J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Jerusalem on Display in Germantown

In 1888 the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography published some extracts from the diary of Hannah Callender (1737-1801), a Quaker woman who evidently grew up in a comfortable mercantile family.

Here’s part of Callender’s entry for 2 June 1762:
1762, 6th mo., 2d day.— . . . In afternoon [with several others] set out for Germantown by the falls. Some mirth on the road by female fears. Passed Pemberton’s place and the new college. Arrived safe at Maconet’s. From thence to a neighboring house to see some models in architecture done by an illiterate shoemaker, intended when put together as a representation of Jerusalem. . . .

I shall mention the houses of most note. The Temple of Solomon about one yard high, three quarters long and half a yard deep. Noble entrances on both fronts and sides, all different orders with their proper embellishments. In the balcony of the first battlement are four Priests blowing trumpets. It has a fine steeple and is enclosed by three courts, having twelve gates adorned with cherubim and angels. twelve magnificent towers at the corners of the courts, the whole a yard and a half square.

Solomon’s house in the forest, built on a high green hill ascended by one hundred steps, is a noble looking pleasure house. It joins the first battlement of the temple by a balcony supported by large columns. King David’s Palace with its towers.
The magazine editors then inserted the note “Then follows brief mention of models of thirteen other buildings in Jerusalem.” Which isn’t helpful if you’re intrigued by how an illiterate shoemaker imagined ancient Jerusalem.

(A footnote in Stephanie Grauman Wolf’s Urban Village, a 1976 study of Germantown, suggests that there may be a link between this model and the probate inventory of Anthony Sultser or Sulzer, who died in that town in 1761. Anyone want to follow that lead?)

The 22 Mar 1764 Pennsylvania Gazette offered another description of this creation in an advertisement:

A View of that famous City, after the Work of seven Years, which is newly repaired, in a better Manner than it has been before,
IS yet to be seen at Mr. Andrew Angel’s, at the late House of Mr. Butler, deceased, between Second and Third-street, next Door to the Green Tree Tavern, in Race-street, Philadelphia, from Six o’Clock in the Morning till Six in the Afternoon, and from Seven till Ten at Night, at Ninepence each Person coming by Day, and One Shilling at Night, and for others and Children accordingly.———

It represents Jerusalem, the Temple of Solomon, his Royal Throne, the noted Houses, Towers and Hills; likewise the Sufferings of our SAVIOUR from the Garden of Gethsemane to the Cross, on the Hill of Golgotha, an artful Piece of Statuary, in which every Thing is exhibited in the most natural Manner. It will be shewn no longer than the 16th Day of April, or a few Days after, according as Shipping suits to New-York.
I’m struck by the different prices for viewing the model in daylight and at night. Was the latter more valuable because it was more convenient for people or because the model was more impressive by firelight?

The last line reveals that the model was about to go on tour.

TOMORROW: Jerusalem on the road.

[The illustration above is a map of Jerusalem published in London in 1752 and featured in this online exhibit from the Osher Map Library at the University of Southern Maine.)


Don N. Hagist said...

Perhaps the nighttime cost reflected the cost of illumination - candles, lamp oil, or what have you.

J. L. Bell said...

Could be. The exhibitors dropped that aspect of their pricing, so economists would tell us that it didn't provide the added value they hoped for.

John Johnson said...

I'm curious as to the "others" mentioned. The ad says that the pricing would be for " . . One Shilling at Night, and for others and Children accordingly"

Were they offering a senior discount? (Unlikely I'm assuming?)

Charging less for children? (I'd assume they'd charge more in case of damage from unruly kids?)

Charge more for slaves for fear of damage?

Same for indentured servants? Though how would they know that a person was an indentured servant?

Were they doing profiling and changing prices based on how they felt about the people at the door?

I asked my musicologist friend about this--the same one who answered my questions about the concert ad from the Boston Gazette. (She studies 18th century/19th century religious music and is Jewish so anything related she tends to dip her toes into, and this is what she had to say.)

"Exhibitions of religious maps/charts/dioramas/etc. were very common, maybe even more so in the nineteenth century. One of the Methodists I'm studying, Ebenezer Francis Newell, actually described seeing an allegorical print displayed in a private home in a similar manner to what's described here as being an important step in his conversion.(That would have happened around 1800-1801 in northern Maine, but he was writing about it or at least editing his writing much later, in the 1840s.)

Eventually it starts to blend in to early museum culture. Sometimes you see exhibitions combined with theater. . . I read an article about that a couple years ago?

But as to why evening is more expensive, I have no clue!"

J. L. Bell said...

Yes, I found that phrase mysterious. I didn't search to find it if was common in such displays. In a couple of days I'll quote another advertisement that suggests the Jerusalem exhibitors let poor people in for less than the full price, so that might be what "others" referred to.