16 October 2011

John Greenleaf Whittier (again) in Amesbury, Massachusetts: Literary New England #8

(If the numbers of the posts don't always tie up, it's because I'm still working on them and haven't published them yet, which may well mean that they're just saved so far, so they may well appear out of number order. Who wants orderly perfection, anyway?)

So, to return to John Greenleaf Whittier, I took some shots of his second home several days ago, of his grave, and of Captain Valentine Bagley's well, but Saturday is when the home is open, so we returned, and these are our findings:

I previously showed a few shots of the front of the Whittier building at 86 Friend Street, but here's one of the rear from the summer kitchen: equally (if not more) impressive. The Whittier family moved in here from the homestead in Haverhill in 1836, and John Greenleaf Whittier spent most of his adult life here. The reason for moving is clear: neither John Greenleaf nor his brother Frank wanted to be farmers, and living in the Haverhill homestead (in the family since 1688) would have meant exactly that.

When the house was bought Whittier was working in Connecticut, although he realized that it was too small for himself and three women: his mother Abigail, sister Elizabeth, and his aunt Mercy: an addition was therefore made shortly after the purchase, although others were made a number of years after this.

Whittier's library. Much of his work was written here, by the garden at the back.
This bed was not austere enough for Whittier's Quaker sensibilities, so this bedroom was largely used as a guest room.

Abigail Hussey Whittier.

The poet's beloved sister, Elizabeth Hussey Whittier.

Frank Whittier, whose marriage to a non-Quaker – from the Whittier family point of view at least – automatically excluded him from living in the household.

The preacher Harriet Livermore, who is mentioned in Whittier's long narrative poem Snow-Bound.

Of this sketch, a note says: 

'Joseph Sturge 
1703 - 1859
English Quaker and philanthropist. Active in the anti-slavery movement both in England and the United States. In 1847 he gave Whittier $1000 which enabled him to add the Garden Room and a second storey of two rooms to the original four room cottage.'

A model of Whittier's pet parrot Charlie, who was allowed the run of the house, as suggested by the hole here. Whittier also kept a pet squirrel.

Several busts of Whittier are displayed in the house.

So too is his death mask, which has unfortunately suffered from a little reflection here.

No comments: