Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Emma Crow Cushman, Dec 5-6, 1862

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Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Emma Crow Cushman, Dec 5-6, 1862


Gender Norms
Actors and Actresses--US American
Political Affairs
Artists--Sculptors--US American
Social Events--Salons and Receptions
Intimacy--With Readers/Addressees
Intimacy--With Subjects
Relationships--Patrons and Protégés
Relationships-- Intimate--Same-sex
Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876
Cushman, Edwin "Ned" Charles, 1838-1909
Cushman, Emma Crow, 1839-1920
Hosmer, Harriet Goodhue, 1830-1908
Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882


As Emma Crow Cushman is married and busy decorating and furnishing her house, Charlotte Cushman thinks nostalgically of more frequent and longer "old time letters." Repeatedly, Charlotte mentions that Emma's husband, and Charlotte's nephew and adopted son, Ned Cushman is a "cause of great anxiety" and that she has "no confidence in his judgement." Apparently, Charlotte is worried about both Ned's and Mary's social standing (Emma Crow's sister): "You must speak to your father if you find Mary doing what is not right. You see dear that neither he or Mary have any idea of duty to others Pleasure & enjoyment at the moment is all."
Charlotte imagines that Emma Crow may live with her in the future when Ned disappoints his business partners, among them Emma Crow's father Wayman Crow. She turns to Emma's father for guidance after her money has been mismanaged. Charlotte also participates in stock market speculation but finds this to be "dangerous work." Telling Emma about her financial management is presented as a confession of her "most intimate concerns."
Charlotte also mentions an irritating cold that she has been suffering from for a while. The social life in Rome is described as pleasant for that winter. Harriet Hosmer "does not do much work. but has it done for her." Hosmer makes a considerable amount of money from the orders of Lady Marian Alford. Emma Stebbins is working on her Central Park order (Angel of the Waters statue). Her brother, Col. Henry Stebbins, is the patron of an actress at the Opera House New York.

The correspondence also grants insights into how long it took a letter to travel from St. Louis, Missouri, to Rome: about 20 days.


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


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876


LoC CCP 2: 496-500





Letter Item Type Metadata


[496] Rome Dec" 5th 1862 
My darling; letter of the 6th of November reached me on Monday 1st of December. being postmarked St Louis Nov 8th— so that it was only 23 days. from that long distance. This being able to count the days shorter fewer [inserted] than your estimate — (28) — is a comfort to me. I know how very hard it is with any social duties pressing upon one to write long letters. so dont [sic] ever apologise to me dear — it takes up half the letter when I would only hear about yourself. your thinkings. feelings & doings. I know when I was in St Louis at your marriage. how impossible it was to write. your house is always an exciteable atmosphere. & I shall not expect "your old time letters"— until you are quickly settled down in your 'home' — which by this date I suppose you are. If Ned had been in St Louis th earlier this summer you would not have had to wait so long for your home but it matters not much I suppose. — you have had an opportunity of visiting your fathers [sic] house. to which. I think all children should return at times. You have +++ been a comfort to him. & you must find your compen -sations in that & I must be & am. content to wait for my comfort until you can more securely possess your soul in peace. I long to hear all about your house you must draw me a little ground plan of the home & tell me where all the different pieces of furniture stands [sic] that I may know where & how to see you. Your father says you will be very "handsomely & comfortably situated. He says he shall be glad when you are quite settled[?] — so that Ned may be more at the warehouse does this imply. neglect of business. or inattention. or absence from his business duties? Nothing will so quickly dissatisfy his partners. I am afraid he is not sufficiently impressed with his

[496 reverse] business obligations. I hope sincerely he will not disappoint your fathers [sic] expectations. it would be a great mortification to me & I am sure to you. Dont [sic] let him think too much of himself dear. & dont [sic] let him think you love him too much. No man living can bear this or at least until he is sufficiently old to be paleful. I can imagine your parts. "Mary's first". & am glad you were strong enough to be dancing to "your hearts [sic] content Ned always was an inveterate dancer. & he will "flirt" too like fury. if you dont [sic] stop him. I can imagine Mary enjoying this immensely, especially with her "Mr Emmons" we have a very nice family here from Boston the [Russels] who know something of the Emmons. I should not imagine they were so very rich! — Darling — between ourselves — I had the result yesterday of my Eries [=stocks]. which were sold in New York. a letter from Peabodys. tells me that in spite of their being sold $2 1/2 pi[?] [illegible, crossed out] less than on any other day for a month & exchange on England being 14£. 2¢ [inserted] more than it had been at the former advices — I cleared £574; by my speculation. This has paid all my summer expenses & brought me back to Rome. are you not glad? I shall not let this success tempt me to dabble any more for it is dangerous work! This was a sort of inspiration. & has turned out fortunately. At the beginning of the summer, when I arrived in England. I had no money in Peabodys [sic] hands & had to borrow — My Harlan interests failing. my having given up a good share of my regular interest income for Ned & & made my expenditures keep up with my income & even go in advance of it. I always hate to be in debt. or to be living in advance of me  but for the last two years it has been almost inevitable from various causes. Then at the beginning of the summer as I said — on my arrival in England I had just spent [up] to the end! This speculation. has paid up my summer ex-

