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Originally Posted By Joe Mikuliak
Thanks for this beautiful site about an American treasure. I begin reading, thinking I could offer you my photos of Mt. Pleasant; quickly I saw the high quality photos you are doing and don’t think you need my help.


I hope you are thinking about all this going into a book on Mt Pleasant.

Thanks so much.

On the contrary, I want to look at the photos you made before I started working on the project. Images made over time are important and you remind me to include the date on the images I’ve made that are included here.

Museum Staff
Christopher Storb - Project Conservator - 11.15.2010 - 4:48 PM
Thanks for this beautiful site about an American treasure. I begin reading, thinking I could offer you my photos of Mt. Pleasant; quickly I saw the high quality photos you are doing and don’t think you need my help.

I hope you are thinking about all this going into a book on Mt Pleasant.

Web Comment
Joe Mikuliak - 11.15.2010 - 10:56 AM
Originally Posted By Janet
I am fascinated by the way in which approaches have changed over the years. I think the historic concept of variant entry ways has been lost ~ particularly with houses with a water face. I am thinking of Mount Vernon for example.

And Carter’s Grove also has a terraced landscape on the river side. The changes in the landscape that were made when converting the Park’s landscape, which included building a large reservoir not far to the east of Mount Pleasant definitely changed the approach. However, if you click on the Phila. aerial photos at this site you can make out a feature running through the ball-fields that may be a faint witness of Forty-foot Road. http://www.philageohistory.org/tiles/viewer/

Museum Staff
Christopher Storb - Project Conservator - 11.15.2010 - 10:55 AM
Originally Posted By Janet
Oh, this is a wonderful bit of history! Fantastic tintype.

It was a real needle-in-the-haystack find. I keep looking, wondering if another will ever turn up.

Museum Staff
Christopher Storb - Project Conservator - 11.12.2010 - 4:48 PM
I am fascinated by the way in which approaches have changed over the years. I think the historic concept of variant entry ways has been lost ~ particularly with houses with a water face. I am thinking of Mount Vernon for example.

Web Comment
Janet - 11.12.2010 - 11:55 AM
Oh, this is a wonderful bit of history! Fantastic tintype.

Web Comment
Janet - 11.12.2010 - 11:50 AM
Originally Posted By Jay Robert Stiefel
Westcott’s criticism of the “not very handsome,” “pretentious” and dated nature of Mount Pleasant’s woodwork is in striking contrast to the broad popularity of Colonial Revival architecture. Do we know of any buildings constructed in his period which drew their inspiration directly from Mount Pleasant’s architecture?

I was also surprised by Westcott’s description. I wonder if a Colonial revival antiquarian nostalgia had taken hold across the board by 1876. Perhaps the sumptuousness rococo and display of wealth at Mount Pleasant was not universally admired and a plainer style along the lines of the Letitia Street House was more evocative of the original Western settlers for Westcott.

Good question about late 19th century architecture that might have been influenced by Mount Pleasant, one that I have not thought about. I would be interested to hear others opinions about this.

Museum Staff
Christopher Storb - Project Conservator - 10.20.2010 - 12:15 PM
Originally Posted By Jay Robert Stiefel
What is the earliest information we have as to how it was furnished? Any relevant probate inventories, insurance surveys, account books, diaries or correspondence?

What has paint analysis revealed about its original colors?

The last century of furnishing plans for the drawing room is an interesting topic but information about how it was used before 1900 is scarce. Martha Halpern discovered a wealth of information about the maintenance of, and day to day life at Mount Pleasant in the Jonathan William manuscripts in the Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. The William’s family owned and lived at Mount Pleasant from 1792 to 1816. William’s account book contains entries for furniture purchases but whether every item purchased was intended for Mount Pleasant, and if so what room it was destined for is still a topic for research. No room by room inventory from the first quarter of the nineteenth century has yet turned up. A tantalizing document in the Archives at the Philadelphia Museum of Art describes the late Marion Carson, in 1985, criticizing the installation of the drawing room, at that time called the “great chamber”, saying it never was a bedroom. It was suspected at the time that Carson, at one time married to a descendent of Captain Macpherson, was in possession of an inventory of the house taken in the 1770’s when Macpherson anticipated and ultimately did, rent the main house for the summer. Carson intimated that the “great chamber” may have been Margaret Macpherson’s morning room or sitting room. It was eerie reading this reference in 2010, four years after, without knowing of this reference, the Museum reached the same conclusion. Carson’s voluminous archives, although perhaps not her complete collection, are housed at the Library of Congress. Does the inventory actually exist? There’s another research topic that needs to be pursued!

I look forward to address on-going paint analysis at Mount Pleasant in future posts, there is a long history of investigations into “original colors” going back to 1926. For now, Peggy Olley’s article “Stenton and Mount Pleasant: re-visiting the finish histories of two of Philadelphia’s most treasured 18th century house” in Architectural Finishes in the Built Enviorment”, Edited by Mary A. Jabolonski and Catherine R. Matsen, Archetype Publications, Ltd., 2009 is the best introduction to the subject.

Museum Staff
Christopher Storb - Project Conservator - 10.20.2010 - 10:45 AM
Thank you for publishing chronological images of the changing furnishing and color schemes for the Mount Pleasant drawing room.

What is the earliest information we have as to how it was furnished? Any relevant probate inventories, insurance surveys, account books, diaries or correspondence?

What has paint analysis revealed about its original colors?

Web Comment
Jay Robert Stiefel - 10.20.2010 - 6:35 AM
Westcott’s criticism of the “not very handsome,” “pretentious” and dated nature of Mount Pleasant’s woodwork is in striking contrast to the broad popularity of Colonial Revival architecture. Do we know of any buildings constructed in his period which drew their inspiration directly from Mount Pleasant’s architecture?

Web Comment
Jay Robert Stiefel - 10.20.2010 - 6:25 AM
As a follow-up to Linda’s discussion on Mount Pleasant’s association with military men, Captain Macpherson’s son, John Junior, served with Benedict Arnold in the 1775 march on Quebec. This disastrous attempt by the Americans to take the city resulted in Arnold being wounded and Macpherson killed alongside General Montgomery.

Museum Staff
Justina Barrett - Museum Educator - 10.19.2010 - 10:13 AM
Thank you for you comment. The photographs are important to the posts, and making them enlargeable is definitely part of that. Three prominent owners, including Macpherson who commissioned the building, were military men. Perhaps in the future we can get into whether this was merely coincidence. If you remember more of your NY history you may recall General Jonathan Williams, superintendent of West Point and planner of the defenses of New York harbor. He purchased Mount Pleasant in 1792.

Museum Staff
Christopher Storb - Project Conservator - 10.11.2010 - 12:03 PM
These are wonderful posts and it is thrilling to be able to enlarge your images to a size where one can really see the building and details. Having read Kenneth Roberts’ “Rabble in Arms” — and most of his other books — as a teenager, I’ve always believed Arnold was the most brilliant general of the Revolution. The one date I’ve always remembered is Oct. 17, 1777 — turning point of the Revolutionary War; burned into my brain as a student learning NY state history. So I have to admit that I’m even more smitten with this estate due to its Arnold connection, tenuous as it may be. Looking forward to much “Pleasant” reading. Thanks.

Web Comment
LINDA - 10.7.2010 - 8:28 PM

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