Monday, December 13, 2010

The Irving Connection

Sometimes, memory is a bank shot. This post about Washington Irving at Cultural Offering reminded me of a passage in Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin:

"Every room of his [Seward's] palatial home contained associations from earlier days, mementos of previous triumphs. The slim Sheraton desk in the hallway had belonged to a member of the First Constitutional Congress in 1789. The fireplace in the parlor had been crafted by the young carpenter Brigham Young, later prophet of the Mormon Church. The large Thomas Cole painting in the drawing room depicting Portage Falls had been presented to Seward in commemoration of his early efforts to extend the canal system in New York State. Every inch of wall space was filled with curios and family portraits executed by the most famous artists of the day - Thomas Sully, Chester Harding, Henry Inman. Even the ivy that grew along the pathways and up the garden trellises had an anecdotal legacy, having been cultivated at Sir Walter Scott's home in Scotland and presented to Seward by Washington Irving."


Reka-Zsuzsanna said...

What a coincidence! I'm reading this book at the moment. Found it in a second hand bookstore recently. At times it's a challenging read for me (historical references, authentic English, etc.), but it's promising to see it made your quote selection, I shall persevere! :)

Michael Wade said...


It's a very good book. I'm still reading and enjoying it.