Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Emma Crow, March 13, 1862

Dublin Core


Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Emma Crow, March 13, 1862


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876
Cushman, Emma Crow, 1839-1920
Political Affairs
Crow, Wayman, 1808-1885
Cushman, Edwin "Ned" Charles, 1838-1909
Hosmer, Harriet Goodhue, 1830-1908
Social Events--Studio Visits
Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882
Artists--Sculptors--US American
Atlantic Monthly
Fields, James Thomas, 1817-1881
Gender Norms
Relationships-- Intimate--Same-sex
Actors and Actresses


Charlotte Cushman calls Emma Crow Cushman her "daughter." Cushman laments the dishonesty and greed in the times of the Civil War. She was relieved to hear from Ned and Emma and is now longing to return to "America."
Ned and Emma may have to move in June and Cushman discusses some possibilities for Charlotte and Emma to meet again.
Cushman also discusses financial concerns:
"If I had been in America this year I would have made the largest fortune a woman ever made by speculation..more than your father has lost, I would have made! but perhaps it has been better for all that I should be out of such proceedings."
Wayman Crow and Charlotte are still invested in making Ned a good businessman. Charlotte tries to convince Emma that Wayman likes Ned and is acting in his best interest. She also argues that Ned and Emma will have more freedom because Wayman Crow is so devoted to his business that he is taking care of it all.
Emma Crow Cushman is about to have a baby (letter was written before Cushman knew of the miscarriage, since whole pages are crossed out, Cushman may have never sent the letter after she got the respective information). Cushman hints at Emma's desire to have a girl and name her Charlotte. Charlotte fears that it is going to be a boy:
"but I dont [sic] want you to be too confident for fear you should be disappointed. & thus should not love the little man child. if God[?] should send you one. remember my name can only live through a male child. & then after you will find a little Carlotta some where."
Cushman is writing the letter over the course of several days and tells Emma about her social duties, dinner with Miss Sedgwick, and gatherings with the Storys, for instance. She complains that "it is the household. the stable hold (which bothers me most of all) The studio hold. & & &"
Harriet Hosmer plays a prominent role in this letter as well. Hosmer asks Cushman for help in terms of legal proceedings, Cushman refuses to take money from her. On one hand, Cushman wishes for Hosmer to move out but, on the other hand, she admits: "we should be very lugubrious without her. for aunt Em gets in sloughs very often. & I am such an imitative animal that I get so too. & this would be so bad. That I am so thankful for the mercury which Hattie brings into the house." She describes Hosmer as "fickle" and gives the following example: "she made me a bust of Zenobia for her second winter. but sold it & bought a house with the money: & what is to come for the +++ I know not! she is funny."
Cushman describes Hosmer as a clever business manager in terms of exhibiting her art and finding sympathizers: "she is a clever selfish little monkey!" Charlotte also informs Emma that "Miss Cobbe is here. & is making great love to Hattie. I like her."
Cushman finds Emma's love for her flattering but cannot agree with Emma's description of her. She loves Emma dearly: "you are of me--mine." Toward the end of the letter, Cushman discusses gendered notions of love, power relations in romantic relationships, issues of aging and love.
She mentions Emma Stebbins's illness, a hopeful letter from Mr Seward, new sculptures of Emma Stebbins, and asks Emma Crow to deliver a note to James Fields to receive his support in a financial matter, since Emma Stebbins is still waiting for some payments.
The letter also proves that Cushman is reading the newspapers for articles about Shakespeare performances. She is pleased to read that she is still being remembered as exceptional in her role as Romeo. However, she fears to be forgotten in the future:"so few remember. & the last new comer if he has an ounce of ability. drives out a pound of genius from the memory of what the last one did."


Library of Congress, Charlotte Cushman Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876


