Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Original pieces return to the Belmont Mansion

Thanks to Adelicia Acklen's great-great granddaughter, Elise Quigley of Sacramento, California, this has been an exciting month for the Belmont Mansion…

If you've not heard of the Belmont Mansion in Nashville, TN, it's the home of Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America in the 1860s. And a woman that I, admittedly, have grown to love and respect over the past few years.

I've spent countless hours researching family files, spending time in her home, walking where she walked, reading her letters, and delving into her life as I prepared to write the Belmont Mansion novels.*

Adelicia's gorgeous Southern home, originally named Belle Monte, is the setting for A Lasting Impression and A Beauty So Rare (April 2014), the first and second Belmont Mansion novels in the 3-book series. 

And now, what's old is new (to the mansion) again…

Elise Quigley, Adelicia's great-great granddaughter, has generously seen fit to return two items that belonged to Adelicia––an unusual silver coffee pot and a leather covered box.

Elise Quigley holding two original pieces that belonged to Adelicia

As noted in the latest newsletter from the Belmont Mansion… 

"The silver coffee pot is of monumental size, standing 13 inches tall. Manufactured by Gotham of New York City, the pot represents a renewed interest in classical details during the post-civil War period, as exhibited in the Neo-Grec design. Gorham retailed a number of their products at Tiffany's. As the premier silver manufacturer of the 1860s, all their offerings were quite popular. The Acklen family name is engraved on the face of the pot, just below the bas-relief profile of a woman.

Adelicia likely purchased this piece as part of a larger set on her return from her grand tour of Europe in 1866. The coffee pot would have been used for formal occasions in either the Dining Room or the Central Parlor. A tea pot, footed tray, creamer, and sugar bowl would have completed this formal service. Currently, the coffee pot can be viewed through the Dish Pantry window. Imagine, if Adelicia had seven sets of china, how many sets of silver do you think she kept?

Adelicia's letterbox is of American manufacture with tooled leather applied to a white pine base, brass strapwork in the English Renaissance style and dates from the mid-1850s. A monogrammed brass shield with the letters "AA" is located in the center of the lid. The box can be opened to reveal a slanted writing space, a compartment for paper, ink pens, envelopes, and two holes for ink wells. Adelicia's letterbox can now be seen on the ladies secretary in the Tête-à-Tête Room."

I haven't seen these items in person yet but can hardly wait to get to the mansion again. And you can bet both of these items will be in the third Belmont novel. But tell me…

What's something special you would like to see tucked inside Adelicia's letterbox in the third Belmont novel? If I use your idea, I'll give you full credit in the Author's Note at the end of the novel.

Blessings on your Tuesday,

* When I wrote about studying Adelicia's life and home above, it reminded me of how excited I am to be in BSF again––studying the life and ministry of Jesus.

We're studying the book of Matthew this year. If you're in BSF, give a shout out. I'd love to know we have that common. If you're not, check out BSF here and see if it's something you'd be interested in. It's a life-changing study. And this Wednesday is a Welcome Day! So feel free to go and check it out.

Last day to enter for Colorado Romance
and Rocky Mountain Chocolate

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