Documenting Riversdale


Now that Riversdale House Museum has re-opened to the public after being closed for so long during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's exciting to see new things happening around the museum. One of these new things is the start of a new summer internship program, with two interns with us to document two different aspects of Riversdale's past: the 19th-century document collection that has recently been loaned to the Historical Society, and the Institutional documents that have accumulated during the nearly 30 years that the museum has been open. Both Marcus Suero and Lauren Colón join Riversdale from Bowie State University's History program, both with minors in Historical Management.

Marcus is originally from Northwest Washington, D.C., and is the one tackling the scanning and transcribing of the Calvert Papers, a 19th-century collection on loan to the Society. He will be assisting in important research to discover more about the enslaved population who otherwise would be lost to history, as well as digitizing letters and other documents from the time of Charles Benedict Calvert. The Calvert Papers came to the Society in 2012, when a descendant of Charles Benedict Calvert discovered a trunk full of papers that had been in his family's possession for over 100 years, which had been kept in attics and basements throughout the years. The collection has letters, receipts, inventories, bills, official notices, and notes about life at and around Riversdale. The documents range in age from around 1810 through the 1890’s (though most from the latter half of the century), and reveal the personal and professional lives of George and Rosalie Calvert, Charles Benedict "C.B." Calvert and his siblings (including his half siblings, Caroline and Anne), Rosalie’s brother Charles Stier, and C.B.’s son George Henry Calvert.

Lauren, on the other hand, will be working to digitize, organize, and archive the extensive institutional records that Riversdale as a museum holds. Her other life as a title processor might come in handy here, since she knows how to stay organized! These documents she will be working with range from files as simple as research from past exhibitions to complex binders of information on paint studies. For example, she was recently working on digitizing a wallpaper study that included work around the wallpaper in the Study called "La Chasse de Compeigne," an 1815 work by Parisian firm Jaxquemart et Benard, as well as studies on the wallpaper fragments and ghost patterns found in the Parlor and Second Floor Hallway.



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