Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Emma Crow Cushman, Jan 30, 1863 [1864?]

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Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Emma Crow Cushman, Jan 30, 1863 [1864?]


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876
Cushman, Emma Crow, 1839-1920
Cushman, Edwin "Ned" Charles, 1838-1909
Crow, Wayman, 1808-1885
Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882
Relationships-- Intimate--Same-sex
Intimacy--As topic
Hosmer, Harriet Goodhue, 1830-1908
Manners / Etiquette


This letter seems to be a follow up of Jan 22, 1864, and hence have the wrong date. Instead of "1863," the letter is probably from 1864.
Charlotte Cushman tells Emma Crow Cushman that she never shows her letters to anyone except for reading single passages to Emma Stebbins or Mary. With Mary [Crow Emmons], however, Cushman repeatedly advises Emma to be careful since Mary cannot be trusted with intimate knowledge. Cushman refers to Harriet Hosmer as a free spirit that is free from "heart pain". Emma's sister Cornelia presumably knows about Hosmer's state of mind, Cushman indicates and thus touches upon Cornelia's and Hosmer's intimate relationship. Furthermore, Cushman discusses hunting, social duties, and investment issues that she talks about with Col. Stebbins and Wayman Crow. A considerable part of the letter is devoted to the King issue. Cushman speculates or expects King to resign as minister to Rome. Charlotte wants Emma and Ned to fill this position. The Kings cannot afford to live in Rome according to societal standards. Cushman discusses financial issues and the "unfittness" of Mrs. King due to her lack of language skills, for instance. Charlotte advises Emma what are the next steps in order for Ned to become minister and for them to move to Rome.


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


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876


LoC, CCP 2, 622-624





Letter Item Type Metadata


[622] I have not time now to tell you what the flowers[?] cost. you shall give them to me but not now — Mary will bring +++ +++ 

Yours & dear Neds [sic] welcome[?] letters of the 30" & 31" Dec. came to my hand last Tuesday 26". & made me very happy as it told me of your well being & doing. My largest comfort in  absence from you — is in your letters they bring me clever[?] criticisms on +++ & things or are as it were merely records of your outgoings & incomings — you +++ of daily life. are always welcome — dearly truly welcome. Why should I be particular what they say else. if they bring me intelligence of your health and wellbeing never apologise for your letters darling I know that the mind is not always prepared to write such a letter one would wish. The +++ & hindrances of daily life — The thousand recupations[?, sic] which distract one and permit the calm thought which is nescessary for a  show +++ — constantly interfere to make it impossible I am sure I get so distract [sic] sometimes — so daft — that I feel as though I were losing my mind. or getting softening of the brain. & a sensation gets possession of me that I shall never recover from this but that I will get worse & worse each day & that I shall never possess my sould any more. but. there do come clearer[?] moments & then we can write better. at least I can & you can & that is "every body". I never show your letters darling. occasionally I read portions of them to aunt Emma. when there is any thing she would call think  [inserted] clever[?]. and sometimes to Mary when she has not had a letter from home. I read portions of your letters. but I am very careful of her. for one is not safe in her hands: she has returned from Naples after a week stay during which Robert  enjoyed themselves very much. Mary was not well & was glad to get back to Hattie. for whom she +++ her fathers attachment. Hattie is fond of her too — as much as she can be of any body. for she wisely does not trust her heart & soul too much out of her own business[?] — ah I wish I could be like that I should be so much freeer [sic]. I know no human being so free. so entirely independently

[622 reverse] free as Hatty — How it will be when she is old & +++ ill — for nature will establish the equilibrium at some time — & she must compensate for this lack of heart pain now. God knows. I only hope she may forever have power to attach people to her. & always have those who will care for her. as she is able to make them do now! — Mary seems happy — Robert is more +++ than before they were married — worships Mary & so does George. she is a very lucky girl. does just as she likes in every pos -sible way. I +++ her up the other afternoon  she had left Hatties [sic] studio. & we had a dine, & she takes all the time — as she has by the bye a passion for +++ did you ever notice what a talker she is — when only two are together. she has all the talk. I think she exhausts herself in this way. she is very careful & does not give herself  away to anybody — she goes to bid at nine oclock [sic]. does not go up too early in the morning — & altogether takes life very easy — when circumstances will let her! This is only conjecture. I know nothing. but suppose sister Conny does. so you will know. Robert is very indulgent to Mary Everything she wants, she has. he desires her nothing. but then he is careful & keeps accounts well & knows how much he spends each day of his life — & thus keeps a chick upon things — I have been very busy all this week darling. first and foremost I have hunted two days. on Monday we had a lovely days hunt. There are 22 dogs. & we get across +++ very well — but of course there is a good deal of pottering until the dogs walk up a fox. but when they once get off it is pretty hard +++. The first day I hunted: the dogs killed a fox — within 20 minutes after we started but since then I have not seen one killed. There are a +++  many holes here & although they have an earth stopper[?]. +++ the foxes know when to hide. we have about forty or fifty people on horseback following the hounds. & +++ quantity of people come out in carriages to see the +++. +++ is a very pretty sight. I wish you were here to see it. but you must not come as consul. nothing less than Minister or Banker. I should not wonder. if matters do not accommodate themselves better — but that the Kings will find

