tv First Lady Elizabeth Monroe CSPAN August 31, 2022 9:14pm-10:11pm EDT
month. we're incredibly fortunate to welcome jared kearney assistant director and curator at the james monroe museum in fredericksburg, virginia. for a presentation that will showcase a selection of original items from the life of elizabeth court, right monroe. elizabeth monroe's story is a fascinating one from her childhood in new york through her experiences as wife of the minister to france and later fifth us president. jared will illustrate elizabeth's life using museum collections that have been handed down through generations of the monroe family. a bit about our speaker jared kearney began as curator of the james monroe museum and library in november of 2011 previously, he was curator of the woodrow wilson presidential library and museum in staunton, virginia and
prior to that. curator of the rye historical society in new york he has been director of the holicville museum farm in folklife center on long island and worked at the greensboro historical museum in north carolina. jared received his ma in museum studies and ba in history from the university of north carolina at greensboro. he is also a blacksmith woodworker raises bonsai trees is a photographer and is acted in numerous films. it's wonderful to have him with us today. and again, there will be time for q&a at the end of our presentation. so, please feel free to leave those at the bottom of your screen. without further ado. i'm going to turn the zoom over to jared. right well, hello. thank you so much for that great intro and thank you highlands and the james room museum for
having me. i'm really excited to be here and to show you some some really cool stuff from elizabeth monroe's life now. before i begin before i started jump into the material culture some of these cool artifacts that i have here. let me ask i'm gonna ask you a question. if you're in your house and time suddenly froze and everything just sort of stood still. and hundreds of years from now folks were looking at the artifacts the items that were in your house. what would those items say about you? what story would they tell and my guess is they would probably say an awful lot, right, you know artifacts in texas. they're not just separate from us. they're a part of our story and they're part of who we are and who we were and who we will be and i know it sounds a little deep. uh, but anyway, and that's what these artifacts do. they tell the story and i'm
gonna start with something pretty cool. i'm gonna dive right in so let me pull this up and i'm gonna show you this and what i'm gonna do is i'm gonna show these artifacts to the camera and hopefully you'll be able to have a good view of these. okay. so what is this? what is it that i am holding here? this is elizabeth monroe's the sarah and it belonged to her and it is it's actually cast with a guild of gold over on top and you see how to sort of these fancy cast carvings and all that stuff you think so. okay. well, is it what exactly is going on? here. well, i'll show you so if you open it up, there's all kinds of stuff that are actually in this nestaire and if something that she would have used, you know, and people ask about practicality of things. you know, what you know something what would elizabeth monroe, you know practically would have carried around with her. well, this exactly is one of them right here. so the necessar is sort of like a copy a comparable would be
sort of like a pocket watch. are you supercologically a pocket knife like a swiss army knife, you know, it has all the kind of stuff on there. what am i talking about? well, i'll show you. okay. first of all, i'll show you this is something that would have been in there. okay. look at this little sucker. all right. look at this. so and i don't know the i don't the camera showing that well, but it's actually a little knife and it's got a little screw on the end there little threads that would actually screw in so you can have a little knife so you could use it for and she most likely would have used this for eating or i'm actually for opening graphite and i'll get a little more to that in just a second. that's because that's kind of cool too. and then of course this companion piece you have before. all right, you see that? all right, so you have you have an actual fork with time two times notice. there's two not a whole bunch more that was typical of the time period and you know threads on the back on the end of it as well. so these things actually there's
a little extender that's in here and you can pull it out and believe it or not. there's actually a little extender and you can screw those on the top. so if you wanted to theoretically you could have a meal with this thing. now the question i get is like well, will they have actually done that? probably not but elizabeth monroe would have had the ability in this capability doing it if she's so cute. um, another thing that i want to show you then of course, there's a little spoon and go along with her. that's right. very good. and then i want to show you this. okay, we pull this up here. i can get it. all right. what on earth is that? okay, this was in the necessary. and what on earth is it well. believe it or not and sort of turning here. this is actually believe it or not an ear scoop. that's right. you heard that right? this is an ear scoop that that would have cleaned out the ear and you know, it's so it sounds ridiculous, but this is actually something that they would have
