This is the Master Bedroom, or Chamber, of the Avoca Mansion. Modern sentiments and notions of privacy dictate that bedrooms be removed from public rooms and that bedroom doors should remain shut. Beginning in the Colonial Era, the bedroom was considered a public space. Often the most expensive piece of furniture in the house was the bed. Visitors were received “in bed” meaning in the bedroom. By the Victorian Era, guests were no longer entertained in the chamber, although it was still considered a public area. During events, the chamber doors would be left open and it was acceptable for guests to enter the chamber to chat or get away from the crowd in the parlor.
The interpretation of this room reflects the tastes of country Victorian families in general and of the Fauntleroy family in particular. While the house was furnished with a bathing room upstairs, each bedroom contained a pitcher and basin.
Gladys Fauntleroy, the youngest daughter of Thomas and Mary Anna, was the last resident of this room and much of its content reflects her life. A remarkable young lady, Gladys graduated from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in 1906 where she was a member of the basketball team. She served as a missionary in Japan and was present during the great earthquake in 1923 when she began to aid in relief efforts. The timing of her trip was also due to her grief over the death of her boyfriend. Upon her return, she met and married Lindley Murray Winston, the son of missionaries she knew. They lived in California until his death in 1947. She then returned to Avoca.