Gentility Out-of-doors

Introduction

Horse race at HamptonIn the colonial period, gentlemen needed to display their gentility at all times even in their outdoor pursuits. Those activities included leisurely pursuits,  “scientific agriculture,” and gardening with exotic plant species.  If a gentleman wished to participate in the government and gain access to the lucrative patronage positions, he had to demonstrate that he belonged to the class of men qualified to hold those positions.  There were no public disclosure rules such as we have today.  Instead, the gentry used their possessions, homes, plantations, manners, education, and expenditure of wealth to demonstrate to society at large that they belonged to the class of men thought eligible for those positions.  Any man of some ambition pursued this course.  It separated them from the “lower sort.” 

One the first sport that was in the Provence of the gentry alone was fox hunting which Robert Brooke brought to the colonies in the seventeenth century.  Because of the need for versatile horses and packs of trained dogs, fox hunting was ideally suited to the gentry.  It offered them an opportunity to meet while at the same time rid the neighborhood of obnoxious animals.  In the eighteenth century Samuel Ogle introduced thoroughbred horse breeding to the state at his Belair plantation. This in turn encouraged the sport of horse racing. Gentlemen would attend racing days held at various towns such as Annapolis, George-Town, Joppa, and Baltimore-town.  George Washington was known to have traveled to the yearly Annapolis races.  Races gave the gentility the ability to demonstrate their insouciance concerning money.  

On their own plantation, gentlemen demonstrated their scientific prowess by importing and growing exotic species.  There is an ad placed in the Maryland Gazette by Charles Carroll Barrister, asking that a servant be returned. It seemed that the servant had taken a treatise written by Carroll on the culture of the pineapple, something of which Carroll was extremely proud.  They built elaborate orangeries to house the plants during the winter.  They were even known to build framing structures to surround and enhance the plants while they grew in the garden. The gentry also expended effort and wealth on creating elaborate formal gardens as exemplified at Mount Clare and Hampton under the Carrolls and Ridgelys.  Displays of wealth were not restricted to just interior spaces.

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades K-4:

Topic 2: The History of the Students’ Own State or Region 

Standard 2:   The history of students' own local community and how communities in North America varied long ago.

Standard 2A: The student understands the history of his or her local community.
K-4:  Describe local community life long ago, including jobs, schooling, transportation, communication, religious observances, and recreation
3-4:  Identify a problem in the community’s past, analyzing the different perspectives of those involved, and evaluate choices people had and the solution they chose

Standard 2B: The student understands how communities in North America varied long ago.
K-4:  Draw upon written and visual sources and describe the historical development and daily life of a colonial community such as Plymouth, Williamsburg, St. Augustine, San Antonio, and Fort Vincennes, in order to create a historical narrative, mural, or dramatization of daily life in that place long ago.

Standard 3:  The people, events, problems, and ideas that created the history of their state.

Standard 3B: The student understands the history of the first European, African, and/or Asian-Pacific explorers and settlers who came to his or her state or region.

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12.

Era 2:  Colonization and Settlement (1585-1763)

Standard 2:  How political, religious, and social institutions emerged in the English colonies 

Standard 2A:  The student understands the roots of representative government and how political rights were defined. 
7-12:  Analyze how the rise of individualism contributed to the idea of participatory government.
5-12:  Compare how early colonies were established and governed.
9-12:  Analyze how gender, property ownership, religion, and legal status affected political rights
7-12:  Explain the social, economic, and political tensions that led to violent conflicts between the colonists and their governments.

Standard 2C:  The student understands social and cultural change in British America. 
7-12:  Explain how rising individualism challenged inherited ideas of hierarchy and deference and affected the ideal of community.

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: George Washington’s Diaries: Fox hunting
    NOTES: the following URLs show how often George Washington went fox hunting
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:   1 January 1768
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  The George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

  2. DESCRIPTION: Mount Airy, Orangery (Ruins)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:   after 1933
    COPYRIGHT: Rights and Reproductions
    SOURCE:  Built in America
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C

  3. DESCRIPTION: Lloyd Family Cemetery Showing Orangery, Wye House, Talbot County, MD
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:   after 1933
    COPYRIGHT: Rights and Reproductions
    SOURCE:  Built in America
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C

  4. DESCRIPTION: Wye House, Orangery
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:   after 1933
    COPYRIGHT: Rights and Reproductions
    SOURCE:  Built in America
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C

  5. DESCRIPTION: Eyre Hall, Orangery (Ruins)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:   after 1933
    COPYRIGHT: Rights and Reproductions
    SOURCE:  Built in America
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C

  6. DESCRIPTION: Hampton Orangery
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:   after 1933
    COPYRIGHT: Rights and Reproductions
    SOURCE:  Built in America
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C

  7. DESCRIPTION: Letter from George Washington to Margaret Carroll
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  22 November 1789
    NOTE:  Margaret Carroll is the wife of Charles Carroll, Barrister
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 2 Letterbooks in the George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C

  8. DESCRIPTION: George Washington to Margaret Carroll
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  16 September 1789
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  The George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C

  9. DESCRIPTION: Two alternate floor plans for his greenhouse drawn by Washington
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  February 1785
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE: The Diaries of George Washington. Vol. IV. 1784-June 1786. Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1978 in The George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C

