Monday, June 17, 2019

Portrait of 18C American Women

1750 Joseph Badger 1708-1765 Faith Savage Waldo Mrs Cornelius Worcester Mus Art

The Worcester Museum tells us that Faith Savage Waldo was born on October 3, 1683, to Thomas (1640–1705) and Elizabeth Scottow Savage (1647–1714).  Her father was a merchant and a military officer who fought in King Philip’s War and, in 1690, led a regiment in Sir William Phips’s unsuccessful attack on the French in Canada. On August 28, 1711, she married Cornelius Waldo (1684–1753), a Boston merchant and distiller who owned land in Watertown, Worcester, Rutland, and Holden, Massachusetts as well as in Maine. At the time of their wedding, Faith Savage was pregnant with the first of the couple’s nine children.

Mrs. Waldo also was a merchant in her own right. Advertisements in the Boston newspapers offered imported fabrics: To be sold by Mrs. Faith Waldo at the next House to the Bunch of Grapes Tavern, in Leverett’s Lane, Boston, Brocaded Silks, flower’d Damasks, Sattins, Lute-strings, Mantua Silks, black Padosoy, Alamode, Damask Table Linnen, Chints, Callicoes, fine Cambricks, Muslins, Hollands, Garlicks and sundry other choice Goods, lately Imported from London, by Wholesale and Retail at very Reasonable Rates.

Notably, Mrs. Waldo wears a "flower’d Damask" in this portrait. By 1737, her husband was advertising similar textile imports for sale. As the social historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich has demonstrated, women at this time often participated in their husbands’ businesses; in this instance, it appears that Cornelius was active in and eventually took over, his wife’s enterprise.

Faith Savage Waldo died in Boston on February 3, 1760.