Welcome to Staatsburgh State Historic Site's blog! Learn more about the Gilded Age home of Ruth and Ogden Mills!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

François Flameng's Portrait of Ruth Mills and its Connection to Women's Suffrage

In the previous entry we explored the exciting new discovery of the artist who created Mrs. Mills' large portrait which hangs in the Boudoir. François Flameng, a French portrait artist, painted Ruth in 1909 during one of his many trips to the United States to paint well known ladies of society.  Yet finding the true artist of the painting was not the only discovery that we made.  We also discovered that Ruth's painting was part of an exhibition in February 1913 to raise money for women's suffrage.  Due to a comment made by a family descandant in an oral history interview many years ago, site staff were under the impression that Mrs. Mills did not look favorably upon the idea of votes for women.  Yet, with this new information, perhaps we can change our views on Ruth and what she did or did not support.

In 2017, we are thinking more about women's suffrage because it is the centennial for women's suffrage in New York.  It was still three years until the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote nationally, so New York was ahead of the game.  New York State will be commemorating the centennial in many ways including a new exhibition at the New York State Museum opening in November 2017.  At Staatsburgh, in honor of the centennial, we invited Dr. Susan Goodier , a professor at SUNY Oneonta, to speak at one of our “Gilded Age Tea & Talk” programs, to explore how this momentous issue of the day was viewed by people of Mrs. Mills’ social set.  As the author of a study on the anti-suffrage moment in New York State (No Votes for Women: The New YorkState Anti-Suffrage Movement. Univ of Illinois Press, 2013), Dr. Goodier brings a special expertise to both sides of this contentious early turn-of-the-century issue.  We also are continuing to research the relationship between Ruth Mills and the suffrage movement. This blog explores some of our findings about that relationship.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Artist that Didn't Exist:
François Glamony and the Portrait of Ruth Livingston Mills

One of the most exciting things about studying history is the fact that the past is not static.  Things change and new discoveries are made on a regular basis.  New evidence can be uncovered that disproves the validity of facts that have been taken for granted for years.  It is imperative that historians never stop asking questions.  But how does that relate to Staatsburgh?  Keep reading to learn about our new discovery!