Skip to main content

Full text of "Elizabeth Cary Agassiz : a biography"

See other formats


Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2007 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 




//^ ou.A.yz (J .ZfO'X'^^i^ 












A FEW words in regard to the circumstances 
under which this book has been written are 
necessary. In the spring of 1917, the Council of Rad- 
cliffe College appointed Mrs. William G. Farlow, Miss 
Alice M. Longfellow, and Professor William E. By- 
erly a committee, to which Professor Fred N. Robin- 
son was later added, to arrange for the publication of 
a biography of Mrs. Louis Agassiz, the first President 
of the college, in order that the future students might 
have some knowledge of her character and of what 
Radcliffe owes to her. It was decided that the earlier 
portion of the memoir, treating of Mrs. Agassiz 's 
youth and married fife (1822-73), should be written 
by Miss Emma F. Cary, her youngest and only sur- 
viving sister, and the remainder (1873-1907) by my- 

From the time when the biography was first 
planned. Miss Cary devoted herself to its prepara- 
tion and gave it constant thought. It was to be not 
only the crowning labor of her long life, which al- 
ready numbered eighty-three years, but also a final 
tribute of devotion to a dearly loved sister. Her 
friends earnestly hoped that she might live to see the 
book completed, but she had made only a preliminary 
selection of letters and had written merely a few sec- 
tions of her narrative, when in August, 1918, her 
work was ended by her death. 


Her heirs kindly placed at the disposal of Radcliffe 
College her material for the biography and thus made 
it possible for the book to be written. The title that 
Miss Cary had expected to give to her part of the 
work — "Memories of Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, by 
One who Looked On" — expresses very well the 
character of the brief portion that she had prepared. 
This consisted largely of a description of the Boston 
of her own and Mrs. Agassiz 's youth, for memories 
crowded so thick and fast upon her as she wrote that 
she was diverted from the account of Mrs. Agassiz's 
individual girlhood, and had herself concluded that 
probably much of her narrative might prove irrele- 
vant to the memoir. I have, therefore, selected from 
her manuscript the sections that convey an impres- 
sion of Mrs. Agassiz's immediate environment in her 
earlier years and have published these with very few 
and unimportant verbal changes. Of the material 
dealing with Mrs. Agassiz's ancestry Miss Cary left 
too incomplete a draft for publication, but her notes 
have served as a basis for the first chapter and have 
been amplified from other family papers. From the 
letters that she had collected for possible use I have 
made a selection and have added to these many from 
other sources. If Miss Cary could have finished her 
part, the book would have had a unique character 
that would have enhanced its interest. As it is, the 
admission must sadly be made that it contains but 
little of her writing. 

The resources for the biography have been ample 
for some chapters, scanty for others. Mrs. Agassiz had 


comparatively few correspondents, for with the excep- 
tion of her Swiss and German connections, she lived 
so surrounded by her family and her most intimate 
friends that she had little need for the exchange of 
letters with them. Much of her correspondence has 
been destroyed; much that remains is too personal 
for publication or is not available. Consequently the 
letters published here are addressed to a limited circle 
and are by no means representative of her friendships. 
In the narrative also there are gaps. The deepest 
privacies of love and faith, joy and sorrow have the 
most profound influence upon character, but they 
are holy ground to be passed by in silence. The can- 
vas, therefore, is unfinished in parts, but it serves to 
depict the most important externals of Mrs. Agassiz's 
life and to portray her character through the medium 
of her own words. 

Two minor points remain to be mentioned. In the 
account of Mrs. Agassiz's part in the growth and de- 
velopment of Radcliffe College, it has seemed best, 
for the sake of clearness and interest, to treat the 
story as a unit, interrupted merely by a chapter con- 
taining letters written by Mrs. Agassiz during a year 
in Europe, although this necessitates a departure 
from the chronological arrangement followed in the 
rest of the book and anticipates some of the years that 
form the subject of a later chapter. It should also be 
said that many omissions from letters and other 
quoted passages have been made, which in deference 
to Miss Cary's wishes are in general not indicated by 
the use of asterisks. 

viii PREFACE -^i. 

The book owes much to the interest of friends who 
have lent letters for pubHcation, and whom I have ^^ 
the pleasure of thanking in behalf of Radcliile Col- 8p 
lege. Material kindly given by Mrs. Cornelius Con- 
way Felton is at her request specified: the letters on 
pages 180 and 276 and the manuscript from which 
selections appear on pages £77 to £79. Warm thanks 
are also due to friends and various members of Mrs. 
Agassiz's family for advice and suggestions, and es- 
pecially to Mrs. Henry L. Higginson and Mrs. Rob- 
ert Shaw Russell for material and information gen- 
erously supplied. The Commemoration Addresses 
in Chapter XV are republished from the Harvard 
Graduates* Magazine for March, 1908, by the cour- 
tesy of its editor. 

Lucy Allen Paton 

Cambridge, Massachusetts 
October, 1919 


I. Ancestry 1 

II. Temple Place 9 

III. Cambridge — Charleston — The Agassiz 

School — Europe 30 

IV. Letters from Brazil 68 

V. Cambridge — A Journey in Brazil . . .103 

VI. The Voyage OF THE Hassler . . . .118 

VII. Penikese Island — The Death of Agassiz . 165 

VIII. Changed Conditions — The Biography of 

Agassiz 171 

IX. The Society for the Collegiate Instruc- 
tion OF Women: The Harvard Annex . .192 

X. The Passing of the Harvard Annex . . 230 

XI. Europe 275 

XII. Radcliffe College 310 

XIII. The Radcliffe Tradition 358 

XIV. The Last Years 367 

XV. Commemoration Addresses 394 

Index 413 


Elizabeth Gary Agassiz Frontispiece 

From a photograph taken in 1872 

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Graves Gary .... 4 

The Gary Gottage at Nahant 16 

Elizabeth Gary Agassiz in 1852 44 

Louis Agassiz and Gount Francois de Pourtales 118 

Elizabeth Gary Agassiz in 1872 166 

The Fay House in 1887 222 

The Agassiz House at Nahant 278 

Elizabeth Gary Agassiz House, Radcliffe Gol- 
LEGE 354 

The Agassiz Gate, Radcliffe Gollege . . . 394 

Erected to the memory of Mrs. Agassiz by her children and 
grandchildren in 1916. 



IT is preeminently true of Elizabeth Gary Agassiz that 
the memory of what she was possesses an even greater 
permanent value than what she did, and that indications of 
her character are of more importance in her biography than 
a record of her achievements, notable though some of these 
were. Not a complex nature, it was marked by strong indi- 
viduality, of which the principal elements were singularly 
pronounced — the influences of a New England ancestry 
extending over almost two centuries and of an inherited 
environment in Boston, blended with inborn gifts of mind 
and spirit schooled by the discipline of experience. But in 
her personality there was throughout her life a distinctive 
quality — the light of pure sweetness and truth — which 
should not be forgotten in estimating the value of her 
presence, yet which eludes analysis and, although it is re- 
flected in her letters and diaries, can be no more faithfully 
reproduced than the changing beauty of a dawn or sunset. 
The background of Mrs. Agassiz's life always remained 
practically unchanged and was formed by her family con- 
nections and associations. On both her father's and her 
mother's side she came of excellent Massachusetts stock, 
which provided her not only with the practical and moral 
equipment characteristic of such an heritage, but also with 


a line of ancestors among whom one after another was con- 
spicuous for effective and interesting traits. The first of her 
father's family to emigrate from England to America was 
James Gary, who in 1639 left Bristol, where his father and 
great-grandfather each in his day and generation had been 
first Sheriff and then Mayor, and came to Gharlestown, 
Massachusetts. Here he spent the rest of his life, a person 
of sufficient importance to be made Glerk of the Writs, 
Recorder, and Tithingman. In Gharlestown and its vicin- 
ity his descendants continued to live for generations and 
by marriage became connected with some of the families 
who were well known among the early settlers of Massa- 
chusetts. His great-grandson, Samuel Gary, for example, in 
1741 married Margaret Graves of Gharlestown, a descend- 
ant of John Winslow, the brother of Governor Winslow, 
and Mary Ghilton, the daughter of James Ghilton, one 
of the founders of Plymouth Golony. Through Margaret 
Graves there came into the possession of the Gary family 
an extensive piece of property in Ghelsea, originally part 
of a royal grant to Governor Bellingham, which was be- 
queathed to her by her stepmother, who had inherited it 
from her sister, the daughter-in-law of Governor Belling- 
ham. In this way Ghelsea became the centre of the fam- 
ily life, and the "Retreat," as the Bellingham estate was 
called, remained the Gary homestead until 1911. 

For Mrs. Agassiz the interest and attractions of the 
"Retreat" were enhanced by its immediate associations as 
her father's birthplace and early home. His father, Samuel 
Gary, the eldest child of Samuel and Margaret Gary, had a 
chequered career, which for a time led him far away from 
the seclusion of Ghelsea. Handsome, gay, and fond of so- 


ciety, he was no favorite with his serious-minded father, 
who gave him his patrimony and despatched him to the 
island of Grenada in the British West Indies, where he be- 
came a prosperous planter. He married, however, a Bosto- 
nian, Sarah Gray, the daughter of the Reverend Ellis Gray, 
and after eighteen years in Grenada, they felt New England 
tugging at their heart-strings, and believing that they had 
means sufficient to bring up their large family of children as 
they desired, they returned in 1790 to the "Retreat." But 
four years later, during political disturbances in Grenada, 
Samuel Gary lost his entire fortune and was reduced to the 
resources of the Chelsea farm for the support of his house- 
hold. His prosperity proved a valuable school for adversity, 
and the fortitude with which he and Mrs. Cary met the sit- 
uation admirably illustrates the moral calibre under the in- 
fluence of which their children were brought up. A pictur- 
esque description of the family life in Chelsea has been left 
by Mrs. Agassiz in a brief manuscript memoir of her father, 
Thomas Graves Cary, who was only four years old at the 
time of his father's reverses : 

Under the changed aspect of affairs the family life 
was restricted within the closest possible limits, and 
these conditions were never essentially changed until 
the children had grown up and entered the world to 
fight its battles for themselves. And yet to those who 
know the records of this life it was not wanting in 
the elegance and refinement which cultivated tastes 
and dignity of character may give to the narrowest 
circumstances. One hears, for instance, of the oldest 
daughter, who had already received her education at 
an expensive school in England, turning the dining- 


room into a schoolroom where her flock of little broth- 
ers and sisters became her scholars, a duty in which 
an older brother also returned from foreign lands joined 
her. The old family journals tell of the play of Shake- 
speare or the novel of Walter Scott read aloud in 
the winter evenings when the snow outside had shut 
them in, by "Mama," who added to her gracious 
presence and sweet voice the gift of admirable read- 
ing, or the minuet danced by the younger members 
of the family, while "Sister Margaret" played the 
harpsichord and the mother and father looked on from 
their straight-backed stately armchairs in the corner 
of the parlor. Nourished on good literature, trained in 
the manners of the old school, drawn closer in family 
affection and intercourse by the absence of other 
society, and taught to reverence and love the hard- 
won institutions of their country so recently secured, 
these young people grew up valuing their education 
the more, perhaps, because they owed it in so large a 
degree to their own personal efforts and those of their 

Such were the surroundings in which Mrs. Agassiz's 
father lived until he entered Harvard College. After his 
graduation he studied law and in 1820 married Mary, the 
daughter of Thomas Handasyd Perkins of Boston. By 1821 
he was established as a lawyer in Brattleboro, Vermont, 
and had he continued to practise his profession there, Mrs. 
Agassiz's life would doubtless have run in very different 
channels from those that it followed. But not long after 
her birth, in 1822, he decided to give up his legal practice 
and cast in his lot with his brothers who were already 



engaged in business in New York. In 1832 he brought his 
family from New York to Boston and entered the firm of 
his father-in-law, Perkins and Company, which had long 
been successfully engaged in the China trade. Six years 
later, however, the business was dissolved, and after a brief 
interval, Mr. Cary became treasurer of the Hamilton and 
Appleton Mills in Lowell, a position which he held until his 
death in 1859. His life, as Mrs. Agassiz describes it in the 
memoir quoted above, was that "of a quiet business man, 
never brilliantly successful so far as his own fortunes were 
concerned. His purity of character and unselfishness of con- 
duct alone gave him the honored place he held in the com- 
munity. Truly a good citizen and deeply interested in the 
charities and educational interests of the state, he was 
always ready to render unpaid service and was therefore 
often called upon to act as trustee or director of public in- 
stitutions. He was for many years a most active trustee of 
the Institution for the Blind endowed by his father-in-law. 
He was also the indefatigable friend of the Boston Athe- 
naeum, the affairs of which possessed the greater interest 
for him because he had marked literary tastes, for the pur- 
suit of which his busy life allowed him little time. His 
memoir of Colonel Thomas H. Perkins, printed only for 
private circulation was a very spirited biographical sketch 
and he left also a number of short, well-written papers on 
matters of finance and manufacturing interests." 

Through their mother, Mary Perkins, his children had 
an ancestry no less stamped by individuality than through 
him. The Perkins family was first established in America 
at Ipswich, Massachusetts. Here John Perkins, who emi- 
grated to New England with Winthrop and Saltonstall 


settled in 1630. He was joined later by his god-daughter, 
Alice Perkins, who although a Puritan had married, in 
spite of family displeasure, her Roman Catholic cousin, 
Edmund Perkins of Ufton Court, and being left at his 
death with scant provision for her three children, came 
with them from England to her god-father for support. 
From her son, Edmund, the branch of the family to which 
Mrs. Agassiz belonged was descended. In his grandson, 
James Perkins, a highly respected merchant of Boston, the 
great-grandfather of Mrs. Agassiz, qualities appear that ac- 
quire a significance in her biography. Grave and courteous 
in manner and upright in principles he found his friends 
among such men as Samuel Adams, James Otis and Paul 
Revere. He is associated to his own advantage with Paul 
Revere in a flattering family tradition, according to which 
they came home one day after a hard gallop on horseback. 
Revere as mud-stained as he had reason to be after his fa- 
mous ride in a better cause, and Perkins the pink of neat- 
ness, for, the record adds, "dirt, moral or physical, could 
not stick to him." His wife, Elizabeth, the daughter of 
Thomas Handasyd Peck of Boston, a dealer in furs, was 
fully his equal in strength of character and when at his 
death she was left with the care of a large family of chil- 
dren, she not only brought them up admirably, but as- 
sumed the management of her husband's business and 
conducted it with such eflSciency that her sex was not sus- 
pected by her commercial correspondents in Holland, who 
used to address her as Mr. Elizabeth Perkins. Many tales 
are also told of the good works that she did, not only in 
connection with various charitable associations of Boston, 
but independently, lodging, for instance, an insane woman 


in her cellar till she had nursed her back to sanity, and 
tending the wounded, even British soldiers, during the 
troublous times of the Revolution. 

Her son, Thomas Handasyd, the grandfather of Mrs. 
Agassiz, married Sarah Elliot, the daughter of Simon and 
Sarah Wilson Elliot of Boston, and brought a strain of 
Scotch blood into the family through his wife's mother, 
who was born in Scotland and had come to America in her 
girlhood. She was as interesting for her lovable qualities as 
Elizabeth Perkins was for her executive capacity, and her 
house was long remembered by her grandchildren as the 
scene of many youthful frolics in which their grandmother 
was an active sympathizer. The marriage of Thomas 
Perkins and the daughter of so excellent a mother fulfilled 
its promises of happiness. In the sixty-three years of their 
life together they were favored by fortune, and Colonel 
Perkins, as he was always called after being appointed 
lieutenant-colonel in the "Lancers," became one of the 
influential and wealthy citizens of Boston, prominent for 
the wise and philanthropic purposes for which he used his 
means, especially as a generous contributor to the Boston 
Athenaeum and the Massachusetts General Hospital, and 
as the founder of the Perkins Institution for the Blind. 

His daughter, Mary, Mrs. Agassiz's mother, was there- 
fore brought up amid more easy circumstances than her 
husband, Thomas Cary, in a household where public local 
interests and benefactions were of consequence, and under 
the simple social conditions of early nineteenth-century 
Boston. It is interesting to read of the impression that she 
made upon her future brother-in-law, William Cary, during 
a visit in Boston in 1818. He reports to Thomas, who was 


out of town at the time, that he had met Miss Perkins at 
a tea-party and had heard her sing. **I can't tell you how 
charmed I was with her voice (which is really divine)," he 
continues, "with her conversation, with her manners, — 
indeed I thought her possessed of every quality which man 
could possibly wish for in woman. Then her little laugh is 
killing." "I last saw her at the ball given by herself," he 
writes later, "where she walked among her friends, impart- 
ing pleasure and gayety to all the young and cheerfulness 
to those of the 'matured.' The next morning I called to say 
Adieu jusqu'au revair I She came down dressed in a red 
crape, with a handkerchief round her neck; looked all 
goodness and benignity as usual; gave me her hand, and I 
took my leave, saying to myself, *What a happy fellow is 
this brother of mine ! " The sparkling wit and vivacity of 
her youth characterized Mary Perkins throughout her life 
no less than her "goodness and benignity," and her cheer- 
fulness and affectionate sympathy were among the traits 
that always endeared her to her friends and were trans- 
mitted by her to her children. 

It is evident that as in generation after generation of the 
Gary and Perkins families during two hundred years these 
distinctive personalities developed, there was accumulating 
for their descendants a heritage of elevated moral ideals, 
refinement of taste, executive ability and family affection 
— qualities that continued to live in Mrs. Agassiz. How 
fine a strain in her character she also inherited directly 
from her parents, especially from her father, we shall see as 
we follow the story of her life. 



ELIZABETH CABOT GARY was born on Decem- 
ber 5, 1822, at the house of her grandfather, Colonel 
Perkins, in Pearl Street. It was a dignified street in those 
days, lined with handsome dwellings and shaded by fine 
trees, offering many attractions to merchants as a quarter 
for residence because of its proximity to Fort Hill where 
from a grassy park on the Revolutionary fortifications, still 
unlevelled, they could survey the harbor and watch their 
ships from India or China coming into port. But ten years 
later the neighborhood of the Common was considered 
more desirable, and in 1833 Colonel Perkins moved to 
Temple Place where he had built a new house, — now 
occupied by the Provident Institute for Savings, — and 
established in the Pearl Street residence the school for 
the blind that afterwards bore his name. At that time the 
Cary family were living in Brookline, where they had gone 
on their return to Boston in the previous year, but Colonel 
Perkins speedily began to gather his daughters about him 
in Temple Place and built a house for Mrs, Cary next his 
own on the side toward the Common. Of the earlier years 
of Elizabeth Cary's childhood, while her parents were liv- 
ing in Brattleboro and New York and her grandparents 
in Pearl Street, we have no record. Our first impressions 
of her begin in Temple Place, and since she knew no other 
home until her marriage, it is with this house that her youth 
is completely identified. 


Temple Place, known as "the Court," presented condi- 
tions altogether typical of the Boston of that period. On the 
opposite side of the street from the Gary dwelling two other 
married daughters of Golonel Perkins lived, Mrs. William 
H. Gardiner and Mrs. Samuel Gabot. " Grandchildren in 
Temple Place were commonplace facts," Mrs. Agassiz's 
sister, Mrs. Gharles P. Gurtis, says in her Memories, a fam- 
ily manuscript from which there will be frequent occasion 
to quote below. There were twenty-one all told, eight 
Gabots, six Gardiners and seven Garys — Mary (Mrs. 
Gornelius Gonway Felton), Elizabeth (Mrs. Louis Agas- 
siz), Thomas, Caroline (Mrs. Gharles P. Gurtis), Sarah, 
Emma and Richard. The Perkins connection, accord- 
ingly, may be said to have dominated the Gourt, and the 
constant intercourse and intimacy between the sisters and 
their children kept the family feeling strong and the tradi- 
tions unbroken. Such a gathering of a clan into a single 
limited district was in complete accordance with the Boston 
custom of those days, when families had the habit of con- 
gregating in one street and not only claimed it as their own, 
but also looked somewhat askance upon the unblest world 
without. "I dare say they are wrong; they do not live in 
Temple Place," Mr. Gary used to remark with a little 
twinkle in his eye, when the opinions of outsiders were 
called into question by his daughters. A picture of the 
family environment in Temple Place has been left by 
Miss Emma Gary among the papers mentioned in the 

The house of our grandfather in Temple Place was 
an attractive house in the solid style of that day with 
a heavy stone portico and stone steps leading up to 


the front door. Ah, that door! It was of black oak 
made of wood from the famous old man-of-war, the 
Constitution. It opened heavily and closed with a 
great thud and crash that could be heard in all the 
houses round about. The vestibule was very pretty 
with marble statues on each side, and steps again led 
up to the door opening into the hall. From the hall 
a broad spiral staircase wound up to the top of the 
house and was crowned with a cupola, from which we 
could see the comet of the time, or watch meteors 
trail their mysterious light across the sky. Two sto- 
ries below was a spacious hall with grandfather's suite 
of rooms on the left side; on the opposite side our 
grandmother held sway. The elder grandchildren 
were very intimate with their grandfather, but we 
younger ones never ventured into these sacred pre- 
cincts unless the rooms were empty. To our grand- 
mother's parlor we always had access. She was usu- 
ally sitting by a bright fire in a thickly upholstered 
rocking chair with arms and ears. She received us 
kindly, but usually said, " Where is your mother? " — 
a rather disconcerting question, but I don't remember 
being repelled by it. At dusk of a winter's day when 
the astral lamps were lighted, John Tevin, the old 
butler, drew out and opened a mahogany table with 
claw feet, spread a white cloth, put on the hissing 
kettle, and we had tea with grandmother. A particu- 
lar kind of toast dwells in the memory of the partici- 
pants, some East India preserve or other delicacy, 
and our favorite gingerbread marked, no doubt, with 
a fork, to our taste superior to any other luxury. 


Downstairs on the piano nobile on our right as we 
came down into the hall, was the dining-room, its 
walls hung with rare engravings. Here at two long 
tables we used to have our Thanksgiving dinner when 
most of us were children or very young men and 
maidens. The little people were at a long side-table 
with Aunt Sally and my mother to preside. The elders, 
however, sat at the table of ceremony where grand- 
father and grandmother presided in state. How 
gravely John Tevin served us young folks, though 
ready enough to crack a joke with us on ordinary occa- 
sions ! How the tables groaned under the glorious pro- 
ductions of Hannah Allen's genius, who was surely a 
high priestess in the culinary art, of which we young- 
sters were devotees! In later years the Thanksgiving 
feast was spread in the two large drawing rooms with 
folding doors that stood always open. They were 
handsome, spacious rooms, hung with interesting 
paintings, chiefly of the English school and strongly 
influenced by the genius of Constable. There were 
two beautiful bas-reliefs by Thorwaldsen, and some 
exquisite ornaments in Sevres and other precious 
materials, but the furniture was of the plainest, 
covered with horsehair and the carpet was of sober 
brown Brussels. Two relics of a departed glory we 
regarded with awe: an armchair of Napoleon that he 
sat in at St. Helena, gnawing his heart out, one may 
guess, — also a small copy of his tomb with sword and 
chateau has laid upon it. 

Next to this pleasant mansion was the smaller 
house where Thomas Graves Gary was watching over 


his seven children, a task shared by the mother of the 
family with cheerful serenity. 

Temple Place was a court, connected with Wash- 
ington Street only by a flight of steps leading down 
to a short and narrow pavement that opened on the 
thoroughfare. The name of Temple Place came from 
the Masonic Temple, a substantial stone building 
fronting on Tremont Street. In this temple there 
was a hall used for concerts, and many were the 
delightful hours we spent there making our first ac- 
quaintance with the best music, for our household 
was devoted to music. Lizzie and Mary sang delight- 
fully together, and each younger child was expected 
to play or sing or do both to add to the domestic 

This taste for music led to many valuable friend- 
ships, and I often wonder how all these amateurs 
learned to sing and play so well. I fancy that there 
was a convenient supply of political exiles who 
brought the fine arts of Europe to New England. 
Exiles were greatly in fashion in the early nineteenth 
century, and I remember one who taught my sisters 
and their friends to sing some of the noble Itahan 
compositions sung in the Sistine Chapel in Rome. 
This was Signor Gambardella, a man of versatile tal- 
ents. He painted several beautiful portraits during 
his stay in Boston, and became famous in later years 
after his return to Europe, as assistant of Lord Ross 
in his astronomical studies and in the making of his 
wonderful telescope. 

But, however acquired, there was much talent for 


music in Boston and refined taste in selection. An 
orchestra of twenty-three musicians, some of them 
amateurs, gave concerts in the Odeon and among 
other great compositions rendered Beethoven's Fifth 
Symphony. All Boston went to hear these concerts, 
and the aesthetes from Brook Farm took possession 
of the gallery and listened no doubt to the music of the 
spheres. Their generous experiment in democracy was 
then at the full tide of its hopes for humanity. Mar- 
garet Fuller's talks were the wonder of the times; 
Alcott and Thoreau were trying experiments in liv- 
ing, and Emerson looked on, sympathized and held 
himself aloof from all that savored of exaggeration 
or bad taste. Transcendentalism was at its height, 
indignation at the negro slavery was surging in many 
hearts, and meanwhile alongside of all these enthu- 
siasms a most conventional social world moved on 
as placidly as if nothing in Boston would ever change. 
Boston was then a small and very pretty city. 
The Common was in its perfection, a charming httle 
park. The streets around it were picturesque with 
houses individual in style and of a comfortable char- 
acter. The Back Bay was still a bay. There was an 
odd attempt made to turn the Public Garden into a 
private park owned in shares, where there was a con- 
servatory, an aviary, and a faint attempt at a menag- 
erie. I remember my boundless pride when our 
grandfather gave to me among others, a life ticket 
to this infant Jardin des Plantes, but our lives would 
have been short indeed, if we had not survived the 
utility of our tickets, for this enterprise was soon 



given up and the enclosure became the Public Garden. 
Out towards Brookline stretched the Mill-Dam, and 
on the other side of the city "The Neck" led to Rox- 
bury and also was connected with South Boston by 
a bridge. The Neck and the Mill-Dam afforded space 
for long walks for the pedestrians of the time. People 
walked in those days and were the better for it. 

Between the two divisions of Boston, the conserv- 
atives and the transcendentalists, Elizabeth Gary 
passed her youth and like a wholesome plant, drew 
the best from all these elements. 

The winter life in Temple Place passed under the con- 
ditions that Miss Gary has described was to a great extent 
continued for the Gary household during the summer, which 
they always spent at Nahant. Here they occupied a stone 
cottage built by Colonel Perkins not long after the mar- 
riage of Mrs. Gary and said to have been the jSrst house in 
the place built by a Bostonian, for Nahant had not yet 
won the name of "cold roast Boston," bestowed upon it 
later by a famous wag, and was little more than a 
resort for fishing and bathing parties. Here Mrs. Agassiz 
spent her summers with few exceptions from her earliest 
years until 1904, and Nahant never knew a rival in her af- 
fections. Her life there was gay and happy in her girlhood, 
for the cottage was overflowing with young people and 
echoing with their music and merriment. "How well I 
remember in our house at Nahant," Miss Gary writes, "a 
line of young people tramping abreast round the broad 
piazza singing glees and catches and all sorts of ditties, 
their fresh young voices ringing out on the evening air. 
Or in our plain little parlor with nothing pretty in it but an 


exquisite China paper on the wall, there would be a circle 
of young people around the piano preparing hymns for the 
coming Sunday; for under my father's direction they made 
the choir at the Nahant church, singing without accom- 
paniment and with perfect accuracy." 

Of Elizabeth Gary herself, as she grew up in the sur- 
roundings afforded by Temple Place in winter and Nahant 
in summer, the most vivid picture that we have is con- 
tained in Mrs. Gurtis's Memories. 

Lizzie was the second child born to my father and 
mother, and as there was not two years' difference 
between her and her sister Mary, they grew up to- 
gether and the tie between them was very close. I 
remember at Mary's death Lizzie said to me, "I have 
lost my twin." Though unlike in appearance and char- 
acter there was one interest equally strong in both, 
and that was their love of music, which brought them 
the closer that Mary's contralto and Lizzie's soprano 
seeriied made the one as companion to the other. 
Their music was partly from Italian operas, but with 
a mingling of English songs — and these were not 
English words set to music by German composers, but 
simply romantic love stories. I remember especially 
a favorite which was often asked for, in which the 
first verse ended: "Sister, since I saw thee last. O'er 
thy brow a shade has passed." The second wound up 
with, " Gentle sister, thou hast loved " ; and the climax 
was reached with, "Sister, thou hast loved in vain." 
This was among what you might call the "popular" 
songs of that day. Another cheerful one of the kind 



began, "Love not, love not, The thing you love may 
die." But there was really beautiful music aside from 
these, Semir amide, I Puritanic Somnambula, now be- 
longing to the middle ages. 

Lizzie's youth was delicate, and in the few years 
before she was twenty there was some anxiety about 
her lungs. We always had our dear Miss Lyman [the 
governess] with us. As each one reached the age of four- 
teen or so, we passed on from her teaching to a larger 
school, where more branches could be taught, — all 
except Lizzie, and for her it was thought wiser that 
she should stay at home, taking lessons in languages, 
drawing and music. It was curious enough in con- 
sideration of the life before her that she had not as 
solid an education as the others. But this was bal- 
anced by her love of reading in general, perhaps not 
reading of the most solid kind, but wider than it would 
have been if she had had to bring lessons home from 
school to study, and when the intimacy with her 
brother-in-law, Mr. Felton, came, she read a great 
deal under his direction. 

Lizzie's personality was very charming. She was 
of good height, slender and graceful, with pretty 
delicate features, hair arranged in little curls on each 
side of her face according to the fashion of the day, 
hazel eyes of the color some one has described as like 
the water of a brook running over a bed of brown 
autumn leaves, and her expression was in keeping 
with her character — always sweet and unruffled. 
The nursery name given her by her little brother 
Richard, when she said, "Whom do you love best. 


Mary or me? Do say me," and he answered, "Dear 
Me," was very appropriate; and "Dear Me," we 
younger ones used to call her. 

The earliest anecdote told of Elizabeth Gary chronicles 
the nearest approach to a misdemeanor that is recorded 
against her in the course of her eighty-five years. Her com- 
panion on the downward path was her cousin, Lizzie Cabot 
(afterward Mrs. Henry Lee), who was of about the same 
age and with whom she was so identified that they were 
called by the family "The Lizzies." Mrs. Curtis tells the 



The Lizzies had been reading aloud a very inter- 
esting novel and had arrived at such an intense point 
that they agreed it would be impossible to sleep with 
the doubt of the heroine's fate on their minds; so it 
was arranged that Lizzie Gary was to return to her 
uncle's house after tea for the end, and it was thought 
more prudent in case of an interruption, that Lizzie 
Cabot should be found in bed and so a little nearer 
going to sleep. The plot of the book hung on a mis- 
understanding which started between the hero and 
heroine from the very church door after their mar- 
riage, and their sorrows filled the first two volumes, 
but in the third volume they met over the dying bed 
of an old servant. As they bent to receive his last 
words, one of Lady Mary's long curls caught on her 
husband's coat button, their eyes met — and at that 
point the Lizzie in bed sprang up with a shriek of 
excitement, old Nannie rushed from the nursery, my 
Uncle Cabot from his library, and the Lizzie from 


across the way hurried home to be very coldly re- 
ceived by her father, who had come down to unlock 
the door. 

A more serious side of Elizabeth Gary's occupations is 
shown in the following letter to her father, written when 
she was not quite sixteen years old, in which she appears 
as an irreproachable youthful Bostonian — of her day. 


Boston, November 16, 1838 
My DEAR Father: I have decided to take lessons in 
singing of Mrs. Frankhn, as Mother has given me 
my choice between her and Mr. Paggi. I think that I 
shall prefer her, as she instructs in English as well as 
in Italian. She gives lessons to Lizzie Cabot, who is 
very much pleased with her. 

I suppose that you will like to hear how I spend the 
money which you left me. Two of the five dollars 
have been expended on lectures. 

Mr. Catlin has given three lectures on the Indian 
tribes which he has visited, all of which I have at- 
tended with Uncle Cabot. I found them very interest- 
ing and am glad to have heard them, as he gave us 
such information, as would not easily be found in 
books, or learnt from any one who had not associated 
with, and become familiar with the Indians. 

I have also bought tickets to Mr. Buckingham's 
course of lectures on Palestine, of which there are 
to be only four. I think that they will be entertaining, 
as you know he has travelled all through that country 


himself and must therefore be thoroughly acquainted 
with it. 

Mother has been proposing to us today a Httle al- 
teration in our plan of reading. She thinks that a va- 
riety of reading would be better and wishes us to read 
every other day Combe on the Constitution of Man. 
Mary is not much pleased with the plan, as she is so 
much interested in Ferdinand and Isabella that she 
does not like to go to anything else. I think that it is 
a very good idea, because Mr. Combe's book would be 
perhaps a better exercise for the mind than such in- 
teresting histories as we are now engaged in. 

We are having quite remarkable weather here. 
Day before yesterday was so warai that we had the 
windows open and the blinds closed in our room as if it 
had been a hot day in summer. And yet it is but a fort- 
night before Thanksgiving. How strange it will seem 
to have you gone, at that season of pies and pud- 
dings ! How much we shall miss you ! 

An entertainment was given to Mr. Combe and 
his wife last evening. Its expenses were paid by sub- 
scription. An elegant collation was given at the end 
of the evening. About a hundred went and speeches 
were addressed by several gentlemen to Mr. Combe 
to which he replied. It was altogether a very elegant 

Caddie and Mary send their love, but Sallie wishes 
me to write in her name, "Love me. Papa, for I love 

Yours affectionately,. 

E. C. Gary 


The following letter written by Elizabeth Gary to a 
cousin. Dr. Samuel Cabot, while he was in Paris, to whom 
gossip was reporting that she was engaged, shows her in a 
gayer mood and gives an early glimpse of her life-long 
passion for flowers and music. Little did she dream that 
seventeen years later she would write to her mother the 
letter given below on page 55^ telling of her husband's 
refusal of a professorship at the Jardin des Plantes, of 
which she speaks here with such enthusiasm to her cousin. 


Boston, March 21, 1840 
Well, my dear Sam, and how do you find yourself, 
set down, as you are, in the midst of the great metro- 
polis of Europe .f* Have you learned to waltz yet.^ But 
no, I fear that I must not hope that. Your disposition, 
I think, was never quite volatile enough to enjoy the 
whirling dance, thou', if you had lived in the time of 
minuets, I doubt not you would have made a famous 
dancer, when you could have paced slowly and grace- 
fully across the room and made a low bow at a proper 
distance from your partner, then gently taking the 
tips of her fingers paced back amidst the admiring 
gaze of the multitude. Ay, the minuet would have 
been the dance for your sober legs (excuse me!) to 
have joined in. 

Think of Edward's being engaged — actually in 
love! Shall I congratulate you or not.? I hardly think 
it a subject of congratulation — to lose a brother, for 
certainly it is losing a friend to a certain degree when 


they take upon themselves the awful responsibilities 
of matrimony. Is it not? Take care, my dear, how you 
involve yourself in such a slough of despond. Won't 
you? By the way I heard a very funny report the 
other day concerning who do you think? — Why, 
your stately self and your harum-scarum cousin 
Lizzie. You did not know that this good-natured 
world, which is so fond of giving away what does not 
belong to it, has given you and me to each other. Shall 
I confirm the idea? Pray write me word — perhaps it 
would be better to bring out our engagement at once 
before you return — do inform me of your wishes on 
this subject. 

You little wretch! how dare you be going to the 
opera every night when you know that I am pining 
here at home for the sounds which you have been 
hearing all winter. Oh! if I could spend one whole 
evening in the Italian opera house at Paris and hear 
the finest European singers, I do think that at the end 
of it I should be perfectly content to die on the spot. 
What bliss could exceed it? 

Do you know (as of course you don't know) that 
we had the most delightful party at the Cushings' the 
other day. Don't you think the millennium must be 
coming when Mr. Gushing gives a party? I must tell 
you, to explain this wonder, that there has been a Pole 
here lately, called Kowsowski, who plays most de- 
lightfully on the piano. All the world have been dis- 
tracted about him, and as the Gushings are very fond 
of music they determined to give him a party. The 
day was expected by their guests with impatience. 


as, you know, a party in the country at this season is 
quite a novelty, and most fervent wishes were made 
for propitious weather. But alas ! for the disappoint- 
ments of human life — the morning was ushered in by 
a violent snow storm. However, the most adventurous 
of the party went undaunted by the difficulties which 
met them, and by eight o'clock quite a numerous 
assembly had arrived. The rooms were perfectly 
crowded with flowers so that the air seemed loaded 
with the most delicious scents (you know that some- 
how or other Mr. Cushing's flowers do smell better 
than any one's else), the music was as beautiful as 
Boston can offer, the supper was handsome, the host 
and hostess were most hospitable, and the whole thing 
went off as well as you can imagine it to, with so many 
outward circumstances to aid it, and to crown the 
whole at 11 o'clock the snow storm was over, the 
clouds had broken away, and we rode in by moonlight. 
Oh ! but I forgot to tell you that notwithstanding the 
weather we went out to the green-house, and though 
the rooms had been so perfectly supphed with flow- 
ers from it, you would not from the abundance remain- 
ing have supposed that any had been taken. I never 
saw so beautiful a display of hot-house plants in my 
life — but the idea of telling you of the Cushings' 
flowers, who have been in the " Jardin des Plantes," 
and yet I think that were I in France a little blue 
violet that came from Boston would have at least the 
beauty of association in my eyes, however inferior it 
might be in appearance to what would surround me 
there. So perhaps it is the same with you. 


I always think of you, mon ami, when we meet to- 
gether on Sunday evenings and miss your face and 
your voice very much indeed, and very, very often 
when Mary and I learn something that is new and 
pretty, I think of you, and wonder whether you will 
be too wise to enjoy our uncultivated music when you 
return. But no! I will not believe any such thing. I 
am sure it will at least have the power of association 
like the violet, and that you will value it, if it is only 
for being home music. 

And now I must ask a thousand pardons of you 
for boring you with such a long epistle; but somehow 
or other I have been going on without much think- 
ing, and having a hundred things to say to you, till 
I really have inflicted upon you much more than I 
meant to when I began, and can only beg that if you 
find it stupid, you will not consider yourself at all 
obHged to read the whole. 

Your affectionate cousin, 

Lizzie Gary 

Our next reminiscence of Mrs. Agassiz*s youth is supplied 
by Miss Gary. 

One of my earliest recollections of my sister Lizzie 
is of a dancing party given by my father for his elder 
daughters. I was eight or nine years old, and this was 
the first ball I had ever seen, a simple affair compared 
to the splendid balls of today, but to me it seemed 
sumptuous. The flowers came from the greenhouses 
at Brookline and made our small rooms very pretty, 
and they looked to me very spacious with the 



furniture removed and the carpets covered, with 
white cloth. 

Our eldest sister, Mary, must have been twenty- 
one at that time, a stately, dignified girl, with beauti- 
ful eyes and teeth, handsome hands, a heavenly sing- 
ing voice, and a charming voice in speaking. She was 
not handsome, but she was not a person to be over- 
looked in any company. 

Lizzie was a very pretty girl of nineteen in the style 
of beauty that belonged to that day, — graceful, 
gentle, rather languid in her movements, but bright 
and animated in conversation. She was a very at- 
tractive girl, but one for whom I should not have pre- 
dicted a career that would give her a wide reputation. 
When I look at the massive building at Radcliffe, 
named for her, it seems to me a strange monument to 
have been raised to the gentle sister whom I remem- 
ber at the ball I am describing. 

Caroline was then about fourteen years old, straight 
as a dart, and promising to be the fine girl that she was 
at eighteen, a graceful dancer and very witty and at- 
tractive. Sallie was a round, plump, pretty child. Our 
eldest brother, Tom, was an elegant young man, and 
quite aware of the fact. Richard and I were the chil- 
dren and allowed to come to the party and look on. 
And thence came a sad adventure for me. Mr. Richard 
Greenough invited me to dance, and I, seized with a 
sudden panic, ran away and hid myself. Alas, poor 
me ! I thought I was disgraced for life. But to my aid 
came the dear Lizzie, always kind and full of feeling 
for others. She came in search of me, took me down- 


stairs, made my excuses to kind Mr. Greenough, and 
smoothed life for me once more. 

The outHne of Mrs. Agassiz's girlhood that we form 
from these various reminiscences and letters is filled in by 
a few of her letters written in 1843 and 1844. The affection- 
ate elder-sisterly tone of interest and pride in the voice 
of Sallie, eight years her junior, — a just pride that never 
waned, as will be seen later, — her high spirits, her joy in 
music, all give a pleasant conception of the atmosphere in 
which she lived and which she helped create. It should be 
said by way of preface to these letters that the interest in 
dramatics and tableaux vivants was very keen among the 
young Carys and their "set," and that they had formed 
a theatrical company of their own which won great eclat 
among their friends. A diary kept by Mrs. Agassiz's 
brother, Thomas, gives a lively picture of the animated 
doings at the performances, not to mention the rehearsals. 
Mrs. Agassiz figures on only one occasion in the diary. In 
February, 1847, her brother none too cordially records: 
" We were forced to make an acquisition to our female force 
in Lizzie Gary and Mary Gardiner." The addition seems 
to have proved satisfactory, however, for a fortnight 
later when the company had given The Waterman^ he re- 
ports that "the debutante, Lizzie, being new, deserves a 
word; her whole performance was one of great merit, cor- 
rect without being stiff, and very easy on the stage without 
being familiar with the audience. She was much admired 
by all and won the hearts of the old gentlemen generally." 
This story has a sequel, for The Waterman was repeated 
with the original caste after all the members had reached 
middle hfe, and Mrs. Agassiz took her former part, to 


the intense delight of her children, who thought her very 
charming in it. 


Boston [1843] 
I SHOULD have written to you long ago, my darling 
Sallie, before Mother left New York, if I had not sup- 
posed it would only be a bore to you to receive a letter, 
because you might feel obliged to answer, and when 
to my great delight Father brought me one from you 
the other day, it was so late in the week that I did not 
send a reply, because it was very uncertain whether 
you would get it before you left. But now, that I find 
you are to be gone so long and that you do not dislike 
writing, I shall send you a letter very often, and you, 
my precious, must write twice a week, won't you, to 
let us know what you are about. 

I suppose that today you will receive a letter from 
Father, giving you leave to take lessons from Bagioli 
while you are with Aunt Nancy ; my only fear is that as 
he is so popular a teacher, all his time will be engaged 
and he will not be able to give you an hour. You must 
write at once and let me know if you have succeeded 
and when you are to begin; and, dear Sallie, do take 
every pains to profit by these lessons and to practice 
carefully, so that you may make the most of the 
advantage. . . . 

pood-bye, my darling, and don't forget to write often. 




Boston [1843] 
I SUPPOSE, dearest Sallie, that you all know before this 
that the grand explosion has taken place and Lizzie 
[Cabot] "is another's," but if anything can console us 
for having her carried off in this unceremonious man- 
ner, it is that " another " can appreciate her and is fully 
aware of the blessings he is appropriating to himself. 
I suppose that all this will have but little interest 
for you, now that heart and soul are taken up by 
IVIacready, as I suppose yours must be. You can imag- 
ine Caddie's state of heart-rending despair when she 
received your letter this morning; it arrived about 
breakfast time and in vain did we offer her pressed 
beef, cut in thin, sentimental slices, hot rolls and coffee 
— she refused to be comforted until the dinner hour, 
when roast beef and Yorkshire pudding recalled her 
wandering senses and reminded her that her duty to 
her friends forbade her to starve. Nothing will console 
her but your writing constantly about all that hap- 
pens in the theatrical line, and for my especial benefit 
do send us word of Altrochi's opinion of you and how 
your music comes on. High treason as you will think it, 
that interests me more than anything about IVIacready 
or his performances, though I am very glad to hear of 
him too. 

New Yo7^ [1844] 
I HAVE had such intense enjoyment of the Giura- 
mentOy going every night till I have learned exactly 
where to listen for the parts I like, and it is full of beau- 
tiful things. I have bought a small copy and shall 


insist upon your getting up a slight rave with me for 
sympathy's sake, when I return. Tonight we hear 
// Giuramento once more, and on Friday I go again 
with the Ruggleses, when they will repeat this opera, 
or — "bear with me, Mrs Porter," it is only a possi- 
bility — or — Ernani. 

New York, Wednesday night, 11.30 [1844] 
I MUST add a line, dearest, on my return from the 
opera to mention that I am just now in that miser- 
able state of excitement when all seems stale, flat and 
unprofitable but the scene we left behind. This is the 
last time we shall hear Giuramento, which adds to my 
melancholy, and there is a fearful report about tonight 
that on Friday evening we have Lucia instead of 
Ernani, on which I had set my heart. 

Mother sends much love to Father, whose letter 
she was delighted to receive this afternoon. I don't 
send love to anybody, because after writing every 
spare moment, I only get blackguarded for my pot- 
hooks, which, thank Heaven, are appreciated in New 
York, if not elsewhere. Tell Father and Tom that 
Aunt Nancy avers, among all the letters she has re- 
ceived from me she has never had the least diflSculty 
in deciphering one. Don't let them see this one if they 
want to ever so much. 

We shall come home on Monday without an escort, 
if none offers, as we are not in the least timid about 
taking care of each other. Good-night. 






THE girlhood of Elizabeth Gary as we have followed 
it in the preceding pages differed little from the usual 
existence of a Boston girl of the time, growing up in a large 
circle of relatives linked by intermarriage with other Bos- 
ton families whose names were more or less conspicuous in 
the commercial interests of the place — especially trade 
with East India or China. Into this provincial community 
there flashed a brilliant element in 1846 with the arrival 
of Louis Agassiz, already well known as an able naturalist 
and a gifted professor in the University of Neuchatel. He 
had left his delicate German wife with their two daugh- 
ters at Carlsruhe and his son at school in Neuchdtel, and 
had come to America with scientific exploration as his prim- 
ary object, for which he had received a grant of money 
from the King of Prussia. But previous to sailing, in order 
to eke out his slender income, he had arranged under the 
auspices of Mr. John Lowell to deliver a course of lectures 
for the Lowell Institute in Boston. The effect that he pro- 
duced upon his audience, composed of scientific and cul- 
tivated hearers side by side with working-men, is best 
described by Mrs. Agassiz in his biography: 

Never was Agassiz's power as a teacher, or the charm 
of his personal presence more evident than in his first 


course of Lowell Lectures. He was unfamiliar with 
the language. . . . He would often have been painfully 
embarrassed but for his own simplicity of character. 
Thinking only of his subject and never of himself, 
when a critical pause came, he patiently waited for 
the missing word, and rarely failed to find a phrase 
which was expressive if not technically correct. . . . 
His foreign accent rather added a charm to his address, 
and the pauses in which he seemed to ask the forbear- 
ance of the audience, while he sought to translate his 
thought for them, enlisted their sympathy. Their 
courtesy never failed him. His skill in drawing with 
chalk on the blackboard was also a great help both 
to him and to them. When his English was at fault 
he could nevertheless explain his meaning by illus- 
trations so graphic that the spoken word was hardly 
missed. . . . 

After the first lecture in Boston there was no doubt 
of his success. He carried his audience captive. 

Agassiz's popularity in the lecture-room opened for him 
agreeable social relations, the pathway to which his genial 
personality made all the more easy. That he was uncom- 
monly prepossessing is illustrated by the story of the cruel 
blow that Mrs. Gary received when on coming home from 
church one Sunday morning shortly after his arrival in 
Boston, she said to her daughter Elizabeth, "I should like 
to know who it was who sat in the Lowells* pew this morn- 
ing, for he 's the first person I ever saw whom I should like 
you to marry," only to be informed that the stranger was 
none other than the popular Agassiz, who already had a 
wife and children in Europe. 


Eventually Agassiz established himself in East Boston, 
and in 1848 after the canton of Neuchdtel ceased to be 
a dependency of the Prussian kingdom and he had been 
honorably discharged from the service of the King of 
Prussia, he accepted the chair of Natural History at the 
Lawrence Scientific School, then a newly organized de- 
partment of Harvard University. The spring of that year, 
accordingly, found him established in Cambridge in a small 
house on Oxford Street. But the favorable prospects that 
were opening before him were soon shadowed by the death 
of his wife, and his sense of loss was intensified by the sepa- 
ration from his children, whom he considered too young 
to bring to America. A sketch of his life at this time has 
been given in his biography by Mrs. Agassiz, which is 
quoted here as her own description of the community in 
which she was soon to take her place. 

The college was then on a smaller scale than now, 
but upon its list of professors were names which would 
have given distinction to any university. In letters, 
there were Longfellow and Lowell, and Felton, the 
genial Greek scholar of whom Longfellow himself 
wrote, "In Attica thy birthplace should have been.'* 
In science, there were Peirce, the mathematician, and 
Dr. Asa Gray, then just installed at the Botanical 
Garden, and Jeffries Wyman, the comparative anato- 
mist, appointed at about the same time with Agassiz 
himself. . . . 

In connection with these names, those of Prescott, 
Ticknor, Motley, and Holmes also arise most natur- 
ally, for the literary men and scholars of Cambridge 
and Boston were closely united; and if Emerson, in his 


country home at Concord, was a little more with- 
drawn, his influence was powerful in the intellectual 
life of the whole community, and acquaintance readily 
grew to friendship between him and Agassiz. Such 
was the pleasant and cultivated circle into which Agas- 
siz was welcomed in the two cities, which became 
almost equally his home, and where the friendships 
he made gradually transformed exile into household 
life and ties. 

In Cambridge he soon took his share in giving 
as well as receiving hospitalities, and his Saturday 
evenings were not the less attractive because of the 
foreign character and somewhat unwonted combina- 
tion of the household. Over its domestic comforts now 
presided an old Swiss clergyman. Monsieur Christinat. 
He had been attached to Agassiz from childhood, had 
taken the deepest interest in his whole career, and . . . 
had assisted him to complete his earlier studies. Now 
linder the disturbed condition of things he had thrown 
in his lot with him in America. ... To Agassiz his 
presence in the house was a benediction. He looked 
after the expenses, and acted as commissary in chief 
to the colony. ... In short, so far as an old man 
could, "Papa Christinat," as he was universally 
called in this miscellaneous family strove to make 
good to him the absence of wife and children. 

The make-up of the settlement was somewhat 
anomalous. The house though not large was suflfi- 
ciently roomy, and soon after Agassiz was established 
there he had the pleasure of receiving under his roof 
certain friends and former colleagues, driven from 


their moorings in Europe by the same disturbances 
which had prevented him from returning there. . . . 

The house stood in a small plot of ground, the cul- 
tivation of which was the delight of Papa Christinat. 
It soon became a miniature zoological garden where 
all sorts of experiments in breeding and observa- 
tions on the habits of animals were carried on. A tank 
for turtles and a small alligator in one corner, a 
large hutch for rabbits in another, a cage for eagles 
against the wall, a tame bear and a family of opos- 
sums, made up the menagerie, varied from time to 
time by new arrivals. 

Among the many friends whom Agassiz made in Cam- 
bridge he had few more intimate than Professor Cornelius 
Conway Felton, later president of Harvard University, 
but at that time professor of Greek. He had married 
Mary Cary, and it was at his house that Agassiz first met 
her sister Elizabeth. The occasion was a dinner given by 
Professor Felton to Agassiz and a few other Cambridge 
men, and Elizabeth and Caroline Cary had come out from 
Boston to help Mrs. Felton entertain her guests after 
dinner. No reminiscences from an evening that had such 
important consequences have been preserved beyond the 
reply made by Agassiz to a question from one of the com- 
pany about the curious formation of the head of the scul- 
pin, — "Oh, God must have His leetle joke," — an answer 
that recalls his habit of referring to any fish that he hap- 
pened to be describing in his lectures as "this leetle in- 

Two people more unlike in their previous environment 
than Agassiz and Elizabeth Cary it would not have been 


easy to find in the Cambridge college circle of that day — 
Agassiz, born in his father's parsonage in the little village 
of Motier, in sight of the Bernese Oberland, spending his 
boyhood among the mountains of Switzerland, inured to 
scanty means, passing from the varied and absorbing life 
of a young naturalist in Germany and Paris to that of 
a professor at Neuchdtel, and then, essentially a son of 
the Old World, "accustomed to draw Europe's freer air," 
transplanted to Boston; and Elizabeth Cary, the child of 
New England ancestry, born into a sufficiency of this world's 
goods, reared, as one of her sons-in-law has said, "among 
silks and spices and cotton shirtings and sheetings," brought 
up as a Bostonian of the Bostonians, having spent her 
years between Temple Place and Nahant in a placid ebb 
and jQow of conventional circumstance in the midst of a 
happy family life. Yet in her sincerity and sweetness the 
simple, genial nature of Agassiz found its level, and his 
eager, buoyant temperament was balanced by the quiet 
steadiness of her own. 

On April 25, 1850, they were married in Boston in King's 
Chapel, a church with which the Cary family had been 
connected for more than a century. " Lizzie looked lovely," 
Mrs. Curtis writes in her diary, "dressed in a green silk, 
white camel's hair shawl, straw bonnet trimmed with white, 
[with] feathers on each side. After the ceremony they drove 
directly out of town." They began their married life in the 
house on Oxford Street, of which we have read Mrs. Agassiz's 
description. In a few letters that she wrote to Agassiz in one 
of his absences on a lecturing tour just before their mar- 
riage — letters which reveal her habitually high-minded 
attitude toward all the relations and purposes of her life — 


she had told of her preparations for turning the extraor- 
dinary establishment into a home and making it "cheerful 
and comfortable." Her plans had been complicated during 
this same absence of Agassiz by "Papa Christinat," who 
believing that it would be best to leave the newly married 
couple to manage the household, had suddenly taken his 
departure to a French parish in New Orleans. His decision 
was a matter of deep regret to the bride elect, for such was 
his familiarity with all the details of Agassiz's daily life that 
his presence would have lifted many responsibilities from 
her shoulders after she became the mistress of the house in 
Oxford Street. "I have assured him," she writes character- 
istically to Agassiz after having had a long talk with Mr. 
Christinat, "that he will never find me tenacious of my 
rights, that I should be not only willing but glad to give 
up to him the occupations that he has had at your house; 
but all I urge in argument or affectionate persuasion is 
useless." "You must not be quite in despair at the thought 
of my ignorance and inexperience in household matters," 
she says in another letter, "for I hope to convince you that 
I can be quite an efficient person on occasion; but I know 
that the loss of Mr. Christinat as a useful assistant in your 
household will be but a small part of your regret and in 
other things I cannot so easily fill his place." Her difficulties 
were simplified, however, by the scattering of several of the 
foreign members of the establishment and many assistants. 
Mr. Jacques Burkhardt, an artist friend of Agassiz, his fel- 
low-student at Munich and now his draughtsman, alone re- 
mained, and continued to live in the family until his death 
seventeen years later at the house of Agassiz's younger 
daughter, Mrs. Shaw. In the summer preceding Agassiz's 


marriage, his son, Alexander, a boy thirteen years of age, 
had joined him, and in the autumn of 1850 his two 
daughters, Ida and PauHne, both some years younger than 
their brother, came to America. Thus the family in Oxford 
Street was made complete. 

The relation between Mrs. Agassiz and her step-children 
was most unusual and singularly happy. Her judicious 
tenderness won their affection, and her devotion to them 
and theirs to her in sickness and in health until death 
parted them knew scarcely a shade of difference to that 
existing between a mother and her own children. "She 
showed us and taught us, just by being herself, only good 
and lovely things," one of them wrote of her many years 
afterward. Close and enduring as was the tie soon formed 
between Mrs. Agassiz and her little step-daughters, the 
intimacy which speedily developed between Alexander 
and herself was still more remarkable. He had come to 
America less than a year after the death of his own mother, 
who had been his adored companion and the object of his 
tender devotion during her final illness, when he had as- 
sumed the care of the household. Quiet and thoughtful 
beyond his years, with his mother's place forlornly empty, 
speaking only French and German, he offered in his boyish 
heart ready soil for the flower of affection that sprang up 
at his first sight of his father's future wife, and that never 
ceased to blossom. She remained, as he said at her death, 
for sixty years his mother, guide and friend. How closely 
their lives became entwined will in a measure be seen 
in later chapters, but has best been expressed by Alex- 
ander himself in a letter written shortly after his step- 
mother's death and published in his biography by his son 


George: "Our relations were so peculiar that I don't 
know what to style them. She was my mother, my sister, 
my companion and friend, all in one. . . . From the time 
that I first saw her at Mr. Felton*s house as Miss Gary, 
and I only a small boy of thirteen, there never was a word 
of disagreement; she belonged to me and I to her; it could 
not have been otherwise; she learned to know me through 
and through and placed in me the most unbounded con- 
fidence, and entrusted me with the keeping of her sorrows." 
Thus the beginning of Mrs. Agassiz's married life was 
occupied with the care of the three children and the regu- 
lation of Agassiz's amazing establishment. Although many 
of the human inmates had disappeared, the animate zoolog- 
ical specimens still had to be reckoned with. Many a stir- 
ring incident of their varied doings is related, one by Mrs. 
Agassiz herself in a letter written to her mother not long 
after her marriage. 


By the way, I must tell you something that hap- 
pened to me today, in solemn warning to any woman 
who thinks of becoming the wife of a naturalist. In 
a hurry this evening to prepare for church, I ran to 
my cupboard for my boots, and was just going to 
put my hands upon them when I caught sight of the 
tail of a good-sized snake, which was squirming about 
among the shoes. I screamed in horror to Agassiz, who 
was still sound asleep, that there was a serpent in my 
shoe-closet. "Oh, yes," he said sleepily, "I brought 
in several in my handkerchief last night; probably 


(yawning) they have escaped. I wonder where the 
others are." This is a true tale. The rest of the pleas- 
ing monsters were secured, and Agassiz had the au- 
dacity to call upon me to admire their beauty, when 
he had caught them again. 

Let us hope that it was one of the same family of snakes 
and not the member of still another colony that once pro- 
vided Miss Emma Cary with a mauvais quart d*heure in 
the course of a night that she was passing in Oxford Street, 
when she woke to remember on discovering no matches 
for her candle by her bedside that a lost snake was gliding 
about the house, and to wait in terror for daylight, expect- 
ing every moment to feel something cold and slimy wriggle 
across her face. The snake turned up later on the stairs and 
was forthwith consigned to a jar of alcohol. The hero of a 
still more disquieting adventure was a bear cub which had 
been sent to Oxford Street from Maine and was kept in due 
subjection in the cellar, until one day he arose in his might, 
and breaking his chain decided to join the family and some 
guests at dinner. As he entered the dining-room by one 
door, the company at the table left by the other, and he was 
given carte blanche to devour the dinner. He was summarily 
banished to a livery stable in retribution for this escapade 
and before long was found worthy of a dose of prussic acid. 

Agassiz's marine specimens lent a fresh color also to the 
summers at Nahant, which took on a new character for 
Mrs. Agassiz after her marriage. Mr. Cary then arranged 
a home for her and for Mrs. Felton by moving to his land 
a cottage of four or five rooms, to which additions were 
made so that it could be comfortably shared by the two 
sisters and their households. A laboratory for Agassiz was 


also built on a little later. Here in large and small glass re- 
ceptacles he kept his marine specimens, generally medusae 
whose soft yet brilliant colors and delicate structure made 
them an ornamental acquisition in the eyes of Mrs. Agassiz. 
The doors of the cottage were never shut to guests, old or 
young, famous or obscure, and the same intimate family 
intercourse that formed so large an element in the winter's 
pleasure knew scarcely a break in the summer. 

An agreeable interlude came in Mrs. Agassiz's life a little 
more than a year after her marriage. In 1851 Agassiz was 
called to a professorship in the Medical School at Charles- 
ton, South Carolina, which demanded lectures only during 
the three winter months, and since in those days the winter 
vacation of Harvard extended over six weeks, thus per- 
mitted him to give his autumn and spring courses at the 
Lawrence Scientific School. He held this position for two 
years, when he was obliged to resign it on account of ill 
health. Mrs. Agassiz was with him during both winters, 
which, since they brought her lasting friendships, were by 
no means unimportant in her experience. Southern hospi- 
tality and attractive surroundings combined to make the 
conditions congenial. A part of the time was spent on Sul- 
livan's Island, where a friend, Mrs. Rutledge, had given 
Agassiz the use of her cottage, which he turned into a labor- 
atory. He and Mrs. Agassiz were also received with the 
utmost cordiality by Dr. John E. Holbrook, a well-known 
scientist, and his gifted wife, who opened to them their 
country-place, of which Mrs. Agassiz has left a delightful 
picture in her memoir of Agassiz. "The woods were yellow 
with jessamine, and the low, deep piazza was shut in by 
vines and roses; the open windows and the soft air full of 


sweet, out-of-door fragrance made one forget, spite of the 
wood fire on the hearth, that it was winter by the calendar. 
The days, passed almost wholly in the woods or on the 
verandah, closed with evenings spent not infrequently in 
discussions upon the scientific ideas and theories of the 
day, carried often beyond the region of demonstrated facts 
into that of speculative thought." 

The few characteristic letters which follow were written 
during these winters at Charleston and on the journey 
home in 1852 when Agassiz went to Washington to deliver 
a course of lectures at the Smithsonian Institution. 


Charleston, December 22, 1851 
We have just returned from a visit at Sullivan's Is- 
land, where I have left Agassiz very busy and happy 
with some exceedingly thin, scrawly looking monsters 
with no bodies, and amazingly long legs, which af- 
forded him immense satisfaction. He had intended 
returning to town with me, till these emaciated gen- 
tlemen were brought in from the beach, and of course 
against such attractions I had nothing to plead. We 
passed, however, a very charming day there, with 
reading, gathering shells, sketching a monster, hunt- 
ing, according to the different tastes of the company. 
The town is as empty as Boston in the middle of 
August — everybody gone to the plantation for the 
Christmas festivities, and we expect to leave tomor- 
row or the next day for Belmont, where we shall pass 
the week. During Christmas the town is absolutely 
given up to the blacks, and if any of the white pop- 


ulation are so unfortunate as to have no refuge for 
the hoHdays in the country, they can scarcely go 
through the streets in safety for the firing of crackers, 
the shooting of pistols, playing with fire balls, and 
other mad pranks of the negroes. 

It is odd that just when you wrote to me to read 
Carlyle's life of Sterling, I was deeply interested in 
another life of him by Hare, which you must try to 
get now that you have finished the other, and which 
includes a large selection from his writings. The two 
lives will go well together, and I mean to get Carlyle's, 
who was induced to write his, as explanatory of 
Hare's, who though most friendly to Sterling, is a 
tremendous churchman and represents every intel- 
lectual process in his friend's religious views after his 
health obliged him to leave the active ministry of the 
church, as a sinful and much lamented fall, to be 
spoken of, however, with pity rather than condem- 
nation. His language with respect to these spiritual 
errors, is so ambiguous that one is almost in doubt 
whether Sterling had really committed some crime, 
or merely learned to differ from Hare's religious views. 
I hope you will read it, if you have not already com- 
menced it. 

Sullivan* s Island, January 2 [1852] 
I SHOULD have answered your letter, which was so 
very welcome, earlier, but I wanted to write from 
our new home, and have been waiting till we should 
enter upon the honors and responsibilities of house- 


How I wish you could look in upon us this first 
evening that we pass here, and see how auspiciously 
our honeymoon begins. You must imagine a small 
parlor, with a large fireplace, in which the cheeriest 
wood fire dances and sparkles. I have been out on the 
beach, gathering drift-wood this afternoon and when- 
ever we throw on a bit, it is so dry that it breaks into 
the brightest flame, and lights up our httle room 
most brilliantly. 

For furniture we have a sofa, rocking chair, dining 
table, writing table, a number of common chairs, and 
what I value most, a httle oval, three-legged ma- 
hogany stand exactly like one that Grandma used 
to use, on which she almost always had her work- 
basket, and the last new novel. On this stand tonight, 
there is a dish of flowers, that I brought from town. 
We have just done tea, I have cleared away the tea- 
things, drawn the table near the fire and sit down to 
write to you, while Agassiz writes at the other side, 
beginning his winter work, and Burkhardt is con- 
tentedly smoking his pipe in the chimney corner. The 
wind moans mournfully outside and threatens a storm 
tomorrow, which will disappoint me in having my 
piano which I have ordered from town. When that 
comes, I shall feel fully established. 

We have given up the idea of trusting to luck or 
Providence for our meals, and have breakfast, dinner 
and tea in the most orderly manner, though our 
table service is not the most magnificent. No one 
leaves on the Island anything but the most common 


I forgot to tell you that Agassiz has had little stoves 
("second-handed") put into the upper chambers of 
the house so that his people can work there, and he 
has everything going on under his own eye while I 
am not in the least disturbed by his scientific estab- 
lishment. If he is only well, I think he will be able to 
accomplish a great deal this winter, but it seems to 
me impossible he should finish all he has marked out 
for himself, in three months, especially as he must 
have so many interruptions. He is obliged to go to 
town to lecture three times a week, and does not get 
back till eleven o'clock the next day. 

I hope you will try to write often, though my let- 
ters will not be a worthy return, for happy as I hope 
to be here, nothing can be more intensely quiet than 
the Ufe, and my walk on the beach with an occasional 
expedition to town, will be the greatest events that 
I shall have to write about. 


Washington, March 22 [1852] 
I SUPPOSE, my dear, now that you are mistress of a 
watch you will stand more in dread of fortune hunters 
than Charles Curtis did, when his grandmother left 
him the scissors. Poor Ida has told you, no doubt, how 
much she took to heart the loss of mine, which was, 
just now, quite a family misfortune, as, when Agassiz 
was out of the way, it was our only guide about time. 
But she was so broken-hearted, poor little soul, that 
I have tried to seem as if I had been wishing all my 




life to have an opportunity of learning to judge of the 
time, by watching the shadows, and to seem really 
gratified at entering upon this new branch of study. 

Shortly after his return to Cambridge from Charleston, 
it became evident as Agassiz's library grew larger and his 
children older that the quarters on Oxford Street were 
too limited, and in 1854 the family moved into a house built 
for them by the College on the corner of Quincy Street 
and Broadway, which continued to be Mrs. Agassiz*s home 
for the rest of her life. "The house on Quincy Street was 
a most delightful and homelike place," Miss Cary writes. 
"At the right on entering was Lizzie's charming parlor. On 
the left was Agassiz's fascinating, shabby library, full of 
orderly disorder. Common wooden book-cases lined the 
walls, filled with valuable books in shabby bindings. A 
rickety ladder leaned against one side of the room, a fire 
burned brightly in the grate, and brighter and more cheer- 
ful than any fire, Agassiz sat at the long table, happy in his 
studies. Behind the library was a study, and behind Lizzie's 
parlor was the dining-room. There was in this delightful 
house no luxury, but every comfort. Alex, Ida and Pauline 
were young, handsome creatures, great favorites with every 
one, full of life and gaiety; and their friends came freely 
to the house, which rang with young voices, with laughter 
and with cheerful talk." Its walls proved elastic and adapt- 
able to the many and varied plans that were made under its 
roof. Of these none demanded more radical changes than 
one which materialized in 1856. By the spring of that year 
the public lecturing by which Agassiz had endeavored 
through the winter to supplement his all too narrow salary 
of fifteen hundred dollars was proving so exhausting for his 


health that it became necessary to find some other means 
of adding to his resources and relieving him from a heavy 
debt contracted for the publication of his work on fossil 
fishes and for other scientific investigations. These perplex- 
ities were solved by Mrs. Agassiz, who met the situation 
with as great adaptability as Elizabeth Perkins had dis- 
played when she was left a widow, and Samuel and Sarah 
Gary when they lost their Grenada property. As she lay 
awake one night anxiously turning over ways and means for 
repairing the family purse, there suddenly flashed into her 
mind the idea of establishing a school for girls in the upper 
part of the Quincy Street house with the assistance of her 
two older step-children. Quickly the scheme built itseK up in 
her ready imagination, and she no less promptly proceeded 
to carry it out. A note to her father shows that she first 
consulted him and then secured the cooperation of her step- 


Cambridge [March, 1855] 
I FIND that Ida feels exactly as I expected about our 
plan. It seems that the thought is not a new one to 
any of us; we have had it in our minds under different 
forms. I must say that the hearty pleasure with which 
both Alex and Ida enter into the project gives me 
new confidence in it, and I trust the end will show 
that it was the right and wise course to take. I shall 
be in again to-morrow to have another talk before 
you go to New York, Your approbation and sympathy 
about the plan have made me really strong, and in- 
deed if you had not listened to it so promptly, I should 
never have dared to propose it to any one else. 


Mrs. Agassiz's own words in the Life of Agassiz give the 
story of the foundation of the school and the picture of it 
that she desired to have transmitted: 

In consultation with friends these plans [for the 
school] were partly matured before they were con- 
fided to Agassiz himself. When the domestic con- 
spirators revealed their plot, his surprise and pleas- 
ure knew no bounds. . . . He claimed at once an 
active share in the work. Under his inspiring influ- 
ence the outline enlarged, and when the circular an- 
nouncing the school was issued, it appeared under his 
name, and contained these words in addition to the 
programme of studies : " I shall myself superintend the 
methods of instruction and tuition, and while main- 
taining that regularity and precision in the studies so 
important to mental training shall endeavor to pre- 
vent the necessary discipline from falling into a life- 
less routine, alike deadening to the spirit of teacher 
and pupil. It is farther my intention to take the im- 
mediate charge of the instruction in Physical Geogra- 
phy, Natural History, and Botany, giving a lecture 
daily, Saturdays excepted, on one or other of these 
subjects, illustrated by specimens, models, maps and 
drawings." . . . [Agassiz] never had an audience more 
responsive and eager to learn than the sixty or seventy 
girls who gathered every day at the close of the 
morning to hear his daily lecture; nor did he ever 
give to any audience lectures more carefully pre- 
pared, more comprehensive in their range of subjects, 
more lofty in their tone of thought. . . . The lecture 


hour was anticipated as the brightest of the whole 
morning. It soon became a habit with friends and 
neighbors, and especially with the mothers of the 
scholars, to drop in for the lectures, and thus the 
school audience was increased by a small circle of 
older listeners. The corps of teachers was also gradu- 
ally enlarged. The neighborhood of the university was 
a great advantage in this respect, and Agassiz had 
the cooperation not only of his brother-in-law, Pro- 
fessor Felton, but of others among his colleagues, 
who took classes in special departments, or gave lec- 
tures in history and literature. 

