Within Anne Sophia Penn Chew's collection of correspondence are a large number of telegrams. This communication tool was widely employed by Samuel and Mary Johnson Brown Chew. Samuel and Mary split their time between Cliveden and Mary's family home in the city, so their belongings were housed in both places. Many of Mary's letters to Anne describe the day's events, give reports about the children, and, inevitably, ask for some article of clothing to be sent or some task to be completed at Cliveden in her absence.
Though many may be unaware, November 2008 is 'National Indian Heritage Month,' an opportunity for myself and others to reflect on the diverse role 'Native-Americans' have played in our nation's history.
Later this month, I'll relate a couple of narratives or examples from our collections here at The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, relative to our Native American materials, but within today's post, I'd like to take you on a personal journey or reminiscence.
In the days before pharmaceuticals, remedies involving food and herbs were often used to augment medical treatments like bleeding and cupping. Many common ailments were treated with prescriptions of lager and port.
In a letter from Elizabeth Johnson Brown to Anne Sophia Penn Chew, she includes her recipe for Onion Syrup, which appears to have been used for respiratory illnesses:
Just as the Civil War was beginning, Samuel Chew and Mary Johnson Brown were planning their wedding. In the following letter to Eliza M. Mason (married to VA Senator James Murray Mason), Samuel Chew laments that the Masons will not be able to attend his marriage. "I expect to be married on the 20th of June. The mails between you and us, I fear, close tomorrow, and I cannot let the last opportunity of asking you to my wedding pass...though I cannot hope to see you on that occasion.
Almost no one today has heard of Capt. Henry Bell, an English military officer, well-known in aristocratic circles, who traveled throughout Europe in the early 17th-century, and is described by official British records as having, "no equal in Christendom as a brave and experienced soldier."
Samuel Chew Jr. (1871-1919) wrote quite a number of letters to his father, primarily from boarding school, but also from locations abroad and during times when Samuel Chew Sr. was traveling. His letters reflect a genuine love and respect for his father and the rest of their family, while also providing an amusing perspective on the mind and occupations of a pre-teen boy of the 1880s. This letter contains one of the best post-scripts I have ever read: "P.S.
A different monarch, a different century, but this letter to Anne Sophia Penn Chew (1805-1892) includes not only an interesting reference to a remarkable cake, but fragments of the cake itself! Anna Maria Rush wrote to Anne on March 13, 1840, including crumbs from Queen Victoria of England's wedding cake. Rush had received some crumbs from another woman, Mrs. Stevenson, who attended the February 10 wedding, and sent on to Anne a few of them, "as a curiosity at least."
The history of African enslavement, as portrayed by scholars and interpreted by the general public, has been represented, discussed and defined, in far too often simplistic generalizations, without recognizing the intriguing 'exceptions to the rule' that exist in primary source materials.
One prime example is that concerning an English slaver trader, an African Prince and the contemporary records of the period reporting their activities, from Africa, to England and as far West as Philadelphia.