Completion of Historic Wetlands Conservation Project (Phase 1)

By Eric Becker, Manager of Landscapes, Horticulture, and Modern Facilities

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In 2013, an initiative began to evaluate and produce management plans for the preservation and conservation of some of the historic rice fields and ponds on Drayton Hall property.  Historically, rice production was likely occurring here sometime around the end of the 17th century. The use of the fields and ponds for this function continued until the redevelopment of the property by John Drayton in the 1740s. Over the years, maintenance and use of the entire pond system had greatly diminished and the natural environment crept back in, attempting to reclaim a long-lost ecosystem. Unfortunately, this system (shown above) was unhealthy, lacking in good water quality and control, overgrown and breeched impoundments, and infested with invasive aquatic and wetland plants.

Working with Folk Land Management, the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust evaluated and adopted a management plan for this historic system to re-establish the integrity and function of the impoundments; replace, add and increase the water flow capacity, pond depth and holding capacity; reduce and remove invasive plants; add habitat for colonial bird species while increasing the seasonal water surface and food sources for migrating waterfowl; and to better allow access and interpretive potential in the future (Phase II). Work on Phase I began in March of this year and finished in August; it was supported, in part, through funding from the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited, the Dominion Foundation and Gail and Parker Gilbert. The results of these partnerships speak for themselves in the images below.

With the challenge of the recent Hurricane Matthew, the system was not only put to the test, but finally provided the necessary water, assisting to refill the ponds. The impoundments held, and although overwhelmed by this major event, the water control systems functioned much better than last year’s more impactful flooding.

 

 

 

“John Hope: Botanist of the Scottish Enlightenment”

Henry Noltie headshot

The 2016 Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series – Thursday, April 21

Speaker: Henry Noltie, Ph.D., Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

VENUE: SOUTH CAROLINA SOCIETY HALL, 72 MEETING STREET, CHARLESTON, SC

Today, we tend to imagine that inter-continental travel is a recent phenomenon – in fact it has always taken place, it merely took slightly longer. For example, such was the renown of the Edinburgh Medical School in the 18th century, that it drew students from as far afield as Russia and India in the east, and from the American colonies (including the Caribbean) in the west. One such student was Charles Drayton, who made the transatlantic trip to study botany and materia medica in 1767 under the famed professor John Hope. In keeping with this theme, Dr. Noltie will journey from Scotland to Charleston to speak about the botanical information Charles Drayton brought with him back from Scotland as he made the same trip just about 250 years prior. Dr. Noltie will additionally focus on John Hope and some of his other American pupils, including Benjamin Rush, who was in the same year as Drayton, and an exciting new project that has seen the rebuilding of the house that Hope built, to designs by John Adam, to house his head gardener, and as a lecture room that Drayton would have sat in had he arrived in Edinburgh ten years later.

Since 1986, after studying botany at Oxford and Museum Studies at Leicester, Henry Noltie, Ph.D., has worked at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) as a curator and taxonomist. For 14 years he worked on the Flora of Bhutan project, writing the first account of the plants of that remote Himalayan Kingdom and leading the team for its concluding years. He wrote two of the volumes of the Flora, relating to the monocots, for which he received a PhD from the University of Edinburgh. Since 2000, his work has been on historical aspects of the rich herbarium and illustrations collections of the RBGE, especially relating to India, which has combined nomenclatural research with historical and art-history studies and the mounting of exhibitions at the RBGE gallery, Inverleith House. A series of publications on Scottish East India Company surgeons, and the botanical drawings they commissioned from Indian artists in the late 18th and early 19th century, has resulted. This work was extended into SE Asia in a collaboration with the British Library on the collections of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. His work on the Scottish Enlightenment botanist John Hope also took visual materials for its starting point – the unique collection of Hope’s teaching drawings preserved at RBGE led to the writing of a short biography in 2011. His most recent work is a two-volume work on Hugh Cleghorn (1820–1895), a pioneering Forest Conservator, but also the source of one of the largest collections of botanical drawings and books in the RBGE collection.

About Drayton Hall  Founded in 1738, Drayton Hall is the nation’s earliest example of fully executed Palladian architecture and the oldest preserved plantation house in America still open to the public. After seven generations, the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and numerous hurricanes and earthquakes, the main house remains in nearly original condition. A National Historic Landmark, Drayton Hall is a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is administered by The Drayton Hall Preservation Trust.