It has seemed worth while to quote the above passage not 
merely because it describes the school to which Mrs. Agassiz 
devoted eight busy years and from which she regarded 
Radcliffe College as an outcome, but especially because 
her effacement of herself in the description is peculiarly 
characteristic. That it is a case of Hamlet with Hamlet 
left out, so far as she is concerned, is apparent from Mrs. 
Curtis's narrative, which serves as a supplement to the 
above passage: 

Lizzie's own share, as I remember it, was to hold 
the position of the head of the school with a general 
oversight of the pupils in all the branches. Even with- 
out teaching much care devolved upon her with the 
sense of responsibility in the schoolroom, added to 
the direction of her own household under these novel 
conditions. But all inconveniences were met by her 
with tact and sweet temper, and when at my father's 
death in 1859, she foimd that my mother dreaded 


returning from Nahant, where he had died, to [their 
house in] Pemberton Square, Lizzie arranged that 
she with my sister SalHe should spend the winter at 
Quincy Street. She could not have done this without 
Agassiz's approval, which he gave most willingly, 
for he had made himseK absolutely one of us and was 
like a son to my mother; but then all duties devolved 
upon the housekeeper. 

Mrs. Agassiz's part in the school is still more fully de- 
scribed by Miss Schuyler, one of her pupils, in the address 
published below in Chapter XV. The term, "Hostess of 
the School, " that Miss Schuyler applies to her is significant 
of the unusual atmosphere that she gave the schoolroom. 
"She was always to me an ideal gentlewoman," one of the 
former pupils wrote long after the school days were ended, 
"an American lady whom any nation might be proud to 
claim as queen. I always recall her voice, remembering it' 
with the admiration I felt at the time when she reproved 
her schoolgirls for their boisterous manners and trouble- 
some behaviour in the hours when they should have been 
quiet, ending — *I expect you to behave as you would in 
your mothers' drawing-rooms.'" It was in such wearisome 
matters of discipline and in the general supervision and 
direction of the whole that Mrs. Agassiz's principal share 
of the work lay. But one habit which became of great con- 
sequence to both her and Agassiz was formed in these 
days in the schoolroom. She always attended Agassiz's 
lectures and took faithful notes of them, which she after- 
wards wrote out. The practice thus gained proved of in- 
estimable value to him for the preservation of later and 


more important lectures. It is true that having had no pre- 
vious scientific training Mrs. Agassiz had to pass through a 
period of apprenticeship, in the course of which, as she often 
recalled with enjoyment in a laugh at her own expense, 
Agassiz one day on looking over her notes, said, "My dear, 
these are most gracefully expressed, but from the point of 
view of science they are such nonsense as I never uttered." 
But that she learned not to sacrifice scientific truth for the 
sake of a happily turned phrase and became a remarkably 
proficient assistant of Agassiz we shall see later in the ac- 
count of the Journey in Brazil and her other writings. 

Beyond her appearance in Agassiz's lecture-room some of 
the pupils have few? recollections of Mrs. Agassiz in their 
schooldays. Yet, as she told them, she was '* always there," 
ready to give them help, counsel, affection, and to do for 
them a thousand services that at the time they did not 
realize she was rendering them. A pleasant picture of her 
part in the school life is afforded us in a letter written to 
her on the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the school 
by one of the first comers, who fifty years earlier had de- 
scribed her as "very pretty and sweet looking and very 
kind to us." "I have been recalling with joy," she says, 
"that beloved day fifty years ago when your school 
began. ... I must thank you once more for us all for your 
great thoughtf ulness in sending up to us in the schoolroom 
between two and three when we were eating our dinners 
there steaming plates of the best mutton broth I ever 
saw. How kind it was ! Anjd how welcome it was ! You never 
taught me, but you often let me pronounce French to you. 
I wonder if you remember what you usually said after it — 
'Surprising — the perfectly Yankee sound of it, though 


you keep all the rules in pronouncing.' I think that remains 
true to this day." 

By 1863 the purpose for which the school had been es- 
tablished was accomplished, and owing to the uncertainties 
occasioned by the Civil War it was given up. As Agassiz's 
income from his salary was at that time also increased, 
the pecuniary anxieties that had been so heavy a burden 
were permanently lightened. From occasional references 
in the letters given below it will be seen that the closing of 
the school was a great relief to Mrs. Agassiz. But by means 
of it she had been instrument^,! in freeing her husband from 
indebtedness and providing a sufficient wherewithal for the 
expenses of his family. Apart from the care and bringing 
up of her step-children, the school is her first important 
achievement. She was its originator and guiding star, 
although the brilliant light of Agassiz gave it perhaps its 
more distinctive lustre. 

In order to keep unbroken the story of the school, some 
significant events of the period while it was in progress have 
been omitted. During these arduous years Agassiz's career 
as a naturalist was expanding, and he was entering upon one 
scientific undertaking after another, in all of which Mrs. 
Agassiz was his constant companion and helper. Her exist- 
ence, in fact, from 1855 to 1865 cannot be understood with- 
out reference to the chapters in his memoir in which she 
has traced his activities through this decade of unremitting 
toil, when solicitude for his health, which suffered from 
the strain to which he was subjecting it, became an ever 
present element in her life. A few letters, however, selected 
from these years illustrate some of her more personal in- 
terests and also the spirit that continually animated her. 


The first were written at the time of Agassiz's fiftieth birth- 
day (May 28, 1857), which his students celebrated by a 
serenade on the birthday eve, arranged with the advice of 
Mr. Otto Dresel, — an occasion for which Longfellow's 
well-known verses. The Fiftieth Birthday of Agassiz, were 
written. Mr. DreseFs name deserves more than a passing 
mention here. A favorite pupil of Liszt and an intimate 
friend of Robert Franz, he had come with an established 
reputation to Boston, where he became an important in- 
fluence in musical circles. Pupils quickly sought him for 
both vocal and instrumental lessons, among others Mrs. 
Agassiz and her sisters. In their case the friendship which 
usually developed between himself and his pupils was 
made the closer by his marriage with one of their friends, 
Miss Anna Loring, which led to his being a welcome and 
frequent visitor in the Agassiz and Gary households, where 
he usually added the pleasure of good music to that of his 
presence. It was, perhaps, in the course of the lessons men- 
tioned by Mrs. Agassiz in this letter, that once when she 
was trying to take a very high note, Mr. Dresel exclaimed, 
"Ah, Mrs. Agassiz, keep that note for a fire." But her voice, 
a soprano, was considered very sweet and blended dehght- 
fuUy with Mrs. Felton's deep contralto and Miss Sallie 
Gary's mezzo-soprano when the three sisters sang, as they 
often did, in trio. 


Cambridge, May 24 [1857] 
. . . Anna has promised to come and hear the sere- 
nade. As I wrote to you, Longfellow's words do not 
work very well for concert music, and Dresel was 


uncertain when I saw him last whether to make a song 
of it or adhere to his original plan of a quartette. 
Longfellow says he has written himself out on the 
subject with the first effort and his music will not 
come again at his call; so we must do with those 
words or none at all. 

Did Dresel ever give you a song of Schumann's, 
the words being the instructions of the Scotch widow 
of the chief of some Highland Clan teaching her little 
boy how to steal when he should grow up to man- 
hood hke his father? It is the oddest song and of a 
decidedly questionable morality. Dresel likes it most 
exceedingly, principles and all. I was afraid he would 
give me the same songs you have, in which case I 
should have been greatly disgusted with my own per- 
formance of them, and had very little satisfaction in 
singing them. But he says the songs that are a little 
too high for you are just about right for me, so that 
I have quite a different set. I enjoy my lessons very 
much though often I find it impossible to practice 
at all between times. 

I wish you would write me a httle news of Mrs. 
Gaskell, if you see her. Her life of Jane Eyre [Charlotte 
Bronte] has interested me intensely. I have been liv- 
ing for the last week in that lonely parsonage with 
the populous graveyard before it, and the wild moor 
shut in by hills all around. When you read of Char- 
lotte Bronte's uneventful life, pressed upon by a 
colorless monotony almost from the beginning to the 
end you understand for the first time what a vol- 
cano must have been pent up in her, that out of such 


an unvarying sort of existence as hers was, she should 
have given such a passionate expression both of hap- 
piness and suffering. Perhaps if she had found the 
natural food for her capacities, and her heart and 
head had not been so starved for want of nourish- 
ment from without, her imagination would not have 
gone on " weaving endlessly for her that story " which, 
as she tells us in Jane Eyre, she was never tired of 
listening to as she walked up and down the gallery 
at Thomfield Hall on cold and snowy afternoons. 
After reading her life I took up Jane Eyre again, and 
I could not help thinking what a dehght it must have 
been to her to get out of the tedious realities of her 
Haworth home and live for a few hours Jane Eyre's 
tremendously exciting life. If I knew where to get 
them I should like soon to read the books of her sis- 
ters. I never finished them because they were so dis- 
tasteful, but now that I know more of the women and 
their strange way of life, I feel an interest in their 


June 2, 1857 
You can't imagine what a pleasant week this last 
one has been, only it did not seem quite right, because 
the celebration of Father's birthday was a sort of thing 
at which you ought to have been present. Mother has 
probably given you a long description about it in her 
letters, so I shall only say that it would have done 
you good merely to look at Mother's and Father's 
faces during the serenade, because they both looked 


so happy. . . . Mother and I arranged a quantity of 
flowers in Father's library. She put a large inkstand 
that she had bought for him, in the middle of that long 
table, then on one side of it was a bunch of Hlies of 
the valley, on the other a vase of roses. Behind it was 
a large dish of flowers and back of that was a large 
bunch of flowers that Mr. Parkman had brought 
Mother the evening before, with just fifty kinds of 
flowers in it. Then on one of the tables near the 
window there were three more dishes and one bunch. 
It looked very pretty. 

A little later in the same year Agassiz declined an offer of 
the chair of paleontology in the Museum of Natural His- 
tory in Paris, preferring, as he said, " to build anew in Amer- 
ica rather than to fight his way in the midst of the coteries 
of Paris.'* An extract from a letter written by Mrs. Agassiz 
to Mrs. Cary on this occasion is given here; it is striking 
because of her complete silence as to any preference that 
she may have had in regard to her husband's acceptance 
or rejection of this enviable position. Her personal wishes 
were entirely merged in his professional interests and re- 


Nahant, September 19, 1857 
I MUST tell you that yesterday Agassiz received a 
letter which if it had come two years and a half ago 
before the scheme for the book [Contributions to the 
Natural History of the United States] and the school- 
room was formed would have taken us out of this 


country at once, and I should have been living in 
Paris to receive you when you came out this spring. 
The letter was an ojBScial appointment to a professor- 
ship in the Jar din des Plantes. It seems strange that 
Agassiz should be in a position to decline a thing 
which when he was a young man he looked upon as 
the very brightest summit of his most ambitious 
dreams of success; for there are no higher scientific 
positions in Europe than those of the professors at the 
Jardin des Plantes. Even now I think it cost him 
something to resign it, but he can do unquestionably 
more for science here than there and his domestic 
relations here are so delightful that he does not hesi- 
tate. It would give him a house in the Jardin, the 
command of the best museums in Europe, for all care 
and expense assistants and appointments of all kinds 
provided, and a salary much better for Paris than 
that he has here, — about $2000.00, I believe, and 
the only work exacted is twenty lectures a year. It 
has a very tempting side, but he intends to refuse it 
at once, so don't be frightened. 

In the following year partly as a result of Agassiz's tacit 
implication by his refusal to leave Cambridge for Paris 
that America was the chosen field of his labors, the Mu- 
seum of Comparative Zoology (better known as the Agas- 
siz Museum) was established in Cambridge. The organiza- 
tion and development of this Museum became one of the 
most absorbing works of his life and of his son's, and 
consequently occupied an engrossing place in that of Mrs. 
Agassiz. "I wish," she wrote once from Brazil, "I could find 


a gold mine in Brazil and carry it home and plant it in the 
Museum grounds and dig up a great lump as big as my 
head whenever anything is wanted there." That her inter- 
est was not purely sentimental, but was highly intelligent 
as well is shown by the letter given below on page 93, 
and also by the following quotation from an article in 
the Boston Evening Transcript for April 23, 1907, by her 
old friend Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson: 

Nature had made [Agassiz] a delightful lecturer and 
art had added a skilful adaptation to his audience 
which secured an annual appropriation for his Mu- 
seum for years after the Massachusetts Legislature 
had stopped all similar appropriations, except this. 
I once watched him in this process of persuasion when 
I went in with a large committee of that honorable 
body to observe his ways. Asked to address them he 
would begin in the simplest manner and shoot on and 
on, charming all with his heartiness; and when after a 
moment's pause some veteran country member would 
stumble in with the shy question, "This is most in- 
teresting, but may we not interrupt the professor to 
give us from a practical view some illustration of the 
actual value of all this that we may carry to the 
Legislature?" . . . Agassiz would eagerly say, **0, I 
thank the gentleman for his suggestion; that is just 
what I was coming to. I am glad to inform you that 
we have just in hand a new experiment which would 
alone be a sufficient vindication of this whole appro- 
priation. . . ." This being explained with zest, they 
would break up the meeting and look about the Mu- 


seum, when Mrs. Agassiz, as gracious and inexhaust- 
ible as her husband, would glide about among the 
members and where two were studying out the scien- 
tific drawings in utter hopelessness, would glide up be- 
hind them and say sweetly, "Oh, I think I am lucky 
to be able to explain that one drawing, for I happened 
to be near by when the Professor was explaining it 
yesterday. I think it represents, etc.," till both the 
inquirers felt forever armed with knowledge espe- 
cially when supplied from the lips of a lovely woman. 

It is no wonder that Agassiz once said with deep emotion 
to his friend. Professor Burt G. Wilder of Cornell Univer- 
sity, "Without her I could not exist." 

Immediately after the corner stone of the Museum was 
laid, in June, 1859, Agassiz sailed with Mrs. Agassiz and his 
yoimger daughter for a few weeks in Europe, where they 
made brief visits in Ireland and England upon his scientific 
friends, the Earl of Enniskillen and Sir Philip Egerton, 
and at Herbesthal in Rhenish Prussia upon Maximilian 
Braun, the brother of Cecile Braun, the first wife of 
Agassiz. The tie that connected Agassiz with her family 
had been created even before his marriage by his friend- 
ship with her brother Alexander (later Director of the 
Botanical Gardens in Berlin), which began in their stu- 
dent days at Heidelberg, led to his meeting with Cecile, 
and notwithstanding separation knew no diminution to 
the end of Agassiz's life. It is significant of Mrs. Agassiz*s 
charm and her power of sympathy that during her stay 
at Herbesthal the brothers and sister of Cecile Agassiz 
formed an attachment for her that marked the beginning of 
a rare and lasting relationship. For long years she regu- 


larly exchanged letters with the daughter of Alexander 
Braun, Frau Cecile Mettenius of Berlin, although they 
never met until 1895, when Mrs. Agassiz was making her 
second visit to Europe. "The cousins of my children are to 
me like nieces and nephews of my own," she wrote to 
Frau Mettenius, and from the letters quoted below on 
pages 187 and 188 it can be seen how completely she ap- 
preciated and shared the admiration of Agassiz for Braun. 
The summer abroad closed with a visit to Agassiz's 
mother at Montagny in Switzerland, where Mrs. Agassiz 
first learned to know personally the Swiss relatives, whose 
affection she speedily won and returned, and who al- 
ways remained her intimate correspondents. The follow- 
ing letter was written from the house of Agassiz's sister, 
Olympe, Madame Marc Francillon, at Lausanne. His 
other sister, Cecile, Madame Wagnon, lived on a beauti- 
ful estate among the vineyards at the foot of the Jura, 
not far from Yverdon, in the little village of Montagny, 
which was also the home of Agassiz's mother. It is notice- 
able that in this letter Mrs. Agassiz refers to Agassiz as 
Louis, as she usually did in speaking of him to his own kin- 
dred, whereas in America she habitually called him Agassiz, 
the name by which he was invariably known among his 
American friends. 


LaiLsanne, July 30, 1859 
Here we are, dear Mother, in Olympe's house, where 
we arrived yesterday noon. I think I told you that 
on Sunday we had a visit at Montagny from Marc 
Francillon, who received me exactly like a brother. 


and on Monday Louis went to pass the day with 
Olympe at Lausanne. I thought it quite as well to let 
him go alone that they might have their good long 
talk together. We passed the day, Cecile, her mother 
and I, tranquilly together at Montagny. Indeed, I 
cannot tell you how delightful that absolutely quiet 
life at Montagny has been to me, and Louis has rested 
so completely there — truly rested for the first time 
since I have known him, and he shows it already in 
his appearance. People here seem astonished to find 
him so young and so unchanged. They all attribute 
it to my good care of him. 

On Thursday we went on an excursion with Cecile 
and the girls. We went to the foot of the Jura in a car- 
riage and leaving it at the entrance of a deep gorge 
that seems to go into the very heart of the Jura, we 
followed a narrow and picturesque pass that brings 
you after a two hours' scramble through superb 
scenery to one of those green cultivated spots that 
look so enchanting on the slopes of the Jura as you 
look up at them from below. There we found two or 
three houses, a little village where we stopped to rest 
and take some refreshment, a rural repast of Swiss 
cheese, bread and wine. I will not describe the view; 
you know the Swiss views and they defy description, 
but I will tell you something of the life of the people 
there that I think will interest you. 

Cecile and I observed some women making lace at 
the door of the cottages and we stopped to examine 
their work. I don't know whether you have ever seen 
any of the beautiful lace that some of the peasant 


women make here, but it is exquisitely fine and of 
very graceful patterns. I wanted to buy some, and 
while we were making our purchase Cecile and I 
went into one of the houses where one of the lace 
workers lived. We came first into a little kitchen, 
where everything looked poor as poverty, but as neat 
as wax; a Httle fire burned in the chimney, and they 
were preparing their scanty supper. Out of that led 
another room not much larger, where we found the 
father of the family with two daughters working at 
different parts of music boxes. They worked before a 
window through which they looked out over the slopes 
of the Jura to Mt. Blanc, but I believe if Paradise 
lay before them they would not raise their eyes to look 
at it, they are so afraid of losing time; and the father 
told me that in beginning their work at four o'clock 
in the morning and never ceasing till nightfall they 
found it diflScult to earn thirty cents a day. They 
were in rags, but they looked perfectly clean. In that 
little chamber slept the whole family, six in all, the 
father and mother, two daughters, and two old men, 
the grandfathers, and yet everything was as clean 
and neat as possible. One of the beds was not made 
and the father apologized, saying, "The two old men 
sleep there, and we like to let them rest, so (that) 
we cannot make their bed before daybreak as we do 
our own, and not to lose time during the daylight, 
we leave it till it is too dark to work." The mother 
worked at the lace, of which I purchased three yards, 
but only two and a half were finished. I said to her, 
"Never mind, I will pay you now and you will send 


it to me." As we left the cottage, Cecile said, "You 
will not fail to send the lace," and the woman an- 
swered with so much dignity, "We are very poor, but 
we are also honest." Afterwards we went to other 
cottages where they all looked excessively poor, but 
at the same time with a sort of self-respect and pro- 
priety that I could not help admiring in the midst of 
so much poverty. We saw one poor woman, a lace 
worker, that had twelve children, two of whom were 
paralyzed; but on the wall of her poor little room hung 
her white wedding wreath, framed, and kept as a pre- 
cious souvenir of younger days. I feel that in going 
about with Swiss people I get a glimpse into Swiss life 
that strangers, travelling through the country as for- 
eigners, do not often have. 


I WRITE you of everything that happens and some- 
times I am so surrounded with new things and new 
people that all that has passed at home seems to me 
like some dim and distant dream. Perhaps for that 
very reason when it comes upon me like truth it over- 
whelms me even more than if I were at home. Still 
you must think of me as having a great deal of pleas- 
ure. It is a happiness such as I have seldom had in 
my life to see Agassiz united to all his relations and 
friends again, and they are so fond of him, so happy 
in having him that I cannot but fully sympathize 
with him and have my share too of happiness. 

The "overwhelming" event to which Mrs. Agassiz 


refers in this letter was the death of her father. The words 
with which she began one of her letters to him earlier in 
the summer, " You are to me the central point in the family- 
picture," are a comment on their relations. Her affectionate 
reliance upon his judgment, which led her to consider his 
approval of her plan for the school as the first essential to 
the undertaking, will be recalled as well as her tribute to 
him quoted in the first chapter. There were in fact many 
resemblances in character and manner between them, and 
some of the traits that Mrs. Agassiz says were most 
marked in her father were also her own — purity of char- 
acter, unselfishness of conduct, readiness to render unpaid 
service to public institutions, and facility of expression in 
writing; in Mrs. Agassiz, too, there were reflected Mr. 
Gary's habitual courtesy of manner and his tenderness 
to his children and grandchildren. His relations with his 
step-grandchildren were peculiarly charming. When, for 
example, at the time of Agassiz's second visit to Charles- 
ton, Ida and PauHne Agassiz were left with Mr. and Mrs. 
Gary for the winter, he showed himself the same attentive 
host to the two little girls that he would have been to older 
guests, giving them his company at breakfast and dinner, 
which their school hours prevented them from taking with 
the family, speeding them on their way to school and 
always ready with a welcome for them on their return; 
and a few years later, when he and Mrs. Gary were in 
Paris and were joined by Ida Agassiz on her way to visit 
her grandmother, he accompanied her to Montagny and 
completely captivated Madame Agassiz by the old-fash- 
ioned elegance of his manners, in spite of the fact that 
neither spoke the language of the other. Again and again 


in the life of Mrs. Agassiz there are examples of her de- 
votion to her step-children and grandchildren, which bring 
vividly to mind these delightful reminiscences of her father. 

Another event of the year 1859 that should be recorded 
here is the publication of Mrs. Agassiz's first book, Actaea, 
a First Lesson in Natural History, prepared under the direc- 
tion of Agassiz. It appeared in two editions in one year 
and in a revised edition twenty years later. Here in the 
form of letters to her niece and nephew, "Lisa and Connie" 
Felton, written in clear and simple language, she tells of 
sea-anemones and corals, hydroids and jelly-fishes, star- 
fishes and sea-urchins, and succeeds as she relates the fun- 
damental scientific facts concerning them in conveying also 
the imaginative charm that attends their life. Its modest 
pages give promise of the flowing style that made her later 
writings on scientific subjects agreeable and successful. To 
appreciate any of these books it should be remembered that 
she had had no technical scientific training whatever, and 
that practically all the information conveyed in her pub- 
lished works had been acquired not by study of her own but 
by association with Agassiz. They are admirable expres- 
sions of her peculiar ability, which lay in the power of pre- 
senting second-hand knowledge accurately and with as 
much animation and authority as if it were the result of 
her own scientific observations. 

Before the school closed the household in Quincy Street 
had seen changes, for the children of Agassiz had been mar- 
ried, Alexander to Miss Anna Russell, Ida to Major Henry 
L. Higginson and Pauline to Quincy A. Shaw of Boston, 
and as Mrs. Agassiz, with a pardonable mixture of meta- 
phor, wrote to one of her sisters, she was already beginning 


to see a cloud of children and great-grandchildren loom up 
before her as the support of her old age. In the following let- 
ter we see her exercising the functions and privileges of a 
grandmother, in which she became a past mistress as the 
years went by. Her grandchild, Louis, to whom she refers 
not only here but in many subsequent letters, was an un- 
usually intelligent and interesting boy, the eldest son of Mr. 
and Mrs. Shaw, who fulfilled the bright promises of his 
younger years in his manhood, cut short all too soon by his 
early death. A few months before this letter was written 
the happy family circle in Quincy Street had been broken 
by the death of President Felton, to which Mrs. Agassiz 


Schoolroom, April 29, [1862] 
I STILL live and love you, though you may doubt the 
fact from my silence; but the days are so full, that 
night comes and finds half the things undone we 
mean to do in the morning. The children have occu- 
pied me a great deal lately, for they have found a very 
fascinating occupation that absolutely requires an 
older hand than theirs. There are pictures to be cut 
out and pasted on pasteboard, farms, mills, castles, 
country houses, paper architecture of all sorts and 
kinds, and it has furnished an endless entertainment 
for rainy and cloudy days. But they cannot get on 
without me as I have made a study of it and learned 
to put them up quite nicely, and it costs me a great 
deal of calculation to arrange my day so that I can 
save an hour or two for them and see the baby also. 


You will find Louis wonderfully changed; he is full 
of fun and frolic, but I am very sorry to say very 
much afraid of strangers, so that unless he takes you 
for his grandmother (not impossible, my dear) you 
may find him a little shy. 

I was delighted to get your letter about the Atlantic 
Monthly; every now and then I am seized with doubts 
and fears about the articles by Agassiz [Methods of 
Study in Natural History], and I like to be propped 
up with a friendly word about them. Agassiz says 
at his club Whipple, Lowell and Holmes praised him 

About this last May article I was especially anx- 
ious. You know the coral reefs are very attractive 
to me, and perhaps I have not understood any of his 
investigations better than those upon the Florida 
reefs; but I am conscious that what is beautiful and 
picturesque in his studies interests me more than 
what is purely scientific, and sometimes I am afraid 
that in my appreciation of that side of the subject I 
shall weaken his thought and give it a rather feminine 
character. It grows every month more fascinating to 
me to write them, and I hope we shall make another 
arrangement with Ticknor and Fields next year. 

The school draws to a close, and a sense of freedom 
begins to come in upon us already. . . . You will not 
fully feel how blank a place Felton has left till you 
come home. Oh, Sallie, when I remember his constant 
little visits, half an hour for a chat, and feel that he 
will never come in again, cheerful, genial, affection- 
ate; he never came that I was not thankful to see him; 


he never went that I was not sorry to have him go. 
No one can ever fill his place, and I am glad that it is 
so. The fact that their places remain vacant forever 
here, is the best proof that our nearest and dearest 
are waiting for us elsewhere. 




THE school days ended, the next important experi- 
ence in Mrs. Agassiz*s life came to her in 1865. In the 
spring of that year Agassiz recognized that his health de- 
manded a change of scene and climate. He had for years 
been deeply interested in Brazilian fauna and had already 
received many tokens of sympathy with his undertakings 
from the Emperor of Brazil, Don Pedro II, who was a 
liberal patron of scientific enterprises. Realizing that new 
scenes alone could supply him with the relaxation that he 
needed, Agassiz had just decided to go with Mrs. Agassiz to 
Rio de Janeiro for the summer, when by the generosity of 
his friend, Mr. Nathaniel Thayer of Boston, his "pleasure 
trip," as he wrote to his mother, "was transformed into 
an important scientific expedition for the benefit of the 
Museum." The expedition sailed on April 1, 1865, for Rio 
de Janeiro, by invitation of the Pacific Mail Steamship 
Company on its admirably appointed steamer, the Colo- 
rado, which was bound for San Francisco by way of Cape 
Horn. The party consisted of Agassiz and Mrs. Agassiz, 
their friends. Dr. and Mrs. Cotting, six assistants, and 
seven young volunteer aids, among whom were William 
James and Mr. Thayer's son. Van Rensselaer. The first 
three months after landing were passed in Rio de Janeiro, 
the next ten in the Amazon region, the succeeding two in 
excursions among the mountains along the coast, followed 


by a brief stay in Rio before the company sailed for home 
on July 2, 1866. 

Mrs. Agassiz was the self-appointed clerk of the ex- 
pedition, keeping a careful journal of daily events, which 
she sent as letters to her family, taking complete notes 
of a course of lectures which Agassiz delivered on ship- 
board for the benefit of the young men of his party, and 
recording the less minute results of Agassiz's scientific ob- 
servations, which he daily gave her, for he knew, as he said, 
"that she would allow nothing to be lost that was worth 
preserving." This varied material was later woven to- 
gether into a narrative in the form of a journal with sup- 
plementary notes, combining personal experience and 
scientific facts; it was essentially the common work of Agas- 
siz and Mrs. Agassiz and was published under their joint 
names in 1867 with the title, A Journey in Brazil. So com- 
plete a record of the sixteen months in Brazil is preserved 
in this book that a full account of them here would be su- 
perfluous. A sketch of the manner of life that they led is 
given by Mrs. Agassiz in a few words in the biography of 
Agassiz: "Much of the time Agassiz and his companions 
were living on the great river [the Amazon] itself, and the 
deck of the steamer was by turns laboratory, dining-room, 
and dormitory. Often as they passed close under the banks 
of the river, or between the many islands that break its 
broad expanse into narrow channels, their improvised work- 
ing room was overshadowed by the lofty wall of vegetation, 
which lifted its dense mass of trees and soft drapery of 
vines on either side. Still more beautiful was it when they 
left the track of the main river for the water-paths hidden 
in the forest. Here they were rowed by Indians in *mont- 


arias,' a peculiar kind of boat used by the natives. . . . 
When travelling in this manner, they stopped for the night, 
and indeed sometimes lingered for days, in Indian settle- 
ments, or in the more secluded Indian lodges, which are 
to be found settled on the shores of almost every lake or 
channel. . . . Sometimes the party were settled, for weeks 
at a time, in more civilized fashion, in the towns or villages 
on the banks of the main river, or its immediate neighbor- 
hood, at Manaos, Ega, Obydos, and elsewhere. Wherever 
they sojourned, whether for a longer or a shorter time, the 
scientific work went on uninterruptedly. There was not 
an idle member in the company." 

Mrs. Agassiz's narrative in the Journey in Brazil is im- 
personal, and only in an occasional episode she inadvert- 
ently throws a side-light upon her own place in the party; 
as, for example, in her description of an evening while she 
was staying at the lodge of an Indian, Esperanga, in a re- 
mote part of the Amazons, when after two of the natives 
had danced an Indian dance for her, she executed a waltz 
with Mr. Thayer to gratify their request that she show 
them a dance "from her country." But in general she suc- 
cessfully avoids drawing attention to herself in her story. 
She says also very little, if anything, of the pleasant inter- 
course with the Imperial family that was accorded her as 
well as Agassiz, and that formed an important element in 
their visit to Rio de Janeiro. She refrained, too, from pub- 
lishing statements that might have been interpreted as 
criticisms of a country where special favors had so recently 
been accorded to Agassiz, yet that now have a certain kind 
of historic interest as a description of conditions in the 
Brazil of fifty years ago. A few selections from her Bra- 


zilian letters to her family, accordingly, are given here 
which supplement those in the Journey and which serve 
to illustrate her character — her facility in intercourse 
with people of all stations, her unflagging industry, her 
affection for the children of her family, her absorption in 
the pursuits of Agassiz, her unfailingly even temper under 
conditions that, to say the least, were often sufficiently 
trying to deserve the name of hardships. 


Colorado, April 13, 1865 
. . . Our party is a very compact and pleasant one. As 
for Agassiz it is a pleasure to see him; he has not had 
a moment of discomfort since he came on board, and 
really the courtesy and kindness he receives from the 
Captain makes the voyage a perfect enchantment to 
him. He gives a lecture every day at two o'clock to in- 
struct his young men in the kind of work he wants 
them to do, preparing the ground as he goes along. 
This lecture is given in the salon and attended not 
only by all the young men, who seem deeply inter- 
ested, but by all the passengers, several officers of the 
ship and the Captain. This hour seems to be looked 
forward to with pleasure by all, and the lectures are 
really charming. One reason why I have not written 
home more regularly is that the recording of these 
lectures occupies me a good deal, and I want to write 
them out very carefully because I think it will be 
very interesting when the work is done to compare it 
with the plan and see how far the hopes and aims have 
been accomplished. . . . 


Our days pass somewhat after this fashion. Break- 
fast at half -past eight, and we linger over it talking for 
an hour or so; then I study Portuguese for a couple of 
hours and then write out the lecture of the previous 
day. After that comes lunch; then the lecture at two 
o'clock. After that I indulge myself with a little light 
reading till dinner at five o'clock. This important 
matter over (and the table is excellent), we sit on the 
guards and watch the crimson and golden sunset and 
the moonlight on the water, and so the evening passes 
till ten o'clock when we all retire. 

I find our party very pleasant. Mrs. Thayer's son is 
a very amiable boy and always most kind and atten- 
tive to me. He is not very fond of study, but he joins 
me in my Portuguese lesson every day, and I think he 
is inclined to make the time of our absence profitable 
as well as pleasant. William James has always been 
an interesting fellow to me, bright, thoughtful, well 
informed, and a perfect gentleman; his companion- 
ship will always be a pleasure. 

Rio de Janeiro, May 1, 1865 
I THINK I finished my last letter to you just when 
Agassiz had gone on shore Sunday, the twenty-third, 
for his first visit to the Emperor. Agassiz was very 
much impressed with his intelligence, his very various 
information and keen discrimination of the men and 
books and subjects they discussed. When he came 
home he said, in giving an account of the interview, 
** To speak of this sovereign in the ordinary terms in 
which good monarchs are spoken of would be trite 


and conventional. One should speak of him as a man 
of high intelligence, of warm affections, of truly human 
character in the highest sense of the word." 

On the twenty-eighth we went over in the steamer 
to meet the Emperor. Agassiz had told him what a 
magnificent ship she was and how generous the con- 
duct of the Company had been towards the expedi- 
tion, and the Emperor sent him word on Thursday 
that he would come out to see the steamer Friday. 
The whole thing was perfectly informal; no one was 
invited, and there were present only ten or fifteen 
persons beside the Emperor and his suite. The Captain 
received him with a royal salute of twenty-one reports 
from his Parrott guns, — the first full salute fired 
from them and delivered with a promptness and ac- 
curacy that did credit to the gunners. On arriving he 
passed directly through the great salon without stop- 
ping for presentation; his chamberlain, Viscount of 
Something (whose name I forget) was introduced to 
me and remained talking with me till His Majesty 
returned from making the tour of the steamer. I 
begged him two or three times to join the others, but 
he declined, and indeed I rather think the Emperor's 
inquiring mind makes it tiresome for his attendants 
to follow him in all his peregrinations, and as the 
Chamberlain was a remarkably agreeable man, I was 
glad of his laziness, which induced him to take the less 
fatiguing duty. The Emperor dragged his puffing, 
panting staff from top to bottom of the establishment 
— from the pantries and the butcher's room down into 
the infernal regions where the firemen live, — indeed. 


he may be said to have poked his royal nose into every 
crack and corner of the vessel. Mr. Billings said he 
heard one of the staff say to the other as His Majesty 
disappeared into a particularly dark hole, "Is he 
going in there?" — "Going in there? Yes, he's going 
everywhere." At last the exploration was over and 
"them kings" came to the surface. The Emperor re- 
turned to the salon, and then we were all presented, 
your daughter first (excuse the little piece of egotism, 
but I suppose you want to know), and then he remained 
talking with me for a little time until lunch was an- 
nounced. His Majesty sat at the end of the table, my 
friend the Chamberlain placed me at his right hand, 
and the Captain's wife sat opposite. I was sorry to 
be separated from the old Chamberlain, because he 
would have helped me out; but he was placed on the 
other side, so I had to get on with royalty as well as 
I could, for the Captain did not speak a word of 
French. The Emperor was very gracious and talked 
with great interest of Agassiz, his expedition and so 
on. When the wine was passed, the Emperor declined, 
saying it was a rule of his never to take wine, and a 
rule he never broke except on extraordinary occasions. 
"However," he added graciously, "this is an extraor- 
dinary occasion. I will take a glass of champagne." 
We considered the matter a nice compliment. After 
lunch we went on deck. They remained for a while, 
the Emperor talking chiefly with Agassiz, and then 
they went off accompanied by another salvo of guns 
to the Emperor's pretty little steam yacht which was 
waiting for them. This is all I have seen of royalty 


so far, and I do not know whether I am hkely to 
have any more formal presentation. From all I can 
gather the Emperor receives little except among his 
Brazilian subjects, has no public levees or drawing- 
room days. 


Rio de Janeiro, May 5, 1865 
I HAVE had my first mountain ride, — on a horse 
instead of a mule, with no guide at his head, left en- 
tirely to his own discretion and my own, and I must 
say I have never enjoyed anything more in my life. 
But I must begin at the beginning. Mr. Billings [one 
of the passengers on the Colorado] has been insisting 
that one day before the Colorado goes we should all 
go up the Corcovado with him. Various things have 
interfered with the plan, but today Mr. Billings said 
that whatever happened he would go, and he, Agassiz 
and I, Dr. and Mrs. Cotting and Captain Coster, one 
of our fellow-passengers, went. We could drive as far 
as the foot of the mountain on the Larangeiras road. 
At this point we left the carriage, and your feeble- 
minded sister mounted a very tall white horse. It ap- 
peared to me a very perilous moment of my existence, 
and that I might as well make my peace with the 
world and consider this as the jumping-off place. 
But Mr. BiUings is an excellent horseman; he took me 
under his especial charge and after a few minutes of 
hopeless misery I found myself perfectly comfortable, 
able to keep up an animated conversation and really 
enjoying myself very much. Well, we reached the 


top, the last mile of which is very steep, and the 
road being on this especial occasion very sHppery from 
the fact that the last two days have been very rainy. 
It is in vain to try to describe a wide view, but 
certainly very few can combine so many elements 
of beauty, — the enormous land-locked harbor all 
hemmed in by mountains with its gateway open to the 
sea, the broad ocean beyond, the many islands, the 
nearer peaks with the fleecy afternoon clouds floating 
about them and a gleam of sunshine over them from 
time to time. It was most lovely, and the view not 
so distant that things lost their individuality. Well, 
my dear, it faintly dawned upon my mind occasion- 
ally that we had to get down from this peak, but I did 
not allow my thoughts to rest upon it for an instant. 
The awful moment came, however, like the dentist's 
and all other inevitable facts, and then I found that 
all the rest of the party intended, with the exception 
of Mr. Billings and Captain Coster, to walk down the 
steepest part of the slippery road and take their 
horses at a lower station. But I said to myself, "I 
shall never have such a chance to learn again as now 
when I have Mr. Billings to teach me, and if I 'm 
going to baulk at the first dangerous bit of riding, 
how shall I get on when there are nobody knows how 
many miles of muleback before me?" So, as if it were 
quite my habit to mount horses on the tops of high 
mountains and slide down to the bottom, I announced 
my intention of descending as I had come, whatever 
other members of the party might do. You must 
remember that all the time I had Mr. Billings to 


encourage me, so after all I was not so very heroic as 
I seem ; but still the path was too narrow for two, so he 
could only go before and give me occasional directions 
about my horse, and then I knew that if he came to 
any place he thought really dangerous he would help 
me to dismount, if there was time. However he really 
did commend me very much, and said for a person 
quite unaccustomed to riding it was a pretty good 
feat. You see, my dear, I must brag a Httle because 
by nature I am such an awful coward. I confess I was 
glad when the steepest part of the descent was over. 
But still I did enjoy almost the whole; the woods were 
so fragrant and so rich in color and foliage, the glimpse 
of view as we went along so enchanting and then the 
culminating view at the summit so impressive that 
enjoyment overpowered fear. 

Rio de Janeiro^ May 16, 1865 
We have just returned from an enchanting journey, 
about which I meant to have written you my freshest 
impressions, but on our return we are received with 
such an extraordinary avalanche of public news, good 
and bad, that it drives everything else out of mind. 
Richmond and Petersburg taken, Lee defeated at 
every point, the war virtually over — this was our 
first news as we neared the city on our return. And 
then came the terrible close giving an account of this 
wholesale assassination in Washington, which reads 
like the last scene in a five-act tragedy and seems 
utterly incredible. That three members of the Seward 
family should be left for dead in their own house with 


all the servants awake and about is most extraordi- 
nary. Lincoln's being shot in the theatre seems more 
possible. I still think we must be the victims of a 
gigantic street rumor. Here they brought the story 
with the most singular accessories; it is attributed to 
the Booths — the brothers Booth, as they call them, 
and they have got the name of J. Wilkes Booth in full 
on all the bulletins. This part must be a fabrication. 
It is in vain I state that Edwin Booth at least is a 
loyal man — he and Wilkes are in everybody's mouth 
as rabid secessionists, fanatics, etc. The whole thing 
seems to me like a bad dream and has a theatrical 
aspect which makes it the more strange that the 
Booths should be mixed up in it. 

And now let me freshen up your thoughts and my 
own by an account of what we have been doing. . . . 
On Tuesday evening (May 9) Agassiz and I went to 
the Palace together that I might pay my respects to 
the Empress, which I had not yet done and which 
seemed to be considered the proper thing to do. The 
Emperor had appointed this evening for the visit, 
so we were sure of being received. At the door of the 
Palace were only one or two men in uniform, and we 
were shown through a number of long corridors and 
one or two antechambers where were standing a few 
groups of gentlemen, — chamberlains, Agassiz said, 
gentlemen-in-waiting and the like. It looked to me 
like a dreary kind of business, for there seems to me 
all the etiquette of a court here and but little of its 
gaiety or grandeur. One of these gentlemen showed us 
into a drawing-room where he asked us to take seats. 


It opened into a long gallery and presently we heard 
some one coming down this entry in great haste walk- 
ing very fast — as I supposed, an official of some 
kind to show us to the Empress. But it was the Em- 
peror himself, who greeted us with all cordiality and 
invited us into an anteroom, — a handsome room, 
very high, with inlaid floor and dark heavy furniture. 
Here we sat down (I began to think the Empress was 
a myth) and had a long chat in which my own part, 
by the way, was that of listener. The Emperor wanted 
to know what Agassiz had been doing, inquired after 
the fishes, specimens, projects, etc., and was very 
genial and pleasant. After about half an hour's chat 
he asked us to come in and see the Empress and him- 
self, ushered us into a third drawing-room ("veels 
vithin veels"), where he went to the door and called 
his wife like any other mortal. In rolled a little lady 
with the sweetest possible expression, who seemed 
very kindly and cordial, who invited us to take seats, 
and, if I may so express myself in the presence of 
royalty, "make ourselves generally at home." Really 
if we had gone to make a sociable call on some friendly 
acquaintance at home, there could hardly have been 
more ease. This royal pair are so truly well bred 
that it is impossible to feel any embarrassment. Their 
simplicity and frankness are quite republican, though 
I am afraid we must admit that their high breeding 
partook more, perhaps, of the aristocratic element. 
There is something peculiarly lovable and lovely about 
the Empress. She looks so sympathetic and motherly, 
and she seems to be thought among the people here 


the very best of women. One thing was quite inter- 
esting in the talk we had. The Emperor asking about 
Agassiz's impressions in Brazil, he answered, "Every- 
thing delights me with one exception and perhaps 
that exception is one which it would be indiscreet to 
speak of here." "No, no," the Emperor said, "be per- 
fectly frank. I like to have yoiu* observations, favor- 
able or unfavorable." "Then," said Agassiz, "I must 
say it shocks me to see numbers of negroes who are 
crippled in their Hmbs in consequence of the numer- 
ous burdens they carry on their heads. It is a hid- 
eous consequence of slavery here." The Emperor re- 
sponded at once with the greatest earnestness, "Slav- 
ery is a terrible curse upon any nation, but it must and 
it will disappear from among us." The Empress took 
up the strain and said she considered it the saddest 
feature in their social system. They seemed to have no 
hesitation in expressing their horror and detestation 
of it and their hope that it would be rooted out. 
Some measures are being taken toward it, I believe, 
but it is one thing to theorize and another to practise. 
However, there is here not at all the feeling of the in- 
feriority of the negro, which exists among us. The free 
blacks and the slaves live side by side, and the former 
may rise to wealth and good social position and even 
to distinguished places in political life. After as long 
a call as we thought it discreet to make, we paid our 
parting respects. One thing about the Emperor's way 
of saying good-bye is very funny, and Agassiz says 
he supposes it is in order to save strangers the embar- 
rassment of backing out of his presence. He shakes 



hands and then he rushes out of the room, as if he 
were going to walk a mile in a minute on some errand 
of life or death. At first I thought he had gone for 
something and would be back again; but it was the 
last we saw of him. 


Rio de Janeiro, June 5, 1865 
I HAVE enjoyed every moment since I came to Rio. 
Besides the daily pleasure of the beautiful scenery, 
I have the delight of seeing Agassiz improve continu- 
ally in health and spirits, and then time can never 
hang heavy, for I find plenty to occupy me in doing 
little odds and ends for him, keeping a record of the 
journey for his use, writing my home letters, reading, 
and so on. I have made some very pleasant acquaint- 
ances here, and they are all very kind to me. As for 
your father, he is nearly killed with kindness; he has 
hardly a moment to himself. 

Tell Louis I think about him all the time. I never 
see a bright bird or a beautiful butterfly or a monkey 
or a parrot that I don't wish I could show it to him. 

July 23 
It's almost like seeing the children to get your let- 
ters, though I confess it leaves a slight pang of home- 
sickness. We are sure to find each other almost un- 
changed when we meet after a year, but every day is 
precious in a child's life, — their little, lovely ways, 
their new phrases, their cunning expressions, their 


wonderful, intuitive wisdom — to enjoy it all you 
must live with them and watch them constantly. 

I enclose a letter for Louis with some bird's feathers 
and a bird's wing; and the two wings with green and 
blue feathers are, as I have marked them, one for 
Girly (I thought perhaps you could fix her up a doll's 
hat, or with a riband bow, perhaps, it would do even 
for her own) , and the other for Georgie. 


Rio, [June 10, ca.] 
Last evening Agassiz gave a lecture in French on 
the glacial phenomena, at the Emperor's request. The 
whole affair was so different from such things at home 
that I must tell you all about it. In the first place, of 
course, when I heard that Agassiz was to lecture here 
it never occurred to me that it would not be open to 
ladies as well as gentlemen, but when I spoke of 
going, people stared and said that, to begin with, a 
public lecture was a thing unknown here, and that 
certainly no ladies would appear. I was very much dis- 
appointed and not a little indignant, for I had never 
heard Agassiz lecture in French, and I knew, too, 
that he would give his first impression of geological 
facts here, and I did not want to lose it. We spoke to 
Dr. Pacheco about it (the director of the affair), and 
he said that he thought it would be a very good thing, 
and he knew some ladies who would like to go, but 
the Emperor must be consulted. So the next time that 
Agassiz was at the palace he asked the Emperor. 


He looked rather doubtful and said his own country- 
women were so ignorant they would not know what 
the Professor was talking about, but still he had no 
objection and would think about it, — but how should 
they be invited? "Not at all," said Agassiz, "let them 
come with their husbands and fathers, as they do with 
us, and make part of the audience, and if Brazilian 
ladies are so ignorant as Your Majesty represents them 
to be, the sooner you put them in the way of learning 
something, the better for them and for their children." 
So after some discussion it was settled that ladies 
should be allowed to go. Mrs. Davis came here to go 
with me, and we had the escort of several gentlemen, 
Agassiz having gone in advance. When we arrived, 
we were shown into a room where were the Emperor 
and his suite, and where we were received by the 
daughter of Dr. Pacheco. By the way the few ladies 
who did make their appearance were in a kind of demi- 
toilette; there was evidently great uncertainty as to 
the proper way in which to appear on so novel an 
occasion. I had some very pleasant talk with the 
Emperor, and after standing round for some time we 
were shown to the hall. Here were several seats re- 
served for the "strong minded women." In front of 
them was the Emperor's seat which had been ar- 
ranged under a canopy as a kind of throne; but Agassiz 
told me when he first arrived he looked into the hall 
and seeing the royal arrangement desired them to take 
it down — said he had enough of that sort of thing 
and Hked to avoid it when he could. So his chair only 
stood in front of a purple velvet curtain. Before him 


stood Agassiz with his blackboard. When the Emperor 
entered we all rose and remained standing until he 
made a motion for us to sit down. Now you know, my 
dear friends, that I have a weakness for my dear old 
philosopher, and I must say that I never saw him 
appear to better advantage in my life. He spoke with 
perfect ease, and though I have always thought that 
he expressed himself well and often eloquently in 
English, I felt that he would have been a more grace- 
ful lecturer in French. The room was crammed and 
even the entry. I saw ladies standing outside the door 
the whole time. Altogether it was a great success. 
There is to be another next week. 

June 12 
Last evening was Agassiz's second lecture. The crowd 
was even greater than before and the Emperor sanc- 
tioned the presence of ladies by bringing his wife and 
daughter with him. These letters are intended only for 
you all at home, so I put in all sorts of personal de- 
tails that I know will interest you, but would seem 
egotistical to any one else. I wish you could hear 
Agassiz lecture in French. I had not the least idea 
that English was so like fetters to him. In French 
the words pour out like a full river without let or 
hindrance. On the two evenings when he has spoken 
there has not been one moment's hesitation from the 
first word to the last. For the first time in my life I feel 
what a drawback it must have been to him to have 
to teach in a foreign language. The people here seem 
enchanted. The room was so hot last night that except 
[for us] distinguished people, "Emperors and sich," 



who sat near the door in reserved seats, it was almost 
impossible to breathe, the people were standing in 
great part, and yet for an hour and a quarter there was 
absolute silence; if any one made the least noise they 
were hissed down at once. After the lecture we went 
into an adjoining room where we had been received, 
and where we passed nearly another hour, while the 
Emperor rehearsed the lecture with Agassiz, question- 
ing him on very many points. The man is greedy of 
knowledge, and I suppose the fact that he has such rare 
occasions for intercourse with scientific men makes 
him the more anxious to profit by the chances that 
fall in his way. Meantime I talked with his wife and 
daughter. They asked me a great deal about my travels 
and seemed to look with envy on any one who was 
free to go about the world. The Empress cannot leave 
the province of Rio Janeiro without permission from 
the government. 

Monte Alegre, August 25, 1865 
We arrived here yesterday in the heat of the day, 
but I waited till nearly evening to go on shore, and then 
as Agassiz was busy with his fishes I took one of the 
young men (I have always plenty of beaux) and took 
a walk. On my return I met Major Coutinho [an oflS- 
cer of the Brazilian engineer corps detailed to the ex- 
pedition by the Emperor], who had been on shore all 
day and who told me he had just sent out to the 
steamer for Agassiz and myself to pass the night at 
the house of a friend, as by all accounts the mosqui- 
toes might be expected to swarm at the place where 


our boat was lying. I accordingly returned with him 
to the house and was already on friendly terms with 
the Senhoras and the children of the family when 
Agassiz arrived bringing my bag for the night. At 
about eight o'clock we were just about to sit down to 
dinner when we were called to the open door by the 
sound of angry voices in loud altercation that seemed 
to threaten blows before long, and were just in time 
to witness a village comedy that seemed to me more 
as if it had come off the stage than as if it belonged 
to real life. The village priest and the village doctor, 
who was also county judge and administered justice 
as well as physic, were having a free fight in the square 
for the entertainment of the neighbors who rushed 
out to see the fun. The priest's calf had strayed away; 
he sent his man to catch him; the Doctor of Law and 
Medicine said nobody should capture live stock in the 
square without his express consent and permission; 
and the two physicians of the soul and of the body 
(who were also, as we foimd, leaders of the two politi- 
cal parties in this remote little settlement) were shak- 
ing their fists in each other's faces and pouring out 
floods of abuse upon each other. At last some of our 
party collared the doctor and brought him in by main 
force to join our dinner and cool down his wrath, 
which kept exploding in sputtering speeches to the 
company at intervals for long afterwards. Dinner 
over, the large sitting-room was prepared for our 
accommodation, — the preparation consisting of two 
hammocks and a looking glass, and we presently 
turned in for the night. Our adventures were not over^ 


however. Agassiz, being restless, rose at about one 
o'clock and thinking he would take a little stroll to 
refresh himself, went out in front of the house. There 
he found a dog entangled in the fence near by. He 
went to release him, and as he was engaged in his 
work of charity was saluted by a brickbat, a large 
stone meant for the side of his head, but which fortu- 
nately struck him only in the arm and gave him a se- 
vere bruise. The next morning we found that one of 
the blacks of the house, with his head full of the dis- 
appearance of the priest's calf and the last night's 
quarrel, I suppose, seeing a man at the fence, thought 
he was a thief after the live stock and flung a great 
stone at his head as the shortest way of finishing him 
and his depredations. If his aim had been as good as his 
arm was strong, Agassiz might never have finished his 
Amazonian journey. As it was, for a moment, he 
thought his arm was broken, but with a little arnica it 
is coming right again and the pain going off. Our 
good hosts were greatly distressed at this untimely 
disturbance of their hospitable intentions. However 
we had a very pleasant and a very amusing time not- 
withstanding our adventures, and had a good sleep 
undisturbed by mosquitoes, though I confess to lying 
awake for some time listening to the rats in the open 
ceiling above, who every now and then shook a little 
dust down on my head, suggesting the probability of 
their coming down themselves; and once I was awak- 
ened by the cat drinking out of the bath tub, which 
the negress had brought in and put down at the side 
of my hammock just before I went to sleep. 



Manaos, September 8, 1865 
Sometimes when the pictures of home come up so 
vividly it seems as if nothing one could gain in travel- 
hng could make up for the loss of not being with you 
all and with the children. My darling little Louis, 
if I could have him only ten minutes! My success in 
paroquets and parrots has not been good thus far. I 
have had a number given to me on the voyage up the 
Amazons; but they have all met with some ill fate, 
and the last was eaten by the cat in our little garden 
here. I shall try to bring one home alive to Louis, but 
I doubt whether I shall be able to. They say that un- 
less you take them home in a very warm season, they 
are apt to die when they get to our coast. I have not 
yet seen a monkey in the woods. We hear them con- 
stantly, but they are so shy that on the faintest ap- 
proach they are off. 

Our life here is most interesting — full of adven- 
tures, full of experiences, which are to be remembered 
all one's lifetime for their novelty. Our party is a very 
pleasant one. James, who after his illness in Rio de- 
cided to go home, but afterwards changed his mind, 
is a delightful travelling companion. You know how 
bright, intelligent, cultivated he is — a fellow of vivid, 
keen intellect. He works hard and is ready to turn his 
hand to anything for your father. 

Tell Louis if I don't have time to write a little let- 
ter today, I shall soon, and that I have his ring on my 
finger all safe and sound. But tell him the little pare- 


quets I had used to come and sit on my hand, and 
wanted to nibble my ring with their httle sharp beaks. 
But I had to drive them away and say, "No, no, Httle 
Polly, Louis made me that, and I can't have you break 
it." So then they used to fly away and find something 
else to nibble. This interesting nursery tale is for him 
and not for you. 


Manaos, November 18 
I HAVE come to the conclusion that the Brazilians do 
not know either how to work or play. They have not 
that activity which makes life a restless force with 
us and gives it interest, neither have they that love 
of amusement that gives zest to the life of the Euro- 
peans. I have been several times to make calls here 
with the Barras, and so stately and solemn an occa- 
sion you cannot imagine, though they are perfectly 
familiar with the people we go to see. I feel as if they 
were all tongue-tied, and stumble about in my poor 
Portuguese simply because I feel the silence so oppres- 
sive that I must break it or get up and run out of the 
house. One of the habits here is to send word before- 
hand when you 're going to make a call ; this is in order 
that the lady of the house may have time to put up 
her hair and to put on her gown, which she never does, 
so far as I can find out except when company comes. If 
I could only command Portuguese enough, I think I 
should call all these unconscious suflFerers together 
and tell them what benighted, colorless, crippled lives 


they are leading, surrounded by beauties which they 
never see, all nature tempting them to walk, to row, 
to open their eyes only and look; and they sit speech- 
less and stupefied, putting on their fine things Sundays 
and festas to show themselves in the streets for a few 
minutes. They are more to be pitied than blamed, 
though; the men are to be blamed for it all. A woman 
is exposed to every sort of scrutiny and scandal who 
goes out unattended, and her only safety is to stay 
at home. I believe I am looked upon as a very ex- 
traordinary specimen; but everything is forgiven to a 
stranger, so I go on my way unmolested. When I am 
walking in the woods here, as I constantly do, I often 
meet Indian women (whose life is perfectly free and 
a thousand times pleasanter than the ladies' life), 
and they always express their wonder at meeting a 
**senhora" alone and ask me if I am not afraid. To 
which I always answer, "No, why should I be? The 
senhoras in my country walk and row and ride and are 
perfectly safe, and I think it's a great pity that your 
ladies never go out." 

. . . Would Georgia like another feather for her 
doll's hat? Tell her as the winter was coming on, I 
thought she might like a change. I cut these from a 
bird which was beautiful when it was brought to us, 
but I see that they are losing some of their brilliancy. 
Give her my best of love and a kiss, and tell her that 
I hope they will not be spoiled before they reach 
Cambridge, and that they will be becoming. 



December 11 (on board the ''Ibicuhy**) 
Just as I was getting up from breakfast I was called 
out to see a Dr. Gustavo, one of the really good and 
respectable men of Manaos; he was the bearer of a 
package and a letter, which looked quite like an offi- 
cial document for the "illustrissima Senhora." The 
package contained a cacoa cup, mounted in silver, 
the work of the Lidians and sent to me by several 
ladies of Manaos as a parting gift. I was the more 
touched by this, because the ladies who signed the 
letter (some half dozen) were not persons whom I had 
known particularly well here, or from whom I had 
had any cause to expect such a mark of regard. I send 
a copy of the letter especially for you, though I am 
almost ashamed to do so on account of its very flat- 
tering terms; but you mustn't show it to anybody 
else, and you will see by it that there are some women 
here who are conscious of the injustice done them and 
that their feeling for me is rather because I am, as it 
were, an exponent to them of a freer kind of life than 
any they have ever known. The same day just before 
we went on board the steamer Agassiz received from 
certain gentlemen not exclusively from Manaos but 
from the province of the Amazons a box of a beau- 
tiful dark native wood (like ebony) and containing 
samples of all the most beautiful woods of the country 
in small neatly finished blocks. All was the work of 
the Indians of the Indian school here and bore this 
inscription: "Louis Agassiz, from his friends of the 
Amazonas. " 


These things make me feel as if I have been almost 
wrong and ungrateful to write you so strongly about 
the wickedness of Manaos, when we have received 
such kindness here, and yet what I wrote was strictly 
true. It is a bad place and the society is the worst I 
have ever known. These people are the exceptions and 
the greatest sufferers from their surroundings. The 
politics of Brazil are the curse of the country — un- 
happily it's a man's only road to distinction — no 
other merit (if merit it be) is acknowledged except 
that of political prominence, and men are ready to 
sacrifice anything for public office. 

In this letter Mrs. Agassiz enclosed the following French 
translation of the note accompanying the gift from the 
ladies of Manaos: 

Nous autres, les femmes a qui le monde s'obstine a 
refuser les grandes qualites qui ennoblissent la nature 
humaine, comme I'intelligence, la fermete, le courage, 
Tamour de la gloire et autres, en nous laissant par 
grace la sensibilite du cceur, nous sommes heureuses 
de voir reunies dans votre seule personne ces qualites 
qui rehausees par votre extreme aimabilite et exquise 
delicatesse nous ont gagne votre amitie; agreez done 
recevoir ce f aible souvenir de nos sentiments a votre 
6gard. C'est ime noix de Coco montee en argent; 
elle n'a pas d' autre merite que d'avoir ete travaillee 
par deux artistes indigenes et de vous itre offerte 
par I'amitie. 

The following letter gives evidence of Mrs. Agassiz's 
intense interest in the Museum in Cambridge and its devel- 


opment. The apprehension that she expresses proved need- 
less, for during the absence of Agassiz the Legislature of 
Massachusetts made a generous appropriation which was 
doubled by private subscriptions, so that accommodations 
were provided for the valuable collections that he was 
making in Brazil. 

The book to which Mrs. Agassiz refers in this letter is 
Seaside Studies in Natural History, which she wrote in col- 
laboration with Alexander Agassiz, who contributed the 
drawings and many of the investigations, while Mrs. 
Agassiz wrote the text with the assistance of his notes and 
explanations. It supplies a popular scientific treatment of 
the Marine Animals of Massachusetts Bay and was pub- 
lished in the hope that it would meet a want often ex- 
pressed for such a seaside manual. 


ManaoSf January 8, 1866 
People think that Agassiz has been working too hard 
on the Amazons, and so perhaps he has; but work is 
his life, and I am convinced that the jom'ney would 
not have done him half the good it has, if he had not 
had the means of working as he has done. To have 
seen the means of making such a wonderful collection 
all about him and not to have been able to do it would 
have been to him a suffering worse than that of Tan- 
talus of old — it would have been to see the promised 
land and not to enter it. I anticipate a coming cloud. 
Alex is alarmed at the size of the collections which 
he says will be too expensive to take care of, and the 
Amazons collections which he did not yet know about 


exceed all the rest. But I am not going to be discour- 
aged. This most valuable and really most extraor- 
dinary collection (for with the facilities Agassiz has 
had from the Brazilian government he has had it in 
his power to do things on a scale such as no other 
naturalist has ever been able to attempt) will put the 
Museum at one stride far in advance of all other Mu- 
seums in some departments. This is what was contem- 
plated when the Museum was started, though no one 
could have dreamed of its being done so rapidly; and 
now if people grumble because it will cost five or 
six thousand dollars to secure the safety of such a col- 
lection, which could not under ordinary circumstances 
be had for ten times that sum, I must say I think 
the complaint is unreasonable. With such a spirit the 
Museum must always remain a third or fourth rate 
establishment and is not worth the care of a man 
of first-rate ability. Perhaps I am climbing a hill be- 
fore I come to it, but I infer these difficulties from 
Alex's last letter. It never seems to have occurred to 
the friends of the Museum that it was to be a living 
thing, — to increase and develop, and therefore to be 
fed and nourished. If any institution of that kind 
does not grow and require every year larger means, it 
is dead, — and what is dead had better be buried 
forthwith. But you are not the wife of a scientific 
man ("thanks be to praise," perhaps you say, in 
Grandma's favorite ejaculation), and so perhaps this 
will not appeal to your inmost soul. 

Pauline writes me that Louis is grown such an 
obedient little man, and gives up a great deal to the 


baby, saying, "I can do without it, perf'ly well. 
Mamma." I can hear him. The next great event is 
Christmas, of which we long for accounts. I do hope 
it was just as pleasant as could be, and that the chil- 
dren had a first-rate time. If Christmas is happy for 
them, it 's happy for everybody. 

I am anxious to hear how our little book (Alex's 
and mine) gets on. He has sent me some preliminary 
notices of it, but these don't mean much. My home 
letters say it looks well, but so far as I can find out 
nobody has read it, which makes me quite wrathy. 
I dreamed about it the other day, and thought it was 
a most obnoxious looking volume, — a thin book with 
very small, bad print, and that in order to make 
it sell, Alex had introduced a number of extraor- 
dinary sensation woodcuts, among which was a pic- 
ture of a city with the plague. I suppose our next 
letters will have something more about it. After all 
writing books is rather a perilous business. 

Pardy March 8, 1866 
... As I retreat from my life of the last six months 
and have it in memory only, I begin to feel more than 
ever how much I have gained in picturesque images 
— things that I shall always enjoy as much perhaps 
in the retrospect as in the actual experience. I find too 
in talking with the people here that I have seen a great 
deal which persons who have lived all their lives in the 
neighborhood of the Amazons have not seen; the fact 
is that with the exception of the few naturalists who 
have made the journey people go up and down this 


great beautiful river for purposes of commerce only 
and stop only at the regular stations along the main 
stream; they don't go off into the byways and know 
little of the life of the "Setios" and the forest popula- 
tion. I was telling Donna Maria and a young friend 
some of my experiences last evening, and they really 
seemed as much interested as you would be at home, 
and said over and over again, "You have seen more 
and know more about these things than we do, though 
we've lived all our Hves on the Amazons." Next 
week Agassiz is going on another excursion farther 
down on the coast. I am not quite sure whether I shall 
go with him. As I am going to have quite as much 
of sea voyages in the next three months as I care 
for (between our journey to Rio and our return to 
the States), I am rather incHned to stay quietly. In- 
deed after so many months of travelling, quiet is very 
grateful and if it were not that I feel bound as the 
Scribe of the expedition to gather all the material that 
offers for the journal, I should be rather inclined to be 
pusillanimous and rest on my oars for a little while. 
Of my longings for home I say nothing — what's the 
use.? But I must say the idea of next summer at 
Nahant is a vision of rapture I hardly dare to think 

Ceardy April 1, 1866 
It is just a year today since we sailed from New York. 
My heart would have sunk if I had thought I should 
still have been writing to you from Brazil — it seems 
such a long time to be away. But I know that God 
is leading us wisely and it is my daily prayer that 


He will bring us home to find you all safe and well. 
We left Para last Monday evening on board the 
Santa Cruz. It seemed quite hke leaving a sort of 
home to come away from Mr. Pimento Bueno's. He 
has been so good to us and we have been there so 
long that we quite seemed to ourselves a part of the 
family. All the day his little girl, who is an interest- 
ing child and has something about her that reminds 
one of Louis, was bringing me little parting gifts, and 
the last hour before I came away she did nothing but 
wander from room to room, saying to everybody, 
*' Can't you think of anything else to give to Madame? 
I can't find anything else to give to Madame." 

April 6 (The village of Pacatuha at the foot of the Serra of 

. . . Here we are thus far on our journey. You know 
what we are looking for, don't you? This is a hunt 
after Moraines and Glaciers, and as Agassiz has found 
all the evidence he hoped for — "evidence of things 
unseen" I'm sure it is, for who would believe these 
tropical valleys were ever filled with ice, — the excur- 
sion has been a very successful one. But let me begin 
at the beginning. If you could have had a glimpse of 
us on Tuesday afternoon, you would have seen our 
cavalcade consisting of Agassiz and myself, he on a 
brown horse, I on a white one, armed with umbrellas 
and waterproofs (for at this season showers may be ex- 
pected at every minute) ; Mr. Coutinho and another 
gentleman, the government engineer of the province; 
behind us a soldier, one of the President's guard who 


was to act as a servant; and bringing up the rear two 
small donkeys almost invisible from tlie amount of 
baggage they carried. But if you had seen the amount 
of worry and vexation of spirit before things could 
be arranged, you would understand how trying it is to 
travel in Brazil wherever the old modes of journey 
still continue. The delay about getting horses and serv- 
ants, the way people promise and do not perform, 
the utter impossibility there is for the Brazilian mind 
to conceive that it's of the least consequence to any- 
body whether they do a thing tomorrow or a week or 
a month from tomorrow — of what consequence is it ? 
There's no hurry. 

Well, at last we were off. We were only to go a 
league from the town and sleep at a village called the 
Rancho. At nightfall we rode into the little cluster of 
mud houses all more or less surrounded with trees. 
We stopped at the end of the single street before a 
low mud house, which I suppose serves as the village 
hotel. . . . Well, perhaps least said about that night 
is best. The fleas were rampant, and I must say for my 
part I was very glad when five o'clock called us all to 
get up, for it was our plan to start at six. However, 
it's one thing to intend going anywhere in Brazil and 
another to get off. When we inquired after the horses 
they were not to be found; the constant cry in travel- 
ling is that the horses go off in the night, but it never 
seems to occur to anybody to tie them up. Where were 
the servants? Nobody knew. So there we sat waiting 
and losing the best hours of the morning till horses 
and men saw fit to turn up. At last we were off, Agas- 


siz, Coutinho, and I going first, our companion waiting 
to look after the baggage. If you had seen me, dear 
Mother, on some parts of that day's ride I think you 
would not have believed your eyes. You would have 
said, "either our Lizzie has gone completely out of 
her senses and is downright crazy, or it's not she at 
all." What do you think, with my sentiments about 
horse flesh in general, of my fording streams with the 
water up to the horse's breast, so that I was in momen- 
tary anguish lest he should take to swimming? All I 
could do was to hold up my habit and tuck up my feet 
as high as I could, notwithstanding which they got 
very wet, and then cling for dear life. Luckily there 
were houses near the two deepest rivers, so I hired a 
man to come and wade before me to find the best 
places and take hold of the bridle when the bottom 
was bad; for often there were logs and deep ruts so 
that the horses went floundering about in a frightful 
way. Altogether I think it was the most perilous 
day's journey I've had yet in all my wanderings. 
Notwithstanding the anxieties Agassiz was happy for 
all his prophecies were fulfilled. 

We came upon the tracks of moraines and all sorts 
of glacial debris, to the importance of which I confess 
I found it difficult to give my mind under the circum- 
stances. We rode in this way a very long four leagues 
(some twelve miles) and did not reach our next stop- 
ping place till two o'clock, having started at half 
past eight o'clock in the morning. We were going to 
ask hospitality for the night from some friends of 
Coutinho and I was, oh, so glad when we turned off 




the main road into a little wooded path that led to 
their plantation. As we rode up to the house about 
a dozen women's heads appeared at the windows, 
greeting Coutinho in different voices of delight. 
He is such a favorite everywhere that under his wing 
we are sure to be greeted with cordiality. 

Well, they all came down (and the all means a 
legion of daughters, some married and some immar- 
ried) and made us most warmly welcome. They took 
me upstairs, brought me water and towels and a 
change of clothing, for the baggage had not come and 
I was thoroughly wet, having waded through all the 
streams in the country and been rained on into the 
bargain. They were all very short, little women like 
the Brazilians generally, and you may imagine I had 
some difficulty to get into their clothes. However, 
I finally made my appearance in a purple skirt and 
a bright blue rowdy, which I had to wear to hide the 
gaping of the petticoat. Then I went down and had 
coffee, and we passed the rest of the afternoon till 
dinner in playing and singing. The girls are very bright 
and intelligent and two of them very pretty. They 
really have a great deal of natural gift for music, espe- 
cially one of them who sings in a very effective way. 

