Letter from Charlotte Cushman to [Emma Crow], Nov 23, 1861

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Letter from Charlotte Cushman to [Emma Crow], Nov 23, 1861


Artists--Sculptors--US American
Relationships-- Intimate--Same-sex
Relationships--Patrons and Protégés
Hosmer, Harriet Goodhue, 1830-1908
Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882
Cushman, Edwin "Ned" Charles, 1838-1909
Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882
Arts--Commission and Prizes
Fields, James Thomas, 1817-1881
Political Affairs
Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876
Cushman, Emma Crow, 1839-1920


Charlotte Cushman is satsfied with Ned Cushman having improved his letter writing. She encourages him to write more and laments that Ned has never shown much affection towards herself. Since Charlotte's doctor is gone, she has had some language issues with a German doctors before employing a French one who diagnosed a chronic illness in the bronchia and stomach (not in the lungs yet). The doctor advises her not to write but she is afraid of what people might think of her.
Due to orders from Lady Alford, Harriet Hosmer is out of debt. Both Lady Alford and Cornelia Crow, Emma's sister, gave Harriet a solitaire ring. Cushman characterizes Harriet as overbearing in finishing a statue in St. Louis "without sufficient authority" from Emma Crow's  father.
Cushman plans on writing to James Fields in favor of Emma Stebbins to support Stebbins's work and financial payment process. She compares Emma Stebbins's work to Harriet Hosmer's.
At the end of the letter, she discusses the Civil War and tells Emma that there are many English people in Rome but almost no Americans.


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


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876


LoC, CCP 1: 344-345





Letter Item Type Metadata


[344] A word, darling mine. to let you know that I am in the land of the living. & that I am loving you very dearly & thinking of you with my deart full of care & anxiety. that I count the days from one +++ day to another. you are right darling, in thinking if I did not get a letter from either you or Ned. I should be very very uneasy. & this there [sic] is no need for. With so little to do Ned might send me a letter every fortnight to let me know all that is going on politically — it would do him great good. already do I find him improved in his letter writing & the habit — or custom or system of writing a letter every fortnight would soon become easy. & after a little he would find that it would be a pleasure to himself as well as to me! Let him talk with men whose opinion is worth the having on the matters of the country & then give me the benefit of his thinkings. it will be good for him & for his aunty. who never received too much demonstration of affection or anything else from him. For you my own dear daughter. I know it is a comfort & a happiness to +++ to write therefore I need never bid you to do in. I wish every body belonging to me loved me as much as you do. You will be wanting to know how I am. well I cannot say much for myself. My doctor, +++, is away. went away to attend on the +++ who are under some political ban. & when he wanted to come back again. the government would not give him permission. We waited a long time for him. & At last this came out. In my hesitation for him. I employed a german homopathist[?,sic]. Who talked such a dreadful Jargon I could not understand him at all & he could not understand me. The consequence was. I got no better, at last — on Tuesday last. my cough was so bad that I sent for +++ a French physician who having

[344 reverse] lived[?] here twenty years — & having no jaw breaking language of his own to overcome — like my poor German. we got on much better – but he is old school practise I am sorry to say — for with his medicine. I am swallowing my principles beside. which makes a double & harder +++. However. if he does me good I suppose I must not say anything. as yet I cannot see much improvement He says my trouble is chronic & can only be ameliorated not cured. it lies in the bronchia & stomach! My lungs are all right. He says my active life of out door exercise & my professional labour which has kept me standing so much. has prevented its assuming a more absolute form before this — but now that I am able to sit down & instead of taking absolute rest have so much writing to do which compels me to sit over a table. That it is showing iself in its true form: he forbids my writing! what do you say to that? what did I say? I must! write! There are those as dependent on my written words as their daily bread. & to them I must write. he limits me to one letter a week. he says it is really madness. for I am sapping my own strength! But what can I do. If I do not answer peoples [sic] letters they will think very unkindly of me — if I do not write to my children what at will they do? Since the Dr saw me on Thursday[?] — The day after I sent off my last to you - with one to Ned & Macalister I have only written. three rather long notes. & now this one. & I have walked more in the morning & paid visits & sate [sic] less over my table. & perhaps I am better. though +++ it is not very apparent! My cough is very pertinacious +++ loud, norsy & troublesome. I have the sympathy of all +++ kind people — but hate to be commisserated. on such a subject. I talk all the while. as if I had the most dreadful cold in my head. which sounds hollow, like a dream. & My cough causes me to expectorate a geat deal of phlegm

