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March 8, 2017
|1958.0003 Tea Caddy. |
Gift of Children of Col. George Woodward Langdon.
We have no way of verifying if these events actually took place, but the story is so charming that I hope that it is. The idea of the respectable middle-aged wife of a politician marching down King Street in broad daylight to add her small amount of tea to the protest (not forgetting to put on her bonnet) speaks to her strength, agency, and bravery - she didn’t feel the need to conduct her protest in costume or under the cover of darkness!
We gain further insight into Mrs. Cushing’s character in this excerpt from a letter that Mr. Cushing wrote to her from Philadelphia in 1774:
“The Farmer says, if it were customary to choose women into the assembly, he should be heartily for choosing you Speaker of the House – they all wish to see you there”.
Whether or not the story of the tea caddy is apocryphal, it tells us something about how she was perceived. The sense that one gets from both this story and the letter is of an active, opinionated, politically savvy woman – although she isn’t included in the history books, because we care for her tea caddy, we help to keep her story alive.
By Sira Dooley Fairchild, Collections Manager