(Dec. 18, 1868 - Sept. 27, 1869).
1 vols. 8vo. Generally in very good condition, many with their original envelopes. Item #40820
Flora Payne was the sister of Oliver Hazard Payne of Cleveland, William C. Whitney's roommate at Yale. After graduation, Payne and Whitney kept in touch and visited frequently, and it was on one of these visits, in 1868, that Flora and William were introduced. The letters are primarily love letters exchanged during their engagement, while Flora resided in Cleveland with her family, and Whitney sought to build his law practice in New York. Flora Payne and William Collins Whitney were married on October 13, 1869.
Flora Payne had a far broader and more liberal education than most young women of her day. After attending the Cleveland Seminary for young ladies and the Spingler Institute in New York, she traveled to Cambridge to attend a seminary for young ladies conducted by the naturalist Louis Agassiz, which later evolved into Radcliffe College. Flora was widely traveled, having spent the several years during the Civil War in Europe. While abroad, she had sent letters home to the Cleveland Daily Record, and their publication brought her local celebrity.
In the course of the correspondence, Flora's increasing respect for Whitney's profession emerges: on several occasions she mentions following his cases in the papers, and speaks of her realization that law is "a Christian profession." Her independence of spirit is also clear:
"A woman with a mind of her own is certainly the most formidible thing in creation--She may rule even though she tramples on those she rules ... [E]ven the lesser women may hold the reins of the connubial chariot if she gilds them a little!" (Jan. 22, 1869)
The letters reveal a lively intellectual relationship between Flora and Will, with frequent discussion of books and ideas; she refers to him several times as "my philosopher."
"I hope, Flo, that by the by when our lives are lived together we shall be persistently assistant to each other intellectually. We must certainly read and think upon the same things by and by and have mutual intellectual sympathies." (April 7, 1869).
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