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Catalog Number 2016.02.0021
Object Name Letter
Date 1836
Title 1836 June 21 Margaretta Mason Brown to Mary Watts Brown
Scope & Content Letter from Margaretta Mason Brown (New York, NY) to Mary Watts Brown (Frankfort, KY). Margaretta is visiting family in New York but also purchasing items for Mary Watts Brown (her daughter-in-law and her niece) to furnish and decorate her new home.

In this letter, Margaretta discusses purchasing a piano for Mary Watts Brown. [She bought a Stoddart piano that is still in the Liberty Hall collection.] Margaretta discusses buying wallpapers from Paris and Foy. Also in this letter, Margaretta discusses purchasing items for Mary Yoder Brown, her other daughter-in-law who lived in Liberty Hall.


New York 21st June 1836

My dear Mary,

I acknowledged the receipt of your letter, in mine to Gratz, and though I have no similar acknowledgments to make having heard nothing from home since yours of the 1st June, yet I feel strongly inclined to acquaint you with our intended movements. Your Uncle has determined to leave this tomorrow for Boston, should the weather permit-At present it is most unpromising-After a few days of pleasant weather, we are again visited by a cold & violent N. E. storm. I have now all my winter clothing on again, with a foot stove to boot-You cannot imagine how much the state of the weather has interfered with my enjoyments-for three weeks it has been to wet to walk out of doors, and too cold within to be comfortable. I have not been without a cold, and slight sore throat since I have been in N. York-My native air does not seem to agree with me. We are to go to New Port by water, and will probably return by land. I had much rather go that way than by water, but am so much pleased with the prospect of going at all, that I must not cavil about the manner of our travelling.

Since I last wrote, I have completed the purchase of your Piano-which I hope will please you, though it does not appear to me to have any decided advantage over those I have seen at home. Mr Metz, a celebrated performer selected it. He was the person who recommended "Chickerings," but he says, that upon further trial he found them inferior to Stodarts which are made in this place-This was also the opinion of the Musick Master who teaches at Mrs Gibson's and as they both preferred "Stodarts" it was thought best to get one of his. The price was $300 & 10 to Mr Metz for his trouble. I hesitated some time between this, and one of $400 which was handsome, but as both the Maker, and Musician assured me that all the difference consisted in the Cabinet work, I followed your directions, and took the cheapest-It will remain here until our return from Boston, the Maker wishing to regulate it properly-it has been finished within a week.

Tell Mary Y. that her plate is in hand-I could not find any ready made, which contained all the pieces she wishes; it will nearly swallow up, the $500 she gave me. I hope you may both be pleased with the manner in which I have executed your commissions-At any rate you must give me credit for good intentions; for I assure you both I have done the best in my power, with all the advice I could obtain to accomplish your wishes. Summer Curtains are not used here at all, and as the summer will be nearly over before any could reach F. I think it best upon the whole to omit the purchase. I see very little difference (if any) in the fashions, except as regarding infants' frocks-which are made very long in the skirts-from ¾ of a yard [illegible]

¼ --The bonnets are very little larger than ours-that Lady who sported the big Beaver hat last winter has been completely hoaxed no such article having appeared in this City-I have heard that large chip flats' [a chip bonnet was made of shaved wood] are worn by some, but have seen none-moderate sized chips are common and handsome.

I have heard a variety of preaching since I came here, but none that I like as well as Dr Knox's-Tell Mrs Epes I wish she was here sometimes to help me contend with the New School folks-All my relations (with the exception of Dr Knox's family) are more or less tainted with the prevalent heresies, and seem to think that the light of truth has never visited any understanding but their own.Even the forms of worship are so changed, that I always have to inquire what they are, before entering a church-for instance, in some churches they stand whilst they sing, and sit during prayers-in others the women sit, and the men stand, and in one church, they have kneeling boards like the Episcopalians-In short the distinctive features of Presbyterianism, seem to have vanished or are blended with such motley forms, and novel doctrines, as to be scarcely recognized. In addition to all this, the Choirs have banished all devotional singing from the churches-Not one in a hundred raised his voice in thanksgiving-whilst one half have their heads turned round (or their whole bodies when standing) to gaze at the Choristers-I think the same result will attend our attempted Choir in Frankfort-Give my love to Mary Y. and tell her I hope she finds housekeeping a pleasanter employment than I did-I hope also that her first letter to me, is not to be her last-Your Uncle is well, as also is Mary who has given me a long string of "Howdye's which I shall comprise in "Love to every body"-Continue to direct your letters to J. L. Mason-This is the sixth letter I have written home since I left it, and have received but three-Adieu-
Yours in affection
M. Brown

Your Uncle has sent 60 pieces of paper with bordering for 4 rooms to the care of Gillespie & Jones, addressed to Mr Parker. There are 30 pieces of one kind intended for your two common rooms-30 pieces of two kinds 15 in each, intended for your drawing & dining rooms-It is not the fashion now to furnish the rooms opening into each other exactly alike; but there is some difference in the paper & carpets-The paper was bought at Paris & Foy-the place which attracted Orlando's attention-

[Address Block]
Mrs Orlando Brown
[Postmark] New York JUN 21

[Written on side of envelope] Euphemia Helen Brown
[There is also a doodle on the envelope]
People Margaretta Mason Brown
Mary Watts Brown
Mary Yoder Brown
Mary Stepney
Search Terms Fashion