[497] penses all of them & landed me here in Rome. so that all the interests which were acquiring in America during the summer & this autumn, will be making a little pill for me to go upon  +++ [illegible, crossed out] this & [last two words inserted] next year — & I will not again find myself without money in hand! at least if matters turn out at all right & we do not all go to pieces. But Mr Macalister gives me hope that the coming spring will see my Harlan matter in a better condition. I am sure I hope so. for as it is I get nothing. You see darling I write to you about my most intimate concerns. & tell nobody else what I tell you. You must take no one into my confidence in all these mat-ters for they concern only me & you! I feel that nothing will be brought to an absolute settlement with the Harlan [Merrill 202: "Louis Harlan, a Philadelphia investor who had been intrusted with tens of thousands of dollars of Charlotte's money, had mismanaged it. She felt she needed to earn more money and arrange to have a more reliable person to oversee it for her. Hatty's patron, Wayman Crow, might be just the man to perform this service."] matter. until I come to America. which I suppose will be somewhere towards the end of June or early in July they will hold off. & Mr Macalister occupied with his own affairs will let mine go by the board. until I am on the spot to bring him to book with the rest. so I dont [sic] know where I am until I come to America. — Ned says he hopes that he shall be able to come east & meet me. If he does not I shall go out to St Louis to see him. so he must not trouble himself on that score! He will have to work very hard to get into the way of business . & try to have to be the +++ for the house – that will give your father an opportunity of sending him East in the summer. but I shall see him if I come. of that he may be assured — I hope by that time — something may come to the surface about my Chicago investment. so that I can see for myself how matters stand there. & thus it may be advisable that I should go west for myself. I shall never be quite content until I see your house. & know where things are I think darling in my last I acknowledged the receipt of the money you sent (£31.) through your father I am sorry now that I did not leave it. until I wanted it more but when you left of course I did not know how My Eries would turn out. & was too much behind hand

[497 reverse] to spend anything I could help. & felt that I needed the money I could lay my hands upon. — I am sorry that you do not see more of the Gantts[?] they are 'creme de la creme'. I saw by a paper that he had resigned his post — is this so? — Do you see how cleverly we are managing in sending down +++ Banks. to hold the French people in check in Texas. prevent their inroads into & through Texas to prevent[?] +++ out for France. — Lately the stories[?] have been so bad in & through Italy that the telegraph wires[?] have [sic] all in confusion — & we get no very interesting intelligence. but such as we do get seems to me all tending to the right direction — & I feel relieved by the removal of Mr +++ — The doubt of him was sufficient. If his conduct has been such as to make one human being suspect him — he should be displaced. "Cesars [sic] wife in or beyond suspicion" – & so with all people in high places I believe fully in Hattick [?, Hallick]. for I know your father believes in him. & I trust his knowledge of human nature I know he would not be deceived in a man after he had had such opportunities of knowing him as he +++  in St Louis I dont [sic] believe that Hallick is a man +++ lose himself in the eyes of the world. for political or professional jealousy. I am certain he would not have dared to make such charges against Mr +++  if he could not substantiate them. & they are sufficient to "hang a dog". It makes our heart & soul +++ I believe Burnside to be a gallant honourable high minded man. he could not be a traitor. +++ life has been upright & worthy. He has been content to take any place. any duty. any charge. & I believe that Hallicks [sic] faith in him & +++ will be justified I saw a very nice letter from the Bishop of +++ to our American clergyman here — who +++ that the[?] human[?] cause will be triumphant from[?] under this administration. & Kentucky be a free state. & Tennessee +++