When the National Trust acquired Drayton Hall in 1974, it made the decision to “preserve” or stabilize the site. This action—unprecedented in its day—set Drayton Hall on a course unique among historic sites: it preserved its authentic, centuries-old timeline of history rather than restoring it to one specific period. Because it has never been modernized with electric lighting, plumbing, or central heating or air conditioning, the main house remains unfurnished, allowing the beauty of the architectural details to come through.

Click here for information on all of our 2016 Distinguished Speakers.

Doors open at 5:30pm with a Wine and Cheese Reception.
Presentations start promptly at 6:30pm.
No advance reservations; please arrive early as seating is limited.

The 2016 Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series
is sponsored by The Francis Marion Hotel, Charleston, SC.

Francis Marion Hotel

“The Best Portico: Rehabilitating an Architectural Icon”

3. Drayton Hall-Photographer Ron Blunt

Drayton Hall, an icon of colonial America, with its rare double portico.

The 2016 Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series – Thursday, February 18th

  Speaker: Trish Smith, Curator of Historic Architectural Resources, Drayton Hall

Venue: South Carolina Society Hall, 72 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC

 

Five years ago, Drayton Hall launched the portico rehabilitation project: an effort to remedy serious threats to the portico’s preservation and to visitor safety. After years of careful study and planning, the final construction phase is drawing to a close. Join Drayton Hall’s Curator of Historic Architectural Resources, Trish Smith, as we take a look back at what makes Drayton Hall’s portico so special and how an international team of professionals came together to bring this momentous project to completion.

Trish_Headshot - resized for webPatricia “Trish” Lowe Smith is the Curator of Historic Architectural Resources at Drayton Hall. After graduating with a B.A. in Art History from the University of South Carolina Honors College, Smith received her M.S. from the Clemson University and College of Charleston joint graduate program in Historic Preservation. Smith came to Drayton Hall in 2010 as a Wood Family Fellow, and joined the staff permanently upon completion of her fellowship. In 2013, Smith was awarded a residential fellowship at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s Digital History Center to study the application of 3D visualization technology for the documentation and interpretation of cultural heritage sites. During her tenure at Drayton Hall she has assembled the site’s first preservation archive, carried out several architectural conservation projects, launched a digital restoration of Drayton Hall, and is currently managing the rehabilitation of Drayton Hall’s iconic portico.

About Drayton HallFounded in 1738, Drayton Hall is the nation’s earliest example of fully executed Palladian architecture and the oldest preserved plantation house in America still open to the public. After seven generations, the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and numerous hurricanes and earthquakes, the main house remains in nearly original condition. A National Historic Landmark, Drayton Hall is a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is administered by The Drayton Hall Preservation Trust.

When the National Trust acquired Drayton Hall in 1974, it made the decision to “preserve” or stabilize the site. This action—unprecedented in its day—set Drayton Hall on a course unique among historic sites: it preserved its authentic, centuries-old timeline of history rather than restoring it to one specific period. Because it has never been modernized with electric lighting, plumbing, or central heating or air conditioning, the main house remains unfurnished, allowing the beauty of the architectural details to come through.

Click here for information on all of our 2016 Distinguished Speakers.

Doors open at 5:30pm with a Wine and Cheese Reception.
Presentations start promptly at 6:30pm.
No advance reservations; please arrive early as seating is limited.
The 2016 Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series
is sponsored by The Francis Marion Hotel, Charleston, SC.
Francis Marion Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

Building Bridges Symposium Highlights Latest Research and Discoveries from Drayton Hall

header1Join us on January 29 and 30 for Breaking Ground and Building Bridges, a symposium that brings together leading scholars from Charleston’s preservation and history organizations to present new research on the material culture of the Carolina Lowcountry. Over the course of two days, speakers will discuss exciting initiatives and cutting–edge research projects related to archaeology, the decorative arts, social history, and post-Reconstruction Charleston. Critically-acclaimed artist Jonathan Green will give the Keynote Address at the Building Bridges Symposium.

