Tag Archives: Joseph Downs Collection

A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts

The coconut:  it conjures up images of summer luaus and tropical sands, or perhaps it brings to mind the zany sound effects from a certain Monty Python production. There is another intriguing way to envision a lovely bunch of coconuts: … Continue reading

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Playing with Fire

“Fire engines gave us the same thrill that children have felt in all times at the sight of running horses accompanied by the clanging of bells.” –Samuel Canby Rumford  Samuel Canby Rumford grew up in a house on the corner … Continue reading

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The Adventures of Archibald Hamilton Rowan: Textile Manufacturer on the Banks of the Brandywine

In the summer of 1795, exiled Irishman Archibald Hamilton Rowan arrived in Philadelphia, his journey to America quite an extraordinary one. Born in 1751 into an Irish family of privilege, he was raised by his wealthy English grandfather and educated … Continue reading

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French Fashions on Paper: Advertising the Coiffure in 18th-Century Paris

Among the numerous items in the library’s Maxine Waldron Collection of Children’s Books and Paper Toys is a gorgeously hand-painted French set of paper cards from the late 1780s not intended as a children’s plaything but rather as an advertisement … Continue reading

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Watercolor Drawings from Paris

In the early 1800s, an artist or a group of artists created at least four volumes of watercolor catalogues depicting personal goods that were for sale in Paris. Two of the volumes, labeled numbers one and four on their spines, … Continue reading

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John Hancock Writes His Wife

Most of us know John Hancock (1737–93) as the first signer of the Declaration of Independence. His large, bold signature sent a clear message to the British people that he hoped their days as rulers of the American colonies would … Continue reading

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