Thursday, February 19, 2009


& the importance of Art in the suitable upbringing of a 'lady', & an introduction to family lines of interest in the tale of the Portrait, & ...Elocution?...

My gt grandmother was Bessie (Elizabeth [Edelen] Leavitt b. Oakland, Ca 1879-1956). Her daugher Susan Leavitt married Benjamin Cory (Pops, who requested my mother to “hang the old Gentleman” entry Feb 17). Benjamin’s mother brought the Meeker portrait from NJ to CA.
In Bessie’s DIARY she writes of her grandmother (Gammie) and the connection to the Qunicy family of Boston (entry Feb 18). Bessie, sister Susan, mother Emma and grandparents Hannah and Henry lived in San Francisco. (Emma was divorced at age 20, 1880, in San Francisco, from Lemuel Edelen~)

“Gammie (Hannah Marsten Francis b. about 1832) hailed from New England and was inordinately proud of the fact she boasted some of the best connections in Boston—the Qunicys, no less.
A cousin, Henrietta Quincy often came west to visit us. (c. late 1880s to 90s, I have not traced the precise identity of Henrietta Quincy nor her relationship Hannah, but they were clearly close for ‘Etta’ to feel comfortable taking such a lengthy trip from Boston to San Francisco more than once.) She was a rare soul bent on improving herself and all others with whom she came in contact. On her first visit to us she was absorbed in painting. She had studied art abroad and Gammie always insisted might have made a name for herself as an artist except for her other manifold interests. They included the study of French, German and Italian, elocution, photography, piano, banjo, mandolin and guitar. Under Cousin Etta’s supervision we girls (Bessie, sister Susan) gained a smattering of French, German, elocution and music very early in life.
We always loved having Cousin Etta visit us, she was so unpredictable. One winter she would go touring the country painting the missions, on another she would cover the same territory photographing them (in 1889, George Eastman invented film with a base that was flexible, unbreakable, and could be rolled). One year she would be completely engrossed in the study of foreign languages, the next she’d spend all her spare time tinkering with some instrument.
So we never knew whether our house would be in its customary apple pie order or littered with painting paraphernalia, the equipment for developing blue prints, sheet music text books or the equipment needful for any other pet hobby our cousin might be riding at the time. Of one thing we could be reasonably certain, some time during the day we girls would be called upon to find Cousin Etta’s glasses! But in spite of her eccentricities our Boston relative was an endearing person and she fitted so well into our menage that she really seemed like one of us, and she was always welcome to come and go at her own sweet will."


Anonymous said...

Hi there, I just bought a painting by Henrietta Quincy dated 1874. It shows a stand of trees near a lake in California. It's fantastic!

Federal Corner said...

Hi there, I just bought a painting by Henrietta Quincy dated 1874. It shows a stand of trees near a lake in California. It's fantastic!

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