used and yes people did in fact injure themselves do using this thing. it's made out of metal. it's they injured themselves use this thing. i looked it up people actually did injure themselves, but nevertheless. there you go, and you're stupid for cleaning out the ear that would have been in her lovely necessary. something else is kind of interesting. i was in here. you have a measuring stick here, right? and what was interesting about this is you know this kind of the stair. okay, this here was made by both french and english firms. okay, and you know, it's really hard to tell them apart because they're both have very very similar similar looks to them they both, you know have these kind of cash carvings and everything and this doesn't have any markings on it. okay. so so the mystery was like a mysteries like where there's a french or english. well, you know, i was looking at this looking close up and lo and behold it actually is the metric
system so that tells us that this was french. so this was made in french because english was not we're not using the metric system back in those days and to this day. so there you go. i let me show you. this little piece here. okay going to pull this out here. all right. what on earth is this? okay? this believe it or not was the notepad for elizabeth monroe, okay. so what am i talking about? well, i was talking about graphics with pen with pencils. they actually did do that. you know, they had a little graphite the pencils weren't quite the same as they are today, but you know, it was graphite in graphite will actually write on this and what is this? well, it's not bone. it's actually ivory. and so it's a little piece of ivory slab that she could write on here and her daily life. so, you know, it goes to show that she had actually that ability that came will just write herself notes and we actually happened to museum have a another one that's bigger slabs of ivory that they would
have wrote themselves notes back then so they actually did do that and it's something that you know, we still do today except it's a little different now today, right? we type it into i you know ipods or androids or whatever like that. we send ourselves a little reminder. well, this is the ipod ipad or android of back that you know, at least on some but and so well once the graphite wipe off, well, actually unless you specifically wipe off the graphite it actually stays on and how do i know this? well, you can do an experiment at your house if you want to if you take a tag like a garden tag for garden plants right one with with pen and that are right another with graphite. okay and stick them outside and the pen that the graphite the pencil will last way longer than the pen will and everything so graphite will actually last on here and take a little that's a little museum a little antique tip for you if you ever buy one of these look carefully you might be able to with certain light be able to see some of the notes actually still wrote on. so there you go.
elizabeth monroe's messier. this is something that she would have carried with her. it shows practicality. okay. there's a lot of sort of practical things here, but it also shows a certain stash in a certain style, you know someone in her position as back then at least as wife of the ambassador would have had and i'll actually get a little bit more into that and just a little bit. okay. so what else do i have here? all right, so people ask about okay. so what exactly you know as far as like acrements and things that we have with elizabeth monroe, i'm going to show you this, okay. what is going on here? okay, this looks like at least in modern terms. it looks like a modern slipper or something. you might wear if you're you know lounging around at night or something like this, but this is actually a slipper in the ballet style. and this was very regency period okay, you can see you can see, you know, someone like, you know someone from a jane austen novel
wearing something like this and this belonged to elizabeth monroe and this is something she would have worn around the turn of the century now. so it's interesting about that. is you look at this? this shoe here. okay, so this shoe belongs to elizabeth monroe's mother. so look at this, and so this would have been just you know, a couple decades later, but you you can see how radically the styles changed and how radically they were and you know, especially why does this matter? well, it matters in the sense that if you could imagine elizabeth monroe going over to with her husband over to europe, um back in those days, you know, especially the first time and you know in the mid-17, i mean the mid 1790s the first time, you know, europe was, you know, they didn't know what to make of us, you know, the most of them thought we'd fail, you know, they were like, you know, who are these upstarts? you know, everything france was a little bit more. we're more popular with france
and so we went over there, you know for all you know, they they might have been expecting the americans to show up and you know, barefoot for all you know, and so they went away didn't know what to make of this new american country. so in a sense it was important to wear styles that were reflective of the society which you were going in so if they were being ambassadors to france you would want to wear something that was sort of the latest fashion, especially in the position of being ambassador's wife because it's not just for the hoity-toity part of it. it's because it's important and establishing that we are serious. you know what? i mean? like we are serious. we are a country we are formed and we're here to stay. hey, we're not going anywhere. we're not going to collapse like a lot of people thought we would and so as as bizarre as it sounds a little details like that actually matter and it mattered to elizabeth monroe in a matter to jameson. at the same time they were overly done.