LoC, CCP 2:400-405





Letter Item Type Metadata


[400] My dear,
Your dear & welcome letter of the 15th of Feby to 17th containing a letter from Ned & your father. Did not reach me until Tuesday morning, instead of Monday 10th which gave me some anxiety indeed when any thing ocurrs to prevent my letter reaching me on the Monday morning. I always imagine +++ to my darlings rather than +++ The delay when it always ought to fall on the steamer or the weather. You have taught me to expect my letter so regularly. That I ought to begin to believe that you never can fail me. & that the wrong must be with the steamers rather than you & indeed I will promise for the future & +++ to keep my promise too. I was so thankful to get your letter. My dear, dear daughter. & so grateful for all it contained. I can hardly describe to you the effect upon aunt Em & upon me of this political news. It only shows us how one never have been strong[?] to the utmost how faith has been tested to the +++ of infidelity! It has been so hard amid all the apparent success on the other side the affection of men on one side. The treachery the dishonesty. The other want of moral honesty any where but on the heart of Mr Lincoln & Mr Seward. The willingness of even the best & noblest. to take advantage of the needs of the Government. The eternal trying-to-bleed-a-stone-greed[?] of your people–the ridicule of sympathisers with the South the abuse of the English Journals--& the utter impossibility of beating onto the heads of [illegible, crossed out] individual English[?] people That then could be no right in the +++ party. All has been So hard & we have fought so valiantly for our faith in The head of the ++++ have tried[?] ourselves in talking & showing our belief that when the news came day after day of our successes in Kentucky. & at last Neds [sic] & your letter. I declare to you I could not read the account aloud & tears hot, refreshing, tears of joy. fell copiously upon the page. Oh I am too thankful & I am too anxious to come home ++++ in my life. Have I felt any bondage so hard +++ which would make it wrong for me to think of going to America this summer. My soul aches to get to the States to

[400 reverse] see all those who have worked to this noble grand end for as I saw the end through the clouds (for which by the bye I was+++ by your father who wittily remarked that I might see farter than most people--living nearer where the sun rose. or words to that effect.) So must I be able to see it clearer now: If I had been in America this year I would have made the largest fortune a woman ever made by speculation..more than your father has lost, I would have made! but perhaps it has been better for all that I should be out of such proceedings--but seeing as I have seen if I had +++. I should have done my will! But I have faith that all things which are done upon Earnest Conviction are & will be for the best. & so. my coming abroad was right but I cannot help my yearning. & I do so long to come to America this summer. I never cared half so much for America before. but I feel that now, I love it dearly & want to see it. & would not be sorry. for in time. to live in it and there this summer too I have extraordinary +++ I want to see my children. & my baby. ah how hard it will be not to see them. Some how, I do think. if any thing occurs. as now seems likely. That after the 1st of June Ned will have to go out to St Louis to arrange matters. & find a house for you & your furniture will have to be packed & your present home rendered uninhabitable. That you & your nurse & baby might come as well as not. a +++ passage out & back would not cost fearfully. & it would be such a comfort to me to see you. Though sooth[?] to say. I would rather come to you. for then I should see others whom I wish to see. & whom it would be a comfort for me to see. But alas. I must be content. whichever way it is decided! contentid [sic]! I am afraid I shall not +++  but stay. I am afraid I must! But I shall  "grizzle." Your fathers [sic] letter suggests a mans [sic, ?] of raising the amount of capital for Ned to go into your fathers [sic] house. which you will know of without my recapitulating. but it seems to me that which your father looks out for the main chance he is right & wise +++ the proposition he makes. +++ without doubt that I am +++ & that there is no +++

[401 page crossed out] +++ very mean but Ned. & +++ +++ will have a good share of it. but the girls must be taken care of too. & +++ while I must live as I have earned a right to live. The +++ thing with regard to capital seems to be trial[?] it gives Ned a position in his[?] business. which it is desirable for time to +++. on all accounts +++ +++ in the business your father will +++ +++ with regard to dictating to Ned & you about your household & other matters. You have calcuated your & Neds position by your sisters & +++ +++ forgetting that the cares are widely different. That your father had spent so much money in trying to cure your sister of her infatuation. & had been so disappointed by her in the end. he had such reasons for knowing  +++ incapable of managing for himself. much less for  +++ wide. He had no confidence in his property. through his besetting son. He had come through much rebutation [sic] to see that every thing he did was wrong consequently he wanted to interfere to make things right! This cannot be in Neds [sic] case. he is fond of Ned: he believes in his capability. he can lean upon him. & if he can bring himself to be a good business man. he knows he will be able to make a good protection for  +++ man, & in the event of anything happening to him the interests of your mother & the children in the business will be well looked after. Thus I do not see how your father is likely to interfere in your affairs. to the discomfort you have sometimes imagined. I do not believe it can be that your position with your father or relations can ever be what your sisters & +++ has been! and I see, in this more. the largest possible results for Ned. He will get an education through the affection of your father. such as he could get nowhere else. He will make a much better figure in St Louis. as a young merchant +++ [inserted] in an old established house of business. which has stood all the wrack & had[?] of panics & civil wars. than he could in the Eastern states another year[?]. in answer to what you say. that if your father has not made money enough in all these years. to retire or to enable him to indulge himself abroad how can

