Collection of 44 letters to and from the Westcott Whites of Rhode Island, Cleveland, and Illinois. Jane White, and Abbey, Mary.
Collection of 44 letters to and from the Westcott Whites of Rhode Island, Cleveland, and Illinois
Collection of 44 letters to and from the Westcott Whites of Rhode Island, Cleveland, and Illinois
Collection of 44 letters to and from the Westcott Whites of Rhode Island, Cleveland, and Illinois

Collection of 44 letters to and from the Westcott Whites of Rhode Island, Cleveland, and Illinois

Rhode Island, Cleveland, Butler, IL: 1819-1865. 44 autograph letters signed, as follows: the majority between Mary White (née Westcott) and her two sisters Jane and Abbey, with 11 addressed to Dr. Jacob B. White from school friends and his brother, and 4 earlier letters from older relatives on Mary's side. Aside from the earlier letters, all others are in fine and legible condition with original covers. The four letters from an older generation of the family are dated between 1816-1819 - all letters back home to Rhode Island describing land in Ohio, their prospects there, the conditions of their farms, or their plans to settle. There is some staining and one letter is has some tearing at the folds with tape reinforcement. Letters to Jacob are dated 1845 and 1856 and mainly concern school life at Dartmouth, his alma mater. His two friends "EMT" and G. Hopkinson update him on the comings and goings of the school (“The president is the weakest-minded man in the faculty and very unpopular.") And make brief mention of his relationship to Mary ("I'm very glad to hear from you that you had enjoyed a 'whole fortnight' at the shrine of your Mary"). The bulk of the material is from Jane and Abbey, dated between 1862 and 1865 after Mary and Jacob have settled in Butler Il. Jane teaches at a school in Cleveland and peppers her letters with observations about city life, commenting on the lectures (Brownlow, Francis Train, Frederick Douglas, Francis D Gage) and events she attends (political jubilees, elections, a "sanitary fair"). She spares no opinion. Of Train she writes: "a good part of the lecture was about himself. He evidently thinks he is the greatest genius in the United States if not the world. I think he must be a little insane.” After a soldier's benefit she writes: “I was glad to hear [a scathing sermon after] for I think some of them deserved it. … Mr. Wilson made a perfect fool of himself the evening I was there he got up on the platform dressed up in some sort of red clothes with two false faces one in back and the other in front, he would turn one side round and then the other, he sold a doll, dressed up like a darkey, at auction, I never was so disgusted with any person in my life.” She regularly mentions her distaste for Copperheads, the pacifist Democrats who wanted peace under any circumstances, and expresses a desire to vote. Jane also updates Mary on more personal issues, particularly her work at the school. She dislikes the superintendent, Mr. Oviatt, a great deal. "Mr. Oviatt I guess begins to think [Miss Bonds] is not afraid of him. She would not take a boy back into school that he advised her to, but let the man bring it before the board and they decided in her favor. She said if they decided against her she had her resignation all ready and would leave before she would give up, and I guess she would have done it … Oviatt is a public nuisance and ought to be drummed out of town." Mary's sister Abbey remains in Rhode Island with the rest of the family and her letters are mostly an update on what the large clan is up to. She expresses constant anxiety over William, likely their brother, who has enlisted in the Union Army twice. ("I never expect to hear from them again you said he was at Memphis and I expect they will be sent forward to Vicksburg poor dear children.") She wishes Mary were closer to home and suggests places where her Doctor husband might find a position closer to Rhode Island. All three sisters spend a notable amount of ink tracking William's whereabouts, organizing care packages, and expressing concern for his wellbeing. Both sisters send Mary clothing regularly and discuss the current fashions in detail. The costs of particular fabrics, the trading of patterns, the size of sleeves, shape of hoods, length of skirts and so on and so forth are mentioned regularly. Jane at one point laments the cost of keeping up with it all. There are also a few letters from Mary to Abbey, often requesting that some things be sent (forks, cloth for curtains and table cloths) and expressing a desire to be closer to family. She asks for photographs and says that they would do more good to her than can be imagined. She also shares her sister's distaste for Copperheads, mentioning an attempt at voter fraud in October, "Quite a lot of copperheads went from this state to vote in Ohio but got arrested and sent home, to the great delight of all good union people.”. Item #57651

Price: $600.00

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