By Vicky Middleswarth, Educator
Hand-painted plate, Haviland & Co. Limoges, porcelain, France, ca. 1880, Liberty Hall Historic Site Collections.
“There never has been a more delightful Christmas” wrote Margaretta Brown to her son Orlando in 1828. But what exactly did she mean? She went on to describe warm weather that was expected to last until New Year’s day and she implored Orlando to “be born to the newness of life” through his faith.[i] What she did notmention was how they celebrated December 25.
In fact there are few references to Christmas in Brown family letters we know of, even later in the nineteenth century. No one wrote about hanging a wreath, trimming a tree, or expecting a visit from Santa. A plate decorated with a winter scene is one of our only artifacts with a holiday theme. The library at Liberty Hall probably holds the most clues to how the Browns may have observed the winter holidays.