters Cora and Sarah O’Brien. Another aspect of the lady’s maid duties was to pack for her employer, including the carrying case. Ruth’s traveling case, on display, was custom-made for her by Albert Barker Ltd. of London, manufacturer to His Majesty King George V.

Du Pont and his valet shared a similar relationship. The valet in the United States and Great Britain was tasked with dressing his employer, packing and unpacking, securing hotels, and acting as a courier. Valets, like the character John Bates, did not wear uniforms; Bates’s costume includes work clothes, an apron, and sleeve guards in the style of 1912.

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Afternoon tea was a leisurely activity practiced in England and the United States. The fashion of English tea began with Queen Alexandra asking her friends to come for a cup of tea and an afternoon chat. The practice quickly imported to America. At Winterthur afternoon tea was served between the hours of 4:30 and 6:00 pm. The Tiffany tea service displayed in the exhibition was monogrammed for du Pont’s mother, Mary Pauline Foster du Pont. The tea service stayed in the family and was used until H. F.’s death in 1969, when it was donated to the museum.

Costumes of Downton Abbey shows the parallels between fictional life at Downton Abbey and real life at Winterthur. Many of the leisurely activities the characters at Downton experience are similar to the experiences of H. F. du Pont living at Winterthur.

The next installment will focus on “Dazzling Dinnertimes” and the evening costumes featured in the exhibition. Costumes of Downton Abbey is on view in the Winterthur Galleries through January 4, 2015. For more information, please visit

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Post by Hilary Seitz, Marketing & Communications Department

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Music to My Ears

MAB chipSince Henry Francis du Pont’s time, efforts have been made at Winterthur to fill the home and grounds with music. In an exercise in technical innovation and first-rate hospitality, Mr. du Pont wired audio systems throughout Winterthur. During the warmer months, guests could enjoy recorded music and live broadcasts as they played rounds of golf or lounged by the swimming pool.

In keeping with this tradition, during the summer and fall, Winterthur presents our Music Along the Bank series, which features local bluegrass and folk bands. This year marks the second year Winterthur has invited visitors to join us for evenings of live music on the lawn along the Clenny Run bank. Visitors are encouraged to bring picnic dinners and drinks and enjoy the music as it wafts through the summer air. All ages are welcome, and there is plenty of space for little ones to dance the night away.

The Sin City Band

Sin City Band

The first concert is Friday, June 27, when we will host Buffalo Chip & The Plainsmen, known for mixing a wide variety of acoustic styles including bluegrass, folk, country, americana, rock and blues. The “genre-blending” Sin City Band comes back to Winterthur on July 11. The band has been making a name for themselves since 1974, as they filled up venues everywhere from the Grand Bahamas to Winterthur’s backyard. On July 18, The Unruhlies will bring down the house with their mix of bluegrass, folk, and blues.

So grab your friends and family, fill up your picnic basket, and come out for a night of music and summer fun.

Music Along the Bank

$5 per Member. $15 per nonmember. Children under 13 free. Museum Store and Cottage Café will be open for light fare, wine, beer, and other beverages.

Buffalo Chip & The Plainsmen
June 27, 5:30–8:00 pm

 The Sin City Band
July 11, 5:30–8:00 pm

The Unruhlies
July 18, 5:30–8:00 pm

Post by Regina Lynch, Public Programs Assistant

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Winterthur in a New Light

Most art and history enthusiasts are well aware that historical objects need to be regularly monitored and conserved. But what about historic structures? How can conservators, architects, and historians work cooperatively to preserve the houses of the past for historians of the future? This year, Winterthur is learning the answers to those questions as we renovate our exterior.

Reno-Image-1The main goal of the yearlong project is to replace the 410 Plexiglas windows and approximately 800 wooden shutters on the exterior of the building. Careful attention has been paid to the changes that were made over the course of the house’s construction and, as put by Winterthur conservator Lauren Fair, the renovation will “tell again the story of manufacture and design change from one building campaign to the next.” These repairs and replacements will allow visitors to be able to see into the windows to the window frames, or muntins, and will restore the building’s exterior appearance, in keeping with the original aesthetic.

