The Maryland Historical Society Presents 'Woman of Two Worlds:' Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte and Her Quest for an Imperial Legacy

Also in May, join The Washington Post's Steve Vogel As He Discusses His New 1812 Book, Through the Perilous Fight

May 03, 2013, 11:40 ET from The Maryland Historical Society

BALTIMORE, May 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Maryland Historical Society presents "Woman of Two Worlds:" Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte and Her Quest for an Imperial Legacy, an exhibition that brings 1812 Baltimore vividly to life.

As a gorgeous 18-year-old, Elizabeth Patterson set the gossipmongers atwitter with her revealing empire dresses at local society events. Her marriage to Napoleon Bonaparte's younger brother Jerome became an international drama. Whether in Europe or in Baltimore she always caused a stir with her renowned beauty and wit. Even at ninety-four, Elizabeth was still making news as one of America's richest women. Despite a life of celebrity and financial success, she lived with unfulfilled imperial dreams.

With hundreds of objects and reams of documents, the Maryland Historical Society is launching a major new exhibition, entitled "Woman of Two Worlds: Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte and the Quest for an Imperial Legacy" that will open on June 9, 2013.

The exhibition includes silver, porcelain, paintings, textiles, jewelry, manuscripts and furniture associated with Elizabeth and her descendants illustrating her unique life shaped by American and European societies. Of particular note are Elizabeth's pearl and garnet tiara and other jewelry, and one of her "scandalous" dresses in the French-style. In total, more than 100 objects will be on view in the exhibition, and this marks the first time the Maryland Historical Society has featured an exhibition exclusively devoted to a historical female figure.

"Few historical figures I have studied intrigue me as much as Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte," says Chief Curator Alexandra Deutsch. "Elizabeth's story transcends time because it is the story of a strong-minded woman who shaped her own destiny despite the limitations society and her family tried to impose on her."

We are deeply grateful to the many funders who have made this project possible, including The Von Hess Foundation.

Also in May, On Thursday, May 23 at 6pm, celebrate the launch of the one of the most recent books on the War of 1812, Through the Perilous Fight, with Steve Vogel of the Washington Post.

Through the Perilous Fight tells the gripping, little-known story of a pivotal six weeks in U.S. history when our place in the world was changed forever - the story of the perilous fight that preserved the new nation at a time of grave danger and inspired the country's most indelible song: The Star-Spangled Banner.

For a complete list of all of the MD Historical Society Spring Events, and to register, visit:

Founded in 1844, The Maryland Historical Society Museum and Library occupies an entire city block in the Mount Vernon district of Baltimore. The society's mission is to "collect, preserve, and interpret the objects and materials that reflect Maryland's diverse cultural heritage." The Society is home to the original manuscript of the Star-Spangled Banner and publishes a quarterly titled "Maryland Historical Magazine."

For more information, contact Marketing Director Laura Rodini at 410-685-3750 Ext. 322 or

SOURCE The Maryland Historical Society