The Pioneering Art Collection of Rags-to-Riches New Yorker Eliza Jumel
Our friends over at the Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group have yet another great talk in store for this week. Eliza Jumel (as in Morris-Jumel Mansion) is the subject, and there are few as fascinating in the back pages of Upper-upper West Side history. I don't want to put out any spoilers, but trust me that her life is chock full of gobsmacking tidbits.
I'll offer up just one: she married Aaron Burr who was 19 years her senior and within four months realized her fortune might be at risk and then separated, choosing Alexander Hamilton, Jr. as her attorney. Their divorce was finalized on the day that Burr died in 1836, yet Eliza lived on nearly another 30 years, reaching the age of 90 in 1865. And that wasn't the only time she saved her fortune.
See, I told you!
But that's nothing. Her father was a sailor and her mother was an indentured servant. She spent part of her childhood living in a brothel. That's the rags from which she rose. She took to the stage, met the merchant Stephen Jumel, became a francophile and amassed a tremendous art collection and ended up as one of the richest women in New York City.
I know, I know. You're coming to the talk.
It takes place on Thursday, April 19, at 6:30 p.m. at Hostelling International NYC (891 Amsterdam Avenue at W. 103rd Street). It is presented by art historian Margaret Oppenheimer, author of The Remarkable Rise of Eliza Jumel: A Story of Marriage and Money in the Early Republic will discuss Mme. Jumel’s art collection — over 240 paintings acquired in Paris at the beginning of the 19th century.
A word to the wise: get there early. You can never get a seat anymore!!