This year, Drayton Hall will be represented in the program by Cameron Moon, Preservation Coordinator, who will present “The Caretaker’s House: Vernacular Architecture and the Postbellum African American Community at Drayton Hall” on Friday at 2:15 pm. Ms. Moon will speak about how her research of the caretaker’s house has led to a better understanding of the African American community living at Drayton Hall from the late 19th to mid-20th century and has helped to develop a more accurate portrayal of the tenant houses and landscape during phosphate mining.

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c. 1915, one of the earlier photographs of the caretaker’s house shows it in its original location next to the main house. This is a rare view, as it is of the back of the house and shows its original footprint before an addition on the back was built in 1923.

The Symposium is a collaboration between Historic Charleston Foundation, Drayton Hall Preservation Trust, The Charleston Museum and Preservation Society of Charleston to facilitate dialogue among many of the Lowcountry Institutions. All proceeds will benefit the sponsoring institutions. Symposium tickets are $125/person for the general public and free for students.

See full schedule and purchase tickets

 

Camerodrayton_hs_06n Moon is a graduate of the College of Charleston with a degree in Historic Preservation and Community Planning and a minor in Anthropology. Her honors thesis chronicled the adaptive reuse of the Cigar Factory on East Bay Street and its relationship with the surrounding neighborhood. Before joining the DHPT staff in September 2014, she worked for Edgewood Builders, where she learned construction, preservation, and restoration techniques at Medway Plantation and houses in the historic district. Cameron is currently working on ongoing Drayton Hall conservation projects as well as converting the museum shop, housed in the former caretaker’s house, into an interpretive museum space.

Unexpected Discoveries at Drayton Hall

Nov 20 - Interior Face of Brick Core

Interior face of brick core taken from south side of basement wall showing decorative grapevine joint. Photo credit: Drayton Hall Preservation Trust

Enjoy this fascinating piece by Trish Smith on the National Trust’s Preservation Leadership Forum Blog. Posted on November 20, 2015, news of the discoveries related to the rehabilitation of Drayton Hall’s iconic double portico has already lit up social media with many thousands of posts, shares, and tweets.  

“The nature of the space below the portico stairs has always been a mystery. It was thought that the space may contain rubble fill as is the case below the stairs on the opposite side of the house, but no one knew for sure. When the core drill punched through the brick wall into open space, everyone’s curiosity was piqued. What was on the other side of that wall? If we could find a way to get a camera in there, what might we see?”  – Trish Smith

For more background on the project, read Part One.
You can also follow our weekly portico updates on Facebook.

 

Drayton Hall, a National Historic Landmark and property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Charleston, South Carolina.

Drayton Hall, Charleston, South Carolina.

The Significance of Drayton Hall’s Iconic Double Portico  –  Drayton Hall’s iconic portico is the only one of its kind in the world as it both projects from, and recedes into, the front of the house. While most early American houses of the period were built with centered gables to simulate a pedimented portico, Drayton Hall’s portico was fully executed in the Palladian fashion, representing a sophisticated understanding of classical architecture. As such, visitors to the site expect to hear that Drayton Hall’s main house was designed by a famous architect; instead, they’re surprised to learn that Drayton Hall was likely designed by John Drayton (d. 1779) himself, who founded and built Drayton Hall.  Please visit our website for more information.

Patricia "Trish" Smith

Patricia “Trish” Smith is curator of historic architectural resources and the project manager for the Portico Rehabilitation Project. She holds a master of science in historic preservation from the Clemson University & College of Charleston joint Graduate Program in Historic Preservation.

 

 

 

 

 

Drayton Hall’s Collections Objects in New Exhibit

Charles Drayton (1743-1820). Artist unknown. ca. 1760. Watercolor on ivory, supported by burnished bezel case with hanging loop and mounted brooch pin. Drayton Hall Museum Collection, National Trust for Historic Preservation. Gift of Mr. Charles H. Drayton, III. Photograph courtesy of Mr. Russell Buskirk.

Charles Drayton (1743-1820). Artist unknown. ca. 1760. Watercolor on ivory, supported by burnished bezel case with hanging loop and mounted brooch pin. Drayton Hall Museum Collection, National Trust for Historic Preservation. Gift of Mr. Charles H. Drayton, III. Photograph courtesy of Mr. Russell Buskirk.

