The Stamford Historical Society Presents
BEST SEATS IN THE HOUSE
Chairs from the Charlotte D. S. Cruikshank Collection
GRACIOUS LIVING IN STAMFORD
Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries
Photos and Objects from Our Collection
a 2004 Exhibit: online sampling and more
Introduction & Acknowledgements
byThomas A. Zoubek, Ph.D., Executive Director, Stamford Historical Society
In 1979 the Stamford Historical Society was extremely fortunate to receive a bequest of a large number of furnishings, china and other pieces of decorative art from the collection of Mrs. Charlotte D. S. Cruikshank. The two exhibits on display are linked in their use of objects from the Cruikshank collection. In fact objects from this collection have been used in virtually every exhibit the Society has prepared since the early 1980s. It gives the Society great pleasure to be able to share a large number of these pieces with the public in these exhibits.
“Best Seats in the House” features a large number of chairs from the Cruikshank collection as well as a number of very fine looking glasses. The chairs span the time from the late 17th to the early 19th century. They are all of fine quality and reflect the furnishings of the elite throughout these decades. The looking glasses likewise reflect pieces that would have been found in homes of the wealthy during the 18th and 19th centuries. Although most of the pieces are not from Stamford homes, they are the kind of furnishings that would have graced the homes of Stamford’s elite.
“Gracious Living” reflects through photos and objects the Victorian tastes of the later 19th and early 20th centuries. Many Stamford industrialists and merchants were able to showcase their success during the final decades of the 1800s and early 1900s by constructing large, ostentatious homes filled with finery. Some of the more famous homes include the home of Henry Towne, Director of Yale and Towne (1875), Marion Castle (1916) as well as the Henri Bendel Mansion (1929), currently occupied by the Stamford Museum & Nature Center. The Society is fortunate to have a number of interior photos of these Victorian and turn of the century mansions that illustrate well the luxury in which Stamford’s upper crust lived.
The Stamford Historical Society would like to acknowledge the support and contributions of the following people without whom these exhibits could not have been completed:
Co-Curators: Margaret Bowen and Irene Hahn
| Patrick Brennan
| Carolyn Simon
Special thanks to Anne Ramsey for the loan of her photos and background information on Mayapple.
At the opening on October 10, it was a great pleasure to welcome as our special guest Mrs. Katherine T. S. Coley, pictured at right, Mrs. Cruikshank's niece. She vividly described life at the Cruikshank home with its many antiques when she used to visit her aunt and uncle as a young child. Here she is seen looking at the plaque honoring Charlotte Dewing Smith Cruikshank.