[401 reverse] Ned expect to do so? Why darling the thing answers itself your father commenced life without any friends. He has +++ a fixture. he could not be happy away from business. He has no desire for +++ or foreign sojourn. and if we were away would be in constant fear that things were going wrong at home. When he has been so long the head. the eyes. the brain. that he +++ believe he should decapitate affairs. by leaving. But with such a head. at home. That head an indulgent father & father on land. you & Ned will be able to run away. every now & then as easily as possible there will be a reaction after this trouble is settled. that will make fortunes in a shorter time than they have ever before been made. +++ will be on a better basis than it has been before. & there will be fewer losses and when Ned has made enough to give him a good income independent of his & your fixed [inserted] incomes/. which I[?] think it is wise in your father not to +++. nor do I think it could be changed./ he must not be +++ but must have his profits in the firm. & come away & spend some of the years of his life in being a comfort to his old auntie. where he can live cheaper by one half than he can at home. & be laying a good ground work in his childrens [sic] characters & constitutions. Your father +++ home in looking after his own interests will be looking after Neds. thus his interests would not suffer by +++ as your faters would. & he will be making money even when he is away. Of course this would not be for two or three years. but by a patient persevering attention to business for that time. he will have earned the right to go away a +++ & meanwhile you & I[?] will continue to see each other during the summers. This coming summer just after your confinement. it might seem strange to your father & others that you should want to come abroad. +++ may be. that we shall both have to make a sacrifice for this summer but after this all will be well & you will be enabled to come very well. when I am not able to come to you. It is a little uncertain whether I could +++ to the place in the Isle of Wight when I had hoped. if you +++ so it +++ cannot accomplish it I shall think it all for the +++

[402] & pray God for my darling! Nothing can be done your father tells me until June 1st. when +++ partnership expires & then your furniture will have to be packed. glass +++ +++ ++++! & does throroughly well I hope by a good first rate man. so that things wont [sic] be spooked. Your China & glass must be packed by a man from a China & glass shop. furniture & bedding the same I have no doubt but that if your father is made to see that it is for your health to go to the country somewhere that he will +++ as he did last year. this I have no fear for you. meanwhile as all June July & august [crossed out?] of last year you were in +++. I dont [sic] think it will hurt you to be there this summer +++ August you can go to  +++ or Newport & get some sea bathing +++ By the b. darling while I think of it I want to tell you that I sent one of the little beads such as you brought from Naples for little +++-- you such necklace [inserted] & +++. to Naples the other day. & hope to have a set like them for your baby. will you like that or would you prefer them of gold. if so. if Ned goes to that place near to +++ in +++ +++ upstairs where I bought the Childrens [sic] +++ & chains (Davis & something) he will get them in my name at cost price: but roals are prettier. I shall find an opportunity of sending them home before baby will want them--for you know the first month or so you will only put little long sleeved dresses upon it. God bless the darling! Dont [sic] fear my precious treat you wont [sic] +++ all women feel the same doubt. but you will come through all right. & will have a nice boy to protect his little sister who will come after. some how so +++ I have a feeling that it will be a boy--for your sake I hope not  & I dare say it is very cruel for me to support such a thing. but I dont [sic] want you to be too confident for fear you should be disappointed. & thus should not love the little man child. if God[?] should send you one. remember my name can only live through a male child. & then after you will find a little Carlotta some where. God bless you my darling. I kiss you & leave you. I must go out. & I cannot write too long +++ +++ time or I get +++ +++ I am much better darling though +++ +++ +++