By Sarah Stroud Clarke, Archaeologist + Curator of Collections

A group of objects from the Drayton Hall Museum and Archaeological Collections are on their way to The Society of The Four Arts in Palm Beach, FL, to be part of the exhibition An Eye for Opulence: Charleston through the Lens of the Rivers Collection at the Esther B. O’Keeffe Gallery, November 21, 2015 through January 10, 2016 (opening weekend November 20-22, 2015). The exhibit features the private collection of John M. Rivers, Jr., as well as objects from the Gibbes Museum of Art, Historic Charleston Foundation, The Charleston Museum, and Drayton Hall.

See images from Opening Night here.

Drayton Hall is pleased to be part of this wonderful group of institutions bringing together key elements of Charleston’s past through surviving material culture. Drayton Hall represents the earliest surviving colonial estate in Charleston, South Carolina, and the objects on loan to the Four Arts illustrate the great diversity in the collections found at Drayton Hall. Included are Chinese-export porcelains original to John Drayton’s (1715-1779) ownership of the house, personal items belonging to Charles Drayton (1743-1820), and objects made by enslaved African Americans.

One of the objects, rarely seen by the public, is the exquisite miniature portrait of Charles Drayton (1743-1820) shown above. Painted c. 1760 when Charles was a young gentleman, possibly around the time he was preparing to further his studies in England.

The archaeological collection at Drayton Hall illustrates the many renditions of Chinese-export porcelains that John Drayton (1715-1779) utilized during his lifetime. This nearly intact octagonal saucer, shown below, may represent porcelain purchased in celebration of one of his first two marriages. John Drayton married four times during the course of his life, his first two wives both succumbed to death as the result of childbirth; Sarah Cattell in 1740 and Charlotte Bull (Charles Drayton’s mother) in 1743 just days after Charles’ birth.

Jingdezhen, China, ca. 1740. Hard-paste porcelain with hand-painted underglaze cobalt blue decoration. Drayton Hall Archaeological Collection. Photograph by Mr. Russell Buskirk.

Jingdezhen, China, ca. 1740. Hard-paste porcelain with hand-painted underglaze cobalt blue decoration. Drayton Hall Archaeological Collection. Photograph by Mr. Russell Buskirk.

Colonoware is a type of low-fired earthenware pottery that was created by enslaved African and Native Americans in colonial North America. Shown below, this Colonoware sherd found at Drayton Hall is decorated with a rare example of incised Latin alphabet characters.

South Carolina, possibly the Charleston area, mid-to late 18th century. Low-fired earthenware with incised initials MHD, possibly for Maria Henrietta Drayton (1783-1862), daughter of Charles Drayton. Drayton Hall Archaeological Collection.

South Carolina, possibly the Charleston area, mid-to late 18th century. Low-fired earthenware with incised initials MHD, possibly for Maria Henrietta Drayton (1783-1862), daughter of Charles Drayton. Drayton Hall Archaeological Collection.

We hope you’ll join us in Palm Beach for this fascinating exhibition of over 100 objects from Charleston’s Golden Era.

Sarah Stroud Clarke headshot 2013

Sarah Stroud Clarke is the Archaeologist + Curator of Collections at Drayton Hall, overseeing the archaeological laboratory and recent excavations of the Drayton Hall property and was the 2007 Drayton Hall Wood Family Fellow. She is concurrently working on her PhD in Anthropology at Syracuse University which focuses on the “pre-Drayton” occupation of the property from 1680-1735.

The Esther B. O’Keeffe Gallery is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Gallery admission is $5; no charge for Four Arts members and children 14 and younger. Click here for more on the exhibit.

The Society of the Four Arts was founded in 1936 to offer quality cultural programming to the growing resort community of Palm Beach. Each season, The Four Arts offers a dynamic lineup of cultural programing, including notable speakers, concerts, films, educational programs, and art exhibitions. The campus is home to beautiful sculpture and botanical gardens, a library and children’s library, and a state-of-the art educational facility. The Four Arts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity and all programs are open to the public.

The Women of Drayton Hall: Ann Drayton, Rebecca Perry Drayton, and Charlotte Drayton Manigault

Drayton Hall is celebrating its legacy of remarkable women, past and present, during National Women’s History Month. Over the past three centuries, Drayton Hall has been home to generations of women who have distinguished themselves in remarkable ways. This month, we are highlighting the lives of three members of the Drayton family: Ann Drayton (c. 1680-1742), Rebecca Perry Drayton (1758-1840), and Charlotte Drayton Manigault (1781-1855). 

