An Old Lantern and a Mawrter Mystery

Mariel Rosati ’08 and Hannah McMillan ’19 investigate.

Mariel Rosati ’08 knew there was a connection between her employer, Wyck House in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, and Bryn Mawr: former residents Jane Bowne Haines and Mary Troth Haines graduated in 1891 and 1914, respectively, and family descendant Margaret Howell Bacon was from the class of 1918.

Plus, the College was represented in its collection of more than 10,000 objects saved by the family over nine generations, including notes and papers from Jane’s student days. And after a bit of sleuthing, Rosati found a lantern tucked away on the third floor. “I instantly knew it was a Bryn Mawr lantern,” she says.

Enter student intern Hannah McMillan ’19. The two set out to determine the lantern’s owner and quickly eliminated Jane, who graduated in the 1800s, then Mary and Margaret, when descriptions of their lanterns did not include green glass. 

Was there a fourth Mawrter living at Wyck? A trip to Canaday’s Special Collections dated the lantern to 1907, and a search of the 1907 yearbook unearthed Anna Jones Haines. Anna wasn’t listed on the family genealogies, but further research showed her to be Mary’s older sister, who moved to Russia after graduating. 

Rosati and McMillan speculate that Anna gave her lantern to her sister before going abroad. They continue to dig for more Bryn Mawr connections—and maybe even some tidbits about Anna’s Russian adventure.

A lantern discovered at Wyck House.

Wyck House

Wyck House

A National Historic Landmark house, garden, and farm in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, Wyck House served as the home to a distinguished Quaker family from 1690 to 1973. The clan, which included Milans, Jansens, Wistars, and Haineses, represented the city’s leadership in business, natural history and science, and education reform.