Left: Former view of windows; Right: New view of windows with visible muntins

Left: Former view of windows; Right: New view of windows with visible muntins

Original shutters

Original shutters

Along with the windows, the wooden shutters will be replaced with ones made from more durable material. Although the original shutters were regularly cleaned and repaired throughout the year during the 1960s and 1970s, this project marks one of the most significant efforts to maintain these shutters. The team at Winterthur has discovered at least 17 different variations of them, ranging from what are thought to be the original, functioning shutters from the part of the house built in 1902 to decorative ones installed several decades later. As with many parts of this renovation process, the progression of shutter variation around the house has shed light on some more debated parts of the house’s construction over time.

Although window and shutter repairs were the focus of this renovation, the access the scaffolding has provided to the upper stories of the house has also allowed for an assessment of the overall structure and preservation of the building. Some of the most noteworthy aspects of Winterthur’s exterior and interior are those elements that were taken from or inspired by the Port Royal House, which was originally built in Philadelphia in 1762. Actual architectural elements from this house can be found reinstalled in various rooms at Winterthur, but several components on the exterior of Winterthur are also taken from this house or were modeled after its architectural elements. For instance, the dormer brackets that frame many of the windows at Winterthur were created in the latter manner and they have become part of the most recent renovation project. Conservators and staff will be removing the original brackets in order to properly treat and conserve them. At this time, no decision has been made as to the fate of these objects, but it is likely that the originals will be stored and replicas will be put in their place.

Left: Dormer Brackets modeled from Port Royal House; Right: Ironwork fence from Port Royal House

Left: Dormer Brackets modeled from Port Royal House; Right: Ironwork fence from Port Royal House

The renovation project has also given our staff unprecedented access to some iron fencing from the Port Royal house, which now lines many of the ridges of Winterthur’s roof. Our conservation staff was particularly excited by this discovery and will be treating the ironwork over the next several months. The treatment will include the removal and replacement of the former coatings with new, more corrosion-proof ones.

While the scaffolding remains up for the renovation, several chimneys will be repaired or reconstructed and the gutters will be replaced. In order to install new gutters, several roof tiles will need to be removed and replaced. These pieces are the original tiles that Henry Francis du Pont acquired from the Ludowici Roof Tile Company, which were created in the Italian clay tile-making tradition.

Left: Ludovici Roof Tiles; Right: New Gutters

Left: Ludowici Roof Tiles; Right: New Gutters

One of the final stages of the renovation will be the installation of new, exterior lights that will light up Winterthur during the nights and darker months of the year. In its heyday, Winterthur was a beacon of culture, entertainment, and historic preservation. It is our hope that with new lighting, shutters, and repairs, Winterthur can continue to illuminate the days and nights for generations to come.

For ongoing updates on the house renovation, please visit

Post by Regina Lynch, programs assistant, Public Programs Department

Rendering of the final light installation

Rendering of the final light installation



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90,000 and Counting! Fraktur Collection Acquired

The Winterthur collection of 90,000 objects has grown with the acquisition from the estate of Pastor Frederick Sheely Weiser. The acquisition, one of the largest in museum history, includes 121 fraktur and nearly 200 textiles and other items from Pastor Weiser’s collection.

Even after his death in 2009, Pastor Weiser of New Oxford, Pennsylvania, is considered one of the foremost scholars and collectors of Pennsylvania German decorative arts. Known for collecting the most significant and rare objects, Weiser’s collection, assembled over a span of more than forty years, includes many objects attained directly from descendants of the original owner or maker.

