Sunday, June 17, 2012

Portable Civil War Desk On View, Captain Bell

This portable desk was used in the Civil War by a 
native of Haverhill, Capt. Jacob Leroy Bell (1839-1916), who enlisted as a private in the  
11th NH Volunteers in 1862 at age 22. Two years later he advanced to the rank of
Captain. Family tradition holds that the desk was made for him by the men in his
Company and that it was used to hold Company records. After seeing service at Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor and Petersburg, Captain Bell retired to Haverhill and kept store at his family home, the Montgomery House at Oliverian Brook. (See earlier posts on the General Montgomery home and Store.) The desk descended in the family and was returned to Haverhill by Capt. Bell's grand-niece, Winifred Merrill Howard of Hartford, CT in 1960.

Upon recent inspection, the desk was found to be in very good condition, and despite, its 
portable nature, shows little signs of wear.  The front of the desk opens to reveal a series of drawers and dividers. Two confederate bills were also found within the desk.  While the 
painting on the front of the desk is unsigned, it is possible to speculate that the work was 
completed  by one of the members of his company. It depicts soldiers and a watchtower in 
an cleared field.
The writing desk is on view at the Haverhill Historical Society Museum, Court Street, as 
part of commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. 
Hours: Wednesday and Sunday from 2:00-4:00.

For more information about the HHS, see 
Posted by KSA and AYM

1837 Henry Page Ledger Returns to Haverhill

Small Ledger, Henry H. Page, Haverhill, New Hampshire

The Haverhill Historical Society recently purchased a small ledger belonging to Henry Page.  Page must have been a traveling salesman as some of this ledger is devoted to a trip beginning in late September 1837 to Burlington (VT), to Whitehall (NY) to Albany, to Buffalow (sic), to Toledo, to Adrin (sic) (MI), to White Pigeon (MI), and so on.  Entries are mostly for food and lodging, but there are entries for the likes of "blackening boots" and an occasional whiskey. There are a few entries by a Nathl Bailey and Henry H. Page & Company.  Leather ledger measures approximately 3 1/2" x 5 3/4" with approximately 30 pages, unpaginated. A little more than half of the pages have entries, some text is easier to read than others.

Further research will commence later this year. The Haverhill Historical Society thanks Peter J. Michaud for bringing this volume to the Board's attention. It was purchased on e-bay from a collector in Rumney, NH, whose description is found above.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Costume Exhibits Open: Counting House Museum & Portsmouth Athenaeum

Gillian Cusack, co-curator of People, Places and Pantaloons 
at the Counting House Museum
People, Places and Pantaloons
24 May-31 October 2012

Height of Propriety: Fashions Through Time of the Proprietors of the Portsmouth Athenaeum. 
15 June- 8 September 2012

19 JuneGallery talk by Sandra Rux, curator of the exhibition 
5:30 p.m. in the Randall Gallery. Call 431-2538 x2 for reservations. 
Sponsored by Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.

Monday, June 11, 2012

NH 4H: Fashion on Parade, A Short Film

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Past Fashion Exhibition "Fridge List"

Historic Garment and Costume Exhibitions in the Seacoast, 2012 
Courtesy, Astrida Schaeffer,

Thread: Stories of Fashion at Strawbery Banke, 1740-2012 
Strawbery Banke Museum
May 1- October 31, 2012
Rarely seen items from the museum’s costume collection are displayed alongside the creations of 15 contemporary designers in six of the museum’s historic houses, from the 1740 embroidered London Lady’s Shoe to the fanciful 2012 Emma Hope shoe it inspired. 


War of 1812: What it Meant to Portsmouth
John Paul Jones House Museum
May 1- October 31, 2012

A story of privateers, privation, protection and a search for peace told through the stories of Portsmouth families. Includes some costumes from the period but is not specifically a costume exhibit.


People, Places, and Pantaloons
Counting House Museum
May 24- October 31, 2012

Four women from South Berwick Maine and Rollinsford NH between 1850 and 1890 are the focus of this exhibition including their dresses, underwear, accessories, life stories, and the homes they lived in. 



Height of Propriety: Fashions Through Time of the Proprietors of the Portsmouth Athenaeum
Portsmouth Athenaeum:
June 15 - September 8, 2012

From the time of its founding in 1817, the proprietors of the Portsmouth Athenaeum were among the most successful people in Portsmouth. We rarely consider their contribution to fashion; this exhibit will show clothing belonging to past proprietors and their spouses, most from the collections of the Portsmouth Historical Society, and portraits from the Athenaeum and local museums. Samples include: the morning coat worn by Edmund Roberts in Macao while negotiating the first trade treaty with that nation, the wedding dress worn by Mary Morison when she married proprietor James Rundlett May, and an Irish lace dress made for Virginia Tanner for her presentation at the Royal Court in England.


Afternoon at the Museum: 1912
Moffatt-Ladd House
July 8-October 3, 2012

Dresses and hats from the era of the house museum's opening, on loan from the University Museum of UNH and the Portsmouth Historical Society.


Embellishments: Constructing Victorian Detail  
University Museum, University of NH
September 14-December 14, 2012

Twenty five historic garments plus accessories are on view from the Irma Bowen Collection. The exhibition and its accompanying book explore the aesthetics behind 19th c. clothing design and provide a detailed examination of how their decorative elements were constructed. The results of this project will inspire the contemporary needle worker, designer, garment historian and those who just love fashion.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Footcandy Friday: Newly Discovered Maine Wedding Shoe

Jane Radcliffe and Ron Kley of Museum Research Associates (MRA), recently discovered 
this elegant pair of wedding shoes while conducting ongoing research at the Vaughan 
Homestead in Hallowell, ME. According to MRA, they are part of the 7 May 1849 wedding outfit of a mid 19th century proper Bostonian young woman -- Mary Eliot Dwight (who 
married Dr. Samuel Parkman and became the mother of Ellen Twisleton Parkman, who 
married William Warren Vaughan).
These Parisian white satin slippers are of particular interest as key elements of a well 
documented set of apparel. As MRA astutely observe, the charming and diminutive 
proportions of the (apparently original) pasteboard box in which the shoes were found 
(and on which their history is inscribed) is as interesting as the shoes themselves.

With wedding season upon us, sharing this graceful footwear from the past seems 

The author thanks Museum Research Associates, of Hallowell and the Vaughan Homestead Foundation for generously sharing this new information on New England footwear.