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date: 01 March 2021

Schuyler, Catherine Van Rensselaerlocked

(04 November 1734–07 March 1803)
  • Allida Shuman McKinley


Schuyler, Catherine Van Rensselaer (04 November 1734–07 March 1803), revolutionary-era hostess, was born in Claverack, New York, the daughter of Johannes Van Rensselaer, a prominent Dutch landowner, and Engeltia (or Engeltie) Livingston. Her mother died in 1747, and her father then married Gertrude Van Cortlandt. Little detailed evidence of Catherine’s education survives, but her contemporaries indicated that she read widely. Guests at her home and dinner table recorded that she discussed morality, poetry, religion, and politics. As was common among the landed families of New York, she was thoroughly trained in the arts of housewifery. She spoke French as well as English and read the Bible in Dutch. As a child she attended the Dutch Reformed church. When she reached her late teens she engaged in an active social life; she was admired for her beauty and vivacious personality and was called the “Morning Star.” Among her admirers was ...

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