Fraktur (Religious text), Montgomery, Pennsylvania, circa 1785. Museum purchase with funds provided by the Henry Francis du Pont Collectors Circle, 2013.31.71

Fraktur (Religious text), Montgomery, Pennsylvania, circa 1785. Museum purchase with funds provided by the Henry Francis du Pont Collectors Circle, 2013.31.71

One of the highlights of the highly important collection of Pennsylvania German fraktur (decorated manuscripts) is this extraordinary religious text, signed by Mennonite schoolmaster Andreas Kolb and regarded by scholars and collectors as one of the greatest fraktur ever made due to its stunning synthesis of design and text.  Kolb signed his name at the top and wrote “wie ein Adler” (like an eagle) above the birds’ heads.


Fraktur are colorful documents made by Pennsylvania Germans between 1740 and 1860. This artistic form of folk art, usually executed in ink and watercolors on paper, reflect personal records, such as certificates of birth, baptismal, confirmation, marriage, and house blessings. The early fraktur were executed entirely by hand, and it was common practice for fraktur to display religious beliefs.

Fraktur (Writing sample), Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1795. Museum purchase with funds provided by the Henry Francis du Pont Collectors Circle, 2013.31.069 A

Fraktur (Writing sample), Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1795. Museum purchase with funds provided by the Henry Francis du Pont Collectors Circle, 2013.31.069 A

Among the acquired collection of fraktur, other highlights include a large alphabet made in 1795 by fraktur artist Jacob Otto; a spiritual clockworks attributed to traveling artist Friedrich Krebs; small drawings given to students by their schoolmasters as rewards for good behavior or academic performance; religious texts, tune books, and hymnals; and New Year’s greetings, valentines, and assorted drawings of people, buildings, flowers, and animals.

Of the nearly 200 textiles from the collection, highlights include thirty hand towels with embroidery and drawnwork that hung on a door for decoration, an embroidered handkerchief owned by Maria Huber dating 1768, and small cloth bags used by housewives to save garden seeds.

Fraktur, 1790–1810. Museum purchase with funds provided by the Henry Francis du Pont Collectors Circle, 2013.31.77 A

Fraktur, 1790–1810. Museum purchase with funds provided by the Henry Francis du Pont Collectors Circle, 2013.31.77 A

Additional items from the acquired collection include five Easter eggs dyed a reddish-brown color with onionskins then decorated by scratching designs to reveal the white shell. Very few early examples of these fragile eggs remain, one dated 1816 descended in the family of its original owner; another is embellished with the word “EASTER” from Gettysburg, Pennyslvania.

Pastor Weiser’s collection acquired by Winterthur contains many important forms and artists not previously represented in the Winterthur collection. The Weiser estate also graciously donated his extensive research to the Winterthur Library for the interest of study along with the collection pieces.

Look for the newly acquired objects from the Weiser collection to be on view in the Winterthur Galleries in March 2015. The exhibition will explore the colorful world of the Pennsylvania Germans and their decorated manuscripts, textiles, pottery, furniture, and other forms of diverse and unique folk art.

Post by Hilary Seitz, Marketing & Communications Department

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Unveiling the Secrets and Treasures of the Museum

Winterthur is full of many treasures that are often overlooked or not on display in the museum or Galleries. In fact, with more than 90,000 objects in the collection, it is understandable that even our own tour guides routinely discover new things all the time.


Child’s dress, United States, 1800–50. Bequest of Henry Francis du Pont, 1969.4685

A new “behind the scenes” tour has been introduced, aimed at discovering these secrets and treasures of the museum, Galleries, and the collection storage areas. Led by Winterthur curators, the My Favorite Things Tour focuses on a new theme each month. This month’s tour, “Remember the Ladies,” led by Catharine Dann Roeber*, emphasized historic objects in the Winterthur collection created or used by women.

Old Woman in a Shoe, Europe, 1800–1900. Bequest of Henry Francis du Pont, 1964.1376.

Old Woman in a Shoe, Europe, 1800–1900. Bequest of Henry Francis du Pont, 1964.1376

The tour truly began behind the scenes—in the textiles workshop, generally off limits to the public—where the group admired select pieces of clothing, including children’s gowns, bonnets, and shoes from the 800 clothing items in the collection. The children’s gowns, dating to the 18th century and attributed to the Quakers, are currently being catalogued for the records. These gowns were most likely dresses for special occasions, such as a child’s christening.