[623] that they cannot afford to live here on their salary. & you must try & get a sort of promise from Mrs Frederick Seward that if +++ King should resign. she will use her influence to have Ned put in his place. for Mr Lincoln will be reelected & Mr Seward kept in his place. with full power! The Kings are nice people. but without fortune. other than the salary as Minister 7000 a year. which nobody can live here upon in that position. but if he had just a thousand or fifteen hundred dollars a year of private fortune added to that. it would make all the difference in the world. In coming here. of course all is strange. They have had to commence in the heart of the season — with prices ranging very high — as the season is then & the carnival season [inserted] already commencing, when they came! they have been cheated of course out of their eye teeth. for what stranger ever came without it — she has suffered very much with chilblains & nervousness +++ — so that she is miserable altogether — & with tears in her eyes confessed to me the other day. that she should not be able to stay, for she would not run into debt & could not see the way to make both ends met. with a daughter to educate as well. and a son in America to feed & clothe. by the way the latter is at Westpoint. so he wont [sic] need much. The +++ is a sweet little (or big rather. but being young I call her letch[?]). good, gentle, patient loving helpful child she is very fond of your auntie too. Though that does not say much in my opinion for her judgement. — Another season. they may be able to do better in having an apartment less dear. but as they are, Mrs King is unhappy enough! she does not speak any language but her own & in seeing the +++ of things for she is very clever & cute. she sees her own unfittness +++. for she has taste without the means to gratify it. disposition[?] to be hospitable without the ability. anxiety to fill her position of the ambassadress fittingly & cannot speak a language of the country or the court. refined desires and wishes to appear as well as any others of the ambassadors wives & not money enough to have a proper dress wardroble [sic, inserted]. so it is very hard & I am very sorry for her. Now if my children came here in that position, with an apartment already made for them — social comforts already made at no increased expense. carriages horses & —

[623 reverse] & nothing but wardrobe to buy & then own receptions to give they would not only live on the salary but save more out of it. so you must look up Mrs Seward & King her on the +++ for you. The consulship would +++ do at all. for that carries no position here & if you cannot get the ministership, you must wait until[?] you think you have money enough & then come & live with your aunty to take her cares & anxieties off her shoulders — for they are beginning to be more than I[?] can bear. I can tell you: but you must take your time — unless I should "turn up my +++". +++ & then perhaps Ned might be sorry that he had so much of his[?] life making money instead of living +++. I was so pleased to have his letter dear old "boy" I love him dearly. & will answer his letter as soon I can command my soul a little more. I do not [have] time to eat. for I have no one to help me do any thing my social duties become increased every year. +++ naturally! For everybody sends me their friends with letters of introduction. This year I have had twenty
with trying to do honour to the letters. I am near driven to death. Mrs Bridge arrived on Monday. +++ his wife & her sister & a +++ who is travelling with them. He had written to me about +++ & there was no such thing to be had for love on +++ the hotels crammed. lodgings all taken up. or if +++  +++ left you could not get them under $400. For +++ month or three[?]:" So I was sent about from our +++ to another until I was wearied to death hunting +++ rooms. This took me all of Tuesday & Wednesday +++ at 2 oclock [sic] I had to go up & +++ them & take +++ to the Hotel. where the only thing I could get for them was that dreadful Hotel Allemagne[?] 4" Story +++ day was +++ occupied. Thursday was hunting dinner +++ party that night. Mary +++ George & & Yesterday was[?] spirit in calling & doing up some +++ imperative duties with half a +++ other people +++ brought me letters. & last night a large party +++