in fact, why don't i transition to this dress back here? okay, so this is a gown. it's very very regency period right? it's very jane austen and this gown belongs to elizabeth monroe and she wore this overseas and this would have been more during the second diplomatic mission after the turn of the 1800s turn of the 19th century. and so you can see it's very slick. it's very straightforward. you know, it's a lot different than those gowns that were coming out just a couple decades beforehand there were much more lavish they were much more, you know had the bonuses and they had, you know, they're much wider and bigger and everything like this. this is more sleek more streamlined right? it's more i don't know at least for back then if you could imagine it have been more modern. you know what? i mean like nowadays it looks right back then this would have been modern. this would have been news sort of been the styled aware and it
is actually made out of believe it or not. it's actually made out of velvet. and what's really interesting about this just sort of a side tangent nerd tangent here. is that velvet, you know, how they make velvet. well, they actually they have two pieces of material right that are sort of you know that are intertwined in between and back then they actually have them seen it done by hand that would cut the material in half. what am i talking about? actually a little bit little picture here. you see that? i know it's reversed. i apologize, but you can see the machine would cut and create this and this right here those threads sticking out. that's what makes that velvet texture. so whatever whatever you're seeing bell, you're actually seeing the inside of a cut two piece of material just got cool. anyway, so elizabeth would have warn us, okay. and she we don't have it, but she would have worn especially and and formal occasions. there's likely she would have had this gold sort of drapery a scarf that would have gone around and i would have fallen around her. we do not have that so it would
have added sort of a little extra something to and again it's very much in the style of the time. it's not overly done that's very much and sort of theme with with the monroe's and they're aesthetic. they wanted to have enough fanciness that they belonged in the room, but not enough to overdo it and enough to stay that this is our own sort of this is our own style. and that's reflective of what happening in america at the time. we were forming our country. we were forming our identity. all right, and so the material culture reflects that we were, you know, borrowing some things from europe, you know, we certainly, you know, certain styles everything but we also had our own thing going so, you know with monroe, you know, it wasn't overly done you can see that a lot of their clothing a lot of their their materials that they purchase and things and everything where you know, it was good, but it wasn't crazy over the top. so it's kind of cool. all right. what else do i got here? alright, i'm show you this.
okay. let me show you this. this is a cameo. that belongs to elizabeth monroe. all right, you see that? okay, so something that's really cool about this. all right. is these were all handmade and they're actually still handmade to this day. what exactly is happening here? what's going on? well why is it white here and then a picker color here? this actually made out of shell. okay, and what they would do okay, if you could imagine this and they do this to the state as you pick the seashell, right and you you cut out a piece of the oval for the for the the cameo and then the craftsman imagine the craftsmanship of this the craftsman slowly starts carving away. they slowly start carving away so that though there's white white and then they get down to that actually pink the center part of that shelves, you know, if you look at a shell the inside of the shells the conch shells right are you know pinkish kind of reddish on the inside and then the outside there's that sort of there's
that white that shell white and that's what you're doing. there's a carving up just enough. to get to the show to get to the inner part of the shell but to read to reveal and show the outer part as the relief, which is an astounding piece of hand craftsmanship. and this was all done by hand everything. i'm showing you was done by hand. think about that like the dress, you know, the the sarah these are all done by hand. it's really pretty amazing. so so what it's like well, what's the big deal with this? well, elizabeth would want to again make sure as part of who she were part of how she was presenting herself be in with the latest fashions not overdone but in with the latest fashions and low and behold who was a big fan of cameos, but napoleon. okay napoleon and his wife josephine there were big fan of cameos, right? why were they a big fan of camus? well when napoleon was invading into italy and greece and going into those those old school,
especially in italy going into those old school places. they would find ancient roman. videos that were done in the exact same way. the exact same way and he would send some back to josephine and just being fell in love with them and so cameos became popular and became sort of a fashion again because in part in part because napoleon was invading other countries. it's kind of it's kind of kind of messed up right but that's exactly what was happening. so napoleon had these all done up and it's actually it really beautiful piece that we have here today. and again, just wanted to elizabeth row and you know, it's kind of cool about this is that you don't really see a lot of these anymore, but every once in a while, you'll still see one that was sort of worn in fashion. so it's something that as a sort of stand the time period span the span the decades and that's kind of what's cool about artifacts right some artifacts, uh, spanned a decades, you know some things, you know certain types of dresses, you know certain types of shoes. maybe, you know, things like
that, you know span, you know, many many time periods like you would very easily maybe see someone, you know have this 1960s or something like that, you know wearing one of these or even today versus 200 years ago, but then there are the facts that you don't see anymore that are not going to come around again and they exist only because we still have them we take care of and i am going to show you one such artifact. all right. what is this? okay, let me hold this up. what is going on here? what is this? you see that? all right this and i'll pull the lid here. this is a vinaigrex. okay, what on earth is a vinaigrette? it's something you don't see anymore. well a vinaigrette actually was to help with smells. to put a plainly they were sort of the deodorant of back in that and back in that time period so when you have a vinegar like this you see this and what they would do is they actually and i
haven't here i'm gonna hold it up. they actually had look at little tiny sponge i'm not making this up. it's a little tiny sponge that would go inside the vinaigrette. and the vinaigrette you're pretty if you look at this on the inside, there's silver on the outside on the inside is gold and that's because the vinaigrette was sitting right like the sponge they would a soak up some of the anti-odor stuff was actually there was vinegar. it was part of the ingredients that a lot of these so you can imagine the vinegar smell it's a little bit strange, right? so the sponge would just go inside this little compartment. that's right here and you would actually help to mask smells. so that's what that is actually sort of a little anti deodorant or excuse me deodorant a little creature right there. and what's kind of cool about this too is that i love a picture. this actually was made by john
shaw an english silversmith and you can see this this is actually tell the inside of the vinaigrette and look at that. it's like a little flower flower pot. you know what i mean? it's sort of symbolize, you know something fresh smell. so that's exactly what was going on with this. again. this is an artifact. it's this is not an artifact expanse time. this is one that is gone with the wind as i said, it's just yeah, we don't we don't make these anymore at least not for the purpose that we would have back in the day. so i just kind of cool also if you want to talk about bureaucracy and i'll show another thing it has to do that here are some of the makers marks that were actually marked into this tiny tiny little vinegarette that was because of actual loss silver laws back in the day and i'll piggy back off that a little bit and i'll show you let's see if i can find. oh have okay. well, never mind.
