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Maine Memory Network

Bejeweled: Standing Out

This Exhibit Contains 20 Items
1
Unidentified women, ca. 1860

Unidentified women, ca. 1860

Item 48403 info
Maine Historical Society

A Boston jeweler has been here with more than $10000 worth of jewelry of all sorts – rich or paste – for sale at Auction. We went in just to see the splendid array - & indeed, it was splendid – bid a little – co’dn’t help it. Hus. got a breast-pin knocked down to him w’h he presented to me with great ceremony. I bid off a ring w’h I keep myself.

–– Persis Sibley Andrews, Paris, Maine, February 10, 1850


2
Multi-photo locket, ca. 1880

Multi-photo locket, ca. 1880

Item 48415 info
Maine Historical Society

The right piece of jewelry on most any article of clothing makes a statement and draws attention. Whether unique or a version of whatever is in fashion, jewelry means "dressed up."


3
Gold and crystal pin, ca. 1880

Gold and crystal pin, ca. 1880

Item 48445 info
Maine Historical Society

Lura Beam, in A Maine Hamlet, wrote about her hometown of Marshfield at the turn of the 20th century: "To have jewelry was every woman's ambition, and every man's too because he wanted to give it. … Probably only about half the women had more than a single piece of jewelry."


4
Hair drop earring, ca. 1880

Hair drop earring, ca. 1880

Item 48406 info
Maine Historical Society

"Costume" or "fashion" jewelry might emulate more expensive materials and sometimes is undistinguishable by a casual observer from the gold, diamond, or other pieces on which it is based.

Many of the higher quality pieces, worn infrequently, often remain in fashion and retain their elegance and value, and thus are passed down through families.


5
Hardy's portrait of a girl, Bangor, 1850

Hardy's portrait of a girl, Bangor, 1850

Item 48375 info
Maine Historical Society

Wearing two rings, a bracelet, earrings, a gold necklace, and a black collar brooch, this unidentified young girl probably was from the Bangor area.

Her jewelry, dress, and surroundings – likely the painter's invention – all give her an air of sophistication and prosperity.

Painter Jeremiah Pearson Hardy (1800-1887) worked primarily in Bangor, where he moved in 1826.


6
Susannah W. Cary, Houlton, 1840

Susannah W. Cary, Houlton, 1840

Item 48376 info
Maine Historical Society

Susannah Cary (1814-1871) of Houlton sat for artist Albert Tracy on May 17, 1840. Her pose, with a long gold chain wrapped around the index finger of her left hand, shows off a gold and sapphire ring.

In 1840, Houlton was a sparsely settled town on the Maine frontier, the center of struggles over the border between Maine and New Brunswick.

Susannah and her husband, Shepard, were major landowners and heavily involved in the timber trade. Shepherd had served in the Maine House of Representatives and was later elected to the Maine Senate.

Tracy, who changed his name from Albert Tracy Haddock, was a decorated soldier and was in Houlton with the troops sent there during the Northeast Boundary Dispute. He painted portraits of both Shepard and Susannah Cary and signed and dated both on the back.


7
Susannah W. Cary ring, Houlton, ca. 1840

Susannah W. Cary ring, Houlton, ca. 1840

Item 48402 info
Maine Historical Society

Susannah Whitaker Cary of Houlton wore this emerald ring in her portrait shown above.

Her pose shows off the ring, likely made in England after 1830; a gold chain twisted around her fingers, and a bracelet.

Cary and her husband Shepard were among the wealthiest and most influential residents of Houlton.


8
Mary King Southgate, Scarborough, ca. 1870

Mary King Southgate, Scarborough, ca. 1870

Item 48377 info
Maine Historical Society

Dominant in this portrait of Mary King Southgate (1799-1829) of Scarborough are her coral earrings and necklace.

Prized since prehistoric times, red coral, which is relatively soft, often was carved for jewelry.

Mary King Southgate studied at the Litchfield Academy in Connecticut, a school that believed that men and women were intellectual equals.


9
Emily Ilsley Cummings coral jewelry, Portland, ca. 1800

Emily Ilsley Cummings coral jewelry, Portland, ca. 1800

Item 48401 info
Maine Historical Society

The carved coral and gold set of brooch, ring, and drop earrings probably was made in Europe in about 1800.

Emily Ilsley Cummings (1801-1870) was the daughter of Isaac Ilsley, who served as the collector of port in Portland from 1801-1829. She may have inherited the jewelry, given its age.

She married Nathan Cummings (1796-1878), a graduate of Bowdoin College. He was a director of Casco Bank for almost 50 years.


10
Elizabeth Akers chain and locket, ca. 1860

Elizabeth Akers chain and locket, ca. 1860

Item 48417 info
Maine Historical Society

Poet Elizabeth Chase Akers (1832-1911), a native of Strong who grew up in Farmington, owned this long chain and locket that contains a tintype of her husband, sculptor Benjamin Paul Akers (1825-1861) of Sacarappa at age 20. They married in 1860; he died in 1861.

