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Harper's Weekly Illustration

The July 17, 1876, issue of Harper's Illustrated Weekly contained lavish illustrations of the Philadelphia Centennial, including this engraving of the "old-time" New England Farm House. Accompanying the engraving was a sometimes fanciful description of the farm house relics and their exhibitors (transcription below). Other writers and illustrators were also entranced with the Farm House.

(Illustration of the "New England Kitchen" from Harper's Weekly, July 17, 1876. Click on this thumbnail image to see the full-sized version in the Slide Carousel)

("Old-Time New England Farm-House" article from Harper's Weekly, July 17, 1876. Click on this thumbnail image to see a larger version in the Slide Carousel)

(transcription of Harper's Illustrated article, p. 588)

One of the most interesting features of the Centennial grounds is the New England farmhouse, of which we give an illustration on page 585. It is made in exact imitation of the country dwellings of a hundred years ago. The parlor or "settin'-room," bedrooms, and kitchen, are furnished with the veritable heir-looms contributed by the people of New England, articles which really came over in the Mayflower, or were manufactured so long ago that the flavor of antiquity is about as strong as we can expect to find it in this new country. Entering the low door, the visitor steps just into such a room as one of his ancestors may have occupied when the news of the battle of Lexington first interrupted the monotony of household routine, and set patriot hearts ablaze with ardor for the coming struggle. The farm-house is occupied by ladies only. These fair Yankee matrons and maidens do the honors of the establishment, and conduct the visitors through the different rooms, explaining with courtesy the wonderful articles of furniture and cooking utensils, whose very simplicity makes them incomprehensible to the victim of modern improvements. Yet one of the greatest mysteries of the farm-house is the ladies themselves. By right of their surroundings and quaint costumes they should be at least a century or more advanced in years, and yet they are as fresh and blooming as any of their fair sisters who we know have scarcely reached the age of five-and-twenty.

Passing through the rooms, the visitor may sit down in a chair which was once a possession of the family of old Governor ENDICOTT, of Massachusetts, for whom it was made in Dover more than two hundred years ago. It creaks a bit unpleasantly, and has not much to boast of in the way of beauty. Then there is the "FULLER cradle" in which PEREGRINE WHITE was rocked, the baby who came into the world aboard the Mayflower. The ravages of time have made away with the rockers, but we still have the cradle left to remind us of that adventurous infant who forced his way into the world at such a trying time for all concerned in his advent.

One piece of furniture in the old farm-house is full of romantic and poetic associations--the desk of JOHN ALDEN, which also made the voyage in the Mayflower. Was it in front of this curious old desk that he was when

"Nothing was heard in the room but the hurrying pen of the stripling,
Writing epistles important to go next day by the Mayflower,
Filled with the name and the fame of the Puritan maiden Priscilla:
Every sentence began or closed with the name of Priscilla,
Till the treacherous pen to which he confided the secret
Strove to betray it by singing and shouting the name of Priscilla?"

Yonder we have the wheel that may have been the one over which the Puritan maiden PRISCILLA leaned while the love-making that was intended to be vicarious became real. It only needs a piece of the armor worn by the brave Captain of Plymouth to make the relics complete.


 Copyright © The President and Fellows of Harvard College 


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