Our Largest Object

If you saw our Superlative Showcase, you know that the Rosenbach brothers’ home at 2010 Delancey place is our largest collections object. But how much do you know about it?

The 2000 block of Delancey was built in the early 1860s as a developers row, which explains the unified brick appearance of the street. It was an investment project of “John McCrea, builder” who bought the “lots on west Delancey Place between 20th and 21st streets” in 1852. To get sense of what the neighborhood was like, you can take a look at the historic maps at PhilaPlace.org. In the earliest map on their site, which dates from 1875, you can see the livery stables at the end of the street and several small woolen mills slightly to the south.

The earliest residents of 2010 appear to have been members of the Coleman family. Mrs. Harriet Drayton purchased the property in 1866 and it passed to her relative Anne L. Coleman in 1867, who lived in it until 1886. There is also an unexplained record of a Jane Coleman, gentlewoman, residing at 2010 Delancey in the 1865 edition of McElroy’s Philadelphia city directory, prior to the purchase by Mrs. Drayton, but we haven’t been able to sort out what exactly this means.

After the Colemans the house was owned by Elizabeth Royce Judson and then in 1902 it was acquired by Edward Coles. It remained in the Coles family until 1940 when it was bought by John and Alice Martin. The Martins embarked on a campaign of alterations and improvements to 2010 Delancey and are responsible for much of the interior as we now experience it. But that is a subject for another post, so stay tuned.

Kathy Haas is the Assistant Curator at the Rosenbach Museum & Library and the primary poster at the Rosen-blog