Vortex

Accumulation of selected research documents from various archives sewn with silk to Madame Jumel’s red pannier suspended from a plaster ceiling medallion created directly from the profile of Madame Jumel. Mme. Jumel Ceiling Medallion conceived & executed by Lucia Del Sanchez. Sewn by a team of talented Vortex collaborators.

Accumulation of selected research documents from various archives sewn with silk to Madame Jumel’s red pannier suspended from a plaster ceiling medallion created directly from the profile of Madame Jumel. Mme. Jumel Ceiling Medallion conceived & executed by Lucia Del Sanchez. Sewn by a team of talented Vortex collaborators.

The Loves of Aaron Burr:
Portraits in Corsetry & Binding

Vortex

One of the most remarkable women of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries. Madame Jumel rises from her birth in a brothel in Providence, Rhode Island, to become the wealthiest woman in  the United States with a zelig ability to appear in many of the historically important moments of her ninety year life.

The personification of Madame Jumel began with the replica of the only dress we know to exist at The Museum of The City of New York Collections.  The dress was measured, patterned and recreated in  materials as close to the original as possible. The waist, bust and proportions are that of Madame Jumel in the late 1850’s. The bas is a stack of books representing those in the Morris-Jumel Mansion archives  in French that we presume to have belonged to Stephen Jumel  dyed in coffee. Her bodice is three corsets layered over one another. The first a small brown corset on the inside is that of a ten year old girl in the 1780’s haolding dried plants. Herbs and flowers. The red velvet corset is that of someone in  the late 1790’s when Eliza Bowen would have been walking the streets of Providence with a monkey perched on her shoulder. The replica boned bodice in yellow silk is pinned open to reveal the other two corsets represents the material and mercenary achievement she  spoiled for all her life.

Eliza Jumel (1775-1865)

Silk boned bodice, cane boning, silk, paper, books, coffee and dried plant manner. Base realized by Lucia Del Sanchez.

Silk boned bodice, cane boning, silk, paper, books, coffee and
dried plant manner
Base realized by Lucia Del Sanchez.

The Loves of Aaron Burr:
Portraits in Corsetry & Binding

Eliza Jumel (1775-1865)

One of the most remarkable women of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries. Madame Jumel rises from her birth in a brothel in Providence, Rhode Island, to become the wealthiest woman in  the United States with a zelig ability to appear in many of the historically important moments of her ninety year life.

Fourteen months after her first husband's death, she married the controversial former United States Vice President, Aaron Burr. She married to increase her social stature; he, for access to her fortune.  Burr in turn, squanders the money, a poisonous court battle ensues and the two divorce on September 14, 1836, the day of Burr's death.  

Madame Jumel lives the rest of her life in the Manhattan mansion, earning sufficient reputation as an eccentric to be thought to have inspired Charles Dickens’ Miss Havisham in Great Expectations. She dies at age 90 in 1865 and is buried in Manhattan at the Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum.

The personification of Madame Jumel began with the replica of the only dress we know to exist at The Museum of The City of New York Collections.  The dress was measured, patterned and recreated in  materials as close to the original as possible. The waist, bust and proportions are that of Madame Jumel in the late 1850’s. The bas is a stack of books representing those in the Morris-Jumel Mansion archives  in French that we presume to have belonged to Stephen Jumel  dyed in coffee. Her bodice is three corsets layered over one another. The first a small brown corset on the inside is that of a ten year old girl in the 1780’s haolding dried plants. Herbs and flowers. The red velvet corset is that of someone in  the late 1790’s when Eliza Bowen would have been walking the streets of Providence with a monkey perched on her shoulder. The replica boned bodice in yellow silk is pinned open to reveal the other two corsets represents the material and mercenary achievement she  spoiled for all her life.


Shelton, William H. The Jumel Mansion. New York Houghton Mifflin, 1906
Macleod, Dianne. Enchanted Lives, Enchanted Objects. Berkley: University
of California Press, 2008
Lomask, Milton. Aaron Burr: The Conspiracy & Years of Exile. New York: Farrar Strauss & Giroux, 1979.
Grieff, Constance. The Morris-Jumel Mansion, A Documentary History. Rocky Hill: Heritage Studies, 1995
Isenberg, Nancy. Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr. New York:
Viking, 2007.
Corset research courtesy of The Museum of the City of New York

Jane McManus Cazneau (1807-1878)

Photo: Seth Tillett Materials: Cotton and leather corset, cane boned with trapunto and coffee dyed books

Photo: Seth Tillett
Materials: Cotton and leather corset, cane boned with trapunto and
coffee dyed books

The Loves of Aaron Burr:
Portraits in Corsetry & Binding

Jane McManus Cazneau (1807-1878)

On or about the 4th of July in 1833, seventy-six year old Aaron Burr married fifty-five year old Eliza Jumel at her home on Harlem Heights. Within the
year Burr is flatteringly accused of adultery. Towards undoing their poor
idea of matrimony, his single request is that he be allowed to choose the
co-respondent as someone whose provenance would flatter. 

