When Abraham Redwood gave the funds for the Original Collection in 1747, many of the books were on practical subjects like medicine, farming, or, interestingly enough, beekeeping. John Thorley (1671-1759) writes expressively on both the preservation of bees and on their utility as an ideal model for human behavior.
It was in this coming week, in 1780, that General Rochambeau arrived in Newport with around 6,000 French soldiers under his command, signaling to many the beginning of the end of the Revolutionary War. He remained at Newport through 1781, when he joined forces with George Washington’s troops at the Battle of Yorktown.
Fort Wolcott was the primary fort protecting Newport, Rhode Island from 1703-1836. Over the years it had many names and served different military forces, later aided by the United States Army Hospital on site. The collection we are featuring today consists of one incredibly detailed meteorological diary maintained by the US Army Hospital at Fort Wolcott on Goat Island in Newport Harbor.
One of the portraits we have in our collection by the well-known painter Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828) is of Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse (1754-1846). According to reports, the young Waterhouse, who was born in Newport, spent some time reading medical books at the Redwood Library. He went on to become part of the first faculty of Harvard Medical School and an early experimenter with the smallpox vaccine.
It’s the weekend before the Fourth of July, which means it is time to prepare your homemade fireworks! Well perhaps we wouldn’t recommend that, but we did find a book in our vault that could help if anyone were so inclined.
The struggle for colonial independence in Rhode Island has one of its anniversaries this weekend, which marks 245 years since the burning of the Gaspee. An armed schooner in the King’s army, the Gaspee first appeared in the waters of Narragansett Bay in March 1772. By June 9, 1772 it had been destroyed by an anonymous group of Rhode Islanders who were never punished.
Our collection of historic maps provides us with very different perspectives of early Newport, with each map influenced by the point of view of its creator. The map featured here, for example, is a military plan, drawn in August 1778 by Michel Capitaine du Chesnoy (1746-1804).
Landscaping at the Redwood has been a process through several periods of war, recession, and renewal in Newport, culminating in the large landscaping project that began in 1934 and remains part of our grounds today.
Some collections span across several generations of one family; such is the case with the Turner Family Papers. The oldest item in the collection dates back to 1797 and the last item is from 1846, marking the lives of many different Turners who were connected by their family ties, although just a fraction of them lived in Newport, Rhode Island.
In May of 1915, the acclaimed novelist Edith Wharton (1862-1937) was in Nancy, France, in the northeastern part of the country. After a year of war, its effects were visible on the homes and lives of the people of France who were attempting to continue through the destruction. On May 13, 1915, Wharton began writing her observations of Nancy, which were later published along with her other wartime observances in Fighting France: From Dunkerque to Belfort (1915).