As those who have visited New York's Morris-Jumel Mansion are aware, a wallpaper decorated with morning glory vines hung in the house during Eliza and Stephen Jumel's tenure, and an exact copy adorns the front parlor today. The reproduction was printed from wooden blocks carved specially for the mansion by H. Birge & Sons of Buffalo, New York, in 1916. But here's the kicker: I just discovered that Birge must have printed additional sheets. The same paper can be seen hanging in the William L. Brown House in Providence, Rhode Island—the city where Eliza was born—in a photograph from 1958. Perhaps the choice of paper made by the then-owner of the house stemmed from one of Jumel's early fictions. As a young woman with the maiden name of Bowen, she gave her surname as Brown instead, possibly to suggest an association with a family of wealthy Providence merchants named Brown.
Detail of wallpaper in the front parlor of the Morris-Jumel Mansion.
Front parlor of the Morris-Jumel Mansion, showing a twentieth-century reproduction of early nineteenth-century wallpaper that hung in the house when Eliza and Stephen Jumel lived there.
Exterior of the William L. Brown House in Providence, Rhode Island.
William L. Brown House, 23 John Street, Providence, RI, in 1958. Library of Congress, HABS RI,4-PROV,125-1. Built 1795 to 1798.
Stair hall of the William L. Brown House in Providence, Rhode Island, hung with morning-glory wallpaper.
Stair hall hung with morning-glory wallpaper, William L. Brown House, 23 John Street, Providence, RI, in 1958. Library of Congress, HABS RI,4-PROV,125-4.
Whether the Madame Jumel paper is still in the Brown House, I do not know. But it may hang on other walls yet to be discovered. Birge printed a fresh edition of the wallpaper for the mansion just in time for the bicentennial in 1976. At the same time, the pattern was made available for sale to the general public as well by Reed Ltd, which had just acquired Birge. Anyone have the wallpaper hanging in their home, perchance?

Detail of the wallpaper in the stair hall of the William L. Brown House in Providence, Rhode Island.
The visible seam in the paper makes clear that this wallpaper in the Brown House is the twentieth-century reproduction by H. Birge & Sons, rather than an early nineteenth-century original. It was clearly made in long strips rather than smaller rectangles that were pieced together (the latter being a distinguishing characteristic of wallpaper printed and hung in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries).
 
 
Because hallways and entryways were prone to drafts, they were lit with lanterns rather than exposed fixtures in the eighteenth-century United States. These special-purpose light fixtures continued to be referred to as "hall lanterns" even after they took on more elaborate forms. In these photographs, you can see a hall lantern that hung in the Morris-Jumel Mansion in the nineteenth century. A vasiiform glass tube surrounds the wick to protect the flame from drafts. The bell hung above the tube was designed to capture the smoke so that it would not stain the ceiling.
Hallway of the Morris-Jumel Mansion, ca. 1887,
Hallway of the Morris-Jumel Mansion, ca. 1887, from William H. Shelton, The Jumel Mansion (1916).
Hall lantern in the entryway of the Morris-Jumel Mansion,, ca. 1887.
Hall lantern in the entryway of the Morris-Jumel Mansion. Detail of a photograph, ca. 1887, from William H. Shelton, The Jumel Mansion (1916).
 
 
In 1855, Eliza Jumel's estate, rich with fruit trees and flowers, was described as "an earthly paradise, minus the angel." If the lands surrounding the Morris-Jumel Mansion, her onetime home, are less extensive than in the nineteenth century, they still offer a feast for the eye. These blooms—carefully tended by Morris-Jumel gardener, Karen Waltuch, and her corps of volunteers—caught my attention this week.
Wildflowers in front of the Morris-Jumel Mansion.
Wildflowers welcoming visitors to the Morris-Jumel Mansion.
Cardinal flowers in the back garden at the Morris-Jumel Mansion, July 20, 2016.
Cardinal flowers in the back garden at the Morris-Jumel Mansion, July 20, 2016.
 
 
Today is the 151st anniversary of the death of Madame Eliza B. Jumel (April 2, 1775–July 16, 2016). Her house, the Morris-Jumel Mansion, preserves her memory—as do I. Requiescat in pace, dearest Madame.
Winged hourglass made of cast iron--detail from the fence of a graveyard on Staten Island.
Detail from the fence of the Rezerou-Van Pelt Family Cemetery, Historic Richmond Town.
 
 
The Manhattan end of the High Bridge was built on land purchased from Eliza Jumel. She also owned the land bordering the Harlem River all the way south to what is now 159th Street. These two pictures show what the area looked like in the 1840s and today.
View of High Bridge and the Harlem River, 1844.
W. J. Bennett, View of High Bridge and the Harlem River, 1844. Courtesy New York Public Library. The Morris-Jumel Mansion is barely visible in the left middle ground, perched on Coogan's Bluff.
View of High Bridge and the Harlem River, 2016.
Margaret Oppenheimer, View of High Bridge and the Harlem River, 2016. Dredging and landfill in the late-nineteenth and twentieth centuries altered the irregular contours of the river. Five of the stone piers of the High Bridge were replaced by a steel arch in 1923 to allow larger ships to navigate the waterway.
 
 
Those who have visited Eliza Jumel's home, the Morris-Jumel Mansion, may have noticed the delicate gauze curtains that hang in the front parlor. On a recent visit to the Kelton House Museum & Garden in Columbus, Ohio—a wonderful historic house restored to the Victorian era—I learned that such curtains had more than a decorative purpose. Before window screens were widely available, curtains of gauze or lace were used to let air in, but keep mosquitoes out. They would have been hung in a way that allowed them to be drawn completely over the window opening.
Front parlor at the Morris-Jumel Mansion.
Front parlor at the Morris-Jumel Mansion. Detail of a photograph by Trish Mayo.