Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Emma Crow Cushman, Dec 12-13, 1862

Dublin Core


Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Emma Crow Cushman, Dec 12-13, 1862


Gender Norms
Intimacy--With Subjects
Actors and Actresses--US American
Artists--Sculptors--US American
Political Affairs
Social Events--Salons and Receptions
Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882
Social Acceptance
Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876
Cushman, Emma Crow, 1839-1920
Hosmer, Harriet Goodhue, 1830-1908


Charlotte Cushman faces "going out to my social duties as a sort of relief" from her illness (cold). Large parts of the letter address social gatherings and US American citizens in Rome, most of whom are "well bred."
The actress is still haunted by "fear" that her nephew's business partners "will be dissatisfied with him."
In terms of her stock market speculations, Cushman is unhappy with her investment advisor: "I get very vexed sometimes when I think what Col Stebbins might have done for me in the way of speculation." Cushman is frustrated since "[i]f any body makes an investment for me — it turns out good for nothing or doubtful." She laments that "[a] man must have some stronger interest in  you than friendship to make money for you." In contrast, Emma Crow's father, Wayman Crow, manages Harriet Hosmer's investments successfully.


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


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876


LoC CCP2: 501-503





Letter Item Type Metadata


[501] Rome. Dec" 12th 1862.

A blot to begin with! shall I change my sheet? No. no more than my thoughts. which ever fondly turn to my darling daughter — in fair weather in font & fresh[?] paper or in blotted! The day is rainey. [sic] rainey. [sic] I will not go out this afternoon. even to smell the air. for it is damp & my cold is bad & tomorow being post day. I will commence my letter to my precious pet. who is waiting to hear from me every day in the [house.] I have been busy as usual all the week. & not able to get to my letter. Sometimes I get so weary with my letter writing. That this day or two days after. I take to going out to my social duties as a sort of relief. & make calls & visits ad libitum. On Monday & Tuesday I made some two or three visits. & wrote long letters to Miss Gill, Mr Richard Muspratt. & Mr Morgan (Mr Peabody's partner) so that when it came time for the carriage to take me out for a drive & a walk. I was in a perfect fever of over exhaustion & hurry. On Wednesday. more calls & visiters [sic]. Yesterday I went to an auction. & wandered about on Errands generally. in the afternoon took Florence Freeman [sic] advice & this morning have been out visiting the sick & +++ for a lecture which one good parson gives on the subjects of "Washington in its days of peril". & which I want to get up. at a dollar a ticket. to make a little purse for him for Xmas. The price is high. but the object good. & the people who will go. are able to pay that price. It is my plan & I hope will succeed & go off well. He read it to a few us last week & we liked it so much. I proposed that he should repeat it for a price. I think I shall get 50 or 60 people together. & it will be something. He was fomerly a clergy. man in Washington & obliged to leave on +++ of Union +++ & his congregation in a great measure leaving him. most of them having been among Southern members. He & his wife have suffered much. through a wilful daughter. who [threw] herself away very recklessly in marrying a son of Southern chivalry & who

[501 reverse] now is on their hands with a child to support — besides they have a son an epyleptic. much need & little bread! Some of the ladies came here last week to ask me for a subscription for a black silk dress which they wanted to give [illegible, crossed out] to Mrs Butler[?] [We] face what [we] could. & I believe they succeeded very well. This is a compliment to him. & I like it better to let him earn it. Than give it here[?] out & out. dont [sic] you? — We have some very nice Americans here this winter. people whom I like very well. Especially the Russel's [sic] of Boston. The [Van Rausallans] (She was the handsome Miss [Tallmadge] of New York years ago) the [Paysons] of Boston. Young Theodor Lyman & his wife. & the Charles Perkins! Some of the old residents too are very nice Mrs Crawford. Now Mrs Tury is pleasant. you know she is the sister of Julia Howe. Then there is a very pretty woman here. The wife of Mr Ward. who was one commissioner to China. & who went home & tendered his resignation when his state. Georgia went out. She was a Miss Sullivan of Boston. She is very pretty engaging — has children grown up & gray hair in curls. but charming notwithstanding. So we have pleasant society amongs [sic] ourselves & the minister & his wife are very nice indeed. We are to have a famous "+++" there tonight. Last night, we had a nice little tea drinking at Mrs Tiltons [sic]. The night before. we were at two parties. one an English family. named [Preston[?].] The other at Mrs Wards. The evening before. a little tea drinking at my own house & on Monday evening we were at a little party at [Schmanes] [?, Schwanns] the artist when we heard most exquisite music. & saw some nice English people. who after all one may say of their obstinacy & pigheadedness. &  opinion of themselves — are very nice people to meet in society! They are well bred generally. & then they are sure of their position & dont [sic] care what all the world may think, feel or say of them. That they are much never at their ease than people who are always anxious to know what this or that person or people are thinking or feeling with regard to them. & who never can be indepen -dent, while such is the case! We have some +++ here who are positvely dreadful & would make one for +++

