Hidden Glensheen

Hidden Glensheen – Elisabeth’s Room

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It could be argued that Elisabeth Congdon was the second matriarch of Glensheen. Yes, it’s true that her mother, Clara Congdon (Chester’s wife, who died at age 96 in 1950) had a significant influence in how Glensheen was designed and managed for the first few decades, but it was Elisabeth who lived in Glensheen, taking care of her mother for years. And until her untimely death in 1977, Elisabeth was responsible for everything at Glensheen. Elisabeth updated parts of the mansion (the kitchen, for example), and left other parts of the mansion go to seed (the boathouse, for example).

This room was designed to be Elisabeth’s room, but by the time the family moved in, Elisabeth would have been 14 years old, and she didn’t actually live at Glensheen. She was off at boarding school at Wellesley College’s Dana Hall. After boarding school, she continued on to Vassar College, but after Chester died in 1916, she decided it was her duty to return home to take care of her mother.

This room is currently arranged to look as if it were occupied by a young, pre-teen girl, even though it never was. Here is a historical photo of the room. What I find especially interesting about this photo is what looks like a cobweb in the back, running from the mirror to the lampshade. Can you see it?

Historical Hidden Glensheen photo from Elisabeth Congdon's Room

To me, it shows that this room was seldom used.

Today, the tour guide script describes this as ‘Elisabeth’s Pink Room,’ which doesn’t really make sense to me. Sure, there are pink highlights, but it is not pink. Here is how it appears today:

Hidden Glensheen photo from Elisabeth Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

The wallpaper is similar, but has been updated. Perhaps the original wallpaper was more pink? Other than that, most everything seems to be similar to how it was originally installed.

A lot of the pieces in this room have been hand-painted. This chair is one example, and is so much more of an impressive show of craftsmanship than you might realize at first glance. The caning on the back has been done in a round pattern that is remarkable. That, combined with all of the hand painted detail and the unique custom carpentry, this small and mostly unused chair is a treasure unto itself!

Hidden Glensheen photo from Elisabeth Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

This is also impressive – a cane stroller for dolly. Or, piggie, as the case may be:

Hidden Glensheen photo from Elisabeth Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

The light fixtures on the wall have lace over their shades:

Hidden Glensheen photo from Elisabeth Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

The light fixtures also have Greek themed cameos in their center, but what’s interesting is how unrefined the cameos are, especially when compared to almost everything else in the house:

Hidden Glensheen photo from Elisabeth Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

This light fixture is a little different, with another gas jet in the center, and a better quality cameo:

Hidden Glensheen photo from Elisabeth Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

When we compared these two different types of cameo, it was actually a bit confusing, why one would look good and the other would look so… not good.

Here is the writing desk in Elisabeth’s room. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve also been a fan of blotters (the large orange ‘place mat’ looking piece). This one isn’t terribly interesting, but we’ll see other blotters once we get to the third floor.

Hidden Glensheen photo from Elisabeth Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

This little wooden block was in one of the drawers. You can get a general sense of its size, next to the edge of the blotter. It’s probably about the size of a phone, and we really don’t know what it would have been. A toy, perhaps?

Hidden Glensheen photo from Elisabeth Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

It’s hard to overstate how narrow the bed in Elisabeth’s room is. Today, a single bed is three feet wide. Perhaps this is three feet, but it also might be less:

Hidden Glensheen photo from Elisabeth Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

Regardless of how wide it is, I really liked the quilt pattern:

Hidden Glensheen photo from Elisabeth Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

Here’s another rotating book shelf, and with hand painted detail all around:

Hidden Glensheen photo from Elisabeth Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

I don’t know enough about doilies or crocheting to provide any detail about the piece on top of this book shelf. 

Inside another drawer, we found these very small, handmade fur-lined boots:

Hidden Glensheen photo from Elisabeth Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

There’s a bit of wear on the sole, so they were probably used, at least a few times.

Near the door is a tall dresser that has more hand painted detail, and a woodcarved motif reminiscent to what we saw in the Reception Room.

Hidden Glensheen photo from Elisabeth Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

Here is the face plate to the dresser:

Hidden Glensheen photo from Elisabeth Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

Behind that door is a space for storing fancy hats:

Hidden Glensheen photo from Elisabeth Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

And for the final photo from Elisabeth’s Room, we have another bird. I’m a bird person, and I actually did a bit of searching to see if I could figure out what kind of bird this might be, and I came up with nothing. A bird with a blue head, a crest and yellow (or green) body with blue edging? I don’t think they exist.

Hidden Glensheen photo from Elisabeth Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

But even if this isn’t an actual bird in real life, it still counts as one of the hundreds of birds that you can find at Glensheen.

Next room: Linen Closet
Previous room: Single Female Guest Room

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