He chose twenty-six year old Jane McManus, “A born insurrecto and a terror with her pen,” Jane’s high intelligence and dark-hued beauty disarmed most people and he liked that. The McManus's, of Troy, New York, intermarried with and adapted to the local Mahicans, whom Burr admired and fought alongside in the War for Independence. The tribe’s customary democratic structure
and policies toward property rights and suffrage became the ballast of his Tammany Society and the basis for safeguarding their rights, and the rights of the common Revolutionary soldier, her father for instance, from their removal by Alexander Hamilton and the Federalists. And she liked that.

While Jane never emphasized her race in print, it was a likely source of her ambitions. In 1831, she and Burr were working together toward the McManus family acquiring large patents of land in Mexican Texas. Advocating alongside Burr for the annexation of Mexico, she and her family proceeded to buy and attempted to settle the disputed territory with indentured immigrants and free blacks. Jane's financial partner backs out leaving her to seek funds from other investors, Burr amongst. 

Jane McManus Portrait+Front.jpg

That his “Conspiracy” of 1804, far from being treason, is now Andrew Jackson’s government’s policy is insufficient to reward his perseverance towards winning the West. Not at all long after marrying Madame Jumel, his Eliza intercepts a letter from Jane to Burr seeking funds, from which she divines they’re speculating in these land deals with her money & without her consent.  She thinks hard on what's going on without her consent. Legend has it that the bride met her husband the next morning at breakfast with
a carpet beater. Suffice to say he left with egg on his face and bloodied,
his wardrobe strewn into a snow bank.  

Madame as a woman scorned files immediately for divorce on the grounds
of adultery, choosing Alexander Hamilton, Jr. as her counsel, Jane McManus as Co-respondent, and using Burr's own servant as the incriminating witness against him. Eliza turns accusations against Jane into the kind of slander Hamilton's father aimed at Burr, who she will accuse of robbing her money. The Divorce decree becomes final the very day of Burr's death.

Madame Jumel would use Burr's name as a matter of convenience when it suited her ends. Jane McManus, publicly humiliated and thwarted in her pioneering of Texas, took a dozen journalistic pen names toward regaining an economic footing. Her writing career embraced the revolutions in the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico and advocated American annexation.  Writing for The New Yorker, The Daily Plebeian, The Workingman’s Advocate The New York Sun and The Democratic Review, about the expansion of commerce and democracy, she alternately urged African Americans to move further South toward escaping the obdurate racism of North America. 

Democratic Jane would coin the term Manifest Destiny to characterize the annexation and filibustering that ultimately would create the contours of the American West, while her Tory opposition would restyle Manifest Destiny into an Imperialism profiteering from the gruesome genocide of very indigenous American people Jane McManus had been seeking to empower.

Had he lived long enough, Burr would likely have been proud of the last of the women writers he’d mentored. In an end to parallel that of Burr's daughter, Theodosia, Jane was lost at sea on December 10, 1878 off a tramp steamer
in the Bermuda Triangle.

References:
Hudson, Linda S. Mistress of Manifest Destiny: A Biography of Jane McManus
Storm Cazneau. Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 2001.


The Loves Of Aaron Burr:
Portraits in Corsetry & Binding
The Film 

Drawing connections between her own interpretive work
and the historic corsets exhibited in

Fashioning the Body: An Intimate History of the Silhouette
Camilla Huey will speak on the changing architectural, structural, and functional forms
of corsets, corset-making, materials, and methodologies. The artist employs these forms in her unique approach to analyzing portraits of nine 18th- and 19th-century women. Through ephemera, fetishism, material culture, and texts, the artist invites the audience
to follow both design and historic research as she explores biographical narrative.
She will bring selected works from her exhibition,

The Loves of Aaron Burr: Portraits in Corsetry & Binding

Preview May 7, 6pm Bard Graduate Center
38 West 86th Street, New York City 10024
$25 RSVP 
programs@bgc.bard.edu

The Premiere of
The Loves of Aaron Burr: Portraits in Corsetry & Binding Film
with select works from the exhibition at the Morris-Jumel Mansion. Manhattan's oldest house the very place where the lives of these women, filming and exhibition took place.
A reception and screening with discussion to follow.
View the works of 
Yinka Shonibare, MBE, Colonial Arrangements before.

Premiere May 14, 6pm Morris-Jumel Mansion
65 Jumel Terrace, New York City 10032
$25 RSVP 
visitorservices@morrisjumel.org

Camilla Huey (artist/couturière) has exhibited artwork at the Bard Graduate Center
and the Morris-Jumel Mansion in New York City. Her exhibit, 
The Loves of Aaron Burr: Portraits in Corsetry & Binding, paid homage to the women who surrounded and influenced this controversial founding father.

