Letter from Helen Hunt to Charlotte Cushman, Sept 4, 1870

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Letter from Helen Hunt to Charlotte Cushman, Sept 4, 1870


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876
Relationships-- Intimate--Same-sex
Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882
Cushman, Emma Crow, 1839-1920
Jackson, Helen Hunt


Helen Hunt writes that she misses Charlotte Cushman, referring to her as her "Regina Cara" and "my Queen Carlotta," and Hunt wants Cushman to visit Newport. Furthermore, she talks about  Wentworth Higginson who Cushman should take a liking to for Hunt's sake. Hunt mentions deeply conservative Church people that say shocking things without specifiying those encounters any further. Hunt also goes on to talk about various topics such as her visitors, Elizabeth Cabot Cary Agassiz, who wrote for the Atlantic Monthly, and her husband, geologist Louis Agassiz; The Revolution, the magazine founded by women's rights advocate Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Laura Curtis Bullard, who bought the magazine from them in 1870; and Theodore Tilton, editor of the New York liberal newspaper The Independent. Later, she informs Cushman about the price of housing, and that a Col. Higginson will get in touch with her about this issue. Eventually, Hunt indicates that Cushman is with Emma Stebbins and Emma Crow Cushman.


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

For transcripts, please also see Colorado College.


Hunt, Helen Jackson, 1830-1885


LoC, CCP, Box 11:3396-3400





Letter Item Type Metadata


[3396] Regards Cara,

If you think you can fancy[?] how this last note of yours stirred every drop & fibre of me. - You can’t! and if I try to tell you, and you think you understand me, you won’t! But I shall not try; I might dare to tell you though that I had seen in print that you were very ill & that the news so fitted my instinct or alarm at not hearing, that I have been for a month as sure of all you tell me, as I am now that I read and re[sic?] read and reread it with constant incredulity. Oh you beloved glorious vital woman! How you triumph and conquer; no wonder we who may, love you as we do—with the love we have for women & the love we have for men, set into one love [unlike?] all others. My Queen Carlotta – I do not believe you will come to Newport; I can not believe in anything so blessed, till I hold it under lock & key. I had not quite said I would go back myself, though I have in the bottom of my heart felt sure that I should; all my old +++ all

[3397] gone for the winter, and I fell- misgivinging how I should thrive on[?] a sole diet of self! but now I shall go. Ha! I think I see myself being under any other sky than the one over your head, when that was within my reach. Oh, shall I come daily and sit at feet of you? Are you sure you will bear with being wearied of me?
I write today – your note came yesterday; -  to that sweetest of souls, Wentworth Higginson, to ask him to make question immediately about a house, and write telling you all things. You see I do not mean to go there myself till Nov. 1st, and time should not be lost; he will be more than willing; he has had such longing for you to come; more than once he has said, “Oh, so you really believe she ever will?” – Will you keep ready to love him a little for my sake, in the beginning, Regina; after the beginning you will find his own sake better; but I suppose you will have to forgive him a little in the outset, as I did in being such a radical radical. It is strange – he is gentlest and most loving of men; like a

[reverse of 3396] tender woman in many ways, with all his strength; too, and merry in midst of his long hard life. Ah, I know you will be sure friend of him: -- and it will be California to him, to have you there. You know there are not +++ people in Newport! Most do not read – still +++ think; some one of ideas is startling in that air; I wonder if you will bring enough with you to live on all the year round! I get on because I have time in the house, to dine with -, and I go to New York also for odd weeks many times in the winter; moreover I am sleeky[?]much of the time. – But I am afraid you will be shocked at things said to you. Still I don’t know many of the people; I may do them a little +++ than justice; they are chiefly conservative high Church people, & I confess I don’t understand that kind of creature. You will see, I am so selfish though, I don’t care a farthing if you are bored! I want you so to come! At least one winter will not weary you, the truth is wicked. New York is the only place in America

[3398] unless you have the lungs of a polar bear, and can speak Hebrew; in which case you can breathe Boston east winds, and attend the social gatherings of the Enlargement of the Brain Club!
Darling Queen I am a little flighty you see, never mind. I shall get used to thinking that you are coming; by and by[?]. How shall I show you +++, I wonder! Will you let me love you? the poor darling has been looking this summer! I ache for her; all things have gone hardly with her while I have been floating on rosy clouds or content. Another year perhaps you will come and look at my Bethlehem, the air is wonderfully clear and restorative, nothing like it this side of the Colorado plains. Agassiz is here resting his brain; & gaining fast. Mrs. Agassiz I greatly like. The Toddards have been here and Mrs. Bullard[?] the new Editress of that odious Revolution – also the "Independent" managing Editor & his wife, these simple souls. Beyond these the crowd has come alike:  forty five and fifty in this house; too many, but it is

[3399] over now thank Heavens, and we are quiet. My dear Woolseys from New Haven, have come for a month, and we shall “do” the autumn gloriously.

Regina - think of me having actually earned every cent I have spent this summer! I am saving all my income for a great venture in the fall, which I will tell you when you come; but I feel as proud as a man or a peacock to think I could support myself for three months!

Col. Higginson will write to you about the houses. I am afraid that nothing under $1200 or $1300 a year will be large enough for you. Will that be too dear? Furnished houses are really luxurious in America you know. Oh for the luxury of “apartments,” such as onefinds in Europe! There is no possible boarding in Newport I think which would suit you, you couldn’t live a day in the little plain Quaker house where the Higginsons and I sun[?] ourselves. I couldn’t either, except for my dear little sitting room with a bay window, the sun all day long, and all +++ fire[?] Oh to think that

[reverse of 3398] you will sit in my arm chair & feel like a baby - yes - a cry baby! to fancy it. –
Once we get you here that wonderful Russian with his electrical +++ will clear every trail of trouble away from your dear body. There is no sham or cheat about him. I have seen with my own eyes the old lady of whom Mrs. Botta wrote you; she must be seventy years old; and has no physique at all; it is a miracle to think of her being cured
Now this letter is as long as it should be. If it tells you one thing, that is enough. When you can, just tell me the good news over again! I shall grow less and less +++ of it day by day.
I suppose I should send my warm regards to Dr. Gully[?], but I dare say he has forgotten that I existed, and dared to so far violate the +++ as not to be

[3400] in +++ +++ benefitted by +++ treatment, to Dr. +++  also my cordial remembrances – and to the dear good Dabneys & Miss +++ [both words inserted] whom I hold in warm recollection.
Goodbye. God bless you, and bring you. Perhaps you & Miss Stebbins will kiss each other for me – and Mrs. Cushman too? Will she count me among those who are friends. Regina Cara, I love you.
Helen Hunt.


Hunt, Helen Jackson, 1830-1885


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876


Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

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Hunt, Helen Jackson, 1830-1885, “Letter from Helen Hunt to Charlotte Cushman, Sept 4, 1870,” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed June 15, 2024, https://archivalgossip.com/collection/items/show/207.

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