The Sunday porch: New Hampshire

Unidentified porch, Isle of Shoals, New Hampshire, ca. late 19th c., photographer unknown, via Robert N. Dennis collection of stereoscopic views, The New York Public Library Digital Collections.

The Isle of Shoals are a group of small islands off the coasts of Maine and New Hampshire. They may be best known as the home of writer and gardener Celia Thaxter. She hosted an informal artists colony at her father’s hotel on Appledore Island during the summers of the 1870s. Her guests included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and artist Childe Hassam, who illustrated her book, An Island Garden.

.  .  .  .  I but crave
The sad, caressing murmur of the wave
That breaks in tender music on the shore.

— Celia Thaxter, from “Land-Locked

Uptown garden


“Artist’s uptown residence,” New York City, ca. 1860, via Robert Dennis Collection of Stereoscopic Views, New York Public Library.

Detail from above image.

Upper Manhattan at this time was rapidly transforming from country to city — as villages and small farms became blocks of middle-class rowhouses. This backyard, with its neat latticed sitting area and then large cabbage garden, seems to encapsulate the change.

Detail.

Unfortunately, we don’t have the name of the artist or the address. Is he one of the two men in top hats sitting by the door, or was she standing in front of them, balancing a small boy on the fence — or maybe taking the picture?