Just a quick post today, in honor of Father’s Day.  I always enjoy family portraits, especially combinations that seem a little surprising (at least in the 19th century formal photography studio setting) – like couples holding hands, or fathers posing with their kids.  This is me doing my part to combat the image of the stern and distant 19th century patriarch, who expected his children to be seen and not heard. While we don’t know too much about these gentlemen, their photos show a moment or two of togetherness.


Above: Here’s Dr. William A. Waters of Neelsville (on the horse) with his little son Charles Clark Waters, and his brother-in-law William Willson.  (And a dog, and two ladies in the house behind them.)  Taken in Clarksburg, circa 1868.  Donated by Marian Waters Jacobs.


Above: Sidney Connell, Sr., with his sons Dudley and Sidney Jr.  Mr. Connell worked for the C&O Canal Company as a section supervisor (his wife Hattie was the daughter of Ap Violette, lockkeeper at Violette’s Lock); the family lived in a company house near Riley’s Lock.  Probably taken at Riley’s Lock (I think the kids are standing on the lock gates), circa 1910. Donated by Morris Fradin.

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Above: George Minor Anderson of Rockville with his son Thomas Minor Anderson, and a toy horse.  There’s a nice little series of these images of proud papa George, some including mom Julia Prout Vinson Anderson.  Taken “at Cora Stover’s house on Court Street, Rockville,” circa 1903.  Donated by the Anderson family.


In closing, I’ll leave you with some advice written in 1840 by a father to his sons.  (I didn’t quite mean for this post to turn into a sons-only affair, but so it goes.)  William Prout of Georgetown was ailing; he and his wife took a trip to Key West for his health, leaving their children with various aunts and uncles in D.C.  (Unfortunately, Mr. Prout died in Key West shortly thereafter; his widow moved the family to Rockville, and granddaughter Julia married into the Anderson family.)  Mr. Prout left these rules for his sons Daniel and William during this “grievous separation.”  The original paper was donated to us by the Anderson family.

Rules to be observed by my dear Boys during my absence —-
To obey their Uncle and Aunt in all things
To attend to the wants and wishes of their Grand Father ———
To go to no fire by day or night and never touch an Engine or its apparattus [sic] ——
To be always in the House by Sun Set, and to remain in, without express permission from their Uncle–
To be attentive to their School in [?] ——–
Not to interfere with the Servants, or House hold concerns in any way
Be attentive to your personal appearance at all times —-
as cleanliness is next to Godliness ———————
These few prominent rules, if observed will add much to your comfort, and the Comfort of those who have been good enough to take charge of you, and from your good sense and education, I shall expect a close adherence to them, which if done, will some what compensate for the grievous separation imposed on your dear Father.
Washington Oct 8 1840
Master Wm. Prout
Master D.F. Prout
From their affectionate Father W. Prout



Montgomery County was created on September 6th, 1776, out of the southern portion of Frederick County.  As we have for many years, the Historical Society is celebrating the county’s birthday with a big party (complete with birthday cake!) this coming Sunday, to which all are invited.    Want to help us celebrate Montgomery County’s 235th birthday? Visit the Beall-Dawson Historical Park this Sunday, September 18th 2011, between 2 and 5!

Alas, we have few artifacts in our collections related to birthdays, at least to birthday parties, so today’s post relies on our photo collection to bring home the birthday theme.  Here are a few images of local birthday parties, big and small, to enjoy.  

Billy Hazard’s first birthday party, Garrett Park, August 6 1914.  The birthday boy is seated at left; his guests, according to the record in his baby book, are Miss Elizabeth La Borteaux, Miss Margaret Davis, and Master Robert La Borteaux. Baby book donated by the Barth family. 


Raymond M. Riley’s 85th birthday party featured this adorable C&O Canal-themed birthday cake.  Mr. Riley was born in Lockhouse 24 (Riley’s Lock) in 1897, and he drove a canal boat of his own as an adult.  Photo from the Morris Fradin collection. 


According to Roger Brooke Farquhar’s book Old Homes and History, these guests at Gilbert Grosvenor’s home “Wild Acres” (outside Bethesda) were attending a birthday party in honor of former First Lady Helen Taft in June, 1929. 


This giant birthday cake was made in honor of the City of Gaithersburg’s 100th anniversary, in 1978.  Gaithersburg Mayor Bruce Goldsohn and Willie Max Fullerton are pictured making the ceremonial first cut.  Photo donated by E. Russell Gloyd.

Today’s artifact is a pressed-glass tumbler in the “Cabbage Rose” pattern, made by the Central Glass Co. of Wheeling, West Virginia. The “Cabbage Rose” design was manufactured in the 1870s and 1880s…. And that’s about it for this artifact!

Well, not quite. A few weeks ago I mentioned that over the Historical Society’s 66 years of collecting, some records have gotten lost or confused. This little glass tumbler is a victim of one such paperwork mishap, so to speak.  However, I should not give the impression that I appeared on the scene in my Super Curator cape to rescue decades of neglected mysteries. From our very first donation in 1944, a large number of dedicated volunteers have worked to put, and keep, our collections in good order. One of these volunteer curators devoted herself to researching and cataloging over 200 pieces of glass, ceramics and silver, allowing me to easily cite our tumbler’s pattern name, manufacturer and date. With older donations she made note of any early records she could find, providing a measure of continuity as we switched catalog systems during the 1980s. For this piece she mentioned that “the name Pierpoint appears on records on this tumbler, but with no explanation.”

There are a few early pieces in our collections associated with the name “Pierpoint,” but the identity is still something of a mystery. The best guess is Mrs. Harry Y. Pierpoint, who is recorded as donor of a crib quilt and several photographs of the Seneca Quarry, which she appears to have owned in the early 20th century. That’s a start, at least; perhaps this tumbler was used while the donor lived in Seneca, but I wish we knew more. The items donated by Mrs. Pierpoint are the crib quilt, this glass, a woven coverlet and two fountain pens. Why those pieces? What did they mean to the donor, and why did she think they were worth preserving in the museum collections? The only clue so far is a note added to the crib quilt’s record (it was probably conveyed to us over the phone, since it does not appear in the written correspondence with the donor): “Belonged to Baines.” Who is Baines? Baines has haunted me for many years. The Super Curator cape comes with a few abilities – er, some might call them “obsessive tendencies” – but sadly, reading the minds of long-vanished donors is not one of them.