THE WORLD OF SAMUEL MEEKER, MERCHANT OF PHILADELPHIA, AND GILBERT STUART, AMERICAN PORTRAIT ARTIST

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Praise from a Philadelphian! (& sources for research) & ...I am registering Samuel Meeker with the Smithsonian!



Samuel Meeker, the portrait, was most likely not discovered by Lawrence Park when he was assembling the works of Stuart, as the portrait was taken before his time to California by my late ancestors (the marriage of Carrie Martin of Rahway NJ to Lewis Cory of Fresno, Ca, see provenance). Somehow it seems Samuel belongs in Philadelphia, but, here in California he is, and here he will stay! At least I am bringing his story to light, he would be proud and happy about that! My ancestors who brought him here would be happy with my research, for they thought he was “Major Samuel Meeker” painted by Peale. To have the accurate story is a worthy aim is it not? I have been doing these postings for two years now, with various input from different people. But this particular letter sent to me by email just a few days ago...I appreciate so much! A real Philadelphian, praising my work! Thank you.


And today was special. I am sending in the forms on this portrait to the Smithsonian so that they may register Meeker in their INVENTORY OF AMERICAN PAINTINGS.
The letter now follows:

Hello!

Are you the author of the blog -- GilbertStuart.blogspot.com? I sure hope so. It's a fabulous and an amazing narrative of Philadelphia history!
I applaud your discipline and focus and strategy for exploring your family's heritage.
Who am I? I am a Philadelphian and am well-connected with many cultural heritage organizations and research centers. Indeed, I am forwarding your blog link to them, and encourage you to connect with them as well, as they have the resources and original documentation to serve your endeavor.
Many of these organizations are quickly digitizing their collections, so it might be easier to do more on-line research oforiginal material.
The next time you visit Philadelphia, try to visit these places. They are most helpful and receptive to serious scholars. Many of these research centers are FREE. The Historical Society of PA is the only one, I believe, that charges research fees. Best wishes for the New Year!


Anita Mc K.


1) John Van Horn, Director, The Library Company
http://www.librarycompany.org/about/services.htm
2) Stephen Girard/Girard College and Estate
No doubt your ancestor had many interactions with Girard. Girard College has all of Stephen Girard's records (all of them -- in the thousands) on microfilm at Founders Hall at the College, including correspondence, diaries, bank statements, business records, etc
http://www.ushistory.org/people/girard.htm
See "museum collections" and "archival collections" at this link below:
http://www.girardcollege.com/4398_9771410572/blank/browse.asp?A=383&BMDRN=2000&BCOB=0&C=50725
3) The McNeil Center at University of PA might connect you with academic scholars who have information about your ancestors. http://www.mceas.org/intro.htm
4) Independence Seaport Museum "archives and library" http://www.phillyseaport.org/Museum_Library.shtml
5) Philadelphia Athenaeum. This museum may have information about your ancestor's homes in Philadelphia. BTW its current exhibit "William Birch: Picturing The American Scene" runs through Jan 11, 2011.
6) The Philadelphia Historic Commission may have materials and photos of the Meeker home in today's Fairmount Park. http://www.phila.gov/historical/contact.html
7) For historic photos check: http://www.brynmawr.edu/iconog/frdr.html
The Philadelphia Free Library Photo collection ... some of the oldest photos of Phila landmarks, homes, businesses, that your ancestor would have known.
http://libwww.freelibrary.org/hip/HIPSearchItem.cfm?searchKey=8153119119&ItemID=pdcc00030
http://libwww.library.phila.gov/hip/HIPLst.cfm?collection=pdcl
http://jeffline.jefferson.edu/archives/phdil/phdil.html
Phillyhistory.org Thousands of photographs of Philadelphia dating from the late 1800s onwards from the city archives and the Athenaeum of Philadelphia. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Search.aspx


2 comments:

Maureen said...

how exciting!

Rouchswalwe said...

Hurrah! That's networking! I'm excited for you, Bethchen.

 
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