Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Helen Hunt, Aug 25, 1871

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Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Helen Hunt, Aug 25, 1871


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876
Jackson, Helen Hunt
Cushman, Emma Crow, 1839-1920
Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882
United States--New York City
Gender Norms
Social Critique
Social Events--Travels
Mercer, Sallie


Charlotte Cushman is about to start a new engagement in NY, she will perform Queen Katherine in Henry VIII. She shows some resentment against "society" and admits that the audience will pay to see her much more than the play itself, which makes her job as an actress much easier than in the past or for other female actresses.
Charlotte announces another visit to Bethlehem of herself, Emma Crow Cushman, Sallie, and maybe Emma Stebbins.

Transcripts courtesy of Nancy Knipe, Colorado College.


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876





Letter Item Type Metadata


Yes Carina it is true!
(This in answer to note of Aug 20th) On the 25th Sept I commence an Engagement in New York, which if “all holds out [last three words underlined]” – as I hope – it may well continue for six weeks! Mr Booth has made it comparative[l]y easy for me by bringing out “Henry 8” – which gives me a less fatiguing character in “Queen Katherine” than any other I could act. If this play “runs [underlined]” successfully, I am saved[?], after the play is once acted – any rehearsals -- & shall only have to go to the theater for the night work , which used to be less hard for me, than I find “society! – (or company [underlined] for we have no society [underlined] in America.) now [underlined]! so let us hope all will be well. I think the people want to see me [underlined], & not much, the play [last two words underlined], in which I act. I come to them in a different relation from the actress, usually, on account of my life since I left the stage, & so, it will be easier for me [underlined], than for most women! Don’t you see that I look at the matter rationally? Besides, my engagement is so made, that I can stop, any moment, on a Dr’s certificate – that it is doing me harm [last six words underlined]! Are you satisfied?
What fuss about those lovely letters or signs over your door? I hope to see them. Emma Cushman is sighing for a breath of mountain air, & wants me to take her to Bethlehem for a week. Emma Stebbins may not be able to come, but will [underlined] if she can [underlined], & on the 2d September if all goes well [last five words underlined], we want to start from here, to get up to you for a week do you think you can get accommodation for us, & do you think the man of the Hotel would get me tender beefsteak for breakfast & for dinner – tender roast [underlined] beef? & a comfortable bed with 4 pillows not too hard! These are the requirements of my advanced age. (& comfort) for the others it don’t matter so much. There will be the two Emmas, Sallie[?] & ‘yours truly’. Each wanting a separate room. See what you can do & let me hear a word at your best leisure! If you cannot arrange for all in the Hotel, distribute us about between your house & the Hotel.
God bless you, Carina, & believe me ever you faithfully attached C.C.


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876


Jackson, Helen Hunt, 1830-1885


Swampscott, MA, US

Geocode (Latitude)


Geocode (Longitude)



Helen Hunt Jackson Papers, Part 2, Ms 0156, Box 1, Folder 17, letters from Charlotte Cushman to HH, 1871-75. Transcribed by Nancy Knipe, 2007, https://libraryweb.coloradocollege.edu/library/specialcollections/Manuscript/HHJ2-1-17.html. Accessed 30 March, 2020.

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Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876, “Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Helen Hunt, Aug 25, 1871,” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed July 15, 2024, https://archivalgossip.com/collection/items/show/262.

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