Another interesting piece in the textiles workshop was a child’s toy, the old lady in a shoe. The whimsical gift, dating to 19th-century Europe, was modeled after the popular English nursery rhyme and features great detail.


Table (Work table), Rhode Island. Bequest of Henry Francis du Pont, 1957.1

It is important to remember the Winterthur collection is first and foremost the collection of Henry Francis du Pont. Although in some aspects Winterthur was heavily influenced by women—such in the garden, where landscape architect Marian Coffin left her mark—du Pont’s collection of Americana was not highly focused on women. Ruth Wales du Pont, his wife, did not partake in acquiring the collection found in the house; but there are subtle ways her influence is seen. For example, in her bedroom there is a table that descended from Ruth’s great-grandmother, Ruth Holmes.

Continuing into du Pont’s former home, the tour highlighted a case displaying a slave badge created by John Joseph Lafar in 1819 in Charleston, South Carolina. Slaves working off of the planation would commonly wear these badges. For example, women would wear such as badge when taking goods, such as vegetables, from the plantation to sell at market.


Slave badge, Charleston, 1819. Gift of Mrs. Samuel Schwartz, 1977.152

The last few objects seen were examples from the Winterthur collection of mourning jewelry, displayed in a case on the 7th floor of the house. The trend of creating jewelry to commemorate the death of a loved one saw a tremendous rise in popularity in the 1800s. Two catalysts are attributed to the rise in popularity: Prince Albert’s death in 1861 and the American Civil War. After Prince Albert’s death, Queen Victoria and members of her court wore black clothing and matching mourning jewelry for decades. It was also common for soldiers, before leaving for war, to clip a lock of hair and leave it for loved ones. Hair is one feature most often seen in pieces of mourning jewelry.

Mourning brooch, United States, 1797–1810. Gift of Mrs. Paul Hammond, 1962.0084 A

Mourning brooch, United States, 1797–1810. Gift of Mrs. Paul Hammond, 1962.84A

One of the most significant pieces of mourning jewelry in the Winterthur collection is a mourning brooch containing hair from George and Martha Washington. The hair, cut by Martha Washington, was intertwined in the center of the brooch. The brooch was given as a gift to Elizabeth Wolcott in March 1797; although given as a gift of life before Washington’s death in 1799, it is classified as mourning jewelry. Elizabeth Wolcott was the daughter of Oliver Wolcott, Jr., the United States Secretary of the Treasury under President George Washington.

Another piece of mourning jewelry displayed in the case is a mourning ring. The ring commemorates the death of Lady Elizabeth Bowdoin Temple in 1809. The daughter of Massachusetts governor James Bowdoin and Elizabeth Bowdoin, Elizabeth Temple, was married to Bostonian John Temple. Temple was a surveyor general of customs and lieutenant governor of colonial New Hampshire. The first British consul-general to the United States in 1785, Temple received the title Sir John Temple after inheriting a baronetcy in 1786 from Sir Richard Temple, 7th Baronet. Several mourning rings were produced to commemorate Elizabeth Temple’s death, most likely for her children. The outside of the ring reads “DOWAGER ELIZABETH LADY TEMPLE.”

Ring, Boston, 1809. Gift of Mrs. George L. Batchelder, 1972.0071

Ring, Boston, 1809. Gift of Mrs. George L. Batchelder, 1972.71

While du Pont’s collecting focus may not have been intentionally on women, there are many objects in the collection that were influenced, used, and made by women.

In the upcoming exhibition The Diligent Needle: Instrument of Profit, Pleasure, and Ornament, opening August 23, 2014, in the Winterthur Galleries, women take center stage. For centuries women have used a needle to both earn a living and create objects of beauty. View exquisite embroidery from the Winterthur collection highlighting the fascinating intersection of “work” and “art.”

The next My Favorite Things Tour, on June 10, will focus on lighting objects, and will be led by Associate Curator Ann Wagner. For more information, please visit

Post by Hilary Seitz, Marketing & Communications Department

Catharine Dann Roeber, formerly in the curatorial department, is now an major gifts officer in Winterthur’s development department.

