Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Historic American Seed and Plant Catalogs from Smithsonian Institution Libraries

17C Woman wearing a ruff by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677)

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Ornatus Muliebris 

The artist Hollar was born in 1607, the son of an upper middle-class civic official. He left his native Prague at age 20. He was almost blind in one eye but became a skilled artist. His 1st book of etchings was published in 1635, in Cologne, when Hollar was 28. The following year his work caught they eye of English art collector the Earl of Arundel who was visiting the continent. 

The English Earl convinced Hollar to become a part of his household, settling in England early in 1637. Hollar left London for Antwerp in 1642, where he continued to work on a variety of projects for 10 years.  In 1652, he returned to England, working on a number of large images for the publishers John Ogilby & William Dugdale. Hollar died in London in 1677. By his life's end, he had produced nearly 3000 separate etchings.

1739 Tales about Older Women & Scoundrels in Benjamin Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette

In the 18C American colonies, unmarried woman & widows could accumulate money & property in their names; but as soon as they married, all of their assets became the property of their husbands.

1739 Attributed to Pieter Vanderlyn (American colonial era artist, 1687-1778). Catherine Ogden.

March 27, 1739 The Pennsylvania Gazette
We hear that Tuesday Night last, a young Dutchman was married to an old Dutchwoman, who was known to have Money. They had a Fiddle at the Wedding, and when the Bride was about to Dance, the Bridegroom told her he was oblig’d to go out a little Way and would return in a short Time. She danc’d ’till it was late, and then he not appearing, she went to look for him in the Bed-Chamber; where she found to her great Surprize that he had been and taken away her Money, and he has not since been heard of.

1739 John Smibert (American Colonialera artist, 1688-1751) Mary Ann Faneuil Mrs John Jones 1715-1790

May 31, 1739 The Pennsylvania Gazette
Yesterday one James Johnson, met a Man riding into Town, who (in Company with another Man, not yet taken) robb’d him in his Journey from North-Carolina to this Place of upwards ofThree Hundred Pounds, Carolina Money, and a Note for Fifty Pounds Sterling; and laid hold of him: The Highwayman beg’d not to be expos’d, and pretended he had marry’d a rich Widow in Town, and would immediately refund the Money, if the other would go with him to his House; on this Pretence he led him to the outside of the Town, then leap’d on his Horse and made his Escape down to the Lower-Ferry, but finding himself closely pursued, and the Boat not ready to go over, he made into the Neck, where he was taken some Hours after; and after an Examination before a Magistrate, committed to Prison.

1739 Pieter Vanderlyn (American colonial era artist, 1687-1778). Deborah Glen Sanders of New York