This room served as the master bedroom, where Benjamin and Helen slept. Helen's mother lived in a suite of rooms through the door on the west wall, and her youngest daughter Mollie slept in the connecting room, so Helen was truly part of the sandwich generation. The suite of rooms at one time was used as a caretaker's room, but now operates as collections storage for the SAA's artifacts and Fine Arts collection.
This room would probably also have been used as a day room for Helen. Benjamin left for his law office by 7:00 each morning, so Helen would have come up to this room to read her Bible, write letter, or nurse one of her frequent headaches on the chaise lounge.
You might wonder why there is an interior window on the north (to the right, visually) end of this room. When the the house was expanded in 1857 and the back hallway added, the Edwards' chose to leave the original back window to capture some of the north light from the new window in the Servants' Hall.
The wallpaper on the wall is based on the original that was found behind a radiator in this very room. The original scrap is preserved behind glass on the south wall by the window. The whole pattern was not preserved, so part of the design was filled in by Springfield Art Association staff for a flawless finish.
This piece is the original scrap of the master bedroom wallpaper, behind glass.
A close-up of the reproduced master bedroom wallpaper behind the headboard of Benjamin and Helen's bed.
Everything in this room, with the exception of some of the chairs, the chaise lounge, the wheelchair, and the desk, are original to the Edwards family. The Edwards' had a granddaughter named Eliza Condell, who lived to be 102 years old. She died in 1975, so she was still in the area in the 1960s when Edwards Place was first restored as an historic home, and she returned her grandparents' bedroom set to the SAA.
The wardrobe, bed, and dresser were purchased from the firm Scarritt & Mason out of St. Louis after the Edwards family expanded their house in 1857. The wardrobe still has its original shipping label on the inside and on the back. It is addressed to "B.S. Edwards Springfield Ills."
The portrait over the fireplace is of Benjamin Edwards as he appeared when he graduated from Yale in 1838. He married Helen the very next year, in 1839. The family story is that Helen's mother was strong-willed and domineering. She apparently looked at her daughter one day, realized Helen was 19 and not getting any younger, and arranged a marriage for her.
While the chaise lounge is not original to the family, in one of Helen's letters she mentions having a "lounge" beside the bed - this might have been something akin to a fainting couch.
This chaise lounge is not original to the Edwards family, though it is from the time period. It is probably similar to the lounge that Helen would have used during a headache.
Portrait of a young Benjamin Edwards
Drawing of Benjamin Edwards, Benjamin's paternal grandfather
Civil War era wrapper with petticoat
Drawing of Margaret Beale Edwards, Benjamin's paternal grandmother
Cane Chair & Cap
Mantle and Fireplace
Original to the house