[402 reverse, page crossed out] miserable. the +++ I suppose made me weak. & the +++ is a very trying one for me. I dont [sic] suppose it would be so much so if I had not so much to do: but I never get any rest unless I am +++ ill in bed. Aunt Emma says my duties which weigh upon me most are the +++ ones & these are self imposed. That I need not have them if I dont [sic] choose. But if I +++ +++ the world I must bear my part & if I had nothing to do but any social duties. I should not find it hard: it is the household. the stable hold (which bothers me most of all) The studio hold. & & &
Friday morning. Bright & early I am up this morning Miss Sedgwick dined with us yesterday. & stayed so late that I could not  +++ to go to a party at Mrs Storys [sic]. when there were a lot of Boston  people so I went to bed early. &  as I have got +++ a way of sleeping much so many hours & no more. it enabled me to get up earlier this morning & breakfast done. my +++ ordered. Emma & Hattie off to studios bedroom [?] & wept[?] etc. etc. it is just 9 oclock [sic] --pretty well for Rome is it not. sometimes I feel as if I would be glad of more sleep & yet perhaps I should not be half as well!--just here I was interrupted by Hattie who came to ask me to go over her accounts with her (so it is now 11 [last five words inserted] +++ +++ & Thuckers[?] legal proceedings she has nobody to ask to help her but me. & I suppose I must step into the gap. still I will put off the payment as long as may be. but I suppose they will feel +++ if I assume it. she will authorize your father to pay all her[?] money from the Burton stakes to my credit. & thus I shall get a portion of thy payment. It is a very awkward thing to have in the house with a person who asks you this & have to +++ them. especially one like Hattie. at all events I cant [sic] do it! sometimes I wish she would assume a house of her own & +++ me. & then I think. we should be very lugubrious without her. for aunt Em gets in sloughs very often. & I am such an imitative animal that I get so too. & this would be so bad. That I am so thankful for the mercury[?] which Hattie brings into the house. & which I should miss very much indeed[?] so perhaps it is all for the best. You know that I will not take any thing from Hattie in the form of money for her  +++ +++ her[?]. & for her first +++ she gave me a Puck. which costs her very little. but I have only had it home for two months: she made me a bust of Zenobia for her second winter. but sold it & bought a house with the money: & what is to come for the +++ I know not! she is funny.

[403] Darling. what you say to me of my letters amazes me. I seem to write such poor miserable letters. so unworthy & common place Your love for me makes you see them much better than they really are & I am thankful that you can so see them. This the way I feel towards likenesses often. which are or seem +++. They are only flattered[?] in the eyes of those who do not see the original so fine [inserted] [illeggible, crossed out] as that +++ artist has made the picture. But the artist sees it as he had made it. & I always say to myself. "I do not look like that in my own eyes. but I am very thankful if any one else seey me look like this. This is the case. with +++ +++ +++ likeness which matters had made of me. & which I cannot for my like see like. by the bye I am having it photographed to send you a copy. but you wont [sic] like it!--what you say of your love for me. darling I absolutely & entirely believe. I know how you love me. more than my deserts[?]. how you prize & over prize all that I do &  +++ I am happy in this & I do not want you to love me less I only want you to be more content. under what cannot for the time being be remedied! If we deserve. we shall be rewarded. I find in your promises contained in this letter. that you will be more content & will cease to struggle. will be patient good. & I am happy in[?] you. happier than I have ever been I love you just the same--better perhaps time cannot change me. you are of me--mine. & as such I love you better than I did when you did not belong to me. Can you not understand this? I am very +++ bound to my own. because it is my own.([illegible, crossed out] This is a curious element in a man's love. does not belong so much to a womans [sic]. still it is in mine) you are dear & sweet & good & true & worthy & noble as would have you be [sic]. & I love you. as few people are loved in this world. You are right, darling, in what you say about a strong woman's coming nearer ones [sic] ideal for a love. Than any man comes: And yet do you know. I have met very few women in the world whom I could have accepted for a love or a husband. any more than I could have accepted any man for a husband. There have been two or three & that is a great thing to be able to say. but I find myself as I grow older. get less & less sympatica! How true those lines of Lowell
"As less the olden glow abides
and less the chillier heart aspires
with  drift wood breached in past spring tides,
we light our sullen fires."
Miss Cobbe is here. & is making great love to Hattie. I like her & yet we dont [sic] meet[?]. somehow. She is marvellous +++ though

