The Women of the House

The Women of the House : How a Colonial She-Merchant Built a Mansion, a Fortune, and a Dynasty

3.85 (140 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

The remarkable Margaret Hardenbroeck Philipse arrived in New Amsterdam from Holland in 1659, a brash and ambitious twenty-two-year-old bent on making her way in the New World. She promptly built an empire of trading ships, furs, and real estate that included all of Westchester County. The Dutch called such women "she-merchants," and Margaret became the wealthiest in the colony, while raising five children and keeping a spotless linen closet. Zimmerman deftly traces the astonishing rise of Margaret and the Philipse women who followed her, who would transform Margaret's storehouse on the banks of the Hudson into a veritable mansion, Philipse Manor Hall. The last Philipse to live there, Mary Philipse Morris--the It-girl of mid-1700s New York--was even courted by George Washington. But privilege couldn't shelter the family from the Revolution, which raged on Mary's doorstep.
Mining extensive primary sources, Zimmerman brings us into the parlors, bedrooms, countinghouses, and parties of early colonial America and vividly restores a forgotten group of women to life.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 399 pages
  • 132.08 x 200.66 x 20.32mm | 408.23g
  • United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 0156032244
  • 9780156032247
  • 1,572,684

Flap copy

The remarkable Margaret Hardenbroeck Philipse arrived in New Amsterdam from Holland in 1659, a brash and ambitious twenty-two-year-old bent on making her way in the New World. She promptly built an empire: Her fleet of trading ships carried furs, molasses, and slaves around the globe and her real estate holdings stretched from Albany to Barbados. Women like her were known as "she-merchants," and Margaret rose to become the wealthiest in the colony, while also raising five children and keeping a spotless linen closet.
In a bold, vivid narrative that challenges all our assumptions about colonial women, Zimmerman traces the astonishing rise of Margaret and the Philipse women who followed her, who would transform Margaret's storehouse on the banks of the Hudson into a stately mansion called Philipse Manor Hall that still stands today. In sensual, gritty detail she animates the New York frontier these four very well-off women inhabited, taking us into the birthing chambers, genteel parlors, rowdy Manhattan markets and cramped decks of transatlantic ships where they lived their everyday trials and extraordinary triumphs.
With a rich trove of unmined primary sources and a novelist s flair for storytelling, Zimmerman gives a forgotten group of our foremothers a place at the colonial table.
"
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Back cover copy

"A tale of the American dream with a feminist twist."--Library Journal
Brash and ambitious, twenty-two-year old Margaret Hardenbroeck Philipse arrived in Manhattan and promptly built an empire of trading ships, furs, and real estate including all of today s Westchester County. She became the wealthiest woman on the Hudson while raising five children and keeping a spotless linen closet. And she did all this in 1659.
Here is the captivating story of a dynasty of powerful, courageous women and the house they built from storehouse to mansion.
"Lively and informative . . . with extraordinary research and energetic writing."--BookPage
JEAN ZIMMERMAN is the author of four books, including Made from Scratch: Reclaiming the Pleasures of the American Hearth. She lives just north of Philipse Manor Hall in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York."
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Review quote

PRAISE FOR THE WOMEN OF THE HOUSE "Ms. Zimmerman is a vivid writer . . . The way the world of colonial America looked, smelled, and sounded is beautifully evoked and based on extensive and shrewd historical research . . . Zimmerman's sumptuous descriptions of social history and environment never flag."--THE NEW YORK SUN
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Rating details

140 ratings
3.85 out of 5 stars
5 30% (42)
4 39% (54)
3 21% (30)
2 6% (9)
1 4% (5)
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