Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Emma Crow, Nov 26, 1858

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Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Emma Crow, Nov 26, 1858


Artists--Sculptors--US American
Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876
Cushman, Emma Crow, 1839-1920
Hosmer, Harriet Goodhue, 1830-1908
Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882
Social Events--Misc.
Relationships-- Intimate--Same-sex
Cushman, Edwin "Ned" Charles, 1838-1909
Muspratt, Susan Cushman, 1822-1859


As it is often the case, Cushman is very busy, and finds it quite hard to write distant friends. It takes a month for a letter to get to St. Louis from Rome. Cushman informs Emma about her daily routine in Rome and her activities with Emma Stebbins. American landscape painter Tilton provided Emma Stebbins with a working space, which Cushman is grateful for. Charlotte is annoyed by the slow renovations in her new house in Via Gregoriana 38 that she wants to move to with Stebbins. Charlotte laments the "excessive slowness" of the workmen. Harriet Hosmer has a new horse and works on her Zenobia statue. Charlotte also mentions Mr. Gibson in this context. Lately, there are many American and English "strangers" in Rome.
Cushman expects Emma Crow's visit in 1859 and is already looking for an apartment for Emma, trying to use her social capital in order to get a good one. Emma's father Wayman, whom Cushman describes here as her "little husband," may have not brought Emma to Charlotte earlier that year as Cushman may be "a more dangerous person than Mrs Kemble."
Cushman's nephew Ned is back from India and might come to Rome as well since Charlotte wants to take care of him. He should "become a man" and might have no job if he cannot go back to the navy due to his poor health condition. At the moment, he is in Liverpool with Susan, Charlotte's sister.


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


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876


LoC, CCP 1: 87-89





Letter Item Type Metadata


[87] This letter must go to morrow [sic] if I would have my own darling "little love" get a Christmas +++ from me. It takes a letter a month to reach St Louis from Rome & this right to get to you about Xmas day! Will you have before to think I have forgotten you & set me down as a most unworthy mistress! you would wrong me if you did for I think of you as often & as fondly as you would have me. but I have so many occupations. so many correspondents & the air of Rome is inimical to letter writing. I remember each year that I have been here how strangely careless I have seemed to become of distant friends & how hard it has been to find the moment when writing was easy. One day you will see & understand this & then will find excuses for me. I ought to tell you how I pass my days & then you will form some idea. In the moning at 7. I am roused out of my comfortable bed. breakfast at 8. little household cares or duties. Miss Stebbins goes off to her studio. which (owing to some carelessness on the part of one +++ Hattie) the studio which Miss S. is to occupy cannot be obtained until February. consequently she is obliged to work where she can & her brother in law Mr Tilton the Amercian landscape painter. who has well earned the title of the "American Claude Lorraine" — Lends her a room off his studio to model in. but it is more than a mile from our hotel & strangely inconvenient. This occupies much time in going backwards & forwards to & from. I go up to our house which is undergoing repair as slowly as five men

[87 reverse] & those men[?] Italians can work. They have been four weeks at work & only accomplished the finishing of two ceilings. so when we are to get into our house remains as yet a problem. the man who had possession of a portion of it having refused to go out & the law having had to be brought to bear upon him. He is only just now moving his things out. & we shall not get to see it before the next week. Then the repairs have to be commenced & it is quite a question whether we get in this year. You may perhaps imagine. knowing something of my impa-tience. how very trying all this delay is & how it "stirs up all my depravity", day after day, as I go in & find the excessive slowness of their movements & the small prospect there is of my getting into my house. Hatties [sic] rooms are done. They are quite the best in the house. commanding a lovely +++ & in fact the healthiest[?] & best apartment in Rome. This will be a satisfaction to you all who love her so much she is as well & as "jolly" as possible. full of fun & frolic. she has got a capital horse. as safe & as quiet as a kitten a capital jumper. so good in fact. That she is as safe on his back at the top of a fence. as she was on a dead +++ on the back of the little horse her father bought her when she was first in Rome. He cost a large sum. but he will pay for himself before she has done with him He was a famous hurdle racer, & belonged to the hunt here, always winning the race for which he was entered. being so safe & sure a jumper. If Hattie suffers him to run again —as she can — he will always win the stake for which he runs & so she will get her money back if she likes. But he is so good & strong & safe & sure — that he will be the cheapest horse she ever had. so her father need not distress himself. She had a very good year last year & I think will have a very good one this year. She has begun