  10. DESCRIPTION: Letter from George Washington to Tench Tilghman about finishing his green house.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  11 August 1784
    NOTE: In this letter Washington is requesting that Tench describe Mrs. Charles Carroll’s (Margaret Carroll) green house because he wants to imitate her’s.  This green house is at Mount Clare in Baltimore.
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 2 Letterbooks in the George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C

  11. DESCRIPTION: Race at Upper Marlboro
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  20 September 1759
    SOURCE:  Maryland Gazette (Annapolis) in Archives of Maryland Online
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  12. DESCRIPTION: A Stallion is available for breeding purposes
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:   2 April 1761
    SOURCE:  Maryland Gazette (Annapolis) in Archives of Maryland Online
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  13. DESCRIPTION: For the encouragement of the Breed of Fine Horses…; also on this page are several adds for horse races:  one in Annapolis, one in George-Town, one in Baltimore-Town, and one in Joppa.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
    10 September 1761
    SOURCE:  Maryland Gazette (Annapolis) in Archives of Maryland Online
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  14. DESCRIPTION: Races to be run at Joppa, Baltimore-Town, and George-Town
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  3 September 1761
    SOURCE:  Maryland Gazette (Annapolis) in Archives of Maryland Online
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  15. DESCRIPTION: Ad for the Annapolis Races
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 6 Sept 1770
    SOURCE:  Maryland Gazette (Annapolis) in Archives of Maryland Online
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  16. DESCRIPTIONAd for the Annapolis races giving the schedule for each day.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 5 September 1771
    SOURCE:  Maryland Gazette (Annapolis) in Archives of Maryland Online
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archive.

  17. DESCRIPTIONDiary entry by George Washington indicating attendance at the Annapolis Races, page 54
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:   Prior to 12 September 1771
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  The Diaries of George Washington. Vol. III. 1771-75; 1780-81. Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1978 in the George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C

Additional Media Resources

The Gardens of Colonial Williamsburg

Hampton National Historic Site

Historic London Town & Gardens

Samuel Ogle and the Belair Stud. From Wikipedia

Thoroughbred Racing in Maryland

Additional Instructional Resources

Belair Stables Field Trip

Secondary Resources

Aron, Cindy S. Working at Play: A History of Vacations in the United States. : Oxford University Press, 2001.

Baltz, Shirley v. Belair from the Beginning. Bowie: City of Bowie Museums, 2005.

Berryman, Jack W.  “John S. Skinner’s American Farmer: Breeding and Racing the Maryland ‘Blood Horse,” 1819-1829.”  Maryland Historical Magazine 76 (Summer 1981): 159-173.

Berryman, Jack W. “John S. Skinner’s American Farmer: Breeding and Racing the Maryland ‘Blood Horse,’ 1819-1829.” Maryland Historical Magazine 76 (Summer 1981): 159-173.

Bushman, Richrd Lyman.  The Refinement of America:  Persons, Houses, Cities. New York: 1st Vintage Books, 1993.  (first publishe by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. New York, 1992)

Carson, Cary, Ronald Hoffman and Peter J. Albert, eds. Of Consuming Interests: The Style of Life in Eighteenth Century.  Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1994.

Dreer, Christine.  A Chesapeake Gentleman’s Garden. Completed for: HIST 495A /713 New History in Old Baltimore SP2006, UMBC, Baltimore, MD

Gill, Harold B. Jr. "A Sport Only for Gentlemen" Colonial Williamsburg (August 1997).

Eisenburg, John. "Off to the Races." Smithsonian Magazine (August 2004)

Horn, James.  “Cavalier Culture?  The Social Development of Colonial Virginia.”  The William and Mary Quartely. 48, n. 2 (April 1991), ;. 238-245.

Kierner, Cynthia A.  “Hospitality, Sociability, and Gender in the Southern Colonies.” The Journal of Southern History, 62, n. 3 (August 1996), p. 449-480.

Leighton, Ann.  American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century:  For Use or For Delight. University of Massachusetts Press: 1986,1976.

________. American Gardens in the Nineteenth Century:  For Comfort and Affluence. University of Massachusetts Press, 1987.

Levine, Lawrence W. Highbrow Lowbrow: The Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America.  Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988.

Norfolk, Amber.  Brochure for the Gardens of Mount Clare. Completed for: HIST 495A /713 New History in Old Baltimore SP2006, UMBC, Baltimore, MD.

________. The Gardens of Mount Clare: Background Information. Completed for: HIST 495A /713 New History in Old Baltimore SP2006, UMBC, Baltimore, MD.

________. Plant list for Mount Clare. Completed for: HIST 495A /713 New History in Old Baltimore SP2006, UMBC, Baltimore, MD.

Rozbicki, Michal J. The Complete Colonial Gentleman: Cultural Legitimacy in Plantation America. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1998.

Rubinstein, Lily.  Gentility and Leisurely pursuits.  Completed for: HIST 495A /713 New History in Old Baltimore SP2006, UMBC, Baltimore, MD

Steffen, Charles G.  From Gentlemen to Townsmen:  The Gentryof Baltimore County, Maryland 1660-1776. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1993.

Struna, Nancy L.  People of Prowess: Sport, Leisure, and Labor in Early Anglo-America.Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1996.

Zuckerman, Michael. “The Fabrication of Identity in Early America.” The William and Mary Quarterly. 34, n. 2 (April 1977), p. 183-214.

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Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Marie C. Hughes based on research by Christine Dreer, Amber Norton, and Lily Rubenstein.

 

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