By Brittany Lavelle Tulla

We’re familiar with the men of Drayton Hall, but how much do we know about the women of Drayton Hall? The ones who maintained and protected Drayton Hall,  who kept the property going even during times of turbulence and chaos, and who were successful business women and entrepreneurs? Ann Drayton (c. 1680-1742), Rebecca Perry Drayton (1758-1840) and Charlotte Drayton Manigault (1781-1855) are names that deserve to be synonymous with the grandeur and strength of Drayton Hall.

Ann Drayton

Ann and Thomas, the parents of John Drayton, lived at what is today Magnolia Plantation. By 1719, Ann found herself a widowed mother of four. She chose not to remarry, and instead positioned herself within the ranks of the male planter elite with an objective to ensure a financial cushion for her young children. She served as manager of the family estate and by the time of her death in 1742, she had significantly multiplied her family’s properties, becoming one of the most successful female landholders of her time. It was Ann’s social status and financial holdings that allowed her children’s entry into the southern elite and ultimately set the foundation for her youngest son John to construct Drayton Hall. It was Ann who paid John’s outstanding property taxes, gave him twice the land his father bequeathed to him, and brokered his marriages into some of the most powerful families in the South.

Rebecca Perry Drayton

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portrait 82

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From l-r: Miniature portraits of Rebecca Perry Drayton and her daughters Ann Drayton (1778-1830) and Susannah Drayton (1777-1810), c. 1787. Scanned images are from the exhibit catalog Henry Benbridge (1743-1812): American Portrait Painter.

In 1775 at the age of 60, John married 17-year-old Rebecca Perry, and Drayton Hall gained its youngest, and perhaps most significant, colonial mistress. Yet four years later, at the age of 21, Rebecca found herself a widowed mother of three. She managed Drayton Hall as the British army occupied its lands, and protected and ensured the survival of the estate her husband spent his lifetime creating.

Rebecca followed in her mother-in law’s footsteps and never remarried. By 1810, she had invested in over a dozen property holdings in Charleston. She was a renegade in a man’s world, claiming real estate in every corner of the city and even secured properties for her daughters and her slaves. She transitioned from a teenage bride to a commanding entrepreneur. A widow for over 60 years, she did not require the protection of a man or the law to expand the property holdings of her branch of the Drayton family tree.

Rebecca’s stepson Charles took ownership of Drayton Hall by the 1790s, and the environment manifested by both Ann and Rebecca became the background to childhood memories for Charles’ daughter, Charlotte. At the age of 19, Charlotte married Joseph Manigault, and she moved to a new residence on the peninsula, the Joseph Manigault House (c. 1802).

Charlotte Drayton Manigault
Mrs. Joseph Manigault (Charlotte Drayton) by Edward Greene Malbone, c. 1801. Image courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Gift of Pearl G. Manigault.

Mrs. Joseph Manigault (Charlotte Drayton) by Edward Greene Malbone, c. 1801. Image courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Gift of Pearl G. Manigault.

Charlotte used art and her appreciation for the built environment as a respite from her domestic responsibility. She created valuable watercolors and sketches of her family’s Lowcountry plantations. Today, artwork and architectural descriptions from her diary provide us with some of the most accurate documentations of her family’s estate as well as other Lowcountry residences. She also carried on the Drayton women tradition of meticulously conducting business on behalf of her husband (who died in 1843) and sons, by meeting with clients, regulating finances, and surveying downtown markets. Today, her portrait welcomes visitors into the Joseph Manigault House, and its centralized placement is a well-deserved representation of the Drayton women influence.

The lives of these women clearly attest to how a mother, a wife, and a daughter drastically strengthen the mosaic of the historic landscape and architecture of Drayton Hall and ultimately the American South. Together, they established, advanced, protected, and conserved the memory of the Drayton estate. Their legacy stands the test of time.