[88] her visiting as usual & is busy at it. Her Zenobia is not yet "set up" — the large one. she was finding some difficulty in getting a place to +++ it in, where she could be suffi-iently near to Mr Gibson, to have him watch her in her work. as he had no place in his studio sufficiently large. so I set to work & found her a splendid room quite near, which she seized upon immediately & is now having her materials put in & her figure set up. She has been playing a bit meanwhile which will do her good. Rome is beginning to be very full of strangers Americans & English. among the former I dont [sic] find any people from your part of the world I am hoping so much that you may come out in the +++ & that nothing may interfere to prevent it. Wherever I pay visits this year I shall look out to see what would be a nice apartment for you so that we may know where to "locate" you. (as the Yankies[?] say) when you come. I have been made very anxious lately in the dreadful storms we have been having at sea & on the coast of England
My nephew Ned has been on his way from India. our[?] last accounts he was very ill in Calcutta. & as he had once before been ill there with the Indan fever, we were very troubled. However he has got home safely. thank God. & is now with his mother, in Liverpool. very poorly indeed with Rheumatism & his constitution very much shaken from +++. — very much fear that he will not be able to pursue the +++ as a profession for although he seems a strong fellow, we find that any very serious thing pulls him down directly. His mother was very very young when he was born & had been from her youth very delicate. so that there is little wonder that he is not over strong. and then he is so imprudent. Takes no +++ to himself when he once feels a little stronger & +++ at the restraint which any ill health maker almost absolutely nescessary [sic]. I have written to him to say. That if he finds he cannot go to sea again this winter. that he must come out to me here & be taken care of, poor lad. My sister writes me that he is looking much more manly, having +++ a good +++ pair of whiskers in his absence. dear old

[88 reverse] fellow. I do not love him the less[?] for being a little +++ & head strong. so that they do not approach to vices[?]. He wrote me such a nice letter on his arrival. I mean a +++ letter for a boy — for he is nothing more. although the is 20 +++ old & will be 21. the 27" of next March. still he has been brought up with his grandmother & mother. no father to control him — until he was sent to school. kept there until he went to sea. & has not had a chance to become a man yet in his letters or actions. We shall see what another winter will do for him, especially if he comes to me when I should have an opportunity of throwing him more with ladies and gentlemen than his passion for the sea has +++ him to know hitherto. I very much hope he will come. — after I have +++ to my affairs in the morning. I generally walk up to Miss Stebbins [sic] studio. about 11. remain there reading or writing [inserted] talking until half past one. when we take one primitive[?] lunch of bread & butter & fruit. Then start for home, where we dress for riding on horseback. start at 2 1/2. for +++ place where we mount (The pavements of Rome are so slippery that it is dangerous to ride over them & we are compelled to drive[?] to the place where we mount our horses.) ride pretty hard for two hours & get home for dinner at 5. After which we have either to stay at home to receive visits or go out to pay them. in bid by 11. & so +++ our days. The weather has been terrible ever since we +++ until three days ago. now we enjoy our rides very much I have my own carriage & horses which I brought from England & Miss Stebbins has a nice little fellow which she[?] bought here. so we are nicely mounted. I have a capital +++ & one menage is in apple[?] per order. come & see! — Thank you for your sweetly kind offer to send me my +++. but you shall keep it until you come. it is some +++ nice to take +++ from your own dear hands & give you the kiss of thanks immediately. I wear your "newby" +++ I go out of an evening[?] & love it dearly as your hand+++ I love every thing you give me very very much my darling

[89] in your exacting little heart would be satisfied if you could[?] see how much & you are so good & so thoughtful +++ make me such pretty gifts that I am made a +++ ever in thanks — but I thank you." I will try and +++ the  masurement of the little cushions I want +++ I can in this letter. if not in my next. You know in +++ countries when people leave out of the window. +++ over a balcony. They have cushions about six inches +++ or four feet long +++ to rest their arms upon & this is what I want! I will send you dimension. bless you you darling.

[89 reverse] and now good bye & God bless you +++ own dear "little love I would I could hold you to my heart & tell you how well & how truly I love you & how unch I wish to see you. I am looking forward to next year with much anxiety in the hope of having you near me. I am glad you will get to Philadelphia this winter — though I should have been more obliged to +++  if he had brought you to New York in the summer. but the+++ I suppose I am a more dangerous person than Mrs Kemble[?] bless you my sweet one. & may you have a happy new year[?] a marry Xmas & many of them — & "may I be there to see". +++ this year. I have asked Hattie to send you a word of +++  so here it is. Best love to all at home. kisses to the dear children my little husband Wayman & know me ever fondly your C.


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876


Cushman, Emma Crow, 1839-1920



Geocode (Latitude)


Geocode (Longitude)


Location (Recipient)

St. Louis, MO, US

Geocode Recipient (Latitude)


Geocode Recipient (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 26, 1858,” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed June 10, 2023, https://www.archivalgossip.com/collection/items/show/373.

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