there's actually we have a perfume bottle in the collection. and the perfume bottle is really really tiny and they actually have makers marks that are on the inside of elizabeth meadows perfume bottle these tiny little dutch maker marks and you can't even see them with the eye. so if you think about bureaucracy and is it a new thing no biography is the one constant as bones said in star trek. it's the one constant in the universe is a bureaucracy. so they still did that all the way back then. okay something that i get asked a lot about i'm just gonna to show you this real quick. and i'm going to the fold this up. all right, this is a fan favorite here. what is this? little a baby shoes that belong to elizabeth or two belong to eliza and elizabeth monroe. she did have she had three children. actually eliza was born 1786 mariah was 1802 and james spencer. it was a 1799 and he unfortunately passed very very
young, but people ask did back in the day they have such there you go. absolutely did and there's this actually made out of whether we're not so little tiny baby shoes. that would have belong to elizabeth monroe's daughter. so yes, that is something that motherhood has not changed, you know over the years, okay. so what i want to show you next is i want to show you this incredible piece. of jewelry here. okay, this is a tiara right and you can see the prongs that go in there. and this belonged to elizabeth monroe and again, this would have been worn by her throughout you know with during the public life as a the wife of a diplomat is the wife of a future the future president. this is something that she wanted you would want to have in order to establish that you you know, you're seriously means and you and you actually do have the
ability to be in the room with, you know, other countries and things like that, but what is a specifically look at this look at this here? okay. look at this. this is actually each one of these are coral little pieces of coral beast on gold. okay, so you can imagine the craftsmanship of actually shaping each one of these pieces. okay. so each one of these had been done and then drilled into and then put individually on to the tiara and so tiaras actually the chair is kind of it became or make it a little bit of a comeback aren't they sort of kind of gonna went away for a while, but you know, you see like little kids sometimes still wear them and stuff like that. but yeah this one she would have bought this while she was over in france. and again, this is something that she would have warned a special occasions formal events, you know, things like that and it was sort of a necessity to you know be able to mix and match at least with with with
the other diplomatics diplomatic core, okay. now i'm gonna get into this part here. and i want to show you this piece. very careful now put on black background, okay what is this? look at that? this is elizabeth monroe's aqua marine necklace. so i don't know what happened soon. just went out for some reason. i don't know what's going on with that, but we're back. okay, you're back. okay, and where i sort of left off? let me see here. this is elizabeth monroe's necklace. this is aquamarine. okay, and we see this big old bulbas cross and everything that's going on here. it's like well was this fashionable at the time? well, let me show you something. when i was doing research on an exhibit for the sort of thing, i came across this picture of
ceramic sellers in france around the same time period that elizabeth monroe would have warned this necklace and if you could see up close look at the necklace that she is wearing right there see that. that necklace he says where the ball is sort of stones the bulbous cross well. lo and behold it is the same exact necklace the same exact style. so elizabeth monroe knew her stuff. she actually knew her stuff. um, and this is aquamarine, like i said, and it's surrounded by it looks like copper this amazing craftsmanship now. you might ask yourself. okay, so what okay, so she's got some some fancy jewelry and things like that, you know, okay. what's the what's the point? what's the big deal? well, okay, let me tell you a story. okay, i'm gonna tell you a story. imagine you are elizabeth monroe. so imagine for a second. you are elizabeth monroe. and you are accompanying your
husband over to france in the mid to be this mid-1790s. you know you your company over there on now you were born into you know modern wealth your father lawrence courtright who's a wealthy merchant. so it's not crazily opulence, you know, you're not you're not completely unused to you know, you know the opulence of paris and everything, but it would have been something to see it would have been overwhelming you go over there and the time the climate of the time. okay. imagine this okay the climate of the time you're getting you're right with the the waning part of the committee of public safety. okay, you're right at the waning part of that. so you're in the 1790s in france, and there was executions going on. there was craziness going on. okay, you are there's an aura of paranoia that was happening in paris and france at the time, you know, people were getting executed. all right left the people were getting killed, you know in person france and not just
people but the people of your class of you know, sort of the upper class, you know ability, you know, things like that, you know wealthy folks they were getting executed. so you're there with your husband now one thing is that you know at that point france appreciated the us they had a really good relationship at that time, but still there's there's this sort of just not a very good not a very good vibe in france. okay, so you're showing up as this young woman in france the time, okay. now your husband's friend. the marquee de lafayette. okay. he's a you know as you as you know, the law the marquis de lafayette he was you know, a famous helped famously helped the us out in the in the war in the revolutionary war and he was a friend one of a really good friend of your husbands now, he is in prison up in austria. okay. he's up there up in prison and his wife. this young wife markie