[403 reverse] But Hattie is so fickle she makes me heartsick. Every month or two a new one. She will be a great lion in this year in London, she has got her Zenobia placed in the most extraordinary way. in the very +++ of the building. The very highest place of honour with three of Mr Gibsons [sic] things. This is a chance to be sure they were making something for Mr Gibson the painted statues to stand in: & wanted a fourth. Her Zenobia had been tinted. & on this she founded a +++ for a background & by George. she has got it. in the highest place of honour +++ of Mr Gibson etc. If this is not luck I dont [sic] know what is and she is very clever too in her management. she never lets a lord or lady & +++ though her fingers. & she asks advice of the, & +++ them to give her an opinion. & then they think they are responsible for it. & so talk about it & help her. This she gets on. she is a clever selfish little monkey! To return to our subject. as to a womans [sic] love being more acceptable than a mans [sic]! You must reflect how exceptional the nature must be which can admit that. There must be a stronger +++ of sentiment. when it is so--than usually exists in women in our age. +++ but that. when a woman has found her mate. she would love him better if he had all these +++ for loving which exists in a woman. but there are very few who could live. with only those abilities. as it is poor & unworthy as men are to understand [both words inserted] [illegible crossed out] all these little subtle needs of a woman. how terribly, they use the power they have. How dependent a womans [sic] love makes her upon them [illegible words inserted] what would it be. if they knew & used all the powers wh a woman knows how to use in making love. No, darling depend upon it--God knows better than we do. what is wisest & best for us. To those who need be[?] ministers in the wisest way. we get all we need in this word. if we only observe the law. & where we miss any thing in our lives depend upon it. we do not need it. act +++ +++ that +++ nor have it! I can imagine what Miss +++ Miss +++ must have been--A Mrs Conway has been acting Romeo in London. The Athenaeum is speaking of it mentioned the Romeo of your Auntie as being +++ much fuller & richer--I hope so! But it is of very little use to have acted well. so few remember. & the last new comer if he has an ounce of ability. drives out a pound of genius from the memory of what the last one did.

[404] How pleased you will have been to have had your father with you so unexpectedly. I know how dear your father is to you. & +++ well +++ +++ with what pleasure you had his coming. I hope every thing will go satisfactorily. & that by my next letter letter I shall hear what he has said & what you all think: This[?] news +++ time[?] is good & our hearts rejoice: the news from you was also good. so that I have had a thankful heart! I have been getting better darling. all this week. slowly I am not so nervous & am stronger. I dont [sic] get such bad flushes. Though I am I fear irrritable[?] [sic]. but I hope the climate has something to do with that! I had such a nice letter from Mr Seward the other day. so full of hope. he wants me to come home & says my friends cannot spare me to be far way. ah how glad I should have been. to be at home this year well. well. it will come some time. Though it never could have been never will be so +++ able to me as it would have been this year. But perhaps it is all for the best!--I am sorry to hear that Mary has not been well--but darling--one cannot expose oneself & not +++ the penalty. people think so little of what they do & what danger they +++. & they are. +++ +++ so imprudent! I hope to hear that both she & Miss Muster[?] are better.--Hattie had a letter from +++ +++ the other day from +++ asking whether the church[?] would be +++ for her brother to +++--so I suppose we shall see them some time. Aunt Emma is finishing a very splendid bust she made of +++--the model--it will go to the English exhibition next year. Her angel of youth is almost finished in the clay. as also is a head of the "Ruined Arch Angel." (I call it the original "+++"). By the bye sweet heart will you send this note to Fields. Dr Howe[?] has not sent any note to Aunt Em about the money which he promised to send to her. & she is as nervous about incurring any indebtedness as she is about riding on horseback. & now Em send her +++: it is really painful to see her on horseback. she is so frightened that she spoils her poor little horse--who continues to be the very dearest little fellow Though his +++ +++. Ever since Jamie threw him down & strained him. has been very cranky. shall I ever have you to ride over the campagna with me again. Tell Ned Brian is waiting for him. My poor Em[?] has been laid up for two months with bad feet. +++ as the feet. what I should have done but

[404 reverse missing]

[405] +++ has ocurred--but Fields ought to have known better than to have kept me without the atlantics[?] for so long. Storys have come & I have read the story of day as far as it has gone. It is terribly sad. & a little exaggerated. What a sight she must have had of Life +++ through others. She could not have written it. if she had even felt it. no more than people could act, if they cried real tears! but it is very powerful. How very fine too the Bigton[?] Papers. I +++ there has been nothing so powerful. or half so effective as these papers. written on the war. These will strike where reason and argument & logic would fail forever[?]. Ridicule. somehow has an awful pour to open the eyes. & John Bull. will pull[?] out of the Bigton[?] Papers. something which will revolve in his mind & be of infinite +++ to his constitution.--You do not tell me of your Xmas gift from me of the Card Case: // I hope before this reaches you I will have recd your birthday & wedding anniversary  +++

[405 reverse missing]


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876


Cushman, Emma Crow, 1839-1920


Rome, Italy

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Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876, “Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Emma Crow, March 13, 1862,” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed July 18, 2024, https://www.archivalgossip.com/collection/items/show/269.

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