Was on the last tour of the day and am so glad I arranged my schedule to fit in this tour of Victorian wealth! The fact that 90+% of the furnishings are original to Asa Packer and his family made the experience intriguing. Our tour guide informed us that daughter Mary Packer Cummings made it her mission to retain the estate and accumulated wealth. And as last surviving heir she had to marry to accomplish that goal. The only surviving child, Mary, was precluded from inheriting the family fortune by Victorian laws that forbade single woman from inheriting. To get around this, she married Charles Cummings, an engineer for her late father's railroad. It was a marriage of convenience. He signed a pre-nuptial agreement ceding him $100,000 worth of Lehigh Valley Railroad stock and a house in Florida in the event of a divorce. Within the year, (she) received both her inheritance and a divorce. These insights into the history of the Packer family made the description of furnishings, art, architecture, and life style even more entertaining.
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