The Women of the House: How a Colonial She-merchant Built a Mansion, a Fortune, and a Dynasty

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Harcourt, Incorporated, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 399 pages
37 Reviews
The remarkable Margaret Hardenbroeck Philipse arrived in New Amsterdam from Holland in 1659, a brash and ambitious twenty-two-year-old bent on making her way in the New World. She promptly built an empire of trading ships, furs, and real estate that included all of Westchester County. The Dutch called such women "she-merchants," and Margaret became the wealthiest in the colony, while raising five children and keeping a spotless linen closet.
Zimmerman deftly traces the astonishing rise of Margaret and the Philipse women who followed her, who would transform Margaret's storehouse on the banks of the Hudson into a veritable mansion, Philipse Manor Hall. The last Philipse to live there, Mary Philipse Morris-the "It" girl of mid-1700s New York-was even courted by George Washington. But privilege couldn't shelter the family from the Revolution, which raged on Mary's doorstep.

Mining extensive primary sources, Zimmerman brings us into the parlors, bedrooms, counting-houses, and parties of early colonial America and vividly restores a forgotten group of women to life.

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Review: The Women of the House: How a Colonial She-Merchant Built a Mansion, a Fortune, and a Dynasty

User Review  - Kerri - Goodreads

The first third was a lot of stage-setting but once Zimmerman started telling the story to Margaret it picked up a lot. It's amazing how progressive the Dutch were compared to the English. Also, if you are from Manhattan or the Hudson Valley you will recognize many of the places written about. Read full review

Review: The Women of the House: How a Colonial She-Merchant Built a Mansion, a Fortune, and a Dynasty

User Review  - Goodreads

The first third was a lot of stage-setting but once Zimmerman started telling the story to Margaret it picked up a lot. It's amazing how progressive the Dutch were compared to the English. Also, if you are from Manhattan or the Hudson Valley you will recognize many of the places written about. Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Jean Zimmerman is the author of four books, including Made from Scratch: Reclaiming the Pleasures of the American Hearth. She lives just north of Philipse Manor Hall in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.

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