lafayette's young wife was imprisoned and her name is adrian. she was in in prison in the same city. you just arrived it. okay, and these are friends of your friends of the family. okay is important folks now. the wife's uncle this is the uncle of the of adrian pleads with rune row to do something. okay do something to free here from this prison in paris because guess what the chances of her being executed. we're really really good. they're really high. so, you know if this wasn't a joke, this wasn't just some slap on the wrist. this was a serious thing. okay, so the uncle police in the road to let it go well. the problem is monroe james monroe is in a really tough bind. okay, he's in a tough bind because as an ambassador, he can't really make these crazy waves. you're just starting off as a country. you can't like, you know, go over there and start making these giant waves and say oh you got to release this and making noise demands. he had to walk this tight line.
okay, and so what do you do you want to help out the wife of your friend? who's probably my likely be executed you want to help her out, but what you can what can you do? well, this is where elizabeth comes in. okay, so you can imagine this young woman in france with all this new stuff all this new sites and sound, you know, probably a little scared a little intimidated. well, what does she do? okay at the time there weren't a lot of fancy carriages in paris like for rent or things like that, you know, those times are you know, everything was in chaos. all right, and so they get a carriage and elizabeth has a gussied up. okay and make the carrots look really important like a diplomatic heritage, okay. and so she gets in the carrots and she degasis of herself with you might have guessed it jewelry just like this a tiara. but just like this. okay.
with she would have gusted up with you know a cameo and dance academy, you know, just like this. carrying the ceremy maybe, you know, i have this as part of her as part of the package there just like that. okay. maybe address something like this. so she gets gussied up. so she looks like the wife of an ambassador. okay. now they go down they drive she drives the cares they do they get down to the front gate and she gets out of the carriage and you can imagine a crowd gathers around and you have to understand at this point. she was sort of known in the fact that they actually called her labelle american that the beautiful american. okay, so she was actually known a little bit. so people was like wait a minute. is that the diplomats wife getting at is that elizabeth monroe getting out of the carriage? what is she doing here at the prison? well, she gets out in this crowd starts to gather up. she strolls right up to the gate. and she demands to see adrian, you know so you can imagine the captain of the prison guard is standing there to gate and and
here is the diplomat's wife coming up all gussied up looking important, you know looking like if you don't do what i say, you're gonna get in trouble and that was the whole point of all that all that show is that you're going to show and so what does he do? well be lesser in because he really had no choice and you can imagine poor adrian because she's inside and she's in the person she doesn't know what's going on also knows that that they come to her door. they say, you know, we got we need you, you know, we're gonna we're gonna get you out the door here and so she's like in her mind she might be getting executed right? but what does she see low and behold sees elizabeth monroe standing there. and what was interesting about that? is that that moment was not lost on people? okay, you can imagine the people standing around and sort of and all this darkness and all of this this paranoia and you know doing gloom and no hope the future. there's this little light of sort of bravery that happens in
the middle of that and people started talking about and sort of the word sort of gets around monroe can donate anything officially, but he starts, you know going behind scenes and asking, you know approaching the committee of public safety notice. just you know, what can we do here? and so the short story of it is is that and oh and you gotta imagine also adrian's mother and her grandmother were both executed. so her coming up in the short story is is that adrian was actually released. she actually let go. really because of that act of brabute that elizabeth did and part of these artifacts these things helped her create that presence create that story to the people around her that she was somebody that needed to be listening to and you're gonna let her go. you're gonna let you know adrian go and they and adrian ended up going free an adrian being the brightest person that she was went up to austria and negotiated with the emperor to let her stay in with the
lafayette with her kids in the prison for five years. so anyway, that's a wonder about who elizabeth monroe was and what are artifacts. tell her about that that really to me is the heart of it. you know, you have all these things that sort of help. it's so in in a way these things help save a woman's life as bizarre as that sounds in sort of a roundabout way. but yes in many ways and these artifacts are here. we have them and i know highland has a bunch too. so that's why it's important to to share these artifacts and to let them tell their story and to to save them the future because if you and i don't then who will anyway, i think i will maybe stop it there and see if we have any questions from folks. awesome. thank you so much jared. that was spectacular. thank you so much for speaking. so passionately about the
importance of material culture and the way that items can tell us these important. political and diplomatic and international history, so that's beautiful. thank you. we do have some questions from our audience. and i'm going to go in the order that they were entered into our q&a. and so to begin with there's a question about do any objects reflect elizabeth's new york heritage. i'm going to see yes the advanced short answers. yes. we actually have a wedding dress that that it could have been her wedding dress that was used from material that most likely belong to her mother. so this would have been a new york. you know what i'm gonna show you i don't care. i'm gonna show you right here come with me. all right. take us around. thank you because i have it right here.