[624] up to 12. I was busy with the +++ putting up a looking glass & other matters. +++ with stable matters & bills. My man servant with household bills & orders evening for the day & evening. for them is to be a large +++ party tonight for Mary particularly & others generally here & I did not get to my writing until 12 oclock [sic] since when I have had manifold interruptions. although I gave order not to be interrupted. tomorrow the Bridges are to dine here. On Monday hunting & a large party at Mrs Terrys[?, sic]. so I have been kept ever since I came home & if I dont [sic] go to see them. people think I dont wish to see them then I am on the "go" every hour of my life +++ to death as you may suppose. I get no chance of going up to be with aunt Em [Emma Stebbins] in her studio & she is far from well or happy +++. she must +++ great sympathy in her work or she cannot work. Her anxiety & labour before I came have nearly wrecked her power for the winter. she is more delicate & poorly than I have ever seen her. & I am so sorry for her. for I cannot seem to drag her out of the dreadful slough into which she is plunged. she is modelling a basrelief this winter & another sketch for Columbus. as the old one did not satisfy her. Robert & Mary are going to have two of Tiltons [sic] little[?] pictures. for which I am very glad. Mrs Garland is here. not happy of course but bearing up wonderfully considering all things. The little Tiltons[?] are coming up beautiful boy. little John. my pet is clever & cute as he can be. Paolo is more childlike & simple natured. but John is a regular little Stebbins & so scout & cute he puts the older one up to all sorts of tricks & then is as demon as though he never thought a word of mischief — — your description of your +++ party was very sweet. darling. this is [inserted] one of the very nicest things to do, so much pleasure is given & we cannot +++ upon the good imparted. I am glad you can make

[624 reverse] Ned +++ with you in these things +++ is a man so much. I always knew. as he got older  +++ become less foolish about children. I am so glad he finds comfort in his billiard table. mine has not yet shown its face. The vessel has not been heard of or from — & she is now two months & a half from N York I begin to be anxious. — I am amazed to hear of you having such awful weather in St Louis. I remember[?] selling +++ windows open the 1st of Jany. but I +++ say this weather is more seasonable than the +++ I pray that you may have a cooler & more healthy spring & summer. You say you shall stay until July in St Louis. I beg you to run no risks. you had +++ run[?] up to sisters [sic] fame — & so change the atmosphere dont stay too late. at the same time I cannot approve your not leaving your home to such +++ as was going on before. I should not imagine +++ +++ could be very +++. to +++ on at [Neds] expense in that way. even though it was at Neds[?, sic] request. or if he did, he should have looked into the expenditure himself  & not suffered it to go +++ such a high hand — but I do think Ned much to +++ dont [sic] you. for not fixing the matter before he left & know just what was to be spent while he was away! I am much amused at your idea of taking you nurses two children to bring up — at the same time I[?] don’t[?, sic] think it a bad idea to take the boy — if he is +++  all cute. he is not too going — only give him plenty +++ & then you will make work easy in time to come you should teach him to brush your dresses carefully after you have walked down street. & all such things[?] I shall be curious to know whether you decided doing any thing of the kind. and now Goodbye & God[?] love you my darling. I feel that I have written you a very unworthy letter. but you much forgive it. & trust +++ getting better ones by & bye when my mind is more relieved I kiss you. I love you. I adore you. as you would have  & +++ +++ your own own Ladie

[622 written across the page] Tell dear Ned that I spoke to Mr Crow about future investments in St. Louis & asked him as he had already shown confidence in me by lending me $35000 — that if he saw an opportunity for a good investment of from 15 to $20000 he would lend me the money to make it & inform me what he had done — I would then +++ to Stebbins & Lou[?] to sell some of my stocks & remit the amounts to him Mr Crow [last two words inserted] paying him interest on the amount +++ +++. Perhaps Ned will bring this to Mr Crows [sic] mind. & if he chooses to oblige me he can do so — I will write to Col. Stebbins about it next week This post [last two words inserted]

I have sold some of my stocks already & paid Col. S. $10.000 I owe him — He is going to invest 8000 for me in Ogdens[?] R. Road


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876


Cushman, Emma Crow, 1839-1920


Rome, Italy

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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 Cushman, Jan 30, 1863 [1864?],” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed July 19, 2024, https://www.archivalgossip.com/collection/items/show/387.

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