27 October 2011

Thomas Bailey Aldrich in Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Literary New England #15

Thomas Bailey Aldrich and his wife Lilian, who played such a great part in the founding of the museum to her husband.

Aldrich (1839–1907) lived in this house in Newport with his grandparents from 1849 to 1852. The Story of a Bad Boy (1869) is autobiographical and set in the Portsmouth of this period; Lilian reconstructed the house as a museum from her husband's memory of it.

The brick 'shed' at the side houses the Aldrich archive.

The Blue Chintz Room, in which straw matting was used during the summer months.

The museum's comment on this is that Tom Bailey in The Story of a Bad Boy speaks of the 'cozy sleeping apartment' prepared for him by his grandfather.

Grandfather Nutter's bedroom show a mixture of furniture dates typical of the Colonial Revival period of the early 20th century, complemented by the equally typical white bed hangings and braided and hooked rugs.

The kitchen.

And the kitchen again.

Although best known as the writer of The Story of a Bad Boy, Aldrich was also a poet, and in the years following his death his widow Lilian collected the names of flowers in his poems to create a garden with the plants named, and she compiled a book – The Shadow of the Flowers – with those poems.

The Aldrich museum became part of the huge Strawbery Banke complex in 1979.

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