it's kind of cool. i love the collection spaces. this is truly behind the scenes. um, you see this here? you can see that yes. so this the this actually belonged to elizabeth monroe, but the material is older and likely belong to her mother. so this material would have had that sort it would have come from overseas, but it would have been imported into new york. maybe by her father who was a merchant and so it had a sort of that new york stamp, you know, but there it is going to show you that. all right. that's absolutely beautiful. kind of in line with thinking about materials. there was a question of what other material was in that spectacular coral tiara that you showed us. yeah, it's gold gold. yeah. it's actually mostly gold. these tens here i think are
copper if i'm not mistaken, so there's gold in fact, it might. it might be an alloy of copper because a little bit stronger. it is definitely soft. so i'm going to say it's probably if it's come if it has another metal in it. it's probably 10 and it's probably a little bit less. but yeah, it's mostly just gold and coral was just astounding yeah, just craftsmanship on it. it's amazing. on that line of craftsmanship and the notion of the makers of some of these items. there was a question about since we're looking at her objects her property. can you tell us about her relationship to slavery in this era when slaves were considered property and i arguably may have been making some of these items as well. yes, and then that's a wonderful question. um, and the shorter answer is the monroe's they owned over the
course of their life some 200 slaves now you speak of anonymous taken about that. they're wealth as far as you know management of their farm, you know, everything was all based on on slavery, you know, the inman road, you know about souls and you know, elizabeth monroe, you know was was in that family in part of now as far as her personal relationships. i don't know as much, you know. you know, there's done a lot of wonderful research with that, but we actually have in the museum. i don't have it here with me, but we do have several items that were crafted by slaves and you know in that's the truth of it. and so, you know, like we have a betty lamp we have some of the i wonder so i can pull out. well, i think it's sort of buried in there. but yeah, we do we do have items that were crafted by slaves. i don't believe any of these particular ones were but that we
do have those those items. so yeah, that was an integral part and that's destitute. yeah, yeah. thank you. a question about elizabeth's parents where they well traveled. well lawrence was a merchant, you know, so there would have been some traveling going on there, you know as far as it, you know translating into elizabeth, you know, i don't know how much she actually went in and out of the country, you know, as far as that goes, but he would have been familiar certainly with international, you know, sort of vibes in people coming. so is it how well traveled? i don't know the exact extent of it, but there would have been some. yeah. our items on display at the james monroe museum with a description and story on each item. are are these items for for example where they on display do you keep them in storage? is it i know preservation
conservation are always an issue with textiles in particular so yeah, and the short answer is yes. a lot of these are actually out on exhibit. we have actually have an exhibit up right now that has qr codes on each of the artifacts that you can scan and it'll bring you to a different curator chat where i talk about them and they're all online as well. so these curator shots they're either on our facebook or some of them are on youtube i think but i think mostly they're on our facebook lives. so yeah, so the answer is yes, i think you know, these -- are aren't currently out but then shares out and the cameo the dress will go back up. so yeah, come on by and see and go down to go. yeah, yeah lots of places to see some of these items and least learn about them. certainly. i like the curator chats. i'll be sure to personally be checking out. so that sounds wonderful. yeah. um, there is i got two more questions at least here in our
q&a. does the collection include french or british british ceramics that were owned by the monroe's? yeah. yes. we have tons of those. in fact that i know i can grab real quick. i feel very with one second run over. yes. is going to run over and grab. we will bear with you. okay. all right. but alright, i'm coming back. i promise. this here. this is a good example. this is a french. this is actually one of the first white house said one of the first white house china to come out. i mean you could see actually as the monroe crest on there and it has 20 stars around the inside which symbolizes 20 states so
that you'll be 18 17. i'm not mistake and you know has sort of the gold rim, but this was made in paris and this is called hard-paced porcelain and hard-paced porcelain is is a little bit tougher. you see it's a little bit stronger than and soft pace which you see a lot of a lot today and something that sort of interesting is whenever they were putting in minutes for for ceramics to decorate the white house, and this would have been later to decorate the white house. there were 30 firms around paris at the time that we're making copper that we're making porcelain that could be, you know, good enough to be in the white house so to speak and interestingly monroe is love it in france all 30 of them bit. now. you may say that that's a money thing. but all 30 of them. i mean, come on. yeah, that's that's a lot. so they all bid on it because i think everyone wanted to make wanted to make you know porcelain for the for the friends of france, you know,