The first thing that we heard was that the journey 
to Baturite was out of the question, that is unless we 
were prepared to pass an indefinite time. The river 
was greatly swollen by the rains, and if we passed it we 
might be caught on the other side and not be able 
to get back for many days. Agassiz did not care, how- 
ever, for he had already seen enough to show him that 


he had all he needed in this immediate neighborhood 
and that, though it would be interesting to see the 
higher Serra, the mountains and valleys in the midst 
of which we were gave him all the phenomena of the 
ice period. We therefore stayed in the comfortable 
quarters where we were for two days, being made 
most warmly welcome. I did not go out except to walk 
in the garden and bathe in the brook near by, but 
Agassiz was very busy careering about on horseback 
(which he says he hates worse and worse every day) 
and following up the investigations he is so much 
interested in. 


Rio de Janeiro, May 7, 1866 
I WISH that I could photograph my life here for you. 
It would make you understand why I feel that though 
I long for home with painful intensity, I yet am sure 
that I shall sometimes have a sort of yearning for 
my Brazilian life — for the climate where one never 
thinks of closing door or window, for the liberty of 
action which such weather gives, for the enchanting 
scenery which I know I can never forget. So far as per- 
sonal relations are concerned and indeed everything 
which regards culture and even civilization, six years 
with us is worth twenty here; but still for that enjoy- 
ment which nature gives I shall always feel that I owe 
a lasting debt to Brazil and shall always have a lin- 
gering affection for it. Then I have formed a few very 
pleasant friendships here. 

Agassiz is giving three or four lectures here, but he 


gives only one a week, and as he does this at the request 
of the Emperor who was very anxious that he should 
give some account of the journey, he has great pleas- 
ure in doing it. The Emperor has been so kind to him 
and so generous to the expedition that he is only too 
glad to express his gratitude in some way. The first 
lecture was last evening and crammed to suffocation. 
If our party (myself and one or two ladies who were 
with me) had not entered in the wake of the Imperial 
family, we should have had a poor chance for even the 
seats reserved for us. I wish you could see these Impe- 
rial people — they are so simple and so gracious in 
their ways. I had not seen any of them since my re- 
turn though the Emperor had asked Agassiz to bring 
me to see the Empress. But we had been out of town 
and not able to go. When they came into the large 
room where they stop before going in to the lecture, 
the Emperor and Empress came across the room and 
talked to me for some time about my travels, and the 
younger daughter whom I had known before intro- 
duced me to the Imperial Princess, who was in Europe 
when I was here last spring. I don't tell you this as 
any special mark of their attention to me, because 
they would do the same for any one who had any 
claim on their attention; but only as showing you 
what frank and affable manners they have. The 
Emperor had read my article [An Amazonian Picnic] 
in the Atlantic Monthly [for March], and was very 
pleasant about it. This is a strictly private epistle, 
because I don't tell these little bits of egotism for the 
benefit of anybody but my own family. 



AFTER Mrs. Agassiz's return to Cambridge from 
Brazil her most important occupation outside of her 
family cares was the preparation of A Journey in Brazil, 
which, as has been said, was published in 1867. Her record 
of Agassiz's life in the next four years as during the pre- 
vious decade is almost the record of her own, so intimately 
was she connected with every phase of his interests and 
experience. In less than two years after the expedition to 
Brazil his health, in spite of the benefit derived from his 
stay there, broke down again under the pressure of his work 
for the Museum, and although there were periods when it 
was once more vigorous, it always remained precarious and 
a cause of anxiety to Mrs. Agassiz. In 1868 he was able to 
take an extended journey through the West for scientific 
purposes on which Mrs. Agassiz did not accompany him; 
but in the following spring she went with him on a dredging 
expedition off the coast of Cuba and Florida, of which she 
wrote an interesting and picturesque account in an article, 
A Dredging Excursion in the Gulf Stream, which appeared 
in the Atlantic Monthly for October and November, 1869. 
Glimpses of her life during these years— 1866-1871— so full 
of occupations, are afforded by the following extracts from 
her letters, written for the greater part to her mother and 
sisters while they were in Europe. 



Cambridge, October 26, 1867 
I KNOW that you will be grieved to hear that we have 
had very sad news of our dear Agassiz's mother 
this week. She is very feeble and at her age there can 
be little strength to rally. Had it not been for the hope 
I have always cherished that we should be allowed to 
have one more meeting, that perhaps God would let 
her pass gently away with all her children about her, 
I should pray that the end might rather be hastened 
than deferred, for great old age is not a blessing; but 
it is hard to give up this hope — and if I feel it a 
disappointment, what must it be for Agassiz. Poor 
Agassiz ! he feels it so bitterly, but he works with the 
greater intensity the more unhappy he is. It is strange, 
but it has always seemed to me that intellectual life 
was to Agassiz what prayer is to others — an act of 
adoration and the nearest approach to a communion 
with God. He turns to it in every trouble and always 
seems to find calm and resignation. 

November 18 
We have had a very pleasant week since I wrote you 
last, — still awfully busy on account of our "literary 
labors"!! But the guns will soon be fired for the con- 
elusion of the Brazilian book, whether over its un- 
timely grave or for its success remains to be seen. 
The most absolute failure shall not prevent me from 
enjoying the rest and freedom of being fairly rid of 
it. I shall feel as I did when the school was given up; 


and yet I have a kind of fondness for it, too, just as 
I had for that, because I had worked at it with Agassiz, 
and we have had so much pleasure with it together. 
Only we are both tired now and shall be glad when 
it's fairly done. 

November 25 
You will be sorry to hear that the news we have been 
expecting, or rather fearing, for several steamers, has 
come. Agassiz's mother died on the eleventh. The 
letters are lovely about it, remembering him, think- 
ing of him to the last, sending flowers to be placed be- 
fore his picture. But still with everything to comfort 
him, you know this is a terrible parting for Agassiz. 
Not but that he feels as if in a certain sense she were 
nearer to him than ever before, but still they are no 
longer on the same earth together. He works and takes 
refuge in occupation. 

December 17 
Do you remember that we are approaching Christmas.? 
What shall we do without you all.? Our presents will 
soon be distributed, but I mean to have some games 
for the children and make it as gay as I can for them. 
Our tree is already mounted, and Louis has come to 
pass the week and help Mary Anne, whom I have got 
in for the occasion to gild nuts and dress the tree. I 
mean to take just as little trouble about it as pos- 
sible and be as fresh as I can for the day when it comes. 
It is delightful to have Louis, and the little man is as 
happy and good and busy as he can be. 


December 25 
While Christmas is fresh in my mind I must write 
you about it. I dreaded [it] this year, because when 
you were all away it seemed to me I could not make it 
pleasant. But I believe because we all feared it might 
be dull, we "made an effort," like, or rather unlike, 
poor Mrs. Dombey, and we really were very cheerful. 
I must say, though I say it that should n't, the tree 
and the room did look lovely. Ida and Henry who had 
never seen it upstairs with all the green boughs and 
garlands and crosses were delighted. Then the chil- 
dren were so enchanted with their presents and so de- 
lighted with the tree that it made everybody else gay. 


Camhridgey January 8, 1868 
I HAVE been waiting for a quiet minute to write to 
you, for you are both so delightfully associated with 
the Brazil book that now it is finished and the great 
burden and responsibility is off my mind, I long to 
talk to you about it and to share with you some of the 
pleasant results. As to its ultimate success, sale and 
that sort of thing, I know nothing. It only makes its 
appearance in the shops today, though it has been 
bound for a fortnight past. I only wanted you to know, 
while they are fresh in my mind, the judgment of the 
few friends who have seen it in its finished form. 
Knowing all my anxieties about it in matters of taste, 
style, etc., and knowing too how my highest aim was 
to show Agassiz — the comprehensiveness of his aims 


and the way in which he carried them out — you will 
understand what pleasure these things have given 
me. Mr. Peirce writes to me, "It is elegant in style, 
in the most refined good taste, and in all ways worthy 
of science, our country and our age. But its highest 
attraction is that it contains such a perfect portrait 
of our beloved and great-hearted Agassiz. I did not 
know that you were such an artist." Was n't it lovely 
that this should come to me the very first thing.? It 
was perfectly spontaneous. I had never talked to the 
Peirces of the plan of the book, or of my aims in it, 
and I felt that the picture must be there or he would 
not have found it. Longfellow's note is longer, but I 
extract for you part: "The idea of mingling the two 
Diaries is most felicitous. It is like the intermingling 
of masculine and feminine rhymes in a French poem. 
In fact the whole expedition is highly poetical and 
honorable to all concerned. There is nothing like it 
since Hipparchus sent his fifty oared galley to bring 
Anacreon to Athens." 

Holmes writes to us together. "United in your 
book," he says, "you shall not be divided in my note." 
He writes after having read the whole and says, "It 
is a new world to most of us, to me certainly, and I am 
sure we all feel that it is a rare privilege to wander 
through it, under the guidance of such explorers. So 
exquisitely are your labors blended that as with the 
mermaiden of ancient poets, it is hard to say where 
the woman leaves off and the fish begins. The deli- 
cate observation of nature from the picturesque side 
relieves the grave scientific observations and discus- 


sions in a most agreeable manner. If I divide my ad- 
miration equally between you, it is because I feel that 
rare as it is to find a great observer who is also a rea- 
soner and an organizer, it is as rare to find such a mate 
for him as the lady who keeps side by side with our 
Professor in all his travels through the realms of space 
and of thought." 

Dr. Peabody, to whom we sent it, writes a very cor- 
dial note in which he says," I have already read enough 
to know how largely all lovers of good letters are in- 
debted to you and Mrs. Agassiz for a work as charm- 
ing as it is instructive and as rich in material as it is 
graceful in execution." He has seen Agassiz since and 
spoke very warmly about it. I waited with special 
anxiety for Lizzie [Cabot] Lee's verdict; I trust so 
much to her exquisite instincts in all matters of taste 
and culture, and I thought I could judge by her note 
whether anything had shocked or even displeased 
her. She writes after having read it and says, "It 
seems to me you have avoided all the shoals and quick- 
sands that writers of such books are apt to fall into. 
It has left a charming impression on my mind of hav- 
ing travelled with you, and my dreams are full of 
blue butterflies, passion flowers, paroquets and rush- 
ing torrents." 

You see all these notes touch upon the points about 
which I was most anxious, and whether the book is 
generally liked or not — is attractive to the public 
I mean — I feel reassured; I feel as if I had not com- 
mitted any gross blunders. 

The book looks well; there is but one very impor- 


tant misprint which spoils one of my most cherished 
sentences — and the illustrations are much better 
than we expected. When I remember, Sallie, the 
readings with one foot on the fender last winter, the 
doubts and questionings and anxieties in my mind, 
and then the proof sheets last summer, dear Emma, 
I feel profoundly grateful to be so safely through 
and to have had such help and sympathy from you 
both. How little we thought that your first tidings 
of the finished book would be in Rome! What a 
strange game of consequences this world is! I want 
very much to send the book to Mother and you all, 
but Charles Curtis says it would be frightfully expen- 
sive. I'm going to see Fields about it today, and we 
shall manage it if we can. Agassiz longs to have it in 
Mother's hands; he says of his own dear mother, "If 
she could only have seen the title page, only have 
seen our two names together! " It is so different not to 
have her in the world. How much Father is in my 
mind at this time I cannot tell you. I, too, feel how 
I should have enjoyed taking the book to him, show- 
ing him all the comments upon it. He would have 
been happy about it I know. Mother will say he knows 
all about it, but I don't feel as if where he is now any 
earthly success would touch him as nearly as it would 
have done here. Nearest to the kind of sympathy I 
should have had from him I got from the dear Aunts 
at Chelsea. One of my greatest rewards has been to 
see the pleasure and fresh child-like interest they feel 
in it. It is so great a thing to be able to give enjoyment 
to your very old friends. ... 


We are going to Washington next Monday, and I 
hope the change may be refreshing to Agassiz. I 
must tell you something Louis said yesterday; the 
scamp, he grows funnier every day. He was wishing 
that I would n't go to Washington, and I said I must 
be with Grandfather. "Oh," said he, "can't you 
let sixty go alone and forty-five stay at home?" He 
heard me say a day or two before that his Grand- 
father was sixty and I was forty-five, and we were both 
growing old. He is a fascinating child to me. 

Good-bye. I wanted to poiu" out my heart to you, 
and here it is with all the fine things people have 
said of me, but it would be absurd to make any 
af)ologies about egotism to you. Talking to you and 
Mother is like talking to myself. 


Cambridge, February 16, 1868 
Our copper mine is working well — the first edition 
of the book was disposed of in about three weeks and 
the second is already before the public. I do wish you 
had been here to sympathize on the spot with all the 
pleasant things that have been said and written to 
us about it. It seems egotistical to repeat them all, 
but tell this to Emma from Longfellow, who has been 
delightful about it and always speaks of it as "your 
beautiful book." He says his present reading of Buf- 
fon's old saying, le style cest Vhomme is le style c'est 
lafemme, "That," he adds, "is my little joke about 
it." It seems absurd to write all these little things, 


but if we were together it would be so natural to tell 
them. We heard yesterday from Vogeli who made 
the French translation and has just returned to Paris 
with it. Hachette (the Paris publisher) is going to 
make an Edition de luxe with forty illustrations and 
maps and another cheaper one without illustrations; 
also to publish extracts with plates in his illustrated 
journal, the Tour du Monde, which is circulated in 
several languages. This will be nothing to us in a 
pecuniary point of view, but will give a wider circu- 
lation to the book. 

Do you see enough of the papers to know how Presi- 
dent Johnson is carrying on — as furiously as Mount 
Vesuvius with all the spit-fire element and none of 
the grandeur? He really seems insane with passion 
and does the most imaccountable things, or rather 
tries to, for he has no power to carry them out; as, 
for instance, this last act, creating an entirely new 
and most powerful office for Sherman in order to an- 
noy Grant apparently and separate two good friends. 
Fortunately Sherman will take no part in this trick and 
declines to accept the office even were it confirmed 
by the Senate. You know Grant has given deadly 
offence to the President by his course about Stanton. 

Imagine that I'm going to open a series of tea- 
parties tomorrow evening — that is, it will be a 
series, if the first turns out to be pleasant; if it's a 
failure I shall allow it to be the last and consider my- 
self quenched. I came home from Washington, where 
people receive in a very easy and informal way, fired 
with the ambition to set up a simmering teakettle and 


"call my neighbors in." Somehow or other since I re- 
turned to Cambridge the frost of New England begins 
to settle over me, and I am afraid that no amount of 
tea will make people sociable. However I 'm going to 
begin tomorrow with a judicious selection of Cam- 
bridge neighbors and a sprinkling of Boston, and see 
how I fare. 

March 10 
I HAVE set up a teakettle and called my neighbors in, 
as I threatened in my last letter, and greatly to my sur- 
prise my neighbors came and seemed to have a good 
time. I can hear Sallie say that it's another reason for 
gratitude in being out of Cambridge, if Lizzie is going 
to undertake to have tea-parties. Sisterly affection 
would oblige her to come and how she would hate it! 
Emma would like it and be all ready to help me. 

Yesterday we dined at Tom Appleton's [the broth- 
er-in-law of Longfellow]. The dinner, by the way, 
was given to us in honor of the Brazilian book, 
and one of the ornaments was a very brilliant Bra- 
zilian parrot in ice, with a superb crimson sherbet 
head and every conceivable shade done in various 
kinds of water ice. It was a very pretty device and 
made a great deal of fun. Tom Appleton has been 
very sympathetic about the book — "Such a charm- 
ing book," he says, "and so ladylike." 

Nahant, September 5, 1868 
Agassiz, I suppose, is now in Denver. It was hard 
for me to make up my mind to his going without me. 


I had thought he could never make another journey 
of any importance alone, and especially I had thought 
we should be likely some day or other to go out to 
the Far West together, perhaps across the Rocky 
Mountains to California. Apart from the interest and 
enjoyment of travelling with him, it makes me so 
much more efficient in writing out his results when I 
have been on the ground and watched the course of 
his work. But in this case it was all settled for me. He 
was invited to go on this journey where no ladies were 
admitted and there was no question about the impor- 
tance of his accepting it. He wanted change desper- 
ately and perhaps it was better I should not go. I 
know too much of his anxieties to be the best com- 
panion for him when he wants to forget them. 

September 11 
You know Agassiz is away since the first of August. 
This strange summer is drawing to a close, and I 
meant to move up the week after next. I am chiefly 
occupied now in making the days pass. Thank Heaven, 
this absence of Agassiz only makes me the more cer- 
tain that the romance of life does not diminish with 
time, and so I find the weeks of waiting rather long. 
Pauline is coming down tomorrow with the chil- 
dren, of which fact by the way I ought to be profoundly 
ignorant, for it 's a plan of Louis' to surprise me. He 
made all his arrangements with Miss Lyman, who was 
to keep me at home "for sure" but by no means to say 
why, only if I asked, to answer that she knew a gentle- 
man and two ladies who were coming to see me. The 


scheme was well laid, but I met Ida who told me she 
was coming to pass the day with them here. Of course 
I shall feign profound astonishment, but it 's perhaps 
as well that I knew, for I was in town today and put a 
few appropriate tributes to the occasion into my bag. 
Pauline came with the children and they were per- 
fectly satisfied with the effect of the surprise and 
never dreamed that it was not complete. Even the 
sponge drops and the plums and the little horn of 
candy did not enlighten them, and Louis said, "Well, 
Grandma always does have such good things." 

A notable event of the next year, 1869, for Mrs. Agassiz 
as well as for Agassiz himself was the Humboldt Celebra- 
tion held in Boston in September under the auspices of the 
Boston Society of Natural History, at which Agassiz was 
invited to deliver the address. 


If your father delivers the address at all as he has 
prepared it, it will be really interesting, I think, and 
from the nature of the subject wholly different from 
anything you have heard him give before. He means 
to have it ready for reading in case of necessity. Still 
I think the whole thing is now so completely in his 
mind that if he is in good mood he will be able to 
throw aside his notes and trust memory and impulse. 
I hope he will, for he speaks with so much passion and 
power, and he does not read well. For the last week, 
we have lived Humboldt together night and day. Hav- 
ing collected all the materials, he has given the whole 


week to arranging them, rejecting all but the salient 
points and giving himself wholly up to the memory of 
Humboldt as a man and a companion. I really never 
felt the sweetness and power of your father's intellect 
as I have while he has been renewing with me all his 
recollections of Humboldt; and I think the result of all 
his contemplation of him has ended in a higher appreci- 
ation of his character, so that he comes to the work with 
a great deal more enthusiasm than he had in the begin- 
ning. Everything depends upon his mood. You know 
how impulsive and emotional he is. If he feels right, 
I have no doubt he will interest and satisfy people. 

Seldom had Agassiz's gifts as a speaker appeared more 
brilliant than on this occasion. The emotional strain, how- 
ever, was speedily followed by a more imperative warning 
than Nature had yet given him that he must make less 
severe demands upon his strength. An illness followed, 
and a slow convalescence kept him a prisoner for many 
months, during which Mrs. Agassiz was his constant attend- 
ant. In the spring, on the advice of his physician, they 
went to Deerfield, a pretty village in the Connecticut val- 
ley, where the quiet surroundings and pure air proved 
so beneficial to him that by the autumn his recovery 
was complete. The following letter was written by Mrs. 
Agassiz toward the end of this stay in Deerfield. 


Deerfield, September 29 [1870] 
That music of Mendelssohn's is certainly wonderful, 
and your letter was a singular answer to my thought. 


The night we arrived here I was walking on the 
piazza with Agassiz; the village street so green and 
fresh last June was parched and dusty, and the katy- 
dids and crickets seemed singing by hundreds their 
high, sharp, meagre notes. I said to Agassiz, "I wish 
you knew the Elijah of Mendelssohn that you might 
feel as I do with this drought how wonderful the 
chorus is by which he describes the sufferings of the 
thirsty people and earth." Do you remember how all 
the high, sharp notes of the instruments seem to give 
that meagre dry character which is in the aspect and 
all the sounds of nature after a long drought? The 
next day when the relief came I felt still more how 
perfectly the music expresses the actual thing, and I 
only wished I could hear in the midst of the drenching 
rain for which every living thing seemed giving thanks 
the "Thanks be to God. He laveth the thirsty land, 
the waters gather, they rush along, they rush along." 
If we only had the best music ready for our needs, 
what a grand thing it would be at the breaking up of 
a drought from which the whole country has suffered 
to have those choruses sung in all the churches. But 
was n't it — I was going to say, curious — but after 
all only quite natural, considering the truth of the 
composition, that you and I should both be reminded 
of it and speak of it at the same time? 

Do you know it was a real relief to me to hear that 
you had been at the Globe Theatre? I thought some- 
thing serious must be the matter with you when 
Fechter's Theatre had been open for weeks and you 
had nothing to say about it. I hope you and I will go 


together sometimes and decoy Mother in, too, next 
winter. ... It seems as if there might be a kind of 
revival of the good drama in Boston with this theatre 
and the interest private people of a good stamp and 
good dramatics take in it. To be sure, Monte Crista 
does not look like an effort to elevate the public taste, 
for I suppose it's pure sensation stuff, but still that 
may improve with time. . . . 

Madame de ChanaFs letter interested us both 
deeply. I hope she is not wholly right about the re- 
publican party. I don't believe she knows anything 
personally of the people who make the best strength 
of the republicans, — the respectable merchant class, 
the wine dealers, the foremen of factories and such 
people, — among whom there are men of much steadi- 
ness and thoughtfulness and honesty of purpose. At 
least Agassiz thinks so, and yesterday he had a letter 
from a man with whom he has been in negotiation for 
an insect collection — a dealer in objects of Natural 
History in Paris — and he speaks with the greatest 
hopefulness and says the republic has done more in 
eight days than the Empire had been able to do in 
months. I am not sure but that the French will be 
glad in the end that Prussia did not accept peace on 
the conditions they offered. The French may yet be 
able to make peace on their own terms. I must say, 
if Jules Favre's statement is correct and correctly re- 
ported, I think the Prussians were very ungenerous 
or else they purposely offered what it was impossible 
for France to accept. . . . 





BY the late autumn of 1870 Agassiz*s health was in 
sufficiently good condition to admit of his accepting 
a proposal from Dr. Benjamin Peirce, the Superintendent 
of the Coast Survey, to form an expedition for deep-sea 
dredging, which sailed on December 4 of the next year on 
the Hassler, a surveying steamer bound for California. 
With him Agassiz had one of his students from the Mu- 
seum, two other naturalists — the Count de Pourtales and 
Dr. Franz Steindachner, — Dr. Thomas Hill, the ex-pres- 
ident of Harvard University, and Mrs. Agassiz. Captain 
Johnson, the commander of the vessel, and Mrs. Johnson, 
as well as the officers, took so keen an interest in the pur- 
poses of the expedition that they added greatly to the pleas- 
ure of the voyage. The course of the Hassler was directed 
first to the West Indies, from there to Rio de Janeiro, 
Monte Video, and the Gulf of Mathias, thence to the 
Straits of Magellan, where manifold beautiful harbors of- 
fered anchorages, and afterward up the Patagonian coast 
to Concepcion Bay, where she lay at Talcahuana for re- 
pairs, while Agassiz and Mrs. Agassiz went by land to 
Santiago and Valparaiso; here they were met by the Hassler, 
which proceeded to Callao on the Peruvian coast, then to 
the Galapagos, and ended her voyage by way of Panama 
and San Diego at San Francisco, entering the Golden Gate 
in August, 1872. Under Agassiz's direction Mrs. Agassiz 




kept a record of the expedition such as she made for the Bra- 
zilian journey. This diary, however, was not fully prepared 
for the press at the time of Agassiz*s death and has never 
been published as a whole, although portions appeared as 
three articles — The Hassler Glacier, In the Straits of Ma- 
gellan and A Cruise through the Galapagos — in the Atlantic 
Monthly for October, 1872, and January and May, 1873; 
other parts were also published by Mrs. Agassizin her biog- 
raphy of Agassiz. Since a fuller record of the voyage, re- 
plete as it was with unusual experiences, is worthy of pres- 
ervation, and since Mrs. Agassiz's part in the company is 
highly characteristic, extracts from her letters that supple- 
ment the published accounts are given here, although some 
of them have less personal than general interest. 


December 12, 1871 
We are and have been all day floating along on a sum- 
mer sea. You can hardly imagine waking in the morn- 
ing so warm that it is a relief when the cabin boy 
brings me my bath tub full of fresh sea water. There 
is little to tell, but I wish you could see us as we sit 
on deck under our awning, I with my work in my lap 
and my book at my side, sewing sometimes, reading 
sometimes, talking, as circumstances favor. Agassiz 
is busy, of course, and he has begun as before on the 
Colorado to lecture on the work of the day, only here 
he lectures on deck. This morning I sat with my back 
to the little audience, but the Captain told me that 
nothing interested him more in the scene than to 


watch the faces of the sailors, some of whom were free 
and gathered romid to Hsten. He said they looked so 
earnest and engrossed, and while Agassiz was describ- 
ing with the help of the blackboard the structure of 
some of the little animals found on the gulf weed. Dr. 
Hill went out to them with a microscope and showed 
them the actual specimen through the lens. It does 
more than please them. It gives them such an interest 
in the work [that] they are indeed most ready to help. 
I am just going to bed having been on deck, with the 
exception of meals, from half-past seven o'clock this 
morning till half-past eight this evening. You who 
know only the North Atlantic voyages have little 
idea of this tropical sailing. 

St. Thomas, December 19 
We are getting rather dissipated at St. Thomas. I 
began this day by rising at five o'clock and going on 
shore with Pourtales. We had planned a walk to a 
hill-top called "Luisen Height,'* a pretty house on the 
very top of the edge of the island. Every native whom 
I have consulted on the subject looked at me in horror 
and assured me that it was altogether too rough an 
undertaking for a lady unless on horseback. It is in 
fact an easy walk of a mile and a half or two miles, 
perhaps, and at the hour at which we went not too 
warm. We were on shore an hour before sunrise; the 
town was just waking; the negroes just beginning to 
get their Httle trays and stands of fruit in order as we 
climbed the steep street towards the mountain. The 
streets are so steep here that carriages are out of the 


question. Some of the ascents are provided with a 
stair which brings you to a level terraced road cut 
into the side of the hill; another stair to a road above, 
and so on. Beyond the town we came into the wind- 
ing path leading up the hill. The air was heavenly 
with every kind of delicious fragrance from the earth 
and trees; almost nothing was stirring. The Hzards 
had not yet come out and even the birds had nothing 
to say or sing, except some doves that were softly 
cooing in the wood. We were half way up the hill be- 
fore the sun had fairly risen, and though you always 
say the sun spoils everything by his intruding pres- 
ence upon a simrise, I must say that this time he came 
in beauty, gradually filling the great soft clouds on the 
horizon with Hght and pouring his radiance through a 
blue window in the midst of the mass down into the 
near valley, making it a vivid green while the hill be- 
hind remained in shadow. When we looked out we had 
just reached a point where the harbor with all its 
shipping and the many islands beyond lay just below 
us. We kept on, meeting only a negro now and then 
riding on a donkey between laden panniers in which he 
was taking milk or vegetables to market, till we came 
to the house on the summit. There I must say the 
view is startling. You stand on the edge of the island 
and look down to the sea on either side. Many beau- 
tiful smaller islands break the view on both shores. 
Just below us we looked down upon a crescent shaped 
bay where hundreds of pelicans were breakfasting 
upon shoals of fish. We sat for a long time on the house 
terrace talking with an old negress who keeps the place. 


on starvation terms by her account of herself and by 
her looks, in the absence of the family. Altogether we 
had a most lovely walk, and Pourtales enjoyed it as 
much as I did. We returned to the ship by half -past 
nine o'clock with an appetite for breakfast. 


Government House, Barhadoes [December 29] 
It happens we are staying with Governor Rawson, 
... at one of the most charming of tropical country 
houses, a wilderness of enormous rooms with balconies 
and jalousies, and breezes blowing through in every 
direction. Our host is the most cordial, affectionate 
man with charming tastes, quite engrossed with his 
collections, which are arranged in a great central hall 
of the house with an eye to artistic effect, and with 
his fernery where one can sit in the shadows and see 
the ferns kept moist by the play of the fountain on 
them in a soft mist, and by his gardens where we 
recognize old BraziHan friends — the crimson Poin- 
settia (the "Star of the North," as they call it here) 
and palms and blooming garden shrubs which I have 
never seen since the first South American journey. 
All this is very pleasant, and we enjoy it while we may. 

At Sea, January 12, 1872 
My letters will be dull enough, for since we left Bar- 
hadoes there is nothing to record but an uneventful 
voyage, very rough during the first part for a week or 
so, but very pleasant and cahn for the last five or six 


days. What do we do? For my part read, read, read: 
four volumes of Froude are already disposed of and 
much of my Hght literature devoured also. I read 
German every day with Dr. Steindachner, who is 
most kind in helping me, and then I read aloud a good 
deal to Mrs. Johnson. I have been reading Jane Eyre 
to her. I felt more than ever in reading it with care 
that in spite of its faults, and it has great ones, it has 
wonderful originality and beauty, the true ring of 
genius, — and it has a high moral aim, too. Then we 
watch the Portuguese men-of-war on days when they 
are plenty, and see occasional troops of flying fish and 
many phosphorescent creatures floating by at night. 
Still on the whole the sea is a niggard of its treasures 
— when one thinks how full it is of things, the sight 
of which, were it only a single one, would make a day 
rich, and after all how little one sees, it makes you 
quite discontented. I crave a whale or a dolphin; I 
would not despise even a shoal of porpoises, and day 
after day passes and the sea gives us nothing but 
itself — ad nauseam, in the truest sense of the words 


Harhor of Rio de Janeiro, January 23 
Here we are once more in this wonderful country, 
which seems to me even more beautiful than when I 
first saw it. We rose early this morning and were on 
deck before sunrise, for the sail along the mountain- 
ous coast and the entrance into the harbor is not to 


be lost. It impressed me even more than the first time, 
as everything does when it has the charm of f amiUar- 
ity and association and suggests so much more than 
itself, — something that is personal to you over and 
above its own external features. We have been an- 
chored only an hour but have received the visit of the 
doctor and the washerwoman, always the first comers, 
and also a messenger from his Imperial Highness, 
asking the names of the party. The oldest daughter of 
the Emperor (his only child now, poor man) with her 
husband, the Conte d'Eu, have the regency in the 
absence of their father. 

Rio de JaneirOy January 25 
Yesterday, the day after our arrival, the Chamber- 
lain of the Princess came to say she should be in town 
with the Conte d'Eu in the afternoon and wished we 
could call if we were in town. We went, of course, 
and had a very pleasant visit. They were quite alone, 
having sent word that we should come before the hour 
of their reception. You know we knew them when we 
were here before. She has acquired so much gentle- 
ness and ease of manner, and she combines the sweet- 
ness of her mother's expression now with the decision 
and intelligence of her father. The Conte d'Eu, since 
he finished up the war so honorably for the Brazilian 
people, is their idol. He is what he always was, gay, 
easy, cordial, and with the self-possession and un- 
consciousness of perfect good breeding. They bade 
us good-bye at the hour of their public reception and 
asked us not to fail to come and see them at Petropolis. 


They are not now in Rio de Janeiro, but are Kving 
at their summer palace in Petropolis and were in 
town only for the day. 

This morning we took the boat for town at half -past 
six o'clock; it is so hot all excursions must be made at 
an early hour. Arrived in town, we took the horse cars 
which now go to the very gate of the Botanical Gar- 
den. You can now do with perfect comfort for twenty- 
five cents what we used to do in a carriage at a cost 
of some six or eight dollars each time. I thought, the 
drive more beautiful than in old times — the beautiful 
bays enclosed like lakes among the mountains; the 
peaks of Tijuca and Corcovado with the light morn- 
ing clouds hovering against them; the gardens glow- 
ing with flowers and filled with shade trees; and then, 
at last, the great avenue of palms, symmetrical and 
impressive as a cathedral aisle. I felt that memory 
had not exaggerated anything, but that the whole 
scenery here, all the natural features, are even more 
striking and unlike what I have seen elsewhere than I 
supposed. When the Emperor comes back, he will say 
he has seen nothing since he left Brazil more beauti- 
ful than his own home. Coming out from the Garden 
at about half-past eight o'clock we found at the gate 
a very pretty little French hotel which I do not re- 
member when I was here before. In the grounds 
outside under large shade trees were placed tables 
and chairs, and there we breakfasted, having only 
taken a cup of coffee when we left the ship early in the 
morning. I find many flowers which were not in bloom 
when I was here before, in what they consider their 


winter. Now there are cactus vines over doors and 
gateways full of white blossoms which look exactly 
like the night blooming cereus, as large and lovely, 
though I suppose they cannot be the same kind or 
they would not be open in the daylight. Altogether 
I find myself very happy to be back here again. I did 
not think it would give me so much pleasure to see it 
all once more. 

Rio de Janeiro, February 10 
The life one falls into on board ship is so strange. You 
have known it only in the European passages, where 
in the first place you have so many more companions 
to choose from, and then you know too that it is only 
for a fortnight; but to be shut up with some eighteen 
people for a year in such narrow quarters, seeing them 
day in and day out, all their little peculiarities brought 
out by the friction of close contact, is a curious ex- 
perience; and then you add to it that you yourself are 
subjected to the same sharp analysis — that they are 
looking at you through their microscope as well as you 
at them through yours, and the position is still more 

Straits of Magellan, Sandy Point, February 18 
Here we are safe and sound at the threshold of the 
wonderful region where mountains rise steeply from 
narrow ocean channels and glaciers plunge sheer down 
into the sea, — at least, that is what people say. I'll 
tell you whether it 's true the next time we meet. At all 


events we see superb snow mountains from this point, 
Mt. Sarmiento, Mt. Darwin, Mt. Buckland; they are 
beautiful even at this distance of some seventy miles. 
In the early part of our voyage I was a little anxious 
lest the many delays, not only before starting but for 
the repair of defects in the ship which we did not dis- 
cover till we were well on our way, would interfere 
with the success of the enterprise and would make 
your father so anxious, too, that he would not have 
any benefit from it either for his health or for science 
either. But for the last six weeks the real work has 
begun, and if he had no further successes he would feel 
more than repaid. He is tolerably cautious, but there 
are many days when he works as I have not seen him 
work for years, but he seems to bear it wonderfully 
well. Tell the children we have four live penguins, a 
number of wild geese, two cockatoos and two rabbits 
on board for pets. Many of them are quite tame and 
will eat from our hands; indeed, the "bunnies" would 
like to sit in my lap and be fed all day if I would let 


Monte Video, February 24 
We started from Rio in fine feather a week ago, ex- 
pecting nothing in this summer weather but a quick 
pleasant voyage down to Montevideo. We ran straight 
into a "stiff gale." I wish you had seen my room, 
which looked so pretty when we left Boston, about 
the middle of the second night. All the books had 
leaped out of the shelves and were rolling round on 


the floor. My clothes which I had carefully arranged 
on the big chair had capsized with the chair and 
formed an indiscriminate heap increased by a number 
of additional articles which had fallen from the pegs; 
in the midst of the confusion a port broke open and 
let in four or five buckets of water which flooded the 
floor, and there the whole mass went swash, swash, — 
books, clothes, shoes, up and down, taking a general 
swim. Such a mess you never saw and is not to be 
conceived of on land. After this we had a day or two of 
beautiful weather; then another gale, in the midst of 
which Mr. Kennedy took me up to the top of the com- 
panion way to look out upon the scene. It is more grand 
than pleasant to see the great waves surging up about 
the little vessel looking as if they must inevitably 
pour down upon her. However, they do not, — she 
rides them like a duck. You need not imagine we have 
been in any danger from my descriptions, which I flat- 
ter myself are very thrilling; on the contrary I believe 
we've always been quite as safe, though not as com- 
fortable, as if sitting in our parlors at home and that 
the gales we have met have been bagatelles to a great 
storm. I'm not ambitious to test the difference and 
am quite content with what I have already seen of 
the terrors of the great deep. 


Off Bahia Blancay March 3 
The next morning [after leaving Monte Video] we had 
a dredging which was a delightful chance for Agassiz. 


He got a most characteristic and complete collection 
from the river of great scientific value. Among other 
things there was the egg of some shell (Agassiz thinks 
of a large Voluta). It was about the size of a small 
hen's egg, quite transparent, the egg itself being about 
the hardness and consistency of isinglass, and con- 
tained a number of young, which Agassiz examined. 
The whole thing was entirely new to him and of great 
interest. Then, there were quantities of beautiful 
shells of various kinds of starfishes (some quite rare) 
and so forth. It is very interesting to see these beau- 
tiful living shells, which we only associate with shells 
in collections, with the animals all expanded and ac- 
tive, walking about. One little shell I saw, a perfect 
little beauty, had its mantle all spread out, and folding 
the sides upward it used them just like wings, flapping 
them with the greatest rapidity and flying through 
the water like an arrow. How little after all we know 
of the life and enjoyments of these creatures which 
we see preserved in Museums. 

The next day, March 1, was simply heavenly — 
like the purest of our September days, without taint 
or blemish, — one of the days when even I can say 
that life at sea under such circumstances is delightful. 
At about two o'clock we had another dredging, now 
in open sea, if you are particular about localities and 
depths, to the northeast of Cape Corrientes in about 
forty-five fathoms. This time we found things that 
made Agassiz ready to jump overboard with joy. If 
he had not thought the dredge would do it better, I 
verily believe he would have gone down himself to 


Bee what he could find. Among other things he found 
a very rare shell, and /i^o specimens, the young and the 
old, one would say, from the relative size, and only 
known heretofore from the Straits of Magellan where 
we had had a faint hope he might find it, though even 
there it's not easy. Then some beautiful sea-urchins 
and many very young ones, from the size of a pea, 
and even smaller, upwards, all of which he preserved 
with great care for Alex, as that is a specialty with 
him, and the young are not easy to have. Altogether 
this dredging was more interesting even than the 
previous one. 

On this same day we saw many albatross. It is a 
beautiful bird on the water, sitting so gracefully with 
the body half sunk in the wave, the large head with 
soft glittering white plumage resting above the surface ; 
it looks as much at home and as secure as any bird in 
its nest on land; when it rises it scuds along on the 
water for a little way then soars away on wide spread 
wings, as easy in its motion as in its rest. They say that 
some of them measure twelve feet from tip to tip of 
the wings; these did not look to me so large. 

Ojff Port San Antonio, March 6 
Here we are in a land-locked harbor where the ship 
lies as if she were at the Charlestown wharf, so quiet 
and motionless. We anchored about five o'clock yes- 
terday afternoon, and immediately after dinner all 
hands went on shore. The boat with Agassiz, the fish- 
ing party and the seine went first; Mrs. Johnson and 
I followed a little later with the Captain. We landed 


on a broad dry beach which seemed completely built 
of loose sea-washed shells. It was a steep slope of 
shells, making a bank some fifteen feet high, worn down 
on the summit to a flat surface which made a broad 
level walk and a nice seat. Wishing to see what was 
the character of the country behind the beach, I 
started at once for the sandy slope beyond the shells 
covered with stubble and low beach cactus, and was 
running up to get my view before the sun should go 
down when I heard Agassiz shouting to me to come 
back. As I did not turn immediately one of the sailors 
came running full speed to tell me that a very deadly 
serpent had been killed about five minutes before 
by Steindachner in those very bushes. I immediately 
consented to postpone a further investigation of the 
scenery and returned with remarkable celerity to the 
shore. Here we sat down on the clean dry shells and 
watched them draw the seine and enjoyed the sunset 
over the lonely beach and bay. As the light died out 
the men built bonfires on the beach, and their fitful 
blaze succeeded the twilight glow. Then we returned 
to the ship, and all gathered in the ward room and 
with the help of a bottle of champagne in honor 
of somebody's birthday (birthdays are astonishingly 
frequent on board this ship) we talked over the ad- 
ventures of the day and laid the plans for tomorrow. 
This morning (in a very imperfect state of toilet) 
I was on deck at five o'clock to see the sun rise. A 
party went off to explore the southern side of the bay, 
which is thought to be wooded and somewhat differ- 
ent in character from this. Agassiz stays to superin- 


tend the dredging on board; later in the day he will 
draw the seine once more on the beach, and this after- 
noon we hope to be on our way again. Had we time 
to stay here I think we might get some specimens of 
the larger land animals, for yesterday the gentlemen 
found tracks of guanacos, wolves, foxes and ostriches, 
not more than a mile or two from the beach, and as we 
came up the Gulf we saw the guanacos from the 
deck. Pourtales was near being caught "in a tight 
place," as he said himself, yesterday. When they 
landed near that steep cliff where the fossils were so 
thick, you know, he went alone to the top of the cliff 
which was very abrupt and high, — I believe two or 
three hundred feet. While on the summit he heard 
the signal guns for the party to go off to the ship, 
as the Captain wished to leave the anchorage at a 
favorable moment for the tide. Pourtales wanted to 
reach the boat as quickly as possible and found a 
gully in which he thought he could descend by a short 
cut to the beach. It consisted of long steps formed by 
the successive strata. Down these he found little 
difficulty in jumping or letting himself down; but 
after making half the descent he came to a place 
where the step was a vertical wall, altogether too 
high for a jump and no crevices for hands or feet. 
Impossible to return as he came, for though he could 
jump or let himself down, he could neither jump nor 
drag himself up, and the face of the cliff was too 
steep for climbing. Happily he had with him a hatchet 
for taking off geological specimens, and with that 
he cut steps in the wall up the whole height of the 


cliff; he reached the top utterly exhausted and falling 
down was obliged to lie there for a little while before 
he could gather strength enough to return. When a 
giant like Pourtales acknowledges such failure as this, 
he must have had pretty hard work, and you know 
he always makes light of his own doings. 

I cannot tell you how impressive the loneliness of 
this gulf and shore seems to me. When you reach the 
top of the bluff behind the beach, you see only a 
stretch of sandy plains as far as the eye can follow 
with no growth upon it except dry looking shrubs 
and coarse grass and low thorny cactus like prickly 
pear. If it were in civilized regions you would only 
say it was monotonous and uninteresting; but here 
where anything human so rarely comes — for I sup- 
pose in years no vessel enters this gulf, — it all seems 
in harmony with the intense solitude. There is noth- 
ing to bring men here, neither wood nor water, so 
that I suppose it will remain deserted for many a year 
to come. 

March 7 
We have said good-bye to our peaceful sheltered bay 
and are out at sea again. We left our anchorage in 
faultless weather, so still, that we could hardly say 
the vessel was moving; the whole gulf was like a mir- 
ror and the sun went down without a cloud in bur- 
nished gold. We had had such a pleasant visit in the 
Gulf of San Mathias that we all left it with regret. As 
long as the shore was in sight we could see our beach 
fires still burning. We wondered who would light the 


next fire in this solitary place. The evening was so 
clear that no one anticipated a change of weather, and 
everybody being tired we all retired early and were 
sound asleep, when towards midnight we were wak- 
ened by the most brilliant and incessant lightning; 
the whole sky seemed quivering with it. Presently 
came pouring rain and then a storm of hail that 
sounded like a discharge of musketry on the deck. 
We all came running out of our rooms in the most 
singular costumes to see what was the matter. Waked 
so suddenly from sleep one thought the powder mag- 
azine was exploding, another, that the vessel was on 
fire and the sharp clattering was the crackling of 
wood. I had started with the first rain and fortu- 
nately closed all the ports and skylight in our room, 
or we should have been well pelted. I wondered how 
the men on deck could stand it. They brought us 
down many of the stones, but they melted so fast 
that those I saw were not larger than good-sized 
marbles or hazel nuts; but they said in falling many 
were as large as hen's eggs or walnuts. I remember 
Darwin in his narrative speaks of the hailstolies here 
as very large and says the "guanacos" are sometimes 
killed by them. I can easily imagine it; an animal 
would stand a bad chance in these wide shelterless 
plains under such a fire of ice shot as we had last 
night. The rest of the night was quiet as possible, and 
this morning we have fine weather again. 

Our next stopping place so far as we know at pres- 
ent is to be the Santa Cruz River shortly before en- 
tering the Straits. 




March 9 
I LEFT you on Thursday, just after we had rounded 
the point of San Mathias Gulf and river, keeping on 
our southern course again. We had a fine day and be- 
ing nearly out of the "Pampiro" region began to flatter 
ourselves we had escaped, but the sun went down in 
magnificent clouds which the Captain said were full 
of wind and looked risky. The whole evening the 
lightning was superb with chains of electricity from 
cloud to cloud and down into the ocean. Still the 
night was still as sleep and the water almost without 
a ripple. At about ten o'clock with the force of a hur- 
ricane and the suddenness of lightning, the land wind 
struck the ship. After that there was little sleep for 
any one; everything (in sailor's parlance) that could 
"fetch away" "fetched away"; among other things 
my bed, which as Helen and Sallie will remember 
was clamped with an iron bar to the inner one, 
worked itself loose and I found myself adrift. I 
jumped on to the inner bed, and there I remained 
blockaded calling for help. Finding no one heard in 
the noise of the storm I climbed over it and called to 
the carpenter to make all fast. At last I was settled. 
Towards morning the row abated, and we got a 
nap. We waked to fine weather though a very rough 
sea and came out to hear the funny adventures of 
the night — upsetting of water-pitchers, drenching 
of beds, smashing of crockery, etc., — but we came 
through safe and sound, no harm done and have seen 
the elephant in the shape of a "Pampiro"; once is 
enough. I don't appreciate the grandeur of storms at 


sea. However, you must not imagine we have had any 
alarming ones except to the uninitiated. I only tell 
you about them to show that our experience is a 
varied one, and there is always a funny side to these 
rough times when not only things but people are 
whacked about without any respect for personal dig- 
nity. The sea went down towards evening yesterday, 
and after the sleepless night before all turned in early. 
I think the "sleep of the just" must be a restless 
slumber in comparison to mine last night; from nine 
o'clock to six this morning I never stirred and when I 
waked it was a beautiful warm morning and the ship 
as quiet as our own house in Quincy Street. 

We have just been dredging off the Gulf of St. 
George in about fifty fathoms of water, and beautiful 
things have come up; a starfish more than a foot 
in diameter, its ten arms subdivided a hundredfold 
into countless delicate fibrous-like branches, winding 
and coiling in an endless variety of curves; another 
huge starfish, like an immense sunflower, with thirty- 
seven arms, measuring some fifteen inches from the 
tip of one arm to the tip of the opposite arm; then 
beautiful sea-urchins, a skate egg with the living 
young, etc., etc. As we go south the ship is sur- 
rounded with birds, albatross, ducks, gulls and other 
birds, the names of which we do not know. They are 
so tame that we pass them quite close without dis- 
turbing them. 

March 15 
Yesterday was again very fine, but with a pretty 
strong wind and sea, and as the beach was diflScult to 


land upon, Mrs. Johnson and I did not have our walk 
on shore. The two parties started with daylight and 
at about four o'clock in the afternoon Agassiz and his 
companions returned. He was on the top wave of life, 
so happy with the results of his day. You know geo- 
logically he is seeking for glacial phenomena, and on 
their way to a hill between the shore and Mt. Aymond 
to which Pourtales and his party had gone, Agassiz 
had come upon a terminal moraine having all the char- 
acteristic features, built of glacier-worn boulders, 
pebbles and stones of all sorts and sizes packed into 
a paste of earth. It had been pushed up evidently 
by a mass of ice advancing from the southward, the 
southern slope being steep as is always the case with 
the side of the moraine turned towards the glacier, 
while the northern slope was more gradual. He also 
found a salt pond some two hundred feet above the 
level of the sea with moraine shells living in it. This 
will please Darwin if he does not already know it, be- 
cause it illustrates a statement he made many years 
ago that the geology of this coast was connected with 
upheaval. The whole party came back in a state of 
great elation, looking like a company of Nimrods, 
loaded with game, ducks, snipe, cormorants, a fox 
and a skunk, the smell of which made me quite home- 
sick, it recalled so vividly certain summer evenings 
at Nahant. It may be interesting to you as a scientific 
fact to know that skunks smell in Patagonia exactly 
as they do in New England. In order that the birds 
might be prepared we deferred dinner till six o'clock 
and had it made ready in great style with a centre 


ornament which we thought could not be matched at 
any dinner party on Beacon Street or Fifth Avenue. A 
guanaco skull supported a spreading bunch of ostrich 
plumes gathered on the Patagonian shore, while the 
base of our bouquet was finished with green droop- 
ing fronds of "kelp" — match that if you can. First 
Course: Mussels roasted on the shell (from the beach 
of Possession Bay). Second Course: Patagonian snipe 
on toast. Wines: Sherry, Sauterne, Claret, Cham- 
pagne, Not native. Our wine cellar is getting low but 
we thought we would not be niggardly on this first 
dinner in the Straits. We were quite a snug party, 
nine instead of eighteen as usual in the mess, for the 
Mt. Aymond party had not yet returned; but just as 
we were sitting over our dessert hearing all the de- 
tails of the day and everybody talking together, a 
shout on deck announced the return of the second 
party. We all rushed up and there they were with 
great trophies. They had shot and skinned a guanaco 
and brought him bodily, and this morning we have 
breakfasted sumptuously off guanaco steak (very 
much like beefsteak and seemed to me as good), but 
we have been so long without fresh provisions that 
we are likely to do more than justice to Patagonian 
fare. They brought also upland goose and other game, 
but their news was the most interesting of all. Pour- 
tales had found Mt. Aymond to be the centre of a 
nest of extinct volcanoes. The mountain itself had 
two craters very perfectly formed about 200 feet in 
depth. He gathered fine specimens of lava and vol- 
canic debris all aroimd them. Near the main peak 


were several lesser hills called the "Asses' Ears " which 
were all craters and from Mt. Aymond Pourtales said 
you could see thirty or forty such craters. All this is 
very interesting and novel, as none of the explorers 
seem to have examined these hills though they have 
been named and entered on the charts, but I suppose 
their position has been ascertained from a distance. 
The mountain party with the exception of one or two 
of the strong ones were "dead beat," for the tramp 
had been a most fatiguing one, but I never saw Pour- 
tales look so animated and so excited as he did on his 
return. They had seen large herds of guanacos, from 
fifty to a hundred at a time; they say they were so 
graceful, and when disturbed they hurry close to- 
gether and stand startled and alert with their pretty 
heads Hfted listening and whinnying to each other 
like young colts. While they feed on the plain they 
have a sentinel at watch on high ground to give warn- 
ing of danger. The skin and fur are very soft and 
make excellent robes, and the Indians use them also 
for their tents. The skin and head of the one they shot 
yesterday are lying on the deck now. It is a beautiful 
head like that of a young deer. 

March 16 
Last evening about four o'clock in the afternoon we 
anchored off Elizabeth Island and went on shore for 
the sunset. Dr. Steindachner most amiably dragged 
my dead weight (which grows daily more imposing 
on account of much food and little exercise) up a 
steep cHff , and once landed on the top I took quite a 


long walk with him to the summit of the central hill 
of the island. How beautiful it was when we reached 
it ! On one side were Cape Vincent, Martha, and Mar- 
guerita Islands, flooded with the sunset light, their 
yellowish clay cliffs turned to golden, and on the 
other the quiet waters of Pechet Harbor enclosed in 
ranges of hills that grew purple and blue in the dis- 
tance, while on the far horizon were the snow moun- 
tains with a broad field of snow looking dim and 
almost incredible to me. I could not believe that I 
was getting my first glimpse of glaciers in the Straits 
of Magellan. I cannot express to you how quiet it 
seemed on that lonely island. As I sat .on the hillside 
a wild goose walked about within a few feet of me as 
tranquilly as if no human being were near. Poor fel- 
low, he learned his mistake too soon, for the men from 
the boat came up and after a little chase captured 
him alive. Pourtales found a deserted Fuegian settle- 
ment on this island, the places where their huts or 
tents, or whatever shelter they live under, had been 
marked by square spots some three feet in diameter 
dug into the ground to a depth of two feet, and in 
front of each such place a pile of shells, the debris of 
their food with stones and flints cut roughly to sharp 
points and used to open the mussels on which they 
chiefly live. We returned to dinner at about five 
o'clock and went to bed early meaning to be up 
with sunrise. At about six o'clock this morning 
we left our anchorage and kept on to Marguerita 
Island where we passed several hours. As we neared 
the island, which is very picturesque in outline with 


steep bold cliffs at either end, we could see the sea 
lions sitting on the beach, and the bold bluffs above 
were literally studded thick with birds, penguins 
and cormorants chiefly. Immediately after break- 
fast we all went on shore, three boats full, for all 
were anxious to see this famous breeding place of 
birds and haunt of seals. I despair of describing it 
to you. The whole face of the cliff and the hill- 
side above are perforated with large openings which 
are the homes of penguins, cormorants and geese. As 
our boat neared the shore these throngs of birds 
(literally hundreds and thousands) broke up and we 
could see the penguins walking along the edge of the 
cliff in lines, single file, looking like gaunt little old 
women with their waddling gait and stubby wings, 
which they use partly as legs, hanging down like 
short scant petticoats. When we came to the slope of 
the hill above the cliff, they had scuttled away or re- 
treated to their nests. I sat down at the front doors of 
many families and watched them in their houses; for 
these nests have such large openings that you can 
see inside perfectly. They have a comical way, when 
sitting within their holes, of turning their heads con- 
stantly from side to side as if in earnest conversa- 
tion, but without noise, though when disturbed, angry 
or frightened, they utter a hoarse cry, but in their 
nests they seem to be carrying on a silent colloquy 
every now and again, touching and rubbing their 
bills together. After looking at them for a long while I 
went to the edge of the hill where I could see the face 
of the cliff and watched them there. It was curious 


to see them attracted to the openings of their holes by 
the disturbance, I suppose, looking out to see what 
was going on, like people when there is a noise in the 
street. One in particular attracted me. The opening 
of his house was just above a narrow ledge of rock, 
and he sat with his foot resting on the ledge, looking 
about from side to side with a certain curiosity ex- 
actly like a person sitting at the window looking out, 
with the hand resting on the window-sill. It was sad 
to see the poor things disturbed in their peaceful 
home. The gunners had taken their fowling pieces, 
but there was little need. They were in such numbers 
that sticks were more in request than guns; they 
were just knocked down with clubs and killed on 
the spot, or captured alive. Agassiz selected some 
fifty good specimens (among which were a variety of 
species) for alcoholic collection. 

March 28 
We left Otter Bay this morning, I am sorry to say 
without faintly seeing Mt. Burney. It is the first im- 
portant feature we have missed by fog or clouds, but 
we could not wait for them to unveil from the morn- 
ing mists, for we had a long day to our next an- 
chorage, and it is not comfortable to be left out at 
night in these intricate channels where a "williwaw" 
[a sudden gust of wind] may come up any minute. So 
we started at the first peep of day and were prosper- 
ously proceeding, when just after breakfast there was 
a breakdown in the engine, reversing rod broken. It 
was rather a startling announcement, and we were all 


a little anxious for a while. Provisions are low; we 
vibrate between mussel soup, mussel currie, mussels 
on the shell, and pork and beans; salt beef out, pota- 
toes very nearly so, butter has not been heard of for 
a long time. Once in a while a very fishy duck or goose 
varies our fare, but our larder is really not in such a 
condition that we could be caught here for two or 
three weeks without being somewhat at a loss even 
for bread, since flour too is getting very near the bot- 
tom of the barrel. However, after an hour's delay the 
engine was so far repaired that we could proceed, the 
weather cleared, and we had a beautiful afternoon for 
the most imposing scenery we have yet seen. My de- 
scriptions would be mere repetition. You must imag- 
ine a river repeating on its shores mile after mile and 
hour after hour a panorama of which the foreground 
is of low hills forest-covered, then a line of very 
rugged precipitous rocky heights, then a chain of 
snow mountains behind with very many glaciers in 
which even with the naked eye you can see the blue 
color of the ice and the rifts and crevasses that trav- 
erse it. Through scenes like these we have come to 
our harborage tonight, a romantic inlet full of islands 
and coves and windings, in what is called "Owen's 
Island." A boat has just returned from a shooting 
expedition, bringing what Agassiz has exceedingly 
desired, a "steamer duck," many of which were 
swimming about when we came in. They shoot 
through the water with wonderful rapidity, going 
long distances at a time, and leaving trails behind 
them like a little boat. They are immense birds, the 


larger ones measuring three feet and more from the 
bill to the tail. 

March 31, Easter Sunday 
And such a beautiful morning. I was on deck very 
early between moonlight and sunrise and the sight 
was a lovely one till the sun came fairly up, as Sallie 
says, "to spoil it all." I bade you all good-night on 
the 28th in Mayne's Harbor, or Owen's Island. We 
passed the 29th there for a more complete repair of 
our engine, and it was a day well spent for collections 
and for geology. I took a long tramp up the nearer 
ridges of the mountains with Pourtales in search of 
glacial furrows, and Agassiz dredged on board ship 
very successfully besides getting a good many new 
birds from the sportsmen. The next morning we were 
all right again for proceeding and came on to Puerto 
Bueno. This is a harbor within a harbor. We anchored 
in the outer one, and then half a dozen of us took a 
boat to row to the inner one. I wish I could make you 
understand what a vagabondish kind of life we lead. 
For instance, landing at the mouth of a little brook 
that came brawling down through trees and rocks 
into the inner harbor, we followed it for about a quar- 
ter of a mile and it brought us to a large lake broken 
by islands. Mrs. Johnson and I found an old log 
which made an excellent seat. Pourtales and Stein- 
dachner left us to hunt for specimens in the lake and 
were soon out of sight. Presently Dr. Hill comes prowl- 
ing along the bank of the brook with his tin box for 
botany on his shoulder and his hands full of speci- 



mens, and he stops for a little talk, and then he too 
wanders on. Mrs. Johnson and I sit and talk in the 
afternoon sunshine, and then we stroll back through 
the woods to the harbor, picking berries as we go and 
gathering bouquets for the dinner table. Arrived on 
the shore we encountered Mr. Kennedy who was just 
coming along in his little dingy, a mite of a boat in 
which he can run into all the nooks and corners and 
collect for Agassiz. He lands and makes a fire, and 
presently Dr. Pitkin arrives upon the scene with 
some mussels, and we roast them in the cinders, and 
so the afternoon passes, and the others come back 
one by one, and we take to the boat again and reach 
the ship just in time for dinner. This is a specimen of 
many such little excursions; but this gypsy hfe will 
soon be over, I suppose. If things go on all right, we 
shall be out at sea again in a few days. 

Talcahuana, Ajml 12 
I LEFT you on the third of April putting out to sea 
about sunset and taking our last look at the snow 
mountains of the Straits in all their rosy moonlight 
beauty. We met head winds outside and had two very 
rough days and nights. How easy to write it, how 
hateful to experience! On Saturday, April 6, the 
weather was again delightful, and we entered Cor- 
eovado Gulf (now you must look on the map and 
see where that is, because I'm confident you don't 
know). Here we had beautiful snow mountains in 
sight all day, the peak of Corcovado and a wonder- 
fully beautiful volcanic mountain called Melimoya, 


white as the purest marble to the summit, and the 
crater clearly defined against the sky. We anchored 
in the Port San Pedro, no port in the sense of settle- 
ment, only a harbor surrounded by forest-covered 
hills, the silence unbroken except for the cry of the 
birds which whiten the rocks and now and then the 
rush of a steamer duck through the water. We went 
on shore at a lovely little beach and collected animals 
and plants. The flowers on the bank of this beach 
were beautiful, among others a superb specimen of 
the wild pineapple kind with very large crimson 
leaves and lilac centre. We enjoyed our ramble on 
this beach very much, and we saw from there a sunset 
I shall never forget. The opening of the harbor gave 
us a full view of the snow mountains, and Agassiz 
said he had not often in his life seen the Alps in such 
beauty at that hour. 

We put to sea again and made the upper end of the 
island [of Chiloe] and anchored at the little town of 
Ancud, or San Carlos, on Monday, the eighth. I see 
that the book speaks of this generally as a squalid lit- 
tle place and of the climate as dreary, rainy and foggy 
to the last degree. Everything depends upon the 
circumstances under which things are presented to 
you. All I can say is that the little town of Ancud 
on one of the most brilliantly beautiful days we have 
had seemed to me a cosy, cheerful, picturesque little 
place. Her great volcano, Osorno, was quite uncov- 
ered, without a cloud, and so was the whole snowy 
Cordillera, the southern spurs, I suppose, of the Andes. 
We only intended to stay a few hours, and while 


Agassiz and his corps went at once to their scientific 
researches, Mrs. Johnson and I devoted ourselves to 
the social investigation of the little town. 

First, we went to the market, a central square sur- 
rounded by booths where were lying and sitting, 
grouped about in all sorts of attitudes, some asleep, 
some nursing their children, Indian and Chilian 
women, with their bright shawls thrown mantilla- 
like over their heads and shoulders, men lounging 
about in their characteristic poncho and slouched hat. 
We met in the market a gentleman, whose name we 
did not know, but he joined us, offered to be our es- 
cort and took us all over the village, up on the hill 
where stands the Catholic church commanding a 
superb view of mountains and harbor and hillsides 
with little farms scattered about. Then we wandered 
through the streets under his escort, looked in at the 
school, were invited into one or two houses where we 
saw the linen lace work made, were presented with 
flowers, and altogether treated with much cordial- 
ity. We saw the fuchsias growing wild in tall bushes 
in the poorest gardens; we saw the groups of Indians 
who come in across the river in the morning from 
their outlying farms to sell milk and eggs, now resting 
and sitting about on the street corners with empty 
milk bottles and egg baskets. We saw the country 
people driving out their double teams of strong pow- 
erful oxen drawing shallow wooden troughs filled 
with manure for their fields. We saw the ladies of 
Ancud, always with the half shawl, half mantle, 
drawn over head and shoulders, sitting in their por- 


ticos around the braseiro where simmered the little 
kettle for the preparation of their mate tea; alto- 
gether it looked to me very cheerful and vastly en- 
tertaining, perhaps because we had been for three 
weeks so out of reach of people. When we returned to 
the landing place to embark, we were met by a most 
gratifying spectacle. Now I have already mentioned 
that our larder was low and the truth is we had had 
nothing but beans and bread for a number of days, 
and not too much of that. Our caterer and steward 
were on the wharf with chickens, beef and mutton, 
with potatoes, eggs, cheese and butter, with fresh 
rolls and loaves from the baker's, with cabbages, 
cauliflowers, beets and carrots. I dare say that 
soimds very commonplace and uninteresting, but it 
is utterly impossible for you people living on the fat 
of the land to conceive of the emotions awakened in 
the company of the Hassler by the sight of these 
provisions. I shall never to my last hour forget the 
soup we had for dinner that day. We left that after- 
noon and had a good run to Lota, our next port, where 
we were to take in coal. We reached there toward 
evening on the tenth. Lota has left a strange impres- 
sion on my mind. We went on shore that night and 
visited the great copper foundries which lie just along 
the beach and are fed by the coal mines on the shore, 
the discovery of which has made or is making the 
fortune of this little place, which hardly existed fifteen 
years ago. A foundry has always a kind of weird, un- 
canny element to me with its fierce unceasing fires, 
and this was especially impressive at night with the 


roar of the surf on one side and the roar of the huge 
furnaces at white heat on the other, and the figures 
of the workmen moving about between in the in- 
tense Rembrandt Ughts and shadows. This is the 
only picture I brought away from Lota, for we left 
early the next day, and I did not therefore go on shore 
by broad sunlight to dispel my fantastic vision of the 


Talcahuana, April 15 
We are really having such a delightful let-up from 
sea life here. I wish you could see this place and some 
of the wonderful flowers. There is a vine here grow- 
ing wild in the woods; no description can give you an 
idea of its beauty — a deep crimson bell two or three 
inches in length, of a perfect shape and clustering all 
along a graceful vine. I have never in all my life seen 
a more beautiful flower. It is shy of cultivation and 
even here in its native climate does not grow well in 

We have a plan (I think if we carry it out, it will be 
a pleasant one) of taking a carriage and driving from 
here to Santiago — a four days' journey — and then 
from there to Valparaiso by the cars, where we shall 
meet the Hassler, which meanwhile goes on a deep 
sea sounding and dredging expedition to Juan Fer- 
nandez and from there to Valparaiso. I am of course 
glad of the exchange from sea to land for a little 



Talcahuana, April 25 
The other day we drove out to a true country ranch 
where we passed the day; if you have not seen a 
ranch you could hardly imagine one exactly as it is. 
They seem to vary from mere thatched huts and 
sheds of the poor people to those of the better class, 
which are a picturesque mixture of roughness and 
comfort. This one was a gentleman's ranch. Its dark 
wood walls were hung with guns and bows and bugles 
and musical instruments; a skin or a mat here and 
there was thrown down before a lounge or an easy 
chair; it was ill lighted, for the windows are few and 
the verandahs deep, but there was a fireplace and one 
could imagine when the logs, ready laid in the chim- 
ney, were ablaze in the evening, how cosily the som- 
bre interior would light up. Sitting-room led to cham- 
bers, these to dining-room, this to all sorts of offices 
and storerooms where produce of all sorts — beef, 
fruit, vegetables, but especially beef (for this is a 
great cattle ranch), are prepared for the market. They 
seemed to wander on endlessly, all on one floor (up- 
stairs seems to be a thing unknown here), and all 
opened upon the inner court, where were all sorts of 
picturesque sheds serving as kitchens, servants' and 
shepherds' rooms and so on. 

We lunched on delicious fruit, grapes, pears, etc. 
with fresh butter and excellent bread, and then took 
the carriages again to drive through the woods to the 
shore. The drive was rough; we had often to get down 



and walk where the carriage could not go, but it was 
lovely with bits of wood and groups of trees dotted 
all over it as if they had been arranged by a landscape 
gardener to produce picturesque effects. It reminded 
me of park scenery in England and would need little 
training to make it as beautiful. This brings us to the 
shore where a large river (the Rio-Rio) pours into the 
sea; on one side of the beach the quiet waters of the 
river make a gentle ripple, on the other a furious 
ocean surf drives in on very broken masses of rock. 
At one end of the beach is a superb cliff pierced by a 
cave. Altogether the scenery is very wild and pictur- 
esque. Here in the river side of the bay we drew the 
seine and Agassiz got many valuable specimens. Af- 
terwards we went up to the fishermen's tents on the 
bank. Certainly poverty is a great deal more pictur- 
esque in Southern countries than in Northern ones. 
Any one of these huts with their deep porches, on the 
walls of which are hanging the fishing nets, the oars, 
the saddle, perhaps, and working tools of all sorts, 
while a pussy cat sits on a cross beam and looks out 
through the thatch, and cocks and hens and dogs and 
children group about a handful of fire in the mud 
floors, would make a picture; I know it's no less 
squalid and miserable than poverty in one of om* Irish 
tenements, but it's ever so much prettier. It attracts 
instead of repelling you. 

We returned to the ranch for dinner with Chileno 
country dishes, a casuela, a sort of half stew, half soup 
made of chicken, puchero, a dish which reminds me 
of Meg Merrilies' famous stew in the gypsy cave. 


because it has everything in it that happens to come 
to hand and is rehshing and savory in proportion to 
the variety of condiments. 

We drove home by moonhght after a dehghtful 
day. Since then we have had one or two such excur- 
sions and a day at the City of Concepcion, some 
ten miles from here. It has only been completely 
destroyed three or four times by earthquake in the 
last two centuries. There has n't been one for some 
time, and it occurred to me that we might be swal- 
lowed up or buried in ruins any minute; but no one 
seems to think much about it. 

The houses are fascinating; very inconvenient ac- 
cording to our notions, you know, but the wide doors 
stand ever open in this mild climate and give you a 
view of the central court planted with bright flowers 
and trees and looking so pretty. 


Curicuy Chili, May 4 
We have had a most fascinating land journey from 
Talcahuana here, travelling post, five horses abreast 
and an outrider, after the fashion of the country. But 
I must tell you all about it in detail from beginning to 
end if you will have patience. 

Sunday morning we started off, Agassiz, Stein- 
dachner and myself in a big coach we had chartered 
for the week. Our first day's journey was to a little 
seacoast town called Tome. The road was most pic- 
turesque, and I fancied it might be something like 



the Cornice road, winding steeply zigzag over very 
steep hills gullied into deep wooded valleys and fol- 
lowing the shore and giving beautiful views of the 
open sea and of the bay of Coneepeion, until at last 
we came to a high cliff along the edge of which we 
descended corkscrew fashion with turns and wind- 
ings as sharp as the Swiss mountain roads, and look- 
ing sheer down upon the surf breaking on the rocks 
below and the little fishing town bordering the beach. 
At Tome w^e passed the night in a tolerable inn, 
though to be sure we shared our quarters with the 
permanent residents, the fleas; but then these abound 
everywhere in Chili, and of course travelling in the 
country you do not expect very good accommoda- 
tions. Our second day's journey was to be to the ha- 
cienda of a Senhor Martinez situated on a river from 
which Agassiz wanted to get fish. He had met Agassiz 
at Coneepeion and invited him to remain at his farm 
for as long as he liked though he was not there him- 
self. The second day we came into the agricultural 
country where the culture of com, wheat and grape- 
vines is the business of every one. It was so strange to 
see all the work of the autumn going on in May, the 
gathering in and carrying to and fro of the harvest 
and vintage. We would meet hundreds of mules laden 
with sacks of corn which they were carrying down to 
Tome, and carts, the queer primitive carts of the 
country, with huge red wine jars in which was the 
fresh new juice of the vintage, large enough for the 
jars in the "Forty Thieves." The road was full of life 
and animation and of the most picturesque sights. 