BVL logoBrittany Lavelle Tulla is owner and lead researcher of BVL Historic Preservation Research, a Charleston-based historic research firm dedicated to embracing and preserving historic places through researching and profiling the history that shapes them. She is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Historic Preservation and Community Planning at the College of Charleston and the national research consultant for the Charleston World Heritage Coalition. Brittany received a Master of Science degree in Historic Preservation from the College of Charleston/Clemson University joint graduate program, where she completed her thesis “The Making of a Legacy: The Drayton Women and Their Influences on the Lowcountry Landscape and Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Charleston.” Drayton Hall stole Brittany’s heart from the moment she walked on the property. Its history and landscape has been woven into every fabric of her life, and in 2013, she got married on the banks of the Ashley River at Drayton Hall.

Preserving Our History, Telling Our Story: Drayton Hall Descendants Present at National Preservation Conference

from L-R: George W. McDaniel, executive director of Drayton Hall, Shelby Nelson,  Catherine Brown Braxton, Rebecca Brown Campbell, Annie Brown Meyers, Charles Drayton, and and Toni Carrier, founding director of Lowcountry Africana.

From L-R: George W. McDaniel, executive director of Drayton Hall, Shelby Nelson, Catherine Brown Braxton, Rebecca Brown Campbell, Annie Brown Meyers, Charles Drayton, and Toni Carrier, founding director of Lowcountry Africana.

How do you research, document, and interpret the history of a community that has seemingly vanished from the landscape? A session last November at the National Preservation Conference in Savannah gave some answers. Organized by George W. McDaniel, executive director of Drayton Hall, the session featured Toni Carrier, founding director of Lowcountry Africana and former Wood Family Fellow, as well as five descendants of Drayton Hall: Catherine Brown Braxton, Rebecca Brown Campbell, Annie Brown Meyers, Charles Drayton, and Shelby Nelson. “Our purpose was to show how historic sites could recapture seemingly lost history and connect it to people today,” said McDaniel.

Entitled “Preserving Our History, Telling Our Story,” the session was the first offered at a National Trust conference that included descendants of a historic site as participants. They are connected to the site because their ancestors were either slaves or slave-owners at Drayton Hall. As with most historic sites today, these descendants never lived at Drayton Hall, but they have special memories and connections to the site, passed on from generation to generation, thanks in no small measure to the site’s preservation.

Together, the five descendants represent more than three centuries of American history. Shelby Nelson and Charles Drayton are both ninth-generation descendants of John Drayton, who established Drayton Hall in 1738. A video of their grandfather, the last member of the Drayton family to own Drayton Hall, was featured at the session. “I think the groundbreaking outreach underway at Drayton Hall towards being ‘the tie that binds us’ can become such a positive message for all historic sites and people alike,” explained Charles Drayton. The descendants shared with the audience their special memories of Drayton Hall, and also encouraged others to embrace the concept of shared histories in order to interpret all sides of the plantation experience.

Sisters Rebecca and Catherine started researching their family’s connection to Drayton Hall with the assistance of their cousin, Richmond Bowens, who was born in 1908 and was also a gatekeeper and historian at Drayton Hall. Annie’s mother and her aunts and uncles were all born at Drayton Hall in the early 20th century, and she is the niece of Richmond Bowens. According to their family’s oral history, their ancestors were brought from Barbados to the Carolina colony by the Draytons in the 1670s as enslaved people. They shared their family’s history and spoke about the importance of bridging the divide between the descendants of the enslaved and slaveholders.

During the session, Toni Carrier presented her in-depth research of primary sources, including written records, photographs, drawings, and even a memory map produced as a result of oral histories of Richmond Bowens. While the map identifies the locations of houses, stores, and graveyard of the post-Civil War African American community at Drayton Hall, there are no buildings standing and few photographic or documentary records remain in family possession.  Carrier researched this lost history, and put significant pieces of the puzzle back together again by interweaving oral history interviews with her dedicated research online of census records, deeds, marriage and death certificates, and other primary sources. As a result, she was able to write a brief history of each family’s home site and to characterize that landscape as having been occupied by a tight-knit community that valued hard work, cooperation, and education.

The session ended with a call to action for the audience to find out more about their own family histories. “For people who are interested in learning more about their family’s past, we would encourage them to commit to family, to learn their roots, to ask questions of their elders, and become engaged with their communities to promote and preserve their history,” said Rebecca. Eric Emerson, director of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, reiterated that point and explained that this session has inspired sites in Kentucky and Tennessee to undertake such programs with descendants. In ways such as this, Drayton Hall makes a difference.

