Sarah Orne Jewett House

Parlor Wallpaper

Rooms were typically gendered in the nineteenth century. Libraries or offices were generally male spaces while parlors were female. A delicate floral paper like this one would have only been appropriate in a parlor or bedchamber. This Rococo striped wallpaper, made in France or the United States between 1850-60 was probably installed in the parlor around the time Sarah’s Uncle William inherited the house in 1860.


Wherever possible Historic New England strives to maintain historic wallpapers in situ. Although the papers are sometimes disfigured with age, we prefer the authenticity of leaving them intact as long as possible. Here two conservators clean a roughly one hundred sixty year-old paper and tack down loose edges.