Maria Reynolds (1768-1832)

Paper, paint, nylon, plastic, copper.

Paper, paint, nylon, plastic, copper.

The Loves of Aaron Burr:
Portraits in Corsetry & Binding

Maria Reynolds (1768-1832)

In 1789, as Washington’s Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton
was suspected of being intimately close to his intriguing sister-in-law, the
very chic Angelica Schuyler Church, who in turn infers his having an intimate “confidential” relationship with the British intelligence agent, Major George Beckwith – who, with Major Andre, is known for facilitating the treason of General Benedict Arnold.

Les liaisons dangereuses will extend confidences from sexual to the financial. Hamilton employs a confidence man to trade Treasury securities. James Reynolds who he’ll make out a pimp, and Maria (pronounced Mariah), Reynold’s attractive wife, Hamilton will publicly denounce a whore – inspiring John Adam’s infamous description of Hamilton as “The bastard brat of a Scottish peddler possessed of a superabundance of secretions which he could not find whores enough to draw off.” 

While Hamilton’s slanders of Aaron Burr were frequently of a sexual nature,
it was his own hypocritical philandering that ensnared him in what was
known as ‘The Maria Reynolds Affair’, the nation’s first sex scandal. In 1792, caught out by the humorless James Monroe, Hamilton contends the monies
in question he’s paid to the Reynolds was sexual blackmail. In this he attempts to compensate the cuckold, cover up his affair with Mrs. Reynolds, and divert attention from his wife’s family’s finances. When things get ugly, Hamilton challenges Monroe to a duel, requiring Burr to intervene, diffusing the situation, effecting Maria’s divorce from her husband becoming her consolation and Hamilton’s nemesis.  

The story goes that what Hamilton had to pay Maria for… Burr was given freely. The one-sided animosity likely began as New York’s Clinton faction elected Burr to the Senate over Hamilton’s father-in-law, Philip Schuyler.
Eliza Hamilton, unable to reconcile her position as cuckold by her own sister with her husband, followed by this public admission of infidelity, withdrew
into repressed domestic seclusion engaging in needlework. Needlework
taken to the extraordinary extreme of an entire needlepoint sofa.

Monroe went to Jefferson with evidence of Hamilton’s guilt. When the Maria Reynolds Affair splashes over the flash press in 1797, it’s Jefferson who conspires against Hamilton. Jefferson, who made his money from Slavery, breeding and trafficking, is eliminating the abolitionists who stand between him and an all-slave Louisiana Purchase. Hamilton, deflecting the Virginian Republican’s accusations of speculation, excuses himself in his Observations on Certain Documents pamphlet, by putting the onus on the Daughter of Eve, Maria Reynolds. Not everyone bought it:  

“What shall we say to the conduct of a man who could deliberately write and publish a history of his private intrigues, degrade himself in the estimation of all good men, and scandalize a family to clear himself of charges which no man believed!  Such a man is unfit to administer the government.”  

                                                            Noah Webster on Alexander Hamilton.

The end of their Affair was the beginning of the end for Hamilton. By contrast, Burr was the sort of friend to Maria who financed her children’s educations.

The corset of Maria Reynolds is ablaze in red and gold paper cast over the figure and fabric. The letters are few as what we have attributed to her are forgeries in Hamilton’s hand. The armature is copper and plastic with string.


The Loves Of Aaron Burr:
Portraits in Corsetry & Binding
The Film 

Drawing connections between her own interpretive work
and the historic corsets exhibited in

Fashioning the Body: An Intimate History of the Silhouette
Camilla Huey will speak on the changing architectural, structural, and functional forms
of corsets, corset-making, materials, and methodologies. The artist employs these
forms in her unique approach to analyzing portraits of nine 18th- and 19th-century women. Through ephemera, fetishism, material culture, and texts, the artist
invites the audience to follow both design and historic research as she explores biographical narrative. She will bring selected works from her exhibition,

The Loves of Aaron Burr: Portraits in Corsetry & Binding

Preview May 7, 6pm Bard Graduate Center
38 West 86th Street, New York City 10024
$25 RSVP 
programs@bgc.bard.edu

The Premiere of
The Loves of Aaron Burr: Portraits in Corsetry & Binding Film
with select works from the exhibition at the Morris-Jumel Mansion. Manhattan's oldest house the very place where the lives of these women, filming and exhibition took place.
A reception and screening with discussion to follow.
View the works of 
Yinka Shonibare, MBE, Colonial Arrangements before.

Premiere May 14, 6pm Morris-Jumel Mansion
65 Jumel Terrace, New York City 10032
$25 RSVP 
visitorservices@morrisjumel.org

Camilla Huey (artist/couturière) has exhibited artwork at the Bard Graduate Center
and the Morris-Jumel Mansion in New York City. Her exhibit, 
The Loves of Aaron Burr: Portraits in Corsetry & Binding, paid homage to the women who surrounded and influenced this controversial founding father.