[502] ones compatriots. But this is apt to be the case abroad! The weather has been very bright & cold lately — so that people have been tempted to expose themselves & get cold. my cough does not [leave] me. it is just such an [sic] one as I had last winter I wonder how my darling is — what she is doing. Thinking & feeling! she is in her house comfortably & simply established I hope long [Ere] this. I hope she feels her dignities becomingly & fills them as she can if she will! I hope you will make everything[?] +++ around you. Perhaps at Xmas you may get a present of curtains — who knows. I know if I were there on the spot I should be tempted to give them & perhaps your father or mother will think of it. if not. why you want to +++ much company perhaps this winter & it wont [sic] matter another winter — please god. you shall have them! I hope you wont [sic] forget to make Ned draw me plans of the rooms & let me know when the furniture stands in all. so that I may see how you are situated exactly! I shall want to know how the pictures hang. & where every thing is! Do you think you can find [Ned] disposed to bestow that much time on me! I hope so!. & I hope he may be giving more time to the [country] house. & less to Military training & drill. I hold it the most [unfortunate] thing in the world that the nescessity [sic] should have occurred for his doin [sic] this, just the first thing on his arrival in St Louis — when it was nescessary [sic] to give your father & his partners an idea of his ability or industry. Then too the housefurnishing & repairing has taken him away from the store — or given him an excuse for being away & I am so worried for fear his partners will be dissatisfied with him. It is too bad to draw a share of profits from a business & not give every moment of your time to it. This is one of the things for which Ned has despised Dr Muspratt & I hope he will never. be so unworthy as to take money for that which he does not honestly earn. from your fathers [sic] [firm]. I would rather you came abroad & lived with me: We are getting so hungry for news. Nothing since the removal of Mr [Clellan][?]. I am getting very nervous for fear

[502 reverse] Burnside may make some mistake. or not get a victory I really dont [sic] know what we should do. if he had a defeat it would be so desastrous just now. If Burnside can get a victory. Mr [Clellan][?] will be swept out of +++ mind, — if Burnside is defeated. Mr Clellan[?] will be exalted to a [divine] god I consider this moment one of the most critical of the +++  I see that exchange has your down 3 percent on Burnsides [sic] appointment. If he has a victory. it will go down 10 percent in a very short time. Was it not too bad that my sale & remit -tance of Eries. should have fallen when exchange was at 147 this is however. my luck in life. all that I have ever had has come by sheer force of my own will. & against all flukes of chance. For anybody else. exchange would have fallen or so fluctuated that they would have [had] some benefit from it. Hattie even. orders a remittance & dont care what she pays but she has your father on the spot to think for her to see ahead that exchange must go up. & to advance the money she wants so as to save her in one weeks [sic] rise in exchange between 800 & 900 dollars. This — or fortune in any way like this — or friendship thoughtful as this. I have never had! If I have anything to dispose of. I find it has been sold at the very lowest price any it [inserted] has touched for a month & it rises again within a day or two. If any body makes an investment for me — it turns out good for nothing or doubtful. or pays me no interest. or something. +++ in the case of the investments your father has made with are all good & safe. But I get very vexed sometimes when I  think what Col Stebbins might have done for me in the way of speculation. if he had been so disposed. But I suppose it is expecting too much of American human nature. & to think that a man will run a risk. & make money. even and  not put the proceeds, into his own pocket. even though he makes it with your own money! I will put myself into their place. & perhaps I should be as bad or as defect as they are. A man must have some stronger interest in  your than friendship to make money for you! Is it not so?

[503] Saturday. 13". My letter must go to day & I have not finished it. My hands are torturing me so dreadfully that I am very cross. as if to prevent me from writing. The two first fingers & thumb of my right hand are swollen & split so misera -bly at the ends that I can — only with difficulty. hold a pen. So you must forgive & excuse a short letter this time. Last night we went — in the most wretched of stones – to a reception at our [one?] ministers [sic]. which was very pleasant. Not all the Americans in Rome were there but enough to make it jolly. I wore the dress I wore at the Royal Academy soiree. & looked as you remember. There is no news from home. of Burnside & I find myself getting anxious & nervous. so much depends on his first move! — I am going out for a little ride at 12 1/2. I have not ridden for 10 days on account of my cough & cold. but I want exercise very much & I must get it when there is no danger. so go at mid-day. I am obliged to go alone with only Guiseppe! I wish my darling was here to go with me. aunt Emma has given up riding & there I am in a measure dependent for company! I answered your letter of the 10" 13". in my last: for it came to hand early. Therefore in reply to it. I have nothing further. you know how fondly I love you. how dearly and how constantly I think of you. how much I wish for you. how hard it seems that circumstances keep us so far apart. & how earnestly. I strive for some means which shall bring about different results. Perhaps at the end of the partnership. your father may be glad to get Ned away — who knows? perhaps Ned may be tired of business — who knows & perhaps my darling may be able to come abroad. who knows! perhaps aunt Emmas [sic]  needs may not keep her at Rome. who knows!. I only pray for something which shall bring about the end of my

[503 reverse] darlings [sic] being with me some time. somewhere for good & +++ — Yes darling I do remember those evenings in the country how short they were for we had such long Twilight +++ remember. & how hard we slept. & what jolly little breakfasts we used to have. & what rambles out in the long sun[...]  it is a very sweet memory to me. & I go back to it often often I feel so happy at having been able to afford you so much +++  much too. I know you prize the memory of it. as l do! It will come again! I am sure of it! I have not heard from [Uncle] or your grandmother yet. is it not strange?. — all that +++ about a mans [sic] going out without his wife. is good & true & [right][?] a wife is something more than a door mat!— God ever bless you my best darling daughter. Aunt Em & Sallie. send love to you as does your devotedly loving Ladie auntie

Mrs Cushman Care of Crow [Mr Crury & Co] St Louis Missouri


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876


Cushman, Emma Crow, 1839-1920


Rome, Italy

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Location (Recipient)

St Louis, MO, US

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Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876, “Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Emma Crow Cushman, Dec 12-13, 1862,” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed July 15, 2024, https://archivalgossip.com/collection/items/show/940.

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