The girls were quite spread-out in age with the oldest and youngest daughters sharing a birthday 25 years apart. The same year that mother Catharine birthed her youngest daughter at 47 years old (1781), Angelica was home pregnant with her third child, and Elizabeth home pregnant with her first. The older girls would often return to visit, perhaps sharing their old room with their younger sisters. The cradle on display is believed to be original to the family.
Examples of the girls’ academic and artistic pursuits are visible in the room. Margaret (better known as Peggy) and Elizabeth were talented painters, while needlework was an important and refined skill for all young ladies of the family. On the chest of drawers against the east wall is Elizabeth’s day-box, used to carry sewing materials and other important items. Among English colonists, in particular, women's education could seem proscribed and ornamental. [Read colonial doctor and educational philosopher Benjamin Rush's Thoughts upon Female Education]. However, Philip, following in the traditions of his Dutch heritage, encouraged his daughters to read a broad variety of subjects, including history, geography, arithmetic, philosophy, and French. Later letters from the girls indicate that their education did not end with these subjects. Instead, the girls explored subjects such as German, Latin, finance, astronomy, and many more.
Read about the enslaved women who would have attended on Catharine and her daughters.
As You Exit:
You will pass through the Salon
The door to your right along this wall is the Blue Chamber
Straight ahead you will find the Green Chamber
Right will bring you downstairs to the Back Hall
Dining Chamber (Downstairs)
Central Hall (Downstairs)
Formal Parlor (Downstairs)
Family Parlor (Downstairs)