Interview with Catherine Hackendorn Sheldrick, 1984 March 28 [audio](part 2)

Hagley ID:
  • Family heirlooms and keepsakes; Toys; Story about a woman who got thrown out of her window in an explosion at Hagley; Bedroom furnishings and hope chests
    Keywords: Bed ticks; Bedroom furnishings; Beds; Birdseye fabric; Breck's Lane (Del.: Village); Hagley Yard; Heirlooms; Hope chests; Toys
    Transcript: Bennett: How old do you think it is?

    Sheldrick: I know it's a hundred years old because my mother used to talk about Auntie Ann's father went with the mother for so long. He lived with his own mother and they didn't get married until after his mother died. It was one of those deals.

    Bennett: Would she have put this on her bureau?

    Sheldrick: It would be -- I had it on my chest of drawers when it was in here. But I moved the chest of drawers in the front room and I didn't have that. I'll tell you where I'd love to put it -- down on top of the desk.

    Bennett: Have it cleaned up.

    Sheldrick: Have it redone. But you should take this glass out first. It's very easy to take the glass out because it's just screwed in. See, there's just the four screws. Now, look, she must have had it hanging on the wall at one time because there were a piece of -- it was almost like rope that was on this. And her mother evidently had it hanging on the wall. But, I wouldn't like it on the wall would you?

    Bennett: In the fight spot. But, I like what it really is meant for which is like the picture frame idea.

    Sheldrick: Yes. But, my mother told me about Auntie Ann's mother and father. He was printer and he and his mother lived together on Breck's Lane. After his mother died, they were married and he gave her this while he was dating her.

    Bennett: And then they gave it to you because of the memory?

    Sheldrick: Of course, when the mother died -- when she moved from Wilmington to Washington. She went down to live with Ann and she died with Ann and she took a lot of things with her and this was one of the things. So, then, I went down. She wanted me to take it with me a couple of times. I wouldn't take it from her. I didn't have the heart to take it from her. So, this day I went down and when I got home, I thought this bag -- I said to her, "This bag is heavier than when I came down, never thinking she would put that in the bag. In my suitcase.

    Bennett: They're Cupids, I think, on the side.

    Sheldrick: Who was it told me that this was in the 1900's -- Victorian period. I don't know.

    Bennett: Kind of fancy.

    Sheldrick: That should be thrown out. Oh, it will go one day, the way of all flesh. Oh, is this a monstrosity. I wanted to see where those hand-embroidered towels are. They should be right in here. That isn't one. These were given to me. I have half-a-dozen of them and they were given to me.

    Bennett: This is also that Birdseye?

    Sheldrick: Yes. Came from Ireland and this lady lived with us for a little while and those were among some of her things. She broke up her home. I can't find them now. Some day I'm going to clean this, too. One of these days. It's thin.

    Bennett: That's had a lot of use. Very pretty.

    Sheldrick: And it needs mending. I'll mend it some day. Some of these days. This was Ann's doll. Someday I hope to clean that up, too. I have another one that was Katie Knight's. It should be in here, but I can't put my hand on it. It's a bigger one than that.

    Bennett: What kind of dolls did you have?

    Sheldrick: We had those Bisque ones. Weren't we foolish not to save those. Beautiful. You know what that is. There should be a hook on that and it's not on there. There's nothing up in that attic. Now, you see my new floor.

    Bennett: They did a beautiful matching job on color. The color is beautiful-

    Sheldrick: Yes, a good job. Now, this is the bed.

    Bennett: It's beautiful. It's a big one.

    Sheldrick: It's a mess.

    Bennett: I can see the springs.

    Sheldrick: The mattress doesn't seem to be on springs. You can see if you get over this way. And see those? Well, they were pegs. And then the mattress -- it was a canvas and it was rope, about maybe that thick and it went on these pegs. Do you remember in Pierre's interview it said that Roseanne Daugherty -- you know the lady that was put out the window with the explosion when she was dying and her name was Roseanne. Well, it said that he saw a woman with a bed tick was out on the roof. I guess they were afraid the house was going to come in. It was such a heavy explosion. And this Roseanne Daugherty -- We have a doctor in town, Dr. Gerald Daugherty -- she was his grandmother. I remember her as being Roseanne Daugherty, his grandmother. And it said that she was on a tick. And a tick was what you would call a homemade mattress. It was made to fit the bed and it was filled with feathers or like little tufts of cotton. Like coarse, heavy -- as they called it -- flocks. Like somebody rolled up cotton into a tight ball. And it was filled with that. And they were kind of gray. And that's what fit on this bed, you know, like a canvas. And you just pulled it to you and threw it over. And then you straightened it all out.