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The Grand Panorama of London

Much of the joy of working at the Winterthur Library lies within the potential for discovering “new” gems in the collection with every trip to the rare book stacks. Just such a thing happened in January of this year as I was preparing a display of books for the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture’s annual English Design History course. Attempting to intermingle English design sources with primary sources on the history of London, I retrieved what is, in a matter of speaking, the longest book in the Winterthur Library.

The Grand Panorama of London: From the Thames Extending New Houses of Parliament to Greenwich Hospital, is a 6-inch by 18-foot-long panoramic view of the Thames, which fits neatly into a modest 6 by 7 inch stamped cloth binding, offering the viewer no hint of the expansive illustration folded within the covers. Published in 1849, this rare gem was donated to the library by Dwight and Lori Lanmon in honor of Gregor and Grace Norman-Wilcox in 1995. To display the panorama in its entirety required some creative rearrangement of the library furniture and a small measure of muscular exertion. Three library tables pushed together lengthwise, supplemented with a book cart of equal height, was just barely enough of a flat expanse to accommodate the magnificent panorama. It was well worth the effort however, as when the panorama is fully unfurled, one can set sail down the aqua-colored Thames, taking in sights from Westminster Abbey to the East India Docks, crossing the river to the opposite shore, and finally docking at the Royal Victualling Office. Seen along the way are now-vanished landmarks, including Robert Adam’s ill-fated Adelphi Terrace. Several bridges lead the viewer’s gaze across the river: the Westminster Bridge, Waterloo Bridge, Blackfriar’s Bridge, Southwark Bridge, London Bridge, and the not-yet-completed Hungerford Suspension Bridge.


The Grand Panorama of London is not a neat fit within the history of panoramas. As some readers may know, the earliest panoramas were painted on large canvasses and installed in custom-built rotundas, allowing the visitor to be transported to a magical environment as the scenes were viewed in the round. The definition of panorama evolved to include a variety of expansive and often narrative views in various formats. Scant attention has been paid to the origins of the folded and bound “pocket panorama,” though in The Painted Panorama, author Bernard Comment suggests that, “In the 1820s, small, portable ‘moving panoramas’ appeared in aquatint…These were usually river or sea voyages that allowed travelers to identify the outstanding features of the landscape unfolding before their eyes. Sometimes, they showed well-known urban axes…In general, these were no more than 5.5 metres long and housed in cases into and out of which it was easy to slide them.”


Perhaps it was this trend toward a more widely accessible panorama that inspired the publication of The Grand Panorama of London. Perhaps these pocket-size panoramas appealed to a public eager to grasp the extent of their rapidly expanding industrial city. Or perhaps it was the heightened interest in and availability of pictorial communication, as evidenced by contemporary periodicals such as Punch and Illustrated London News. Although it is not made evident on the title page, a small hint as to the origins of The Grand Panorama of London is found on a sign held by a man standing upon Blackfriar’s Bridge. The sign reads “Pictorial Times.”


The first edition of the panorama was only 12 feet long and was issued in 1844 by Henry Vizetelly (1820–94) as a free gift to subscribers to the Pictorial Times, for which Vizetelly served as an editor. Vizetelly was both an artist and a journalist who had helped to launch the Illustrated London News. While at the Illustrated London News, he spearheaded a promotional venture by which anyone who bought the periodical each week for six months would be presented with a Colosseum Print of London. The idea was well-received: sales of the paper escalated from 26,000 to 66,000 between the months of May and December of 1842. Encoded within this success was an opportunity for Vizetelly. He quickly left the News to establish a rival newspaper, the Pictorial Times, luring in potential subscribers with a promised gift of “the largest engraving in the world.” This engraving was the unbound, 12-foot-long, first edition of The Grand Panorama, issued in 1844. Divided into four sections on a sheet measuring 31 1/2 inches by 42 1/2 inches, the panoramic panels were joined to form a continuous strip. Rivalry between the News and the newly formed Times ensued. Fearing the success of the Times, the News retaliated in 1845 by offering subscribers The Illustrated London News Panorama of London and the River Thames, sold folded in gilt-stamped covers or as a colored single strip on a roller. The Times answered back by issuing their own bound version of The Grand Panorama in 1845 under the imprint of their publisher, Charles Evans. An uncolored version could be purchased by nonsubscribers for one shilling and six pence or colored for two shillings.