Every poor hut would have made a pretty sketch. 
The houses of the poor are simply a rough trellis of 
tree stems interwoven with boughs, and green as an 
arbor while the boughs are fresh. As they dry, these 
boughs form a rough thatch made closer by a coarse 
rushlike grass put on in bundles. There is always an 
open house place, a sort of porch in front shaded by 
a roof of thatch supported on posts. This is the living 
place of the family in the daytime, usually a rough 
little table and perhaps a bench. Here you see them 
sitting in the sun or sometimes grouped around a bit 
of fire on the ground where simmers their pot of soup 
or beans. 

Well, about five o'clock in the afternoon we 
reached the hacienda of our hospitable friend, but I 
could not find that any one exi>ected our coming. The 
people said the "Major Domo" of the farm, Senhor 
Morro, to whom we had a letter, had gone away and 
might not be back till the next day. I felt discouraged, 
for I had taken cold at Tome, had a bad headache 
and really wanted rest, as we all did indeed, for we had 
come over a very rough road. As we stood debating in 
the yard, [there] rode in a gentleman on horseback; 
every moving thing here is on a horse. This man looked 
thoroughly a gentleman; we explained our situation. 
He said he was a great friend of Monsieur Morro's 
and would undertake to do the honors of the house 
in his absence. We were shown upstairs; a door was 
opened on to a verandah which was full of the after- 
noon sunshine and looked directly over a beautiful 
river and a pretty country bordered by a range of 


hills. My spirits began to rise. Had we dined any- 
where on the road? No. Directly then we could per- 
ceive that great preparations began in the yard be- 
low; the fatted calf, in other words, sundry chickens 
were about to be killed and other preparations made 
for our entertainment. In about two hours (which 
this friendly neighbor employed in showing Agassiz 
about the banks of the river where he was interested 
in the geology) dinner was served; the tablecloth was 
perfectly clean, the service nice; the dinner consisted 
of half a dozen courses of meat preceded by soup; the 
wines were excellent, the fruit abundant, that is de- 
licious grapes heaped up without stint. Now I began 
to see preparations for the night, and after a casual 
glimpse of the chambers, I was inexpressibly relieved 
to find two beds made up not only neatly but with 
the finest linen, embroidered and marked and fresh 
and neat as it could be. The comfort of the bed I 
shall never forget; I was so tired and wanted a good 
sleep so much. 

The next morning I sat on the piazza and watched 
the scenes on the river, and fascinating they were. 
Teams of fifty or one hundred mules would come 
winding down from the opposite hillsides and ford the 
river, guided by a mounted horseman here and there, 
perhaps two or three to a troop. The river was wide 
and deep; the animals were up to the breasts in 
water, and the whole scene, the neighing, and cries of 
the men, the struggles of the mules, was exciting and 
interesting to me. Then there were many carts cross- 
ing dragged by oxen and rafts full of people, the coun- 


try people in their bright dresses, the men in ponchos, 
the women in gay shawls worn like a kind of mantle. 
Oh, if I could only make effective sketches, what 
pretty ones I could bring home ! 

At ten o'clock they served us an excellent break- 
fast (I forgot, by the way, to say that early in the 
morning Monsieur Morro arrived and expressed the 
greatest cordiality, regretting only that he had not 
been there to receive us the day before); breakfast 
over we started again, crossing the river on a raft, a 
lancha as they call them here. Our ride today was 
only of four or five hours to the town of Chilian, quite 
a large old Spanish town. Our road lay through the 
valley of Chilian, a broad flat plain bordered by the 
Cordillera of the Andes to the East. Again the same 
fascinating scenes along the roadside. I never failed, 
when we stopped to change horses, to get down from 
the coach and go into some of the wayside huts. In 
one porch I found an old woman sitting in the sun 
and spinning wool, but after a laborious primitive 
fashion. She had no wheel, only a rough spindle on 
which she threaded out the wool to the necessary fine- 
ness by the hand, stretching it and smoothing out the 
inequalities till she had filled the spindle, then begin- 
ning it again and thinning it out more and more. She 
showed me the cloth that was made from it. In an- 
other, the family was sitting around their dinner on 
the mud floor. Here were many grapes hanging up 
in the thatch, of which they offered us a number of 
bunches, declining pay, but not refusing a little pres- 
ent of money. 


Arrived in Chilian we were in a decent hotel 
enough, indeed much more comfortable in many re- 
spects than you would find travelling in out-of-the- 
way places at home. The picturesque repays me for a 
great deal of discomfort, and here the general aspect 
is effective. For instance, the hotels and indeed all 
the houses are built around patios — open square 
courts with a gallery all around on which the cham- 
bers open. The street side of the patio has a large hall 
through which yoii pass into the patio and on either 
side of which are usually the drawing-rooms or salons 
fronting on the street. Our hotel in Chilian was such a 
house, and there we dined very cosily, we three around 
a little table, our funny, frisky, fat landlord, Gascon 
French by birth, as he told us, dashing in and out au 
desespoir because we were dining ill, or rSjoui because 
we expressed ourselves satisfied. He seemed exactly 
like excitable surly landlords on the stage. Steindach- 
ner is a great comfort to me as a travelling com- 
panion. He's just like a woman in some respects, en- 
joys going prowling about in strange places, into the 
churches or into the private gardens. We see a house 
door standing open (they all do stand open here), giv- 
ing a fascinating view into a patio within planted 
with flowers and trees, sometimes with grape trel- 
lises. We walk in; the Senhora appears. Steindach- 
ner: "Pardon, Senhorita, but we are strangers walk- 
ing, and your garden looks so charming, so inviting, we 
ventured in," etc., etc. 

Of course the Senhora asks us to come in, often 
gives us flowers and is full of an amiable curiosity 


as to who we are and the strange countries we have 
come from. 

The next day we left Chihan very early, having our 
long day's ride before us. This journey seems to make 
real for me what I have read of the mode of travelling 
a century and a half ago in England, — posting with 
five or six horses and an outrider, fording streams in 
the absence of all bridges; then the number of horse- 
men on the road, looking to be sure like Spaniards and 
not like Englishmen, in the broad hat and brilliant 
poncho, and with the enormous heavy stirrups; then 
women riding on pillions behind the men, sometimes 
countrymen with their mates, sometimes the better 
class of horsemen with a lady behind in flounced dress 
and crinoline. The life of a Spanish American on his 
horse is truly a double life; it is fascinating to see 
them, the man is absolutely one with his horse. One 
day we passed a troop of laden horses, and a man was 
trying to catch one that had strayed. He tore along 
at full speed, horse and man swaying together and 
sometimes swooping sideways at such an angle that 
it seemed as if the man must fall off. The next instant 
he had thrown his lasso and was upright in his saddle 
as quiet as you please, the horse trotting quietly. 

This night, the fourth of our journey (Wednesday, 
May 1) we reached Sinarez. This is a small town 
and we should have fared badly at the little country 
inn but that a polite Chileno hearing a Senhora was 
in the case gave up to me the crack room of the 
house, the only nice one I fancy, so we fared very 


The next day, May 2, Thursday, we had a beauti- 
ful journey. To be sure part of it was through a sandy 
plain not fertile, but broken by a thorny mimosa 
scattered all over it; but it was bordered by Cordil- 
lera of the Andes on one hand and by the mountains 
of the coast range on the other. Then we came into a 
more fertile soil watered by many rivers, and we were 
constantly fording small streams. Here the houses 
were frequent (that is, the wayside cabins), and as our 
driver changes horses frequently and was long about 
it, I had a chance to make acquaintance with many 
of these Httle houses, so poor and so pretty. In one a 
young girl was sitting by a fire on the floor on which 
was simmering a casuela, a national dish between a 
stew and a soup, and a pot of beans; from the thatch 
hung a shallow cradle made out of coarse woven 
straw with a baby asleep; another lay on the floor 
kicking and crowing. They were twins. Over the 
porch of a neighboring hut was a grapevine and we 
bought excellent grapes there. Many of the better 
class of these thatched cabins serve as a kind of coun- 
try hostelries for the drivers and poorer travellers. 
You see the table in the porch covered with a white 
cloth, a plate of tortillas, the bread rolls of the country 
baked in the ashes, a bottle or two of wine (such as 
may be had here for ten cents) set out for any chance 
comer. Sometimes we passed a village market in the 
open air full of picturesque groups. In the middle of 
the day we crossed a deep river, of course in a raft. 
You must add to all the rest of the enjoyment the 
perfect beauty of the weather, the soft haze of Indian 


summer with a cloudless sky and the mountains so 
beautiful on the horizon. 

We got into Talca, our next stopping place, early, 
and I had my usual prowl with Steindachner. We 
met such a pretty dark-eyed boy like an Italian with 
a basket of the finest grapes on his head I ever saw, — 
a transparent amber in color, enormous bunches and 
very large berries, of the richest Frontenac flavor. I 
have never seen such grapes, and Agassiz who knows 
the European grapes so well said he had never seen 
finer. They are peculiar to Talca and do not bear 
transplanting even to a neighboring soil. There is one 
very pretty feature of these old Spanish towns, which 
I am told is a direct inheritance from Spain, — the 
Alameida, that is long alleys of poplars planted close 
together so as to form thick walls, very straight and 
erect; as they grow to a great height here, the vista 
they form is often very fine. In the evening Stein- 
dachner and I went out into the public square to 
hear ^the music; there was to our surprise a very 
good military band playing with taste and in excel- 
lent time and tune. 

The last few days we had begun for the first time to 
see more real poverty than before. Dreadful beggars 
deformed with dirt and disease, such as are described 
in Italy, hung around the inn doors and implored alms. 
Till then I had never seen any begging in Chih, at 
least only the Indian children in Talcahuana, who 
after I had given some beads to a few of them whose 
photographs Agassiz wanted, would come outside the 
windows half a dozen at a time, "Senhorita, pretty. 


kind, much appreciated, give me a collarcita " (little 
necklace), but they had pleasant, sweet entreating 
voices and nothing of the street beggar about them. 

Yesterday, Friday, May 3, was the last day of a 
journey I shall never forget. Being the last day I in- 
dulged myself in a bit of romance and lunched under 
one of the thatched sheds where I have told you the 
poorer travellers take their meals. We had the new 
wine brewed yesterday and the tortillas on our cosy 
little table in the open air. I felt about eighteen and 
brimful of sentiment and poetry. Early in the day we 
reached Curicu, the small town where the railroad 
begins and romance ought to end. We did not expect 
much comfort here knowing it was a little place, but 
to my great surprise we were welcomed like friends 
by the host of a most respectable looking inn. He was 
a German, a political refugee, having taken part as a 
student in the revolution of '48, was condemned to ten 
years' imprisonment, escaped, and here he was. He 
was quite a gentleman, a man of education, knew all 
about Agassiz, had heard that he was on the road, had 
our rooms all ready for us, and gave us a hearty wel- 

Steindachner and I took our usual stroll after we 
had brushed off our dust and taken a cup of coffee 
(we always dine late to make the most of the day- 
light). We wandered through the Alameida and 
came to the foot of an excessively steep hill up which 
a winding path had been cut. As we went up we met 
many women and children either descending or as- 
cending; there were very poor women among them 


and some quite aged ones, and at first we could 
not understand it for it was quite a toilsome climb; 
but presently we saw that there was a cross on the 
top and these were devout people going up to pray. 
When we reached the summit we found groups of 
kneeling women and children around the monument 
of a Jesuit Mission surmounted by a cross, and as 
we approached we heard the low murmurs of their 
"Aves" and "Credos." We wandered on to the far- 
ther brow of the hill and waited for sunset. The whole 
panorama of the Andes, magnificent from this point, 
grew purple and rosy in the glow, and all the outlines 
of the peaks of the abrupt jagged walls and volcano- 
like summits were clearly defined against the eastern 
sky. It was beautiful, but the Andes have none of the 
loveliness of the Alps; none of the lower green slopes 
and soft pasturage grounds that lead you gently up 
to the rocky summits. The Andes rise arid, rugged, 
stern from base to crest; there is nothing to break a 
something in their character which seems to me for- 
bidding, terrible almost. We stood watching till the 
last rays of the sun died upon them, fighting up the 
cross too and the kneeling people on the hillside, 
gathered now in numbers. As we went down we saw 
the candles glimmering at the foot of the cross, and 
here and there a single lamp burning at some of the 
intermediate stations where they kneel to rest and 
pray on their way up. 

We returned at six o'clock and dined in our room 
(it was not much the habit for senhoras to go to the 
table d'hote and there are no hotel parlors), waited on 


by our attentive host, who would superintend every- 
thing himself, though there were plenty of servants, 
and who talked politics and science and literature 
between all the dishes. 


Panama^ July 13 
We have had a quiet fortnight in Panama, for the 
most part staying on board the ship in harbor, though 
we went once for a day or two to a station house be- 
longing to the railroad about half across the isthmus. 
It was lovely to be again in the midst of a tropical 
vegetation, — the last time I shall ever see it, I sup- 
pose, and indeed I hope, for I've no desire to roam 
any more. Still it was a pleasure to see the same bril- 
liant flowers, and to see the same rich vines and 
massive forest, and even to hear the same woodland 
sounds that used to surround us at Esperanga's cot- 
tage on the Amazons. Ask Louis if he remembers that 
he had a peculiar whistle and that I used to make him 
repeat it for me, because it reminded me of a bird 
that had a wailing note, which I used often to hear 
deep in the forest when I was staying in the Indians' 
houses on the Amazons. I heard it the other evening 
here in the same way, as if it came from some deep 
recess of the woods, — a long faUing note with a cer- 
tain sadness in it. It carried me strangely back to the 
life we led there with all its wild picturesqueness. 

Good-bye, may God bless you and yours, and keep 
us all in His love together. / 


San Francisco (on hoard the Hassler), August 31 
I WALK up and down the deck and say to myself, "Is 
it true? You are here, the voyage so dreaded is over; 
that day, when you waved your handkerchief from 
the port to the tug in Boston Harbor is ever so far 
away in the distance, and you are anchored before the 
wharves of the San Francisco Company." I really 
cannot believe it. It seems impossible. The voyage 
was so long when we looked forward, and then all the 
doubts as to the results ! I have not been on shore yet. 
I feel too excited and happy, and it is enough to know 
that we are here. I want to pause and take it all in. 
We will stay on board tomorrow and rest and get our 
traps ready. Ah, how strange it has seemed to me to 
take down Mrs. Sargent's "Bon Voyage" and dear 
Sallie Whitman's picture, "His blessing like a line of 
light Is on the water day and night" (how often I 
have taken comfort from it), and the picture of the 
Nahant house hanging beneath it, and the shoe bags 
and the comb cases. Many of the things I hope to put 
up in my room at home, for it will be a pleasure to 
recall my cosy little chamber here. I thought I could 
never become attached to the Hassler, but your 
prophecy was a true one, — I feel as I sit writing to 
you in the little cabin that, though I would not sail 
another mile in her for a fortune, I shall leave her 
with a kind of affectionate feeling. 



WHEN Agassiz returned to Cambridge in October, 
1872, he at once became involved in a project long 
dear to his heart and matured by friends in his absence. 
This was a plan for estabHshing a summer school of natural 
history on the Massachusetts coast. When the Legislature 
of Massachusetts made its annual visit to the Museum in 
the following March, Agassiz presented a special plea for an 
appropriation for the endowment of the projected school. 
"Never did he plead more eloquently for the cause of edu- 
cation," Mrs. Agassiz writes. "His gift as a speaker cannot 
easily be described. It was born of conviction and was as 
simple as it was impassioned." It should be said in passing 
that these words of Mrs. Agassiz have an additional 
interest if read in connection with the scene in the State 
House twenty years later, described below in Chapter X, 
when she appeared before the Legislature and pleaded suc- 
cessfully for the charter of Radcliffe College with an elo- 
quence that rested as truly as that of her more impas- 
sioned husband on "conviction and simplicity." The report 
of Agassiz's appeal that was published in the newspapers 
aroused the interest of Mr. John Anderson of New York 
and led him to make a gift of Penikese Island in Buzzard's 
Bay on the coast of Massachusetts as a site for the pro- 
posed school, together with an endowment fund of $50,000. 
The school was organized in April, 1873, under the name 



of "The Anderson School of Natural History," and its 
opening was announced for July 8, in spite of the fact that 
this date allowed only two months for constructing the en- 
tire establishment and equipping it with all its apparatus 
and appointments. What took place when, on July 4, 
Agassiz and Mrs. Agassiz arrived on the scene, and the part 
that Mrs. Agassiz played in saving the situation is best 
described by herself in the following letter. 


Penikese Island, July 7, 1873 
I HAVE had a good many odd experiences in my life, 
but I think never one more original than this. When 
we arrived in New Bedford the first greeting was that 
the building on the island was utterly unfinished — 
no floors — no shingling — etc., etc., etc., — a tale 
of the most discouraging character. Agassiz took it 
all with a calmness perfectly amazing to me; he said 
the eighth of July was his date; this was the Fourth; 
by the eighth he dared say everything would be 
ready, and he should believe in no failure till he had 
seen it. My heart sank to my shoes, for I could 
not help asking myself what we should do with the 
fifty-eight people to be lodged, clothed and comforted. 
We passed the night at the hotel, listening to the 
little boys firing crackers under our windows and 
making night hideous; the next morning we started 
with the steamer at nine o'clock. We brought with 
us Professor Wilder, his wife and child, and invited 
a stray lady teacher, whom we found at the hotel. 





having come by some mistake three days in advance. 
She lived at a distance and had not received the last 
circular. We told her she might not have where to 
lay her head, but should share what we had. The 
two hours' voyage was rough and rainy, and we were 
glad to land at the httle wharf. Con [Felton] and 
Mr. Tilden were there to meet us. They looked like 
shipwrecked mariners and I rather think no two 
mortals were ever more glad to see their rescuers 
than they were to see the "Helen Augusta," which 
was to restore them to the bosom of society. They 
had worked like beavers the evening before and had 
got all the furniture under cover and well sheltered, 
which was a great matter. 

They had done all they could, but for want of 
boats and money had not had much means at their 
dispK)sal; then the Fourth of July intervened, and 
the men could not be kept by any seductions what- 
ever. They left by the boat which brought us, and 
I suppose have returned to Nahant by this. As 
soon as they had gone and we had had some ham and 
fried eggs, I went to work with Flanders (the man 
in charge here — a capital man as Con will tell you, — 
intelligent, active, hopeful, — he's a great help). To- 
gether we got the greater part of the old Anderson 
house, in which the carpenters had been living, 
cleaned and arranged for our habitation and were 
really, all of us, very comfortably settled for the night 
with a bed or two for a friend. This house in which we 
are, is, you know, the old farmhouse occupied by 
Mr. Anderson. 


Now let me tell you about the new ones. There 
were (or are to be eventually) two big and very nice 
looking barracks — each to have four laboratories 
on the lower floor and twenty-five sleeping-rooms 
on the upper. Of these one building is up, but when 
we arrived had no floors — the other is represented 
only by the foundation. The wonder is that they 
are there in any shape, considering that the lumber 
was landed on the island hardly five weeks ago. At 
first the aspect of things was discouraging, but the 
architect does not accept failure any more than 
Agassiz, and he told us his plan was to complete 
the floor of the first story, put up a partition, and di- 
vide it into great camps, one for the ladies and one for 
the gentlemen, — then the furniture could all be 
put out and arranged, and gradually as the rooms 
were completed above, each could move to their own 
quarters. The next day was Sunday, but Flanders 
made a thrilling address to the carpenters — told 
them the object of the building — not for business, 
not for money, but for instruction, and he thought 
that on this occasion, considering the emergency 
and the motive, their duty was to make the day one 
of work, not of rest. They agreed, and before night 
the floors above and below were nearly completed. 
With the help of one or two boys and Dr. Wilder, 
Mrs. Burns, Mrs. Wilder, and I unpacked and 
washed all the glass and china for dormitories and 
dining-room, — no light task, I can tell you, for it 
consisted of twenty-four dozen plates, six dozen 
cups and saucers, vegetable and meat dishes without 


end, many dozens of glasses and fifty-six chamber 
sets containing all the ordinary pieces. In the midst 
of our work Sunday afternoon we had a visit from 
a fashionable New York yacht and Robert Minturn 
and Mr. Holyoke came up to see us. It was a lovely 
afternoon, we were all on the piazza washing glass 
and china, and they seemed to think it quite a de- 
lightful picnic. We were able to muster a cup of 
coffee and tried to be as hospitable as circumstances 
would admit. Here then, we stand — today we are 
to unpack the furniture and we intend to place 
the little belongings of every person together so 
that it shall represent a room, though not of course 
partitioned off. I will write you tonight the result 
of our chamber work. 

In the biographies of Agassiz and Alexander Agassiz 
accounts may be found of the school and its future fate, 
which there is no need of repeating here. The following let- 
ter from Miss Emma Gary, however, adds an animated 
description of the life on the island, as it had been depicted 
to her by Mrs. Agassiz. 


Nahant, July 17, 1873 
Lizzie is very pleasant telling about the island life. 
Do you remember a genial element in Charles 
Auchester in spite of its nonsense — as if they were 
on a perpetual artistic picnic? There is the same 
feeling at Penikese; enthusiasm, romance, open 
air, discomforts, very good food, science, colonies 


of gulls, hard work and amusement, all mixed to- 
gether. The servants hurry to finish their work to 
come and hear the lectures, but they work well and 
quietly, separated from the lecture part of the big 
barn by the diagram board, which shuts off the pantry 
from the audience. Agassiz has given the three 
finest lectures on glaciers that Lizzie ever heard 
from him. Wilder is an admirable teacher and speaks 
without notes. Hawkins, the wonderful draughtsman, 
draws fishes on the blackboard developing them by 
degrees from the tail upwards till the spectators are 
wild with excitement. Then the fifty tired, faded 
teachers are sent out to learn from nature and put 
in practice methods of study given by Agassiz and 
Wilder. They come home to a nice dinner, — chow- 
der, beef and lamb and an excellent pudding, and 
at night there are the nice little rooms emerging 
one by one from the big dormitory. 

The Penikese school was the first of our marine labora- 
tories and involved Agassiz in the difficulties of a pioneer 
enterprise as well as in the labor of lecturing. The strain 
proved far beyond his already uncertain strength, although 
he remained at his post until the season closed. With untir- 
ing zeal he resumed his work at the Musemn in October; 
yet the watchful eyes of Mrs. Agassiz could not fail to ob- 
serve his waning vitality as the autumn passed into win- 
ter. She was not required, however, to bear the pain of see- 
ing him endure a long period of suffering and weakness. 
The end was heralded by less than a fortnight's illness, 
and the parting came swiftly and peacefully on Decem- 
ber 14, 1873. 




THE life of Agassiz, though characterized by remark- 
able unity, falls into two distinct periods, and with 
only a little less precision the same may be said of that of 
Mrs. Agassiz. In fact she might almost have been describ- 
ing her own experience in 1873, when in her biography of 
Agassiz she wrote of his departure from Europe for Amer- 
ica in 1846, which formed the dividing line between the 
two portions of his career, — "So closed this period of 
Agassiz*s life. The next was to open under wholly different 
conditions." For with his death Mrs. Agassiz entered upon 
an essentially new existence. The end had come to the days 
of wide travel, of engrossing and stimulating scientific in- 
terests, and of absorption in the welfare and pursuits of 
her husband. The character of this absorption has appeared 
again and again in fragments of letters in the preced- 
ing chapters, which, although they convey a mere passing 
breath from years of devotion, serve to show how com- 
pletely when companionship with him ceased, she was de- 
prived of the controlling motive of her daily life. Moreover 
the inexorable changes that follow such a loss did not come 
imattended. Eight days after she had parted from Agassiz, 
she saw the happiness of her dearly loved stepson shat- 
tered by the death of his young wife, who left him with 
three Httle sons, the youngest only two years old. In his 
bereavement he turned to Mrs. Agassiz for the perfect 


understanding that he had received from her ever since she 
had first entered his own boyhood and for the care that he 
desired for his children. Some few months earher he had 
come with his family temporarily to his father's house, ex- 
pecting to pass the winter in Nassau. On the death of his 
wife he at once took the house in Quincy Street for his own 
residence, and there Mrs. Agassiz had her home for the rest 
of her life, his companion, the presiding genius of his house- 
hold, and the mother of his three boys, George, MaximiUan, 
and Rodolphe. To the youngest, Rodolphe, she literally 
took the place of a mother, and she brought him up as if he 
had been her own child. A year later Alexander Agassiz 
began to build a house at Newport, Rhode Island, and 
after 1875, the family used to separate for the summer, 
Mrs. Agassiz going as usual to Nahant and the rest of the 
household to Newport. Thus while the outer setting of her 
days remained unaltered, with the close of 1873 a wholly 
new epoch in her occupations, her cares, and her habits 

Under these conditions her exceptional qualities did not 
fail her. "She was so constructed,'* Mrs. Curtis writes, 
"that she could really accept her own sorrow with more 
fortitude than that which came to her children; and I re- 
member a sentence in a letter that I received from Sallie 
when we went abroad two years after all this, in which she 
says, * I do so miss Lizzie's happiness.'" There is a notice- 
able entry in Mrs. Agassiz's diary thirty years later: — 
"December 14, 1903. The anniversary of Agassiz's death 
— and Annie's the week after. How that month, Decem- 
ber, 1873, changed life for us all! Mimi sent me wonderful 
roses and mignonette; she is always so kind and thought- 


ful. — Today (this afternoon) the College Club gives a 
tea for Mr. and Mrs. Briggs. I will go." There is no other 
reference in Mrs. Agassiz's diaries to her sorrow of 1873. 
Her natural serenity and freedom from the least tinge of 
morbidness steadied her, and the words that she wrote a 
few years later to a friend in great grief give a clue to the 
spirit in which she took up her altered life: — "I dare not 
face the future for you, — • but we will not talk of that. 
Each day has its own burden and is enough in itself." 
"We know," she wrote to still another friend, "how the 
character ripens in suffering and grows as it were out of 
this world into the next. And yet happiness seems such a 
natural atmosphere — like light and sunshine for a plant 
— one must believe that somewhere and somehow we 
shall find it without fear of loss or change." With self-for- 
getfulness and self-control she accepted the passing of the 
old and the coming of the new duties, and from watching 
the ship freighted with her treasure sail away from her to 
the unknown sea, she turned to welcome the three little 
craft that floated into the ample harbor of her care and 
affection — affection that followed them and theirs to the 
end of her days. 

During the next few years Mrs. Agassiz naturally lived 
in retirement, occupied with the care of the boys and sup- 
plying so far as might be the void in her son's life. The 
sympathy between them was strengthened by the tie of a 
common sorrow and by her ardent and intelligent interest 
in his professional aims, projects and pursuits. He was in 
the habit of submitting to her his scientific papers in manu- 
script and found in her his most valued critic. Many of the 
letters that he wrote to her during the separations occa- 


sioned by his scientific expeditions have been published in 
his biography and in a small degree reveal their intimacy, 
but hers to him, which would have given an outline of her 
daily life at this time, have been destroyed. A few letters, 
however, which she wrote to Mrs. Curtis, who was abroad 
in 1875 and 1876, convey an impression of her interests and 
of the cheerfulness that the current of sadness running 
through her wonted occupations did not sweep away. 


Cambridge, October 31, 1875 
Well, my dear, there's one thing you can't do in 
Europe. You can't hear Von Biilow play, because 
he's playing for us. I have never enjoyed piano 
concerts so much; he plays so much good music, 
his programmes are so dignified, so well distributed, 
so that each piece tells by what precedes and by 
what follows as well as by its own beauty. I suppose 
Rubinstein has greater genius, but Von Biilow 
respects his art and his audience and is incapable 
of lowering the one and insulting the other, as 
Rubinstein certainly did in Boston. In Paris where 
he must do his best, Pauline said he played divinely. 
So he did sometimes here, but by no means always. 

Cambridge, November, 1875 
Why am I not gifted like you for letter writing, 
and I would make you laugh till you cry as I have 
just done in reading your last letters to Sallie and 
Mother. They all sound as if you were leading a 


pleasant life. It is delightful to hear and to think 

of happy people. ... I have to remind myself how 

intensely happy I have been, and then the hope 

comes that. what has been will be. I am glad of one 

thing, — I knew how happy I was — every day and 

hour had its full value, and looking back I have a 

sense of possession that nothing can take from me. 

What I have had is mine. Alex keeps pretty well thus 

far but will go off somewhere in February, I think. 

I miss him desperately when he goes, for Alex is to 

me a very companionable man. He tells me a great 

deal of his scientific life and work, of his plans for 

the Museum, etc., and that keeps me still a little 

in the same intellectual atmosphere to which I am 

accustomed. We dine at six — coffee after; then I 

read to the boys for an hour or more; before nine 

they are in bed, and then Alex and I have a cup 

of tea — destructive and dangerous to the nerves, 

but very pleasant, — and then is our time for talk, 

and if Alex is writing anything, he often reads it to 

me, and we discuss it together. All this is a real 

source of happiness, and you must not think I do 

not appreciate it. I do, and constantly think how 

blessed I am in my children and grandchildren. 

But with all his activity — and Alex's life is crowded 

with work from morning to night — it is such a 

broken life. You see it in his look whenever his face 

is quiet and thoughtful — at least, I do, knowing his 

expression so well. The children are all well — Ro- 

dolphe enchanting and developing in intelligence 



Cambridge, January 9, 1876 
. . . Oh, won't it be nice ever to be where anxiety 
does not come! I wonder how far off it is, for I've an 
idea that to leave this earth is not at once to enter 
Heaven. The Cathohc idea of purgatory (not in 
a material sense) seems to me to be founded on a 
reasonable idea. There seems no reason why the fact 
of death should absolve you at once from all your 
faults and errors and their consequences. But I 
think somewhere in the far future there must be a 
time when all is made right for us, and the happi- 
ness of which we have such lovely glimpses here 
becomes a safe and permanent possession. 

Cambridge, April 9, 1876 
... I MUST tell you about our baby. My delight is 
to go in and take my place in the room adjoining 
[his mother's], where the baby lies, and watch my 
chances. Sometimes if he is awake I have him for 
a long time, and I think there is nothing like the 
peace that creeps in upon you with a baby in your 
arms. There's something in the Httle soft roll of 
warm flannel, something in the quiet shaded room 
from which all the bustle of the world outside is 
excluded, that takes away all the pain and sting 
of life by some subtle power. 

The following letter was written after a visit of the Em- 
peror and Empress of Brazil to Cambridge. 



Nahant, July 23, 1876 
. . . Mother and Sallie upbraided me with not 
writing you about our Imperial experiences, but 
the truth is that the visit was such a trying one to 
me — so full of what might have been and was 
not, that I found it difficult to write or talk about 
it, — to do anything but live through it in the best 
way I could. In the old time I should have found 
much to amuse you with, for there was a very funny 
side to it. Do all you can to set aside etiquette and 
ignore everything but the purely human relation, 
there are little hitches when you have Emperors 
and Empresses to entertain that complicate the 
matter and bring about the most ludicrous situa- 
tions. However, the Emperor made it as easy for us 
as he could. I wrote them a word of welcome on 
their arrival in this country and said that though 
the time was past when we might perhaps have 
done something for their pleasure, yet my chil- 
dren and I would be glad to render any service 
we could, and that Alex especially might facilitate 
the Emperor's plans in Boston and Cambridge. 
The Emperor answered most warmly — said he ac- 
cepted without any fear of being a burden, "for," 
he added, "I know you feel as affectionately for me 
as I do for all of you." Arriving in Boston he wrote 
me at once and asked Alex to come in, for he would 
make no plans till he had seen him. He gave him a 
warm welcome, hugged and kissed him French fash- 


ion, and while he was in Boston did nothing without 
him. As he is an active party Alex found his place 
no sinecure; but, of course, he was glad to do all in 
his power, and Alex never appeared more charmingly. 
The same day I passed a long time with them both; 
I am really with them, when there are no outside 
ceremonies to be observed, as old friends, and the 
Empress is so sweet and sympathetic. The Emperor 
proposed to come to breakfast the next morning, — 
as he took the initiative in everything it made the 
arrangements easier, — and we had a few guests to 
meet him. The one of honor was Longfellow, and it 
was a pleasure to me that they met under our roof. 
The Emperor has long been an affectionate admirer 
of him. The whole occasion was pleasant, the weather 
lovely — a beautiful June morning, — every one was 
sociable, and I think there was as little awkwardness 
as possible. Then he went all over the college, the 
Museum, etc., then to Mt. Auburn, then closed the 
day by dining with Longfellow — only he and Alex, 
Holmes, Emerson and the family. ... 

The next day in the afternoon the Emperor and 
Empress went to drive with us, but the weather was 
gloomy, and if he had n't been very funny and she 
very cordial and sweet and ready to take every- 
thing in the pleasantest way, I should have felt it 
rather a failure; however, they would go and insisted 
it was all right. I saw them every day afterward, 
and the Emperor came out to bid me good-bye 
the last hour before leaving. He seemed delighted 
with his visit in Boston. He said he thought Boston 


had a kindly star for him, because everything had 
fallen out just as he wished. Just the last day Whittier 
arrived in town; when I told him of it, he said that 
was the crowning pleasure, for he had had a special 
desire to see him and did not know how to manage 
it, asked me where he was staying, and said he should 
go and call, which he did the next day, though he 
was to leave in the afternoon, and one would have 
said you could not get a thread paper in between 
his engagements. You may remember that one of 
Whittier's early poems is called Ama Perdita, a 
bird of the Amazonian woods, so called because 
it goes through the forest with a sad, wailing note, 
that has given it the name and connected with it 
the superstition that some ama perdita really goes 
wandering and lost in that wilderness of trees and 
water. It seems the Emperor translated this poem 
and sent the translation to Whittier with the veritable 
bird. So you see there was an old relation between 
them which made it very pleasant for them to meet. 
Well, I have just given you the skeleton; the many 
lovely things this good friend said to me of the 
past, of the memories and regrets, I have not told 
you — they are so difficult to tell. Now it is over 
I am glad it has been, and feel that it was a satis- 
faction though so full of sad associations. Parting 
from me he said, "I shall write to you, and you will 
answer me." There is always a kind of simple force 
in his language. When we left him in Brazil, and I 
spoke of Agassiz*s never seeing him again (as indeed 
he never did), he answered quietly, "My affections 


are steadfast; I shall never be parted from him any 
more." I think his character is noble and ardent. 
His intellect is of the encyclopedic kind, though it 
is true that his steady purpose (that of applying all 
he can learn to the welfare and enlightenment of 
his people) gives coherence and unity to what would 
otherwise seem a rather fragmentary accumulation 
of disconnected facts. His capacity for receiving and 
retaining that kind of knowledge is wonderful; how 
far he digests it I do not know, but he acquires a 
certain familiarity with means and processes which 
makes it more easy for him to introduce them after- 
ward in his own country. 

The following note from Longfellow is in harmony with 
the foregoing letters. It was written in acknowledgment 
of a basket of flowers which Mrs. Agassiz had sent to him 
on the same day with a birthday greeting, although his 
birthday had occurred a fortnight earlier. The "three 
friends," with whom Longfellow recorded his friendship in 
the well-known series of sonnets. Three Friends of Mine, 
were President Felton, Agassiz, and Charles Sumner. 


Cambridge, March 12, 1877 
Dear Mrs. Agassiz: I thank you very much for 
these lovely roses and hlies that are filling my room 
with perfume, and still more for your kind remem- 
brance of me and my birthday. Coming a little 
late they are all the more welcome, and friendly 
remembrance is never too late. 


The three friends of mine never seem to me dead, 
but only absent for a while, and hardly so much 
as that, so living and present are their forms and 
faces. And yet not really to see them and speak 
with them is always a great sorrow to me, and 
I constantly think and feel how much greater it 
must be to you. 

Pardon me for laying my hand on such a wound, 
and believe me, 

Ever yours very truly, 

Henry W. Longfellow 

During these years of which we are speaking Mrs. 
Agassiz was engaged in preparing a biography of Agassiz. 
There is no record of the exact date when she began the task 
of collecting and arranging her material, but by March, 
1877, the work had advanced so far that she was finishing 
the second chapter, which contains the account of Agassiz's 
student days in Munich. How she came to undertake the 
book, and her aim in doing so she has explained in the 
Preface: "My chief object was to prevent the dispersion 
and final loss of scattered papers which had an unques- 
tionable family value. But, as my work grew upon my 
hands, I began to feel that the story of an intellectual life, 
which was marked by such rare coherence and unity of 
aim, might have a wider interest and usefulness; might, 
perhaps, serve as a stimulus and an encouragement to 
others. For this reason, and also because I am inclined to 
believe that the European portion of the life of Louis 
Agassiz is little known in his adopted country, while its 
American period must be unfamiliar to many in his native 


land, I have determined to publish the material here col- 
lected." In the earlier stages of the work Mrs. Agassiz 
was assisted by her stepson, but eventually, owing to the 
pressure of his other pursuits he was obliged to leave 
it entirely in her hands, except for the final revision, 
which he undertook. A greater amount of labor was en- 
tailed than might be inferred even from the two volumes 
that were the outcome. The larger part of the correspond- 
ence was in French or in German script and often very 
illegible. Therefore the normal difficulties of the selection, 
arrangement and presentation of a mass of material were 
vastly increased by the necessity of deciphering the origi- 
nals and then of preparing satisfactory translations as pre- 
liminaries to the composition of the whole. To this labor it 
was impossible for Mrs. Agassiz to give uninterrupted time. 
The nursery perpetually called her. Mere oversight of the 
grandchildren did not satisfy her; she nursed them in their 
illnesses and shared in their amusements. For example, her 
diaries tell us on one day that she had herself taken Ro- 
dolphe to school "to try his new sled"; on another, that she 
was "practising" with Max on his new stereopticon; again, 
during an absence of the boys' father, when the woes of 
Rodolphe first with a diphtheritic throat and then with 
earache were making compUcations, "Max accidentally 
fired off his father's pistol. No harm done, but rather start- 
ling." To complete the story it should be added that the 
next day a friend by request discharged the remaining 
cartridges in the pistol amid the violent protests of George 
that his rights as eldest son and natural guardian of the 
household were being invaded. It is no wonder that Mrs. 
Agassiz's days were, as she said, "broken to inch bits." 


Moreover, at this time she had many family cares out- 
side of her own roof, was taking German lessons, and be- 
fore the biography was completed had formed her connec- 
tion with the "Harvard Annex." The book was therefore 
only incidental to a life of many claims. At one time she 
hired a room in a house in Felton Street, not far from her 
own, in order to have a place where she might write in abso- 
lute privacy. Her habits of early rising and of working be- 
fore breakfast gave her an advantage; in fact, not requiring 
much sleep she used often on waking in the night to read or 
write as she was disposed, and she habitually kept by her 
bedside the appliances for making tea, so that whenever 
she woke she might have a cup of tea before proceeding to 
her work, without regard to the time. Upon these hours be- 
fore the rest of the household was stirring she relied for the 
accomplishment of her task. In the summer of 1877, for 
instance, she made the following entries in her diary at Na- 
hant: — **July 10. Worked from six to eight a.m." — ''Jvly 
11. Worked before breakfast." — ^^July 12. No work after 
eight o'clock." — ^^July 23. Up at five ; worked till half -past 
seven o'clock. Took eight o'clock boat; various errands in 
town. Returned at ten by narrow gauge railroad. Settled at 
work by twelve o'clock. Pauline and Quin came down in the 
afternoon." "My work is again at a stand-still," she wrote 
to a friend, "but I am ready to thank God that life is so full 
of close and tender ties that we are constantly drawn aside 
to minister to each other." It is not strange that at least 
eight years elapsed between the commencement of the 
book and its publication, although, as is seen from a letter 
quoted below, there was additional reason in Mrs. Agas- 
siz's judgment for a certain degree of delay. The work 
was executed with characteristic care, and the manuscript 


submitted to such competent critics as Professor Arnold 
Guyot, Longfellow, and Horace E. Scudder, as well as to 
Agassiz*s cousin, Auguste Mayor, who lived at Neuchatel. 
The following letters written at intervals while the book 
was preparing are of interest here. 


Cambridge^ May 15, 1876 
... I THINK you would be disappointed in [a "Biog- 
raphy," should I write onej. I should be especially 
careful not to give it a controversial character. 
I should let facts, dates, and the completeness and 
coherence of the man's whole intellectual life tell its 
own story. Time would do the rest, and claim and 
assertion only awaken counter-claims and counter- 
assertions. Another thing will disappoint you, I 
think. I believe we should not be in haste about this 
biography; as a general thing I believe biographies 
are written too soon and have a certain crudeness 
in consequence. ... I think it will be better to wait 
till things take their true proportions. Do not think 
that this conviction will delay my work in the least. 
I give to it every day and hour I have at my command ; 
but to tell the truth it is my earnest hope, my prayer 
before all other prayers almost, that I may leave 
it for some one else to publish. . . . There has been 
a great deal of preliminary work — thousands of 
letters to look over, throw away, sort and arrange, 
for Agassiz's correspondence had long since become 
too voluminous for his management, and he had 
taken the habit of putting away his papers with- 


out examination. They filled many trunks. From 
this mass I have preserved all that I thought of 
the least biographical interest — much that I prob- 
ably shall not use. Beside the arranging of this 
manuscript it has been necessary for me to make a 
careful review of his early works. Of course [for] 
the technical scientific work I am entirely incom- 
petent. I cannot even understand it. I try to grasp 
the larger generalizations, the ideas underlying the 
whole, and to see when these thoughts first dawned 
upon him — how early in life the outline of his 
intellectual work was sketched out and how it was 
gradually filled in. This I strive to do. He himself 
helped me to understand it — indeed he gave into 
my hand the key to his intellectual history. The tech- 
nical work — I mean the critical revision of his in- 
vestigations in detail — I should, of course, leave to 
Alex. However, as far as possible I shall let the letters 
write the biography; we have many, and they make 
in themselves, if judiciously put together, a coher- 
ent narrative. But you will easily understand, 
knowing as you do and following with such sympa- 
thy our domestic life, how diflScult it has been for 
me to go on connectedly and rapidly with my work. 
Of course the care of my three boys (Alex's chil- 
dren) occupies me very much. 


NahanU Septemher 17, 1877 
The number of the Revue Suisse containing the 
Memoir of M. Ernest Favre upon Agassiz only 


reached me yesterday. . . . All these short biographies 
of Louis (especially if they come from any one fa- 
miliar with the whole field of scientific investigation 
in his department) help me in my work. They serve 
to bind together in a compact form the salient points 
of his life for which the materials in my hands 
afford such ample and varied illustration. I think 
I wrote you that I had now completed what I consider 
as the first period — including boyhood and youth, 
closing with his return to Switzerland from Munich 
in 1830-1831. ... On my return to Cambridge in 
October I hope to begin the critical reading of it 
with Mr. Longfellow. You know how warmly he was 
attached to Louis, and I could have no better adviser 
or guide in the matter of literary criticism or in the 
final selection and sorting of material. But while I 
go on very steadily with my work and consider it 
fairly advanced (since much of the material belonging 
to later periods is also partially prepared), I hope 
his friends and especially his nearest family — his 
sisters — will not feel disappointed if I defer all 
thought of publication for the present. Were the 
work completed, I am daily more convinced that 
some years had better pass before its appearance. It 
seems to me much better that time should mellow 
the crude and often prejudiced appreciations of a 
distinguished man's life and work, before the final 
word is spoken about it. My feeling about this does 
not diminish my industry, but I should like when 
the book is done to put it away and let it ripen in 
the dark for a while — not without hope that when 


the fitting time for publication comes I might be out 
of hearing of discussion or criticism. 

The following letter was written not long after the 
death of Alexander Braun. 


Cambridge, November 17 [1877] 
... I FEEL an ease and pleasure in writing to you 
that seems to me like the growth of an old and 
intimate relation rather than the correspondence of 
people who have never met. Is it perhaps that I 
have been, as it were, educated to love and revere 
your father? Uncle Louis talked to me so often both 
of his character and his intellect with such affec- 
tionate respect. I seem to hear him still, for only 
two or three days ago in reading over one of his 
early letters to his mother (1832) from Paris I came 
upon this passage : * Tu ne saurais te faire une juste 
idie de la puissance et de la consolation que me pro- 
cur ent mes relations avec Alexandre, — il est si bon et 
en meme temps si instruit et si Sieve dans ses idees 
que c'est pour moi un vrai bonheur quHl soit mon 
ami,""' So he felt it to be to the end. I only wish he 
could have had the happiness of being more con- 
stantly with him. That spiritual elevation of which 
you speak in your sister seems to me so like him. 
It is lovely to be with people who seem to have 
by instinct as the pure gift of God what the rest 
of us are fighting for and winning only by the hard 
experience and discipline of life. Such a nature is a 


benediction to every one. You don't know our Paul- 
ine very well, but her presence is like your sister 
Mary's, a blessing for us all. Do you know Words- 
worth's two lines: 

" Glad hearts without reproach or blot. 
Who do Thy work and know it not.** 

That expresses what I mean about these unconscious 
pure natures, who seem to live very near to God. . . . 
I did find, as you said I should, great support 
and encouragement from Mr. Longfellow. He came 
every day for a week and passed two hours with me, 
while I read aloud to him my work as far as it has 
gone. He was intensely interested in the material, 
letters, etc., and cheered me very much about it 
all. The manuscript has now gone to Mr. Guyot, — 
the only survivor of that circle of young men who 
sympathized so affectionately in each other's in- 
tellectual work. I know that his criticism will be 
of great service to me. He also has written me very 
warmly about it, but has not yet finished it. 

Cambridgey January, 1879 
... I HAD it in my mind to write a month ago, but 
I have been delayed because I wanted to send you 
these two or three letters of your father's, which 
it seemed to me you would all be glad to read 
now, or if you have seen them before, to re-read. 
They are so full of elevating and noble thoughts, 
especially the one of January, 1833, where he speaks 
of self-sacrifice in love, — the being able to bear and 
to suffer together as the closest tie. I think he says 


rightly that it is sometimes a mistake to hide what 
pains and troubles us from those we love — they 
have a right to share it, — except, of course, in cer- 
tain circumstances where it may be necessary and 

The biography appeared in 1885, in two volumes, under 
the title, Louis Agassiz. His Life and Correspondence. 
"Just now I am so anxious about my work that I find it 
best not to speak of it. I hardly have the courage," Mrs. 
Agassiz reports to Frau Mettenius in March of that year, 
when it was almost completed. Upon it, however, perhaps, 
her most permanent individual reputation rests. It is es- 
sentially the history of Agassiz's career as a naturahst — a 
history that she was peculiarly fitted to write by her tech- 
nical acquaintance with his scientific investigations and 
their relative importance. More notable, however, than 
this familiarity is the discrimination with which she em- 
phasized essentials and disregarded non-essentials for a 
just comprehension of Agassiz's contributions to science. 
Such an episode, for example, as the well-known contro- 
versy between Agassiz and Darwin which loomed large in 
the lives of both, although it never disturbed their friendly 
personal relations, she passed by in silence evidently recog- 
nizing that it was merely secondary to Agassiz's impor- 
tant aims. But more fundamental for the understanding 
of Mrs. Agassiz's own nature than these characteristics of 
the book is the degree to which she excluded herself from 
the narrative. It is literally as if we saw the brilliant life 
and personality of Agassiz reflected in a mirror held by an 
invisible hand without a suspicion that the same hand had 
ministered to him constantly for twenty-three years. 


Shortly after its publication the book was translated 
into French by Monsieur Auguste Mayor and into German 
by Frau Mettenius. That this labor was performed by 
friends, who were also members of the family, was a source 
of gratification to Mrs. Agassiz. The following letters are 
the best comment on her attitude toward the biography. 


Dear Mrs. Rogers: It touched me very much 
that you should have taken the pains to write me 
about the memoirs of Agassiz, and it gives me the 
greatest pleasure to find that your judgment of it is 
favorable. I knew that the material left to me was 
interesting in itself, but I was beset by many doubts 
as to whether it would bring to my readers the im- 
pression it had made upon me, — whether I could so 
put it together as to show the enthusiasm controlled 
by patience and industry which seemed to me so 
characteristic of the life. 

Thank you with all my heart; I feel both your 
sympathy and your appreciation — all the more to 
me because your own life has brought you into con- 
tact with pursuits of the same nature, followed with 
a like ardor and devotion. 

With affectionate remembrances (dating back to 
our Temple Place days), believe me, 
Most cordially yours, 

Elizabeth C. Agassiz 



Germantmrniy Pa.., June 10, 1887 
I HAVE constantly intended to thank you for your 
letter giving me an account of the fete given by the 
Societe de Belles Lettres on the occasion of placing 
Louis's bust in the new Academic Building. 

It is most touching to me to see the ever increas- 
ing affection and respect for Louis's memory in his 
own country. Even in this last letter you give me 
most remarkable instances of it; not the least strik- 
ing is of the person at Nice who was steadied in the 
long hours of waiting in danger and doubt by the 
story of his life. 

I received the Italian notice of the book and was 
much pleased with it, as you were. It had a dif- 
ferent character from any of the other reviews, but 
it was very graceful and gracious in tone. I was 
glad also to hear of the old friend at Porrentruy, 
who had made the book his companion in the long 
winter months. 

Many of the currents in Mrs. Agassiz's life spoken of 
above continued long after 1879. In that year she began to 
share a new interest destined to become important to her, 
although always standing apart from her other occupa- 
tions. This interest was the "Harvard Annex," to which 
the next chapter is devoted. 





IN Mrs. Agassiz s diary for 1879 the note for Febru- 
ary 11 reads: "At home, morning. Meeting about Har- 
vard Education for Women, afternoon." This, the first rec- 
ord of her connection with a work of which she became a 
large part and of which RadcHffe College is the outcome, is 
supplemented by a slender sheaf of papers in the possession 
of the college, consisting of the copies of notes made in the 
form of a diary by Mr. Arthur Gihnan, a well-known Hter- 
ary man and author, deeply interested in education, and a 
familiar figure in Cambridge from 1870 to his death in 
1909. In this diary he jotted down day by day from No- 
vember, 1879, to June, 1882, the activities of the Httle 
group of earnest enthusiasts, a self -constituted committee, 
with whom Mrs. Agassiz first met on that February after- 
noon in 1879. These papers containing information that 
only Mr. Oilman, as secretary of the committee, could sup- 
ply, he gave to the Library of Radcliffe College in 1904, 
saying in his letter of presentation, " I thought that if some 
one in 1636 or thereabouts, had made such notes and had 
preserved such printed and written matter about the Col- 
lege now called Harvard, he would have been a benefactor. 
Perhaps somebody will thank me, even in 2172." Apprecia- 
tion of his labors, however, has tarried till no such distant 
date, for his little collection of documents is in fact our 


only source for some of the data that are of consequence in 
a memoir of Mrs. Agassiz, whose relation to the institution 
cannot be understood without a clear conception of its 
unique aims and the gradual process of its growth. 

The history of the beginnings of Radcliffe College has 
been told by Mr. Gilman himself in an article on Mrs. 
Agassiz that appeared in the Harvard Graduates' Magazine 
for September, 1907, in a chapter contributed by him to a 
book of which he was the editor, The Cambridge of Eighteen 
Hundred and Ninety-Six, in a short paper. The Society for 
the Collegiate Instruction of Women, published in 1891, and 
in a pleasant sketch written for the Radcliffe Magazine for 
June, 1905; an excellent article on the college by Mr. 
Joseph B. Warner, its first treasurer, may also be found 
in the Harvard Graduates* Magazine for March, 1894. But 
although the somewhat unusual story of the institution 
has not lacked narrators, it acquires a fresh interest when 
looked at from the angle of Mrs. Agassiz *s part in the plot, 
and when it unfolds itself chapter by chapter as the princi- 
pal characters in it record the events that they were them- 
selves shaping. How Mrs. Agassiz entered on the scene we 
learn from the following items at the beginning of Mr. 
Gilman's Notes. 

1878, November 25. My wife has for two years 
urged upon me the need that exists in Cambridge 
for an institution for the higher education of women. 
Lately we have considered the matter more thoroughly. 
... A plan has occurred to me. Suppose I find a 
number of ladies wanting to get the same educa- 
tion that men have and I will tell them, "I will 
arrange a course exactly the same that Harvard 


offers men and get the Harvard professors to give 
the instruction." I therefore arranged a Hstof teachers 
based on the present year. 

November 26. Yesterday I asked Professor [James 
B.] Greenough to spend the evening in my hbrary. 
He came with his wife. We discussed the plan. He 
approved and made out a Hst of teachers. We . . . 
separated, promising to consider the subject of its 

Within a month Mr. Gihnan sent the following letter to 
President EUot of Harvard University. 


Cambridge, December 23, 1878 
Dear Sir: I am engaged in perfecting a plan which 
shall afford to women opportunities for carrying 
their studies systematically forward further than it 
is possible for them to do it in this country (except 
possibly at Smith College). 

My plan obliges me to obtain the services of some 
of the professors, and I address you before approach- 
ing them, in order to assure myself that I am correct 
in supposing that their relations to the University 
are such as to permit of their giving instruction to 
those who are not connected with it. 

I propose to bring here such women as are able 
to pass an examination not less rigid than that now 
established for the admission of young men and to 
offer them a course of instruction which shall be a 
counterpart of that pursued by the men. It is prob- 


able that a very small number of women will be 
found at first, but it may grow. 

I am aware that some of the professors now give 
instruction to private pupils and teach elsewhere. 
If my plan prove a success, it will relieve them from 
such irregular labor and give them a regular addi- 
tion to their income. 

It is, however, needless that I enlarge or trouble 
you at greater length. I desire only to be assured 
that if I make approaches to any of the faculty, 
I shall be asking them for services that they can 
render or not, without in any way interfering with 
their first obligations to the University. 
I am 

Very truly yours, 

Arthur Oilman 

The Notes continue: 

1878, December 2^. President Eliot replied in person 
that I was at liberty to arrange with professors. He 
suggests that the young women would need a home. 

1879, January IJf.. Conferred with Professor Green- 
ough. He has spoken to Professor William James, N. S. 
Shaler, and others who are favorable. We discussed 
funds and plans at length, Mrs. Greenough and Mrs. 
Gilman being present. Proposed forming a committee 
of ladies to manage the matter, I being secretary. 

Ten days later, as we learn from the Notes, a meeting 
was held at which Miss Alice Longfellow, who had been 
mentioned on January 14 as a possible member of the com- 
mittee, was present in addition to the four other conspira- 


tors, Mr. and Mrs. Gilman, and Professor and Mrs. Green- 
ough. They made further nominations for the committee 
of ladies and proposed among other names those of Mrs. 
Louis Agassiz, Miss LiUan Horsford (Mrs. WiUiam G. 
Farlow), and Mrs. Josiah B. Cooke, the wife of the emi- 
nent professor of chemistry in Harvard University. "The 
grade of instruction to be given was discussed, and it was 
agreed that it should be equivalent to that of a Harvard 
course; a certificate to be given at its end. Professor Green- 
ough and Mr. Gilman were appointed to frame a circular 
announcing the formation of the committee and its plan." 

The next item of interest here is dated February 4, and 
records a meeting at which "Mrs. Louis Agassiz was again 
discussed and Mrs. Cooke appointed to invite her to join 
the Committee." Two days later Mr. Gilman notes that 
Mrs. Agassiz had accepted the place on the committee, and 
that he had sent the following letter to President Ehot, 
which speaks for itself. 


February 6, 1879 
Dear Sir: I hand you herewith a copy of a cir- 
cular that is to be put into the hands of those inter- 
ested, in accordance with the plan that I laid before 
you in my note of December 23rd. 

The circular has been worded with care to avoid 
two possible misconceptions: (1) that the plan in any 
way savors or tends to coeducation, and (2) that 
Harvard College is in any way responsible for it. 

The ladies are all opposed to coeducation and are 
earnestly in favor of the present movement. 


All are very glad to make the experiment with- 
out involving Harvard, but when success has been 
achieved we shall be glad to give the glory to her. 
Very truly yours, 

Arthuk Gilman 

The events that are recorded so succinctly above were 
narrated with greater detail by Mr. Gilman many years 
later in the two following letters, which are quoted here be- 
cause they serve to set forth the exact nature of the enter- 
prise with which Mrs. Agassiz became identified. Miss 
Leach, mentioned in the letter, who later became professor 
of Greek in Vassar College, had been distinguishing herself 
by her excellent work as a private pupil of Professors Green- 
ough, Goodwin, and Child. 


Cambridge, February 1, 1883 
My dear Mrs. Agassiz, . . . The first discussion of 
the subject of obtaining the services of the college for 
women grew out of the fact that my daughter Grace, 
having been at school in Cambridge for some years, 
was ready to go further in her studies, and Mrs. Gil- 
man and I were reluctant to send her daily to Boston 
or to send her away from home. This was in the au- 
tumn or winter of 1876. During our consultations it 
occurred to Mrs. Gilman that some plan might be 
arranged by which women could be instructed by the 
instructors of the college. We studied the subject for 
months, and at last came to the conclusion that we 
could not get such instruction for our daughters with- 


out forming classes in some way, so that the expense 
would be divided among several. Time passed on, and 
we did not effect any arrangement. . . . We did not 
give up our study of the higher education of women 
here. I looked over the field, found out what had been 
done and then tried to learn if there was any general 
demand for such instruction as the Harvard profes- 
sors gave. This led me to conclude that there were 
a good many women who wished to get exactly the 
same course of study that was given in college. . . . 
In the meantime Mrs. Oilman and I studied plans to 
accomplish our desire. We thought of hiring a build- 
ing, placing it under the care of a matron and arrang- 
ing with the professors to give repetitions of the col- 
lege courses in it. Other plans suggested themselves 
to us, before we decided upon the one since adopted. 
When we had reached this stage, the matter was held 
in abeyance for months, because I feared to present 
it to any of the professors lest it should be received 
with disapproval. At last ... I concluded to ap- 
proach Professor Oreenough and ... I laid out the 
scheme [before him], as it has since been carried out. 
I told him that I had made out a list of instructors in 
the different departments, and wished that he could 
do the same, and that then we would compare them. 
He expressed much interest in the plan and entered 
into it with warmth. He made out a list of professors, 
and it proved very much Hke mine. He told me of 
Miss Leach, whose presence, he thought, would lead 
the instructors to look favorably on the plan. . . . 
He said he would speak to some of the professors 


about it, and from time to time reported that one and 
another had given approval. 

Meanwhile I had laid the plan before President 
Eliot, asking if there was any objection to carrying it 
out. He called on me and told me there was no objec- 
tion. In January, 1879, we began to form the com- 
mittee of ladies, taking pains to choose such as did not 
represent any "cause," or who would be looked upon 
as "advanced," or in favor of coeducation. ... On 
the sixth of February you were kind enough to agree 
to cooperate with us, and from that time you know 
the history of the movement. 


Cambridge, December 3, 1887 
. . . Our movement here was of the simplest nature, 
and it seemed strange that no one had made it before. 
My object was to get the collegiate instruction for 
women, and at the same time conciliate both those 
who wished women to be immediately admitted to the 
classes with the young men and those who wished 
them never to be so admitted. 

In order to accomplish these desirable ends, with- 
out which all former attempts had failed, I deter- 
mined not to mention the subject of "coeducation," 
as it was then called, or the admission of women to 
the classes of men. This subject has no relevancy to 
the present movement. Our sole and simple purpose 
is to give to women the same instruction that men 
have here — that is, instruction of the same grade, in 


the same subjects and by the same professors. The 
instruction was to be systematic, — that is, it was to 
be the same which leads to the first collegiate degree. 
It was necessary for our purpose that a body of ladies 
should be formed to give the public confidence that if 
young women were sent to Cambridge they would be 
cared for. In seeking for these we confined ourselves 
to such as had no reputation as being opposed to or in 
favor of the admission of women to Harvard College. 

Turning back to Mr. Oilman's Notes for 1879 we find 
that the next important step was the issuing of a circu- 
lar by the ladies of the committee with the assent of Presi- 
dent Eliot. 


The ladies whose names are appended below are 
authorized to say that a number of Professors and 
other Instructors in Harvard College have consented 
to give private tuition to properly qualified young 
women who desire to pursue advanced studies in 
Cambridge. Other Professors whose occupations pre- 
vent them from giving such tuition are willing to as- 
sist young women by advice and by lectures. No in- 
struction will be provided of a lower grade than that 
given in Harvard College. 

The expense of instruction in as many branches as 
a student can profitably pursue at once will depend 
upon the numbers in the several courses, but it will 
probably not exceed four hundred dollars a year, and 
may be as low as two hundred and fifty. It is hoped, 


however, that endowments may hereafter be pro- 
cured which will materially reduce this expense. 

Pupils who show upon examination that they have 
satisfactorily pursued any courses of study under this 
scheme will receive certificates to that effect, signed 
by their instructors. It is hoped, nevertheless, that 
the greater number will pursue a four years' course of 
study, in which case the certificates for the different 
branches will be merged in one, which will be signed 
by all the Instructors and will certify to the whole 

The ladies will see that the students secure suitable 
lodgings, and will assist them with advice and other 
friendly offices. 

Information as to the qualifications required, with 
the names of the Instructors in any branch, may be 
obtained upon application to any one of the ladies, 
or to their Secretary, Mr. Arthur Oilman, 5 Phillips 

Mrs. Louis Agassiz 
Mrs. E. W. Gurney 
Mrs. J. P. Cooke 
Mrs. J. B. Greenough 
Mrs. Arthur Gilman 
Miss Alice M. Longfellow 
Miss Lilian Horsford 
Cambridge, Mass., February 22, 1879 

This circular was previously sent to a large proportion of 
the members of the Harvard faculty with the request that 
if they were willing to cooperate with the Committee, they 


would notify Mr. Oilman, and on February 20, the devoted 
committee met at the house of Mr. Oilman in a heavy snow- 
storm to hear his report on the replies. Fifty -three had been 
received, the first in the affirmative from Professor William 
E. Byerly; forty-four more were favorable, some of the in- 
structors saying that they were ready to give their services 
without remuneration rather than allow the plan to fail. 
At this meeting " Mr. Oreenough was requested to attend 
all meetings as advisor," and thus formed a nucleus for the 
future Academic Board of Radcliffe College. On March 7, 
it was decided to "ask the professors or a representative 
body of them to meet the ladies for consultation" at the 
house of Mr. Oilman. At this meeting four applications 
from prospective students were read, three of which had 
been received by Mrs. Agassiz. On March 12, Mr. Oilman 
was chosen secretary for the committee of ladies, an office 
which he held virtually until 1894. A few days later an ad- 
visory board of five professors was appointed to act with 
the ladies, and in the following August, the committee 
having by that time received nearly $16,000 in subscrip- 
tions, they appointed Mr. Joseph B. Warner, a well-known 
lawyer of Boston, as their treasurer. 

On September 24, entrance examinations began, and 
Mrs. Agassiz *s diary has the noteworthy record for that 
day, written at Nahant: "To Cambridge. Meeting for 
the Harvard girls." The "Harvard girls" who began to at- 
tend the courses offered were twenty-seven in number, two 
of whom left early in the year, one to study abroad, the 
other, who lived in a neighboring town, because of the diffi- 
culty of regular communication with Cambridge. The re- 
maining twenty-five continued throughout the year, three 


of them taking the regular course, and the remainder rank- 
ing as special students. Quarters, beginning with two and 
speedily extending to four rooms, were rented in the house 
of Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Garret, 6 Appian Way, near the pres- 
ent site of Radcliffe College, and here hospitality was given 
in good measure, Hterally pressed down and running over, 
to the expanding but modest enterprise. The proud mem- 
ory of Mrs. Agassiz making and hanging the muslin cur- 
tains for their windows, which some of the first students 
retain, is characteristic of the simplicity and economy that 
marked the scanty equipment. Yet the departments of 
study and the instructors were not to be despised: Greek, 
L. B. R. Briggs, W. W. Goodwin, J. W. White; Latin, 
W. W. Gould, J. B. Greenough, G. M. Lane; Sanskrit, 
J. B. Greenough; English, A. S. Hill; German, G. A. Bart- 
lett, E. S. Sheldon; French, F. B6cher, A Jacquinot; Phi- 
losophy, G. H. Palmer; Political Economy, J. L. Laughlin; 
History, G. Bendelari, E. Emerton; Music, J. K. Paine; 
Mathematics, G. R. Briggs, W. E. Byerly, B. O. Peirce, 
J. M. Peirce; Physics, R. W. Willson; Natural History, 
G. L. Goodale. 

Thus September, 1879, saw private collegiate instruction 
for women established in Cambridge under the direction 
of seven ladies as managers, of whom Mrs. Agassiz was one, 
a secretary, a treasurer and an advisory board of five pro- 
fessors, which had developed from a single advisor. Pro- 
fessor Greenough, as a nucleus. A more informal or less 
"organized" committee has rarely existed that has accom- 
plished such far-reaching results. It was even nameless, 
but its offspring was almost at birth promptly christened 
the "Harvard Annex," by (as tradition goes) a Harvard 


student, who might thus have immortalized himself but 
missed a chance for distinction by faiUng to claim as his 
invention the name that had no rival for fifteen years in 
spite of more official designations. 

Mrs. Agassiz had been sought as one of the managers, 
apart from her own personality, because of the aims in edu- 
cation with which she had been identified in the Agassiz 
School, one of the objectives in which had been, like that 
of the Committee, to provide instruction for young girls 
from members of the faculty of Harvard College. There can 
be no doubt that it was principally because she regarded 
this movement almost as a continuation of the aims of the 
school that Mrs. Agassiz was ready to take part in it. " But 
for the school," she wrote toward the end of her life to Miss 
Cary, "the college (so far as I am concerned) would never 
have existed." Yet in February, 1879, she did not in the 
least foresee the proportions in her life that this new under- 
taking was to assume. The mere fact that in her diary she 
made no record of her invitation to serve on the Committee 
is an indication of how entirely informal the arrangement 
was and how far from important the matter seemed to her. 
At the time of the first meetings she was occupied with the 
revision of her First Lesson in Natural History, of which 
a second edition was about to be issued, and her daily en- 
tries chronicle the stages of her work on this little book, but 
pass by in silence or barely mention many of the meetings 
which Mr. Oilman's Notes show that she attended. In fact, 
Mrs. Agassiz later admitted that only a conversation with 
President Eliot led her to realize that by putting her signa- 
ture to the first circular she had brought definite responsi- 
bilities upon herseK in regard to the care of the prospective 


students. But both in her diaries and in Mr. Gihnan's 
Notes enough is said to make it clear that she immediately 
became an eflFective member of the Committee, conferring 
at once with Mr. Gilman, making visits upon friends in 
Boston who might become interested in the scheme, and 
writing letters in its behalf. On May 30, 1881, for example, 
Mr. Gilman writes: "Mrs. Agassiz was appointed a com- 
mittee to see Mr. Eliot to learn if any arrangement can be 
made for the young ladies to use books in the Library and 
more particularly the feeling about our future "; and con- 
sidering her later success in many similar delicate missions, 
it is not surprising to learn that she reported a "satisfac- 
tory interview.'* Unfortunately the series of Mrs. Agas- 
siz 's journals is interrupted from February 14, 1880, to 
January 1, 1892, and for these intervening years, highly 
important for the collegiate instruction of women in Cam- 
bridge, we have scarcely a word from her outside of her 
published addresses and reports. 

The following letter written in 1882 shows Mrs. Agas- 
siz 's excellent practical judgment in matters affecting the 
policy of the Annex, and her steady adherence to the origi- 
nal plan of the committee of providing Harvard instruction 
for women, not of estabHshing a new college for women. 


Cambridge, March 24, 1882 
My dear Mr. Oilman: Will you kindly allow me 
to see you again before you take further steps about 
raising money? Of course, if we are to live, we must 
have the material means of living. But with reference 
to the final form which our scheme is to take I think 


it is important to state clearly and to be agreed 
among ourselves upon some definite plan with refer- 
ence to the college. It has been partly my own sug- 
gestion, I believe, that for the present we should raise 
a small sum and take care of our own affairs for 
another term of years, supplementing the college in- 
struction, if necessary, with officers of our own. But 
the more I think of this, the more I fear that we shall 
drift into the building up of another female college, 
distinct from the University. I believe that this would 
be a great mistake; it would be repeating the error 
already made about men's colleges, — namely, multi- 
plying them and so weakening all, instead of strength- 
ening those which already exist. We must be careful 
to avoid this rock. 

The next important entries in Mr. Oilman's Notes are 
the following: 

1882, April 25. Meeting of the Managers and 
Advisory Board. The Secretary stated that he had 
received a note asking how money could be left to the 
cause by will and that upon consulting the Treasurer 
had been advised that the simplest method would 
be for the body to become a legal corporation. . . . 
It was 

Voted: that it is the opinion of the meeting that the 
body should be incorporated. The name to be adopted 
for the Corporation was then discussed at length, and 
it was 

Voted: that the name be "The Society for the Col- 
legiate Instruction of Women." 


Voted: that the Corporation be the present Man- 
agers, the members of the Advisory Board, the Treas- 
urer and Secretary, and that Professors Charles E. 
Norton and Francis J. Child be added. 

With this entry the Notes of Mr. Gilman end. The period 
of informal organization was over and gone, and the re- 
maining records of the society are kept as formal minutes. 
On May 22, 1882, Articles of Association were signed by 
which the Committee agreed to constitute itself a corpora- 
tion to be known as The Society for the Collegiate Instruc- 
tion of Women, whose purpose was to promote the educa- 
tion of women with the assistance of the instructors in 
Harvard University. The signers of the agreement, besides 
Mrs. Agassiz, were Mrs. E. W. Gurney, Mr. and Mrs. Ar- 
thur Gilman, Professor and Mrs. J. B. Greenough, Miss 
Lilian Horsford, Professor Charles Eliot Norton, Professor 
W. W. Goodwin, Professor C. L. Smith, Professor F. J. 
Child, Miss Alice Longfellow, Professor J. M. Peirce, Pro- 
fessor W. E. Byerly, Miss Ellen F. Mason, Major H. L. 
Higginson, Mr. Joseph B. Warner. At the first meeting 
held after the Articles were signed, on July 6, 1882, it was 
decided that the officers should be a president, treasurer, 
secretary, an Executive Committee, and an Academic 
Board. Mrs. Agassiz was elected president; Mr. Gilman, 
secretary, Mr. Warner, treasurer, Mr. Greenough, chair- 
man of the Academic Board. On August 16 this association 
became incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth 
of Massachusetts as The Society for the Collegiate Instruc- 
tion of Women — a title that was used only on state occa- 
sions, and not always then, so much simpler it was to cHng 
to the less formidable and less dignified " Harvard Annex." 


