Pinkney Poetry

Amelia Grason Pinkney

Amelia Grason Pinkney

Recently museum staff discovered that a book of poetry written by one of the home’s former inhabitants, Amelia Grason Pinkney, exists at the University of Maryland’s Hornbake Library. The museum owns a portrait of Amelia, her son Ninian Jr., his wife Mary, as well as her brother in law William Pinkney, which are all on exhibit in our game room. We are now happy to share that we have a digital copy of the poetry book thanks to the University of Maryland archives.

Amelia Grason Pinkney lived with her family at the Hammond-Harwood House for just a few years in the early 19th century. Amelia first married Henry Hobbs and had three children, after his death she remarried Ninian Pinkney May 1, 1806. Ninian was clerk of the council of Annapolis, and a widower without children when they married. Shortly after the marriage they moved into the Hammond-Harwood House. The couple had three children of their own Mary Amelia Pinkney b. 1807, William Pinkney b. 1810, and Ninian Jr. b. 1811. Their son William was episcopal bishop of Maryland and Ninian Jr. was a noted naval surgeon during the civil war.

Their nephew Edward Coote Pinkney was also a gifted poet.  He was the son of William Pinkney, a politician, who’s portrait hangs in the game room. Unfortunately Edward did not have a long and happy life like his aunt Amelia. He died at just 25 years old in 1828. However, his poems were held in very high regard by poets like John Greenleaf Whittier and Edgar Allen Poe.

After moving out of the Hammond-Harwood House in 1811 the Pinkney family transitioned into a smaller “cottage” on property later incorporated into the Naval Academy.

Our curator hopes to add in poems from the manuscript as a new interactive feature for the gallery in the coming months.  Additionally we are looking to develop Pinkney Poetry Slams in collaboration with St. John’s College in 2015.

Please enjoy  poem Amelia wrote about the new year January 1, 1849:

The New Year

I wish you my darling, a happy new year,

With heart full of joy and keep of good cheer;

And while you reflect on the year that is gone,

I hope you can sing me a grateful song.

For the mercies and blessings which crowned the past,

Should ne’er be forgotten while life shall last:

You remember I’m certain this time last year,

When your sickness had filled our hearts with fear:

And your dear Papa was in peril we know,

In the Mexican Gulph [sic] where the northers [sic] blew:

And your poor mama was in fear and dread,

Lest his dear little girl he should find with the dead:

Think of all this and remember the hand,

Which has brought him safe to his native land:

And then let your songs of praise resound,

Till you make the welkin ring with the sound.

The pleasant old year went off last night,

With the air so still, and the sky so bright:

He did not go storming and blistering away,

But departed so softly with steps so gay,

That we were not aware he had taken his flight

Till waked by the song of the watchers at night;

And now the new year has established his reign,

I trust he will give us no cause to complain.

Jan. 1st 1849

Category : Collections &Portraiture &Uncategorized

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