[498] Saturday Dec 6th Post day come. & with it a dear & welcome letter from my darling daughter. dated. Nov 10-13th. by the Scotia[?]. you see darling it is only 20 days since it was posted at St Louis & in that time what a waste of land & sea it has crossed through how many hands it has passed & yet here it is at my door. in my hands as safely as though it was a large thing. & yet it is only two sheets of paper! This post arrangement is very very wonderful. & the means of transmitting our thoughts & feelings to those we love so wide so free[?]. that one cannot be too grateful! I was very glad to hear that Miss +++ had recd [sic] her mosaics. how much debt[?] did Ned make her pay & how did he collect it? If he collected it why did he not show his business habit beginning to grow by informing me of the fact. Ah dear he will not be a business man — he has not the first characteristic[?] for it. He will work hard at any fixed duty — to his hand but where consideration for others. respect for the conventions of life — calculations for future. indeed indeed he has no elements of them in his character! He will work just as hard & no harder at dancing. shooting fishing. any pleasure. He likes to make money. but I should be ashamed not to fairly give my share of thought [or] intellect. capacity to a business I was engaged in. I feel sure that your father & his partners are not satisfied with Neds being so much away from the store & I  dont [sic] wonder at it. I know that the little excitement of getting your house in order has taken him away from the ware house. +++ nescessarily [sic]. & I do most earnestly hope that he will not lose the respect of your father by being away from business so much this unfortunate drilling & training takes him away enough. & he ought not to have the ware house for any thing else. Take care darling that he dont [sic] stay out of the house evenings for company & not for drill! His

[498 reverse] love of pleasure he came himself[?] by. & must be watched He has always been a cause of the greatest anxiety to me. & I fear will continue it to the end of the chapter for I have no confidence in his judgement or +++ Your letter of the 10" too confines me in a fear I had when the idea was first +++ of his going to St Louis to +++. I feared Marys [sic] influence upon him. I fear it no more. it wont [sic] do "to quarrel with him dreadfully & then [?] make it up dreadfully" he will soon get so used to the +++ that he wont [sic] mind it. You must speak to your father if you find Mary doing what is not right. You see dear that neither he or Mary have any idea of duty to others Pleasure & enjoyment at the moment is all. He will very soon get into a +++ with your father if he finds that he is too attentive to Mary. At the same time it wont [sic] do for you to be jealous: a simple warning to him that these things are all noted down & at the moment when he is least prepared for it — They will be acted upon in a way which might disturb him more than he deems possible — will perhaps arrest him in his folly! I am amazed to find that your furniture is only just being unpacked — Nov 10" – What on earth was he about or what did he do when he went out to St Louis in Sept[?] — I should have had every thing unpacked & passed[?] & ready in the parlours, to go into the rooms as they were made ready! +++ washed & put away & every thing done — as your grand mother had in your Boston house I still contend that he ought to have been in St Louis in the summer attending to these things! But then I am an 'old fool' & dont [sic] know perhaps that there were obstacles! Well I pray God all may be well. but I doubt it. and still continue in the thought that Ned being what he is would have been better out here with me than in St Louis with the influences which are brought to bear upon him. However perhaps it is not yet too late & after the three years are out & his partners are heartily  

[499] tired of him you may come out & live with me & let him ride & hunt as he can & will. I declare he makes me out of patience! I am amazed that you have not read[?] my letter of the 18" [19"] at Paris. it was by the Arabia. but it went enclosed to Col. Stebbins & I have just read[?] a letter from him dated Nov 10" where he says mine of the 14" had only just come to hand. so when you have read[?] that. the one which I sent from Lucca on the 22d. will follow close upon its heels[?] & you will get only one more break. in my correspondence which occurred while I was journeying from Florence to Rome. after [then] will come my letters of the 1st. 8". 15. 22d 29" Nov & now this of 6" Dec". I know darling that my letters are comforts to you. so you will always get them while I am able to write. I shall so hope to know by your next letter that you are quietly fixed in your own home & are able to command your soul in peace. I have been a little poorly these last three days. on Wednesday Thursday [inserted] I had a little attack of chill as I went to bed. & great perspiration in the night have felt altogether miserable ever since. aching in my back & in my thighs & in the bones of my face. Notwithstanding which I went to the first dinner party of our minister last night & made quite a spread for me. & was made the guest of honour. notwithstanding other ladies were there I am afraid I took more cold. for I feel wretched to day however the Dr was here this morning to see aunt Emma & he said I had had a touch of fever. if it comes again to night. I must let him know tomorrow morning & he will stop it. ever since I once had chills & fever all my ailments or illnesses have commenced with chills. I have a bad cold upon me & it has commenced with chill. I got in sitting in Dr Appletons room the other evening. His wife has been every night[?] to death from a stroke of apoplexy. I have done what little I could in the way of watching to do any thing they wanted. I was sitting in their room the other afternoon. where some damp sheets were airing or drying. & I must have taken the cold then. 

