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Remember Mrs. Middleton from last week? In case you don’t, here she is again:

Mrs. Middleton, painted by John Hesselius, ca. 1765

Thanks to the miracle that is the Internet, I may (fingers crossed) have a better idea who she is. In the file I have on her portrait there was a terrible photocopy of an article from the November 1904 issue of Broadway magazine about the Middleton family, George Washington, and portraits. Images of a number of Middleton family portraits were included in the article, but they were too blurry to make out any details in my copy. It took intrepid intern Tara less than five minutes to find the article on Google books, so here it is.  And if you scroll down to page 26, there’s Mrs. Middleton! She is identified as Elizabeth Gilbert Middleton, and page 22 of the article says that she used her will to dispose “of innumerable taffeta petticoats, silk nightrobes and mob caps.” I don’t particularly enjoy wearing mobcaps, but I wouldn’t have minded inheriting a taffeta petticoat or two.

When I find free time, or intern Tara does, we need to do some genealogical research on the Middleton family to determine if the identification of Elizabeth Gilbert Middleton seems correct. But it was so satisfying to find something that might be pointing us in the right direction!

Posted on Dec 23, 2011 in , , by Hammond-Harwood House



Hammond-Harwood House

The mission of the Hammond-Harwood House Association is to preserve and to interpret the architecturally significant Hammond-Harwood House Museum and its collection of fine and decorative arts, and to explore the diverse social history associated with its occupants, both free and enslaved, for the purposes of education and appreciation.
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