Tuesday, June 15, 2010

An Early Description of Rebecca

"What a sensible amiable girl is my Becky. She possess[es] a large share of my heart. Her sentiments would do honor to any female breast. My husband frequently speaks of her countenance as beaming mildness and sweetness."

In 1789 Shinah Simon Schuyler and her husband Nicholas visited her parents in Lancaster, PA, and her sister Miriam Gratz and her family in Philadelphia. On her return to her home in New York, Shinah wrote a letter of thanks and included these words about Miriam's daughter Rebecca, then almost eight years old. It seems to be the earliest description extant and the only one of Rebecca as a child.

(The letter is in the Gratz Family Collection, Manuscript Collection No. 72, at the American Philosophical Society.)

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