"The New England Girl," The Woman's Voice, Jan 17, 1895

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"The New England Girl," The Woman's Voice, Jan 17, 1895


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876
Social Critique
Relationships-- Intimate--Same-sex
Jackson, Helen Hunt
Lippincott, Sara Jane (pseudonym: Grace Greenwood), 1832-1904
Whitney, Anne, 1821-1915


Harriet Prescott Spofford celebrates various examples of "The New England Girl" among whom she identifies Charlotte Cushman as a great actress that fascinated both men and women. The latter especially in her later life. The article also mentions Anne Whitney, Sarah Orne Jewett, Helen Hunt, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, and Grace Greenwood, for instance.
Additionally, the author is preoccupied with the question of why many of these women are unmarried and how they can be conceived as respectable and extraordinary: "If she is often unmarried, it is not because she has not the opportunity of marriage, but because men who reach her standard are not plentiful."


19th Century U.S. Newspapers





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When I call the New England girl to mind I think of what the great Abigail Adams may have been as a girl, in the earlier time, of the lovely Harriet Newall and of Ann Hasseltine and the crown od the witnesses that follow them. I think of the white-souled Lydia Maria Child, of Margaret Fuller, with her spell upon poet and philosopher, old man and young. [...] I see Charlotte Cushman, who in Romeo taught men how a woman wishes to have love made to her, in her youth with men at her feet, in her later life with all women there. [...]
I can not imagine a higher phase of womanhood than most of them exemplify.
She is in this generation a composite of all her grandmothers. If she has the Pilgrim's firm adherence to her faith, let the faith be what it will, she has also the liberality of the friend of Harry Vane, the straightforward courage of the Scotch Irish, the vivacity of the French, and always some of the iron fiber of the Puritan in her moral and mental and physical condition.
A temptation to deceit or treachery would glance off from her as an arrow from armor of plate steel. It is this uprightness, this lofty standard of rectitude, which gives her an inner pride that makes coquetry impossible to her. She will not stoop to win by small and detestable arts. When she loves, it is as faithfully, as tenderly, as everlastingly as any woman ever born of woman; but she demands respect before she will accept love. If she is often unmarried, it is not because she has not the opportunity of marriage, but because men who reach her standard are not plentiful. For her intellect and her taste are cultivated; she has a fine knowledge of art, and a deep enthusiasm for music. She paints, she models, she sings, she sews, she cooks. The rough east wind and sea tonics, strengthening the throat by long selection, till they have made such throats as Nordica's and Kellogg's, have given her a pleasant voice with less of the nasal twang than belongs to any other section of the country, have given her, too, by the same process, a robust health that makes self-support possible and pleasant, and often preferable, and she is so much a mistress of the science of home that she can happily make her own. And I speak now not of her generations that have gone or are going, but of that which has just come forward to take hold of the light of the world, blooming, sparkling, eager for the beautiful and the best. – Harriet Prescott Spofford.


Spofford, Harriet Prescott. "The New England Girl." Woman's Voice and Public School Champion, 19 Jan. 1895. Nineteenth Century Collections Online, http://tinyurl.galegroup.com/tinyurl/9w5Fx2. Accessed 3 May 2019.


Boston, MA, US

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“"The New England Girl," The Woman's Voice, Jan 17, 1895,” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed April 22, 2024, https://www.archivalgossip.com/collection/items/show/412.

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