Wednesday, September 19, 2012
MOUNT VERNON HOTEL MUSEUM, QUEEN OF COLONIAL ERA (c) By Polly Guerin
A ‘DAY’ HOTEL It was common in those days for the members of the upper and middle class to take ‘day trips’ to the country, the then rural setting that is now Manhattan. “Up north some might say,” but it offered a respite from the dirt, noise and bustle of city life. Remember, in the early part of the 19th century New York City only extended as far north as approximately 14th Street. In 1924 the Colonial Dames of America, a historical and genealogical organization bought the house and by 1939 it was opened to the public as the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden. However, the museum was formerly called the Abigail Adams Smith Museum, in honor the woman who once lived there.
QUEEN OF COLONIAL REVIVAL It is sad to note that references of Jane Teller are rare in American furniture books, yet auction catalogs and other sources list nearly 1,000 objects that she bought widely for in 1922 she put up items for sale including bedspreads, whale oil lamps, pine tables, spinning wheels, butter churns, sugar kettles, cheese molds, lard squeezers and enough additional pieces to revive appreciation for all things Colonial that turn up at the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum.
COLONIAL CRAFTSMANSHIP Jane Teller singularly sought to revive all aspects of Colonial culture, including the furniture and decorative arts of her 18th-century stone house headquarters at 421 East 61st Street where she began giving classes in handcrafts and advertised for a few bright women to learn hand spinning and weaving whilst self-appointing herself as the secretary of the Society for the Revival of Household Industries and Domestic Arts. Jane regretted that clothes were lacking of individuality and the finer artistry of old hand work. It is suffice to say that that very thought permeates many women’s thoughts even today.
WHO WAS JANE TELLER? She was born Jane Crosby and made a fortuitous match in 1902 and married Myron Teller, an architect who restored houses and was interested in things antiquarian. At her headquarters on East 61st Street Jane taught women to spin or to take raw flax or wool home and spin it there. Jane Teller may not be a household word today, but we acknowledge with gratitude that she helped to popularize the arts and crafts of the Colonial period. By the 1920s she was running a antiques shop offering work of old Colonial design.
THE MOUNT VERNON HOTEL and GARDENS ALLOWS US TO STEP BACK IN TIME TO THE COLONIAL ERA WHEN HAND MADE AND CRAFTSMANSHIP WERE TREASURED COMMODITIES AND A VISIT TO THE ‘DAY HOTEL’ GAVE US RESPITE FROM THE GRITTY CITY, EVEN TODAY.
- ► 2013 (16)
- ▼ September (3)
- Polly Guerin
- Polly Guerin is an author/poet with four textbooks and 2 video productions as credentials as well as 4 books ready to be published. All my blogs are intended to become the basis for books to be published. PollyTalk From New York (c) is a current events blog about happenings in New York City. I have been PollyTalk columnist on the Internet, Big Apple News Network. AmazingArtDecoDivas blog features amazing women of notable character. I am on the board of the Art Deco Society of New York. The Fashion Historian blog gives pertinent insight into Polly's consummate knowledge about fashion history. Former professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Awaken Your Sleeping Beauty blog gives you pertinent information about holistic remedies for health, beauty, mind, body and spirit. I am on the board of the Edgar Cayce New York Center. I sing with the St. George's Choral Society and also serve on their Board. My little dog Colby is a rescue dog and I support animal charities. I hope you enjoy my blogs, please keep in touch.