The Albany Institute of History & Art is set to host a special lecture about friendships between men and women in early America on Sunday, October 27, 2019 at 2 pm.
This lecture is part of a series of programs related to the museum’s current exhibition The Schuyler Sisters & Their Circle, which is on view through December 29, 2019. The guest speaker will be Cassandra Good, Assistant Professor of History and Politics at Marymount University.
Based on her award-winning book Founding Friendships: Friendships between Men and Women in the Early American Republic, Good’s lecture explores different relationships between significant male and female figures during a time where friendships between opposite sex are often deemed impossible. The lecture will explain the social dangers these friendships brought and why they were still common during a time when personal relationships were often political.
The Schuylers were a prominent Dutch family in New York in the 18th and 19th centuries, who played a central role in the formation of the United States. Renowned Revolutionary War general Philip Schuyler (1733-1804) and his wife Catharine Van Rensselaer (1734-1803) raised eight children in their Albany home. Hamilton: An American Musical prominently features the three eldest Schuyler daughters: Angelica Schuyler Church, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, and Margaret (Peggy) Schuyler Van Rensselaer.
Catharine Schuyler was the great-great-granddaughter of Killian Van Rensselaer, the original founder of the Dutch colony of Rensselaerswyck. Catharine’s marriage to Philip Schuyler linked two of New York’s great landholding families. Philip Schuyler was known to care about the education of his daughters and paid for lessons in French, geography, history, writing, arithmetic, music, and dancing. Catharine Schuyler raised their daughters with an awareness of their colonial Dutch New York heritage and their connections to members of the prominent Ten Broeck, Livingston, Bayard, Van Rensselaer, and Van Cortlandt families.
The exhibition discusses the wide-ranging interests of Catharine and her three eldest daughters Angelica, Elizabeth, and Margaret (Peggy)— sisters who witnessed history unfold in Albany, New York, Philadelphia, Paris, and London. As the wife of Alexander Hamilton, Eliza had a front row seat to events that shaped this country in the years immediately following the Revolution. For many years, Angelica lived abroad where she entertained royalty, diplomats, and artists in Paris and London. She maintained life-long friendships with the prominent figures she met, like Thomas Jefferson, and patronized artist John Trumbull. Peggy married Stephen Van Rensselaer III who ranks 10th on Business Insider’s list of wealthiest Americans of all time.
The Schuyler Sisters and Their Circle also explores the men the Schuyler sisters married, hosted, and befriended. Military, political, and intellectual luminaries of the day including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and the Marquis de Lafayette visited the Schuyler home in Albany.
The exhibition uses clothing, decorative arts, portraits, and manuscripts from the Revolutionary Period to the Federal Period to tell the stories of the Schuyler women. Twenty-four public and private institutions and individuals have lent their treasures for display. A rarely exhibited John Trumbull portrait of Angelica Schuyler Church with her child and servant is on loan to the exhibition from a private collection, and there are additional significant loans from Columbia University (including Eliza Hamilton’s wedding ring from the Rare Book and Manuscripts Library), Fort Ticonderoga, Seth Kaller, Inc., New-York Historical Society, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of the City of New York among many others. The Albany Institute is thrilled to bring these objects associated with the Schuyler sisters together in their hometown and showcase them in a special exhibition sure to thrill visitors- from history buffs to Hamilfans!
Leading exhibition support is provided by Lois and I. David Swawite, Omni Development Company, Inc., and the Cornelia Cogswell Rossi Foundation. Major support is provided by the Arnold & Jessie B. Cogswell Fund, Cooper Erving & Savage LLP, Dahl Taylor, Discover Albany, Times Union, Daughters of the American Revolution, Fan Association of North America, Deborah Groesbeck Bennett & John Bennett, Lawrence & Louise Marwill, and Douglas L. Cohn, D.V.M. This project is supported as part of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York. M&T Bank is the season sponsor of The Schuyler Sisters & Their Circle programs.
Cassandra Good currently works as an assistant professor of History and Politics at the Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. A native of Virginia, Good earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s of American Studies at George Washington University. She earned her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Good has previously worked in other institutions such as the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Mary Washington. Her research focuses on gender and culture during the early-American era.
The lecture is included with museum admission. The Albany Institute of History & Art is located at 125 Washington Avenue in Albany. Free parking is available in the museum’s lot at the corner of Elk and Dove Streets.
The exhibition galleries and the Museum Shop are open Wednesday 10 am to 5 pm, Thursday 10 am to 8 pm, Friday 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday noon to 5 pm. The Research Library is open on Thursdays from 1pm-4:30pm and by appointment. The Museum Café is open Wednesday through Saturday 10am-3pm and Sunday noon-5pm.
Admission rates are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (62+) and students with ID, $6 for children aged 6-12, and free for children under 6. Albany Institute members are admitted for free.
For more information, call (518) 463-4478 or visit the Institute’s website.
Photo of Albany Institute of History and Art courtesy wikimedia user MattWade.