By Kate Hesseldenz, Curator
Title page from Margaretta Mason Brown's commonplace book, 1785-1807 and portrait of Margaretta Mason Brown, watercolor on ivory, ca. 1790s, Liberty Hall Historic Site Collections
One of my favorite items in the collection is a commonplace book owned by Margaretta Mason Brown (1772-1838). The book contains 52 poems. Margaretta wrote many of the poems in the book, but she also copied some of them from magazines and newspapers. They are arranged chronologically, and she titled the book “Fugitive Pieces, or, Juvenile Essays.” Margaretta began writing and copying poems into the book in 1785, when she was just 13 years old and lived in New York City. The last poem in the book is dated 1807.