Mrs. Agassiz's position as president of the Society is the 
better appreciated by an understanding of her relation to 
her colleagues. All those who had signed the Articles of 
Association were in varying degrees influential members of 
the community, and some had a wide and enduring repu- 
tation, as the mention of their names sufficiently shows. 
Many of them were already warm personal friends of Mrs. 
Agassiz, one, indeed, was her son-in-law, Major Higginson, 
who from these early beginnings throughout a long con- 
nection with Radcliffe College never failed in rendering it 
affectionate and incalculable service. Professor and Mrs. 
Gumey were also zealous fellow-workers of Mrs. Agassiz 
and always welcomed the students to their house, not 
only for Professor Gurney's classes but for social oc- 
casions as well. "Few who shared the privilege," Mrs. 
Agassiz said in one of her addresses, "will forget the hours 
in Mr. Gurney *s library, where all the surroundings height- 
ened the pleasure of the lesson." Mrs. Gurney was herself 
a constant student of language and literature, versed in 
the classics and modern letters, heartily interested in the 
education of women, and a valued adviser of Mrs. Agassiz. 
To Mrs. Arthur Gilman, too, Mrs. Agassiz was in the habit 
of turning for counsel in all matters connected with the 
students and found her support, as she said, "an unfailing 
source of satisfaction." Among the other members of the 
group, who stood in especially close relations to the enter- 
prise and consequently to Mrs. Agassiz were Professor 
Greei^ough, "one of the most hopeful of the professors," 
as she characterized him, whose presence was always a 
blessing to the college; Professor Goodwin, who opened his 
study to his classes, shared with them his books and photo- 


graphs, and usually brought his lecture hour to a close 
around Mrs. Goodwin's tea-table by the fireside; Professor 
Norton, for whom Mrs. Agassiz's great regard, as well as 
his for her, is apparent in letters quoted later, and with 
whose view that the tendency of instruction at that time 
was too exclusively toward the less imaginative studies, 
she completely sympathized in spite of her strong bias 
toward scientific pursuits; and Professor Child, for whom 
her warm affection is expressed in the following letter 
written many years later on hearing of his death. 


Nahant, September 13, 1896 
. . . For myself this great break (for such it is even 
for those who rarely met him) brings the strangest 
revival of my youth, when I knew Child first or rather 
when I saw him most frequently. I was often at my 
sister Mary's for long visits, and then a day rarely 
passed without my seeing him. It was a very interest- 
ing time in my own life when I was just beginning to 
know Cambridge, and Felton's house was a sort of 
centre for the older professors; into that pleasant cir- 
cle Child brought such a bright young spirit. He can- 
not have been much over twenty, for he was several 
years younger than I. After his marriage and mine we 
did not see so much of each other, and it is perhaps on 
account of that interruption that my memory bridges 
over the intervening time and makes these early days 
stand out to me more vividly than the present. But 
this cessation of frequent intercourse never lessened 
our affection for each other. I can say that for myself, 


and this very summer I had a note from him which I 
shall always keep — a last word as it proves, and so 
affectionate — full of a kind sympathy which I can 
never forget. 

What a gentle, genial nature — sensitive and shy, 
but always cordial, and quickly responsive to any 
friendly expression! 

Among the signers of the Articles of Association no one 
stands out as more important to the daily life of the Annex 
than Mr. Gilman. Professor Byerly, who was actively as- 
sociated with the institution from the time when, as we 
have seen, he outstripped his fellow-instructors at Harvard 
in accepting the invitation to teach at the Annex, until 
1913, was said to be the most indispensable person con- 
nected with the college, but Mr. Byerly himself pointed out 
in 1910 in the Harvard Graduates' Magazine that for the 
greater part of fifteen years Mr. Gilman was practically 
the one executive officer of the Annex. " Of the numerous 
friends and workers who made the college a success he was 
the one with whom it held the first place. The professors 
who labored so faithfully and effectively for the new insti- 
tution were busy Harvard teachers who devoted to the 
* Annex' the precious time they could spare from their ex- 
acting Harvard work. Mrs. Agassiz's many duties, social 
and philanthropic, were not laid aside when she became 
interested in the 'Annex,' nor were those of the other ladies 
who served the college so efficiently .... Mr. Gilman lived 
for it, and served and fostered it for years unweariedly and 

Such was the group with whom Mrs. Agassiz was 
closely associated in her official position, and since most 


of them continued to share her responsibiHties even after 
the Annex was merged into RadcHffe College, their opin- 
ions and their friendship may be comited as important 
factors in her daily life. 

The paramount object accomplished by the managers 
when they obtained their charter from the Commonwealth 
was that the Society was thereby placed in a position where 
it could legally hold and administer fimds for its purposes, 
and could properly attempt to raise a sufficient endowment 
to establish its work on a permanent basis. In the late win- 
ter of 1883 the Executive Committee determined to soHcit 
money for an endowment fund to be transferred to the 
President and Fellows of Harvard College whenever this 
could be done to advance the purposes of the Society. Later 
in the spring, in accordance with a suggestion made by 
Mrs. Agassiz, parlor-meetings were held in Boston at- 
tended by friends who were interested in the experiment, 
at which Mrs. Agassiz read a report of the previous work 
of the Society. This at once brought not only the Society 
but Mrs. Agassiz herself into greater prominence and 
identified her with the education of women in the mind 
of the public as she had never been before. There is no 
better way of telling the history of the years from 1879 to 
1883, with the varying phases of which Mrs. Agassiz 's 
thoughts had been daily occupied, than by republishing 
selections from this address, the first of any consequence 
that she made on behalf of the Annex. It was adopted by 
the ladies of the Executive Committee as their report and 
printed with a slightly different introduction in 1884. 

We propose this aftemoon (I speak for all the la- 
dies of our Committee and at their request) to tell you 


the story of the so-called "Annex" and interest you 
if we can in its future fortunes. 

The name is often heard in Boston, but we doubt 
whether much is known of its character or of the work 
it has thus far accomplished. This is not strange, for 
it came into life so quietly, and has had so natural 
and healthy a growth out of existing circumstances, 
that it has attracted but little attention . . . 

Our enterprise, undertaken with many doubts and 
with a perfect readiness to abandon it, should it prove 
wise and right to do so, is now in its fourth year. In- 
stead of presenting special difficulties and complica- 
tions, it has worked simply and well. Whether con- 
sidered as a test of the genuineness of the desire for 
university education among women, and especially 
among women desiring to teach, or of their ability as 
students, the result has been most satisfactory. The 
standard of work has been high, — exceptionally so 
in a number of instances, — and the interest of the 
Harvard instructors has kept pace with the zeal of 
their students. 

Since the first year, when we opened with twenty- 
seven pupils, our number has averaged from thirty- 
five to forty. . . . We have to confess in reference to 
our numbers, that the Annex is, for the class of 
women to whom it especially appeals, very expensive. 
The charge per year for a full college course is $200 — 
$50 more than is paid by Harvard students. It there- 
fore costs those who enter for the whole four years 
$800, beside the expense of living in .Cambridge. The 
single courses are $75 a year. This puts our instrue- 


tion out of the reach of many who covet it, and some 
of those who come even for one year only do so at a 
great sacrifice, though not, we think, without finding 
the investment a profitable one. Were every facility 
offered them, however, we hardly suppose that women 
would ever look upon a college course of study subse- 
quent to their school life as an inevitable or even 
necessary part of their education; nor do we think it 
would seem to any of us desirable that they should do 
so. But this being granted, there still remain quite 
enough for whom such a completion of their earlier 
training is important in view of their occupation as 
teachers, and if there are others who ask it purely for 
its own sake, we surely should not deny them. . . . 

Thus far our Annex students have belonged to the 
classes of woman named above. They have been 
young women fitting as teachers, or older women who 
are already teachers, but who allow themselves, out 
of their small earnings, the rare luxury of a little 
change from teaching to learning, that they may go 
back to their work refreshed and better prepared; 
or women of scholarly tastes, with means to gratify 
them, who come, as we have said, to study under 
higher auspices simply because they enjoy it. We 
have had as yet no flighty students, brought by the 
novelty of the thing, and very little fragmentary, 
half-digested work. Our instruction has of course 
been limited by the lack of laboratories, apparatus, 
books, etc. We have, however, with the help of 
friends, collected a working library of some 800 vol- 
umes. For the first time this year, we have also. 


through the generosity of Mr. Harold Whiting, our 
instructor in Physics, the command of a small physi- 
cal laboratory, fitted up by him with all the neces- 
sary apparatus. 

One thing it may be well to state here. Certain anx- 
ieties respecting the presence of young women in a 
university town, without constant oversight of their 
daily lives, have vanished on nearer approach. Our 
students are scattered by twos and threes in Cam- 
bridge families, their lodgings being chosen for them 
by their friends, or by the ladies of our Executive 
Committee. In Cambridge such arrangements are 
easily made, and we have had no difficulty in finding 
safe and pleasant homes for them. They quietly pur- 
sue their occupations as unnoticed as the daughters 
of any Cambridge residents; nor has any objection or 
obstacle arisen on that score. It should be added that 
the health of our students has been excellent thus 
far, — we have had but two cases of serious illness in 
our four years' experience, and many of the students 
have gained rather than lost in the general look of 

But while difficulties are thus dispersing, and edu- 
cationally our scheme is growing apace, our means 
are dwindling even more rapidly, and we are fast ap- 
proaching the end of the sum we had provided. The 
Annex has, on the whole, been more nearly self-sup- 
porting than we had expected, and we have still funds 
enough remaining to carry it on for a year or two 
longer. Unless, in that interval, we can raise a large 
endowment fund, by which means we also hope to 


commend ourselves to Harvard College and estab- 
lish a definite relation with the University, we must 
renounce our attempt for this time. And yet that 
would seem a pity, for we believe there was never a 
better opportunity for securing what is by so many 
so greatly desired, — a share for women of the educa- 
tional advantages to be had at Harvard. 

Nor was there ever a moment when the University 
could so safely grant us this boon. In the form in 
which this effort in behalf of women's education has 
been started and is hkely to be continued, it stirs no 
prejudices, excites no opposition, involves no change 
of pohcy for the University. Our students themselves 
manifest no desire for coeducation. The element of 
competition with men does not enter into their aims. 
They simply want the best education they can get, 
and they seek it at Harvard because the means to 
that end exist there. We only ask the College, there- 
fore, in case we can provide for our own expenses, to 
continue a work which has thus far been conducted 
so quietly and inoffensively that it has hardly at- 
tracted observation. 

It may, and no doubt will, be asked, why we desire 
to establish a college for women in Cambridge when 
several successful ones exist elsewhere; when we have 
Vassar, the Boston University, Smith, and Wellesley. 
We readily admit that such a college would be both 
undesirable and superfluous, unless we can connect 
it directly with Harvard College. Failing this, we 
should miss the distinctive thing for which we have 


... In the presence of our old University at Cam- 
bridge, with all its traditions of learning and experi- 
ence, possessing ample means of higher instruction, 
officered by teachers of well-known ability, among 
whom are always to be found men of real eminence in 
their departments, we find the only good reason for 
presenting our scheme to you and asking your help 
and sympathy in carrying it on. It may not be easy 
to define why the older University has the advantage. 
But we must all admit that its relation to the intellec- 
tual world outside, its maturity of thought and meth- 
ods, its claim on cultivated minds everywhere, give it 
a hold on our respect and affection which women 
share with men. We must not wonder if some of them 
long also for a share in the gracious gifts it has 
garnered up in years gone by, and which perhaps 
may have in years to come, a still wider use and 
beneficence. . . . 

There is a general impression that Harvard College 
is very rich, — that what she will do, she can do, so 
far as her means are concerned. Her large deficits for 
several years past tell us that this is not true. Harvard 
needs all that she has and more, for the institution as 
it now exists, — to fulfil the objects for which it was 
originally founded. We ask her to enlarge her bor- 
ders, to assume new responsibilities, involving new 
expenses, and we must come not as charity scholars, 
but with full hands, to strengthen rather than impov- 
erish her. To this end we appeal to the public, feeling 
that we are justified in doing so, now that our enter- 
prise has passed out of the stage of doubtful experi- 


ment into that of ascertained use and value. We need 
many subscribers, for less than $100,000 would surely 
make us, financially speaking, an unsafe acquisition 
for the University. Of this $100,000, something more 
than $36,000 have been subscribed in the last three or 
four weeks. 

Even if we should succeed in raising the whole of 
this sum, it could not put the education of women on 
■ a par with that of men at Harvard. Indeed we are ad- 
vised that, considered as a permanent foundation for 
so large a scheme, it would be quite insufficient. But 
it might give the College the means of continuing, on 
a somewhat broader basis, the work already begun, 
and would be a nucleus around which additional re- 
sources would gather as soon as the character of the 
undertaking was fully understood. Good work wins 
good will, and we cannot but hope that if the College 
accepts us, we too shall have, when we have secured 
the recognition of the community, our occasional 
gifts, our bequests and legacies, like other depart- 
ments of the University. 

We learn what the further fortunes of the enterprise 
were from passages in Mrs. Agassiz's informal address in 
June, 1884, when she had invited the second class that 
had completed the regular four years' course of study to 
her house in Quincy Street for their ^'Commencement exer- 
cises." The response to her appeal in March which she re- 
ports here demonstrates her possession of one of the prime 
requisites for the president of a budding institution — an 
unusual power of persuasion. This power rested not at all 
upon either eloquence or art, but chiefly upon her utter 


unconsciousness of self, which made her as it were a trans- 
lucent medimn for all that was worthy in the interest that 
she was representing, and established the confidence of her 
hearers in it by her own complete sincerity. Added to this 
her native grace of manner and expression gave her a dis- 
tinction that never failed to attract attention. 

I believe we have disarmed enemies and made 
friends. For this happy result we have in great meas- 
ure to thank our students themselves. By the sin- 
cerity and eflSiciency of their work and the modest 
and unobtrusive spirit in which they have carried it 
on, they have unconsciously overcome much preju- 
dice of which they hardly knew themselves. Better 
than any argument of ours in favor of allowing young 
women a share in University education is the fact 
that a considerable number, from forty to fifty annu- 
ally, have actually pursued their university studies 
here for five years as undisturbed by comment or 
criticism as the daughters of resident families in Cam- 

I am sure I need not remind you all that for the 
intellectual success of the Annex thus far we have to 
thank the professors and teachers of the University 
who have worked with us in such a sympathetic spirit. 
But for them the Annex would indeed have been short- 
lived. I should find it diflBcult, I know, to express your 
gratitude or my own for all they have done for us. 
With their help and a continuance of the spirit in our 
students which they have shown thus far, I hope the 
Annex has a long life before it 


Still if we do not live by bread alone, neither can 
we live without it, and that brings me to the financial 
question. You all know probably that some eighteen 
months ago, feeling assured after a trial of four years 
that our experiment deserved support, we appealed 
to the public in its behalf and started a subscription 
for an endowment fund of $100,000 with the purpose 
of asking the Corporation of Harvard to take us under 
its protection. This fund is not completed but con- 
sidering the great difficulty of the times we have no 
reason to be discouraged. About $70,000 has been 
already subscribed; of this $62,000 and a balance 
are already in the hands of our banker drawing good 
interest. This is not a bad nest egg as it stands; and 
had times been better, we had intended to come be- 
fore the public again, to remind them that the last 
stage of a journey is the longest and ask their further 
help. I have little doubt that in ordinary times the 
remaining $30,000 would have been forthcoming, 
but just now one might as well cry for the moon as 
ask for $30,000, and we are content to bide our time 
till fortune's wheel makes another turn. 

Meanwhile the moderate sum which we raised at 
first in order to try our experiment for four years has 
carried us bravely through the fifth, and we have a 
balance left with which to begin the work of next 

By the next spring — that of 1885 — it had become evi- 
dent that the elasticity of even 6 Appian Way could be 
stretched no further, and that the Annex must seek less 


cramped quarters. Before the classes for women had been 
formed at all, Mr. and Mrs. Oilman had looked with long- 
ing eyes at one of the older residences of Cambridge, which 
seemed peculiarly suited to the needs of their contemplated 
experiment. This was a brick house at the . corner of Gar- 
den and Mason Streets, standing somewhat back from 
Garden Street on which it fronted, and just at the point 
where the road divides to encircle the historic ehn under 
which Washington first took command of the American 
army. It was a house pleasant in its associations, for 
among its long line of occupants, since it was built in 
1806 by Nathaniel Ireland, a well-to-do iron-worker of 
Boston, there had been many of personal eminence. Its 
history has been told by Mr. Oilman in the Harvard 
Graduates^ Magazine for June, 1896, and need not be re- 
peated here. Half a century before it assumed consequence 
for our story, it had been bought by Samuel P. Fay, judge 
of the Probate Court of Massachusetts, at whose death 
in 1856 it became the property of his daughter. Miss 
Maria Fay. During the occupancy of Judge Fay's family 
the house had been distinguished for its hospitality, and 
its doors had opened familiarly to many figures whose 
names became known in far wider fields — Story and 
Lowell, for example, Longfellow and Holmes, whose 
father's house had been separated from it by only the 
width of the Cambridge Common. In 1885 Miss Fay, left 
alone, and unwilling that another family should occupy 
the rooms that her own had lived in for fifty years, offered 
the house for sale to the Society for the Collegiate Instruc- 
tion of Women for $20,000, and on May 23 of that year 
the purchase was approved by the Corporation. The ladies 


of the Executive Committee again made an appeal which 
met with a sufficient response to enable the Annex by the 
following September to leave Appian Way and begin the 
year in the Fay House. 

It would have been difficult to find in Cambridge at the 
time more suitable quarters for an institution of which Mrs. 
Agassiz was the president. Associated with the traditions 
of such a life as she herself represented, it made an admira- 
ble setting for the young college that she was fostering. No 
Radchffe building of later days can have the indescribable 
charm that the Fay House possessed when the Annex was 
first domiciled there. As had been intended its character 
as a private dwelhng remained so far as possible unaltered 
and stimulated those qualities in the students that were 
most desired for them by the wise administrators of the 
simple arrangements. For a time before Judge Fay had 
bought the house, it had been somewhat romantically 
called "Castle Corner," but the Annex preserved the 
name of Fay, which has been retained throughout the 
history of the college. 

The investment in this piece of property inaugurated a 
distinctly new phase in the development of the Annex. Its 
importance is explained in Mrs. Agassiz 's address at Com- 
mencement in 1886: 

I cannot meet you on this first commencement in 
the new house which has given us all such a sense of 
security without feeling that this has been an event- 
ful and happy year in our little community. There 
are some few of the students here who remember with 
me the poverty of our earlier years. And it was per- 
haps well that our experiment began under such bare 


and meagre surroundings. We had nothing to offer 
you except the education which Harvard provides 
and which by the HberaHty of her professors was in 
great degree opened to us. There were absolutely no 
temptations outside of this, — no social attractions, 
no amusements, few facilities even for intercourse 
with one another for the reason that we had no room, 
no space. The common ground was simply that of 
study, recitations, lectures. It must be confessed 
that it was a somewhat austere beginning. But I do 
not regret this. It was a crucial test of the sincerity 
and genuineness of your demand for something more 
full and far-reaching in education. 

I rather looked myself to see the Annex dwindle 
under these circumstances — it was so much less 
attractive than many other institutions for women. 
But it grew quietly, steadily: we heard no complaint 
— on the contrary its members were very grateful, 
very appreciative of what was done for them. But 
though they made no complaint, the Committee felt 
that this state of things could not be permanent. Af- 
ter six years of patient waiting this pleasant home, 
the pleasanter because it is an old home, mellowed 
by many associations and to Cambridge people con- 
nected with the hospitalities of past years, came within 
their reach. It was, to be sure, a little too much for 
our purse, and we were loth to cut in upon the Endow- 
ment Fund which we had been husbanding so care- 
fully. But friends were generous — about half the 
purchase money was subscribed, — the other half we 
took from our treasury. It seemed a little extravagant, 


but a daring expenditure is sometimes a wise economy 
and so I think it will prove in this case. 

And so it seems to me a memorable fact that we 
meet here today, — that for the first time our cer- 
tificates for graduation and for honors are given under 
our own roof. 

Within the next four years such had been the growth 
of the Annex that the limits of the Fay House had become 
all too restricted, and in February, 1890, the Executive 
Committee began to consider ways and means for enlarg- 
ing its walls. The ways presented less of a problem than 
the means. In the late spring a meeting was held in Boston 
for such good Bostonians as might be interested, at which 
Mrs. Agassiz reported on the success of the Society and the 
disadvantages of its narrow habitat. The following por- 
tions of her address describe the conditions of the four years 
after the purchase of the Fay House and again illustrate 
her powers of persuasion. Her only references to the sub- 
scriptions for which she hoped are quoted below: 

... In order to state the object of this meeting fairly 
from the beginning I would add that if we succeed 
in winning your sympathy for the work in which we 
are engaged and which we hope to carry on hereafter, 
we will ask you to help us in raising a certain sum to- 
ward the enlargement of our building which has been 
insufficient for our increased numbers and beside want 
of room lacks many conveniences for the work carried 
on there. 

I have often been told that as President of our So- 
ciety I should call attention from time to time in a 


more public way to its existence, its progress and its 
needs. The moment seems a fitting one, for we are 
now at the end of our first ten years of life, and the 
close of a decade always suggests a pause, a retro- 
spective consideration of the road over which we 
have come, a thoughtful glance along that which lies 
before us — in short, a review of the past and a pro- 
vision for the future. ... In the autumn of 1885 the 
opening term found us in our permanent home. Since 
that time we have spent another portion of our patri- 
mony in land adjoining the Fay House estate in 
order to make a well-proportioned, spacious piece of 
ground and give room for such additional buildings 
as may be needed hereafter. On this ground we have 
already put up two small laboratories — very inex- 
pensive buildings in wood but quite pretty and con- 
venient for our classes in chemistry and physics. . . . 
The material side is, however, but a small part of the 
story. We have to show not only that we have ad- 
ministered our funds carefully, but that the work is 
worth all and more than all that has been spent. . . . 

Our first aim was simply to give to young women 
intending to be teachers the best intellectual outfit 
at our command, in order that they might enter upon 
their work well prepared. We wished also to enable 
young women who loved study for its own sake to 
continue their education on a wider basis after leav- 
ing school. . . . 

A third class has been added of which we had not 
thought in the beginning. This consists of teachers 
— often women who have had a good deal of experi- 


ence in teaching and who come partly because they 
value the contact with the broader methods of Uni- 
versity instruction and wish to strengthen themselves 
in their own special departments of work, perhaps 
also because the change of attitude from that of 
teacher to that of pupil is a rest and refreshment. . . . 

... To sum up the work of the Annex in the last ten 
years. Having hardly a recognized existence during 
the first two or three years and with a capital never 
exceeding $75,000 it has become known during this 
period as one of the prominent educational institu- 
tions for women in the country, its pupils have risen 
in numbers from some twenty-five to about one hun- 
dred and fifty and are yearly increasing, its graduates 
are scattered over the country as teachers and excel- 
lent reports of their work come back to us, it has 
given to a number of already well-established teach- 
ers the opportunity which they greatly value of 
studying under Harvard methods of instruction and 
under scholars of known distinction in their different 
departments of work, and it has enabled many young 
women who have studious tastes to pursue them 
under especially helpful conditions. I would add that 
we have no instruction outside of Harvard and that 
we have between fifty and sixty Harvard professors 
and instructors on our lists of instructors. Of course 
this is our best guarantee. With this preface I will 
now bring forward the special object of our meeting. 
A woman's postscript is, as you well know, the most 
important part of her communication. 

We have tried to husband our means and to carry 


on our work with as close economy as was consistent 
with a liberal fulfilment of our educational pro- 
gramme. But our very success compels us now to 
make a new appeal. We have wholly outgrown our 
pleasant home and we find our recitation rooms, halls 
and reading rooms so overcrowded that an enlarge- 
ment of the building is absolutely required. The house 
is a delightful one, — known to some of us for nearly 
half a century, and in reality much older than that — 
one of the old-fashioned, comfortable and dignified 
houses of New England. We value this character and 
have endeavored to preserve it in our plans for en- 
largement, to retain the character of a home while 
giving it a greater fitness for the work within its walls. 
For this we shall need from $20,000 to $25,000. We 
have already received in recent subscriptions $3500, 
and a friend has proposed to take upon herself the 
cost of the Library which is to be one of the most 
charming features of the establishment — a room 
fifty feet by twenty-seven, lighted from above, but 
having charming windows beside — among them a 
deep oriel window, — a large fireplace, excellent ar- 
rangements not only for the books themselves, but 
for their easy use. 

I would add that subscriptions may be sent to the 
office of Lee, Higginson and Company, State Street. 
... It only remains for me to thank you for your kind- 
ness in coming and your attention in listening. I hope 
I have not tired you too much with my long story. 

As a result of this meeting a sum of money was speedily 
raised sufficient to justify the commencement of the work 


by which the building was enlarged to twice its original size. 
During the summer of 1892 a still further addition was 
made which provided an auditorium large enough for all 
the general meetings held under the direction of the So- 
ciety. Here the Commencement exercises took place in 
1893 and 1894. 

With what satisfaction Mrs. Agassiz regarded these im- 
provements and how hopefully she looked into the future 
we may see from the following paragraphs of her address 
at Commencement in 1892: 

I look back upon our opening life in the Annex as 
having a certain charm notwithstanding its dijBScul- 
ties, — the charm of a new and interesting under- 
taking. The whole subject of collegiate education for 
women has advanced with amazing strides in the last 
ten years, and our present students may wonder that 
I should speak of our first attempt as if it had been a 
kind of exciting adventure. But I assure them that it 
had something of this character, for it was surrounded 
by obstacles and prejudices. Remonstrance and ex- 
postulation came to me from some of my nearest 
friends, who felt that the dignity and reserve of Har- 
vard were threatened and the whole tone of the Col- 
lege to be lowered. However, the nine days' wonder 
was soon over. The Annex kept on its quiet way so 
unobtrusively that when at the end of our first four 
years, we felt its success to be so secured that we 
might make some appeal to the public in its behalf, 
we had almost to recall its existence to them; it had 
grown into a college unawares as it were, unheralded 
and almost unheeded outside its own precincts. That 


I address you here today in this cheerful, well-ap- 
pointed building is evidence enough of our progress 
from those days to these, and I have to congratulate 
you especially on the improvements of the past year, 
on our new lecture and recitation rooms, our well- 
lighted studio for our art classes, and lastly on the 
hall, where we now meet, — which has contributed 
so much during the last winter, not only to your means 
of instruction, but also to your pleasure and amuse- 

This review of the past is very cheering and may 
well give us hope for the future. I must add in no 
spirit of egotism but in one of very sincere thankful- 
ness that this hope is strengthened by the ever- 
increasing confidence of the public in the Annex, of 
which we have frequent evidence. And in this connec- 
tion, let me say that in addition to many former acts 
of kindness and sympathy from the Women's Edu- 
cational Association in Boston we owe to them a new 
debt of gratitude for their efforts in our behalf this 
winter. They have always known that we looked to- 
ward a closer affiliation with the University as our 
final goal, and this winter their committee, appointed 
by them for the purpose, has striven with untiring 
energy and zeal to raise a large sum in order to help 
us in this direction. 

I ought perhaps in the present uncertain state of 
our affairs, to refrain from even a distant allusion to 
our hopes with reference to the University. But to 
part from you today without some reference to what 
is I know uppermost in your minds as well as in mine, 


would seem like a want of that frank sympathy in all 
matters concerning your interests here which has 
always existed between us. If I have nothing definite 
to say upon this point I can at least share with you my 
own belief that with the approval of the public, the 
support of friends of education in Boston, and with 
the confidence expressed by the Faculty of Harvard 
in the Annex and in the right she has won to what 
is best in education, we can hardly fail of a steady 
advance. But let me say in closing that whatever 
strength we may derive from without, the students 
more than any one else hold the fate of the Annex in 
their hands, and I believe they feel and accept the 
responsibility. Whatever be its attitude in the future, 
— whatever its relation to the University, — what- 
ever name it may bear, — I hope it will always be 
respected for the genuineness of its work, for the quiet 
dignity of its bearing, for its adherence to the noblest 
ends of scholarship. 

So I commend our young institution to the keeping 
of our students with a strong belief that they will be 
faithful to the trust. 



IN the few words of Mrs. Agassiz with which the pre- 
ceding chapter closes the f oreshadowings of events that 
followed in the next year may be seen. Already in the course 
of 1893 it had become evident that enthusiasts on the sub- 
ject of women's education, restless under the somewhat 
anomalous position of the Annex, where women received 
collegiate instruction but no academic degrees, were eager 
to see an official relation estabhshed between it and the 
University. The situation was set forth by Mr. Warner in 
the article in the Harvard Graduates' Magazine referred to 
above: "It had become plain to every one that the in- 
stitution had passed its phase of private experiment, and 
was entitled to some formal recognition by the University. 
What shape this should take was a question with many 
difficulties, for the imiversity scheme had no place ready 
for the newcomer Of course, no one wanted to in- 
corporate the Annex bodily into the University and min- 
gle its students with the young men. It was plain that 
the young women must be separately cared for, and that 
their household concerns and domestic economy must be 
in the hands of a board composed, at least in part, of 
women. Furthermore, the President and Fellows of Har- 
vard College were unwilling to add to their administrative 
work, aheady excessively heavy, by taking charge of the 
property, or attending to the executive details, of another 


enterprise, and they preferred, for general convenience, to 
commit to a distinct body the management of an under- 
taking which was to be detached, in many respects, from 
the present organization of the University." 

Beginning with March 14, 1893, Mrs. Agassiz's diary 
reports ahnost daily interviews with President EKot or 
other friends of the Annex in regard to the advisability of 
making advances to the University looking toward a closer 
union. The time seemed ripe for a direct appeal for adop- 
tion by Harvard, and on March 21 the Society voted that 
it was expedient to transfer to the President and Fellows of 
Harvard College its entire property, whenever the College 
would assume the management of its affairs and undertake 
to carry on the work and to offer to women academic de- 
grees in arts. On March 27 Mrs. Agassiz addressed to Presi- 
dent Eliot the following statement of the situation, which 
exists in her rough draft: 


Cambridge, March 24, 1893 
Dear Mr. Eliot: I hear that you may bring for- 
ward our hopes and fears to the Corporation on Mon- 
day next — not perhaps as an official communication, 
but as an informal opening of the subject. I am most 
anxious that we should appear in our true light, as 
reasonable and not aggressive, and therefore I repeat 
in writing what I have often said in our recent con- 
versations. We are well aware that the Annex owes 
all its success to the support received from the pro- 
fessors and instructors of Harvard, and also that 


in silently endorsing the part they have taken in its 
gradual development the Corporation has already 
done us a great service. But we now stand, as you 
know, in need of their more direct intervention, with- 
out which the farther progress of the Annex is likely 
to be checked, and indeed I hardly believe it could be 
long maintained were its present conditions under- 
stood by the public to be permanent. For this insta- 
bility there are two causes, — first the uncertainty of 
our instruction as long as it depends upon the cour- 
tesy of the Professors and the consideration of the 
Corporation, — second, the lack of any College de- 
gree. With reference to the first we ask that our pres- 
ent instruction should be continued to us as an edu- 
cational department of the College, with the authority 
of the governing boards, and second that under this 
provision should be included the granting to our 
students of the academic degrees. In asking for the 
latter it should be understood that we think of them 
only as credentials of scholarship, eliminating every- 
thing that may concern rights and privileges of grad- 
uates in the business affairs of the College, — as votes 
for various offices, etc., etc. Within the last few months, 
we have been made to feel more than ever our want 
of a secure foundation. Our efforts to raise money 
in order to come to the Corporation with a fitting 
endowment have been met everywhere with the ob- 
jection that we have no direct relation to the College, 
and no one is willing to give us any considerable sum 
without any assurance that the University will take 
us under its protection. That doubt removed we are 


confident that the money will follow. Should the Cor- 
poration accept us under the conditions above stated, 
we should pass over all our present property, — 
an invested capital of $150,000 with landed estate, 
buildings, etc., to the Corporation. Within our pres- 
ent limits we are fully self-supporting, and we should 
look for farther educational opportunities from the 
College only as we can bring means for our increased 
expenses. We know that the funds of the College are 
all appropriated and cannot be diverted from the 
purposes for which they were given. We recognize 
therefore the necessity of producing the means for 
our own support and for our future development. 
But we believe that whatever means may accrue to 
us in the future will be spent for the Annex to greater 
advantage by the Corporation than by ourselves. 
To them we should confidently entrust the adminis- 
tration of our affairs both financial and educational. 
Forgive this long letter, my dear Mr. Eliot, and be- 
lieve me always 

Most cordially yours, 

Elizabeth C. Agassiz 

On March 29, Mrs. Agassiz records in her diary, "I think 
our aim will be accomplished, but it will be slow work." 
Meetings, discussions, conferences, one or the other, fol- 
lowed almost daily. An idea of some of the diflSculties in 
the way and Mrs. Agassiz 's method of encountering them 
may be formed by the following note from Edward W. 
Hooper, the treasurer of Harvard College, with the draft 
of Mrs. Agassiz 's reply. Her letter which called forth the 
note from Mr. Hooper is not available: 



Cambridge, April 10, 1893 
Dear Mrs. Agassiz: Owing to my absence in 
New York, I did not get your note until midnight on 
Sunday, and could not therefore talk with you before 
the meeting as I should gladly have done. It is, of 
course, quite natural that we should have serious 
doubts about more permanent relations with the An- 
nex, and think of the dangers to the College which 
we have inherited as a trust for life only. My talk 
with Mr. Warner showed me quite clearly that there 
was really no reasonable limit to what the Annex 
might fairly ask of us. The Annex really wants all 
that the College has, and does not expect to get it 
except through the College. If we give our degrees 
we must give the instruction necessary to fit women 
for those degrees, and that means either a duplica- 
tion of our instruction, or to some extent coeduca- 
tion. I have no prejudice in the matter of education 
of women and am quite willing to see Yale or Colum- 
bia take any risks they like, but I feel bound to pro- 
tect Harvard College from what seems to me to be 
a risky experiment. . . . 

Yours very sincerely, 

E. W. Hooper 


Dear Mr. Hooper: I have been away from home a 
day or two and so did not answer your letter promptly, 
but so far as I am concerned a great deal less than 


"all the College has" would content me. I believe 
that much might follow, not because the Annex would 
desire it, but because in the natural phenomenon the 
College would be likely to give it. When you say that 
the Annex does not expect to get what it wants "ex- 
cept through the College," to that I agree, because 
we have aimed at academic education from the very 
start, and to accept outside instruction including that 
from women teachers (without any intention to de- 
preciate it) would place us on an exact level with all 
the women's colleges, and we really do not need one 
in Cambridge, nor is there any reason for establishing 
one here. In the early days of the Annex we have said 
this over and over again, — nothing but the prox- 
imity to Harvard justifies the establishment of a 
woman's college here. As to coeducation except in 
the most limited sense, it would be desired neither 
by them nor us. 

While affairs were in this condition a little incident oc- 
curred that had great importance in its consequences. This 
incident was relater' in an address delivered at the Radcliffe 
College Commencement exercises in 1902 by John C. Gray, 
Royall Professor of Law in the Harvard Law School, who 
later became a member of the Council of Radcliffe College. 
It is peculiarly interesting because it illustrates the fact 
that the Annex owed the important advance that it was 
about to make to the personal regard that Mrs. Agassiz 's 
friends had for her. The story is best told in Professor 
Gray's own words, which were published in the Harvard 
Graduates' Magazine for September, 1902: 


. . . Here was an institution, to use a neutral term, 
so strong that it could boast with justice of giving an 
education equal to any in the country, and yet so fee- 
ble that it could not give its students the recognition 
which every other collegiate institution, good or bad, 
gave, a degree. 

The solution of the difficulty which it was easiest 
to propose was that Harvard University should give 
the degrees. But this solution, easy to propose, was 
difficult, nay, impossible to carry out. . . . Many wise 
men, and by no means unfriendly to Radcliffe, felt 
that a great trust had come into the hands of the 
University rulers, that its organization and resources 
were already greatly strained, and that the strain 
ought not to be increased. 

Then came a time of depression and anxiety. Some 
of the sincerest friends of Radcliffe, who in the days 
of small things had not spared time or money thought 
that the College should sit still and wait. But the 
authorities of the College felt that this state of things 
could not continue indefinitely; that the College could 
not drag along in this maimed and humiliating con- 
dition, unable to grant what every other college of 
men or women was granting: it must assert its com- 
petence to confer degrees; yet how to insure that the 
degree should have the weight and character that a 
degree granted to students trained as hers were, ought 
to have.^ How to be independent of Harvard Univer- 
sity and yet have her degrees as valuable as those of 
the University.? That was the problem. 

And now you must pardon me if I give a bit of per- 


sonal history. One evening my wife told me that she 
had seen Mrs. Agassiz that day, that Mrs. Agassiz 
looked troubled, and was much distressed and per- 
plexed about Radcliffe College and its degrees. At 
that time, to my shame be it said, I knew little and 
cared less about Radcliffe College, but I was sorry that 
Mrs. Agassiz should be harassed, and I began wonder- 
ing whether anything could be done to relieve the diffi- 
culty. Shortly before, I had happened to be counsel for 
a famous school of learning in a case in which the func- 
tions of visitors had been much considered. And the 
idea came into my head: "Why should not Harvard 
University be the Visitor of Radcliffe College.? " 

What is a visitor? 'Under the English law all col- 
legiate institutions have visitors. If there is no other 
visitor provided for by the statutes of the college, 
then the Crown is the visitor. . . . The Board of Over- 
seers are the visitors of [Harvard] University, and I 
need not say how important and controlling are the 
functions of that Board. No one can be chosen a mem- 
ber of the Corporation or a professor in the Univer- 
sity without the Overseers' consent. 
i It was determined that the Corporation of Harvard 
University should be asked to become the Visitor 
of Radcliffe College. 

The last sentence anticipates our narrative somewhat. 
The chapter in the story that follows Professor Gray's 
happy thought of " visitors " to the Annex is told in a letter 
to him from Mrs. Agassiz, in reply to one in which he had 
outlined his scheme to her, but which unfortunately has 
not been preserved. 



My dear Mr. Gray: I am truly grateful for your 
letter. The acceptance of such a scheme by the 
Corporation would seem to me all we can reasonably 
ask for the present. If later they should feel ready 
for a closer affiliation they can themselves define the 
terms. The Annex will plead its own cause, and I think 
some of the lions will disappear as the Corporation 
becomes more familiar with its work and its ways. 

We have always needed a name, and I hope 
something'^distinctive and appropriate will be found, 
— something if possible which would indicate a rela- 
tion to the College rather than a separation from it. 
Mr. Norton once suggested Emmanuel College, as 
being the one from which John Harvard came? 

2d. It would simplify matters much to retain the 
present organization, leaving to us the financial re- 
sponsibility with matters concerning the life of the 
students, etc., etc. We offered to give all that, only 
because we thought the College might prefer a com- 
plete surrender. 

3d. Your idea of "visitors" had never occurred to 
me, but if the Corporation would accept such a duty, 
that in itself would be a tacit recognition of our re- 
lation to the University. 

4th seems to me still more important — that the 
appointment of instructors or examiners should rest 
with the visitors. 

5th. To me personally it would be perfectly satis- 
factory that our diplomas should bear the seal and 


signature of the College. I would rather have a foot- 
hold in the College on such terms as the Corporation 
may be willing to grant than any sum of money — 
much as we should like the latter, — I think, however, 
the form of our diploma should be carefully consid- 
ered, — that it should not be differentiated from the 
"A.B." of the CoUege as a "ladies' degree." Work 
is work, and must be judged without fear or favor by 
its own value. 

6th. Here again is a most important point in our 
favor, — a place in the Catalogue. 

Your seventh point would be for us our culminating 
point, — taken with what precedes it seems to me 
all we can reasonably ask at present. This is much 
more than half a loaf and promises more than it grants. 
I am so glad you have taken the pains to set it before 
me with such clearness. It was very good of you, and 
very kind in Mrs. Gray to suggest it. Please thank 
her for me. 

The fruits of this plan are seen in the following letter 
from President Eliot, which Mrs. Agassiz read at a meeting 
of the Society on June 6, 1893. It makes the foregoing letter 
more intelligible, since the numbered items in both are 
evidently the same. 


May 29, 1893 
Dear Mrs. Agassiz: At the Corporation meeting 
today I was authorized to say to you — the Presi- 
dent of the Society for the Collegiate Instruction of 


Women, that the President and Fellows of Harvard 
College are now pleased to consider carefully any pro- 
position for close union between the University and 
the Society for the Collegiate Instruction of Women, 
which the Society may hereafter make to them in 
general conformity with the following memorandum. 

Memorandum of an agreement or contract between 
the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the 
Society for the Collegiate Instruction of Women. 

1. The Institute established by the Society to 
have a name — "X College." 

^. X College to be self governing in all respects, 
— in organization, business management and disci- 

3. The President and Fellows of Harvard College 
to be the visitors of X College. 

4. No instructor or examiner to be appointed or 
retained by X College without the approval of the 

i 5. The diplomas of X College to be counter-signed 
by the President of Harvard University and to bear 
its seal. 

6. Graduates of X College to be given a place in the 
Catalogues and official publications of the University. 

7. This agreement may be cancelled by either party 
on four years ' notice. 

Very truly yours, 

Charles W. Eliot 

The memorandum contained in this letter was at once 
accepted by the Corporation of the Annex as a basis of 


agreement with the Corporation of Harvard University, 
and in less than a fortnight later Mrs. Agassiz is found in 
correspondence with President EHot, consulting him in 
regard to a name for "X College." 


Cambridge, June 19, 1893 
Dear Mrs. Agassiz: I send you herewith some 
information about the first woman who ever gave 
anything to Harvard College, namely Lady Mowlson, 
who founded a scholarship here which has just been 
revived by the Corporation on evidence procured by 
Mr. A. McF. Davis. She seems to have been a pa- 
triotic person, and she has left no children. To revive 
her memory would be analogous to the act of the Cor- 
poration in naming Holworthy Hall after Sir Mat- 
thew Holworthy, who gave the College a thousand 
pounds in the seventeenth century. 

Very truly yours, 

Charles W. Eliot 

Mr. Davis embodied the results of the researches which 
President Eliot mentions here in an article, "Anne Rad- 
cliffe — Lady Mowlson,'* in the New England Magazine for 
February, 1894. Briefly the story is that in 1641 Thomas 
Weld, pastor of the church in Roxbury, was sent to Eng- 
land by the colony in Massachusetts to arrange certain 
matters of importance to the country. While in England 
he received for Harvard College the gift of £100 from the 
Lady Mowlson "for a scholarship, the revenue of it to 
be employed that way forever." According to arrangement 


this money, instead of being paid to the college, was "given 
in on account to the state," apparently in 1643, and the 
treasurer of the college thus being relieved of all respon- 
sibility in accounting for the fund, and other confusing cir- 
cumstances having also arisen, in the course of time it 
was forgotten, until by the investigations of Mr. Davis 
the Corporation became apprised of the facts, when they 
promptly set aside $5000 for the purpose of reestabhshing 
the Lady Mowlson Scholarship. This took place just at the 
time when the name for ** X College " was under discussion, 
and the discovery that the first scholarship at Harvard was 
given by a woman suggested the idea of christening the 
new college for women after her. The maiden name of Lady 
Mowlson was Anne RadcliflFe. In 1600 she was married to 
Sir Thomas Mowlson, later Lord Mayor of London, in the 
church of St. Christopher le Stocks in London, which occu- 
pied the site of the present Bank of England. Their only 
child was a daughter, who died in infancy. Lady Mowlson 
died in 1661, after a widowhood of twenty-three years, 
and was buried beside her husband in the vault beneath 
the church where they had been married. Practically all 
that is known of her beyond these facts is that in May, 
1644, she made a contribution toward a fund to be sent 
to the Scottish army in the north, which not long after 
won the battle of Marston Moor. From this donation 
and that to the college in Massachusetts we may see in 
what way her sympathies turned, and may infer that she 
was alive to the religious and political interests of her coun- 
try. The suggestion that her name be given to the Annex 
was made by Mrs. Agassiz at a meeting of the Council. "It 
seems appropriate," she said, "to name the first woman's 


college ever connected with Harvard for this lady who two 
centuries ago gave our University the first money it ever 
received from a woman. . . .The name is also a good one — 
Radcliffe College, — dignified and convenient, and the as- 
sociation with this lady of the olden time and her gener- 
osity to Harvard has a certain picturesqueness." But when 
the name was publicly announced an old friend of Mrs. 
Agassiz wrote to her: "I should prefer to have it the 
* Agassiz College,' and I must think it ought to have been, 
for what are £100 [of money], when compared with more 
than that number of flesh, blood and brains given cheer- 
fully for so many years!" 

Further friendly negotiations were carried on between 
the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the So- 
ciety until on October 31, 1893, at the annual meeting of 
the Society it was voted that proper legal steps should be 
taken to change the name of the Corporation to that of 
Radcliffe College; that the Corporation should give de- 
grees in Arts and Sciences, and that a Committee should 
be appointed by the President to obtain from the Legis- 
lature the necessary power; that the President and Fellows 
of Harvard College should be appointed the Visitors of the 
Corporation; that no instructor or examiner of the Cor- 
poration should be appointed without the approval of the 
Visitors; that in case the President and Fellows of Harvard 
College should accept the powers thus conferred upon them, 
they should be requested to empower the President of Har- 
vard University to countersign the diplomas of the Corpo- 
ration and to aflEix the seal of Harvard University to them. 
Consent was given to the arrangement embodied in these 
votes by the Board of Overseers of Harvard University 


on December 6. The entries in Mrs. Agassiz 's diary record 
some of the details of these days so eventful to her: 

1893, December 6, To Annex tea. Heard the good 
news from the Harvard Overseers — great enthusiasm 
among the students. Evening, M. and C, Quin and 
Pauline. It was very pleasant and all full of sympathy 
about the Annex. Closed the evening with a note from 
Miss [Anna] Lowell, enclosing check of $1000 for the 
Annex, and we have also received the $90,000 from 
Mrs. Perkins's [estate]. It has been a bright day for 
that young institution. 

December 7. Concert, evening. Many congratula- 
tions on all sides about the Annex. Mr. and Mrs, 
Palmer walked home with me. They are very glad. 

December 8. To Annex for Idler Club. All excited 
about the new name and attitude of the Annex. The 
students already begin to call themselves "of Rad- 
cliffe College." 

When the action of the Board of Overseers became known 
to the public, loud objection was raised to it by some of the 
zealous advocates of "higher education." The principal 
ground of criticism lay in the informal nature of the con- 
tract, which was regarded as too elastic in conditions and 
in duration to guarantee the standard that should be de- 
manded of an institution chartered to confer degrees in 
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. So strong were the 
objections felt by certain remonstrants that two petitions 
on the subject were addressed in January, 1894, to the 
Board of Overseers of Harvard University. One of these, 
from various residents of New York, petitioned that Har- 


vard University grant the ordinary degrees to properly 
qualified women; the other, from certain members of the 
Association of Collegiate Alumnae, asked that women stu- 
dents be admitted to such graduate courses in the Univer- 
sity as could be opened to them without involving the Uni- 
versity in further expense. The former was refused by the 
Board of Overseers on the ground that women were not per- 
mitted to qualify for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Har- 
vard University, and this form of qualification was implied 
by the degree; the latter was in effect granted, for the Over- 
seers agreed, with the concurrence of the President and 
Fellows, to admit any students of Radcliffe College to any 
courses of instruction designed primarily for graduates, 
subject to such Hmitations as the Faculty and the corre- 
sponding governing board of Radcliffe might set, it being 
understood that such students were not to be deemed stu- 
dents of Harvard University. 

But, in spite of the friendly attitude and deeds of the 
Harvard Corporation, "the howl grew louder against Rad- 
cliffe," according to Mrs. Agassiz's diary, and the criti- 
cisms from outsiders directed against the new plans in- 
volved her in a mass of correspondence and many perplex- 
ing experiences. An extract from a letter written in reply 
to one from a group of graduates of the Annex who had ex- 
pressed regret at the proposed change, exemplifies the 
manner in which Mrs. Agassiz met criticism and also sets 
forth her own policy toward Harvard University, the 
wisdom of which events proved: 

My dear Girls: ... A year has been spent in the 
most careful deliberation and earnest discussion be- 
tween the Harvard Corporation, the College faculty, 


and our own Society as to the means of bringing about 
a closer relation between the Annex and the Univer- 

. . . We began the Annex as an experiment. We did 
it in the hope that Harvard would finally take us in 
some way under her protection. She has now made 
the first step in that direction. She has assumed the 
whole responsibility of our education, and I confess 
it has never occurred to me that a degree given under 
her signature and seal would not be equivalent to a 
Harvard degree. It seems to me a distinction without 
a difference. What can any institution give more sa- 
cred than its signature and its seal? A pledge so guar- 
anteed cannot be broken by any honorable body. To 
make this guarantee valid Harvard must keep our 
education up to the level of that of the Harvard stu- 
dent. She cannot set her hand and seal to an inferior 
degree. But I do her injustice in even hinting at 
such a possibility — the offer is made in perfect good 
faith and with the purpose of enlarging our education 
as fast and as fully as possible. 

It seems to me unreasonable to expect the Corpo- 
ration of Harvard to declare to the public between 
today and tomorrow everything they intend to do 
in a new departure which must be experimental for 
them as it has been for us. You may say that our ex- 
periment should suflfice for them; on the contrary 
theirs is far more complicated, and has intricacies upon 
which ours did not touch. In saying this I allude to 
the governing boards, not to the professors. It would 
have delighted you to see the enthusiasm and earnest- 


ness with which the professors pursued the discussion 
in the faculty meetings, the confidence they showed 
in us, their readiness to do all and more than they 
have done for us. The fact that this body of teachers 
acquiesced in the final arrangement should satisfy 
you that it was one which was not intended to limit 
or retard our development. 

But there are technical difficulties in the way of the 
governing boards which do not belong to the Faculty, 
and which touch upon a trust which they (the gov- 
erning boards) have held for two hundred and fifty 
years and more. They must in loyalty to that older 
trust move cautiously and smooth over these diffi- 
culties gradually. 

I do not believe in forcing the hand of the Harvard 
Corporation either by the weight of outside opinion 
or of individual remonstrances. I do not believe in an 
aggressive policy. I do beUeve in making the govern- 
ing boards of Harvard our allies, — in showing them 
that all we ask can be granted without incurring any 
change of policy in the general government of the 
University or trenching in any way upon its original 

We have doubted (I mean we of the Annex) what 
part we should take in the sudden and startling pro- 
test against Radcliffe, which has taken us by surprise, 
because at first the air seemed full of congratulations. 
We decided not to enter into the newspaper lists. 
Patience and silence after all seemed best. We must 
go on with our work, keep our standard as high as 
possible, and let the results prove that we have not 


been mistaken in trusting ourselves to the guardian- 
ship of the University. This is always supposing that 
our act passes the Legislature, and that we really be- 
come Radcliffe College. Otherwise I am afraid there 
would be great depression in our ranks and we should 
find it hard to keep up our courage. 
Believe me always 

Your old and affectionate friend,, 
Elizabeth C. Agassiz 

As may be expected from the concluding paragraph of 
the above letter, remonstrances did not avail to check the 
efforts of the Society to obtain an act of legislature for its 
incorporation as a college with the right to confer degrees 
and to change its name to that of Radcliffe College. A 
hearing before the Committee of Education was held at 
the State House in Boston on February 28, 1894. The 
Committee on Endowment of Colleges of the Association 
of Collegiate Alumnae, who were the principal opponents 
of the act, were represented by Mr. G. W. Anderson and 
Mr. G. S. Hale. Their objections were, first, that the peti- 
tioners brought "no adequate guarantee that the new 
college is able to maintain the high character which it is 
the duty of the State to require of all institutions which it 
charters to grant degrees," inasmuch as "the essential basis 
of such guarantee is an adequate endowment fund"; sec- 
ond, that "it is expressly provided that Harvard Univer- 
sity may at any time withdraw its visitatorial power and 
decline to countersign the degrees," and, third, that "the 
fact that it is proposed that the degrees of the new college 
shall be countersigned by the President of Harvard Uni- 
versity is in itself a confession that alone the new college 


may not be a competent degree conferring institution." 
Mr. J. B. Warner appeared for the Society, and was sup- 
ported by Professors Norton, Byerly, Goodwin and Good- 
ale, and Mrs. Agassiz. After the presentation of the 
subject, the remonstrants withdrew their opposition, on 
condition that the clause, "provided, however, that no 
degree shall be conferred by the said Radcliffe College 
except with the approval of the President and Fellows of 
Harvard College," be inserted into the act — a clause, 
which, as was pointed out at the time, merely gave em- 
phasis to the original intention of the Society. 

An account of the hearing was written by Mr. Gilman 
in 1904, selections from his manuscript copy of which 
are published here. 

The room appointed for the hearing was all too 
small for the number of women who wished to attend. 
The audience was mainly composed of our opponents. 
. . . The chairman of the legislation committee 
wished us to present our views, and a member of 
our corporation made a plain statement of what had 
been done and what it was intended to do — namely, 
to give to women the same instruction that men had 
so long enjoyed, and said that the charter was asked 
in order that the Annex might be permanently 
established, and be authoritatively carried on with 
the aid of the President and Fellows [of Harvard 
College. Mrs. Agassiz was called upon to tell of the 
past work, and of the plans for the future. Her words 
made an evident impression. Professor Goodwin, who 
had taught classes of girls from the beginning, told 


the committee how he had found the woman mind, 
and as a member of the management, he emphasized 
the economical merits of the Annex plan. President 
Eliot surprised me, at least. He had been friendly to 
the Annex from the beginning. In fact, it could not 
have taken its first step if he had not been. Now he 
took a step in advance. We were asking the legisla- 
ture to permit us to do something; but Mr. Eliot 
took the groimd that Harvard was the active agent. 
He outlined the history of the advance of the college, 
showing how, established to insure a godly minis- 
try, its scope of activity had been widened by tak- 
ing up instruction in law, in medicine, in whatever 
else, and he asked emphatically, if Harvard College 
takes up the education of women is there any reason 
to suppose that it will ever renounce it.^* This re- 
mark appealed to the committee, and it overthrew 
at once the argument of the opposition that Rad- 
cliffe College might not be permanent. 

The greatest surprise was now to come. When our 
presentation was closed, one of the opposing attor- 
neys . . . rose, and announced that his client with- 
drew all opposition! The senior attorney remarked 
that this was a little too sudden, and stated a few 
unimportant points that he wished guarded. We 
at once gave our consent, and all opposition was 
withdrawn. The hearing was closed. The chairman of 
the committee told me that he had never attended a 
hearing at which he had learned so much, nor one at 
which both sides seemed so completely satisfied. 

The committee reported to the legislature, favor- 


ably of course, and RadcliflFe College received its 
most generous charter. 

The address of Mrs. Agassiz, which was the most im- 
portant that she ever made, is given here in full: 

I am asked to say something on the subject which 
is before you today, concerning the Society for the 
Collegiate Instruction of Women, better known by 
its more familiar (its household name, as it were) of 
the Harvard Annex, — names which we now petition 
you to change. Not because the more familiar name 
is not dear to us; on the contrary it belongs to the 
very initiation of our Society. It has the value of 
things which are associated with difficulties and sacri- 
fices, with strenuous effort, with small means and 
high aims. There are such times in the lives of institu- 
tions as well as of individuals, — times when the 
ideal side bravely takes the ascendency and seems to 
declare its independence of material means. At such a 
time, the name of the Annex was given to us, half in 
jest, half in earnest, wholly in good feeling by the 
students of the University. We were, perhaps, as im- 
pecunious a body as ever started on an important 
enterprise. Without any of the ordinary accessories 
for collegiate work (as buildings, books, apparatus 
and the like), with only enough money to cover the 
bare expenses of every day, we ventured to believe 
that we could build up an institution of learning for 
women which would eventually give them all the 
educational advantages which college gives to men. 

And why did we have this faith? Because of the 


proximity of our old University, honored and beloved 
throughout the land. Under its shadow we stood, — 
into its gates we hoped to enter; — and when in later 
years, as the scope of our undertaking became better 
understood, the prefix of Harvard was added by com- 
mon consent to our friendly designation of the Annex, 
the name so lightly given became to us very signifi- 
cant and very precious as an earnest of success, — a 
good omen as it were. We have indeed been led 
through these fifteen years by the hope that we 
should finally come under the acknowledged and 
permanent protection of Harvard. And now the 
President and Fellows have taken the first step to- 
ward that end. Overburdened by the care of the Uni- 
versity which represents a trust stretching over a 
period of nearly three hundred years and has grown 
in that time into an immense organization, they de- 
cline to assume in the same comprehensive sense the 
additional care of our society, — of its property, its 
internal economy, its discipline, etc., but they con- 
sent to take the whole responsibility of our education, 
and to guarantee the worth and validity of our de- 
grees by the signature and seal of the University. In 
order to facilitate this arrangement, they ask us to 
take a name as a college proper under their educa- 
tional supervision. As our own name of the Annex, 
pleasant 'as are its associations, did not seem quite 
appropriate, we have chosen from the many names 
suggested one which connects itself directly with the 
early history of the University. Anne Radcliffe 
founded, as you know, the first scholarship ever given 


by a woman to the University. It seemed fitting that 
she, who thus showed her sympathy with Hberal 
learning and with the principles of freedom embodied 
in the first New England college, should be commem- 
orated in the first college for women ever associated 
with Harvard. This adjustment between the Annex 
and Harvard has been reached after a year of the 
most careful deliberation between the Corporation 
of Harvard, the Corporation of our Society, and the 
Harvard Faculty. Surely the combination of three 
such bodies in full knowledge of the facts and in per- 
fect accord with each other, — the Annex Society 
representing fifteen years of experience in the intellec- 
tual training of women under Harvard instruction, — 
the Harvard Corporation ready to accept at the 
hands of the Annex the whole direction of the future 
education of their students, — and lastly all the pro- 
fessors supporting this transfer — surely such a triple 
Alliance may be trusted as having all the elements of 
safety and permanence. 

I am aware that our small means have been made a 
reproach to us, and that our opponents and your pe- 
titioners say that we are not rich and well-endowed 
enough to be trusted with the giving of degrees. It is 
true that our means are small as compared with cer- 
tain of the colleges for women. But such as they are, 
they have been well husbanded; and the fact that we 
never have been in debt and that we have now pleas- 
ant buildings with accommodations for the instruc- 
tion of three hundred students, with ample recitation 
rooms and lecture halls, with an excellent working 


library containing several thousand volumes, and 
beside this a fair spending income and a moderate 
surplus for emergencies, — all this will perhaps reas- 
sure you as to the practical management of our af- 
fairs. Neither must it be forgotten that if our endow- 
ment is small, the active and cordial cooperation of 
the professors and teachers of Harvard is better than 
money for us, — it would be so for any young and 
growing college. Without that support the $280,000 
which now represents our whole property (inclusive 
of certain legacies) would perhaps be an insufficient 
capital for the maintenance on a high standard of a 
new college without other support. But the true 
builders of the Annex have been and are the Harvard 
professors. They have brought it to its present promi- 
nent position. They represent its true wealth and its 
strength, — not a bad substitute for endowment 
funds though measured by other standards. 

I must not take your time with details about the 
instruction given or the work done at the Annex. The 
friends who are here with us from the college will do 
that better than I can. Still I should be sorry to close 
without a word of our students. My own relation with 
them is one of affectionate personal intercourse 
rather than any immediate direction of their studies, 
— a duty which belongs to our academic board, made 
up of officers of the college, and to the professors and 
teachers themselves. But I have constant evidence 
of their deep gratitude for the opportunities offered 
them at Cambridge. They are fully sensible of the 
liberal and comprehensive quality of the instruction 


they receive there and of the generous spirit in which 
it is given. Of course our students belong largely to 
the class of teachers, — young girls who are fitting 
for that career, or older women, many of whom are 
experienced teachers, but who come to make them- 
selves familiar with the larger methods of university 
instruction, and carry back to their schoolrooms 
what is freshest and most interesting in their own de- 
partment of work. No one can be blind to the advan- 
tage for our public education of thus bringing our pub- 
lic schools into more direct and vital contact with our 
oldest University, with its large and varied means of 
instruction, its great outfit in all departments, its 
learning and its old associations. I know there are 
those who look upon Radcliffe College as likely to 
limit rather than enlarge these privileges. But we 
have to remember that it is not the habit of Harvard 
to make itself responsible for inferior work, — all 
her traditions, all her standards, all her principles of 
action are opposed to such a course. The governing 
boards of Harvard do not mean to establish an infe- 
rior college. It has been my privilege to stand very 
near to the late transactions between the Annex and 
Harvard, and I cannot doubt that her guardianship 
over her young ward will be just and generous. Is it 
not a little unreasonable to expect that the governing 
boards should at once explain to the public exactly 
what their course of action is going to be in dealing 
with an experiment, which is not yet begun and which 
involves so marked a change of policy in their admin- 
istration.^ To those who have watched the working 


out of this agreement it seems far the best educa- 
tional opportunity ever offered to women in this 
country. But should this new departure, so full of 
hope and promise, be met by a check now, — by a 
refusal or even a postponement of our right to give 
degrees under the authority of Harvard, it would take 
the heart out of our enterprise. We should be thrown 
back upon our old lines, upon the position of insecurity 
and doubt which we have held for so long, and which 
has been the chief hindrance to our progress. 

We therefore hope that our petition for a college 
charter, supported as it is by the governing boards of 
Harvard and approved by her professors and teach- 
ers who have served us so long and so faithfully, will 
not be denied us by the Legislature. 

; The effect of Mrs. Agassiz's words and above all of her 
presence is described by President Eliot in the address at 
the Commemoration Service published below, and is there- 
fore not dwelt upon here. There was no doubt in the minds 
of those present, as they watched the faces of the Commit- 
tee, that her influence upon them was securing the desired 
legislation, yet Mrs. Agassiz herself with her usual modesty 
attributed the clinching of the arguments not to herself but 
to another. In the note on Professor Goodwin at the time 
of his resignation, which has been quoted above in part, 
she speaks of his influence at the hearing. "One of the 
grounds of the opposition of the remonstrants was our pov- 
erty. They asserted that the right of giving degrees should 
not be conferred upon an institution so poor, the future of 
which was therefore so insecure. To this plea Mr. Goodwin 
replied, *The remonstrants are right as to the material 


means of Radcliffe; she is not rich — perhaps she never will 
be. She only has the cooperation of a body of instruction 
such as cannot be obtained by any other college for women 
in the United States.' I remember that this closed the dis- 
cussion very effectively." Mrs. Agassiz's own record in her 
diary for that day gives no indication of the slightest con- 
sciousness that she had delivered an epoch-making speech. 
"Hearing at State House — very satisfactory. Lunched 
with SaUie at the Mayflower. ... To the Annex to see the 
students who were delighted at the success of the hearing." 
A few days later Mrs. Agassiz received the following let- 
ter from the senior counsel for her opponents: 


Boston, March 13, 1894 
My dear Mrs. Agassiz : The ladies whom I repre- 
sented at the late hearing in regard to Radcliffe Col- 
lege have kindly sent me the enclosed, as they express 
it to me, "in token of their appreciation of the services 
you have rendered, not as a payment for strictly 
legal services." 

I cannot use this acknowledgment so agreeably to 
myself or so nearly in accordance with their interest 
in the cause, as by asking that you would do me the 
honor to be the medium of adding it to the perma- 
nent fund of the College. 

With cordial regards to yourself and grateful ac- 
knowledgments of your services for the Institution 
and the cause it represents, I am, with high respect 
and regard. 

Sincerely yours, 

George S. Hale 


On March 23, 1894, the Governor signed the act for the 
incorporation of RadcUffe College. 

The new relations with the University made a certain 
degree of reorganization necessary for the college. The 
Corporation and the Academic Board were both enlarged. 
The list of permanent officers was increased by the addi- 
tion of a regent and a dean. Mrs. Agassiz continued to be 
president of the institution, Mr. Oilman became regent, and 
Mr. Warner remained treasurer. Miss Mary Coes, a gradu- 
ate of the college and later its dean, was made secretary, 
an office which she continued to hold during the rest of 
Mrs. Agassiz*s life; the college had no more devoted serv- 
ant and friend, the students no more ready and interested 
adviser, and her faithfulness and quiet absorption in the 
affairs of Radcliffe ministered to Mrs. Agassiz in a thou- 
sand ways more constantly than probably any one, even 
Mrs Agassiz herself, could have told. The appointment of 
a dean, which constituted the most important change in 
the official personnel was felt to be a necessity attendant 
upon the development into a college. From the beginning 
of the Annex, Mrs. Arthur Oilman had acted as Chairman 
of the Students' Committee, and she and Mr. Oilman to- 
gether had performed many of the duties that in a formally 
constituted college devolve upon the dean; but much of 
the voluntary service that had been rendered the Annex by 
its devoted friends had in the nature of things, when it 
became incorporated as a college, to be organized upon a 
more permanent and academic basis. It was the desire of 
Mrs. Agassiz that the college should have in the dean a 
social head, a person of such scholarship and experience in 
teaching that her presence would be of importance on all 


the educational boards of Radcliffe, and an oflScer to whom 
all matters regarding the life of the students in Cambridge 
should be brought by them and their relatives for consulta- 
tion and advice. "Nor will this," Mrs. Agassiz wrote in 
some notes found among her papers, " (at least, we surely 
hope that it will not) diminish in any way the friendly, we 
might almost say motherly interest which Mrs. Gihnan 
has always taken in the students and which has been so 
valuable to them, while we also hope that it may in some 
measure relieve her of a responsibility which she has volun- 
tarily and generously taken upon herself"; and in the same 
notes she continues: "It is difficult to define the duties 
of an officer who has been ready to accept so much and 
such various work as Mr. Oilman has cheerfully taken upon 
himself. Something of what has fallen upon him in the way 
of discipline and personal direction of the students will 
now naturally pass into the care of the lady in residence as 
general guide and adviser of the students." These tributes 
to the earliest friends of the college illustrate the spirit 
of loyalty and the appreciation of the efforts of others 
that were characteristic of Mrs. Agassiz. 

So unusual was the combination and degree of the quali- 
ties demanded for the dean by Mrs. Agassiz and the Cor- 
poration that it seemed doubtful if the possessor of them 
could be found, imtil a member of the Council suggested 
Miss Agnes Irwin, who since 1869 had been principal of a 
widely known private school for girls in Philadelphia, 
through which she had become an important influence in 
the life of the city. The executive ability that had fitted 
her for this position was partly hereditary. Not only did 
she count Benjamin Franklin and Alexander James Dallas 


among her ancestors, but she had also had, especially on 
her mother's side of the family, a Une of forbears who had 
won an enviable reputation in scientific, military, naval or 
diplomatic fields. She had herself the education that asso- 
ciation and inheritance give in richer measure than any 
college, to which force and charm were lent by her intellec- 
tual and unusual social gifts, her ready wit, her strong reli- 
gious faith, and her power of affection, and an air of natural 
distinction entirely independent of the accident of her 
position, made her presence additionally significant. It is 
no wonder that she was recognized as a suitable fellow- 
worker with Mrs. Agassiz and one whose coming to 
Radcliffe as dean would be a happy omen for the college. 
"I hope you will be glad to learn," she wrote to Mrs. Agas- 
siz in her letter of acceptance of the office, "that I accept 
the place offered me with a deep sense of its possibilities 
and duties, and that I am proud and happy indeed to 
be associated with you in this work." On the envelope 
containing this letter Mrs. Agassiz noted: "Acceptance of 
Deanship, Radcliffe College. A blessed day for me. E. C. 
Agassiz." And in her diary she recorded for May 24 of that 
year: "Received Miss Irwin's answer accepting. An im- 
mense relief." "I know that we understand each other so 
well," she wrote to Miss Irwin a few years after her work 
at RadcHffe had begun, "that there is not and never could 
be a question of precedence of authority between us," and 
she has left many other expressions of her estimate of Miss 
Irwin's character and ability. "Under her guidance I be- 
lieve the institution will always be dignified in its attitude 
and efficient in its work," she said later to a friend, and it 
was perhaps this rehance upon Miss Irwin's standards and 


judgment that made her coming so great a relief to Mrs. 
Agassiz and so important an event in her connection with 
the college. 

The ideals that Mrs. Agassiz had for the college, thus in- 
augurated, and the spirit in which she regarded its future 
are best set forth in selections from her Commencement 
address for 1894. 

My Young Friends : I have not much to say to you 
this afternoon. Perhaps when a cherished wish is 
fulfilled, one does not feel inclined for many words. 
When we reach the summit of a height which we have 
been slowly climbing, not without difficulty and fa- 
tigue, our first feeling is, indeed, one of quiet sat- 
isfaction, rather than of excitement which seeks 
expression. Today we reach such a height, and a 
wider horizon opens around us, with larger oppor- 
tunities. ... I am not sure that we all understand 
the responsibility of success. In our elation at the 
fact, we forget, perhaps, its deeper significance as re- 
gards our own obligations. 

