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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Turkey Time

Looking to liven up your Thanksgiving turkey? Maybe you could serve it with mangoes. That's an option mentioned in the 1812 American cookery: or, the art of dressing viands, fish, poultry, and vegetables. . . adopted to this country and all grades of life, which is on display in A Taste of History. Here's the complete recipe:

To Stuff and Roast a Turkey or Fowl

One pound of soft wheat bread, three ounces beef suet, three eggs, a little sweet thyme, marjoram, pepper and salt and some add a gill of wine; fill the bird therewith and sew up, hang down to a solid steady fire, basting frequently with butter and water, and roast until a steam emits from the breast, put one third of a pound of butter into the gravy, dust flour over the bird and baste with the gravy; serve up with boiled onions and cramberry sauce, mangoes, pickles or celery.
2. Others omit the sweet herbs and add parsley done with potatoes
3. boil and mash three pints potatoes, moisten them with butter, add sweet herbs, pepper, salt, fill and roast as above.

Or for a real thrill, you could pull a Ben Franklin and electrocute your turkey. He claimed it made the bird especially tender. (Please note that Rosenbach Museum & Library disclaims any liability for mishaps which may they did to Franklin)

Have a wonderful holiday.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fame & Food

It's been a great news week for the Rosenbach. Just in case you missed it, here's a link to the Philadelphia Inquirer story about our Gratz aquisitions, and here are links to the coverage by KYW and WHYY of our Today in the Civil War blog. Not too shabby.

But never content to rest on our laurels, we're moving forward with a new installation A Taste of History in the Drawing Room on the second floor. What is the Drawing Room, you ask? The Drawing Room (a.k.a. Gallery 3) is a flexible gallery space which illuminates how different people draw inspiration from our collections. The space can provide materials to support programming, as with the recent Dracula installation and with Taste of History which supports Kimberly Costa's talk on November 18th. The Drawing Room can also be used to support Rosenbach artist projects, showcase educational partnerships, and any other ideas which we dream up.

The current installation was put toge
ther by Karen Schoenewaldt, our registrar, and Farrar Fitzgerald, our assistant director of education. It offers a veritable cornucopia for foodies through historic cookbooks, menus, recipes, 19th century children’s books, illustrations, tableware and more. I asked Karen about some of her favorite objects in the show and here's her take on some of her picks:

Tenniel illustration from Alice in Wonderland--as she put it "the dormouse looks so cute as he is being stuffed into the teapot"

Hayes Stories for Children--"the children here are unspeakably well mannered and there’s a nice passage something like: (mother) “you love the nice milk warm from the cow, don’t you?” (Unspeakably well mannered child): “oh, yes, Mother, that is such a delicious treat”

Revere House menu--she asked me to note the"fine print" at the bottom, which reads in part: "Gentlemen having friends to dine, will please give notice at the office.Meals sent to rooms will be charged extra. Early dinners served in Ladies Ordinary, from 1 to 2 o'clock only. persons wishing for early dinner will please notify the office. Children occupying seats at the table will be charged full price. Dinner for children and nurses from 1 to 1 1-2 o'clock."

Hungry yet? Then come on over and dig into some history.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

"Today in the Civil War" Blog Launches on Saturday

After a year and a half of preparation, I am pleased to announce that the Rosenbach's online project Today in the Civil War: Dispatches From the Rosenbach Collection will [finally] begin tomorrow, November 6, on the 150th anniversary of the election of Abraham Lincoln. The project uses a blog format, so you can just hop over to and subscribe, so you don't miss a single post!

I know that I have blogged about this project before, but here's a quick rundown. Today in the Civil War will show images of Civil War-era documents from the Rosenbach collection 150 years after they were originally created. Each will be accompanied by a transcript, either full or partial, depending on the length of the document. Items bearing an exact date (e.g. letters, newspapers) will be posted on that date. Material where only the year is known (e.g. books) will be posted during the appropriate year. Items which date from the Civil War period but do not have a specific date (e.g. photographs) will appear from time to time as well. We don't have enough material to do each and every day until April 2015, but we will be posting at least a couple of times a week, for a total of about 1100 entries over the four and half years, so hopefully that will be enough to fill your Civil War quota.

Henszey & Co., carte de visite of Ulysses S. Grant. 1867-69. 2006.628

Trying to figure out when to start such a project was a bit tricky--when does the Civil War begin--the secession of South Carolina, the first shots at Fort Sumter? I decided to go with Lincoln's election in large part because I really enjoy the entries in John Henry Brown's diary for the secession winter of 1860-61 and I wanted to be able to include them. ( I wrote a bit about John Henry Brown in September 2009). John Henry Brown was a Philadelphia painter and his journal entries are not lengthy or eloquent, but he had voted against Lincoln and didn't subscribe to the Republican cause and looking at his diary really gave me a sense of what it was like to be living through that period and watching the country you know fall apart around you and there's nothing you can do to stop it. That's the great thing about the blog format--it will allow you to follow the events as they unfold and to follow the thoughts of certain people over time, like John Henry Brown and Col. Alexander Biddle. Of course all the big names will turn up from time to time too--Lincoln, Grant, Davis, Lee, etc., plus some really great characters like Elmer Ellsworth and Belle Boyd. So it should be fun.

Carte de visite of Elmer Ellsworth, ca. 1861. AMs 811/2.1

A couple of other Civil War related notes. First, since I've been spending my marinating in the rhetoric and ideology of the war in preparation for our upcoming The Civil War Begins exhibit, I was very intrigued by an op-ed in yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer, about how sovereignty questions between state and federal government are still politically contentious today. Cue the speeches by Davis and Lincoln please... Secondly, on a more commemorative note, I want to put in a plug for the statewide website for the Civil War sesquicentennial: . Its slogan and organizing principle is" Understand the war through people then & now" and like our blog project it focuses on people and stories; it also provides a wonderful event listing of all the civil War related events going on in our region and across the state. So go check it out.

Carte de visite of Julia Williams Rush Biddle with infant. 2006.690.