Mollie's Bedroom

The Room

This room is interpreted as Mollie's (the youngest Edwards daughter's) bedroom, and also as the "sickroom". The Edwards' granddaughter, Eliza Condell, remembered this room as the guest room where she would stay when she came to visit. Before Eliza was born in 1872, we do not exactly know how this room was used. Other than being Mollie's room, it's possible that the room was used as Benjamin's bedroom. It was fashionable at the time for middle-class couples to have separate but adjoining bedrooms. One more famous example is Abraham and Mary Lincoln's bedrooms at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield.

On the dresser, you will see a variety of 19th century medicines. Patent medicines were becoming readily available in the 19th century. Anybody could put anything in a bottle and claim it was a miracle cure. The active ingredient was usually alcohol, though it could also be morphine, opium, chloroform, or even cocaine.

 

Illness was a fact of life in the 19th century, and mortality rates were high, particularly for children. Benjamin and Helen lost one son in infancy, but they and their daughters all lived to old age, which made them relatively lucky. A pair of twins they were friends with was not so lucky. Each of those women lost her husband and five children. In January of 1857, one of the women lost all three daughters within the span of a month during a scarlet fever outbreak.

One thing you will notice is that the wall above the fireplace is not finished. When removing the wallpaper during the 2018 restoration, staff found stenciled roses all along the top of the walls. These are from the turn-of-the-20th-century arts and crafts group "the Roycrofters" and are Dard Hunter roses, named for their creator. Even though they date later than the 1857 interpretation date, that slice of history was left up.

The wallpaper on these walls was taken from the original design, found behind a radiator. This is one of four examples of the original wallpaper design in the home.

A Young Eliza Condell

The dresser and medicine case. The medicines are on loan from the Pearson Museum. One example of the medicine - the cough syrup's top two ingredients are alcohol and chloroform.

Objects

Represented in this room are stages of what children (mostly girls) would wear during the 19th century. The focus on girls stems from the Edwards' raising three daughters! The small white gown was worn by both girls and boys when they were infants. A big event in a boy's life was when he was potty-trained, which meant he was ready for pants. Beofre that stage in his life, it made more sense to wear dresses for all genders, because of the wool soakers worn over the diaper that wicked water away from the body (yet meant diapers needed to be changed more often). 

Young girls wore a dress like the one you see to the right, with pantaloons under the dress to the ankle. Finally, when a girl became a young woman, she would begin dressing like her mother with a cage crinoline and corset. Teenage girls would often start out with a "working" corset, which is more pliable and also popular among house staff. Today, we often think of the "hoop" as a horrible article of clothing for women, but in fact, they were quite liberating. Before the advent of the hoop, women wore layers upon layers of petticoats to achieve a bell-like silhouette. The hoop eliminated the need for all but a couple petticoats, becoming much more light and breathable. And the stories about women being taken by the wind or lighting themselves on fire are largely exaggerated!

The mirror on the table belonged to Governor
Ninian Edwards. It dates to the 1820s and family
stories say that he used to powder his wigs while
looking into that mirror.

Other Objects

This rocking chair belonged to Helen's mother, Jane Dey Dodge.

This washstand was made for David Prickett, recorder of the Supreme Court, who lived in Springfield from 1835 until his death in 1847.

This bed was found in the attic, or servant's quarters, of Edwards Place.

This clock was sold by Seth Thomas Plymouth from Hollow, Connecticut, originally. Given by Edwards daughter Alice Edwards Ferguson.

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