She had used "Florence Percy" as a pen name, but began writing as "Elizabeth Akers," a name she kept after her husband's death and her subsequent marriage to E. M. Allen of New York.

Many photographs and paintings of women in the 19th century show them wearing long chains that held lockets or watches.


11
Gertrude Akers bracelet, ca. 1860

Gertrude Akers bracelet, ca. 1860

Item 48424 info
Maine Historical Society

Gertrude Akers, who died in infancy, wore this bracelet. She was the daughter of sculptor Benjamin Paul Akers and Elizabeth Chase Akers, a poet. Her father died in 1861 and her mother later married E.M. Allen.

Benjamin Paul Akers was from Sacarappa (Westbrook) and Elizabeth Chase Akers a native of Strong, grew up in Farmington.


12
Gold shell earrings, ca. 1880

Gold shell earrings, ca. 1880

Item 48404 info
Maine Historical Society

A descendant of Dr. Stephen Cummings (1773-1854), of Portland and Cape Elizabeth, owned these shell-shaped earrings that are made of gold and enamel.


13
Molly Finney McLellan rings, Portland, ca. 1750

Molly Finney McLellan rings, Portland, ca. 1750

Item 48408 info
Maine Historical Society

The rings with a heart motif belonged to Molly Finney McLellan in the late 18th century. They are made of rose gold – a gold and copper alloy.


14
James Brown Thornton cameo, Saco, 1849

James Brown Thornton cameo, Saco, 1849

Item 48410 info
Maine Historical Society

Boston artist John Greenough (1801-1852) carved the cameo image of James Brown Thornton (1794-1873) of Saco "from life" on January 9, 1849.

Thornton was a merchant who was involved in shipping, mills, and real estate. He was the son of Dr. Thomas G. Thornton (1768-1824), who gave money to start Thornton Academy.

Cameo images of men – and of living persons – are somewhat unusual. However, the carved cameo may have provided an alternative to a painted portrait.


15
S. Maria Patten, Portland, ca. 1854

S. Maria Patten, Portland, ca. 1854

Item 48374 info
Maine Historical Society

Susan Maria Patten (1832-1854) of Portland had her photograph taken shortly before her death at age 21. Her father was a lumber dealer in Portland.

Her earrings, lace collar, and collar pin, as well as the setting, attest to the family's position.


16
Silver posy vase, ca. 1870

Silver posy vase, ca. 1870

Item 48429 info
Maine Historical Society

The silver vase, which can be carried at a ball or used as a standing vase, has its own leather case that is lined in satin.

A pin on a chain goes through a hole in the upper edge of the vase to hold the flower in place. A spring-loaded flap inside at the bottom secures a cloth or sponge with water to help keep the flowers fresh and to keep the moisture from spilling out.

The vase belonged to a member of the Thompson family of Kennebunk.


17
Claudia Wigglesworth brooch and earrings, ca. 1860

Claudia Wigglesworth brooch and earrings, ca. 1860

Item 48433 info
Maine Historical Society

Claudia Seddon Mary Isabelle Church Wigglesworth (1909-1993) owned this pendant brooch and earrings of amethyst that is carved and then inlaid with a gilt flower and rose cut diamonds, with seed pearls for highlights. The pieces are set in gold.

She married Arthur Aldred Wigglesworth on April 26, 1928. They had eight children and lived in Knox and Washington counties. While living in Princeton, she was active with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

She also was an active member of the Congregational Church, past regent of the General Knox Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, and a member of numerous historical societies.


18
Gold and enamel bracelets, Portland, ca. 1900

Gold and enamel bracelets, Portland, ca. 1900

Item 48437 info
Maine Historical Society

A member of the Thompson family of Kennebunk purchased the bracelets from the J.W. & H.H. McDuffee Co. of Portland by


19
Emily Ilsley Cummings garnet brooch, Portland, ca. 1867

Emily Ilsley Cummings garnet brooch, Portland, ca. 1867

Item 48444 info
Maine Historical Society

Emily Ilsley Cummings of Portland owned this circular, open work garnet brooch.

The daughter of prominent Portland businessman Isaac Ilsley, Emily married Nathan Cummings, a Portland banker.


20
Seed pearl earrings and brooch, ca. 1865

Seed pearl earrings and brooch, ca. 1865

Item 48447 info
Maine Historical Society

Each piece has 466 seed pearls sewn onto a mother-of-pearl background and is quite delicate because of the sewn construction and the number of pearls.

The pieces came from the Thompson family of Kennebunk and may have belonged to Jane Nisbet Lawton Thompson (1849-1930), who was married to Joseph Porter Thompson (1840-1904). The couple married in 1870.

The box indicates the pieces were purchased at Bigelow, Kennard & Co. of Boston.


This Exhibit Contains 20 Items