Historic Cherry Hill has two digital collections of primary source objects, documents, and photographs to share with researchers, teachers, students and history lovers! Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and Capital District Library Council, respectively, these projects can now be viewed online, through New York Heritage: https://nyheritage.org/contributors/historic-cherry-hill
The first, Historical African American Experiences at Cherry Hill, covers two time periods: From 1760 until emancipation in 1827, during which time dozens of African Americans were enslaved or indentured (through gradual emancipation) by the Van Rensselaers of Cherry Hill and their relatives, and; From 1854 through 1903, shedding light on the experiences of African American children who were raised at Cherry Hill as wards and servants. This collection includes bills of sale and indenture, account books and ledgers, dolls, books, sheet music, instruments, greeting cards and more than a century of correspondence.
The second digital collection, Cherry Hill Receipt Books, contains 14 receipt books as well as clippings, dating from 1760 to 1951. But what’s a “receipt book,” anyway? It’s a handwritten collection of recipes for fancy confections, cures for disease, and household necessities–everything you’d need to know to run a large household, from how to make oly cooks (an early Dutch doughnut) or shoe polish…to knitting patterns…to “how to cure the bite of a mad dog” (we wouldn’t try it). Nineteenth and twentieth century collections include poetry, scientific musings, newspaper clippings and other ephemera. Similar to today’s scrapbooks, these books were passed down from generation to generation and reveal so much about foodways, women’s roles, everyday life (and death), household economics, and Anglo-Dutch traditions in the Hudson Valley.