There is an enchanted weekend to come at the Morris-Jumel Mansion, with the last three performances of Vincent Carbone's adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. In this version of the well-known tale, the grounds of the mansion become Wonderland and the familiar characters take on American Revolutionary alter egos—the sleepy dormouse doubles as John Adams, for example. Visit the Morris-Jumel Mansion website for tickets. Performances are scheduled for tonight, Friday, and Saturday at 8 PM and Sunday, October 2, at 3 PM.
Today, September 14, 2016, is the 180th anniversary of the death of Eliza Jumel's second husband, Aaron Burr. A death mask was made the same day for of New York City phrenology firm of Fowler and Wells. Burr's skull revealed marked "destructiveness, combativeness, firmness, and self-esteem," as well as excessive "amativeness," said Fowler (quoted by Laurence Hutton in Harpers New Monthly Magazine, Nov. 1892, p. 912).
A An image of Burr circa 1801 confirms the identification of the death mask's subject. The abbreviation "Esq." (i.e., esquire) after Burr's name in the caption is a reminder that he had a long career as a lawyer.
The fragment was found during an archaeological dig at Morrisania, the estate of Roger Morris's contemporary (but not relation) Lewis Morris. Most of Lewis's estate was located in what is now the Bronx—where the glass remnant is located today. It is on exhibit at the Valentine-Varian House (1758), home of the Bronx Historical Society. This set of opaque-twist wineglasses, made about 1760, gives you an idea of what the vessel might have looked like in its prime.