Archive for the Cast of Characters Category


Money, Power, and Singleness: Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte’s Account Books

By Yve Colby Much can be learned from the pages of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte’s twenty-one surviving account books: her material purchasing habits, diet, lifestyle, travels, opinions of family members, and much, much more. Her account books are part financial account, shopping record, inventory, journal, and commonplace book. They include her daily purchases of food, clothing, […]

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The Story of a Shawl

By Barbara Meger, Curatorial Volunteer The ‘Woman of Two Worlds’ Exhibit at The Maryland Historical Society On display at the Maryland Historical Society, as part of the exhibition “A Woman of Two Worlds: Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte and Her Quest for an Imperial Legacy,” is a beautifully worked fine white muslin shawl lined with chrome yellow […]

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People are Talking: Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte and the Gossip

Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, Firmin Massot, 1823, MdHS, XX.5.69 In 1814, Elizabeth wrote to Dolley Madison, her friend and confidante, “[the] Public are so malicious & so much pleased when people meet with disappointments that I wish to avoid gratifying them again at my expense.” Since her marriage in 1803 to Jérôme Bonaparte, Napoléon’s brother, Elizabeth’s […]

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Jérôme – The Bigamist

Jerome Bonaparte, King of Westphalia, After Jean-Baptiste Isabey, Gift of Mrs. Charles J. Bonaparte, XX.5.67 By Heather Haggstrom, Exhibitions Manager Back in Baltimore at her father’s house, Elizabeth awaited word from Jérôme. Although he dictated to her to live as if he was returning at any moment, his brother Napoléon was making grand plans for […]

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A Mother’s Love

Jérôme Napoléon Bonaparte (Bo) by Anna Pecchioli Gift of Mrs. Charles Joseph Bonaparte, xx.5.62 By Heather Haggstrom, Exhibitions Manager Despite the heartbreak over the end of her marriage, Elizabeth was determined not to let the situation get the best of her and she certainly would not let it affect her son. Now that her chance […]

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Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte: Who Was She?

By Chief Curator Alexandra Deutsch “Crushed like a butterfly sporting on the bosom of a flower (a rose).” –Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte Account Book, 1858-59 Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte (1785-1879), François Josephe Kinsoen, circa 1817, Maryland Historical Society, Gift of Mrs. Charles Joseph Bonaparte, xx.5.72 For the past year, I have collected hundreds of […]

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Pack Your Bags and “Go!”: Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, A Woman on the Move

By Chief Curator Alexandra Deutsch “Always move forward…” –Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, 1840 Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte was a woman on the move. In a recent conversation with historian Helen Jean Burn, author of Betsy Bonaparte (Maryland Historical Society, 2010), I asked, “Why do you think Elizabeth always lived in boarding houses?” Burn’s answer was thought provoking. […]

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A Tender Bond

By Heather Haggstrom, Exhibitions Manager Elizabeth did not learn of the annulment right away and when she did hear the news it was not from Jerome or Napoleon, but from a newspaper report. She was so distressed by the news that she ceased going out. How could this have happened? Only a few months before […]

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About Napoleon Bonaparte

By Heather Haggstrom, Exhibitions Manager “The man fitted for affairs and authority never considers individuals, but things and their consequences.” –Napoleon Bonaparte (Date unknown) Napoleone Buonaparte was born on August 15, 1769 in Ajaccio, Corsica. He was the fourth child of Carlo Buonaparte, a lawyer, and his wife, Letizia Ramolino. The Corsican Buonapartes were descended […]

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About Jerome Bonaparte

By Heather Haggstrom, Exhibitions Manager “I just love beautiful things.” – Jerome Bonaparte to his brother Napoleon Jerome Bonaparte was born in Corsica on November 15, 1784, the youngest of thirteen children, of whom only eight survived to adulthood. His father, Carlo Buonaparte, was a successful lawyer despite the fact he had never finished his […]

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