[345] this is simply disgusting to me & must be to every body else I cannot laugh. if I do. immediately I burst into a fit of coughing which sends all the blood to my head. & what with the pain & the colour I am an object to behold. so that I am obliged to keep down my risibles. at the same time this is hard for I have ever been a free[?] laugher & do not like to be checked. The doctor has given me a medicine which is to make me sick. to throw off this phlegm — so I take it as soon as I wake & from about a quarter of an hour after until 10 oclock [sic]. I am sick to vomiting almost. & at times quite. which you darling can sympathise with. can you not. And as soon as I sit down to write I begin to cough until my head +++ like a drum. & I cant [sic] get a wholesome idea. so you must forgive my stupid letters! Hatty sends always best love to you & Ned! she is wonderfully well. as happy as a clam at high water. gets lots of horseback riding — & is better than I have seen her in many years. She has an order from Lady Marian Alford for a fountain & two bassi releivi [sic]: & some other orders. One would not think to see her that she owed one banker nearly $6000. & was running[?] on with another. without any apparent let[?] or hindrance. However. Hattie is Hattie — & nothing or body else! did you know that your sister Corny gave Hattie that very splendid solitaire diamond ring. which she flourished with before she came away from America? Lady Marian Alford who apparently loves her very much gave her a very beautiful one also. She is in high feather. & dresses very much more than she did. She thinks they have behaved very infamiously to her in St Louis. because they have not sent more money on the Burton Statue! But between you & I. I think Hattie took a very high hand in the matter & went on to finish it, without sufficient authority from your father. – Emma is getting on with her sketch of Horace Mann very well. it will be photographed this week. & I have advised her to wait until she can hear from the Dr Howe about it I think I had better send it to Fields. so if you see him I wish you would tell him to prepare the Dr. for it. Don’t [sic] let them

[345 reverse] know that she is not going on with the statue. & has only sent them the photograph as an earnest that she has been idle in their cause. If they approve of it. she ought ask for a portion of the money. Hattie received $2500 on her[?] Burton before she touched a tool & before she left America. I think aunt Emma should have a +++ +++ dollars [last two words inserted] of the money or 1000 paid now — a thousand when she sends it to the caster. & the remainder when the work is +++ finished [inserted]!. But +++ will not bother you with this. I must write to Fields +++ the work is photographed! I think you will like it very much — Rome is filling very fast. English almost solely,: Americans are very scarce. & mostly southern. Leaving their country +++ +++ country's good. Alas. how sad every thing seems +++ when we contemplate it from this distance. my heart soul gets sick with waiting. & it is my firm +++ that the war will be protracted during this administration & only Eva knows how much longer. Every day when +++ +++ comes. we look for telegrams to give us some +++ but alas. I think the fleet. means Charleston. if it does! it ought. absolute — & +++ justice demands — that +++ should batter Charleston down — & I believe the country +++ justify it. It is of no value as a commercial or social city — it is only the hot bed of treason. & the traitors [sic] nest ought to be broken up. I pray Heaven they will do it: — The paper has just come with telegrams from New York to the 3d of Nov & no news. surely the fighting time is passing! – Will you give me love to your father & mother & sisters when you write. By +++ +++ this reaches you darling. if you have determined on +++ to St Louis for Xmas. This you will have started or be starting I hope you will go. for it seems to me under all the circumstances to be the best thing for each & all of you! Do go darling if you can make up your mind to it. you will be better taken care of — & I shall have less anxiety about you +++ if you are in Boston this winter. & it is better if it is to be at +++ that it should be tried as well first as last. God be with you my dear children prays
Ever your lovingly devoted


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876


Cushman, Emma Crow, 1839-1920


Rome, Italy

Geocode (Latitude)


Geocode (Longitude)



Unfortunately, tape was used to stick the letter pages to blank pages in the folder, which impacts readability of the words at the end of lines on some pages.

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Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876, “Letter from Charlotte Cushman to [Emma Crow], Nov 23, 1861,” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed June 10, 2023, https://www.archivalgossip.com/collection/items/show/359.

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