The Collections

The Collection

King Manor Museum's collection consists of approximately 1,400 objects including furniture, ceramics, paintings and prints, musical instruments, toys, personal artifacts, glassware and costumes dating from the late 18th century to the mid - 19th century; it also includes 4,000 artifacts from ongoing archaeological excavations at this site. Many objects are related to early life in Jamaica, while others are significant because of their connection to members of the King family, who called King Manor home from 1805 to 1896.

Researchers are welcome to study objects in the collection! Make an appointment by emailing curator@kingmanor.org. Advance notice is requested.

King Family Collection

At the core of the museum’s collection – and related directly to King Manor’s mission – is the King Family Collection, a group of about 150 paintings, portraits, decorative objects, textiles and books related to three generations of this politically-active, staunchly anti-slavery family. These items help to illuminate their lives and personalities, as well as the attitudes and conventions of 18th and 19th century America, and document paths that often crossed with the key events, notables and history-makers of their day.

dogcollar

This brass dog collar is inscribed “Rufus King, Jamaica, L.I.” It has three adjustment holes as well as smaller holes to attach a padded lining. King’s account books and letters contain numerous references to dogs:

On May 12, 1815, Rufus King wrote that his coachman, Thomas, “had been induced to leave my services for his [George F. Thornton of Virginia] – That he had without my Consent taken away my Dalmation (sic) Coach Dog.” King wrote to Thornton requesting that the dog be returned immediately “by the first vehicle to the Care of Gracie + Jones N. York.” Perhaps the collar pictured above was intended to establish ownership of the dog.

Charles King also mentions two dogs in a letter to his father on December 27, 1825. Rufus King was then serving as ambassador to Great Britain and Charles was keeping him informed of goings-on at the farm. “The old watch dog Othello is dead – but Valentine [the gardener] thinks he has a substitute in a young half bull, half mastiff, pup, which is likely to be, for he has already tried his teeth on his master, who caught hold of him too suddenly on some occasion, but our son compelled to let go.”

Dog collar / x.1993.171 / brass 2” h., 5.5” dia.

 

Archaeological Artifacts

Archaeological excavations have been conducted at this historic site since the 1980’s and King Manor Museum is the repository of the thousands of artifacts recovered. This collection has expanded the existing interpretation of the history of the King house and property, and is the basis for our acclaimed Archaeology Education Program for 4th to 6th grade students.

plate

Hundreds of ceramic sherds have been recovered during archaeological excavations around King Manor. These three pieces are impressed with a partial maker’s mark (trademark). The complete mark would have read “D.D. & Co.”/”CASTLEFORD POTTERY”/”O.” This trademark was used by the company between 1790-1820, coinciding with Rufus King's residence at King Manor.

The Castleford dish is a plain off-white creamware with no decoration. These durable dishes were probably used for ordinary, everyday meals here at King Manor. The more expensive china was reserved for special occasions, just as we do today.

Ceramic – creamware; plate base (3 pieces), c. 1790-1820
Castleford Pottery, England; Makers’ Mark:    D   / CAST POTTERY / O

Recovered, 1997, North Kitchen; excavation Unit 1; Stratum 5; Level 2

Architectural Fragments

“I have been altering my House, and by making the small End of the same size as the large one, we have made an excellent dining Room, improved our Chambers, and changed the general appearance for the better…”
- Rufus King to John Trumbull
Jamaica, Long Island, July 25, 1810

cabinets cabinet_new

The King family lived in this house for over 90 years, from 1805-1896. Each generation made improvements and alterations to suit their needs and reflect their tastes. The collection includes material evidence of these changes in building fragments such as window frames and sills; doors; hardware; plaster, lathe and bricks; bookcases; and cabinets shown above which originally were part of a large pantry opposite the dining room.

Archival Collections

King Manor Museum preserves a small collection of archival materials that document the social, economic and political history of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries as it relates to the King family, the village of Jamaica, and the King Manor Association.

These primary and secondary materials include scrapbooks, ledgers, reports and minutes; books and pamphlets; letters, diaries and journals; drawings and prints; photographic materials; postcards; maps and broadsides; news clippings; sheet music; certificates and receipts; and ephemera as programs, calling cards, and invitations.

postcard3

postcard

"The King Mansion in King Park, Jamaica, N.Y."
Postcard, c. 1940s

Dear Marian,

There is a history connected with this house. It is one of the places we visited yesterday stands in the center of a large park on Fulton St*. It is such a large house, so many additions to the back of house, will try and find out about it before I come home. Got such a nice drink at the Fountain in the St. in front of the house, cool as Ice water.

Lovingly, Mother

*Fulton Street is now Jamaica Avenue

Scholars & researchers! The largest repository of King family letters and documents can be found at the New-York Historical Society in the Rufus King, King Family, and Erving-King Collections. Click here to explore the New-York Historical Society Collection!