We have all longed for the position we occupy to- 
day, — longed to be accepted by the old and beloved 
University, under whose shadow we ventured to be- 
gin our work, hoping for final recognition. Today 
that recognition is ours. Harvard has consented to 
receive our college as her ward, — has made herself 
responsible for our education and has given us her 
signature and her seal as guarantee thereunto. In this 
we may, of course, feel a just pride. We should not 
have had her approval had we not been in some de- 


gree worthy of it. She has opened to us new courses 
with a Hberal hand; perhaps no University, either in 
this country, or elsewhere, opens a nobler course of 
instruction to women, than Harvard offers to her 
Radcliffe students of today; and while we are as- 
sembled here, on the last day of our present college 
year, knowing that the next term will open under new 
conditions, is it not well to take counsel together? to 
consider what the new aspect of our college instruc- 
tion imposes upon us, as our most important aca- 
demic duty? 

It is no small gain to have a high standard held up 
before us. We all know what it is to follow a flag, if it 
represents to us a noble ideal. This is what Harvard 
has done for us, and it is a better gift even than the 
enlarged field of study, the higher grades of instruc- 
tion which she offers us. In associating us so nearly 
with herself, — in sharing with us the wealth of her 
traditions gathered during more than two centuries 
and a half, she gives us a new stimulus to upright 
aims and conscientious achievement. In saying this, I 
do not think of scholarship alone, but of its uses, as 
helping toward a well-rounded character. Our schol- 
arship will not be worth much if it does not lend 
itself in gracious service to whatever path in life it 
may be our lot to follow. 

... It is my dearest wish for you all that Radcliffe 
College by her bearing (for institutions as well as in- 
dividuals may have a dignified and noble bearing), 
by her simplicity and refinement of manners, by her 
fidelity to scholarship in its more comprehensive and 


liberal sense, should worthily serve the older insti- 
tution by which she is adopted. This trust is yours, 
and I hope you will hand it down to successive classes, 
enriched by traditions of your own, such as may befit 
association with what is best and noblest in the rec- 
ords of Harvard University. 

Mrs. Agassiz, it is to be observed, says nothing about 
her own part on the path up which the college had been 
"slowly climbing," and her silence brings to mind a story 
that Mrs. Curtis tells of her during her presidency. "Lizzie 
was never hampered with any consciousness that she her- 
self held a position demanding any special consideration. 
I was present once at a little scene which amused me by 
showing this trait to some people who were entirely un- 
aware of the character they were trying to exploit. It was 
at one of her afternoon teas at home and the visitors were 
either English or Americans who lived abroad. I was a 
silent looker-on, and very soon saw that she was being in- 
terviewed entirely unconsciously. They asked all sorts of 
questions. Had she done this? and accomplished that? And 
she would only tell of what had happened and nothing of 
what she herself had done." 

But as we read the records given in the foregoing 
pages of "what had happened and what she herself had 
done," we see that the nature of Mrs. Agassiz's service to 
the college was twofold. She was influential in deter- 
mining the policy of the movement almost from the day 
that she became associated with it, and she represented 
^that policy in an exceptionally effective manner to the 
mblic. She was filled with a true reverence for Harvard 
Fniversity, due first, perhaps, to her associations with 


President Felton and the group of men whom she first 
met under his roof, but more especially to the deep at- 
tachment of Agassiz to the college and his unflagging 
efforts for its development. Although Mrs. Agassiz*s letters 
from Brazil indicate her interest in the condition of her 
own sex there, she was never one to spell "woman" with a 
capital W, and she gave her time and efforts not to the 
higher education of women in general, as a "cause," but 
specifically to Harvard education for women as a means of 
extending the benefits of the University to enrich the lives 
of women and so of children. Moreover, her interest in 
women's colleges was not independent of her interest in 
the Annex and was usually focused about the experiment 
in Cambridge. 

It is true that any educational enterprise had a 
certain attraction for her because of Agassiz*s character 
and reputation as one of the greatest teachers that Har- 
vard has ever had; and it is largely in his enthusiasm for 
education, the ideals for the instruction of girls that he 
had expressed in the school, and his affection for Harvard 
that the springs of Mrs. Agassiz*s activity in behalf of 
RadcHffe may be found. The school that she originated to 
assist him financially and which afforded her pleasure only 
in so far as they worked together in it, led her, according to 
her own testimony, to associate herself with the plan that 
resulted in Radcliffe College. Her relation to Radcliffe, 
therefore, which seems to form a separate chapter in her 
existence, does not in reaHty break the unity of her life, 
which found its completion by being merged in that of 
Agassiz; it was, on the contrary, the expression — to a 
greater extent, probably, than she was herself aware — of 


her entire union with him, and it is scarcely an exaggera- 
tion to say that Radcliffe for no inconsiderable part of its 
foundations rests upon the devotion of a woman to her 

It was especially due to Mrs. Agassiz's loyalty to the 
University that she never ceased to emphasize the depend- 
ence of the Annex from its very inception upon Harvard 
alone, and that dependence as its sole reason for existence. 
Her confidence in the Veritas of Harvard had a large share 
in bringing about the final incorporation of Radchffe Col- 
lege, and the personal affection and respect that she aroused 
attracted the already friendly administrative bodies of the 
University to the enterprise. It is practically certain that 
if Mrs. Agassiz had had no connection with the Annex, it 
would still have met with success; her contribution to the 
movement consisted in giving it, simply by being herself, 
an impetus, a dignity, and an unwavering standard that it 
could not have had without her. 

In the same way her influence impressed itself upon the 
students. She herself said that her attitude toward them 
was characterized by an affectionate friendliness; theirs 
toward her was that of affectionate admiration and re- 
spect. None can be said to have had relations of intimacy 
with her, but, although her personal interest often came as 
a surprise to them, none failed to recognize that they had in 
her a friend to whom they might turn for counsel and sym- 
pathy. "I can never forget," a former president of the 
Alumnae Association of the Annex writes, "her gracious 
presence as she sat beside me at the Commencement din- 
ners at which I had the painful duty to preside. A kind of 
praesidium et dulce decus meum she seemed to me, making 


my task lighter by her appreciative acceptance of my 

The story has often been told of Mrs. Agassiz that 
one year when the Commencement exercises were held in 
her own drawing-room, and there was only one candidate 
for a diploma, as she handed her the parchment adorned as 
usual with a rose thrust through the ribbon that bound it, 
she put both arms around the astonished girl's neck and ex- 
claimed, "We're proud of you, my dear!" And in the same 
spirit years later in Sanders Theatre when she conferred 
the first degree of doctor of philosophy given by Radcliffe 
College, she increased its value many fold to the recipient 
by her whispered, "So glad you have it, dear." 

Her relation with the students, it should be said, was 
not one of daily intercourse, for she had no office hours 
and seldom met them except on public occasions and at 
social gatherings. After the Annex was installed in Fay 
House she saw them most frequently at the Wednesday 
afternoon teas w^hich she established and which became a 
recognized college institution that she attended as long 
as it was possible for her to do so. These were held in 
the attractive, elliptical-shaped drawing-room, pleasantly 
shaded in spring and summer, and cheerful in winter with a 
blazing fire, fragrant with the delicate aroma of tea and 
lemon, and inviting with a special type of gay little Swed- 
ish cakes arrayed upon the tea-table. Here girls with scant 
experience of the world could meet pleasantly the friends of 
Mrs. Agassiz, attracted by her presence to the occasion; 
here an unfailing welcome was ready, given in tones that 
conveyed the very essence of kindliness even when the 
personality of the student was unknown; and here, best of 


all, was waiting the face, that as President Briggs has sug- 
gested, might well recall the Hnes of Waller: 

** Sweetness, truth and every grace 

Which time and use are wont to teach, 
The eye may in a moment reach 
And read distinctly in her face." 

The picture of Mrs. Agassiz in her "widow's cap" and 
favorite white cashmere shawl gracefully drawn about her 
shoulders, seated by her tea-table in the drawing-room of 
Fay House, is probably that which first rises at the sound of 
her name in the minds of the students who knew her, al- 
though her appearance was perhaps more distinguished on 
the platform of Sanders Theatre at Commencement, when 
she emphasized the lady rather than the academic official 
by appearing always in a black velvet gown — the only- 
woman, as one of the Cambridge clergy remarked, who 
could wear black velvet on the hottest day in June without 
loss of dignity. The Commencement exercises were to her 
the most dreaded of all occasions connected with the col- 
lege, especially after they were transferred from Fay House 
to Sanders Theatre. Again and again her diaries record her 
troubled anticipations of the day when she must appear in 
pubhc and deliver her address. "Great tremors before — 
immense relief after." "I feel Hke an emancipated woman, 
now that I need no longer look forward to that terrible 
ordeal in Sanders Theatre." It never ceased to be an agi- 
tating experience to her, and as will be seen from some of 
her letters pubHshed in a later chapter was the duty from 
which she most craved rehef when the time for her resigna- 
tion came. 

In concluding the story of 1894, a year so memorable 


for Mrs. Agassiz and for the college, a correspondence that 
took place in the autumn, as a sequel to the closer relation 
between Harvard and Radcliffe, remains to be mentioned. 
This correspondence has already been printed in the First 
Annual Report of the President of Radcliffe College and 
also in a published address by Charles Francis Adams, 
made at a meeting of the Massachusetts Historical Society 
held on February 14, 1895, in memory of Judge Ebenezer 
Hoar of Concord, Massachusetts. It is repeated here, since 
at the time it attracted a good deal of attention, and since 
Mrs. Agassiz's part in it is characteristically graceful. 

President of Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts 

Quincy, September 12, 1894 
Honored AND Gracious Lady: This epistle is ad- 
dressed to you from Quincy, because in the part of 
Braintree which now bears that name, in the burial 
place by the meeting house, all that was mortal of me 
was laid to rest more than two centuries ago, and the 
gravestone stands which bears my name, and marks 
the spot where my dust reposes. 

It may cause you surprise to be thus addressed, 
and that the work which you are pursuing with such 
constancy and success is of interest to one who so 
long ago passed from the mortal sight of men. But 
you may recall that wise philosophers have believed 
and taught that those who have striven to do their 
Lord's will here below do not, when transferred to his 
house on high, thereby become wholly regardless of 



what may befall those who come after them, — **nec, 
haec coelestia spectantes, ista terrestria contemnunt," It 
is a comforting faith that those who have "gone forth 
weeping, bearing precious seed," shall be permitted 
to see and share the joys of the harvest with their suc- 
cessors who gather it. 

I was a contemporary of the pious and bountiful 
Lady Radcliffe, for whom your college is named. My 
honored husband, Charles Hoar, Sheriff of Glouces- 
ter in England, by his death in 1638, left me a widow 
with six children. We were of the people called by 
their revilers Puritans, to whom civil liberty, sound 
learning, and religion were very dear. The times were 
troublous in England, and the hands of princes and 
prelates were heavy upon God's people. My thoughts 
were turned to the new England where precious Mr. 
John Harvard had just lighted that little candle 
which has since thrown its beams so far, where there 
seemed a providential refuge for those who desired a 
church without a Bishop, and a state without a King. 

I did not, therefore, like the worshipful Lady Rad- 
cliffe, send a contribution in money; but I came 
hither myself, bringing the five youngest of my chil- 
dren with me, and arrived at Braintree in the year 

From that day Harvard College has been much in 
my mind; and I humbly trust that my coming has 
not been without some furtherance to its well being. 
My lamented husband in his will directed that our 
youngest son, Leonard, should be "carefuUie kept at 
Schoole, and when hee is fitt for itt to be carefullie 



placed at Oxford, and if ye Lord shall see fitt, to make 
him a Minister unto his people." As the nearest prac- 
ticable conformity to this direction, I placed him 
carefully at Harvard College, to such purpose that he 
graduated therefrom in 1650, became a faithful min- 
ister to God's people, a capable physician to heal 
their bodily diseases, and became the third President 
of the College, and the first who was a graduate from 
it, in 1672. 

My daughters became the wives of the Rev. 
Henry Flint, the minister of Brain tree, and Col. 
Edmund Quincy of the same town : and it is recorded 
that from their descendants another President has 
since been raised up to the College, Josiah Quincy 
{tarn carum caput), and a Professor of Rhetoric and 
Oratory, John Quincy Adams, who as well as his sons 
and grandsons have given much aid to the College, as 
members of one or the other of its governing boards, 
beside attaining other distinctions less to my present 

The elder of my three sons who came with me to 
America, John Hoar, settled in the extreme western 
frontier town of English settlement in New England, 
called Concord: to which that exemplary Christian 
man, the Reverend Peter Bulkeley, had brought his 
flock in 1635. Li Mr. Bulkeley's ponderous theologi- 
cal treatise, called "The Gospel Covenant," of which 
two editions were published in London (but whether 
it be so generally and constantly perused and studied 
at the present day, as it was in my time, I know not), 
— in the preface thereto, he says it was written "at 


the end of the earth." There my son and his poster- 
ity have dwelt and multiplied, and the love and serv- 
ice of the College which I should approve have not 
been wholly wanting among them. In so remote a 
place there must be urgent need of instruction, 
though the report seems to be well founded that set- 
tlements farther westward have since been made, and 
that some even of my own posterity have penetrated 
the continent to the shores of the Pacific Sea. Among 
the descendants of John Hoar have been that worthy 
Professor John Farrar, whose beautiful face in marble 
is among the precious possessions of the College; that 
dear and faithful woman who gave the whole of her 
humble fortune to establish a scholarship therein, 
Levina Hoar; and others who as Fellows or Overseers 
have done what they could for its prosperity and 

Pardon my prolixity, but the story I have told is 
but a prelude to my request of your kindness. There 
is no authentic mode in which departed souls can im- 
part their wishes to those who succeed them in this 
world but these, the record or memory of their 
thoughts and deeds, while on earth; or the reappear- 
ance of their qualities of mind and character in their 
lineal descendants. 

In this first year of Radcliffe College, — when so 
far as seems practicable and wise, the advantages 
which our dear Harvard College, "the defiance of 
the Puritan to the savage and the wilderness," has so 
long bestowed upon her sons, are through your means 
to be shared by the sisters and daughters of our peo- 


pie, — if it should so befall that funds for a scholar- 
ship to assist in the education of girls at Radcliffe Col- 
lege, who need assistance, with preference always to 
be given to natives, or daughters of citizens of Con- 
cord, Massachusetts, should be placed in the hands of 
your Treasurer, you might well suppose that memory 
of me had induced some of my descendants to spare 
so much from their necessities for such a modest me- 
morial: and I would humbly ask that the scholarship 
may bear the name of 

The Widow Joanna Hoar 

And may God establish the good work you have in 

At the same time that Mrs. Agassiz received this letter 
the treasurer of Radcliffe College received an anonymous 
gift of two thousand dollars, afterward increased to five 
thousand dollars. 

In reply, Mrs. Agassiz addressed the following letter to 
Judge Hoar as one of the descendants of Joanna Hoar. 

Quincy Street, Cambridge, October 11, 1894 
Dear Sir: Very recently I received the most gra- 
cious communication from the far past, written with 
the mingled dignity and grace which we are wont to 
associate with our ladies of the olden time, yet not 
without a certain modernness which showed that she 
still keeps in touch with what is valuable in our day 
and generation. Through me she sends greeting to the 
young Radcliffe College, and a most generous gift to 


aid in the work for the education of women in which 
that institution is engaged. 

A doubt as to the best way of acknowledging the 
gift and the sympathy it represents has kept me 
silent till now. But a friend suggests that you might 
put us in the way of searching that gentle Joanna 
Hoar who speaks across the lapse of time so cordially 
and sweetly. In that case will you express, if not to 
her, to some of her living descendants, the thanks of 
Radcliffe College for the scholarship which she has so 
generously endowed. 

Perhaps I may be allowed to add my own respect- 
ful gratitude for her valued letter to me. 

With great regard, 

Most cordially yours, 

Elizabeth C. Agassiz 


Concord, Massachusetts, October 15, 1894 
Dear Mrs. Agassiz : I am honored by the receipt 
of your courteous letter. If, as I suppose, the Joanna 
Hoar to whom you refer is a lady from whom I am de- 
scended, I know no means of communicating with 
her. Even the messenger entrusted by the Post Oflfice 
with a "special delivery" letter might decline to risk 
the chances of getting back, if he were to undertake 
the delivery in person. So I adopted the other alterna- 
tive which you suggest, and stated the case to two of 
her most conspicuous descendants of our time. Sena- 
tor George F. Hoar, of Worcester, and Mr. Charles F. 


Adams, who has recently removed from Quincy to a 
house in Lincoln, just on the borders of Concord. 

They look intelligent, but promise nothing; though 
both are members of the Historical Society, and per- 
haps know more than they choose to tell. 

I am glad, however, that the old lady contrived a 
way to send Radcliffe a gift with her greeting. 
Very faithfully yours, 

In the address referred to above Mr. Adams "chose to 
tell" the story of the scholarship and revealed the open 
mystery that Joanna Hoar had made her gift through 
Judge Hoar himself. "He chose to give with an unseen 
hand," Mr. Adams said, "and to build his memorial to his 
first New England ancestor in his own peculiar way." He 
probably was well aware that in Mrs. Agassiz he had a 
correspondent who would meet his humor halfway and 
answer him in his own vein. 



DURING the fifteen years while the Annex was de- 
veloping into Radeliffe College Mrs. Agassiz's mani- 
fold official duties did not by any means engross her entire 
time or form the most intimate claims on her attention. 
The conditions of her daily existence that we have seen 
prevailing between 1873 and 1879 essentially continued 
in this later period, accompanied by changes that time 
made in the lives of her grandchildren, who as they grew 
older did not grow any the less absorbing, and that illness 
and death brought into the family circle. Of these the most 
important to Mrs. Agassiz was the death of her mother in 
1880. "Life is so different," she wrote to Frau Mettenius 
a few months later, "when we have no longer father or 
mother in the world. We are at first (however old we may 
be when the change comes) a little like lost children." Yet 
on the whole these years of which we are speaking, apart 
from Mrs. Agassiz's efforts for the college, contain little to 
record beyond the round of activities that were incident to 
a large social and family connection such as hers. 

It was during this time that she became a member of the 
Ladies' Visiting Committee for the Kindergarten for the 
Blind, estabhshed under the direction of the Perkins Insti- 
tution for the Blind, and began her service as treasurer for 
the Cambridge branch of the committee, which she contin- 
ued for seventeen years, until after an illness in 1904 she 


was obliged to resign it. Her appeals for contributions from 
Cambridge, issued yearly in the form of leaflets, by their 
simplicity, directness, and freedom from sentimentality 
were effective at the time and are still interesting. Her own 
enthusiasm for the work among the children of the Kinder- 
garten appears in the following letter. 


Cambridge [May 7, 1894] 
. . . The other day Alice Longfellow and I had a 
pleasant morning together; we drove over to the 
Kindergarten for the Blind and were wonderstruck, 
as one always is, however often he may have seen it, 
with the skilful work and the seeming enjoyment of 
these children. There are classes of little boys of seven 
or eight who are as versed in Longfellow's poetry as 
any children of real eyes could be. When Alice came 
in and they were told who it was, their faces grew 
radiant. They asked if they might recite something 
from her father's poems. The teacher seemed to think 
they would not remember on such a sudden call, but 
they were sure they could, and they recited eight or 
ten together, the "Blacksmith" (in chorus) without a 
mistake and with such sweet and intelligent expres- 
sions that you could not hear it without emotion. The 
teacher told me that last year (with Alice's permis- 
sion) she took them to Craigie House. Alice was not 
at home, but they wanted to come in and look about. 
When they came to the old clock on the stairs, she 
said the children were touched as by some very sacred 


thing. They came down quite seriously, and after a 
moment with one accord as they stood quite silent at 
the foot of the stairs, they recited the poem about the 
clock. As you look at their work — their knitting and 
embroidery, their writing and sewing, and as you see 
their enjoyment of beautiful things, flowers, for in- 
stance, you cannot help thinking that they have, as 
Phillips Brooks said, some inner sense which stands 
them in stead of what they have lost. 

No account of any series of years in Mrs. Agassiz*s life is 
complete without some mention of Nahant. The summers 
there during the period of which we are speaking were 
scarcely less active for her than her Cambridge winters, as 
may be seen from some reminiscences of them written for 
the family by Mrs. Cornelius Conway Felton in an unpub- 
lished sketch called "Summer Days at Nahant," from 
which the following selections are made. 

The house was placed on a slope of land so that one 
side of it was entered from the grassy lawn, without 
any driveway. The other side facing the sea was high 
enough to give a fine uninterrupted view of the whole 
bay and the Lynn shore. At first there was not a tree 
or a shrub on the place, but Aunt Lizzie's love for the 
beautiful soon prompted her to plant woodbine be- 
side the porches and to begin a garden. She was a born 
home maker, and any abode of hers, even if for a 
day's visit assumed an air of cosiness as well as ele- 
gance. Everything was dainty, fresh, and in her 
housekeeping no friction was perceptible between 
mistress and maids. At any hour of the day or night a 



comfortable meal might be had. The newly arrived 
guest always had the warmest welcome, and while the 
traveller was refreshing himself Aunt Lizzie would sit 
and talk delightfully. 

My husband tells me that when he and his 
brother were boys, they could have breakfast at any 
hour of the morning in order to go fishing or shooting. 
Boys were taken as much into consideration as any 
one else in the complicated household, which con- 
sisted of a dozen people regularly and often more 
when there were guests. A convenient feature of the 
Nahant cottage was that the rooms opened out of 
doors so that the occupants could enter and leave 
without disturbing other people. The Felton boys 
had their room at the end of the west wing, which 
proved a rendezvous for all their chums, where they 
met to talk endlessly. ... It was a kind of Liberty 
Hall of which the memories are delightful. . . . Guests 
were always turning up unexpectedly to lunch, dine 
or pass the night, and one never had a sensation of 
making trouble even if the house were full — a bed 
could be made up in the laboratory for a grandson. 
One of Aunt Lizzie's delightful thoughts for enter- 
taining children was that each might bring an inti- 
mate friend; so the variety of the rising generation 
that we saw was amusing and extensive. . . . 

Aunt Lizzie delighted in her garden and until the 
last few years of her life daily spent several hours 
gathering and arranging her flowers. I like to recall 
her in her fresh white morning gown, basket and 
shears in hand, going leisurely with her rather stately 


air from border to border, and then coming to the 
shady porch and arranging the flowers in different 
vases. Lemon verbena, rose geranium and heliotrope 
she always had in abundance, so that the rooms were 
fragrant with them and there were water lilies in 
August. At first her garden was of the simplest plan 
of flower beds arranged about the house, but ten 
years before her death she made a long grassy walk 
leading around the house between ornamental trees 
and shrubs. . . . Another pet plan of hers was a roof 
garden over the laboratory. ... It consisted of a se- 
ries of boxes put about the sides and across the roof, so 
that when the flowers were well started they joined 
each other, and you looked over a lovely mass of color 
to the blue sea and the Lynn shore. Aunt Lizzie stud- 
ied the effect of her flower scheme quite intently till 
she arranged it to satisfy herself. Another pretty 
decoration for her porch was a glass tank in which 
she kept pond lilies, and she used nasturtium leaves, 
if she did not have lily pads. 

Two interludes of travel interrupted these years spent 
for the greater part in Cambridge and Nahant. In the 
spring of 1892 Mrs. Agassiz went with relatives to the Pa- 
cific coast — a journey of three months that was a source 
of great enjoyment to her. The still greater pleasure that 
opened before her in the autumn of 1894, after the Annex 
had been safely transformed into Radcliffe College, is best 
announced by herself in the following note. 



Nahant, September 25, 1894 
. . . Do you know that I am going to Europe for the 
winter with my dear Shaws? I have known it myself 
for less than a week, and as I only returned from New- 
port last Tuesday, I have been rather busy and very 
bewildered — in a sort of waking dream. My plans 
were all laid for a winter in Cambridge and I was 
hardly prepared for this change of front. But the fam- 
ily chorus is in one strain, "You must go," and you 
can imagine that I could not go more delightfully. 

Remember that my European experience consists of 
one week in England, one in Paris and four in Switzer- 
land, that I know nothing of France, Germany or Italy 
— and to see the beautiful things that have been a 
dream to me all my life with Quin and Pauhne! . . . 

Mrs. Agassiz sailed for Havre in October with Mr. and 
Mrs. Shaw, and two of their children. A month in Paris 
was followed by a winter in Italy; in the spring she went 
with her niece. Miss Mary Felton, and a friend, Miss Isa 
Gray, for a short visit to London, Cambridge, and Oxford, 
before joining Mrs. Richard Cary and Miss Cary, her 
sister-in-law and niece, in Venice for a few months of 
travel on the continent until October, when they sailed for 
home. Mrs. Agassiz's itinerary, it will be seen, led her along 
well-trodden paths and into the usual experience of the 
American traveller who makes the "grand tour" with ease 
of material conditions, meeting old and new friends on the 
road. It is her own spirit that gives individuality to the 
account of her travels that she has left in her letters and 


diaries. Although at this time she was preoccupied by many- 
anxieties, her power of cheerful enjoyment, her incapabihty 
of grumbling, and her habitual self-forgetfulness provided 
her with the traveller's silver spoon no less at seventy- 
two years than in the days in Brazil and on the Hassler. 
In spite of her age she was undaunted by the exigencies 
of travel and unf oiled by lack of vigor from improving her 
opportunities for pleasure. When she was in the Dolomites 
and Tyrol, for instance, solitary mountain rambles in the 
early morning were her delight, nor did they afford her a 
reason for passing the rest of the day in dolcefar niente. "A 
heavenly day," she recorded in her diary at Zell-am-See on 
August 18, 1895. "Breakfasted at 6.30 in my room. A 
beautifxil walk. Packed. Afternoon, ascended the Schmit- 
tenhohe, Helen [Mrs. Richard Gary] and I each in one of 
those queer chairs. The path excessively steep and none 
too safe. I walked down, but Helen who kept to her chair 
was upset, but not hurt." In her sight- seeing, in general, 
however, Mrs. Agassiz combined with the zest of one score 
the good sense of three score and ten years. In Paris and 
Italy she enjoyed the advantage of having an accompUshed 
cicerone for the galleries in Mr. Shaw, whose long study 
and great love of art, as well as his experience and that of 
Mrs. Shaw in making choice additions to his valuable col- 
lection, had for many years supplemented her own admit- 
tedly shght acquaintance with painting and sculpture. "I 
have to thank Quin," she writes from Rome, "not only for 
bringing me to see pictures, but for teaching me all these 
years to enjoy them, for his pictures are really an educa- 
tion. I enjoy pictures now as I should not have done in my 
earUer days." 


There were two visits that Mrs. Agassiz definitely 
planned to make for her own gratification in the course of 
her travels, one to Montagny where the Swiss relatives of 
Agassiz were still living, and the other to the colleges for 
women in Cambridge and Oxford. It is significant of her 
interests that her only two personal desires for her year 
abroad were connected, one with the great affection of her 
life, the other with her faithfully accepted pubHc responsi- 
bihty. For the rest of her travels she expressed no individ- 
ual plans or preferences, in spite of the fact that she had 
previously seen almost nothing of Europe. "I do not in- 
cline to make plans," she wrote, "rather to confine my out- 
look to shorter intervals — as Sydney Smith has said, *not 
farther than from dinner to tea.' " 

A few extracts from letters written during this year 
abroad are given here, which reflect in one way or another 
traits and interests which were an inherent part of Mrs. 
Agassiz's true self — her delight in music, her pleasure in 
friends connected with her past, as, for example, in meet- 
ing Francesca Alexander and her mother in Florence, and 
in London Lady Harcourt, who as Miss Lily Motley had 
been a pupil at the Agassiz school, her love for Nahant 
that called as loudly in Venice as in Cambridge, and her 
devotion to Agassiz that made every scene connected with 
his early years sacred. 


Hotel Meurice, Paris, October 29, 1894 
Our days are arranged somewhat after this fashion. 
Breakfast independent, or we each order it, as we 
come out of our rooms — of course the French break- 


fast first, and a heavier one at 12.30. After early 
breakfast Paunie [Miss Pauline Shaw] and I gener- 
ally do something together. Often we take one room 
at the Louvre and devote ourselves to that, after get- 
ting the first outline sketch from Quin. These quiet 
mornings there with ease and leisure for what we like 
best are delightful. This morning . . . coming out 
from [St. Germain TAuxerrois] we crossed one of the 
bridges, standing long to watch the craft on the river 
— the passenger boats going to and fro. And then on 
the other side we followed the Quais, where they sell 
the old books and engravings, music, etc., and past 
the Institut (I thought how often Agassiz had gone 
out and in there), and along the old street of quaint, 
queer shops, and then returned across another bridge 
and by the garden of the Tuileries home to our 

There is something very attractive in wandering 
about on foot in this independent fashion, mousing 
out things for ourselves — much better than going 
about in carriages, I think, and I am glad to find that 
I can do a good deal on foot. 


Hotel Meurice, Paris, November 20, 1894 
We have done and seen much since I wrote you, of 
which the two things that I remember with the deep- 
est interest are an afternoon at Chantilly, the place 
of the Due d'Aumale, and next a morning at Notre 
Dame (high mass). It is a wonderful thing to hear the 


great organ at its deepest and fullest roll through 
those wonderful arches, where as you look down their 
full length all things grow dim and distant at the far- 
ther end. Since I have been here, I have come to be 
deeply interested in the history of Paris. It is a won- 
derful story taken from the beginning to this present 
fin de siecle, and there are so many monuments of the 
past, still preserved, still beautiful, still picturesque; 
they are like stepping stones to cross this gulf of time, 
and they make the whole connected and in a way 
comprehensible. If ever the history of a nation can be 
made clear, one ought to understand something of 
the history of France in Paris. 

Rome, Hotel Royal, December 6, 1894 
You did not know that I was entering Rome yester- 
day on my seventy-second birthday. Italy and Rome 
— was not that the most beautiful birthday gift that 
Pauline and Quin have ever given me? Yes, at last I 
am in your Italy, dear MoUie, and I thought of you so 
often yesterday as we pursued our way from Turin, 
leaving the snow mountains still in sight for the cul- 
tivated plain, and then through Genoa and Pisa and 
along the coast to Civitavecchia, reaching Rome at 
11.30. I felt with you that it is an enchanted land. 
The descent into the plain of Italy, and the vast ex- 
tent of beautifully cultivated land with its soft green 
furrows and rich brown soil between, every field a 
picture, and* then, as you have always said, the 
human interest gives it such a charm — the little 
towns clustered so close upon the rising grounds, the 


churches on seemingly almost inaccessible heights 
— and then when we came to the seashores ! But it is 
of no use to write about it. I am sure a mere word 
calls it all up to you. 

Rome is still closed to us. We arrived in pitch dark- 
ness and are greeted by rain today, and no glimpse 
of ruins or of the Rome of my imagination in sight. 
But yesterday was enough for one day. I can well 
afford to wait, and meanwhile we are settling in to 
what will be our home, I suppose, for two months. 


Hotel Royal, Rome, December 8, 1894 
The morning after our arrival a dripping rain greeted 
us. Yesterday was again a rainy day, but in the after- 
noon we went to St. Peter's thinking that the great 
church would have its own light and atmosphere 
independent of weather — and so it was. As Quin 
lifted the heavy curtain for us to pass in, I thought of 
what Mother wrote me after first seeing that won- 
derful interior, "No one's church — the World's 
church." I always thought it a very expressive phrase 
and Quin said he thought it would be difficult to de- 
scribe it better. 

How impossible it is to represent the great things 
of the world by any artificial means ! When I saw the 
Yosemite every photograph ceased to have any rela- 
tion to it, and so it was with St. Peter's, and so the 
next day with the Coliseum. 



Rome, December 11, 1894 
My dear Young Friends: Far away as I am from 
Radcliffe College you are often in my thoughts. I see 
you at your work, in your Clubs, in your social gath- 
erings and especially at the Wednesday teas, where I 
long to join you and to share in the talk that goes on 
around the tables. Could I be transported there, I 
should have much to tell you of the old story of which 
these ancient cities speak to us still, bringing the past 
so near that it sometimes seems more vivid than the 
present. Of course we all know the facts, or a great 
part of them, but to be on the spot makes our dry 
knowledge a living reality. I felt this in Paris, where 
the new is lost in the old (at least, it was so to me), 
and still more here, where the dead ruins make the 
life of the city. 

But I did not mean to talk to you of myself and 
of what I am seeing and enjoying, but rather of the 
pleasure I have in hearing that all goes well with 
Radcliffe and its students. This year seems to me of 
greater importance in the history of our college than 
any preceding one except the first. That was the ini- 
tiative step in what was really a far-reaching under- 
taking, though at the moment it seemed hardly more 
than a doubtful experiment; this year marks the con- 
clusion of that period and the opening of one which 
rests on a sure foundation. 

I am confident that you all appreciate this new 
aspect of our undertaking and will help the officers of 


Radcliffe in their resolution to keep our college up to 
a standard worthy of its relation to our old Univer- 
sity. To this end we must work together with single- 
hearted sincerity of purpose. Sending you an affec- 
tionate greeting across the sea for the New Year, I am 

Your old friend, 

Elizabeth C. Agassiz 

Hotel Grande Bretagne, Florence, April 5, 1895 
Yesterday we all went to such a pretty festa (for 
Easter) given by Mrs. Alexander, and Pauline shar- 
ing, for the poor school in which Pauline has been in- 
terested. The children had a dinner first (about sev- 
enty there were), and then all were collected in the 
schoolroom to receive their gifts. Each had three 
presents apiece and an orange. And then there was a 
surprise which Pauline had prepared — a plant in 
flower for each child. That carried the day — nothing 
they had received seemed to give them the pleasure 
that these growing plants did. So they went off, a 
floral procession, each child bearing his or her pot all 
in bloom. Indeed I hardly know how they managed 
to bear away all their treasures. They had full hands 
and full hearts, I think. The rounds of applause were 
loud and long. 

Hotel Meuricey Paris, May 13, 1895 
Yesterday I had a very pretty excursion to Fonte- 
nay-aux-Roses, where there is an establishment for 


training normal teachers. It is all gratuitous and was 
quite interesting to me, though the ideas about wom- 
en's education were so limited as compared with ours 
that I was a little puzzled. But the whole visit was 
pleasant, and there was so much warm expression 
from one or two of the professors about Agassiz. It 
carried me back to old times. The little town of Fon- 
tenay is very picturesque, and the park and garden 
attached to the school were charming. 

In her diary, after noting the visit to Fontenay-aux- 
Roses, Mrs. Agassiz adds: "It touches me to see how strong 
the feeling about Agassiz is wherever education is going on." 

Harvey* s Hotel, Curzon Street, London, May 27 
Of all the time-devouring places London is the most 
exasperating. I have not been able to write a home 
letter since I came, and now I can barely do more than 
copy the entries in my little diary, only just to say 
where I have been. 

On arriving here I found a cordial note of welcome 
from Lily Harcourt, asking me to lunch the next day. 
You have no idea how affectionate she was — full of 
the old memories, the days of her mother and father 
and our relations in the past. She is a very lovely, 
loyal friend. The lunch was the usual family lunch, so 
that it gave me a very pleasant opportunity to see 
her husband and her son. 

** The Bull'' Cambridge, June 1 
Thus far had I written, but the fates intervened and 
I was interrupted, and never could catch on again. So 


I pick up the thread here. I was telling you about my 
first visit to Lily Motley. Her husband was very cor- 
dial and extremely amusing. He came in when lunch 
was half through from his office, bringing with him a 
very pleasant man who works with him. They were 
making up that mysterious package called "The 
Budget," so Lily said, and were fearfully busy. Sir 
William, though a Liberal, seemed by no means in 
sympathy with modern reforms; bicycles and higher 
education for women were equally under his ban, and 
he said the nineteenth century had become intolera- 
ble and the twentieth would be worse, and he was 
glad to think how soon he should bid good-bye to 
both. He and his party are very unpopular. "I am 
old and likely to go out of office soon." It is curious 
how one gets interested in the local political talk 
when one is on the spot. 

. . . My next will be from Oxford, and I shall not 
be sorry. Pleasant as it all is, I shall be very glad to 
drop social and educational responsibilities and be off 
with MoUie to Italy and Venice. 

Mrs. Agassiz's visits to Cambridge and Oxford had a 
direct influence upon her policy in regard to the establish- 
ment of halls of residence at Radcliffe. In 1897 she gave an 
account of some of her experiences at the English colleges 
for women to the Emmanuel Club at Radcliffe, from which 
the following extracts are made. 

When you first arrive in Cambridge, if you stay, as 
we did, in the old tavern, The Bull, your first outlook 
upon the street will give you the sense of antiquity, 


of something belonging to the past, grown gray with 
time and softened by age which we expect to find in 
the old university towns of England. To me Cam- 
bridge had a wonderful picturesqueness, and a kind 
of rural quality suggestive of quiet and scholarly se- 
clusion. Oxford is more before the world. You will be 
asked whether you have seen Oxford before you 
are asked whether you have been to Cambridge. Yet, 
to me, the latter had a charm of its own that brings 
it very near to one's affections. 

The following morning we went early to Girton. 
. . . We were most cordially received by Miss Welsh, 
the Principal or so-called Mistress. . . . The instruc- 
tion in the colleges for women at Cambridge and 
Oxford is by no means given altogether by the 
professors and teachers of the Universities. Much 
instruction is given by ladies, many of whom have 
themselves been educated at the colleges where they 
teach. I must add that the presence of these ladies 
and their relations with the students seemed to be 
extremely pleasant. They shared in their sports and 
recreations and had a very friendly and genial com- 
panionship with their pupils. . . . 

You will want me to say something of the girls' 
personal arrangements. They have generally at Gir- 
ton a sitting-room with bedroom adjoining, occupied, 
as the case might be, by one student or two. The 
rooms looked very pleasant: a certain portion of the 
outfit, as beds, table and desk, all of the simplest de- 
scription, is provided by the college, but the rooms 
are made cheerful by what the girls themselves have 


added, in the way of pretty tables and chairs, with 
draperies and screens, their favorite photographs, 
etc. I think you all know the look of a college girl's 
room, and I did not see that they differed much from 
ours. The grounds are large and prettily planted; 
there are lawn-tennis grounds and spaces laid out 
for croquet. Whether golf reigns there I did not learn, 
but the general aspect is certainly very attractive. 
The distance of Girton from the University, about 
two miles I should think, struck me as objectionable. 
There are no tramways or any regular line of coaches, 
and the college is obliged to provide carriages for 
driving the students into the town for all lectures. I 
heard nothing of bicycles there, though I should 
think it would be not only a quicker but a more eco- 
nomical way of making the short journey. . . . 

Returning from Girton we went the same after- 
noon to Newnham up>on invitation. Mrs. Sidgwick, 
who is Principal at Newnham, is a shy, reserved 
woman, the very impersonation in appearance and 
manners of the English gentlewoman, so gentle and 
seemingly timid that one wonders to find her in so 
responsible and prominent a post. But I fancy her 
decision and force of character are well balanced with 
her gentleness of manner. She and her husband, Pro- 
fessor Sidgwick, make their home at Newnham, hav- 
ing an apartment in the main building. Her position 
is simply one of choice, arising from her interest in 
the University education of women. She is of the Bal- 
four family, — is the sister of Arthur Balfour now a 
member of the English Cabinet. Her fortune is large. 


and she gives most generously to the institution in 
the management of which she takes so prominent a 
part. Professor Sidgwick is wholly at one with her in 
this and teaches in the College. He is as witty as he is 
learned, a very agreeable, genial man, and of course 
his residence at Newnham is a very important factor 
in the success and growth of the institution. 

At this first visit we had not time to see the whole 
building. It was toward the close of the afternoon, 
and after a cup of tea in her drawing-room Mrs. Sidg- 
wick took us at once into the grounds, where a com- 
petitive game of lawn-tennis was going on. Our host- 
ess evidently took as much interest in it as the girls 
themselves, though her sympathy was impartial, 
having good wishes for both sides. The game over, we 
walked about the grounds and came upon one or two 
pretty teas spread out in the shade under the trees. 
At one, I remember, tea being over, the girls were 
blowing soap-bubbles into the air and over the grass. 

This short visit gave me of course but an outside 
glance, and the next d^y I spent the whole day there 
with my friends and travelling companions, Miss Fel- 
ton and Miss Gray. We lunched with Mrs. Sidgwick 
and several of the resident ladies of the College. Here 
again, as at Girton, I felt that the presence of these 
ladies, their easy, sympathetic companionship with 
the students, must form no small part of the educa- 
tion which the girls receive at Newnham. Among 
these resident teachers is Miss Gladstone, daughter 
of the statesman, an exceptionally pleasant woman 
of much personal charm. Then there is Miss Clough, 


daughter of the poet, and Miss Fawcett who carried 
off the honors of the Mathematical Tripos one year 
from all competitors, and was, I beheve. Senior 
Wrangler for that year, and there were several others 
whom I saw and knew less, but who were very pleas- 
ing. Miss Clough and Miss Fawcett were students at 
Newnham before they became resident teachers. 

After lunch Mrs. Sidgwick took us over the build- 
ing and showed us not only the lecture and class 
rooms, but also the girls' quarters. Here they have no 
sitting or study rooms, but the chambers are ample 
and comfortable, and are occupied singly or as double 
rooms. In order to give them by day the air rather of 
a parlor than of a chamber the beds are broad couches, 
which when covered by afghans and well cushioned 
serve as sofas during the daytime. Still I think the 
Girton arrangement is the pleasanter, and I am not 
sure that the sofa in the long run takes the place of a 

The day of our visit was a fortunate one for us, be- 
cause the graduating class was just coming back from 
final examinations, and the successful ones were of 
course the centre of interest. I remember seeing Miss 
Fawcett as she caught sight of a student who had re- 
ceived special honors with her Tripos spring on a 
window-seat, throw open the sash, and greet her with 
the greatest warmth. A little later in the day we dined 
in the girls' Hall, where instead of a single table ex- 
tending from end to end there were a number of 
small tables arranged for groups of eight or ten at 
each. Of course the examinations were the topic of 



the hour, and I believe they were to have a dance in 
the evening to let off the exuberance of their joy. One 
pleasant habit I observed in all the Colleges. There 
was a sort of sitting-room, or as they called it con- 
versation-room, very cosy and comfortable, which 
seemed open to all where they gathered after dinner 
for a cup of coffee. Here we ended our pleasant day, 
and it was my last visit to Newnham. 

But I cannot leave Cambridge without a word on 
other things beside the Colleges for Women; of its 
ancient Colleges and Chapels, its pretty bridges over 
the river Cam, where the students row and have 
their fun, of the shady and peaceful old courts around 
which the Colleges are built. In June when we were 
there the flower season is in its glory and the stu- 
dents' balconies and windows are full of color among 
the dark ivy which clothes the walls. 

We had a glimpse also of a college student's room, 
for a young friend invited us to take tea with him af- 
ter Vespers. It was a cheerful, comfortable half-study 
and half -sitting-room, but by no means [so] luxurious 
as many of our students' rooms. Perhaps this was an 
individual case, but I was told it was not considered 
"good form" to have very elegantly furnished rooms. 

I had but three or four days in Oxford and but for 
the feeling that you may wish to have such a glimpse 
as I can give you I should hardly venture to speak of 
my personal experience there. 

The aspect of things at the Oxford Colleges for 
Women was of course in a general way the same as at 
Newnham and Girton — their internal arrangements. 


recitation rooms, library, etc., and their pretty cham- 
bers looking out on pleasant grounds, though not so 
extensive as those at Newnham and Girton. I dined 
at Somerville with Miss Maitland in company with 
all the students, and passed a pleasant evening with 
her and them. I was hospitably entertained also at 
Lady Margaret Hall and at St. Hugh's, but to give 
you an account of my days there would be to go over 
the same ground as at the Cambridge Colleges for 
Women. . . . 

Of course we spent some hours in the Bodleian 
Library. To give you the least idea of its picturesque 
interior or of the impression it makes upon you would 
be impossible. I will pause a moment to tell you an 
incident which struck me as curious. We were going 
through the Library under Mr. Pelham's guidance, 
and he stopped to point out a portrait of Mary, 
Queen of Scots, said to be the most authentic in exist- 
ence. In connection with it he told me this singular 
story. On some public occasion when the crowd was 
likely to be great in the Library, they had a squad of 
police to prevent any injury to their many treasures. 
One of the professors passing through the Hall where 
this portrait hangs saw the Chief of the Police look- 
ing intently at this picture. The professor, struck by 
the man's interest, stopped beside him a moment 
and said, "It is an interesting portrait, is n't it.^ " The 
policeman answered, "I don't know who it is — I 
was only looking at it professionally." "How do you 
mean, * professionally' ? " asked the professor. "Well, 
you see," said the man, "in my work I often come 



into contact with criminals who stand high socially. 
They do not belong to what is called the criminal 
class. She looks of that kind. I know the expression 
well." The professor then told him who she was. I do 
not know whether the man knew enough of her his- 
tory to be aware that she had been accused of crime 
and that a shadow of doubt still hangs over her. Per- 
haps he did not see the coincidence between his own 
comment and her sad life. 


Hotel Brunswick, London, June 10, 1895 
It gives me such a strange feeling to be on the other 
side of my Cambridge and Oxford visits. I looked 
forward to it all with pleasure but not without a cer- 
tain sense of anxiety and responsibility. It has all 
been simply delightful. Everything has been made 
very easy for me, and I have seen and learned more 
than I could have hoped to do. It has stimulated my 
interest in our home work, and I shall be surprised if 
it does not prove of serious value to me on my return. 
After all, I think it helps one very much to see what 
others are doing on the same lines on which you are 
yourself working. Our last day was one of the best in 
Oxford. In the morning I had a pleasant visit at the 
Max Mullers', — did not see him, because he was not 
well, but she is a charming person. I had once or 
twice spoken to her of a paper of her husband's, 
which always interested me very much — I think you 
have heard me speak of it; it came out in Littell, and 



after a while I lost it and have ever since been trying 
to find it among his collections of short papers, but 
never succeeded. The morning I went to bid them 
good-bye she looked for it and showed me one or two 
that she thought might be the article I liked so much; 
but I remembered my favorite phrases word for word, 
and they did not correspond. But just as we were 
leaving in the late afternoon a package was brought 
to me — a volume containing the paper I had been 
seeking this many a year from Mr. MuUer himself, 
and my name on the fly-leaf, "with the regards of 
the author." I don't know when anything has given 
me so much pleasure. 

Good-night and good-bye. I shall write next from 
Venice. I am with you at Nahant "every day and 
hour," as the old song says. 

Casa Biondettiy Venice , June 22, 1895 
I THINK that our life differs from that of many visi- 
tors to Venice. Being all women and all of one mind, 
we are absolutely irresponsible as to hours and rules. 
Every one breakfasts when she sees fit, and as we have 
the most amiable of cooks and housekeepers in our 
padrona, she never minds any amount of unpunctu- 
ality. A life so free from conventionalities and at the 
same time so sympathetic was never shared I think 
by a household of half a dozen people. 

But with all the charm of Venice, I think the great- 
est happiness of my life here is the thought of Nahant. 
To picture you all on my piazza or yours, to think of 
Carrie driving up to your door or mine, all this com- 


pletes and fills out my experience this summer. Nor 
does the beauty of Nahant fade in the wonderful pic- 
ture. I remember our sunsets and ask myself even 
here if anything can be more beautiful, and I think 
with delight of being there again. To be sure one 
must allow something for the love of a lifetime, the 
place where you were almost born and have spent all 
your summers — that counts for something. 


Venice, June 23, 1895 
Dear Mrs. Oilman: Before this the quiet of vaca- 
tion has fallen upon Radcliffe, the last words are 
spoken for the year, and I hope that you and Mr. 
Oilman are preparing for summer rest. Perhaps you 
have already gone. 

I am afraid that you and he will have felt that in 
being absent from Commencement I have neglected 
my Radcliffe engagements. But the truth is that when 
I left, although my plans were imcertain, I had it in 
mind, should circumstances be favorable, to visit the 
English colleges — Oirton and Newnham and the 
rest. I did not do quite all that I had hoped, but I 
passed a week in Cambridge and one in Oxford. I am 
very glad to have done this, and I feel that I learned a 
good deal which may be helpful, — not so much con- 
cerning the methods of instruction (they differ so 
widely from ours as regards general arrangement that 
they could hardly serve as models for us), — but 
regarding the domestic life. In that respect I made 


careful inquiries for I feel that one of the most press- 
ing questions for us is that of a home or homes for 
such students as must find lodgings in Cambridge. 
In regard to the size and distribution of room in such 
house or houses as we may build, my views were 
a good deal modified by what I learned from Mrs. 
Sidgwick, Miss Gladstone and the other ladies resi- 
dent in the different halls. 

You know I have always been in favor of small 
houses with few students — not more than ten 
or twelve. Mrs. Sidgwick is strongly in favor of a 
greater number — not less than twenty to twenty- 
five — not more perhaps than fifty. She has no 
experience in the other method, but her objection 
to it in theory seemed to be chiefly that the smaller 
number limited the choice of acquaintanceship, and 
also that individual peculiarities which might be 
trying in so small a community would be merged in 
a larger one. In this matter also the cases are hardly 
parallel; we could never have as they have a num- 
ber of resident ladies like Mrs. Sidgwick, Miss 
Gladstone, Miss Clough (daughter of the poet), 
Miss Fawcett, and others whose names I do not 
recall at this moment. Of course their presence 
gives the tone to the whole community, for they 
live in very delightful, it seemed to me intimate 
relations with the students, while allowing them much 
freedom. At Girton the arrangements seemed much 
the same. I feel that this is a pressing question and 
will need much consideration. It would be a misfor- 
tune shoidd we make any mistakes in our buildings. 


I hear that there is much doubt and discussion 
as to the future arrangements for our athletic 
grounds and some idea of choosing a place where 
all our buildings — college, gymnasium, dwellings, 
laboratories, etc., as well as land enough for sports 
and athletics — could be combined. I confess that I 
should be very sorry to leave the Fay House, — but 
the question is a wide one, and I know too little 
of what has been going on this winter to venture 
upon any discussion of the pros and cons. 

For all these things we are going to need a great 
deal of money. But I suppose that when we have 
finally made up our minds as to the best method, 
we shall be able to find the means to carry it out. 

I hope that all is well with you and yours. Best 
wishes for your summer from 

Yours most cordially, 

Elizabeth C. Agassiz 


Cambridge, June 30, 1895 
My dear Mrs. Agassiz: The year's work is over, 
and my first thought is to write to you and to tell 
you how much I have missed your presence here, 
and how anxiously I have striven to do all that 
would satisfy you without appealing constantly 
to you for advice and suggestion. I think, on the 
whole, everything has gone well, and just now the 
future of Radcliffe looks very bright indeed. There 
is so much interest and sympathy expressed and 


we hope we have gained friends during the past 
year, as well as kept those we had. Whatever feel- 
ing remained after the organization last spring is, 
I think, in many cases, dying away, and it is gen- 
erally recognized that the alliance with Harvard 
is close enough for all practical purposes. The stu- 
dents who have come up for the entrance examina- 
tions these past three days, are more in number 
than ever before, and most of the schools send up 
larger classes; the girls look very nice and I don't 
believe that we shall have a larger freshman class 
than we can manage. That is our present solicitude; 
for this year we had no room at all to spare, and 
next year we shall have not quite enough. ... I think 
we must make up our minds now as to our future 
policy with regard to staying where we are (this 
we should certainly do for years to come), or look- 
ing to some other site for the College of fifty years 
hence. In this is involved (to my thinking) the ques- 
tion of some other form of lodging the students who 
come from a distance. The present scheme answers 
for some, but not for all; if we are to have any num- 
ber of students from the Middle and Western States, 
or from that part of New England which feels the 
influence of New York, we must have some mode 
of living that is at once less expensive and better 
suited to their wishes and habits. As it is, there is a 
danger of our becoming simply a "local college," 
and that would be a great waste of our opportunities; 
for there is no denying the fact that we do offer pre- 
eminent advantages in the way of instruction. But 


why do I trouble you with all this now, when I am 
hoping so soon to see you back? We hear that you 
mean to come home the end of August; perhaps you 
will lengthen your stay a little later, but we shall 
have you next winter. I say we, but I really mean /. 
How we did miss you at Commencement! We tried 
in every way to do what you would like and as you 
would like it; and I shall always regret that you 
did not see Sanders Theatre filled with friends on 
that first occasion, when we had hoped for not more 
than a few. It was all so cordial and sympathetic — 
every one will tell you that. . . . 

Ever your attached 

Agnes Irwin 

The first Radcliffe Commencement in Sanders Theatre, 
held there by invitation of the President and Fellows of 
Harvard College, to which Miss Irwin refers in the above 
letter, was an event of great importance in Mrs. Agassiz's 
eyes. To the uninitiated it may seem strange that she 
should have felt such deep emotion at this step as the fol- 
lowing letter indicates, but it was intended as a public 
demonstration of the more intimate relations now estab- 
lished between the two institutions and as such was signifi- 


Casa Biondetti, Venice, July 8, 1895 
. . . Today comes a letter from Lily Cleveland, 
bringing me such a pleasant surprise, with full 
accounts, both her own and newspaper reports also. 


of the Graduating Exercises for Radcliffe in Sanders 
Theatre. I think my usual correspondents must 
have meant to heighten my pleasure in this most un- 
looked-for piece of news, for no one has ever suggested 
the transfer of the Radcliffe Commencement to 
Memorial Hall, and yet I am sure there must have 
been much discussion and deliberation between our 
Academic Board and the Corporation before the 
two decided upon the matter. There could not be 
a more positive recognition of Radcliffe by Harvard 
than this. It sets the seal upon our final adoption. 
It really has made me feel very happy. When I 
think of our first little Commencement with four 
graduates in Ellen Gurney's library and of this 
consummation I can hardly believe it. She and 
Gurney have gone beyond college ceremonies and 
have entered upon new Commencements, — but 
I wish they knew it. I really longed for their sym- 

I feel more and more satisfied that it was well 
for me to be away this year. It has given Miss Irwin 
an independent ground. Of course I should never 
have hampered her in any way, but she would 
naturally have deferred to me as the older officer. 
But I am so glad about the ceremonies at Sanders 
Theatre. They seem to me to have been concluded 
very simply with quiet dignity. The fact that our 
Commencement is transferred in this way to the 
place where all the Memorial days of the University 
are kept will settle many doubtful questions about 
the occasion which were always coming up on its 


annual recurrence. I fancy we owe this very much 
to Mr. Ehot's influence. 

So you see my mind is much at peace about 
Radchffe matters, and I feel more and more inclined 
for the restful influences here which creep into my 
life more and more — a little like the Lotos-eaters, 
perhaps, in the land where it was "always afternoon " ; 
but I give myseK up to it for the time being very 

Peraroloy July 26, 1895 
. . . There were three or four interesting masses 
sung in St. Mark's on successive days just before 
we left Venice, and I went to all but one. The first 
was at sunset, an hour which is so beautiful at St. 
Mark's because there are high windows which throw 
the light shortly before simset into the upper part 
of the church and light up those wonderful mosaics 
and make them as fresh as yesterday with their 
gilded backgrounds. The music was very fine and 
the scene is always so engrossing — the figures mov- 
ing about or kneeling, the priests coming and going, 
the mingling of rich and poor. But in Venice where 
are there not pictures.^ In the boats, on the church 
steps, in the by-ways — those little narrow calle, where 
the land traflSc goes on, — the markets, etc., — one 
grows monotonous in calling attention every minute 
to these things, which from their frequency might 
seem commonplace, but every group is different. I 
could never see a grass boat coming in from the is- 
lands with its green load built up in perfect symme- 


try, fifteen feet high perhaps and as many long, with 
the boatmen leaning against it below or standing on 
the top to steer with their long poles, without a new 
sense of pleasure. 

Our leave-taking was quite impressive — all the 
three gondoliers brought bouquets to each one of us, 
and as our padrona said, we had quite the air of 
a floral procession. 

The change from the sirocco of Venice to these 
mountain solitudes where the air is pure and fresh 
and full of vitality is wonderful. We are now at 
Perarolo, the sweetest little town with mountains 
on either side and a rushing river, where the women 
are washing their linen and the men are collect- 
ing the timbers brought down on the stream and 
putting them on rafts to transport them. 

Cortina, Vol (TAmpezzOy August 2 
. . . My chief pleasure here (and it is a very great 
one), is in my morning tramps. I sometimes wonder 
whether [if] you were here, you would join me in my 
early cup of tea and be off by seven o'clock. As 
my companions are not given to this style of en- 
joyment, I go alone, and there is something rather 
fascinating in the solitude. Occasionally I meet — 
not exactly with adventures for they do not deserve 
so grand a name, — but with incidents which are 
sometimes interesting, and at least amusing. Yester- 
day morning at the end of my ascent (which was 
accompanied by magnificent views with endless 
changes of light and shade all the way) I stopped 


before the door of a chalet and asked leave of the mis- 
tress who was standing outside to rest a little there. 
She led me along the shaky floor of one of those 
low-roofed balconies so characteristic of mountain 
chalets, offered me a rough seat (which at the moment 
was as delicious as a stuffed arm-chair), and brought 
me a cup of milk. I drank a little and then put it 
down simply because I did not think it wise, heated 
as I was, to drink the whole at once. Evidently 
she thought I found the cup too coarse, for she took 
it up (I was dreadfully afraid she was going to take 
it away) and brought the milk back in a little glass 
tumbler, to my great relief — not that I minded 
the cup, but I was very loath to relinquish the 
milk. While I sipped it she sat down on the door 
sill and sewed. Her work consisted in embroidering 
the most hideous coarse bags, one of which I bought 
to show my gratitude for her hospitality, and my 
sympathy with her poverty. She took me into her 
little home, where she lived, so far as I could make 
out, with an only child, a boy of seven or eight. To 
make my story what it should be, that home ought 
to have been as neat as it was ill-supplied with the 
necessities of life. Truth compels me to state that 
its dirt equalled its poverty. But the misery was 
unmistakable and so, ugly as it was, I was glad to buy 
my bag as an excuse for giving her a little lift out 
of her difficulties by paying more than her work was 

On the afternoon of the same day we drove to a 
superb view, called the Belvedere, to see the sunset 


from the top of a great cliff. One could drive up, but 
as they told us there was a short cut through the 
wood, Mollie and I thought we would take that 
path instead of making the steep descent by the 
carriage road. The path proved to be a kind of rough 
staircase in the face of the cliff. However we clambered 
down its picturesque windings safely enough, — 
only Molhe said, "What would Sallie say to me, if 
she knew I had led you into a scramble like that.?" 

Englischer Hofy Munich^ September 8, 1895 
... On Monday we came to Munich. Were you ever 
in Munich.? To me it has the most homelike feel- 
ing because here Agassiz and Alexander Braun and 
all their brilliant young companions had their Uni- 
versity Hfe, of which Agassiz told me so much and 
so often, and which is told so vividly in his home 
letters. I have been to the Sendlinger Thor, near 
which he lodged in the house of the old naturalist, 
Dollinger, but I cannot find out which house, 
though there are some very old ones there. But 
there have been great changes; the old gate remains, 
but most of the landmarks belonging to that time 
have disappeared. 

The long-anticipated visit to Montagny followed the 
stay in Munich. "Arriving yesterday," Mrs. Agassiz wrote 
in her diary on September 18, "Olympe brought me to the 
little chamber which Agassiz and I occupied in 1859. It was 
overwhelming at first, but still I felt very happy to be 



Hotel Normandiey Paris, September 29, 1895 
I CANNOT tell you how delightful my stay with the 
Swiss family has been. It was rather agitating to go, 
for a whole world of young people has grown up 
(and indeed they have come into the world) since 
I was at Montagny in 1859 — and most of those I 
knew there are gone. I felt therefore a little strange 
and as if they would feel me to be more or less out 
of the circle. It was never so for a moment. I felt 
completely at home and as if I were a member of 
the household at once. 

The old Montagny house is quaint and picturesque 
as ever. It is a family centre, and while I was there no 
day passed without members of the family dropping 
in to spend the day. And then we all dined together, 
and the afternoon was spent in the shady garden 
full of flowers, where the tables stand always ready 
for tea or coffee, and where the young people were 
gay and full of fun, and the older people quietly 
talked over memories of the past, aroused in part no 
doubt by my coming which brought the family to- 
gether perhaps in greater numbers than usual. At 
all events I felt myself quite at home with young 
and old. I shall tell you much more about it when 
we can talk instead of writing. But I am so very glad 
that I was able to go. 

And now here we are in Paris; the personal things 
I so wished to do, and which seemed to me to have 
a certain responsibility, as my visits to the English 


colleges, the arrangements for seeing the Swiss fam- 
ily, these all lie behind me, and we are here to await 
the steamer and attend to various practical matters. 

On October 18 Mrs. Agassiz sailed for New York from 
Cherbourg. The record in her diary for October 26th tells 
of a contented home-coming to Quincy Street. "Left New 
York at 12 o'clock. Sallie and Carrie to meet me at the sta- 
tion. Drove home and had time to dress and arrange flow- 
ers before Alex, Rodolphe, and Max came. A delightful 
evening with Alex alone — the boys at a college dinner. 
Coming up to my room at the end of the evening, found 
the E. C. Agassiz scholarship. It was the crowning joy of 
my return." This scholarship came in the form of a gift of 
$6150 to Mrs. Agassiz from friends who desired to show 
their sense of what she had done for Radcliffe and for 
women; the money was given without restriction except 
that the scholarship should bear the name of Elizabeth 
Cary Agassiz. 




THE conditions that Mrs. Agassiz found prevailing at 
Radcliffe on her return from Europe are set forth in 
the letter from Miss Irwin quoted above, and they were 
summed up more succinctly by her in her report as Dean 
to the President of Harvard University for the year 1894- 
1895. Here she stated that the two great material needs of 
Radcliffe College were "better academic accommodations 
and opportunities for physical culture." The same necessi- 
ties were also emphasized by President Ehot at the Rad- 
cliffe Commencement exercises in the following year, when 
he pointed out that Radcliffe would not require a large 
theatre, an extensive library, a great observatory, or vast 
collections in natural history, since Harvard had acquired 
all this equipment for her; "nevertheless," he added, 
"RadcHffe needs laboratories of the best sort for teaching 
purposes; it needs departmental Hbraries; it needs a gym- 
nasium and lecture halls of its own; it needs houses, not too 
large, and plenty of them, in which its students may live 
in a tranquil, wholesome way. Now all these things cost 
money; therefore Radcliffe needs great endowments, and 
needs them at once." These words of Miss Irwin and Presi- 
dent Eliot mark the beginning of a phase in the growth of 
Radcliffe that directly affected Mrs. Agassiz in two ways. 
Hitherto she had been the protagonist of the college; it was 
she who had placed its needs before the public from time to 


time, and she who had been its representative before the 
world. In Miss Irwin she now had an able second, who dis- 
cerned and vigorously expressed the necessities of Rad- 
cliffe, which by its closer connection with Harvard re- 
ceived added support from the influence of President EHot. 
Furthermore it is evident that the college, having now 
attained to a recognized academic status, had reached a 
period in which material acquisition must be its immediate 
object, and that the ability which its president had shown 
in developing its organization must now be directed toward 
its mechanical equipment. It will be noticed that in this, 
the second part of Mrs. Agassiz's administration, although 
she was less active pubHcly than she had been in behalf of 
Radchffe, her influence, discretion, and judicious fore- 
sight made themselves felt at every step that the college 
advanced, her ideals added sentiment to the brick and 
mortar of every building, and the affection that she awoke 
among her friends continued to react for the benefit of the 
college that she loved. 

How the needs set forth by Miss Irwin and President 
EHot were in a measure met within the next few years can 
be told for the greater part in the words of Mrs. Agassiz. It 
should be said in preface that since the purchase of Fay 
House the college had by degrees acquired in addition to 
the 20,000 square feet bought then nearly four times as 
much land, most of which lay in one piece of property and 
all of which was in the immediate vicinity of Fay House. 

The story begins with a letter from Mrs. Augustus Hem- 
enway to Mrs. Agassiz and requires for explanation so far 
as the college is concerned merely the statement that the 
Radcliffe gymnasium at this time occupied a small wooden 


building in the rear of Fay House on Mason Street. Mrs. 
Hemenway was well known in Boston for her philanthropic 
interests, practically all of which had one definite and spe- 
cific aim — the cultivation among girls of the pursuits and 
powers that tend to the making of better homes; her benefi- 
cence was therefore directed to the encouragement of in- 
dustrial and physical training as a part of education. The 
fact that her husband had given the Hemenway Gymna- 
sium to Harvard University doubtless suggested to her the 
plan that she proposed in the following letter. 


Boston, December 20, 1896 
Dear Mrs. Agassiz: In making a visit to Rad- 
cliffe lately I was struck with the inadequacy of the 
gymnasium, and in looking across the street and see- 
ing what friends had done to make Harvard what it 
is, I felt that we were not showing the same apprecia- 
tion of our women that had been so freely bestowed 
on the boys. 

I do not know what plans you have for a gymnasium 
or for the future of Radcliffe, but I am sure you have 
an immediate want for a larger building, and I 
should like to give, if my means permit, a permanent 
gymnasium to Radcliffe and have the pleasure of see- 
ing it used and enjoyed soon — that is, if your plans 
are sufliciently matured as to the College's future to 
allow of its being rightly placed. Will you please 
mention this to no one, but if things open toward the 
building of it, I shall be ready to begin at any time. As 


I see it, the need is now, and I should like to meet that 
need and enjoy the results. 

Sincerely yours, 

Harriett L. Hemenway 


Cambridge, January 3, 1897 
Dear Mrs. Hemenway: ... It is now absolutely 
settled that we remain on our present location. It 
is probable that another large lot on the square of 
which the Fay estate makes a part will fall into our 
hands shortly — probably next spring. . . . You see, 
therefore, dear Mrs. Hemenway, that the site may 
now be chosen at any moment for a suitable gymna- 
sium building. Our present idea is in general to have 
our academic buildings including a gymnasium built 
around the circumference .of the square and enclosing 
a quadrangle on which we already have some few 
trees. As we have not the means to build the whole 
at once we shall put the buildings up in sections 
as needed, but with such reference to the final aspect 
that when completed they will be harmonious and 
symmetrical. We want our buildings to have a certain 
distinction and dignity, but also to be practical and 
thoroughly adapted to the work to which they are 
dedicated, — a consideration which is sometimes 
neglected by skilled architects, who are naturally 
not so familiar with the inside working as those who 
are intimate with the daily occupations and needs. . . . 
I need hardly say that the mere hint of a suitable 


gymnasium gave the greatest pleasure to the mem- 
bers of our Council. 

With grateful regard — for the hope you have 
held out makes me very happy, I am 
Cordially yours, 

Elizabeth C. Agassiz 

The story is continued in Mrs. Agassiz*s Commence- 
ment address in June, 1897. 

Last year at this time we were in no slight per- 
plexity as to certain decisions regarding Radcliffe 
College. We were deeply attached to the Fay House 
which had served our needs so long; but we were well 
aware that we had reached its utmost limits as re- 
garded the accommodation of our classes and the 
general demands of the institution. 

The ground surrounding us was and is occupied 
by various holdings standing very near each other. 
There were two private schools beside a number of 
dwelling houses. . . . Curiously enough in about three 
weeks from that time three of these lots fell into our 
hands most unexpectedly. ... I may add here that, 
since the above-mentioned acquisitions, we have 
secured two other lots, and that there can now be 
little doubt that the somewhat irregular square 
lying between Garden Street and Brattle Street 
and bounded on its side lines by Appian Way and 
Mason Street will eventually be our college ground. 
We can therefore safely decide upon retaining our 
present home on a spot endeared to us by many 
associations and extremely convenient also for our 


educational work, for which we rely wholly upon 
Harvard and her corps of instructors. 

Thus freed from anxiety about our future location, 
our ultimate college plan becomes our next considera- 
tion. This now exists only upon paper and I fear it 
will be long before it takes a more tangible shape. Yet 
I think, when completed, it will make a harmonious 
whole and will have a charm of its own. . . . 

We hope, in short, that our college will have a 
certain dignity and picturesqueness which will atone 
for its want of more striking features and more ex- 
tensive grounds. Our most imperative need is that 
of laboratories, which may I hope be met within a 
reasonable time. Next may come a Library building 
where we can place our ever-increasing working 
Library, numbering some 10,000 volumes, in secur- 
ity from fire. 

Our buildings must of necessity be erected grad- 
ually and separately according to our means and 
our^most pressing wants. But in whatever succession 
they may appear, they will from the beginning hold 
definite relations to each other and to the general 
architectural scheme of which they form a part, thus, 
securing, as we hope, unity and fair proportion in 
the end. 

On Commencement Day of the next year Mrs. Agassiz 
was able to announce Mrs. Hemenway's gift of the Gym- 
nasium, the first building in the series constituting the 
architectural scheme of the college, and also another im- 
portant gift. 


Today the news is brought me of another gift, 
the announcement of which will be welcome to our 
students, and I think to our general audience as well. 
Certain of our alumnae and of our special students 
(a society known as the "Annex '95 Club") gener- 
ously undertook with the cooperation of our graduates 
to raise money for the building of a Hall of Residence 
for Radcliffe. They proposed their plan to us (that 
is, to the officers and Council of Radcliffe) about a 
year ago, and appointed a committee and took other 
measures toward its accomplishment. They were pro- 
ceeding hopefully when the breaking out of the war 
[with Spain] brought this project with many others 
to a standstill. They felt that it was impossible at such 
a moment to raise the sum of $50,000, and for less 
than that they were assured that their scheme could 
not be successfully carried out. It looked as if the 
plan so full of promise for Radcliffe must be indef- 
initely postponed, if not given up. Today, however, 
I am allowed to say that the Club has received from 
Mrs. David P. Kimball a gift of $50,000, the whole 
sum needed for the execution of this pleasant pur- 

I knew that it would give you all great pleasure, 
and for myself it is a great gratification to record 
these facts concerning our graduates and students. 
The life of every college must be in a great degree 
dependent upon the affection and loyal service of 
her students, and we have the happiness of seeing 
that long after their college course is ended, our 
graduates are still in active sympathy with us. 


sharing in our work and aiding the progress of Rad- 
cliffe by every means in their power. 

