In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Maine Memory Network

Drawing Together: The Longfellows' Cultural Legacy

This slideshow contains 11 items
1
Craigie House, Cambridge, ca. 1900

Craigie House, Cambridge, ca. 1900

Item 28958 info
Longfellow National Historic Site

The Craigie House

The Craigie House, a colonial mansion along the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts, served as the residence of two generations of the Longfellow family.


2
George Washington, 1732-1799

George Washington, 1732-1799

Item 7281 info
Maine Historical Society

Built in 1759 by a Tory merchant, the house already had achieved landmark status because in 1775 George Washington occupied it as his headquarters while driving the British from Boston. After the Revolutionary War, Andrew Craigie purchased and enlarged it, hence its moniker “Castle Craigie.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow rented a room there in 1837 while teaching modern languages at Harvard College.

In 1843 Nathan Appleton purchased it as a wedding gift for his daughter, Fanny Appleton, and Henry, who lived there for the remainder of his life. On moving in, Fanny Longfellow observed: "how noble an inheritance. This is where Washington dwelt in every room."


3
Alice Mary Longfellow, Cambridge, ca. 1870

Alice Mary Longfellow, Cambridge, ca. 1870

Item 28950 info
Longfellow National Historic Site

Following Henry’s death in 1882, his daughter Alice became the primary occupant and her care of Craigie House paid tribute to his memory.

She established the Longfellow Trust in 1913 and worked until her death in 1928 to preserve the house as a public museum. The National Park acquired the property in 1973.

Alice Longfellow worked with Waddy, her architect cousin, for alternations to the house that most often improved technologies such as plumbing and heating.

Ernest Longfellow painted this watercolor of his sister Alice at the piano at Craigie House.


4
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's chair, Cambridge, Massachusetts, ca. 1880

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's chair, Cambridge, Massachusetts, ca. 1880

Item 22475 info
Maine Historical Society

Cambridge schoolchildren commissioned a chair for Longfellow’s birthday made from the wood of the "spreading chestnut tree," which is mentioned in the poem "The Village Blacksmith."

William Pitt Preble Longfellow, the poet's nephew, was commissioned for its design.


5
Mary King Longfellow as Nelly Custis, Cambridge, ca. 1879

Mary King Longfellow as Nelly Custis, Cambridge, ca. 1879

Item 28949 info
Longfellow National Historic Site

Mary King Longfellow probably dressed as Martha Washington’s niece to celebrate the Centennial of the United States in 1876.

The cousins frequently held costume parties based on a variety of themes.

The Wadsworths and the Longfellows greatly admired George Washington.


6
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Cambridge, ca. 1875

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Cambridge, ca. 1875

Item 15897 info
Longfellow National Historic Site

Used by George Washington as his office during the Siege of Boston 1775-1776, this room served as Longfellow's study where he wrote many of his poems.

It also was the setting for his poem "The Children's Hour."


7
Stephen Longfellow, Portland, ca. 1845

Stephen Longfellow, Portland, ca. 1845

Item 18848 info
Maine Historical Society

The Longfellows' Cultural Legacy

The Longfellows’ successes in the arts — from fine arts and architecture to photography, writing and publishing — coincided with the development of these professional fields and related institutions in the United States.

The affiliation between the Longfellows and Maine Historical Society provides one important example. In 1822 Stephen Longfellow helped establish the Maine Historical Society, the country’s third oldest state historical organization after Massachusetts and New York.

He was the Society’s president in 1834, the same year that Henry Longfellow served as librarian.


8
Anne Longfellow Pierce, Portland, ca. 1890

Anne Longfellow Pierce, Portland, ca. 1890

Item 16836 info
Longfellow National Historic Site

In need of a permanent home, Maine Historical Society found a major benefactor in Anne Longfellow Pierce, Henry W. Longfellow’s sister.

On her death in 1901, Anne bequeathed the Wadsworth-Longfellow House and its adjoining property to the Society to provide a long-needed headquarters.

Later that summer the Wadsworth-Longfellow House opened to the public as a memorial to both General Peleg Wadsworth and the poet.

The site of the family’s old barn provided space for the Society’s new library, designed in the Colonial Revival style by Alexander W. Longfellow Jr. It was dedicated in 1907.


9
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Isle of Wight, 1868

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Isle of Wight, 1868

Item 4111 info
Maine Historical Society

Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879), one of Britain’s most respected photographers, took this portrait of Henry Longfellow during his visit to London, when he also had an audience with Queen Victoria in 1868.

It is one of the best-loved photographs of the poet.


10
Children's Gate, Longfellow Garden, Portland, ca. 1930

Children's Gate, Longfellow Garden, Portland, ca. 1930

Item 12034 info
Longfellow Garden Club

The Society’s library consumed most of what had been the family’s barn, garden, and orchard but the Longfellow Garden Club worked on a design to “preserve the garden atmosphere and plants” known to them.

Alexander designed an entrance to the garden. “The Children’s Gate” was named in honor of the five children who contributed funds for its construction.

In 1926, landscape architect Myron Lamb of the Harvard School of Landscape Gardening created drawings of all the garden beds.


11
Drawing for Maine Historical Society headquarters, ca. 1902

Drawing for Maine Historical Society headquarters, ca. 1902

Item 11037 info
Maine Historical Society

This working drawing for the Society’s library includes many elements that survive, including the reading room with its paintings and sculpture and the book stacks.


This slideshow contains 11 items