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Ebenezer Maxwell (director) 1870

Eminent Victorian

Ebenezer Maxwell was born in New York in 1827. He moved to Philadelphia in his early 20’s to take a sales job with a wholesale drug importer. Two years later he met a man named William Bangs in their rooming house and the two went into the textile business together. In 1859, Maxwell married his second cousin Anna Smith, who was the daughter of a well to do Quaker family. The same year as their marriage, Anna’s father died and she contributed her inheritance to the Maxwell and Bangs textile business.

Business was going well and Maxwell, like many others, left the bustling city for the quieter suburbs. He ended up in Germantown, which at the time was outside of Philadelphia, where he built his home. It was around this time that he took a position as director of the Mechanics’ National Bank and also as a charter member at his church. Maxwell, however lucky in business, was not as lucky with his health. He contracted typhoid fever and was dead at 43. His widow, Anna, lived another 36 years.

His house, in years since, has become a museum dedicated to the life and style of Victorians with lush gardens, rococo and Renaissance furniture and other amenities afforded to the upper classes of the time.

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Ebenezer Maxwell Portrait