Cora Livingston Barton - Plant Lover and Society Belle

Cora Livingston Barton

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Plant Lover and Society Belle

At the end of the Civil War, the owner of Decatur House in Washington, D.C., recalled how an older woman dressed in black approached him about buying the structure, then in great disrepair, in hopes of fixing it up.

She identified herself as Cora Livingston Barton, and told him through tears that her happiest times had been spent in this house. Cora and her parents had rented the house when her father served as Jackson’s Secretary of State between the years 1831 and 1833. It was the scene of her mother’s lavish, vibrant, and salon-like dinner parties as well as Cora’s social success as an extremely stylish debutante. She married Thomas Pennant Barton at Decatur House in 1833.

Decatur House is currently a historic property owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Cora Livingston (Mrs. Thomas Pennant Barton), from Famous Belles of the Nineteenth Century, by Virginia Tatnall Peacock (1901).

Entry and stair hall of Decatur House, designed by Benjamin LaTrobe, 1817. Photo: Decatur House, a National Trust Historic Site. Courtesy of Dan Redmond.

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