exactly. yeah. they're so beautiful and elegant too. i love those. i love that piece. um question a really interesting question i had to about the dress the gold dress has lacing up the back does the other dress have closures in the back or would she have been sewn into that dress? that's a question. i also have had with some of these dresses. yeah. so into it, i don't i don't know about that. i'll be completely honest. i don't know about much about the actual putting the dress on. hey, i feel like i've heard this somewhere but i don't want to speak out of turn this there are classes in the back of that one. so i don't think she would have been sewn into this this one certainly not i think you know, this was a little bit more sleeker. you're not worried about the whole, you know, getting to pull it in. but yeah, i i have heard that so many but i guess my answer is i don't think so. it's certainly no on this one and and the other one it looks it has class on the back. i think she would just you know put in put in tight.
yeah. yeah. there's a question about that aquamarine crossed necklace. what a merchants wife has depicted in the picture you shared which was amazing find amazing has have warned something so costly or would hers have been made of less valuable materials. that's a great question. um interestingly the aqua marine is not that crazy expensive. don't get me wrong it expensive, but it's not like diamonds or emeralds or something. it's it's on a lower tier to be frank, you know, as far as that sort of thing goes. so this is something that would have been a little bit more affordable and when i say affordable, i you know, that sounds very but you know, this this would have been within the grasp of someone who was crazy wealthy, so yeah, it's very, you know, there could have been even the style certainly was the same but the gems because it's black and white picture.
we don't really know that the caribbean but the gems could have been something even less than aquamarine. so, that's actually that's actually good catch. it could have been something, you know, it could have been glass maybe you know or something right not glass it would have been crystal actually the difference between class glass and crystal is the lead content and it sort of you can sort of almost see the difference a little bit as ours. that sounds yeah. so yeah, you're right a clerk or merchants, you know, so this picture again, you know in this situation may not even may not even had awkwardly, but she would have had a style which i think yeah, the look was what mattered the um question that's coming to us from our facebook audience. how tall was elizabeth monroe from the dress. she looks like she may have been a short woman. yeah. what are you looking around five two in there? yeah. so there's you're absolutely right. it's not.
no, and now i must have made a striking couple with monroe being. yeah, you're on six right? he's a tall tall gentleman and and her being shorter. there was a question about it really interesting one about this particular period of european history in the french revolution, which separates secular from the religious would wearing a cross have been especially dangerous for anyone really? yeah it it didn't seem to be that's that's a good observations like why you know wasn't so so i don't think it was to the point where it was like, you know considered like like an offense, you know what i mean? so because you do see them, you know, you still see crosses, you know in the pictures of that time here and stuff i would imagine though that you're right i would imagine, you know religion certainly just in general was was not not a great topic at that point in time. but yeah, it doesn't seem to
have affected the neck wasn't things. you know. what so yeah. yeah. very interesting. i that exhausts at least the question so far in our q&a and we've got like it's left with you. and so i had a quick question if that's okay about. the mostly you starting with the nasair which several people asked for the spelling and i hope i did it justice in the chat. but um, i think i know i did but how do we learn? are you as a curator learn about unfamiliar unknown or now objects that are obsolete. what are some of the ways that you can figure out what what something was used for like the spoon for example? you know what? how do we how do we learn about these kind of? weird little things that that's a great question if you get an artifact you don't really know what's going on with it what i like to do. i sort of i call it sort of the craftsman approach to history. i like to start at least with
how it was made. that's where i like to start, you know, especially especially if you don't know really much about it or anything like that, you know, so like in the sarah knows like well, how was it made? okay, you know just start simple, you know, it was it was cast it wasn't carved which means that someone, you know molded a cast out of it. you know, what are the materials made out? you know the materials are they something that would have been time appropriate, you know, do we know like for example, if you know this is gilded, um, if were they not doing that around the time period we think it was then we know that you know, it was either an anomaly or it's a different time period, you know see so i like to approach it and how is actually made if you can sort of locate down who was making it in that particular style at the time that helps a lot like for example, we have gloves here that no skin gloves and really really simple so there's really not much moment, but it but at the very least, you know that those can as a material was popular in the us, you know because of our we have an abundance of raw material, which is a horrible way of saying we have an abundance of
