Tea Rusk and Brick House

William P. Chappel American

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Rusk—a hard biscuit made of twice-baked bread—was a popular snack, valued for its long shelf life. Bakers often produced rusks, biscuits, gingerbread, and tea-cakes to be hawked by boys and young men in the streets. At least once, the city revoked its permission to employ such peddlers because of the boys’ disorderly behavior. Bakers petitioned the council for a reprieve, noting the popularity of the portable snacks with "Country people, Boatmen, and other transient persons." The location of this stately brick house is a mystery, but we know from the plaque located just below the roof that it was insured against fire losses by the Mutual Insurance Company.

Tea Rusk and Brick House, William P. Chappel (American, 1801–1878), Oil on slate paper, American

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