Agency & Identity: Cherry Hill’s Would-Be Sisters

5:30 pm
Huxley Theater

Through the clothing, photographs, possessions, and accounts left behind by two Gilded Age women, Historic Cherry Hill’s Director of Education, Shawna Reilly, will explore the lives of “Kitty” Putnam and “Minnie” Knapp in terms of their plights, identities, relative vulnerabilities, opportunities, and the choices they made within their prescribed social roles. Each came to Cherry Hill after her mother’s death to be raised by Van Rensselaer descendant, Harriet Maria Elmendorf. Both wards, but not quite sisters, Kitty was herself a Van Rensselaer descendant while Minnie was likely descended from an enslaved woman named Dinah Jackson. Each called Harriet Maria “ma,” but Minnie was raised as a servant, while Kitty would one day become the mistress of Cherry Hill.

Presented in partnership with Historic Cherry Hill.