5. Dining Room

19th Century Style Dining Room
Oil painting portrait of Maria Appleton
Maria Appleton by Gilbert Stuart c. 1812

While establishing himself as a well-respected poet and writer, Henry met his future wife Fanny Appleton in Switzerland in 1836. Ten years her senior, Henry asked for her hand several times before she finally accepted his proposal in 1843, where soon after they were married. The Appleton Family was part of the upper class of Boston known as “Boston Brahmins”. Brahmin families were the wealthy, influential families of the late colonial period to the early 20th century who had a profound impact on the politics, society, and general happenings of New England life. Nathan Appleton and his wife Maria are seen on the wall in a pair of portraits done by Gilbert Stuart, who painted the famous George Washington portrait that the one-dollar bill picture is based on. Nathan Appleton was a co-founder and original investor in the cotton mills of Lowell Massachusetts, about forty miles north of Cambridge. Nathan’s early investment in the Industrial Revolution contributed to the family’s continued wealth and prominence. When Fanny and Henry got married in 1843, Nathan purchased the Craigie house for them as a gift, satisfying the dream of living in the house Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had imagined years earlier. On the wall is a painting of Henry and Fanny’s three girls Alice, Annie, and Edith. The trio is famously remembered from their father's mentioning of them in his 1860 poem “The Children's Hour”.

"From my study I see in the lamplight,

  Descending the broad hall stair,

Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,

  And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper, and then a silence:

  Yet I know by their merry eyes

They are plotting and planning together

  To take me by surprise".

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Children's Hour (1860)


Oil painting portrait of Nathan Appleton by Gilbert Stuart
Nathan Appleton by Gilbert Stuart c. 1812
Oil on Canvas portrait of three young girls finished in a golden frame.
"Longfellow's Three Daughters" by Thomas Buchanan Read c. 1859. L to R Annie, Edith, and Alice