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The third floor of Edwards Place, the attic, was opened to the public in 2024, after a period of placing floorboards, sanding, and finishing the floors. This space operates as the Servants' Quarters, as that was its use during the time the Edwards family lived in Edwards Place.


“In those days it was almost impossible to get servants. I had brought a woman from St. Louis but found her so intemperate that in less than a year I was obliged to discharge her and my trouble in housekeeping began. I knew nothing of cooking and shed many a tear over my first attempts.” – “Some Incidents in the Life of Mrs. Benjamin S. Edwards” on their early years in Springfield, 1840s.



This space is where the Edwards family’s female staff spent their nights. They were given room and board, plus $1.50 per week. Even though this was a rest space for the women, there was still the presence of a call bell above the door, so they could be called at any hour of the day. They were also expected to rise before the family – “for an hour before the family rises is worth more to you than two after they are up” (The House Servant’s Directory) - as well as retire after the family.



“When I lived with Grandmother she always kept two maids and a man. There was a time when she kept more help. I said to her once that it must have been nice to have so many servants. She said that it wasn’t, that when there were so many, they made more work.”


During all those years Grandmother had a cook, maid, laundress, and a man…sometimes there was adequate help, and sometimes there was none at all.”

 – Eliza Condell, granddaughter to Benjamin and Helen Edwards



There were at least 40 different servants, both men and women, that worked for the Edwards family, but likely many more than that. Of those whose birth location is known, most were Irish immigrants. Only two were born in the United States. Irish immigrants were the largest ‘unskilled’ immigrant group in America, providing two to three times more servants than any other foreign country. It isn’t surprising that they numbered so many at Edwards Place.



“I dismissed my house girl on Monday morning, and yesterday took in, a brand new girl, from the Emerald Isle…though perfectly inefficient and inexperienced, having been from the old country only six weeks, I hope…she will become a thorough house maid, and indeed maid of all work…” – Helen Edwards to Helen Condell, December 18, 1867

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