In 1847, the panorama reached new lengths. It was in that year that the Duke of Wellington traveled up the Thames to Deptford for Divine Service at St. Nicholas’s Church. To commemorate this event, the Pictorial Times extended the length to 18 feet, the view now rotating east toward the Isle of Dogs, crossing over-river towards Greenwich and returning upriver as far as the Royal Victualling Office at Deptford.


A questionable editorial decision was made prior to printing the 1849 edition. Whereas earlier editions of the panorama showed the span of the Hungerford Suspension Bridge as incomplete, the bridge was opened in 1845. Surely, the publishers of the panorama wanted to provide the most up-to-date views at the cheapest cost, and so the decision was made to insert a timber wharf in the foreground of that panel, thereby obscuring the old view of the unfinished end of the bridge—a cheap solution with less than seamless results. Architectural details were also added to the bridge towers.


There is potential for additional research within the Winterthur Library’s copy of The Grand Panorama. Two unique features shed some light on past ownership. First, a small, pale blue, printed label on the inside front cover lets us know that the book once resided in “Horne’s Library” at 19 Leicester Square—very close to the site of Robert Barker’s rotunda for the 1791 View of London from the Roof of the Albion Mills painted panorama and near the site of the 19th-century spectacle, Wyld’s Great Globe. And tipped into the front of the book is a handwritten index to the panorama, in French, presumably prepared by a previous owner.

A video of the copy of The Grand Panorama of London from the Winterthur Library is posted on YouTube.

Post by Emily Guthrie, NEH Librarian, Collection of Printed Books and Periodicals

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Brock Jobe: 2014 Award of Merit Recipient

Brock Jobe, professor of American decorative arts, Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library

Brock Jobe, professor of American decorative arts, Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, Winterthur

On Saturday, April 26, the Antiques Dealers’ Association of America, Inc., honored Brock Jobe as the 2014 ADA Award of Merit recipient. Brock is the fourteenth recipient of the prestigious award, which recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to the fields of American art and decorative arts and the business of buying and selling antiques.

Brock has quite an impressive career. A native of Virginia, he studied at Wake Forest University and then the University of Delaware, where he earned a master’s degree from the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture in 1975. It was his work with Winterthur instructor Benno Forman, his mentor, that would lead Brock’s career and research to focus on objects made and used in New England.

“To a large degree, working with Benno on my thesis topic, Boston furniture made between 1725 and 1760, was the beginning of all that followed. I found my niche.”  

—Brock Jobe (Antiques and the Arts Weekly, April 1, 2014)

Brock Jobe (far right) with (from the left) Albert Sack, Gib Vincent, Richard Nylander, and Jayne Stokes, in the parlor of the Harrison Gray Otis House in Boston, mid-1980s

Brock Jobe (far right) with (from the left) Albert Sack, Gib Vincent, Richard Nylander, and Jayne Stokes, in the parlor of the Harrison Gray Otis House in Boston, mid-1980s

After finishing his graduate work at Winterthur, Brock started his career at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, assisting in planning the first major conference and related publication on Boston furniture. After Boston, his fascination with furniture would lead him to positions at Colonial Williamsburg, as the curator of exhibition buildings, and Historic New England (formerly Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities or SPNEA), where he was chief curator.

In 1993, Brock returned to Winterthur as the deputy director for collections and interpretation. In 2000, he moved into his current role as professor of decorative arts in the Winterthur Program, a role that suits him quite perfectly. His students and colleagues alike admire his work and enthusiastic attitude.

