James A. Butler
From the Preface:
Artist, inventor, museum-keeper, naturalist, and polymath, Philadelphian Charles Willson Peale may not have been in a league of his own because of his achievements in so many diverse fields , but fellow members of that league of colonial overachievers would include such luminaries as Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson. (Peale painted all three, and from Belfield Peale conducted an extensive correspondence with Jefferson at Monticello.) Any home of people such as these would be of interest; moreover, Peale in his Belfield years self-consciously fashioned a land cape to express his personality. The account of Peale in this booklet aim at (1) recreating the life he lived in these Belfield surroundings; and (2) interpreting the significance of what remains.
Both before and after Peale, Belfield also has a rich and captivating history. Slaveholders, abolitionists, miss ionaries, members of a celibate and utopian community, refugees from revolution , farmers, industrialists, soldiers in most of the country' wars, civic leaders, writers, many individualists, some academics, and more than a few eccentrics: the story of America finds an echo in this account of Belfield and its inhabitants.
Caroline Wistar and Kateryna A. Rudnytzky
Sarah Logan Wister Starr