Browsing John Drayton’s Library: Architecture Books

John Drayton Library

This listing from Charles Drayton’s journal is likely an inventory of his father John Drayton’s library.

An individual’s personal library has the potential to reveal significant information about their character, interests, worldview, and education. Such is certainly the case at Drayton Hall where research has identified what is likely a list of the titles that once graced the bookshelves of John Drayton (c.1715-1779), the builder of Drayton Hall. Written by son Charles Drayton (1743-1820), such a list contains more than 440 titles published before or during John Drayton’s lifetime, indicating his intellectual pursuits and attention to the ideals of the enlightenment.

Not surprisingly, the list of titles includes nine architectural pattern books that were undoubtedly utilized to construct Drayton Hall and written by English neopalladian designers including Colin Campbell, James Gibbs, Isaac Ware, William Salmon, William Halfpenny, John Evelyn, and Batty Langley. Additional areas of interest include natural history, astronomy, landscape design, horticulture, dance, and even gastronomy. As research continues to investigate the titles of Drayton’s library, we anticipate that an increased understanding will be brought to Drayton, his educational opportunities, and academic pursuits.

This month, we are sharing our latest research on John Drayton’s library with a series of posts featuring some of the volumes he would have owned and read.

 

Architecture Books

 

  Plate 91, A Book of Architecture, by James Gibbs, published in 1728. This mantel and overmantel appear in the northwest chamber on the first floor of Drayton Hall.


Plate 91, A Book of Architecture, by James Gibbs, published in 1728. This mantel and overmantel appear in the northwest chamber on the first floor of Drayton Hall.

Given that Drayton Hall is widely considered to be the earliest and finest example of Palladian architecture in the United States, one might expect the design of such a remarkable edifice to be attributed to a famous architect. However, research indicates that the architect of Drayton Hall was very likely John Drayton (d. 1779) himself. Several popular 18th century architecture books are listed among the volumes that likely comprised the personal library of John Drayton. Such books were often consulted by wealthy intellectuals who wished to direct the construction of their estates. Among the architectural elements in Drayton Hall that are clearly attributable to these books are two classically-inspired overmantels that appear in William Kent’s, Designs of Inigo Jones, and James Gibbs’ A Book of Architecture. Considering the extravagant cost of acquiring such volumes and the education necessary to utilize them, the architectural books in John Drayton’s library offer valuable insight into his wealth and intellect.

Browsing John Drayton’s Library: Horticulture Books

John Drayton LibraryAn individual’s personal library has the potential to reveal significant information about their character, interests, worldview, and education. Such is certainly the case at Drayton Hall where research has identified what is likely a list of the titles that once graced the bookshelves of John Drayton (c.1715-1779), the builder of Drayton Hall. Written by son Charles Drayton (1743-1820), such a list contains more than 440 titles published before or during John Drayton’s lifetime, indicating his intellectual pursuits and attention to the ideals of the enlightenment.

Not surprisingly, the list of titles includes nine architectural pattern books that were undoubtedly utilized to construct Drayton Hall. Additional areas of interest include natural history, astronomy, landscape design, horticulture, dance, and even gastronomy. As research continues to investigate the titles of Drayton’s library, we anticipate that an increased understanding will be brought to Drayton, his educational opportunities, and academic pursuits. ​

This month, we are sharing our latest research on John Drayton’s library with a series of posts featuring some of the volumes he would have owned and read.

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Horticulture Books

Edited Switzer Hydraulicks 1729Included in this listing for John’s library are several important works that exhibit methods on growing food crops, but also works devoted to pleasurable pursuits in ornamental gardens and landscape design. The Gentleman’s Recreation: the Art of Gardening Improved (1717) by John Laurence is an early book that likely illustrates John’s interests in the extravagant leisure gardens and fountains of a country gentleman. General System of Hydrostaticks and Hydraulicks (1729) by Stephen Switzer addresses the mechanics of water pressurization for such embellishments. Philip Miller’s Gardeners Dictionary (1731) and Kalendar (1732) were popular guides for growing plants for consumption, medicine, and profit. The use of a calendar system simplified the task of when to plant, tend to, and harvest in simplified terms which most gardeners, including John, might utilize to great advantage.