The Tredwell family – Seabury and Eliza and their eight children – lived in the House for almost 100 years, from 1835 to 1933, when Gertrude, the youngest daughter and last family member, died. A remarkable number of their possessions were retained in the house when it was turned into a museum in 1936.
The Museum’s collection of Tredwells’ original possessions comprise almost 2,500 objects: furnishings, decorations, lighting devices, household, personal and sewing accessories, family photographs, books, ephemera, works of art, costumes, and textiles.
An unfinished quilt or needlework panel; the hand-stitched dress alteration; a personalized greeting card; a child’s composition book; a tin ‘hat tub’ on the floor — all provide an intimate, and authentic look at the life of this 19th-century New York merchant-class family.
More than 100 pieces of Tredwell furniture dating between 1815 and 1880, almost all of New York City origin, grace the formal parlors and private family rooms, including a set of 12 chairs attributed to Duncan Phyfe, one of New York’s finest cabinet makers.
From candle stands to Argand oil lamps with crystal prisms to fancy gas chandeliers, the lighting Tredwell devices, numbering close to 70, represent a full range of 19th century lighting technology.
Costumes & Textiles
Among the garments and accessories held in the collection are a remarkable group of 40 dresses worn by Tredwell women ranging in style from 1815 to 1890, as well as hats, parasols, shawls, shoes, gloves, reticules, and fans. Recently, the Merchant’s House collaborated with 3D modeling firm PaleoWest Archaeology to create an interactive 3D model of one of the 39 dresses in the Tredwell Costume Collection. The model allows the viewer to look at the dress from all angles and zoom in on details. In the coming years, as each dress is displayed, we plan on creating similar models of dresses. Click here to see the 3D Dress Models.