Hill-Stead Museum’s exhibition, Born in 1867: Theodate’s Generation, continues through March 31 at the museum at 35 Mountain Road, Farmington.
The concept of “born in 1867” came from the nearly identical birthdates of Hill-Stead’s founder, Theodate Pope Riddle, and writer Laura Ingalls Wilder, February 2 and February 8 respectively. Born just six days apart, their life experiences could not have been more different—one was the privileged and doted-upon only child of a wealthy industrialist, who sought her own path against societal expectations, the other was the daughter and wife of frontier farmers, who had a life of almost constant economic struggle and yet embarked on a late-in-life career that gained her fame worldwide. Of the two, Laura is by far the more well-known. Both women, even as young girls, displayed determination and resilience in pursuing what they wanted to do. These qualities were prevalent among many women of this generation.
This exhibition provides a cross-disciplinary survey of 20+ American women who share the birth year of Hill-Stead’s architect, museum founder and benefactor, Theodate Pope Riddle. Through various objects, we represent women from various geographic sectors of the United States, multiple cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, and a variety of professions and avocations, including the arts, medicine, literature, journalism, education, social welfare, and more. Lastly, Born in 1867: Theodate’s Generation, contextualizes the broader picture of the female demographic that in the late 19th and early 20th centuries not only overcame lingering Victorian views that frowned on women’s activities beyond school, church, and home but also found new roles and occupations for themselves in the fast-changing U.S. economy that emerged after the Civil War.
Hill-Stead will celebrate this exhibition opening with a very special evening featuring author Deborah Royce. On Thursday, October 26 she will discuss her latest book Reef Road: A Novel and her life as a present-day pioneering woman. The talk will take place in the museum’s historic Drawing Room, followed by a fundraising dinner with the author in the Glass Room. Learn more and get your tickets here.