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meanwhile, a study of Rocks in Sepia

      Yesterday morning I took my first painting-lesson, and lor! it is very funy. Professor Hummel is very much, to look at, like Dr. Hedge; and he has his “Atelier,” as he calls it, all about in two little parlours. When I went in, so found I two ladies puttering away, and a gentleman with his neatly prepared drawing-board painting... The Professor had got me a table and copy all fixed out, and I sate down to copy a study of Rocks in Sepia. Alas, dear Herst! this man’s method is totally different, and so old-fashioned and arrière! To copy every darned line in pencil before the colour!!
To Miss Lucretia P. Hale / Frau Biber’s Erfurte-strasse, Tuesday evening, December 3, 1872
100 : link

      Meanwhile, Tilton has kept me the whole winter puttering over the decorating book, which is now really going to press at once; he will pay me twenty-five dollars more, which makes a hundred...
To Miss Ellen Day Hale / Boston, February 20, 1885
144 : link

...But good old Franklin came every day afterwards, and made the fire mornings, and stayed round, and I called in Oliver, who dined with Franklin and stayed afterwards to help him wash up. ’Twas a sight to see the two old darkies clumsily puttering away with the mops and towels. Oh! those mornings! to wake up in doubt of any help — cold as Greenland — my bath at six, — then down to a cold kitchen, the faithful Franklin appearing just as I gave him up, — then making myself the coffee, sweeping the red room, in a royal clutter, with Phil., his cigarettes, the constant fire, newspapers all scattered round, — set the table, back to kitchen to fry sausages and potatoes and make toast, boil milk, skim the cream, put away the milk, keep neat the refrigerator, fetch Phil.’s waterpail, and cheer him in bed with news from the front...
To Miss Lucretia P. Hale / Matunuck, Rhode Island, October 2, 1893
284 : link

      Such a delicious drive, and you with me (unawares) through country roads, and every tree just flushed with sheen, the first minute of real spring-time, poplars and willows and oaks and sycamores and maples with hanging things, and ladies stepping out of green fields with great bunches of red flowers, and a river with clear water sparkling over stones, and the earth smelling newly ploughed, and the lawn-cutters making hay smells, and the Golf Club, and caddies caddying and putters puttering and toads toadying and Dukes and Princes and Counts counting, and the Grand Duke of Russia and sa femme in a carriage, and the blue sea sparkling, and the Jardin Publique with music, and little boys drawn in carts, and donkeys with side-saddles, and English women holding up their petticoats to the skin, and fish shining in the fish-markets, and small boats everywhere, and Britannia ruling the waves. Hurry up and come before it is all gone by.
To Mrs. William G. Weld / Cannes, March 24, 1897
315 : link

all ex Susan Hale, Letters of. Edited by Caroline P. Atkinson; introduction by Edward E. Hale. (Boston, 1919)
LC copy (among others) at hathitrust : link


  1. 144
    this would be Susan Hale, her Self-instructive lessons in painting with oil and water-colors : on silk, satin, velvet and other fabrics : including lustra painting and the use of other mediums
    (Boston: S. W. Tilton Co., 1885) : link (Getty copy)
    same, via archive.org : link
    Introduction : Art and Taste...
  2. a search for “puttering” + “author:hale” was prompted by a Library of America announcement — “Wickedly Smart”: Honoring Nancy Hale at 115 — of the imminent republication of two Hale titles — The Prodigal Women (1942) and Where the Light Falls (a collection of short fiction). Hale, winner of ten O. Henry Awards and a frequent contributor to The New Yorker — I’d never heard of her; but it may have been something about the name...
  3. Nancy Hale (1908-1988)
    wikipedia : link
    daughter of Philip Leslie Hale (1865-1931) and Lilian Westcott Hale (1880-1963), both painters — he once engaged with Ethel Reed (1874-1912 *) — and both honored with their repective wikipedia pages : link and link
    and he (Philip Leslie) the son of Edward Everett Hale (1822-1909), author, historian and Unitarian Minister
    wikipedia : link
  4. and Susan?
    Susan Hale (1833-1910) was author, traveler, artist, and Edward Everett’s sister, keeper of his summer house in Matunuck, Rhode Island.
    wikipedia : link
  5. I don’t know what to make or do with any of this, but will look further into Nancy Hale, and
    think about this accomplished-cum-privileged white Boston Brahmin-ean family, and
    Edward Everett’s erased-by-the-family relationship with
    Harriet Elizabeth Freeman (1847-1930), a remarkable botanist/geologist/conservationist in her own right
    wikipedia : link
  6. an overall sense of the Hale family can be gotten from the finding aid to the Hale Family Papers (1797-1988), held at Smith College : SSC-MS-00071 : link

9 May 2023