Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Park Benjamin, October 13

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Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Park Benjamin, October 13


Actors and Actresses--US American
Relationships--Patrons and Protégés
United States--New York City
Citation of Named Entity
Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876


The letter is addressed to Park Benjamin at The New World Office in NYC. No year is given but it must have been written between 1840 (when The New World entered the newspaper market) and March 1844 (when Park Benjamin stepped down as editor).
Charlotte Cushman acquits herself of accusations brought forward by Park Benjamin, editor and critic, and Miss Clarendon, a younger actress that Cushman has given professional advice to. Cushman's letter utters deep concern, anger, and disappointment in Benjamin who attacked Cushman's reputation publicly based on false claims by Clarendon who Benjamin "happen[s] to be attached to."


Houghton Library


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876


Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, MS Thr 130





Letter Item Type Metadata


[page 1] Park Benjamin Esq
Mr Barry handed me a note to read from you, last night, the perusal of which has excited mingled feelings of pain & disgust. You accuse me of being the author of an attack upon Miss Clarendon, in the Herald most positively do I deny this & dare you to the proof. I had private letters & information from Texas which I was requested to deliver into Mr Bennett's own hands! This in justice to myself & not to satisfy you. I state & can produce the letters. In the acct of [last three words inserted] fulfilling this duty, I have aroused it appears, your indignation because in the paper of the next day a "defenceless lady," whom you happen to be attached to is criticised, and that you should, on account of this private feeling for one lady, so far forget yourself & your honor as to betray a confidence reposed in you by another, whom you had no just grounds (save pique) to suspect of this, I must confess has excited feelings of wonder & astonishment. So far from feeling any enmity (& I am sure as to other sentiments. any person who would see the loung lady would acquit me) I gave my time, attention & my interest, while I was at the National, to her advancement, for which she did not even thank me. & I [inserted] was ridiculed for my pains: & notwithstanding

[page 2] her rude & unladylike behaviour to me. on coming to the Park after what I had shown myself willing to do for her – still I was anxious for the success of the peice [sic] and endeavoured to give her some information, which might have been of advantage to her but [inserted] which she received poutingly & as though she was doing me a favour. This proves your as sertion of emnity to Miss Clarendon, as groundless & unfounded — believe me. I have felt what it was to be defenceless my self & would not attack so unfortunate a young lady — but with due deference to you, I do not consider her defenceless myself [inserted] while she has a person willing to draw a band around him, intending to crush one lady [illegible crossed out] upon the ruin of whose reputation that of the young person must be built. With regard to being "hissed from the stage" as your note threatens, that is a matter requiring some time & trouble & when done no satisfaction would accrue to yourself & I think you have business of more importance. With [illegible crossed out] sentiments [inserted] of deep regret that you should have so misjudged my feelings as a woman & compromised yourself I remain
Yours in haste
C. Cushman


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876


203, Fulton Street, NYC, NY, US

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Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876, “Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Park Benjamin, October 13,” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed April 22, 2024, https://www.archivalgossip.com/collection/items/show/947.

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