[499 reverse] I am more quiet so far this winter. Than I was last year! I have had no piano forte yet. so no music[?] parties I have had one or two dinner parties. & people come in sociably to drink tea & chat. but no parties. nor do I mean to give any. I cant [sic] afford it! — Society here is very pleasant this winter on account of the people being more simple & less pretentious. Mrs Blatchford[?] is very nice & conciliating to all the Americans. we have a very nice clergyman & his wife from Washington. whom I am able to be kind to in the way of driving them or letting them have the carriage to drive themselves. & there has been a subscription among the ladies of the [last three words inserted] congregation to present her with a very handsome dress. & I was able to put do my name for a contribution to his salary. which has come at a needful time. so I try to do a little good in other ways than by parties! I had a letter from Richard Muspratt the other day. Mother was there. I have not had one line from her since I left her in London on the 8" Oct. & but one little memorandum from your uncle Charles. The children were well. — I hope Ned takes advice with regard to the water of St Louis. it used to disagree with me dreadfully. but if you have it boiled & then put a little claret in it. he can drink it with impunity — or he must drink +++ altogether! I am glad you are getting fat my darling. dont [sic] forget to tell me when there is any substantiated reason for it! I dont [sic] want to be surprised. even agreeably. I had rather know all! — Darling — dont [sic] let Ned go to any places of amusement without you. it is not right or proper. & it begun so Early. will grow upon him. — we are looking forward anxiously to movement of our arriving at home. I have faith in Burnside! — Did I tell you that Col Stebbins had written to ask my advice & counsel again with regard to Louise[?]! coming to England to sing this season. No I did not. for I read the letter on Monday. & it required an immediate answer. So I sat down & replied to it on Tuesday — a long long letter

[500] political. financial. & metaphysical. & nonsensical of him — [illegible, crossed out] his being elected an MC[?] — unsolicited by himself. & a long letter to Mrs Kellogg in answer one I read from her sometime in the summer taking that opportunity of advising her in the matter of Louise. I have advised her as I did Booth to come abroad & judge for herself. she has money enough to afford it, or could get it easily. & after she has seen the difficulties & all she has to contend against. if she then chooses to enter the arena. of a second class opera — she will have only herself to thank — as Booth had: not that I think she will need[?] any bodys [sic] counsel. she is conceited. has been flattered out of all reason. & if she decides upon doing what she wishes. she will get a terrible pull up or down! as you will see! — They want to get rid of her at the Opera House New York. for Col Stebbins having great influence there holds her over them like a whip. & they want her away — so all advise her going — she dont [sic] see the reason & thinks I am arguing against her interest. I sought Costas & Chorlys [sic] advice & counsel in London in the summer & gave her the benefit of their thinkings. I have told her I see nothing in the fact of her being unoccupied for a year to alter my decision. so we shall see whether I spent not whole of Monday & Tuesday in vain — in writing to urge her not to accept an Engagt at Her Majestys [sic] Opera in London for 3 months — this coming spring: I am so sorry you wont [sic] be able to afford your curtains to your drawing room this winter. however. you shall have them next winter. if I have to bring them. & put through my deal[?] —

[500 reverse] I am glad Lucy[?] is coming out to you it will be a comfort to you. & I hope your plans will be success-ful — she will be better & happier married. Than she can be at home. — Aunt Emma is not well. but is working hard at a 'Joseph' for Mr Nathan of New York – she is to make +++ for some thing. for the Central Park. I hope she may get the orders — if she does, she will be rich for a time. Hattie goes on in her way. She does not do much work. but has it done for her. She has just sold another Puck. £120. & Lady Marian Alford has paid her £500. on her fountain which she is making for her. That young lady will have a 'pull up' someday. or I am no judge. she makes me very much out of patience sometimes – Now Good bye my best darling all send love to you. Emma Sallie & all. Give my best love to dear Ned. to your father mother & all. Tell your father that I thank him for his note of the 7th — read with account of 275 remitted to Mr Macalister for me. I think he had better retain any thing else in the shape of interest he may collect for me. until I ask for it! Hattie sent out certificate of receipt of statue at Munich She ought to have received it in Sept. but neglected to write again for its to Munich. hence the delay! She +++ very well. she told me that she had heard from +++ that there would be a fat divident on York Mills [sic] stock she is able to get on very well until next August. Tell your father — and now God ever bless you my precious one[?] take good care of your dear self for the sake of your advising Auntie 


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876


Cushman, Emma Crow, 1839-1920


Rome, Italy

Geocode (Latitude)


Geocode (Longitude)


Secondary Texts: Comments

In her biography of Cushman, Lisa Merrill explains that "Louis Harlan, a Philadelphia investor who had been intrusted with tens of thousands of dollars of Charlotte's money, had mismanaged it. She felt she needed to earn more money and arrange to have a more reliable person to oversee it for her. Hatty's patron, Wayman Crow, might be just the man to perform this service" (202). The letter suggests that it is not so much Hosmer's relation with Wayman Crow but Ned's and Emma's relation that makes Wayman Crow a perfect fit to be Charlotte Cushman's financial advisor.

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Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876, “Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Emma Crow Cushman, Dec 5-6, 1862,” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed July 18, 2024, https://www.archivalgossip.com/collection/items/show/939.

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