    Bennett: Was it comfortable?

    Sheldrick: Of course, it was comfortable. I never slept in it, but they didn't know any different. Now, I have a white spread that goes on this and it does look pretty.

    Bennett: Tell me about -- this looks like --

    Sheldrick: Yes. That's the way it was put together, and look -- see here is the bolt that goes through here – goes through this to these Sideboards and then that holds it together. And then I had Tim put these on because you couldn't move it. And then that was my grandmother's. And that has taken an awful beating; you can tell by looking at it.

    Bennett: Do you think this was part of --?

    Sheldrick: No, I know it wasn't. No, this wasn't part of the suite. Now, my nephew has the bureau and the washstand. That belonged to this bed. And I don't have what it takes to ask him for it because it means as much to him as it does to me. But, it was in my brother's room when he was married and my mother gave him the things that were in his room to take with him. She said, "You take what's in your room with you." And he took -- Well, I do know how I got this because this was in Hack's room and she gave it to Hack when he was married. And Mary was getting twin beds and she didn't want this to go out of the family and she gave it to me. Otherwise, I wouldn't have gotten this. And she gave me the chest of drawers. And also the bed. But, I got rid of the bed to take it because, you know, I want it. Anybody would do that.

    Bennett: This -- the headboard of that -- I've never seen anything like that. And the way it's got those hooks that hold the backboard to the posts. And that lifts right off. It goes down -- you can see where it fits down in the back of the bed. You see there. It fits down into like a groove. And to my knowledge, it has never been painted or done over or anything. I had thought about it. I think it lost its value when my father lowered the legs.

    Bennett: Do you have any idea how much he lowered them?

    Sheldrick: Would you say eight inches, six inches?

    Bennett: He took that much off?

    Sheldrick: Oh, easy eight inches. See, this went down – that extended down quite far. This is all worn off. It was polished. Through the years. So, it will eventually polish itself, the moral of the story.

    Bennett: Very different and I love the headboard. Do you know if there was a step stool to step up into it.

    Sheldrick: There were a step stool, but -- I have a step stool somewhere around here. There were one, but I didn't have it. Never had it. But, I have a little stool. This upstairs was all torn up when I had the new floor put in. Now, do you want to know what's on my chest? I want to show you my white spread.

    Bennett: I don't want you to muss them.

    Sheldrick: Oh, don't worry about the mussing.

    Bennett: Was this your hope chest?

    Sheldrick: No. These were two chests -- We had three of these. This was mine. My father bought them. We had very little closet space and he went in town one Saturday afternoon. My sister was with him and he bought one for her, one for me and one for Mary. This is the spread I use. But, this isn't old. It looks lovely on the bed. I might have had it a year or so. But, I had some money given to me and I thought, "I'm going to buy that spread. But, I crocheted a spread for that bed and gave it away. I gave it to Theresa Sheldrick. And, I'd do it again. If I didn't want her to have it, I wouldn't give it to her in the first place. She was happy to get it.

    Bennett: Is that a lock?

    Sheldrick: You push that in there.

    Bennett: This is some chest.

    Sheldrick: I don't even know now where we bought them. But, he bought three of them, anyhow, and I know they weren't that expensive when he bought three. But, they sat at the bottom of the bed and we put sweaters – anything went in them. He bought them mostly for sweaters and things.

    Bennett: In place of a closet?

    Sheldrick: Yes.

Digitized material in this online archive may document imagery or language that reflects racist, ableist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise offensive and harmful beliefs and actions in history. Hagley Library is engaged in ongoing efforts to address and responsibly present evidence of oppression and injustice in our collections. If you are concerned about the archival material presented here, or want to learn more about our ongoing work, please contact us at