ADA President Judith Livingston Loto, also a former Winterthur student, notes, “Brock is a detective at heart. He seeks answers to the never-ending questions about American decorative arts—particularly furniture. His mind is constantly connecting the threads of research that he has gathered over the years with actual objects, and then weaving them into something more fully realized. He treats students, scholars and collectors with equality—they too are seekers of knowledge. His smile and open enthusiasm have inspired hundreds of people to love antiques as passionately as he does.”

“In essence, Brock is an advocate. The word “advocate” doesn’t always get its due justice: perhaps the words supporter, champion or even crusader would be more evocative. But what I mean to describe by the word “advocate” is an individual who works tirelessly for a cause or a group. In Brock’s case, that cause is the development and furthering of the field he loves so much—decorative arts and material culture; and that group is, first and foremost, all those who learn from and with him.” — Louisa Brouwer, WPAMC class of 2011, Israel Sack, Inc., Archives Fellow American Decorative Arts, Yale University Art Gallery

“Brock Jobe has the unique distinction of being both an expert in the field of American decorative arts and material culture, as well as an accomplished and gifted educator. Brock’s attention is always squarely focused on the student’s learning experience, and he goes out of his way to assure that students enjoy a hands-on, field-based approach to study of the past. His teaching played a vital role in my and my classmates’ educational experience at Winterthur.” — Alexander Ames, WPAMC Class of 2014

“Indeed, at no time have I ever known Brock Jobe to be too busy, too engulfed, or too self-absorbed to stop everything and advise a student, a colleague, a collector or a friend. It is just part of the cheerful countenance that makes Brock, Brock. He counts among his devoted fans dealers, auctioneers, collectors, curators, conservators all of whom admire his gentlemanly demeanor, generosity of spirit and unbridled enthusiasm for the decorative arts.” — Tom Savage, Director of Museum Affairs, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library

Furniture Day at Massachusetts State House, September 17, 2013. Jobe and Fuller Craft Museum Director Jonathan Fairbanks (right) were in the Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture project

Furniture Day at Massachusetts State House, September 17, 2013. Jobe and Fuller Craft Museum Director Jonathan Fairbanks (right) were in the Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture project

Brock’s accomplishments and contributions in the world of American decorative arts are endless. He has published many articles and written publications including Portsmouth Furniture: Masterworks from the New Hampshire Seacoast; Harbor & Home: Furniture of Southeastern Massachusetts, 1710–1850; and New England Furniture: The Colonial Era with Myrna Kaye. Brock has also organized exhibitions including Harbor & Home: Furniture of Southeastern Massachusetts, 1710–1850; A Lasting Legacy: Sixty Years of Winterthur Graduate Programs; and most recently Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture, a collaborative effort among 11 institutions, which continues to roll out exhibitions, symposiums, lecture programs, digital resources, and website entries.

From left, Steve Fletcher, Gary Sullivan, and Jobe examine a table at a work­shop at Skinner Auctioneers.

From left, Steve Fletcher, Gary Sullivan, and Jobe examine a table at a work­shop at Skinner Auctioneers

Brock is often heard saying “I live and breathe furniture” and is at home crawling under a piece to study the details of its construction and history. During Brock’s tenure as a professor at Winterthur, he has had the fortune of reaching and inspiring countless people, he notes. “The program attracts unbelievably talented people. They will be running museums and galleries and will leave their mark. It’s what keeps me excited and hopeful.”

On May 10, at Historic New England, Brock will deliver “Discovering Boston Furniture” with Sarah Parks; the lecture is part of Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture. They will trace the history of furniture made in Boston and discuss their plans to identify and document as many pieces as they can find. For more information, please visit

Post compiled by Hilary Seitz, Marketing & Communications Department.

Resources: ADA:, Antiques and the Arts Weekly:, Magazine Antiques March/April 2014:

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Daffodil Days

Photo by Bob Leitch

Photo by Bob Leitch

If you have been to Winterthur within the last two weeks, you have seen the remarkable display of naturalized daffodils emerging along the front drive and throughout the garden. The daffodil’s triumphant bloom is a clear signal of spring on the estate. What many do not know is the wide variety of cultivars in the garden and the history behind these spring delights.

