"Miss Brewster," [New York Observer], [1881]

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"Miss Brewster," [New York Observer], [1881]


Brewster, Anne Hampton, 1818-1892
Political Affairs
Artists--Painters--US American
Social Events--Salons and Receptions
Gender Norms


The author describes Anne Brewster as a "well-known literary person[]" and a woman of "republican simplicity and cordiality" whose Monday afternoon receptions also attract "titled acquaintances."
Brewsters work as a foreign correspondent has gained wide-spread recognition and artists in Rome are being grateful for her writing about their works.
As in numerous other articles (example given here), the author emphasizes that Brewster is a Roman Catholic and, therefore, had strong ties with the Vatican. In 1871, however, "[s]he wrote an account [...] of the entrance of the Italian troops through the breach in the Aurelian wall at Prota Pia, and was forbidden for three years to go to the Vatican."


The Library Company of Philadelphia


Morse, Hallock & Co.





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Another of the well-known literary persons in Rome is Miss Anne Hampton Brewster. She has lived in this city for many years, and is no longer young, as she herself owns. But she has all the vivacity and grace of youth, and renders her house delightful to all by her kindness and courtesy. Her Monday afternoon receptions have become famous. One meets there artists, musicians, and literary people, as well as a discreet mixture of titled persons. Miss Brewster, however, makes no special effort--as so many people from the United States do here--to make the acquaintance of princes and princesses, dukes and duchesses, county and countesses. If they come to her she is pleased to see them, and treats them as she does her other guests. This search for titled acquaintances, and bowing down to them when they are found as if they were superior beings, is a weakness to which many of our naitive-born republicans are very subject when they are in Europe. They outdo the monarchists themselves in their deference to rank. These republicans prefer the theory that every American is a sovereign, to that which proclaims all men free and equal, and they tolerate the society, therefore, only of sovereigns or of courtiers. The Italian borghese, who is in frequent contact with the blue-blood, finds that princes, and especially Roman princes, are perhaps more mortal than other human beings. But the American forgets "that a man's a man for a' that and a' that," and humiliates himself for nothing.
But this digression does not concern Miss Brewster, who, notwithstanding her long residence in Rome, has retained her republican simplicity and cordiality. Her long experience as a correspondent for various newspapers in the United States has given her an extensive reputation. Many travellers who come to Rome seek her acquaintance, and the artists of the city vie with each other in giving her testimonial of gratitude for her flattering notices of their works. Her parlors display an oil painting by Vedder, an illumination by Mrs. Land Connolley; a copy in plaster-of-paris of a child's head by Donatello, owned by the painter Vannutelli; and innumerable photographs of the paintings of Scifoni, Vannutelli, Vertuni, and others.
Miss Brewster goes hither and thither in Rome to see and hear for herself all that is taking place. She is a great reader, also, of the endless books and pamphlets published here, and is a faithful student of Archaeology. She has seen almost all the statues and other objects discovered here since 1870 dug out of their hiding-places, and is well prepared to write a book upon the subject if she should ever find time to do so. Miss brewster is a Roman Catholic, and has influence among the dignitaries of that Church to penetrate to the ceremonies at the Vatican; yet she had liberal tendencies, and was punished for them at one time by Monsignore Nardi, then major-domo of the Vatican. She wrote an account, in 1870, of the entrance of the Italian troops through the breach in the Aurelian wall at Prota Pia, and was forbidden for three years to go to the Vatican.


ABP, box 20, folder 25



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“"Miss Brewster," [New York Observer], [1881],” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed July 18, 2024, https://www.archivalgossip.com/collection/items/show/756.

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