deer and you know way way more than europe so, you know do skin would have been how they would have made them here in the us, you know, so that's one way you can pinpoint it down and then you know one you fortunately with the internet. we have a lot more access to things now we have word searches and then you compare and trust and you just sort of do detective work and sort of drill down where you what you can find in and and another thing i like to do is a lot of times there are makers marks and things on these that are not visible to the naked eye. so i'll literally just take a magnifying glass and scour every inch of it and just see if i could find and more a few times. i've actually found that in fact, the example is using with the the perfume bottle you can see these there's no way and so, you know. the way to do is just scour everything you can and eventually the pieces sort of come together, especially when there's no smoking. yeah, do are there any existing written documents about
elizabeth monroe's personal items do we know anything from letters either? perhaps from her hand, which i know are few and far. but yeah anything about her through through letters. yeah, you know as far as these artifacts specifically i don't know of any letters talking specifically the fortunately about these items like, you know, i you know, by the way elizabeth purchase state aquamarine, you know. necklace or something like that. so as far as i know there's not a whole lot that actually tracks down a specific item. unfortunately. i wish there was you know, if you find one, please send it our way. i was gonna say are there any items that you would love to know more about or you know, she had but we don't have in hand anywhere, you know? yeah, i would love to know more about the specific especially the wedding dress i showed you before we can find something that said oh on her wedding day she wore because we say wedding dress because it's about the same time and she would have had a wedding and it's something
that you could have worn away. and so it's more you know, it's more supposition. yeah, you know, but i would love to have a letter to say oh she wore a floral pattern with this, you know on her wedding day it would have been that would be pretty cool. that would be that the bow on the on the interpretation. i love that. um, there is one more question about or actually a couple more questions. do we know anything about the dutch heritage of her of her name of i'm assuming courtright. oh affirmative name other dutch heritage gosh again, i i don't know much about her the dutch heritage side of her, but that's a that's a great question. i can i can i can find out and get back to this for sure. yeah, i think there's a lot about elizabeth that could that are wonderful research questions about you know, yeah her you know her upbringing which is um when's question here in the q&a? how was she taught has a child?
was it a governance? did she go to a school? you know, do you know anything about that? well, i know that you know that we actually have a samplers and things like that that a lot of the teaching would have been, you know, especially, you know, well new york, you know being a dutch colony on sort of thing. the education would have been a little bit better. so, you know, we have actually examples of samplers that were done, you know, especially about our children that you know would say, you know, they would actually learn how to read how to write learn how to do that and actually so in there so you're looking at you know, you know sewing and sort of basic life skills like that. so the education her education would have been, you know, certainly more in new york than it would have been you know in a lot of other places especially in the us at the time. so a little bit more comprehensive. yeah, beautiful. yeah, and we have at highland a sampler from that mariah her younger daughter. yeah, i think he's 11 that she wrote when she was 11.
so yeah something to see in the next generation. just for the last minute. i i have just one more question for you. you've talked a lot about these these makers marks which are just i think personally fascinating and locating them and their how small they can be. do. you know if she had did she have any favorite makers like were there any consistent? makers that you have come across right then that's a good question too a lot of her items are not actually marked by who made themselves, but they a lot of them are french and origin and a role affinity for you know, french culture. just like her husband did and a lot of that comes, you know from her years spending over there at the time and you know, that means on the forefront so in the sense the the tendency for her would have been for french makers for sure. yeah specific ones, you know, i don't see it specific pattern, you know that it would come from one person or another you know
definitely friends. yeah. wonderful oh. i'm sorry. um, wonderful. well, are there any other questions from from our audience? no not. all right, not nobody. um, wonderful. well, so now we're asked so far. thank you. yeah, these were spectacular awesome awesome audience. thank you all for joining us today. thank you jared for this wonderful conversation. yeah. thank you. this has been wonderful. i hope you see these comments in the chat. i learned a lot today about elizabeth and i think it's an incredible way to to access her and to think about women history and and as you pointed out so eloquently, you know, their their role in some of these really important political moments and how we think that
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