The colorful daffodils in the Winterthur Garden date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. In 1902, Henry Francis du Pont laid out his first narcissi garden.

“The great pleasure in a bulb garden is in its permanency…[1902]…I laid out and planted my fist narcissi garden on a gentle slope in front of our house where the lawn faded into the woods.” – H. F. du Pont “Naturalized Narcissi at Winterthur” Daffodil Year Book, Royal Horticulture Society, 1915

Photo by Bob Leitch

Photo by Bob Leitch

Daffodils were one of the few plants du Pont would write about and one of the many in which he maintained a lifelong interest. Against the general advice in catalogues to scatter the bulbs over the ground, planting where they fall, du Pont decided to keep the various groups separate in masses. He would first outline these plantations with twigs and branches to create the separate masses of each cultivar. It was also important to him that earlier bulbs should be planted in an entirely separate location from the others as to not ruin the main effect by early fading blooms. Du Pont’s vision was for the entire garden to be a succession of blooms, especially in the spring.

For example, Narcissus poeticus tend to flower later, usually in mid to late April at Winterthur. This flower with extremely white petals and a small, crinkled disc for a cup, per du Pont’s rule, should be kept to a separate locality as its white petals look almost blue in contrast to the other cream white varieties. Although du Pont planted the poeticus as early as 1911 along the stream in the March Bank, he used very few varieties and cultivars of the poeticus in other areas, as opposed to the nearly 300 different types of daffodils he experimented with elsewhere in the garden.

Daffodils along Clenny Run. Photo by Gottlieb Hampfler

Daffodils along Clenny Run. Photo by Gottlieb Hampfler

Daffodils are all in the genus Narcissus, which comes from the Greek word narkoum, meaning to make numb. The bulbs, in fact, contain a narcotic and poisonous alkaloid that can cause death when ingested. Daffodils in the late 1800s were broken down into groups based on the length of their cup or trumpet. In 1910 the terms had changed, but the groups were still based on cup length and also coloring. Terms would change again in the 1950s. The American Daffodil Society recognizes 13 daffodil divisions on the basis of anatomy. The most popular divisions are Trumpet, Large-Cupped, and Small-Cupped. The types most referred to by du Pont are the trumpet, incomparabilis, leedsii, and barrii, from the classification system used in the early 1900s. It was important to du Pont to keep these types planted separately; he noted that showing the varieties together in a mixture was the “perfect nightmare.”

Du Pont made the following rules for planting narcissi: first, only position together varieties that bloom at about the same time— never more than one week’s difference; second, group contrasting forms and shape; and finally, arrange your plantations in eye-pleasing shapes and sizes.

As well as planting daffodils throughout the garden, du Pont found other uses. The former ten-hole golf course on the estate—now a part of the private club Bidermann—had fairways planted with naturalized daffodils. During the spring season, if a ball landed in the daffodils, the golfer was not permitted to retrieve it.

Daffodils can be found planted all over Winterthur, from the garden to meadows and hillsides to valleys and woodlands and beside the stream of Clenny Run. Alongside Clenny Run, du Pont planted only the cream-white, small-cupped daffodil ‘Queen of the North’ to create the impressive plantation seen there.

Photo by Bob Leitch

Photo by Bob Leitch

The succession of blooms, including the daffodils, is a beautiful sight at Winterthur during the spring. The daffodils along with magnolias and early azaleas are currently blooming in the garden. To discover what’s in bloom, today or any day, please call the Winterthur Garden Report at 302.888.4856 or visit the Garden Blog

To learn more about heirloom bulbs, come hear Old House Gardens’ Scott Kunst’s lively lecture “Heirloom Bulbs: Unique, Endangered, Amazing,” on April 26. For more information, please visit

Post by Hilary Seitz, Marketing & Communications Department. Contributed by Linda Eirhart, assistant director of horticulture and curator of plants.

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