On a rainy December afternoon, children made Victorian Christmas ornaments while docents toured the oldest remaining home in Manhattan telling stories about how Christmas traditions were created. Later in the program, revelers stood in the octagon room (the first octagon room in the new world) where President George Washington and Thomas Jefferson once sat (as well as Lin-Manuel Miranda centuries later), to sing Christmas carols accompanied by local a cappella carolers. The occasion was the annual Victorian Christmas party co-hosted by Riverdale Avenue Books and Romance Daily News.
The Morris-Jumel Mansion is the oldest private home in Manhattan, that was once the site a cabinet dinner hosted by Washington, and later became the salon of Eliza Jumel, the richest woman in New York City before the Civil War and the widow of Aaron Burr.
The evening was capped off by a trivia quiz featuring 20 questions about Victorian minutiae with a prize package from Riverdale Avenue Books (see below for the quiz – write to firstname.lastname@example.org for the correct answers). Hot spiced Christmas mulled wine, a Victorian favorite, was served to guests, as well as apple cider and cookies. Guests were encouraged to dress in Victorian style and a prize of hand-made jewelry was awarded to the guest most Victorian!
Yesenia Vasquez and James Behrlein
“Christmas at the Morris-Jumel Mansion is one of the most magical times of the year, and Riverdale Avenue Books is always thrilled to partner with its historic neighbor to present a special holiday event. We are especially excited about the challenging trivia contest,” said Riverdale Avenue Books publisher, Lori Perkins.
The Morris Jumel Mansion is located at 65 Jumel Terrace on 155th Street in Manhattan and is open all year round for tours, Morrisjumel.org.