On March 24, 1898, Mrs. Agassiz's diary records: 
"To Radcliffe for Council meeting. Had casting vote on 
the matter of position of new gymnasium with reference to 
Fay House. The casting vote seems to me a great respon- 
sibility but I gave it in favor of retaining the larger space 
at the James Street end of the gymnasium lot." By the 
following December the building had been erected and its 
formal opening, at which Mrs. Agassiz made a brief ad- 
dress, took place on December 17. This is the last incident 
to be chronicled for 1898. The following letters speak for 
themselves of the most important event that befell Rad- 
cliffe in 1899. 


Castle HUl, Newport, July 31, 1899 
My dear Agnes: My children agree with me that 
the time has come when for their peace of mind 
as well as my own, I must withdraw from my official 
connection with Radcliffe College. 

Looking back upon the last twenty years I feel 
as if my share in the work had been as nothing 
compared with that of the Council, the Academic 
Board and in a more general though not less im- 
portant sense the Faculty of Harvard. They have 
made our college what it is and have turned an ed- 
ucational experiment into an institution of learn- 
ing. My feeling is one of deep gratitude to them and 
I wish I could give it any adequate expression. 

Let me add that your cooperation and sympathy 


have enabled me to keep my position some years 
longer than I could otherwise have done. I can 
never thank you in words for the relief and support 
that you have given me. 

Your affectionate friend, 

Elizabeth C. Agassiz 

My resignation takes effect January 1, 1900. 


Gray Pine, North East Harbor, Maine, August 15, 1899 
Dear Mrs. Agassiz: I was not absolutely unpre- 
pared for your letter, as I had just heard from Mr. 
Higginson that you were writing to me and that 
your "decision must be accepted." I have, never- 
theless, been profoundly disturbed by your deter- 
mination to resign, and I have thought over the 
matter and tried to be as fair as possible. I know 
you have earned your repose; still, I do feel that we 
might and could and would take off every one of 
your burdens if you would remain with us even in 
name! The Commencement speech is the one black 
spot, is it not? You need never make one, I think. 
But I don't wish to urge you. I wish to do only what 
you think best. . . . 

No one can fill your place. What you have been 
to us as President, no one else can be. I mean in 
kind as well as in degree. I think we are all of one 
mind about that. What you can give us is given 
by you. Could and would any one else as President 
give us that? I feel sure that no one would. . . . 



August, 1899 
My dear Agnes: Your letter has just come and 
is extremely clear and helpful. ... I do not think 
that I ought to entertain the idea of continuing to 
hold my present place. I have always felt that deeply 
as I was interested for Radcliffe, my family claims 
and responsibilities must come first — and I think 
I ought to yield to the wish of my children and 
also to that of my sisters in this matter. I admit 
that I could be relieved of any important demands 
upon my strength (indeed I have become so relieved 
since you came), and that even the Commencement 
nightmare might be laid to rest and something 
substituted in its place, more like the usual college 
commencement. But while others might exonerate 
me from all responsibility, I should not exonerate 
myself. I should remain in an undecided attitude 
questioning how much to do, how much to leave 
undone. Such a doubt is a fatigue. I have another 
feeling, namely, that it would be an immense satis- 
faction to me to see the institution going on as I 
know it would go on. I should have a sense of secur- 
ity about it that I should never have, if I left the 
change till I was fairly broken down, giving it up 
simply because I must. 


Manchester, August 29, 1899 
Dear Lady President: Is it wise to prepare for 
illness and death? Is it wise to leave the struggle 


and dust of the day and sitting back in one's chair 
to watch the new century go on, and see if one's 
bundle of mistakes lets one caution, advise, cheer 
the wage-earners, greedy to accomplish and thereby 
to lift the cause of humanity a bit higher in their 
turn? 'T is all that they can do, and no time while at 
work is to be lost in self-contemplation or in striv- 
ing for prizes and honours. And in my philosophy the 
old and tired onlookers can greatly help. I do think 
these above things are wise, and I feel no real doubt 
as to your course. Miss Irwin's wish to keep you still 
is affectionate, natural, excellent, but even she does 
not think it best. Go in peace! You have been a 
great boon to the College, have indeed given it 
birth, and you can now bless it in your own fashion. 
It has led a peaceful and beneficent existence, thanks 
to you — with your temperament, your aims, your 
thoughts and your training. . . . 


Nahant, September 19, 1899 
Dear Agnes: ... If there were no strings pulling 
the other way I know that my sympathy and love 
for you and my affection for Radcliffe, would win 
me over to believe that I could, if I only would, stay 
on. But in such important matters (especially when 
one's own feeling is engaged) we must listen to the 
judgment of those outside; and my own people, 
together with some sense of failure in myself, com- 
bine in urging me to give up my nominal office. I 



think and believe that the change in my actual 
relation to the college, and as I hope, dear Agnes, 
to you, will not be so great as you think. If it suits 
you, I want to keep my teas just as before (adapting 
the period of their duration to your judgment). 
This will I trust keep up my friendly relation with 
the students and lead perhaps to other intercourse 
with them. 

Cambridge, October 19, 1899 
Dear Agnes: Thank you with all my heart for 
your note, — that we have grown to be such friends 
is indeed a happiness to me, and I only hope we may 
still work together as dear friends may without other 
tie. It grieves me more than I can say to think of 
causing pain to the colleagues with whom I have 
worked so long in the most harmonious companion- 
ship, — and yet I am sure that I am right in taking 
this step before it is forced upon me. It does not 
seem so great a change to me as to my co-workers 
perhaps, because I have so strong a hope that I may 
still keep my personal relation to Radcliffe, still 
be in touch with all its interests and with the stu- 
dents — and more than all with you, dear Partner. 
Your affectionate old friend, 

Elizabeth C. Agassiz 

I have written a letter to President Eliot — It 
seemed fitting to apprise him myself of the change. 



Shady Hill, Cambridgey November 10, 1899 
My dear Mrs. Agassiz: I am sorry that the en- 
closed paper has not reached you sooner. ... I mean 
to have a better copy for you, but I will not wait 
to have it made before sending to you this report of 
the action taken by the Associates of Radcliffe on 
your resignation. 

I hope that you will approve their proposal and 
grant their wish. I fully sympathize with you in 
the feeling which must accompany so grave a step 
as the laying down of a duty which has filled so 
large a part of life, and thus sympathizing I also 
feel very strongly that this proposal of the Associates 
may be a mode of softening the change for you, 
and the continuance in sentiment for them of a 
most happy relation. 

I venture to say for myself that my strongest 
tie to Radcliffe is that which you make. ... I leave 
a thousand things unsaid. 

Affectionately yours, 

C. E. Norton 

The enclosed paper to which Mr. Norton refers was a 
copy of the following minute unanimously adopted at a 
meeting of the Associates of Radcliffe College held on 
November 1, 1899: 

The Associates of Radcliffe College have received 
with the deepest regret the letter of Mrs. Agassiz by 
which she resigns the oflfice of President of the College. 


Recognizing that her wishes in the matter are 
to be absolutely respected, they accept her resig- 
nation, without attempting to alter her decision. 
They are, however, unwilling to consent that her 
formal official relation with the College should here- 
by be broken, and they request her to accept the 
position of Honorary President of the College, in 
which, freed from responsibility for the discharge 
of specific duties, she may still afford to the active 
officers of the College the benefit of her counsel, and 
still give to the College the honor of having her name 
at its head. 

The Associates cannot deny themselves the privi- 
lege and satisfaction of expressing to her their sense 
of the perfect manner in which she has discharged 
every function of her office, and of the entirely happy 
relations which she has maintained with the officers, 
the teachers, and the students of the College, and 
with the public at large interested in its welfare. 

To this official expression they desire to add the 
warmest expression of their individual gratitude and 

Charles Eliot Norton 
Annie Leland Barber 
W. E. Byerly 
Mary H. Cooke 
John C. Gray 
Jas. B. Greenough 
Sarah W. Whitman 

Committee on hehalj of the Associates 


The proposal of the Associates that she become Honor- 
ary President was accepted by Mrs. Agassiz, and her resig- 
nation from her active duties, which devolved in large 
measure upon Miss Irwin, made no difference in the regu- 
lar order of affairs at the college. At the Commencement 
exercises of 1900 Professor W. W. Goodwin delivered the 
address. "It closed," Mrs. Agassiz writes in her diary, 
"with a few words of affectionate remembrance of my per- 
sonal relation to the college which were very touching to 
me as coming from such an old friend." These were the 
"few words": 

During our academic life of twenty-one years 
we have had the high privilege of being under the 
leadership of the gracious lady who now lays down 
the active work of the presidency. From the beginning 
Mrs. Agassiz has been at once our chief guide and 
the life and soul of our undertaking. Full of the 
enthusiasm of her earlier years, enthusiasm which 
was inspired from no ordinary source, she has brought 
to us the treasured traditions of the past, and wisely 
taught us how to use them for the inspiration of the 
present and the future. Herself trained as a scholar 
and a teacher, she could always give us the best 
advice as to what we should do for the higher ed- 
ucation of women and what we should not do. It is 
to her influence as much as to anything that our suc- 
cess and our present position in the academic world 
are due. In our private deliberations and also in the 
critical times when we needed a wise and dignified 
representative in public, we have always felt her 
steady hand at the helm. I feel that no words can 


express our estimate of the value of her services, or 
the respect and the affectionate regard which we feel 
for her; and now that she feels entitled to resign 
her more active work to others, we congratulate 
ourselves that she is willing and able to remain as 
our honorary president, and I am sure it is the 
unanimous prayer of all our friends that in this new 
relation she may long be with us as our best friend 
and our best adviser. 

An adviser to the College Mrs. Agassiz continued to be 
in the next important advance made after her resignation. 
This step was the purchase in May, 1900, of some 300,000 
square feet of land lying between Shepard, Linnaean and 
Walker Streets and the college property on Garden Street; 
here, on Shepard Street, within five minutes' walk of Fay 
House the site was selected for the hall given by Mrs. Kim- 
ball, which was called Bertram Hall, in memory of her son, 
who had borne her own family name, Bertram. This in- 
vestment was a source of great satisfaction to Mrs. Agassiz, 
for the college thus acquired a Homestead where there was 
ample room for future dormitories as well as space for 
open-air sports. 

Bertram Hall was begun in March, 1901, and was ready 
for occupancy when the college opened in the autumn. 
With Mrs. Henry Whitman as chairman of the committee 
who had it in charge, and Mr. A. W. Longfellow, Jr., as 
architect with freedom to carry out his designs, its artistic 
excellence in every detail was ensured, and it was, in fact, 
almost the first public building that had been erected in 
Cambridge for many long years that is architecturally 
agreeable. Extracts from Mrs. Agassiz's diaries show 


what gratiJBcation she derived from it, and how it speedily 
began to have the atmosphere that she desired for it under 
the influence of its first and for seventeen years its only 
mistress, Miss Eliza M. Hoppin. "It is too delightful — 
absolutely satisfactory and so cheerful," she wrote on De- 
cember 21, 1901. In the next year, on February 10, she re- 
cords: "In the evening to Bertram Hall. Dined with the 
students. It was really delightful. I never saw a happier set 
of girls — dancing and singing after dinner till eight o'clock 
when they all went to their studies." Another description 
of an evening there is given on January 13, 1903: "Went 
to dine at Bertram Hall. It was really charming — a pleas- 
anter, more cheerful, better bred set of young girls I could 
not wish to see. The dinner was nice and very prettily 
served; the talk round the table was pleasant and intelli- 
gent. After dinner they showed me the game of ping-pong, 
after which I went around to see them in their rooms — 
pretty chambers and studies connected. It was all very 

The formal opening ("a great affair for us, though very 
small in itself," Mrs. Agassiz writes in her diary) took 
place on January 22, 1902, at which Mrs. Agassiz made an 
address, giving first a sketch of the events leading to Mrs. 
Kimball's gift, the purchase of the Homestead, and the 
plans for enclosing it by eight dormitories, of which Ber- 
tram Hall was the first. The remainder of the address ex- 
presses Mrs. Agassiz's ideals for the Halls of Residence of 

While we are here to celebrate more especially 
the opening of a home for our students, we must 
not forget that we are also inaugurating a new chapter 


in the history of Radcliffe College. The domestic 
and social life which, with the help of the students 
themselves, we may build up in the homes we hope 
to provide for them, seems to me hardly less valuable 
than the academic education offered them by Harvard 
University. It should be at least the fitting accom- 
paniment of their scholarly attainments. 

Great as our pleasure is in being able to offer 
for the first time a home of their own to our students, 
we are nevertheless aware that many of them have 
formed delightful associations, and have come 
under the happiest influences in the homes opened 
to them by the kindness of Cambridge families. For 
this we and they are deeply grateful. But in Bertram 
Hall and in the other halls of residence which we 
hope to establish in connection with it, the attitude 
is and will be somewhat changed. Here in Bertram 
Hall, for instance, our students instead of being 
guests are hostesses. It is their own home, where 
under permission of the Mistress they can exercise 
a certain hospitality. We all know that the character, 
what we may call the bearing, of a home is something 
which it derives from the quality of its inmates. 
The maintenance of such a character in its highest 
sense will depend upon the students themselves, — 
upon their own refinement, simplicity, and dignity. 
Toward this we will gladly help them, and^we shall 
feel more closely drawn toward them, and they will 
feel, we hope, more nearly allied to us for the very 
reason that we work together toward this end. But 
we would have them all remember at the same time 


that it is their home during the years of their college 
life; that a home implies responsibility; that their 
highest ambition with reference to it should be to 
maintain a standard of good breeding, of kindly 
intercourse and consideration for each other, which 
give after all under any social conditions the key- 
note to gentle manners. 

In a community brought together under one roof 
by a common interest and kindred occupations, 
and not by kith and kinship, the bond is of course 
not as close nor can the relations be as spontaneous 
as between the members of one family. But a re- 
spect for such reserves as may leave each student in 
quiet possession of her room at her own will and 
pleasure, for her own studies or occupations, need 
not hinder the formation of intimacies or the growth 
of friendships which may last a lifetime. In the en- 
couragement of such genial and pleasant companion- 
ships, with due consideration for each others' in- 
dividual tastes and preferences, it seems to me that 
a very happy and a mutually helpful life must grow 
up here. 

The very conditions under which our new Hall 
and home exists are suggestive of the best influences. 
It is, as I have told you, the gift of a dear friend 
of Radcliffe College; known as Bertram Hall, it is 
consecrated by a beloved name; it is pledged to 
worthy occcupations and interests; and it may well 
stimulate those who live under its shelter to sincere, 
cheerful, and sustained effort. Accepted in this 
spirit it can hardly fail to be a happy home where 


the higher qualities both of character and culture 
may be held in religious reverence and developed 
side by side. 

December, 1902, brought Mrs. Agassiz to her eightieth 
birthday. The celebration of the occasion was intimately 
connected with Radcliffe. In the autumn of that year her 
children and grandchildren, knowing that her dearest wish 
was for a Students' House at Radcliffe, offered unknown to 
her to give the college $50,000 for that purpose, provided 
that an equal sum were raised before the fifth of December, 
Mrs. Agassiz's birthday, in order that the building might 
be presented to her as a birthday gift. Another novel and 
beautiful tribute was prepared by Major and Mrs. Higgin- 
son who arranged for a concert to be given in her honor by 
the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Choral Art So- 
ciety in Sanders Theatre on the evening of the birthday. 
"It is a lovely plan, but I have sworn that I would never 
have one of these semi-public birthdays," Mrs. Agassiz 
wrote in her diary when she learned of it, "but this time I 
must yield, not without dread." The day when it came 
proved memorable in her experience, and her acceptance 
of it highly characteristic, as extracts from her diaries and 
letters show. 

December i, 1902, — The week opens and I try 
to turn my thoughts away from the eightieth birth- 
day. I dread the celebration. . . . But one often 
shrinks from what seems quite pleasant in the ac- 
tual experience. I am, however, nervous and agitated 
in the prospect and so afraid that I may have a cold 
or be out of condition and disturb every one's plans. 


December 2. — This week, although it comes in 
festive guise is an anxious one. 

December Jf. — Tomorrow is the great day, but I 
feel calmer as it grows nearer. I am trying to keep 
quiet and tranquil. 

In the meantime a committee of forty-one friends had 
undertaken to collect the money required for the Students' 
House, and as a result of their efforts $116,000 was given or 
pledged within the time designated. In the words of the com- 
mittee it was intended as a testimonial of "the respect of the 
community for a woman who has given a shining example 
of distinguished public service perfectly performed." "The 
house was given," as President Briggs said later, "not so 
much to Radcliffe College as to her for RadcUffe College; 
and into the building of it went such affection as man or 
woman has rarely won." The matter was kept a profound 
secret from Mrs. Agassiz until the morning of the fifth of 
December, when she received the following note from Mrs. 
Henry Whitman. 


Boston, December 5, 1902 
Most beloved Lady: What joyful news do you 
think there is for you this happy day? Simply that I 
have to tell you that a little company of family and 
friends — all your lovers — have ready a hundred 
and eight thousand dollars to build a Students' Hall 
at once and call it by your name, as a birthday gift, 
and in token of their everlasting love and gratitude. 
Yours ever more and more, 

S. W. 


"The day is here," Mrs. Agassiz recorded in her diary, 
"and the greetings by telegram and note and the lovely 
gifts make it a day in Paradise. But a fairy gift — a pure 
surprise, — dropped into my hands, crowned this beauti- 
ful day in my life— - $116,000 for Radcliffe College for a 
Students' Hall. I cannot believe it; it is too good to be 
true." It was typical of Mrs. Agassiz's interests that on this 
day when above all others her thoughts might have been 
centred on herself, though deeply stirred by the expres- 
sions of affection that she received, her emotions over- 
powered her and her composure gave way only when she 
learned of the gift that was not personal but for Radcliffe. 
"Mother is none the worse for all this," Mr. Alexander 
Agassiz wrote to his daughter-in-law, describing the con- 
cert, " in fact would Hke a second festival, provided it could 
be as lucrative as the first "; and Mrs. Agassiz*s diary testi- 
fies to the disappearance of all her apprehensions in the 
happiness of the evening, when she characteristically be- 
lieved that the applause that followed her as she left the 
theatre on the arm of her son, was as much a demonstra- 
tion in his honor as in hers. A few selections from her diary 
and from letters written at the time complete the record 
of an occasion, the spirit of which was happily expressed 
by Mrs. Henry Whitman in a note that she wrote to 
Mrs. Agassiz a few days later, "Oh, all the beauty of 
this birthday! It will always hang Hke a star in my 

December 6, 1902. — The day I have so feared 
was one of the most beautiful I have known, not 
only for its personal happiness, but because it 
brought such a munificent gift to Radcliffe — more 


than the building for which we have so longed as 
giving us new facilities for our work, more than that, 
because the Students' Hall gives us assurance of 
stability, of permanence; it consolidates our relations 
to Harvard, and will lead to our completion as one 
of its recognized departments. 

December 7. — The birthday concert on Friday 
was perfect. Every one says as a musical occasion 
very rare and very perfect. After the concert grand- 
children and children, and a few friends and neigh- 
bors came in. It was very easy and pleasant. And 
now I have only to say that my birthday was with- 
out a flaw, and that I fully enjoyed it. One of the 
dearest things that happened was that Alex took 
me in and led me out. That made it so much less 
personal for me. I felt so proud and as if the honors 
were for him rather than for me. 


Cambridge, December 4, 1902. 
My dear Mrs. Agassiz : At Mr. Higginson's sug- 
gestion I tried — and gladly tried — to write some 
verses which might be sung with Mr. Gericke's music, 
at the concert tomorrow. Not hearing the music 
sung or played, I could only follow the metre of the 
older words; and I did not succeed in fitting my 
words to the music. I send them to you, however, 
with every good birthday greeting. 
Sincerely yours, 

L. B. R. Briggs 


E. C. A., DECEMBER 5, 1902 

Worthy wearer of his name — 
Loved, though long departed — 
His whose learning, rank and fame 
Left him simple-hearted. 

Thine the age that sweetens youth. 
Softens each affliction; 
Heaven *s everlasting truth 
Lights thy benediction. 

Never song by poet sung 
Stirred the gladdened hearer 
Like the soul, that ever young. 
Brings the Godhead nearer. 

When our years fly on apace. 
When our hearts are colder. 
May we, thinking on thy face. 
Graciously grow older. 

Grow like thee in tranquil heart 
Touched by Time's caressing. 
When we choose the better part. 
Eighty brings its blessing. 

L. B. R. Briggs 


Quincy Street, December 13, 1902 
Dear Mr. Briggs: In turning over the many let- 
ters of my birthday I have found your verses and 


your kind note, and though the verses did not adapt 
themselves to the music or the music did not fit itself 
to them, I shall never cease to feel that they made 
a part of the beautiful and affectionate commemo- 
ration of my eightieth anniversary. 

I have so much to thank you for, but I should find 
a diflficulty in putting it into words. But what I can- 
not say I hope you will understand and will see that 
I have deeply felt the sympathy expressed in your 
verses both for my earlier and my later life. 

With grateful remembrance. 

Sincerely yours, 

Elizabeth C. Agassiz 


Dearest Mrs. Agassiz: I am honored by your 
letter of thanks (which I did little to deserve) signed 
in your own dear, clear hand. You can hardly im- 
agine unless you put yourself in our place, the im- 
petus of enthusiasm with which we followed up the 
plan of giving you a birthday pleasure, whoever 
first put it in motion. The programme of your con- 
cert moved me a good deal; it seemed to speak of 
by-gone years, and your music with your sisters, 
and of the beneficent reign of Dresel. . . . 

There is but one regret for me, which is in the 
thought that future generations of Radcliffe girls 
cannot have that example of "the gracious and 
sympathetic side of life," the dignity and refinement 
which its first students have been so fortunate 


as to enjoy. But I trust that when years (many 
happy ones, I hope) have robbed the college of that 
perfect type, the tradition may abide as a perpetual 
stimulus. Do me the favor, dear lady, not to notice 
this missive, as I know that you are buried in similar 
ones. It is but a weak expression of the affection and 
admiration which you have had for a half century 
from me and mine. 

Yours faithfully, 

Sarah B. Wister 


95 Irving Street y December 5, 1902. 
Dear Mrs. Agassiz : With our whole heart we wish 
you a happy birthday, and a long series more of 
them to follow. For forty years / have known 
you, dear Mrs. Agassiz, always the same, spreading 
benedictions around you by your sympathy, in- 
telligence, cheerfulness, and activity; and I hate to 
think that such a presence should ever leave the 
scene. I am sixty; — let me breathe a prayer that 
we may both live twenty years longer, in plenary 
possession of our faculties and expire on the same 

With tenderest affection, your old friend, 

Wm. James 

95 Irving Streety December 15, 1902 
Dear Mrs. Agassiz: I never dreamed of your re- 
plying to that note of mine [of Dec. 5]. If you are 


replying to all the notes you received on that event- 
ful day, it seems to me a rather heavy penalty for 
becoming an octogenarian. But glad I am that you 
replied to mine, and so beautifully. Indeed I do 
remember the meeting of those two canoes; and the 
dance, over the river from Manaos; and many an- 
other incident and hour of that wonderful voyage. 
I remember your freshness of interest, and readiness 
to take hold of everything, and what a blessing to 
me it was to have one civilized lady in sight, to 
keep the memory of cultivated conversation from 
growing extinct. I remember my own folly in wish- 
ing to return home after I came out of the hos- 
pital at Rio; and my general greenness and incapac- 
ity as a naturalist afterwards, with my eyes gone to 
pieces. It was all because my destiny was to be a 
"philosopher" — a fact which then I didn't know, 
but which only means, I think, that if a man is good 
for nothing else, he can at least teach philosophy. 
But I 'm going to write one book worthy of you, dear 
Mrs. Agassiz, and of the Thayer expedition, if I am 
spared a couple of years longer. 

I hope you were not displeased at the applause 
the other night, as you went out. / started it; if I 
had n't some one else would a moment later, for the 
tension had grown intolerable. 

How delightful about the Radcliffe building. Well, 
once more, dear Mrs. Agassiz, we both thank you for 
this beautiful and truly affectionate letter. 
Your affectionate 

Wm. James 


On December 10 the entry in Mrs. Agassiz's diary 
reads: " Today met the RadcHffe students, just for a little 
hour of interchange about the new hall. I hardly know 
whether they or I are more happy in this new prospect 
for the college." 

The informal address that Mrs. Agassiz made to the 
students on that afternoon follows : 

I have called you together this afternoon because 
you and I and Radcliffe have received a beautiful 
gift in common, and I think we should talk of it, 
and ask each other what we should make of it. 
What influence shall it have upon the future of our 
college; for it is not only the gift of a building, 
it is not only one step forward, it gives solidity 
and permanence to our whole scheme of existence as 
a college, our future is secured by it and a seal is 
set, as it were, upon our work. 

Such^a building as our Students' Hall is the promise 
of growth and development; it makes one feel that 
the essential needs will yet be fulfilled, such as the 
Library for instance, for we have no Library build- 
ing, though we have thousands of books to put upon 
its shelves, and other provisions for Laboratories and 
Recitation rooms. 

You all know how much a Students' Hall has 
been in your thoughts and mine; you all know that 
friends within and without Radcliffe College have 
worked for it, but their efforts have been unavailing, 
and I confess that I was deeply discouraged. 

Suddenly, on one beautiful day of my life, the 
means were put into my hand, the whole means in 


a most generous measure, and without conditions 
— a fairy gift, if ever there was one, for it came as 
a pure surprise. 

I call it mine, because it was given to me for you, 
to fulfil a wish that I had long cherished for the 
students of Radcliffe, the accomplishment of which 
I feared that I might never see. 

For a moment I could not believe what my eyes 
and my ears declared. One must have experienced 
it, in order to understand what it is to have a desire 
of your heart suddenly granted, the road opened 
without obstruction; so did this come, as if one had 
said, "Here is all you need for your Students' 
Hall, you may turn the first sod tomorrow if you 

And now the very name of your new hall in- 
dicates not only your share in it, but your responsi- 
bility towards it. Education is never complete 
without its domestic and social side. This build- 
ing is to represent to you the refinement and charm 
of a home, while it will give you many advantages 
in your studies. Yet I hope that in this building, 
side by side with your college instruction and in 
keeping with a happy and cheerful life, there will 
grow up the domestic and social qualities without 
which no education is perfect. It rests with you, 
for whose pleasure and well being it is intended, 
to make the best use of this building, and it is to 
be not only a Students' Hall but a students' home. 

You are all aware that the one distinction of 
Radcliffe lies in the fact that our teaching force 


is exclusively drawn from the faculty of Harvard. 
We have the whole body of instruction of our old 
University, and this we owe to the generosity of 
Harvard, to the sympathy and interest of its pro- 
fessors and teachers; therefore, to Harvard, we owe 
the allegiance and loyalty of a younger to a much 
older institution, and we must contribute our share 
to her laurels. 

Let us strive, therefore, to maintain a high stand- 
ard of excellence, not only in study, but in gentle 
manners and in all that contributes to a home in 
the best sense. 

A little later Mrs. Agassiz sent to the contributors to 
the Students' Hall the following letter of thanks: 

To the friends who by their exertions and contribu- 
tions collected the fund for a Students' Hall at 
Radcliffe College. 

36 Quincy Street, Cambridge, December 25, 1902 
My Friends: A long cherished wish of mine for 
Radcliffe College was fulfilled in the most touching 
way on my 80th birthday. 

Knowing the needs and desires of our students, 
I have long hoped that we might provide fitting 
conditions within the precincts of the college for 
the maintenance of a social, domestic, and, as it 
were a family life among them, side by side with 
their daily studies. Friends within and without 
the College, and even the students themselves had 
worked toward this end but had failed thus far 


of success. Suddenly by no effort of my own, on 
one fair and beautiful day of my life, the means for 
this purpose were put into my hand. The impossible 
became the possible. The road opened before me clear 
of all obstructions. Indeed, it seemed that the ground 
might be broken tomorrow for the building which 
should represent to our students the refinement 
and the charm of a home. By virtue of this gift we 
hope that the more gracious and sympathetic side 
of life without which no education is perfect, may 
accompany our academic instruction. 

I should vainly attempt to express here my own 
gratitude or the thanks of our students for this 
rare gift tendered to them through me. The future 
history of Radcliffe must speak for us all. May 
their loyal work, their well-bred manners and the 
dignity of their life in this new Hall, show that this 
act of generosity has been understood and deeply 
appreciated by the students of Radcliffe as well 
as by its officers and its Honorary President. 

Elizabeth Gary Agassiz 

With the gift of the Elizabeth Gary Agassiz House (a 
name which Mrs. Agassiz confided to her diary was "quite 
a mouthful") the college found itself in possession of three 
of the four buildings that had been pronounced essential 
to its welfare — the Gymnasium, a Hall of Residence, and 
a Students' House. It may be added here that the fourth, 
a Library, was later provided chiefly through Miss Irwin's 
influence with Mr. Andrew Carnegie, who offered to give 
$75,000 for a building provided an equal sum should be 
given as an endowment — an amount that was contrib- 


uted by the alumnae and other friends of the college. 
This building Mrs. Agassiz did not live to see. 

The site for Agassiz House was chosen in the Radcliffe 
Yard, next to the Gymnasium, and to Mrs. Agassiz*s 
great satisfaction the architect selected for the building 
was Mr. A. W. Longfellow. On April 6 of the next year she 
noted in her diary: "A most interesting meeting con- 
cerning Elizabeth Gary Agassiz House. I think the plan 
is admirable and very ingenious considering the various 
uses to which it is to be put." Before work upon the house 
was begun, however, other events occurred, which should 
be recounted in their turn. 

In the spring of 1903, Mrs. Agassiz decided that Rad- 
cliffe had grown beyond her strength and that it was best 
to resign her position as Honorary President. Her resigna- 
tion was presented to the Council on May 26 and in def- 
erence to her wish was accepted to take effect at the end 
of the academic year. At the same meeting, in order to 
strengthen and emphasize the connection between Har- 
vard University and Radcliffe the Dean of the Faculty of 
Arts and Sciences in the University, LeBaron Russell 
Briggs, was nominated as President of Radcliffe. At a 
meeting of the Associates on June 10, Mrs. Agassiz pre- 
sented her formal resignation and Dean Briggs was unan- 
imously elected President. "What Mrs. Agassiz has been 
and still is to RadcHffe College, no one needs to say," Miss 
Irwin wrote in her report for the year to the President 
of Harvard University. " What Mr. Briggs has been to 
Harvard College in the past, what he surely will be to 
Radcliffe College in the future, no one can know so well as 
the President of Harvard University." Letters and other 


material that have to do with these changes and show 
the spirit in which Mrs. Agassiz shared in them follow. 


Manchester-by-the-Seay May 13, 1903 
The committee, as you know, wishes to have Dean 
Briggs as President — but it needs to know what 
positions and duties and rights you wish, if any. You 
are honorary president and are expected to perform 
certain duties. My notion has been that you would 
prefer the pleasures — after all these years of serv- 
ice and of essentialness (to coin a word) I think that 
you should reap the joys only — hold your teas, if 
you like, know what is going on, but feel no weight 
and be held to no meetings or consultations. 

But you are grown up and will decide. Will you 
send me a line at an early time and settle the matter 
— and tell me if you prefer to resign everything 
but your joys ? 


I SHOULD like to give up all. My age and my deafness 
make even the small share I have retained in the 
work very diflficult of fulfilment. I can never cease 
to love Radcliffe College and to take the deepest in- 
terest in its concerns, but I am really no longer strong 
enough to take any share in its direction. I cannot 
trust myself nor can I be depended upon to take part 
in any of the meetings (as Council, Associate meeting. 


boards, etc.) and especially not in the public functions, 
as Commencement and the like. In fact I should like 
to give up all my responsibilities of that kind and 
only to be admitted as a loving spectator and listener 
when I am able to be present. To tell the truth I am 
trembling now at the thought of Commencement and 
of coming forward on the platform to give all those 
degrees. I am delighted to hear (I so understand your 
note) that the Committee are agreed in wishing to 
have Dean Briggs as President. I hope it will be 
clearly understood that as President he will preside 
at all meetings — Council, Associates' meetings, etc., 
etc., etc. We need a presiding officer to give clearness, 
promptness, and decision to our work. 

I do not think I need make any exception about 
teas or other social functions, because I know that I 
shall always be welcome at them when I can join in 

On June 10, at the meeting of the Associates mentioned 
above, Mrs. Agassiz submitted to them the following let- 
ter of resignation: 

To the Associates and to the other official hoards con- 
nected with the government of Radcliffe College: 
The time has come when I feel that it is not only 
best for myself but essential also for the interests of 
Radcliffe that I should withdraw from her counsels. 
In doing so I would send a word of farewell and of 
gratitude to my colleagues. Among them are some 
with whom I have shared the fortunes of Radcliffe 
from her initiation twenty-four years ago till now. 


They remember with me those early days when her 
life seemed a precarious one, when her only wealth 
consisted in the quality of her instruction (drawn 
wholly from the Faculty of Harvard) and in the 
enthusiasm of her students. Indeed, the real inspira- 
tion of her life in those early years and of her subse- 
quent growth has been the hope of becoming more 
and more closely allied with the University; sharing 
its intellectual outfit, its traditions, its associations. 
That hope has been our guiding star, which we have 
never lost from sight at any time. 

First through the sympathy and generosity of the 
professors and teachers, then through the recognition 
of the President and Fellows of Harvard (its governing 
boards) , we have been brought to the very gates of the 
University, until we have now our full share of that 
organized body of college instruction which is the 
pride of our State, which our young men are taught to 
love and honor. In that affection and reverence our 
students of Radcliffe have become their worthy rivals. 

In leaving Radcliffe (so far as that is possible, since 
her future must always be dear to me), I am happy to 
feel that our next step is one of the greatest impor- 
tance and value for her, according, moreover, with the 
policy which we have pursued from the beginning. 

In electing a member of the Faculty (and the second 
officer of the University) as our President, we put 
ourselves in immediate touch with the whole educa- 
tional force of Harvard, and we gain a position of 
absolute security and permanence under her protec- 
tion. Therefore, the choice of Dean Briggs to be the 


President of Radcliffe gives me much pleasure and 
entire satisfaction. 

I am grateful for the length of years which has 
allowed me to see the fulfilment of our cherished hope 
for Radcliffe in this closer relation of her academic 
life and government with that of Harvard. With 
cheerful confidence in her future which now seems 
assured to me, with full and affectionate recognition 
of all that her Council, her Academic Board and her 
Associates have done to bring her where she now 
stands, I bid farewell to my colleagues. 

At the same time, I thank them for their unfailing 
support and encouragement in the work which we 
have shared together in behalf of Radcliffe College. 

Elizabeth C. Agassiz 

June 10, 1903 


June 11, 1903. — I hear that the meeting went well 
at Radcliffe and Briggs is elected. I hope I am right 
in believing that this is a great step upward and on- 
ward for Radcliffe. I am sorry to hear from Henry 
Higginson that he believes our building at this time 
would involve a loss of $20,000 on account of the high 
price of material and labor. This is a great disappoint- 

June 12, — The papers have full and pleasant ar- 
ticles with regard to the election of Dean Briggs as 
President of Radcliffe — my successor. This means 
that Radcliffe is affiliated more closely than ever with 


the educational force of the University of Harvard. 
Already this has been from the start our one distinc- 
tion. This makes it more marked and ensures per- 
manence and a marked character for our little insti- 


Cambridge, June 12, 1903 
My dear Mrs. Agassiz: Mr. Briggs was elected 
unanimously, of course, on Wednesday evening, and 
he has this morning notified Miss Goes of his accept- 
ance. But it is no longer a secret, as it was "an- 
nounced" yesterday evening at Mrs. Moore's musical 
party, and you will probably read it in the "Tran- 
script" before you read this 

Your resignation had its solemnizing effect, I as- 
sure you. A committee of three has been appointed, 
Mr. Oilman, Mrs. Cooke and Miss Longfellow, to 
express to you the feelings of the Association. Your 
letter was like you. 

I hope you are comfortably toasting your feet over 
a fire and looking at the sea. 

Yours sincerely, 

Agnes Irwin 

TO a committee of the associates CONSISTING OP 

Nahant, July 1, 1903 
My DEAR Mr. Oilman : Will you and the other 
members of your committee accept for yourselves 


and for the Associates of Radcliffe College my thanks 
for the expressions of friendship which I have received 
from them all through you? 

Whatever I have done for the College has been 
done by means of the cooperation and sympathy of 
all my colleagues and Associates. Indeed I must say 
that we have worked together with such good-will 
and readiness, in such affection for Radcliffe and such 
confidence in each other that it is difficult to say how 
or by whom the result has been obtained. 

However this may be, I shall ever feel grateful to 
the friends who have worked with me for Radcliffe 
during the last quarter of a century. Not a shadow 
rests upon the memory of our allied company held 
together as it has been by one common aim and in- 

With warm regard to you who have conveyed to 
me the affectionate farewell greeting of my colleagues 
and Associates. 

Faithfully yours, 

Elizabeth C. Agassiz 

Cambridgey June 18, 1903 
Dear Mrs. Agassiz : I have now informed myself 
about the Radcliffe situation as regards the President 
and the Honorary President. You are still Honorary 
President, and I do not see why you should resign 
that position at all, but much reason why you should 
continue to hold it indefinitely. . . . 

Let me repeat that I hope very much that you will 
not feel it necessary to give up the Honorary Presi- 


dency. The office seems to me to be analogous to that 
of Professor Emeritus. Now the name of a Professor 
Emeritus adorns our annual catalogue until his death. 
No duties attach to it, but if he chooses he may give 
instruction. No duties would attach necessarily to 
the office of Honorary President; but if you chose 
to take part in social functions you would do so in 
that capacity. The retention of your name seems to 
me very desirable, and I am sure that both the grad- 
uates and the undergraduates of Radcliffe would 
greatly prefer this arrangement. 

Sincerely yours, 

Charles W. Eliot 

The suggestion contained in the above letter of Presi- 
dent Eliot, though never formally adopted, was put into 
effect, and Mrs. Agassiz will always remain in the hearts 
of those who knew her the President Emerita of Radcliffe. 

A draft of the following undated letter lies in the pages 
of Mrs. Agassiz's diary for 1902. The note from President 
Eliot, which is given below immediately after it, was evi- 
dently written in reply. 


My dear Mr. Eliot: Just a word (which you 
must not answer in these days of countless letters 
for you) to tell you that I have never failed to be 
grateful for all you have done for me and for Radcliffe. 
Personally your presence at our Commencements has 
given me a sense of support and protection in my 
official position without which I should have felt 


quite unnerved. I was always very proud and quite 
self-possessed when I went up to the platform on your 
arm. But apart from that I am anxious to tell you 
that I have appreciated and understood your policy 
towards Radcliffe from the beginning. During the 
first ten or fifteen years when the Governing Boards 
had not recognized us and when the more aggressive 
reformers were urging us to force the gates of Harvard 
and demand recognition, I knew that this delay was 
prompted by a loyalty to the old University which 
was the first duty of Harvard and her officers, — that 
they could not recognize us until they were satisfied 
that such recognition would involve no change of 
policy in the old University, nor any difficulty in her 

When you did recognize us it was in a large and a 
generous spirit, and I confess that our present attitude 
fulfils my brightest hopes. How could our little craft 
be moored more safely than she now is against the 
great body of instruction which represents the learn- 
ing and the teaching of which the state and country 
at large are so proud .^^ Forgive me for taking even a 
few moments of your time just now and believe me. 
Truly and gratefully yours, 

Elizabeth C. Agassiz 


Cambridge, Jidy 2, 1903 
Dear Mrs. Agassiz: I thank you for your very 
friendly note of June 30. My impression is that Rad- 


cliffe College has got on fast, and is now in an excel- 
lent position. In fact, I do not see how it can be im- 
proved, so far as its organization and instruction go. 
You ought to take solid satisfaction in your work 
for it. 

Sincerely yours, 

Charles Eliot 


Nahant [June 26, 1903] 
I HAVE longed to write to you both, but time has been 
at high pressure for the last week, and notes and letters 
have been at a discount. One thing I will say, — that 
this my last Commencement [June 23] (which has 
kept me awake and frightened me out of my wits 
for the last three weeks) proved to be one of the 
happiest experiences of my long connection with the 
dear Radcliffe, which I now leave where I have so 
longed to see her, in closest touch with the intellec- 
tual outfit of Harvard, sharing her government, her 
instruction, her traditions and associations. 

President Eliot was admirable — full of sympathy, 
eminently satisfied and pleased with our choice of 
a new president from the Faculty, which of course 
sets the seal upon our relation to Harvard. Mr. Ropes 
[Professor James H. Ropes], who was our ofliciating 
clergyman and who read the annual address, touched 
upon a point to which no one has ever before alluded, 
though it has often been in my own mind. He spoke 
of the College (Radcliffe) as a natural growth out of 


our old school. So it has always seemed to me. But 
for the school, the college (so far as I am concerned) 
would never have existed. The training of the school 
prepared me for the later work and has always been 
associated with it in my thought. Mr. Ropes brought 
this out (associating with it the influence of Agassiz 
as a teacher) in the most delightful way. The giving 
of degrees followed in the usual way, but I did not 
make my address. 

When all the official ceremony was over, Miss 
Irwin, Mrs. Whitman and I drove in together to the 
Vendome where the Alumnae dinner took place — 
170 women, I think. Dean Briggs, the only man! 
After dinner I opened the speaking with a short 
address; others followed, but I must tell you that our 
ceremonies were interrupted by a very pretty inci- 
dent. We received a message from the Harvard class 
of '83; they were having their annual dinner in an 
adjoining hall and would like to send us greeting. 
Of course this was accepted with great pleasure. 
Presently half a dozen of these gentlemen (some of 
whom I knew) came in, bringing three or four of the 
most superb baskets of roses (Jacqueminots) that I 
have ever seen. The first was presented to me, the 
others at other parts of the company. They then in- 
troduced themselves as the class of '83, wished us 
everything for the future fortunes of Radcliffe and 
a pleasant evening on this our graduating day, and 
bade us good-bye. Nothing could be more friendly 
or more dignified and respectful; it struck me as a 
new note never sounded before, — a sort of frater- 


nizing, as it were, — which meant a good deal. With 
that our evening ended. 


NahanU June SO, 1903 
My DEAR Mrs. Richardson: You must let me tell 
you how much I enjoyed the evening with our Alum- 
nae, and how charmingly I thought the whole occasion 
was presided over by you. It was a lovely close to my 
social relations with that pleasant company of stu- 
dents which have made year by year so great a part 
of the interest and charm of my life. I do not speak 
of the "close" as if it meant the end of that companion- 
ship, for I trust that I shall meet our students often 
and often in close and cordial association. I only 
mean that the bright and pleasant meeting of the 
Alumnae ended the day for me delightfully. 
With affectionate remembrance, 

Elizabeth C. Agassiz 

On June 24 Mrs. Agassiz had written in her diary: 
"The day I had so much dreaded is over and was one of 
the happiest I have known in my connection with Rad- 
cliffe. And now my presidency is over, and Dean Briggs is 
installed, and I feel that the position of Radcliffe is assured." 
"Now that I am losing courage in these later days," she 
wrote at this time to a friend, "it is a joy to feel that there 
are younger people to take up the cares and responsibili- 
ties and bear them along with fresh hope and faith,'* and 
the following letters still further illustrate her attitude 


toward her successors. The fact that Mrs. Briggs was 
a graduate of Radcliffe was especially pleasant to Mrs. 


December 9, [1903] 
My DEAR Mrs. Briggs: My stupid influenza which 
clings to me like a brother still keeps me at home. 

I had hoped to meet you this afternoon, but my 
cold and the weather are equally unfavorable. Per- 
haps you will not be at Radcliffe yourself, but I care 
to tell you how sorry I shall be to miss you, should 
you look in, — and to tell you also how great a help 
and pleasure it is to me to see you there. You seem 
to me one of us, — the natural associate of our early 
days. How happy we should have been then to know 
that Radcliffe would so soon have the position she 
holds now! 

I have wished to say all this to you so much that 
I write instead of waiting to see you when my cold 
leaves me free. As to the teas much as I like to see 
you there you must always remember that one of 
their good points is that no one is bound by them, — 
the tea-table stands there ready for use by the stu- 
dents and their friends, even if their elders are other- 
wise occupied or engaged. 

With affectionate remembrance, 

Your old friend, 

Elizabeth C. Agassiz 


May 8, [1904] 
Dear Mrs. Briggs: It was a great pleasure to have 
your note after the Radcliffe dance the other evening. 
I was very sorry not to go and very glad that you were 
there. It is such a good thing that you are in sym- 
pathy with their pleasure as well as with their studies. 
The fact of your having been a "college girl" your- 
self is so valuable for them and for us. I remember 
that an English instructress from one of the Oxford 
Halls for women said to me, "Try always to have a 
college-bred woman among the officers — you will 
find it an immense help." I think she was right. 
With affectionate regard, 

Yours truly, 

Elizabeth C. Agassiz 

During the time that the reorganization of the college 
was being effected, owing to the exceptionally high cost of 
building, the work on Agassiz House was being delayed, and 
it was not until March that, according to the record in 
Mrs. Agassiz's diary, the .clearing of the site, which had 
been begun in the summer of 1903, was resumed. The 
building was not completed until 1905, when on June 16. 
it was opened for inspection by invited guests, and on June 
19 the Auditorium was dedicated by the first performance 
of MarlowBy a play by Josephine Preston Peabody, a 
former student of the college. Like Bertram Hall the build- 
ing owed its perfect appropriateness for its purposes and 
its beauty of proportion and detail to the architect and to 
the unerring taste of Mrs. Henry Whitman, who, although 
she did not live to see the work completed, has in it, as 


>t^K.':. .« 


I~ -^^^.^ 1^ jL 


mB^" ^^ *- 



<: 1 ^H 

'ill 0^ 

<y ^fl 




j^b^HSIzllflKi ^^ 


gi "^BjupjjHMiiiiff ilH ir^^^^^^B i ..^ij^^^^^^^ 




in Bertram Hall, left a worthy memorial of her unusual 

With the death of Mrs. Whitman the summer of 1904 
opened sadly for Mrs. Agassiz. Few, if any, associations 
into which her connection with Radcliffe had led her, had 
become dearer to her than that with Mrs. Whitman. This 
association began in the days of the Society for the Col- 
legiate Instruction of Women, when in 1886 Mrs. Whit- 
man was elected to the Corporation; in 1892 she was made 
a member of the Executive Committee of the Society, and 
in 1894 a member of the Council of Radcliffe College. 
During all these years she gave unstintingly of her time, 
her influence, and her best gifts to the college. As an artist, 
she will be known to future Radcliffe students by two fine 
specimens of her glass that they may often have before 
their eyes — a large window in Memorial Hall and a small 
window in the Whitman Room in the Radcliffe College 
Library. The glowing richness of the former and the del- 
icacy and simplicity of the latter are no less an epitome 
of her character than the figures of Love, Courage and 
Patience that from the Radcliffe window give her lasting 
message to the brief college generations that pass in swift 
succession beneath it. Her earnest religious faith was as 
essential a part of her nature as her artistic gifts, and her 
vitality, which expressed itself in a remarkable power of 
work and unfailing courage, was however under too perfect 
control to betray her into a loss of tranquillity. Her vivid 
interest in human lives, added to an attractive presence, 
made her an agreeably dominating personality. These ex- 
ceptional traits, and her calming yet stimulating presence 
bound Mrs. Agassiz pecuUarly to her, and their constant in- 


tercourse was a continual source of enjoyment to her in her 
Hfe as President of RadcHffe College. A few of the entries 
in her diary at the time of Mrs. Whitman's death follow. 

Nahant, June 19, 190^. — A note from the hospital 
makes every one anxious about Sally Whitman. 

June 22, — Bad news from Sally Whitman, dear, 
dear Sally, — is she going where all the mysteries are 
solved — the great secret? 

June 26. — Sally Whitman died yesterday at the 
hospital. How impossible it seems! And now no more 
our *' again," but dead silence. 

June 28. — Yesterday the last farewells were said 
to such a friend as is rarely found. 

Within a few days after the last entry Mrs. Agassiz 
suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, which threatened serious 
consequences. She remained at Nahant in the hands of 
physicians and nurses until the end of September when 
she came back to Quincy Street, after which she began 
slowly to improve, but was obliged to lead the life of an 
invalid for the greater part of a year and never regained 
the vitality lost during the summer. When Agassiz House 
was completed she was too feeble to attend the opening. 
The following spring on May 13, she wrote in her diary: 
"I hope Pauline will take me to the new Radcliffe Hall to- 
morrow," and on May 14, "Yes Pauline came and took 
me over the Hall named after me. We had a lovely morn- 
ing together. It is a beautiful building, without and within. 
Architecturally dignified and of fine lines and proportions; 
within, fittings convenient and serviceable — suited for the 
purpose and meaning.** 


Among Mrs. Agassiz's papers there has been found a 
half -sheet which in its feebleness would seem too sacred 
for pubhcation were it not that it contains the last recorded 
words which she desired to speak to the students of Rad- 
cliffe, and which are therefore her parting message to the 
college. On the outside of the sheet is written, — "Some- 
thing that should I have to join in the opening ceremonies 
for the new students' building at Radcliffe I should like to 

I do not mean that our relation to Harvard should 
give us the faintest feeling of superiority but only a 
deeper feeling of responsibility. We cannot hold the 
position without accepting the responsibility. 

It will be difficult for me to speak here within the 
walls and under the roof of a building given first as a 
gift to me and second [as] a gift through me to the 
students of Radcliffe. When I came before them the 
next day to tell them that I had received so beauti- 
ful a gift, I felt that we took as it were a pledge to 
each other, binding us to the best uses of this new 
home — not only while we enjoyed it, but that we 
would also establish traditions by force of which it 
would be consecrated also in time to come as worthy 
of its donors. 

Today I feel like renewing that pledge. Indeed I 
believe that we — 



We love to personify our colleges. Harvard is to me as truly human as 
the men and women that I meet from day to day; a human being of 
heroic mould, 

"A daughter of the gods, divinely tall. 
And most divinely fair." 

Radcliffe College is human too; and when we think of her we see — what 
better could we see! — that gracious lady who has lived and loved and 
worked for RadcUfife College from the beginning, of whom the old poet 
might have thought in prophecy when he wrote, 

"No spring nor summer's beauty hath such grace 
As I have seen in one autumnal face," 

who is herself an Alma Mater, — an Alma Mater[in whose "through-shine" 
face, as the same old poet might have said, rests all that is sweet and true. 
LeBabon Russell Bkiggs {June, 1904) 

WE have seen what Radcliffe College owes to Mrs. 
Agassiz in its organization and externals; in its 
traditions the debt is still greater. Its traditional ideals are 
those that she expressed first of all in herself. She rarely- 
put them into words except in her public addresses. Selec- 
tions from some of these have appeared in the preceding 
chapters, but others are added here which set forth more 
fully her convictions in regard to the education of women. 


... I THINK sometimes that in the discussions concern- 
ing women's higher education which stir the air in 
these latter days, we hear and talk too much of the 
claims of women, too little of the responsibilities in- 
volved therein. We are making a claim; do we always 


remember that we are also giving a pledge? Granted 
that the whole field of literature and science shall be 
opened to women educationally, as it is to men, and 
that it shall form a part of their training for life, the 
question then comes up. What added service shall 
they bring in acknowledgment of this larger and 
more complete outfit? If in receiving a man's educa- 
tion we were simply expected to duplicate a man's 
work, the problem might at least theoretically be 
easier of solution. But taken in the larger sense, with 
the greater variety and freedom of occupation now 
opening to women, our first task (at least so it seems 
to me) is to adapt the new means put into our hands 
to the conditions and methods of a woman's life, 
which must be in a great degree her own, and in 
accordance with her natural endowments and limita- 
tions. We have to show that the wider scope of 
knowledge and the severer training of the intellect 
may strengthen and enrich a woman's life, and help 
her in her appointed or her chosen work, whatever 
that may prove to be, as much as it helps a man in 
his career. Wherever her future path may turn, 
whether she be the head of a house or hold some 
official position in a school, a college, or a hospital (I 
only name things with which she is so often associated) , 
wherever, in short, she may rule or serve, her rule and 
her service should be the wiser, the more steady, 
gentle and healthful, because she has been trained 
to clear and logical methods of thinking, because her 
powers of concentration and observation have been 
cultivated. . . . 


* I repeat that we must think of instruction as 
something that may transcend itself, something that 
has higher issues than the mere acquisition of knowl- 
edge. If it does not build up character, if it does not 
give us a more urgent sense of duty, a larger and 
braver sympathy for what is noblest in life, — in 
short, if it does not make lives better and homes 
happier — then it has done its least and not its 
greatest work, then we have missed its highest in- 


... So many farewells to the nineteenth century, so 
many greetings to the twentieth, will be heard on all 
public occasions in the next few months, that one 
hesitates to enter upon a subject which is, as it were, 
already bespoken, and may perhaps be in danger 
of becoming commonplace by repetition. And yet, 
though it may be said in a certain sense that every 
day ends one century and begins another, the mile- 
stones that men set up to mark their artificial divi- 
sions of time are deeply impressive, especially when 
they connect themselves with permanent institutions, 
which, in their future growth and expansion, are likely 
to touch the finer issues of civilization and of social 
life; and therefore it seems to me worth while to re- 
member here and now what the last hundred years 
have done for women, and to remind each other that 
today our Commencement falls for the last time 
within the closing gates of the nineteenth century. 
Among the numerous and startling changes that 


have marked this century, the progress in the edu- 
cation of women has been singularly striking and 
novel. For one whose life has kept pace with that of 
the century, beginning with its earlier years and 
sharing now in its decline, the retrospect as regards 
women is simply amazing. I do not forget in saying 
this that at all times and in almost all countries some 
one woman has made her mark intellectually here 
and there, has been known and acknowledged as an 
exceptional power in her day and generation. I speak 
now not of such rare instances, but of women in 
general and their opportunities. . . . Even now, 
after twenty years of experience and observation at 
Radcliff e, I still find myself surprised at the possibili- 
ties opened to women by their admission into the 
range of academic instruction. I was vividly reminded 
of this the other day. Having gone to the Harvard 
Observatory on a chance errand, I happened upon a 
class of our own students who have been working 
there this year under Mr. Edmands. He was absent 
on that day, and Mrs. Fleming, whose work in the 
photographic department of the Observatory has 
made her name known to astronomers everywhere, 
had taken his class for him. I joined them, and for 
one pleasant hour was a student with them. Mrs. 
Fleming was just showing them what I had especially 
wished to see, the image of a star which, until re- 
cently revealed by the photographic telescope, had 
never been seen by human eye, although, since its 
discovery, its position and magnitude have been com- 
puted by astronomers. Something of the method, by 


which the photographic instrument is made thus to 
serve the work of man I had heard from Mrs. Fleming 
before. It is impossible to reproduce the charm of the 
narrative as told by her; the fitting of the blank 
photographic plate into the glass at evening, the 
setting of the telescope to the prescribed area over 
which it is to travel before daylight returns, the wind- 
ing of the clock which is to control its motion, the 
examination of the plate in the morning, and the 
finding possibly a new star included in the record 
of the night's work, — it is all of transcendent in- 

We may ask of what use the knowledge of such a 
discovery and of its results may be to the student un- 
less he or she is to be an astronomer. As much use as 
any knowledge which exalts and enlarges one's concep- 
tion of the infinite, and carries us, if but a little way, 
into the measureless regions of the unknown. That 
the ingenuity of man should reveal to him the exist- 
ence of a world which lies beyond his utmost field 
of vision, however aided artificially; that the intellect 
of man should compute the position of this world and 
determine its relation in space, — seems like bringing 
the seen and the unseen into touch with one another. 
It is an object lesson which appeals alike to reason 
and to faith. I have no right to dwell, however lightly, 
on these mysteries. I only use the incident of that 
hour at the Observatory, which seemed to lift the 
veil for a moment from the hidden things of life, as 
an illustration of what characterizes the whole subject 
of enlarged education for girls and women, namely, 


. . . the multiplying of their chances in life, whether 
for purely moral and intellectual ends or for practical 
uses. In short, I came away more than ever wonder- 
ing at the stimulating influences poured in upon 
women through the doors and windows so recently 
thrown wide open to them. ... 

Such are some of the gifts of the nineteenth cen- 
tury to women. The further development of these 
gifts and their noblest use as they open out in the 
twentieth century into new occupations and interests 
must largely be determined by women themselves. 
The field is wide and the opinions are various; and 
I share too much perhaps in the predilections and 
traditions of the century which is ending to be a good 
judge of the questions under discussion, as, for in- 
stance, regarding professional or political work for 
women. I am confident of one thing, however, which 
is that the largest liberty of instruction cannot in it- 
self impair true womanhood. If understood and used 
aright, it can only be a help and not a hindrance in 
the life-work natural to women. It can never impair, 
but rather will enlarge and ennoble, the life of the 
home. I remember the saying of a very sweet, a very 
wise, and a truly learned woman who was by force 
of circumstances obliged to undertake the work of the 
house with her own hands. When compassionated for 
this by a friend, she answered, in the spirit of old 
Herbert's poem, "No one can prevent me^from talk- 
ing with the angels while I sweep the room." 

Be sure that the love of books, love of nature, love 
of everything beautiful or interesting in art or litera- 


ture or science, may go hand in hand with even the 
homeliest domestic duties, as they may also give a 
dignity and charm to a home of comparative ease 
and leisure. Look upon your years of college study as 
the outer court which may give entrance to the inner 
temple of life. So considered, your university educa- 
tion will prove a strong friend and trusty ally in the 
years to come. Such is my hope and best wish for 
you all. 

The ideals inaugurated by Mrs. Agassiz were kept 
steadily in view by her successors when the reins dropped 
from her hands. We may see how sympathetically they 
were accepted and transmitted by Miss Irwin if we turn 
to her address at Commencement in 1895, the year of 
Mrs. Agassiz*s absence in Europe. 

. . . Much, very much, has been done for us, and the 
College can never be grateful enough to the friends 
and teachers who have made it what it is — but the 
students of the Annex deserve much; faithful, diligent, 
docile, loving to learn and learning because they 
loved it; needing no spur or goad, craving no prize or 
reward; running a race, not the race in which all run 
and only one obtains the prize, but the race in which 
the runners pass from hand to hand the lamp of life 
that it may never cease to burn. Moved by the gen- 
uine love of learning and by no baser motive, such 
were the students of the Annex, such are the students 
of the ideal College for man or woman. And of such 
students as these we hope to hand down the "self- 
perpetuating tradition." 


The women who have gone far on the road to 
learning and who wish to go farther are not many, it 
is true; in the very nature of things pioneers and 
leaders must always be few. But the hope of our 
civilization lies in the few : in the men and women who 
have the strength and courage to press on and up 
into the clearer sky, the purer air. Thinking of these 
things, have we not reason to be proud of the past 
and hopeful of the future? We have lived and grown 
strong by the kindness of friends in Harvard College 
and out of it; they have never failed us, surely they 
never will; we may rely — may we not.f^ — on the 
sympathy and interest and generosity of the commu- 
nity in which we live. If much is given to us, much 
will be required of us; but in the past we have been 
faithful stewards, and in the future I think we shall 
not be found wanting. New paths may be opened to 
us; I feel that we shall have strength to tread them. 
New questions will be put to us; I trust that we may 
have wisdom to answer them. New burdens will be 
laid upon us; I pray that we may have courage to 
bear them. We have never forgotten that our "prac- 
tical" business is to make our students good members 
of society, to fit them for the world; not the world of 
yesterday, but of today and tomorrow, the world 
which has need of the best in every one of us. We 
have tried to teach them that wisdom is better than 
knowledge and that "wisdom is a loving spirit"; we 
ask for them that they shall have what they deserve, 
no more, but no less, and we are glad to remember 
that it was the wisest of men who said of a good 


woman: "Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let 
her own works praise her in the gates." 

An even higher ideal, an even finer tradition for Radcliffe 
College to preserve has been best expressed by President 
Briggs in words referring to Mrs. Agassiz : "To a member 
of a graduating class there can be no better advice than this: 
Make your life hke hers. In detail it cannot be; in inciden- 
tal privilege it cannot be; but in principle it can. Fix your 
mind on the principle; make it a part of yourself, the con- 
trolling part; learn to apply it in its purity to every task 
of life, and take the tasks one at a time. Then the factitious 
and the imessential drop off as a garment; the knots are 
suddenly untied; the complex becomes simple; the impos- 
sible is done." 



IN order not to interrupt the account of Mrs. Agassiz's 
last decade at Radcliffe College, nothing has been said 
about her personal life during this period. Yet in these 
later as in her earlier years, her closest interests lay apart 
from the college that she so faithfully served, and formed 
a separate chapter in her experience. They centred in her 
family, and the joys and sorrows that came to her children 
and grandchildren were the events that touched her most 
keenly. Her social instincts, her sympathy with children 
that was as keen after as before she was eighty years old, 
her calm acceptance of sorrow, her freedom from morbid- 
ness, her pleasure in books and above all in music, her un- 
qualified affection for Nahant still remained with her, as 
she gradually withdrew from some of the more active 
occupations in which she had previously been engaged. 
One year melted into another with little to differentiate 
it from its fellows, and although the extracts from diaries 
and letters that follow are in general widely separated from 
each other in date, they serve, in the lack of other records, 
to represent the continuity of her thoughts and occupa- 
tions, and read consecutively they convey an impression 
of the way in which, blessed with her own goodness, she 
was passing her old age. 

June 5y 1896, — Reached Nahant before tea. Heav- 
enly peace. 


June 8, 1896. — It is delightfully serene here. I 
enjoy every minute. 

January 30, 1897. — College Tea. Dramatic Club. 
Both were remarkably pleasant. The College Tea is 
really an excellent means of bringing together the 
college society. The settlement has grown so large, 
there are so many young teachers with still younger 
wives that it is almost impossible for the older ladies 
to meet and greet them. This solves the diflSculty and 
we are all gradually learning to be quite at home with 
each other [Mrs. Agassiz was persona gratissima at 
the teas held weekly during term time in Brooks 
House for all members of Harvard University and 
their families, where she usually formed the centre of 
a circle of young men, with some of whom she made 
lasting friendships]. 

February 8, 1897. — In the afternoon after a cup 
of tea Sallie and I drove in to the Adams House where 
we had comfortable rooms and dined and went to the 
opera where we heard Meistersinger very well given. 
Returned to our " inn," and after a mild supper went 
quietly to bed. 

February 9. — Breakfasted late, having altogether 
the feeling of "ladies of leisure." To lunch with Nannie. 
Then a few errands and back to the Adams House; 
read up our Fidelio librettos before dinner and then 
to the theatre. I had never heard so beautiful a pres- 
entation of Fidelio, and how wonderfully beautiful 
it is ! A bit of supper while we talked it over, and then 
to bed. 

June 10, Nahant — Violent storm. Georgie Cary 


[a niece of Mrs. Agassiz] came down to dine and we 
had a nice afternoon together. When she went I 
made a little music. I wish it were like old wine, the 
better for keeping, but it gets fearfully broken and 
rusty in places. 


Nahant, May 29, 1897 
Dear Miss Clark : . . . Everything is prospering in 
the sunshine after the soft rain. My laburnum tree 
is in blossom and my purple irises most beautiful. I 
am getting ready for you, as you see. If I can only 
coax the roses out by June 15th I 

July 29, 1897. — A violent southerly storm with 
tremendous rain. I have been in the Arctics with Nan- 
sen all day. What a fascinating book! 

January 5, 1898. — Yesterday to Nannie's funeral. 
I came straight home and spent the rest of the day in 
all sorts of business to be cleared away. It was the 
best occupation and helped to bring one back into the 
everyday current of life. I spent the day by myself 
and put my house in order. 

In February, 1898, a heavy sorrow came to Mrs. 
Agassiz in the death of her sister. Miss Sallie Gary; 
" the world seems so strange and different without her," 
she ^\Tites in her diary, "the best, the truest, dearest 
sister, strength and support to us all." 

March 12, 1898. — To Council meeting. One must 
begin some time to take up the thread of life again, 


but it is hard. One feels the attitude as something un- 
natural, and after control comes the break-down. 

April 22, — The war with Spain, if not declared by 
word of mouth, is nevertheless known by the hoarse 
notes of the guns in preparation — an unholy war, 
for it is not justified by the circumstances. What will 
be the end no man can say. 

Nahant, May 21, — Emma called for me and we 
went together to the train for Lynn. It was a strange 
experience, we two together — all that were left of 
the old Nahant household. 

June 1, — The papers say that our ships are bom- 
barding Santiago de Cuba. "War is Hell" is well 

July 5, — News of victory for us in Cuba — Cer- 
vera's fleet destroyed. Santiago must be in our power, 
but, oh, the tragedy of it, the suffering! 


Nahant, August 3, [1898] 
. . . One thing has surprised me in the things written 
or spoken about Sallie, and that is that people who, 
one would say, had hardly seen and known her 
familiarly enough to receive a distinct impression of 
her rare qualities have said the most discriminating 
things about her. . . . Her singing was the expression 
of what was so pure, so noble, so true to herself and to 
others in her own nature. Life goes on and I have a 
great deal to make me happy, but there is something 
beside — homesickness is the best name for it, per- 
haps — but we must not dwell on that side. 


Nahant, August 24, 1898 
Yes, it is a very intangible, inexplicable ripening of 
life that makes itself felt as we near the end, and which 
is very consoling and reassuring. It is difficult to say 
(even to one's self) exactly what it means, but one 
rests in it with a certain quiet acceptance that brings 

December H, 1898, — "Queens" [a small club of 
old friends] at Clem Crafts'. It was very pleasant; 
our relation to each other is so simple and affectionate 
and the talk is very refreshing. The women are so 
bright and interested in all sorts of good things. 

February 9, 1899, — Went to the concert in the 
evening. Aus der Ohe played and then we had the en- 
chanting Brahms waltzes. The best waltz is like life, — 
a touch of pathos surging to the surface, mingled 
constantly with the gaiety and the movement. 

February 26y Sunday, — Tomorrow will be just a 
year since Sallie passed out of sight. The real anni- 
versary was the twenty-seventh, but Sunday seemed 
more like it, because she died on Sunday. I had 
just risen this morning and let in the daylight, when 
just outside my chamber door rose the sweetest, 
softest music — voices singing the trio, "Lift up thine 
eyes unto the mountains." SalKe and Mary and I 
used to sing it so much together, especially at the 
Channing Hospital. At first the surprise was so 
absolute, the music so low and far away it seemed to 
me to come from heaven — as if I were half there. 
It was overwhelming — but it is well to have the 


flood gates opened sometimes to a grief which most 
of the time you must suppress. It helps, and then it 
seems so much more natural than to go on your way 
seemingly unchanged. It was very beautiful, and it 
was Mrs. Gallison's loving thought. She came to me 
with two of her pupils and waked me with the heav- 
enly music, but she did not know what associations 
it had for me and Mary and Sallie. 

September 29, Nahant — Every spare minute for the 
last fortnight I have been reading the Browning letters, 
entering "where angels fear to tread." It is an ex- 
traordinary experience, a laying bare of souls. You can- 
not help but read, though it seems such an intrusion. 

October 11. — The little girls lunched with me 
after passing most of the morning playing with their 
new stoves. Then we went to walk together and pass- 
ing a rather poor looking house by the roadside, where 
in the yard there were crowds of hens, chickens, ducks ; 
we went in and the good woman of the house allowed 
the little children to feed them; they were enchanted. 
A little farther on we made a visit to some pussies on 
the steps of the piazza, and then returning we met 
Mama on horseback, and she gave them a ride. So 
the afternoon was quite eventful. 

June 25, 1900. — Went to see Mr. Eliot and he 
told me of Alex's letter concerning the gift from him- 
self, Quin, Ida and Pauline, $100,000 for completing 
the fagade of the Museum of Comparative Zoology. 
What a joy it would have been to their father ! 

In the latter part of the summer of this year an indefin- 


able change in Mrs. Agassiz*s physical condition took place; 
she had no illness, but various minor indispositions left her 
visibly older and she remained more or less of an invalid 
through the autumn. Yet although the years then first 
began to exact their toll, she was able to resume many of 
her activities before the winter had passed, and the account 
of her visit at Hamilton given below as well as the record 
of some of her days shows that she by no means lost all 
her earlier vigor in 1900. Time treated her gently, but be- 
ginning with the late summer of that year," the leaves look 
pale, dreading the winter's near." 

October 13, 1900. — Had a quiet morning. Dined 
or lunched early after reading score of Beethoven 
mass. Went to rehearsal. Did not feel fatigued. 

October 23. — A book when I am alone. I am fi^nding 
refuge in the Carlyle literature. I have read it all be- 
fore years ago, but it not only bears but gains by a 
second reading — the four volumes of Froude, the 
Letters and Memorials, the Reminiscences — wonder- 
ful presentation of a life. 

October 25. — Oh, how wonderful is this experience 
of old age! No one knows till they reach it how pass- 
ing strange — on the brink of the Unknown ! I re- 
member dear Sallie's pregnant saying, "How much 
do you know of tomorrow? it is as much closed to 
you as the greater future." 

December 21^. — Governor Wolcott's funeral — the 
whole town in mourning for a man beloved and re- 
spected by every one, "stainless and fearless." Christ- 
mas at Shady Hill — an interesting occasion always 
— cheerful and informal, in the spirit truly Christ- 


mas. [Christmas Eve at Shady Hill, the residence of 
Professor Charles Eliot Norton, became a Harvard 
institution after 1886, when Professor Norton inau- 
gurated the custom of receiving informally all stu- 
dents from a distance, who were passing the holidays 
in Cambridge.] 

