Everything in the Living Room, or "Parlor," was donated by local people, as were all the items in the museum.
The dollhouse represents Victorian life in Gouverneur at the turn of the last century. It was donated by Museum Board Member, Marilyn Scozzafava.
You'll see a photo of Edward John Noble on the wall. His business success all started with LifeSaver candies. You could hardly miss the giant pack of Pep-O-Mint LifeSavers displayed in the Gouverneur Village Park.
Nelson Winters, one of the earliest Curators of the museum, has an honored place in the living room. Also featured is an original Sudds Parlor Organ and hanging above it, an authentic Victorian "Hair Wreath."
"E.J. Noble was working for an advertising agency in New York City in 1913, when he purchased a candy company for $2,900.00." (Watertown Daily Times, 7/2/1980)
The candy's original cardboard rolls let the candy get soggy, so Mr. Noble had the idea to use tin-foil wrappers to keep the mints fresh. Pep-O-Mint was the first Life Savers® flavor. E.J. Noble was a master salesman. He recruited youngsters all over the country to sell the candy on commission. It made LifeSavers® a household name.
The pencil sketch, found in the corner of the Living Room, is of Nelson Winters, 1911-2004, long-time resident and former Gouverneur Historian. The Norman Rockwell sketch. The sketch is on long-term loan from the Winters family.
The sketch was done by Norman Rockwell, August, 1925. Nelson was 14 when Rockwell did the sketch. They were both on vacation on the St. Lawrence Rover and became friends. Norman Rockwell was about 30 and not very well known at that time.
The instrument in the parlor is an organ from the Sudd's Music Store.
In the days before television and radio, day to day entertainment took many forms, often involving the ability to play musical instruments. There were many music teachers in North Country towns before the turn of the century. But Gouverneur had the very famous W.F. Sudds, who was a fine musician and composer. He taught music to several generations of local people and was a nationally known composer whose music is in the Library of Congress.
Hanging quietly over the Sudds Parlor Organ is something known as a "hair wreath" or "hair flowers." This hair flower wreath was made about 1850 and belonged to Emma Sheldon Easton.
This art was practiced by Victorians as a memorial for lost loved ones. The Victorians saw hair as something tangible to remember someone dear to them. Dear friends would even exchange hair, with locks of hair kept in jewelry.
Living Room Docent: Missy Tersmette