Republican Families … and Servants
Around 1828, an unidentified artist painted this York, Pennsylvania, family with an African American servant. The artist gives equal emphasis to the wife and the husband, suggesting they enjoyed a companionate-style marriage. Reflecting the outlook of republican motherhood, the mother takes the leading role in educating the children. The family, probably of upper-middle-class status given their attire and furnishings, employs an African American woman as a domestic servant and nanny — common occupations among free black women of the time. The Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri, USA/The Bridgeman Art Library.