Letter from Emma Stebbins to Anne Whitney, March 24, 1874

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Letter from Emma Stebbins to Anne Whitney, March 24, 1874


Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882
Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876
Whitney, Anne, 1821-1915
Social Events--Travels
Relationships-- Intimate--Same-sex



Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882



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My dear friend,

I am writing to you on my back – the very first moment that I have felt equal to the +++ of life – since the reception of your letter –, all my previous epistolary +++ have been suspended for the time being – but I have never forgotten you or your letter for a moment – & many of my weary hours have been occupied with speculations upon the artistic suggestions it contains – albeit rather sick ones and hardly of a kind to them[?] much light upon the high theme I fear it will be a good while not before I shall be equal

[p.2] to any such discussion – [illegible, crossed out] even if I ever had been – for the mind awakens with the body – & I even at my best estate I was little capable of giving a reason[?] for the truth that was in me –, since I wrote you last I have been very ill – after my return to Hyde Park – and my sister had gone to the city – for her little art – came news of Miss Cushman’s very serious illness in Balti[Baltimore]. I could not leave to go to her and I was miserably uneasy and anxious so under the double strain I succumbed once more, much as I did in Boston – only not to get up again so soon – un-

[p.3] fortunately we have no good homeopathic advice at Hyde Park and I ran on too long without help – at last obliged to take my life in my hands and get on to Phila when Miss C was imploring me to come. My sister & Ms Fleming[?] came with me – and here under the care of our good Dr. Lippi. I feel that I am at last slowly lifting up again – still very weak – & much pulled down – but I am +++. & I begin to believe the +++ that I am not going off the handle quite yet. I think often of you – and your man – am glad I got that little glimpse of you & him which enable me to picture you to myself -I fancy him getting on his clothing piece by piece – but I want to know how you

[p. 4] are satisfied with your progress. I think it will end in your going abroad with him yourself. An artist ought [underlined] to take the easiest +++ possible - otherwise the labour of mind & body could be to severe – If there is [underlined] any divine gift – all the material things should be made as easy as possible. –

About art in this country – well I am not equal to such a theme but before I was taken ill, I was much pleased in reading James’ books on art. Do you know them. if not they are well worth reading. He seems to me to[?] go to the sort[?] of the matter more clearly & logically than anyone else – & traces what we call art[underlined] from its beginning all through its career, entwined as it is with the growth of nations - flourishing while

[p. 5] they flourish[?] – that is while they have any ++++ of +++ & truth to give +++ +++ to this consummate[?] flavor – and when they have no longer – still +++ & glorifying them – as you have seen a beautiful vine clothing the naked limbs of an exhausted & decaying tree. There are a series of these [inserted] books on art small volumes -– one on [inserted] the Philosophy of art, another on Greek art, another on art in the Netherlands, and another the ideal in art – I can +++ even if you don’t agree with his conclusions - you cannot fail to find much that will give you pleasure …

We hear daily from Hyde Park where all goes on in the same weary routine – March has been

[p. 6] perfectly precious there – and it seems such a fortunate chance that I got away just as I did – both for my own sake & theirs who +++ bear the double anxiety[?], now there seems to be no choice for me – but to take care of myself and get well enough to let my sister return home – Miss C goes to work – for a week in about ten days from now and if my Dr. contents I go with her – after a week there she goes to Richmond & I return here for another week – then we get back to N.Y. where she [p. 7] has series of readings and then the +++ of work is over and we will do whatever seems best for us –.

Let me hear from you soon and believe me always affectively yours

My love to Miss Manning if she is with you –.


Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882


Whitney, Anne, 1821-1915


Laprisse House
Philadelphia, PA, US

Geocode (Latitude)


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Location (Recipient)

32 West Cedar St.
Boston, MA, US

Geocode Recipient (Latitude)


Geocode Recipient (Longitude)



Stebbins, Emma and Wellesley College Archives, "Letter from Emma Stebbins, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Anne Whitney, Boston,
Massachusetts, 1874 March 24" (1874). Papers of Anne Whitney (MSS.4): Correspondence. 2009.

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Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882, “Letter from Emma Stebbins to Anne Whitney, March 24, 1874,” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed June 15, 2024, https://archivalgossip.com/collection/items/show/242.

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