January 1, 1901. — The new century began last 
night at midnight. I am so sorry that I did not hear 
and see the celebration at the State House. It seems 
to have been so beautiful in spirit and so impressive. 
The trumpets from the State House, the singing 
joined in by the multitude, the Lord's Prayer in 
which the crowd joined. It was all serious and the 
crowds of people quiet and serious. Today I have 
been at home, and indeed yesterday, for much as I 
wished to see and hear what went on at the State 
House I did not dare. 

January 30. — Reading all day — Barrett Wendell; 
a very readable book, especially for one who has 
lived as I have through the greater part of the cen- 
tury. His short sketches of the authors whom he 
associates with the growth of the history of America 
amount to brief memoirs. His generalizations go too 
far, perhaps, in the parallelism of the literary, social 
and political development of the country, but it is a 
very thoughtful, suggestive book. 

February 20, — A rather full day. Dentist. Lunch 
with the "Queens." French lecture, M. Deschamps 
— delightful. Sallie Whitman to dine. Evening, meet- 
ing of the Associates of Radcliffe. 

March 22. — To my dear Lizzie [Cabot] Lee. So 


strange that we should be two old women talking of 
the days when we were young. 


November 6, 1901 
. . . The old pantheistic idea of "God in Nature'* 
. . . holds a very beautiful truth, no doubt; — a 
divine being ever present in the world he has made. 
But when you try to specialize (I would almost say 
materialize) this thought, it escapes you and is lost 
in the vast distance where these great mysteries lie; 
they are intangible — in trying to hold them we lose 
them. This "new thought" may perhaps be leading 
through scientific research to some unlooked-for rev- 
elation, but I do not hear any confirmation of these 
theories of Christian Science and the like from the 
men who are the closest investigators. They come 
rather from the outsiders than from the laboratories 
where the researches are carried on. The only man I 
know who has given his name to this new aspect of 
speculation is our dear friend William James, the 
psychologist. I think he does believe in the healing 
power of some of these "Christian Scientists" and 
does believe that their methods may lead to good in 
the end. But I will not talk farther of these vague 
and as it seems to me crude views. 

December 5. — My birthday — seventy-nine. Flow- 
H ers and love from every side. I should be and am very 

December 6. — All went well yesterday. I think it 


was felt to be pleasant. Such days are exciting, but 
they leave lovely memories. Dinner, ten in all, count- 
ing myself. Kate made a beautiful cake — no candles; 
seventy-nine were due, but that would have made a 
deep hole in the candle-box, beside being a very 
serious comment upon my old age. 

January 5, 1902. — Having finished Martineau's 
biography I am now reading his Study of Religion, 
Far be it from me to say I understand it. 

January 11. — Still reading Martineau's Study of 
Religion. It is very interesting, but I confess that all 
the efforts to prove that the presence of evil in the 
world is part of the beneficence of God seem to me 
futile; that without a sinner, for instance, you cannot 
have a saint, — without sensitiveness to pain we can- 
not have sensitiveness to pleasure. When we think of 
the nameless crimes committed on the earth together 
with the open record of horror and suffering one would 
think that no being at once beneficent and all-powerful 
would make a world which includes such possibilities. 
Perhaps the other life when we come to it may ex- 
plain this one. But all these arguments drawn from 
the idea that good is impossible without evil (which 
is just what we believe Heaven to be) seem to me a 
begging of the question. Is Heaven then impossible 
without Hell ^ — One would answer ** impossible with 
Hell, " since the knowledge that others are in mortal 
suffering while you are free from all pain or sorrow 
would in itself impair all conscious enjoyment of 
your own happiness. And yet there is "a soul of good 
in all things evil." For good may we read God? 


January 12, — Martineau says striking things, as 
this — "For character to lose its hold on the affairs 
of men and serve the anarchies of impulse is no more 
possible than for the sheep to drive the shepherds." 
However his justification of the Providence of God in 
the permission of crime and cruelty in the world fails 
like all such arguments to satisfy one. Of slavery, for 
instance: — if slavery is intended to work out a good 
result in the end, it is none the less impossible to 
think of it as an instrument in the dealing of an all- 
wise, all-beneficent creator with his creatures. Better 
to leave the mystery unsolved than to admit such 
an explanation. 

January 26, — We passed the morning at Mrs. 
[John L.] Gardner's. There is but one thing to be said, 
— what the newspapers call her "palace" is simply a 
beautiful creation. It must always be a delight for 
every lover of art and architecture, and its very pres- 
ence in the city is a benefaction to the community, 
for it sets a standard of ideal beauty, largeness of 
conception, combined with such exquisite charm and 
grace of expression as can never be overlooked. No 
building erected for artistic purposes can be hereafter 
built in Boston without reference to this work of 
Mrs. Gardner's as a standard, a measure of com- 


Hamilton, March 25, 1902 
My dear Friend: I cannot resist the temptation 
to answer your card by a note. Your tempting in- 


vitation finds me at Hamilton which at this season 
means deep in country life, for only the village people 
remain here through the winter. 

My grandson Rodolphe and his wife have gone to 
England. . . . They will be gone for two or three 
months, and I am here to look after their two dear 
little girls during their absence. 

I have a sense of rest here which is very refreshing, 
and not lonely, since I have the companionship of 
the dear children who are most obedient and affec- 
tionate. They are just at the age when story books 
are their delight, and that is such a delightful occu- 
pation both for reader and listener. When not reading 
to them I am reading to myself, and to have undis- 
turbed time for books is a great luxury. Our lives for 
the most part are too busy. Then it is a great pleas- 
ure to look out on the pine woods so close about us, 
on the blue bits of water bordered by trees, on the 
low hills and the open meadows — there is no fine 
scenery but a rolling country with pasture land and 
well wooded; it is very restful and pleasant. 

Farewell, dear friend, and my love to you and Sarah 
[Jewett]. V, 

Yours always and always, 

Elizabeth C. Agassiz 

The visit at Hamilton proved an occasion of great hap- 
piness to Mrs. Agassiz. There are few more attractive pages 
in her diary than those in which she records from day to 
day the doings of the little girls, and they admirably illus- 
trate with what felicity she put herself on a level with chil- 
dren and truly felt with them in all their interests. 



March 18, 1902. — Marie and Rodolphe got off 
this morning, and the children and I and Jackie also 
were at the dining-room window with waving of hands 
and handkerchiefs, and barks thrown in. I said to 
Jackie, "You'll miss your master badly, Jackie," to 
which Marie added as a supreme consolation, "Yes, 
but you '11 have Grandma." After the travellers had 
gone the children unpacked with me, and as they 
found many small surprises for themselves in my 
baggage they were quite pleased. This afternoon the 
weather cleared and they had their walk and then we 
read together and now they are fast asleep. 

March 22, — There is little to say. — A sort of 
pause has come in my life, and it has a great 
charm for me thus far. In the early mornings I am 
reading the book that Pauline likes so much — Reli- 
gion and Democracy, It is certainly a striking book — 
suggestive to me, at least. But there is a certain sense 
of effort about the style — a striving after originality 
of form and phrase, — sometimes one would say a 
touch of Emerson, but without his simplicity and un- 
consciousness. The thoughts are certainly strong and 
large. One has a sense of completeness in the universe 
as a whole. And yet, — and yet, — the mysteries 

March 2^. — A beautiful day, and I lengthened my 
walk a little. But walking when you are old is a very 
different thing from walking when you are young. 
The springiness, the elasticity is all gone, — an im- 
mense pleasure has become a duty, and yet it is better 
to keep it up if one can. 


March 25, — The children as well as myself have 
had a lovely day with "Aunt Pauline." She was sweet 
with them. We cut out animals and played menagerie 
with our paper wild beasts and circus with our harle- 
quins and riders in pasteboard and fine costumes 
(the paper animals prove to be a great success) . After 
Pauline had gone we read Rosy's Travels; very tran- 

March 31, — Received Ulysses from Ida by this 
day's mail and read it breathless through the whole 
morning. The old legend is undying, since it awakens 
poetry and imagination and beauty in these days 
which are called prosaic. 

In a letter written to another friend during her stay in 
Hamilton, Mrs. Agassiz says: 

My occupations consist chiefly in reading fairy 
stories for the children and making clothes for their 
dollies. I wish you could see them — they are very 
dear little persons. 

They have just come into possession of a little 
lamb. They have named it Flossie on account of its 
soft white wool, and I am commissioned by them to 
buy a bell and a blue riband for its neck when I go 
to town tomorrow. 

I do not know that there is anything much nicer 
than the companionship of little children, and I find 
it quite diflScult to tear myself away from my quiet 
life here, as I shall do tomorrow for a day or two. 

The occasion referred to in the following selections was 
the opening of the Geological Section of the Harvard Uni- 


versity Museum, after the southwest corner of the fagade, 
which had been given by the children of Agassiz in the 
preceding year, had been finished. The event was impor- 
tant, for it marked the completion, except for a part of 
the south wing, of the building that had been the aim of 
Agassiz, whose plan for the Museum had had a far wider 
scope than its original name, the Museum of Comparative 
Zoology, imphed. 

June 12, — Meeting; Museum, speeches, etc. All 
went off successfully. — As I looked at the building 
of such magnitude as to be really impressive — and 
picturesque too with its drapery of vines, — and as I 
saw the crowds flocking towards us, I thought of 
[Agassiz's] shanty built of rough boards — not large 
enough to hold half a dozen people, its only furni- 
ture a kitchen table and a few pine shelves against 
the wall — and compared it with the huge building 
containing one of the finest collections of Natural 
History in the world; it seemed to me impossible that 
the one should have been the beginning and, as it were, 
the foundation of the other. 

July 16, Nahant — Reading French at sight. It 
seems a little absurd to be pursuing modern languages 
when you are face to face with your eightieth birth- 
day. I wonder why I do it. 

August 16. — I have heard such good music at 
Emma's this morning. They sang things which carried 
me back to the old days irresistibly. What a strange 
thing it is to live things over, to find them as real and 
true as ever in your memory, and yet not be sure that 
you shall have them again. 


January 2^, 1903, — There was a man who said, 
"If it were not for my pleasures, I could get on very 
well." Sometimes the same reflection in which wit 
and wisdom are combined comes to me. Take Tues- 
day next for example; — Lunch at Clem Crafts'. Re- 
turn home for tea, 4-6. Go back to town to Ida's; with 
her to see Julius Caesar in the evening. All are tempt- 
ing, — one is rather much at eighty years of age — 
unless one has a temperament like my dear Julia 
Ward Howe. 

January 27, — Lunch at Clem Crafts' very pleas- 
ant. Returned for afternoon tea at home. Then to 
Ida's, went with her to see Mansfield as Brutus in 
Julius Caesar. I did not care for him; stilted and 
posing, with no distinction, nothing noble in bearing. 
The actors of Shakespeare of my youth had much 
elegance both in their reading and action. Their 
diction and delivery were noticeably fine; witness 
Macready, Booth, Wallack, Fechter — you could not 
forget their phrasing of certain passages. 

February 6, — Brooks House tea this afternoon. 
I really think these teas are going to help in bringing 
the older and younger society of Cambridge together 
— that is, the society of the College. After all what 
is the life of Cambridge but the life of the students 
and the cultivated men who make the background 
of their academic education? That forms the whole 
community, and it surely ought to form a homogene- 
ous one. This will go far to make it so. 

November 10. — Opening Germanic Museum, after- 
noon. German play, evening. Ida and Henry to dine. 


I am glad that this celebration of the Germanic Mu- 
seum was so dignified and worthy of an occasion which 
really was one of great significance for Harvard with 
a somewhat wider importance also. Ida told me that 
among the speakers William James outdid himself. 
The closing address was his, and after the somewhat 
long speeches of the earlier afternoon he dismissed 
the audience in the best of humors by his wit and 
lighter touch. His wit has always a literary refine- 
ment and a certain elegance in the turn of phrase, 
while it is also perfectly spontaneous and natural. 

January 8, 190 Jf, — A cold and stormy day which 
I devoted to William Story's Life. It is an extremely 
interesting book, not only for the given subject, but 
for the entourage, the stage setting. The scheme of 
the book is ingenious and original — the whole is 
presented as part of a vanished past, out of which 
the "Dramatis Personae" loom up, evoked as it were 
from the mists and haze of time, — so many "ghosts" 
as the author calls them; and so they seem indeed, 
outlined against the vivid foreground of Italian life 
and color and movement. Henry James's intricacies 
of style render it somewhat difficult of interpreta- 
tion, but happily the people of whom he treats are 
simpler than he is, and much of the material consists 
of the very frank familiar correspondence. 

January Jf,. — Was reading today Miss Crawford's 
account of John Eliot and his Indians. It is pictur- 
esque and effective, and she feels that had his plan 
been carried out the Indians would have been made an 
integral and serviceable part of the American nation. 


Here I think she is entirely mistaken. The whole 
history is a story of failure, — a failure which makes 
the volume in the Harvard Library containing John 
Eliot's translation of the Bible into the Indian tongue 
one of the saddest sights in the world. One of the 
noblest and at the same time one of the most futile 
efforts to Christianize and civilize a savage people, 
it ends in a volume that no man can read, which re- 
mains a curiosity. Now and then some one asks to 
look at it, but only from that point of view. I do not 
think it has ever been used in the religious instruction 
of the Indians except by John Eliot himself. 

January 21. — The children came today; much 
enchanted. When after lunch they said, " What shall 
we do this afternoon?" I answered, "You like to help 
Amelia about her work; she may have something to 
unpack." They were enchanted — especially when 
they dived into the boxes and found dollies and beds 
and chairs and washstands, etc. They quickly ar- 
ranged a bed chamber for the new children, and had a 
lovely afternoon with them. I begin to find the con- 
venience of a telephone. I sent a list to Schwartz for 
what I wanted, and had the whole set before the 
children arrived, to my great joy as well as theirs. 

February i. — I think the children are very ad- 
vanced in their music — they write it very nicely, 
drawing their lines and making their notes neatly 
and their intervals correctly. It is a very good begin- 

February 3. — The children left me this morning. 
It has been a lovely fortnight with them, and I hope 


they will come later. They have been making and I 
have been renewing acquaintance with Miss Edge- 
worth, — Simple Susan, Lazy Lawrence, Barring 
Out, and all the rest of it. It is really pleasant to re- 
turn to these old friends. For my own reading, I have 
been deeply interested in Morse's Life of Holmes. 
Toward the end of his days one sees that he, too, 
came face to face with the great mystery. Dying do 
we leave this life a "futile failure" and return to 
unconsciousness, or do we meet another life full of 
infinite possibilities? 

February 11. — A black woman, or rather mulatto, 
came to see me yesterday about a negro school in 
Alabama. When we had finished about the school, she 
said, "You have been kind to me; I wonder if I could 
give you pleasure by singing for you the songs of my 
people." Of course I was glad. She went to the piano 
and touching a few chords began to sing. I have 
rarely been more moved. It was not dramatic, still 
less melodramatic. It was to the last degree genuine 
and unconscious. The first word or line, " Were you 
there when He was crucified?" was overwhelming. 
Not from its pathos — not from any attempt to 
make it touching, — but it was a person in the very 
time asking the question of another who might have 
been there. I can never forget it. It was as if I might 
have been present myself. 

April 24,, — This has been the most heavenly Sun- 
day. We were^ all at Luly Dresel's to hear a trio 
written by her father when he was about twenty and 
looked upon by Mendelssohn and Liszt and Schubert 


as a most promising young musician. This trio was 
then played in Berlin, — brought forward by these 
older musicians and thought by them a remarkable 
production for so young a man. This was rehearsed 
— ah, such a delightful afternoon. We seemed behind 
the scenes, as it were, while the musicians discussed 
and criticized and analyzed their work. And then 
came songs of DreseFs; it seemed to us that he must 
be there. 

In the summer of 1904 the record in the diary is inter- 
rupted by Mrs. Agassiz's illness, and after this she was 
never again able to resume the ordinary course of her life. 
Although she was not constantly confined to her room or 
even to the house, her days were substantially those of 
an invalid. "The record for every day is much the same," 
she writes in her diary on January 21, 1905. "The variety 
comes from flowers sent in by friends — the visits of dear 
people who come to see me and brighten up my imprison- 
ment — many pleasant little incidents." Not the least of 
these "pleasant incidents" were the visits of children, in 
whom her joy remained unabated, and who flickered like 
little flashes of sunshine across the gray hours of her in- 
validism. It was about this time that she stationed a large 
woolly lamb of many charms in her window to delight the 
eyes of a neighbor's baby, it being understood that when 
he was able to call upon her, walking alone, he was to 
become its proud possessor. "The dearest children from 
Hamilton," the note in her diary for January 18, 1905, 
reads. "I had some paint-boxes for them made up in the 
form of little handbags and containing everything that 
juvenile artists could need. They were so pleased, and they 


ask for so little — just to sit in my room and read aloud 
to me — enough to make them quite happy." And on 
St. Valentine's Day of the same year she records a call 
from a young lover, — "It was a Valentine visit; dear little 
fellow, he was so pleased to bring me a bunch of liHes of the 
valley, and he took home as his own Valentine a box of 
very fine paper soldiers." Flowers, too, never ceased to 
be a delight to her. "Orchids — such heavenly things," 
"flowers of the most enchanting kind," "orchids — lilac, 
purest amethyst and pale yellow — a beautiful combina- 
tion" — these are some of the terms in which she records 
the gifts that gratified her. Her diaries also contain numer- 
ous entries, showing the extent of her reading during much 
of this time, and how greatly she was able to enjoy it. 

January 17, 1905. — I have a great deal of pleas- 
ant reading: Morley's Gladstone, unfinished. John 
Andrew, brilliant story of an interesting and very 
momentous life. Roma, Maude Elliott — to the last de- 
gree interesting. Norton and Ruskin — a rare friend- 
ship, recorded in letters. Montaigne, Grace Norton — 
from various aspects and points of view, a very schol- 
arly work — a help to any one who would fain be 
better acquainted with Montaigne and his friends, not 
only as men of letters and as men of the world, but as 
companions and co-workers. 

March 8, 1905, — Mimi [Mrs. Theodore Lyman] 
brought me glorious carnations. She sent me the 
Stevenson letters a day or two [ago] and I have been 
reading them ever since ; very entertaining. She brought 
me also to read aloud a letter from Alex — There was 
a passage which spoke of our relation to each other 


(his and mine) which I could hardly read myself with- 
out emotion. 

April 8, 1906. — I am reading for the second time 
Newman's Apologia pro Vita Sua. I confess I have 
found it difficult to understand how a man of so power- 
ful, so logical a nature could enter into the Catholic 
Church. Does he himself give us a clew? He says 
(p. 44 of the Apologia)/' From the age of fifteen dogma 
has been the foundation principle of my religion. I 
cannot enter into the idea of any other sort of reli- 
gion." How then should he find himself landed else- 
where than in the headquarters of dogma, creeds, 
sacraments, sacramental rites? 

May 22, 1906. — I am re-reading Emerson's biog- 
raphy by Eliot Cabot. How far away and how de- 
lightful those days seem! 

May 25. — Finished Emerson today. He and his 
comrades made a most interesting set of men, and 
Eliot Cabot has put them together in a very effective 
and human sort of way. 

After 1904 Mrs. Agassiz did not return to Nahant, but 
on the advice of her physicians spent the remaining sum- 
mers of her life with her niece, Miss Louisa Felton, who 
owned an attractive cottage at Arlington Heights. Although 
Mrs. Agassiz at times thought wistfully of her beloved 
Nahant, she greatly enjoyed the beautiful view from Miss 
Felton's verandah over woodland and distant hills, and at 
the end of her first season there, she wrote to a friend, " It 
has been a summer of health and happiness for me and I 
am grateful for it." Eighty-three is not an age at which 
new surroundings, however desirable, are usually wel- 


corned, and it was doubtless the fruit of Mrs. Agassiz's life- 
long habits of adaptation that she accepted the charms of 
Arlington Heights with the appreciation that she expresses 
in the following letters. 


Quincy Streety Cambridge, April 1, [1905] 
My Well-Beloved Friend: The glimpse of Sarah 
[Jewett] and yourself in that dear South Berwick note 
from you took me down to the riverside and gave 
me all the country sights and sounds in which you 
are rejoicing. I too have had a lovely visit with 
my Emma and I understand from the few lines for 
her in your note how well you know our lives to- 
gether, between music and books and the mingled 
past and present which we share. You will have heard 
perhaps that I am again leaving my beloved Nahant 
this summer and going to my niece Lisa Felton, who 
has a dear little nest on Arlington Heights command- 
ing one of the finest views I know. Night is really a 
revelation of Heaven trembling with countless worlds 
above you — but I will not try to describe it though I 
wish you could see (it) with me. 

I went there last year at the command of the phy- 
sicians — "high and dry," — such was the air they 
ordered and it certainly proved most salubrious, — 
beside its beauty in point of situation. 

I am just now expecting my son from across the 
water. He has had an enchanting winter on the Nile; 
after seven winter voyages of most laborious work 


among the Coral islands of the Southern Pacific he has 
at last taken a vacation which he has greatly enjoyed. 
Now he is coming home for his Newport summer. 

I hear only dimly from the world outside; but I 
have tidings now and then of Radcliffe and its affairs 
from Miss Irwin and from our President — Mr. 
Briggs, one of the faculty. He is a charming man and 
a great favorite with the students. When I remember 
our small beginnings — without buildings or books or 
apparatus which makes the outfit of an educational in- 
stitution, I can hardly believe that we are as it were 
anchored against the whole teaching force of Harvard. 
But I must not run on. 

Hoping that I may have the happiness of seeing you 
both as the warm weather sets us free, 
Your loving old friend, 

E. C. Agassiz 

"The carriage is just about to arrive," she wrote to an- 
other friend a few weeks later, " in order to take this old 
lady to her summer residence on Arlington Heights. I am 
almost reconciled to leaving Nahant for that beautiful 
summit, where stretches of woodland alternate with dis- 
tant towns and villages, lost at last in our big Boston and 
its far away harbor; and then comes night, crowned with 
the constellations and sometimes with the morning or 
the evening stars." 

One of the advantages of Arlington Heights was its 
accessibility to Boston, so that Mrs. Agassiz was not de- 
prived of the visits from step-children and friends, which 
were a great source of pleasure. No account of these years 


would be complete without a mention of the devoted com- 
panionship given her by her only remaining sisters, Mrs. 
Curtis and Miss Gary. Mrs. Curtis's visits were her contin- 
ual delight both in anticipation and in retrospect, while 
Miss Gary's music never lost its charm for her. "I long to 
see my Emma," she writes from ArUngton Heights in Sep- 
tember, 1906, "to hear her play Ghopin, so full of passion 
and sweetness as his music is, with a touch all her own. 
Some one said one day on hearing her for the first time, * I 
have heard all the virtuosos who come to Boston, but here 
is something I do not recognize — a personal note which 
I hear for the first time.' I know it well and long for it." 
To the end of her life Mrs. Agassiz's affections remained 
strong, and in the few following letters, found in draft 
among her papers and among the latest that she wrote, 
the note of friendship sounds as clear and sweet as an eve- 
ning belL 


Arlington Heights, [June, 1906] 
Dear Owen: You will think I have neither read 
nor enjoyed your book [Lady Baltimore], and yet I 
have done both; but an invalid (especially one whose 
failure makes part of her eighty-three years) has to 
postpone many things. To tell the truth when the 
book was brought to me it recalled the time when you 
were just on the threshold of life, when you used to 
look in upon me sometimes in the evening, having the 
kindness to give me a lesson in Wagner — I was, and 
still am, a very poor scholar on that ground. The 
older music is to me the dearest. I remember the 


programme in an afternoon in the Conservatoire in 
Paris: — Ave Verum CorpiiSy Mozart; Gloria, Pales- 
trina; Fifth Avenue, 

But I want to talk to you of your book and tell you 
how much I loved it. I, too, when I was before the 
river used to float down to the beach, the soft bells 
following me with their soft thrill. At that time Mr. 
Agassiz was living at the island, having the privilege 
of a cottage there to be used as a laboratory, and the 
girls and I used to go down to pass Sunday with him. 
And so, you see, this book had a special and personal 
charm for me and I thank you doubly for sending it 
to me. It is the delightful renewal of many old and 
pleasant associations. 

Grood-bye, and may a blessing ever follow you and 

Think of me always as 

Your faithful old friend, 

E. C. Agassiz 


(Written after Mrs. Agassiz had received Henry Wadsumih Longfellow, 
containing Longfellow's chief autobiographical poems and a sketch of 
his life by Norton.) 


My dear Mr. Norton: How shall I thank you? 
You have called up the fairest memories; you have 
knitted a chain which I had thought dissevered, from 
the "Prelude" to the closing lines, 

"And as the evening twilight fades away 
The sky is filled with stars invisible by day." 


Its earlier chapters are interwoven with Shady Hill 
and all its attractions. Need I say how much of the 
happiness of my personal life is owed to that delight- 
ful circle, where the men were so intelligent and so 
kindly, and the women so cultivated and sweet? 

Such were some of the brighter rays that lighted Mrs. 
Agassiz's last years; but " the ship was nigh unto the har- 
bor, and the pilgrim was reaching the city, and life was 
close unto its end." Slowly the day was fading, yet the 
clouds that gathered at evening never shrouded, even 
though they dimmed, the rare and delightful qualities that 
had been hers since the morning of life. Through the late 
winter and the spring of 1907 her strength gradually 
failed, but in June she was able to go to Arlington Heights. 
Three weeks later, on June 27, the release came, and her 
spirit returned unto God who gave it. 


DECEMBER 8, 1907 

ON the afternoon of Sunday, December 8, 1907, a 
meeting in memory of Mrs. Agassiz was held in 
Agassiz House. President Briggs presided and the speakers 
were Miss Georgina Schuyler of New York, representing 
the Agassiz School, Professor Wilham Watson Goodwin, 
Professor Charles EHot Norton, and President Charles W. 
EHot. Perhaps nothing that was said that afternoon bet- 
ter conveyed the influence of Mrs. Agassiz's personality 
than the closing sentences of the few words spoken by 
President Briggs: 
"If it is true that 

* Prayer is the souFs sincere desire. 
Uttered or unexpressed,' 

whoever came into her presence prayed; and his prayer 
was, * Create in me a clean heart, O God.' " 
The addresses follow. 


Allow me to express to the Faculty and the students 
of Radeliffe College the gratification of a pupil of 
Agassiz School that the School is to be represented 
here today, and her appreciation of their indulgence 
in listening for a few minutes to the recollections of 
fifty years ago. It is the beloved and revered memory 
of Mrs. Agassiz, that unites School and College, that 




brings us all here, and encourages me to address you, 
however inadequately. 

For, to go back from Radcliffe College to Agassiz 
School is something like going back to the nursery. 
Yet the nursery holds an important place, and 
surely the good seed sown in Agassiz School has blos- 
somed in Radcliffe College! 

To the seventy school-girls or more, between the 
ages of fifteen and eighteen, who every morning came 
running up the staircase to the third story of Mrs. 
Agassiz's home in Quincy Street, to their cheerful, 
well-lighted, well-warmed, and well-ventilated class- 
rooms, the phrase "Higher Education of Women" 
was unknown. Yet, like M. Jourdain, who had spoken 
prose all his life without knowing it, we had the 
Higher Education offered to us. Indeed we had the 
Highest Education: the daily contact with superior 
minds imbued with a desire to impart their knowl- 
edge to us, to give us high standards, to awaken wide 
interests. And thus we school-girls had a glimpse and 
foretaste of the good things that were coming to 
women all the world over, and we can especially re- 
joice in Radcliffe's adult strength, in its organized 
growth and power. 

In her Life of Louis Agassiz, Mrs. Agassiz gives a 
few pages to the School. It owed its existence, she 
states, as many another school has done, to the desire 
of the wife, the son, the daughter, to lift a burden 
from the head of the family. The plans, she relates, 
were discussed in secret between the three, but, when 
the conspirators with many misgivings unfolded their 


plot, to their surprise Agassiz seized upon the idea 
with delight — said his name must appear on the cir- 
cular — he himself would give instruction. This 
hearty cooperation of his made the School. At that 
time, 1855, he was widely known in the United States, 
not only as an eminent scientific man but as a most 
interesting lecturer. Although it was a day school, 
pupils came from far and near. I recall a group of in- 
telligent girls from St. Louis who took the highest 
courses we had. There were also pupils from Buffalo, 
a few of us from New York City, but the large pro- 
portion came from New England, from Boston and 

The School opened in 1855, closed in 1863, and was 
a success in every way, educationally and financially. 

Associated with Professor Agassiz in teaching was 
Professor Felton, afterwards President of Harvard 
College. Professor Fel ton's mind was a storehouse of 
information from which, like the householder in the 
Bible, "he brought forth out of his treasure things 
new and old." He taught History, English literature. 
Rhetoric, Greek, Latin, Greek history, American 
history. But, apart from his regular courses of in- 
struction, the incidental facts he told us have re- 
mained with us for a lifetime, recurring to illuminate 
our own experiences, whether of reading or of travel, 
and I cannot but recall, also, the courtesy and kind- 
ness shown by this distinguished and scholarly man 
to us ignorant girls. 

Mr. Alexander Agassiz had the classes in mathe- 
matics, geometry, trigonometry and chemistry, lee- 


tures on astronomy, and on chemistry with experi- 
ments. Miss Helen Clapp, afterwards head of the 
well-known school in Boston, taught Latin, botany 
with Gray's text-books, and arithmetic. Miss Clapp's 
winning personahty endeared her to every pupil in 
the School. She was associated with it from begin- 
ning to end, and was greatly valued by Mrs. Agassiz. 
Miss Katherine Howard and Miss Emily Howard, 
Miss Augusta Curtis and Miss Katherine Ireland 
were also teachers in the School. Miss Le Clere, an 
admirable teacher, had the French classes and lec- 
tures in French literature. Professor Schmidt, of Har- 
vard, had the German classes; Professor Luigi Monti, 
of Harvard, the Italian. Mr. Gurney, later Dean of 
Harvard University, taught Greek. Professor James 
Russell Lowell and Professor Child of Harvard lec- 
tured to the School, and there were lectures on art by 
William J. Stillman. 

To Mr. Alexander Agassiz, in addition to his classes, 
was entrusted the business management of the school. 
Miss Ida Agassiz, now Mrs. Henry Higginson, gave 
able and devoted assistance when the School opened, 
and later, by teaching French and German. One of 
the younger pupils of our School was Pauline Agassiz, 
now Mrs. Quincy Shaw, who has done more for edu- 
cation than any of us, through the introduction of 
the Kindergarten system into the Public Schools of 
Boston, and by other educational work. 

Naturally, the central figure of the School was Pro- 
fessor Agassiz himself. He had a genius for imparting 
what he knew. This, joined with his personal charm. 


the beauty of his animated face, his enthusiasm for 
his subject which he inspired in others, made the great 
attraction. For eight years, with few interruptions, he 
gave daily lectures to us girls, always illustrating by 
specimens, maps, and by drawing on the blackboard 
in his incomparable manner. 

His courses of lectures comprised zoology and 
botany, geology and embryology. These lectures in- 
cluded the classification of plants and their geograph- 
ical distribution. He also gave us his famous lec- 
tures on glaciers — he having originated the glacial 
theory — and an elementary course of anthropology 
and ethnology. 

It was a wonderful gift of his to keep a classroom of 
girls alert and interested while describing the struc- 
ture of a jelly-fish, the distinction between Discophora 
and Ctenophora. Mrs. Agassiz is kind enough to say 
of us: "He never had an audience more responsive 
and more eager to learn than the sixty or seventy 
girls who gathered at the close of the morning to hear 
his daily lecture, nor did he ever give to any audience 
lectures more carefully prepared, more comprehensive 
in their range of subjects, more lofty in their tone of 

He spoke several times of the difficulty of translat- 
ing to us, in simple terms, the technical language of 
Science, so that we could understand him. He gave us 
a deep respect for the laborious collecting of scientific 
facts and a mistrust and dislike of what is superficial. 
At the same time his ideality appealed strongly to us, 
and some of us listened with tears in our eyes as he 


unfolded his theories and emphasized his belief in the 
ability of the mind of man to trace in Nature the 
creative thought of God. "What I wish for you," I 
can hear him say in his clear tones, "is a culture that 
is alive, active, susceptible of further development. Do 
not think that I care to teach you this or the other 
special science. My instruction is only intended to 
show you the thoughts in Nature which Science re- 
veals, and the facts I give you are useful only, or 
chiefly for this object.*' 

And now to speak of Mrs. Agassiz, the hostess of 
our School, for so she seemed to us. To her fell the 
administration, the discipline of the School. The fact 
that there were no marks for good or bad conduct, a 
new departure in those days, made this all the more 
difficult. Though keeping herself in the background 
(she taught no classes — she never addressed us), it 
was her ceaseless vigilance, her constant watchfulness, 
that smoothed the path for the teachers, that kept 
going the daily routine of the School in its orderly 
succession. But more than this, she had it so at heart, 
that we girls should get the benefit of our teaching, 
that we should see and appreciate what was given us, 
that, unconsciously, perhaps, she made us feel it. 
Above all, we were trusted, — both as to our conduct 
and the amount of work we did, — and, as a whole, 
we responded to her confidence in us. 

HeF kindness to the girls who came from a distance, 
and had no relatives here, but boarded in Cambridge, 
was marked. But there was one merry little party 
that came out from Boston every morning in an om- 


nibus reserved for them, which trundled down the 
hill of old Beacon Street, stopping at many doors, 
on through Charles Street to the house of Dr. Oliver 
Wendell Holmes, and so on out over the bridge to 
Cambridge, — a merry little party which was very 
much afraid of Mrs. Agassiz. They felt her eyes con- 
stantly upon them and there was no reprieve. "My 
dear Mary," laying her hand on the culprit's shoulder, 
"you must study your French verses," this the mild 
penalty for repeated whisperings in English, in a school 
where French was supposed always to be spoken. 

When we first entered school she received each one 
of us. She told us she would always be there, — always 
to be found by us if, for any reason, we needed her. 
When the term closed, I recall a few words of com- 
mendation and encouragement which she doubtless 
gave to each pupil, sometimes a message to our par- 
ents. Every day she looked in upon the classes — 
looked in and passed on — and when the Agassiz 
lecture came she sat, as one of the listeners, more 
diligent with her note-book than any of us. 

For, with her, Agassiz School was a formative 
period. The seed sown there was to develop into Rad- 
cliflFe College and come to its full and beautiful frui- 
tion on that eightieth birthday, five years ago, of 
which the permanent material memorials is this Eliza- 
beth Cary Agassiz House where we are now assembled. 

On that birthday, nearly fifty years had elapsed 
since the opening of Agassiz School, more than twenty 
years since her love and solicitude had been awakened 
in behalf of the Harvard Annex, which ultimately 


was to become the Woman's College of Harvard 
University. That day witnessed the fulfilment of an 
important career, the rounding out and perfecting of 
a noble exceptional character. It is a privilege, it is 
an education to let the mind dwell upon that charac- 
ter, but other friends of hers, here today, will speak 
of this. What she was to Radcliffe, you know. What 
she was as the head of Radcliffe, you have witnessed. 
That noble presence — that poise — that dignity — 
that graciousness of manner which veiled the force 
of her character — her reticence — her kindness — 
all this Radcliffe knows — but Agassiz School had 
it too ! As she told us, she was always there — as in a 
sense she is here today. God grant her influence, and 
the blessing of it, may be here — for years and years 
to come. 


The earliest distinct recollection I have of Mrs. 
Agassiz is a very pleasant one. When we were begin- 
ning, more than thirty years ago, to read Greek trage- 
dies and comedies to the Harvard students, I was 
about to read either the Antigone or the Frogs one 
evening, when Mrs. Agassiz and Mrs. Robert Storer 
came into the room with their Greek books and fol- 
lowed the reading most attentively. I could not have 
had a more delightful addition to my audience. 
These ladies represented a company of cultivated 
women, who read the classics intelligently and with 
pleasure, long before there were any women's colleges 
to teach them. Mrs. Storer, who survived Mrs. 


Agassiz only a few weeks, with her sister, Miss Eliza- 
beth Hoar, and other Concord ladies, more than 
seventy years ago, read all the Greek and Latin 
authors which their brothers were studying here in 
college, and through long lives they never lost their 
love of classic literature. One of these brothers was 
our beloved and revered Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar. 
It was hardly a year ago that Mrs. Storer (who was 
then nearly 90 years old) asked me to lend her the 
Hippolytus of Euripides "in good large Greek type." 
This period of classical study in Concord began 
before Mr. Emerson made that town his home. In- 
deed it may well be thought that the attraction of 
this cultivated society helped to draw him thither. 
I remember with pleasure another one of my Greek 
readings, before which I found Mrs. Samuel Hooper, 
with her niece, Mrs. Gumey, toiling up the long stair- 
case of Harvard Hall with their Greek books to hear 
a comedy of Aristophanes. Mrs. Gurney herself was 
a brilliant example, in the second generation, of the 
scholarly company of ladies into which she was born. 
Her coming to Cambridge made an era in our intel- 
lectual life. She brought into it a fresh vitality which 
I shall never forget. I never undertook any important 
work in connection with my professorship without 
consulting her as well as her husband, and I never 
failed to receive the best advice. She became at 
once most devoted to our new women's college, and 
Mrs. Agassiz always depended upon her in every for- 
ward step which was taken. She was one of a class of 
ladies who one year entered their names as students 


of the "Annex," paid their fees, and read Greek 
poetry with me in my study. I feel that this occasion 
would be incomplete without even this inadequate 
tribute of appreciation to her services in our cause. 
It is pleasant to think, as we recall these older times, 
that through her first President Radcliffe has in- 
herited some of the atmosphere of this simple, digni- 
fied society. 

When we were getting ready to give the Oedipus 
Tyrannus in Sanders Theatre, in 1881, Mrs. Agassiz 
took the greatest interest in all the preparations. 
She frequently attended the rehearsals, and her advice 
about the musical performance and the choral songs 
was always of the highest value. Her knowledge of 
music made her an authority upon many of the hard- 
est problems with which we had to deal. Once she 
gave me a solemn warning which alarmed me a little, 
when she thought that "the music was running away 
with the play." "I know you will not suspect me of 
being prejudiced against music," she said, "but I am 
really sometimes afraid that at the end you will find 
that you have only a beautiful opera with a Greek 
play attached to it." But after she had heard the 
first rehearsal of the play as a whole, she at once took 
back her warning, saying, "It's all going to be splen- 
did." (I suspect, however, that her warning had 
already been of some effect.) At the public perform- 
ances it was seldom that we did not have the satis^ 
faction of seeing her in her special chair in the centre 
of the front row. 

It was a most important step which the ladies and 


gentlemen who were informally discussing plans for 
the collegiate education of women in Cambridge took 
in February, 1879, when they invited Mrs. Agassiz 
to be one of their committee. She accepted this invi- 
tation at once; and thus began her close connection 
with this important movement, to which she devoted 
her best energies for the rest of her life. As soon as 
there was any formal organization of the managing 
committee, she was made its President; and after its 
incorporation as the Society for the Collegiate Instruc- 
tion of Women and again as Radcliffe College, she 
remained its President and gave her life and soul to 
its welfare. No words of mine can even attempt to 
express her great and lasting services during this 
period of more than 28 years to the cause of sound 
learning and especially to the higher education of 
women in this country. Her long experience as a 
teacher of girls, her almost unerring practical wis- 
dom, and the unfailing common sense which she al- 
ways brought to the diflBcult problems which constantly 
faced us in our almost unexplored way, have done 
more, in my opinion, to make Radcliffe College what 
it now is, than all other causes combined. But be- 
yond and above all this was that gracious personality 
which always made itself felt in everything that she 
said or did, and gave an indescribable charm to all 
her intercourse with both teachers and students. We 
are soon to listen to the striking story of her powerful 
aid, in 1894, in rescuing us from the greatest danger 
to which we were ever exposed, when our wise con- 
servatism in gratefully accepting the generous con- 


ditions offered us by Harvard College brought us into 
bitter conflict with those who wished us to insist on a 
more complete union with the College than most of 
us thought to be either necessary or expedient. It was 
that same strong personality of Mrs. Agassiz which 
then saved us from defeat and gained us a victory 
even greater than we hoped for. And the result has 
amply proved the wisdom of the action then taken. 
I think it would be hard to find any one connected 
with the teaching of Radcliffe who now thinks that 
we should have gained anything if our elementary in- 
struction had been merged with that of the under- 
graduates of Harvard in the College classes. On the 
other hand, we felt that the admission of our grad- 
uate students and other advanced scholars to many 
of the most important graduate courses in the Uni- 
versity was the greatest privilege which could be 
given us; and Mrs. Agassiz appreciated at once that 
this open door would ultimately admit us to all that 
we could reasonably ask. The first year's trial (in 
1894-1895) fully confirmed her judgment, when Rad- 
cliffe was able to offer 63 graduate courses of high 
rank, of which 53^ were given in Harvard Univer- 
sity, where our students were admitted to the same 
classes with the men. This early announcement of 
graduate instruction in the University classes gave 
Radcliffe College a distinction of which no other col- 
lege for women in this country could boast, and it 
gave most encouraging promise of future facilities 
for even the most advanced university study. 

The words with which Mrs. Agassiz closed her 


first report as President of Radcliffe well show her 
appreciation of what had already been done, and of 
the wider and brighter prospect which our incorpora- 
tion as a college offered for the future: 

"I wish it were possible for me to make, in broad 
and simple language, a statement of the force and 
efficiency of the instruction given here from the be- 
ginning. The standard has always been high and in- 
spiring, and it has told upon the whole character of 
the institution. It has enabled us to accomplish the 
purpose with which we started, — that of making a 
large and liberal provision for the education of women 
according to their tastes and pursuits, and according 
also to their necessities, should it be needful for them 
to use their education as a means of support. With 
this hope we started; and the position of Radcliffe 
College today may well assure us of its final fulfil- 
ment, even in a larger sense than the present. The 
University has taken us under her charge, has made 
herself responsible for the validity of our degrees by 
the strongest official guarantees, while the liberal in- 
terpretation she puts upon her own pledges shows 
that they include more than they promise. Even in 
this first year she opens to us a greatly enlarged 
field of study, including a far larger number of ad- 
vanced courses than we had hoped for. We may well 
say that, since the opening of the institution fifteen 
years ago, no year of its history has been so important 
as the present, for it gives us what we most needed, 
security and a certain and safe future under the 
guardianship of Harvard University." 



In looking back over the long, happy and beneficent 
life of Mrs. Agassiz, as a contemporary may do who 
has known it from beginning to end, the most strik- 
ing feature in the survey is its sweet and steady con- 
sistency of excellence; and if one ask in what this 
chiefly consisted, the answer is plain, that she pos- 
sessed, in larger measure than most persons, that 
quality which is the root of all the virtues, simplicity 
of heart. This kept her free from what is a common 
hindrance even of those with the best intentions, — 
self-reference, self-consideration. No one, I think, 
ever met Mrs. Agassiz without being helped into the 
pleasantest relations with her, through the complete 
absence on her part of self -consciousness. It was this 
forgetfulness of self which enabled her to discharge, 
without the strain of conscious effort, such difficult 
duties as from time to time it fell to her to perform. 

The whole lesson of her life is a lesson of character; 
she was not a woman of genius or of specially brilliant 
intellectual gifts; what she did, what she accom- 
plished, — and she did and accomplished much more 
than most women for the good of the society in which 
she lived, — was not so much due to exceptional pow- 
ers as to the possession of certain not uncommon qual- 
ities in remarkable combination, all perfected by her 
simplicity of heart. 

She represented indeed a rare and beautiful type 
of womanhood with singular completeness; for her 
naturally quick, tender and comprehensive sym- 


pathies, rendering her at all moments alive to the 
interests of others as if they were her own, were 
guided and controlled by a discerning and wise judg- 
ment, and animated by a courageous spirit. To this 
combination, a hardly less rare quickness of appre- 
ciation of whatever is beautiful or interesting in life, 
was added. A lover of music : with a lively interest 
in literature: and with an enthusiastic but not ex- 
travagant admiration for all that is heroic and noble 
in human character, her soul was always open to 
the best influences which the world can exert. The 
last time I saw her — not many months ago in her 
sitting-room upstairs — she was seated with a read- 
ing-desk before her on which lay open two books re- 
lating to the recent discoveries in Mars. She spoke of 
them with vivacious interest and intelligence, and 
our talk ran on naturally from the wonders of astron- 
omy to the mysteries of the universe; mysteries 
which she confronted and accepted as simply as she 
had confronted and solved the problems of earthly 


• It is a great blessing for an institution, the life of 
which is to be measured by centuries, and which is 
as closely connected as Radcliff e with the highest in- 
terests of the community, to have for its founders men 
or women of such character as to make them contem- 
poraneous with each successive generation, and exem- 
plary from the possession of character such as all may 
imitate radmirable and inspiring men and women yet 
not removed from the common lot by unusual bril- 
liancy of gift or marked superiority of intellectual 


power. Such was Mrs. Agassiz, delightful in life and 
in memory to all who enjoyed the blessing of her 
friendship. Whatever tradition may, in the course of 
centuries, gather around her person, she will surely 
stand as a noble figure of ever contemporaneous 
womanhood, modest, sympathetic, wise, sufficient for 
whatever duty. 


It was fourteen years ago next spring that I saw Mrs. 
Agassiz appear before a singularly hostile audience 
attending a hearing before the Committee on Educa- 
tion of the Massachusetts Legislature on a statute 
establishing and defining Radcliffe College. Now the 
Committee on Education is not one of the most dis- 
tinguished committees of the Legislature. It ought to 
be; but it is not. The ambitious and able members of 
the Legislature prefer service on the Judiciary Com- 
mittee, the Committee on Metropolitan Affairs, or the 
Committee on Railroads. And so it happens almost 
every year that the Committee on Education consists 
of a number of remarkably plain men, or, we may say, 
of good common citizens of Massachusetts. It was so 
fourteen years ago next spring. Radcliffe College, 
successor to the Society for the Collegiate Instruction 
of Women, had come before the Legislature for its 
first charter. 

I have said that the audience which collected in 
that spacious committee room was singularly hostile. 
It was largely composed of women; but the expression 
on their faces, as I looked at them, was not tender. It 


was set, and set in opposition to the plan that Mrs. 
Agassiz was to advocate. The greater part of the 
audience was of the opinion that either there should 
be a completely separate college for women in Cam- 
bridge, with its own corporation, government, de- 
grees, and so forth, or that Harvard College should be 
opened to women on terms of complete equality with 
men. Either of these plans would have been accept- 
able to the great majority of the audience. The plan 
proposed was completely unacceptable. 

It was necessary to have a public hearing on the 
law chartering the new college. I need not say that 
Mrs. Agassiz shrank from this public meeting. She 
never felt much confidence in her capacity to speak 
before a large audience. She always told me before 
the Radcliff e Commencement how much she dreaded 
her simple and dignified part in the ceremony. She 
thought she had no gift in public speech. She thought 
that the opposition would succeed. She knew that 
some members of the Committee had been primed by 
the opponents of the bill. The Chairman of the Com- 
mittee had been the head of a Massachusetts High 
School, accustomed to treating boys and girls on an 
equality and carrying them together through the 
same programme. The plan proposed could hardly 
be congenial to him. 

I went into the room with Mrs. Agassiz. On look- 
ing at the Committee it was plain that the task before 
her was going to be a difficult one. On looking at the 
audience the task seemed more difficult still. She felt 
the situation keenly. The case was opened by a lawyer 


retained on behalf of the petition. He stated his case 
clearly and succinctly, but produced no effect, so far 
as I could judge, on the Committee. Several gentle- 
men addressed the Committee, most of them on be- 
half of the proposal. I spoke myself, explaining the 
relations which Harvard University would maintain 
in the future with the proposed Radcliffe College. The 
case looked perfectly hopeless when Mrs. Agassiz 
arose. She first read a paper which she had written, 
describing the aims of the college, and how they would 
be fulfilled in combination with Harvard University. I 
was looking straight at the Committee, and the soft- 
ening in the faces of the Committee was remarkable. 
Just her presence and her bearing changed the minds 
of those plain citizens of Massachusetts. The chair- 
man of the Committee was visibly affected by her 
reading of her exposition and argument. 

When her reading ceased, she said that she was 
ready to answer any questions the Committee might 
ask. Now that was really a terrible ordeal to her; but 
she felt it to be her duty and that it might prove a 
good way of serving her cause. And indeed it did. Her 
replies to the questions of the Committee were more 
effective than her paper. It was an effect produced by 
her personal bearing, by her speech, and by the abso- 
lute sincerity and disinterestedness of her petition. It 
was an effect of personality in public speech as strong 
and clear as I have ever seen. Before she ceased to 
speak, the case was won. The lawyer who was re- 
tained on the other side failed to make any adequate 
statement of the position of his clients. He was him- 


self so impressed with Mrs. Agassiz's presentation of 
the case that he availed himself of a mode of retreat 
suggested to him by the comisel for the petition. He 
made no statement in opposition to Mrs. Agassiz. I 
suppose he did not feel equal to that task. I know I 
should have felt in that way, if I had been retained on 
the wrong side. Thereafter the petition for the estab- 
lishment of Radcliffe College went smoothly on its 
course, and the needed bill was passed. 

Mrs. Agassiz did not perceive at the moment the 
effect she had produced. She was agitated at the 
close of the meeting and felt that she had not suc- 
ceeded; so I had the pleasure of telling her that she 
had succeeded, and that she had succeeded all alone. 

The previous speakers have told of the womanly 
character of Mrs. Agassiz. She was cultivated, well- 
bred, and in her manner aristocratic, if you please, 
in the best sense; but there never was in this commu- 
nity a more influential woman, and in this case it ap- 
peared most clearly that her influence was of the 
strongest with common men. That is as it should be. 
I am sure those men said to themselves as they lis- 
tened to her, " I should like to do just what this wo- 
man wants me to do. I will vote for the establishment 
of any college of which this woman is to be the head. 
I will vote for the establishment of any college which 
is going to give this woman an opportunity to bring 
up some women Hke her." That was just the effect she 
produced. Everybody in the room felt it. "Let us 
have the college which this woman asks for, and let us 
hope that she will train up in it women like herself." 




Adams, Charles Francis, 268, 273, 

Agassiz, Alexander, 30, 37, 38, 45, 
46, 56, 64, 93 fif., 171 fif., 175, 177, 
178, 182, 185, 331, 372, 381, 387, 
389, 396, 397. 

Agassiz, Annie Russell, 64, 171, 172. 

Agassiz, Cecile Braun, 30, 32, 37, 58. 

Agassiz, Elizabeth Gary (Mrs. 
Louis Agassiz), ancestry and in- 
heritance, 1 ff.; birth, 9; child- 
hood in Brattleboro and New 
York, 9; life in Temple Place, 
Boston, 9 ff.; brothers and sis- 
ters, 10; life at Nahant, 15, 16, 
39, 172, 183, 277 ff., 367 fif ., 388; 
early education, 17; personal 
appearance, 17, 25, 35, 50, 218, 
267, 401; her only misdemeanor, 
18; girlhood, 18 ff., 30, 35; let- 
ters written in girlhood, 19 ff.; at 
a dance, 24, 25; in T}ie Waterman, 
26; letters from New York, 28, 
29; first impressions of Louis 
Agassiz, 30, 31; meeting with 
Agassiz, 34; her life compared 
with that of Agassiz, 35, 165, 
171; marriage to Agassiz, 35; life 
in Oxford Street, Cambridge, 
35 fif. ; in Charleston, 40 ff . ; letter 
from Charleston, 41; on Sulli- 
van's Island, 41 ff., 392; letter 
from Sullivan's Island, 42 fif.; 
letter from Washington, 44; ruse 
about a lost watch, 44; home in 
Quincy Street, 45, 172; part in 
the Agassiz School, 45, 46, 48 ff., 
399 ff.; attitude toward the 
School, 66, 104, 105; notes on 
Agassiz's lectures in the School, 
49, 400; assistance of Agassiz in 
his scientific work, 49, 51, 56 ff., 
66, 69, 71, 81, 96, 113, 114, 118, 
119 (see also below, Writings, A 

Journey in Brazil) ; on the fiftieth 
birthday of Agassiz, 54; interest 
in the Agassiz Museum, 56 ff., 
92 fif., 372, 380, 381; summer in 
Europe, 58 ff . ; first visit to Mon- 
tagny and Lausanne, 59 ff.; let- 
ter from Lausanne, 59 fif.; letter 
from Montagny, 62; her father's 
death, 63; resemblance to her 
father, 8, 63; style in scientific 
writings, 64, 107, 110; journey in 
Brazil, 68 ff.; records of, 69, 71, 
96 (see also below. Writings, A 
Journey in Brazil) ; dance at an 
Indian lodge, 69; intercourse 
with the Imperial family, 70, 73, 
74, 78 ff., 102, 124, 177 ff.; letter 
from the Colorado, 71, 72; study 
of Portuguese, 72; letters from 
Rio de Janeiro, 72 ff., 101, 102; 
ascent of Corcovado Peak, 75 ff . ; 
at lectures of Agassiz, Rio de 
Janeiro, 82 ff., 102; views on 
Brazilian women, 83, 89, 91, 92, 
100; letter from Monte Alegre, 
85 ff.; letters from Manaos, 88, 
89, 93 ff . ; letter from the Ibicuhy, 
91, 92; tribute to, from the la- 
dies of Manaos, 91, 92 ; letter from 
Pard, 95, 96; retrospect of Bra- 
zilian journey, 95, 96, 101 ; letter 
from Ceard, 96, 97; letter from 
Pacatuba, 97 ff.; ride to Paca- 
tuba, 97 ff . ; return to Cambridge, 
103; visit to Washington, 110, 
111; teas in Cambridge, 111, 
112; summer in an absence of 
Agassiz, 112, 113; interest in the 
Humboldt celebration, 114; care 
of Agassiz in his illness, 115; at 
Deerfield, 115; letter from Deer- 
field, 115 ff.; on the Hassler ex- 
pedition, 118 ff. (see also Hassler 
Expedition) ; record of the expedi- 



tion, 119; letters written on the 
expedition, — at sea, 119, 120, 
122, 123, 133 ff.; at St. Thomas, 
120 ff.; Barbadoes, 122; Rio de 
Janeiro, 123, 124 ff.; Sandy 
Point, 126, 127; Monte Video, 
127, 128; Bahia Blanca. 128 ff.; 
Port San Antonio, 130 ff.; Tal- 
cahTiana, 145 ff. ; Curicu, 152 ff. ; 
Panama, 163; San Francisco, 
164; return to Cambridge, 165; 
at Penikese Island, 166 ff.; be- 
reavement in the death of Agas- 
siz, 171 ff.; care of the children of 
Alexander Agassiz, 171, 172, 175, 
182, 185; views on happiness, 
173, 175, 176; membership on a 
committee for collegiate instruc- 
tion for women, 192, 194, 196, 
199, 201 ff., 403, 404; policy in 
regard to the aims of the com- 
mittee, 205; elected president of 
the Society for the Collegiate In- 
struction of Women, 207, 404; 
negotiations for the afl&liation of 
the Society with Harvard Univer- 
sity, 231 ff., 243; consideration 
of the name " Radcliffe College," 
241, 242; satisfaction in the pro- 
posed incorporation of Radcliffe 
College, 244; replies to criticisms 
of the incorporation, 245; policy 
toward Harvard, 245 ff.; at the 
hearing for the charter of Rad- 
cliffe College, 165, 249, 256, 257, 
404, 405, 409 ff.; elected Presi- 
dent of Radcliffe, 258, 404; de- 
sire for a dean for Radcliffe, 258, 
259; ideals for Radcliffe, 261 ff., 
326 ff., 338 ff., 357, 358; services 
to the college, 263, 324, 325, 404; 
loyalty to Harvard, 263, 265; 
views on the education of women, 
264, 358 ff.; influenced by her 
life with Agassiz, 264, 265; 
Wednesday teas. Fay House, 
266, 342, 343, 353; dread of 
Commencement exercises, 267, 
318, 319, 343; family interests, 
275; her mother's death, 275; in- 

terest in the Kindergarten for 
the Blind, 275, 276; visit to the 
Pacific coast, 279; year in Eu- 
rope, 280 ff.; letters from Paris, 
282 ff., 287, 288, 308; memories 
of Agassiz abroad, 282, 283, 288, 
307; letters from Rome, 284 ff.; 
letter from Florence, 287; visit 
to Fontenay-aux-Roses, 287; let- 
ters from London, 288, 296; 
visit to Cambridge, 282, 289 ff . ; 
at Girton College, 282, 290, 291, 
298; at Newnham College, 182, 
291 ff., 298 ff.; visit to Oxford, 
282, 294 ff . ; letters from Venice, 
297 ff., 302 ff. ; hears of first Rad- 
cliffe Commencement in Sanders 
Theatre, 302, 303; letter from 
Perarolo, 304, 305; letter from 
Cortina, 305 ff. ; letter from Mu- 
nich, 307; second visit to Mon- 
tagny, 282, 307, 308; return to 
Cambridge, Massachusetts, 309; 
receives the Elizabeth Cary 
Agassiz scholarship as a gift, 309; 
correspondence in regard to the 
Radcliffe Gymnasium, 311 ff.; 
at the opening of the Gymna- 
sium, 317; resignation as honor- 
ary president of Radcliffe, 341 ff., 
347; called "President Emerita," 
348; gratitude to President Eliot, 
348; on Commencement Day, 
1903, 350 ff.; illness, 356, 386; 
visit to Agassiz House, 358; 
notes for the opening of Agassiz 
House, 357; as an ideal for Rad- 
cliffe students, 358, 366, 408; 
visit to Harvard Observatory, 
361, 382; occupations of later 
years, 367 ff. ; at College (Brooks 
House) teas, 368, 382; sor- 
row on the death of her sister 
Sarah, 369, 371; views on old 
age, 371, 372; at the "Queens," 
371, 374; ill health, 373; visit at 
Hamilton, 373, 377 ff.; reading 
of Carlyle, 373; views on Chris- 
tian Science, 375; seventy-ninth 
birthday, 375; visit to the mu- 



Beum of Mrs. John L. Gardner, 
377; criticism of Richard Mans- 
field, 382 ; criticism of John Eliot, 
383; invalidism, 386 ff.; at Ar- 
lington Heights, 388 S.; faiUng 
strength, 393; death, 393; ad- 
dresses in memory of, 394 ff.; 
article on, by A. Oilman, 193. 

Addresses by : — for the Soci- 
ety for the Collegiate Instruc- 
tion of Women, 211 ff., 223 ff. ; at 
Commencement exercises, 218, 
219, 221 ff., 227 ff., 261 ff., 314, 
316, 358 ff., 360 ff.; at the State 
House, 251 ff.; at Bertram Hall, 
326 ff.; announcing the gift of 
Agassiz House, 337 ff. 

Characteristics : — 1, 8, 26, 35, 
46, 48 ff., 55, 63, 64, 71, 172, 
189, 205, 217, 223, 259, 263, 281, 
282, 333, 334, 358, 367, 387, 391, 
401, 404, 407 ff., 412; love of 
children, 81, 82, 90, 97, 367, 386 
(see also below. Relations with 
grandchildren and great-grand- 
children) ; love of flowers, 23, 122, 
125, 126, 146, 149, 279, 387; love 
of Nahant, 15, 96, 282, 297, 298, 
367, 388, 389. 

Comments on hooks : — 42, 53, 
64, 123, 372, 374, 376, 377, 379, 
380, 383, 385, 387, 388, 392. 

Letters of, to : — Associates of 
Radcliffe College, 343, 346; L. 
B. R. Briggs, 333; Mrs. L. B. R. 
Briggs, 353, 354; S. Cabot, 21; 
Emma F. Cary, 106, 350; Sarah 
G. Cary, 27 ff., 44, 52, 65, 75 ff., 
93 ff., 106, 110 ff., 112, 115, 150, 
166, 282, 285, 287 ff., 296 ff., 
302 ff., 308; T. G. Cary, 19, 46; 
Mrs. T. G. Cary, 38, 55, 59, 62, 
71 ff., 82 ff., 89 ff., 104 ff., 119 ff., 
128 ff., 152; EUzabeth H. Clark, 
369; Mrs. C. P. Curtis, 127, 
174 ff.; C. W. EUot, 231, 348; 
Mrs. C. C. Felton, 276; Louisa 
Felton, 350; Mary Felton, 164, 
283 ff.; Mrs. J. T. Fields, 377, 
389; friends who gave the Stu- 

dents' Hall at Radcliffe College, 
339; A. Gilman, 205; Mrs. A. GU- 
man, 298; some graduates of the 
Annex, 245; J. C. Gray, 238; 
Mrs. A. Hemenway, 313; H. L. 
Higginson, 342; E. R. Hoar, 272; 
E. W. Hooper, 234; Agnes Irwin, 

317, 319 ff.; A. Mayor, 185, 191; 
Cecile Mettenius, 184, 187, 375; 
C. E. Norton, 392; Grace Nor- 
ton, 209, 280, 370, 371; Mrs. 
W. B. Richardson, 352; Mrs. 
W. B. Rogers, 190; the students 
of Radcliffe College, 286; Mrs. 
Q. A. Shaw, 81, 88, 126, 149, 
163; O. Wister, 391. 

Letters to, from : — L. B. R. 
Briggs, 332; C. W. EUot, 239, 
241, 347; A. GUman, 197; G. S. 
Hale, 257; Mrs. A. Hemenway, 
312; H. L. Higginson, 319, 342; 
E. R. Hoar, 268, 273; E. W. 
Hooper, 234; Agnes Irwin, 300, 

318, 346; W. James, 335; H. W. 
Longfellow, 180; C. E. Norton, 
322; Sarah W. Whitman, 330; 
Sarah B. Wister, 335. 

Musical interests : — Com- 
ments on, Chopin, 391; Fidelio, 
368; Fiftieth Birthday of Agassiz, 
setting for, 52; Jl Giuramento, 28, 
29; Mendelssohn, Elijah, 115; 
Oedipus Tyrannus, music for, 
403; Rubinstein, 174; Von Bu- 
low, 174; Wagner, 391; waltzes, 
371. — Music lessons, 17, 19, 52, 
53. — Musical tastes, 16, 22, 24, 
26, 28, 29, 43, 116, 284, 334, 368, 
371, 378, 381, 391, 403. — Sing- 
ing, 13, 16, 52, 53. 

Relations with : — Alexander 
Agassiz, 37, 38, 95, 171 ff., 175, 
331, 332, 387; Ida and PauHne 
Agassiz, 37; the Agassiz family 
in Switzerland, 59, 60, 62, 282, 
308; the alumnae of Radcliffe 
College, 352; the Braun family, 
187, 188; L. B. R. Briggs, 334, 
343, 390; Mrs. L. B. R. Briggs, 
353, 354; Mary Gary [Felton], 



16; Mr. Christinat, 36; F. J. 
Child, 209; her colleagues at the 
Annex and Radcliffe College, 
208 ff., 322, 323, 343, 346; Mr. 
and Mrs. Otto Dresel, 52; C. C. 
Felton, 17, 66; her grandchildren 
and great-grandchildren, 65, 81, 
88, 105, 106, 172, 173, 175, 182, 
372, 378 £f., 384, 386 ff. (see also 
Shaw, Louis A.); Agnes Irwin, 
259 ff., 303, 317 ff.; Elizabeth 
Cabot Lee, 18, 108, 374; C. E. 
Norton, 209; the students of 
Radcliffe College, 254, 265 ff.; 
Sarah W. Whitman, 355, 356. 

Writings of : — Manuscript 
Memoir of Thomas G. Cary, 3, 5, 
63 ; Aetata, a First Lesson in Nat- 
ural History, 64, 204; Methods of 
Study in Natural History, 66; A 
Journey in Brazil, 69 ff., 103, 104, 
106 ff., 110, 112; Seaside Studies 
in Natural History, 93, 95; An 
Amazonian Picnic, 102; A Dredg- 
ing Excursion in the Gulf Stream, 
103; The Hassler Glacier, 119; In 
the Straits of Magellan, 119; A 
Cruise through the Galapagos, 119; 
Louis Agassiz : His Life and Cot' 
respondence, 181 ff. 

Agassiz, George, 172, 182. 

Agassiz, Ida. See Higginson, Ida 

Agassiz (Jean) Louis (Rodolphe), 
early life, 35; in Munich, 307; in 
Paris, 283; arrival in Boston, 
30 ff.; Lowell Lectures, 30, 31; at 
East Boston, 32 ; appointment to 
professorship at Harvard Uni- 
versity, 32; life in Oxford Street, 
32 ff.; Cambridge friends, 32; 
friendship with Longfellow, 32, 
62, 180, 186; his wife's death, 32, 
37; his children, 32, 37; meeting 
with Elizabeth Cabot Cary, 34; 
marriage with Elizabeth Cabot 
Cary, 35; zoological specimens in 
Oxford Street, 34, 38, 39; labora- 
tory at Nahant, 39; professor- 
ship at Charleston, 40 ff.; lec- 

tures in Washington, 41 ; labora- 
tory on Sullivan's Island, 40 ff., 
392; library in Quincy Street, 45; 
part in the Agassiz School, 47 ff., 
397 ff.; fiftieth birthday, 52; is 
offered a professorship in Paris, 
55 ff.; summer in Europe, 58 ff.; 
friendship with Alexander Braun, 

58, 187, 188; visit to Montagny, 

59, 60, 62; Methods of Study 
in Natural History, 66; on the 
Thayer expedition to Brazil, 
68 ff., 70, 71, 75, 81, 85 ff., 91, 93, 
94, 96, 97, 99 ff.; lectures on the 
Colorado, 71; friendship with the 
Emperor of BrazU, 68, 72 ff., 
78 ff., 102, 179, 180; lectures in 
Rio de Janeiro, 82 ff., 102; return 
to Cambridge, 103; failing 
health, 103; journey in the West, 
103, 112, 113; expedition in the 
Guljf Stream, 103; his mother's 
illness and death, 104, 105; at 
the Humboldt Celebration, 114, 
115; illness, 115; at Deerfield, 
115 ff.; recovery, 118; on the 
Hassler expedition, 118 ff., 127, 
128 ff., 137, 143 ff., 147, 151 ff., 
160, 161; return to Cambridge, 
165; school on Penikese Island, 
165 ff.; failing health, 170; death, 
170; biography of, 181 ff.; mem- 
ory of, in Switzerland, 190, 191; 
memoir of, by Ernest Favre, 185; 
as a teacher. 264, 288, 351. 

Agassiz, Maximilian, 172, 182. 

Agassiz, Pauline. See Shaw, Paul- 
ine Agassiz. 

Agassiz, Rodolphe, 172, 182, 378; 
daughters of, 378 ff., 384, 386. 

Agassiz Museum, 56 ff., 92 ff., 372, 
380, 381. 

Agassiz School, 46 ff., 204, 264, 351, 
394 ff. 

Albatross, 130. 

Alexander, Francesca, 282. 

Alexander, Lucia S., 282, 287. 

Amazon, the, 68, 59, 91, 95, 102. 

Andes Mountains, 146, 156, 159, 



Appleton, Thomas G., 112. 
Association of Collegiate Alumnae, 

245, 248. 
Atlantic Monthly, 66, 102, 103, 119. 

Boston, about 1840, 13 ff.; Globe 

Theatre, 116, 1 17 ; King's Chapel, 

35; Pearl Street, 9; Temple 

Place, 9 ff . 
Brattleboro, 4, 9. 

Braun, Alexander, 58, 59, 187, 188. 
Braun, Maximilian, 58. 
Briggs, L. B. R., 173, 203, 333, 

341 ff., 351, 352, 358, 366, 390, 

Briggs, Mary DeQ. (Mrs. L. B. 

R.), 173, 353, 354. 
Bronte, Charlotte, Jane Eyre, 53, 

54, 123; Life of, by Mrs. Gaskell, 

Browning, R. and E. B., Letters, 

Burkhardt, Jacques, 36, 43. 
Byerly, William E., 202, 203, 207, 

210, 249, 323. 

Cabot, Elizabeth. See Lee, Eliza- 
beth Cabot. 

Cabot, Samuel, 21. 

Cambridge, Massachusetts, 32, 33, 

Gary, Caroline. See Curtis, Caro- 
line Gary. 

Gary, Elizabeth Cabot. See Agas- 
siz, Elizabeth Gary. 

Gary, Emma Forbes, v, 10, 25, 39, 
106, 110, 169, 350, 370, 381, 391; 
extracts from manuscript notes 
by, 10 fif., 24 ff., 45. 

Gary, Georgiana S., 82, 90, 280, 

Gary, James, 2. 

Gary, Margaret Graves (Mrs. 
Samuel Gary), 2. 

Gary, Mary. See Felton, Mary 

Gary, Mary Perkins (Mrs. Thomas 
Graves Gary), 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 
31, 275. See Agassiz, Elizabeth 
Gary, Letters of, to. 

Gary, Richard, 10, 17, 25. 

Gary, Mrs. Richard, 280, 281. 

Gary, Samuel, 2. 

Gary, Samuel, 2 ff., 46. 

Gary, Sarah Gray (Mrs. Samuel 

Gary), 3, 4, 46. 
Gary, Sarah G., 10, 20, 25, 26, 52, 

54, 112, 257, 368. See also Agas- 

siz, Elizabeth Gary, Letters 

of, to. 
Gary, Thomas, 10, 25. 
Gary, Thomas Graves, 3 fif., 7, 10, 

12, 19, 39, 46, 62 ff. 
Gary, William, 8. 
Chanal, Madame de, 117. 
Chantilly, 283. 
Charlestown, 2. 
Chelsea, 2, 109 ; Bellingham estate, 

the, "Retreat," 2 fif. 
Child, Francis J., 207, 209, 397. 
Christinat, Mr., 33, 34, 36. 
Clough, Athena, 292, 293, 299. 
Goes, Mary, 258, 346i 
Conte d'Eu, 124. 
Cooke, Mary H. (Mrs. Josiah B.), 

196, 201, 323, 346. 
Corcovado, Gulf, 145; Peak, 75 fif., 

125, 145. 
Coutinho, Major, 85, 97, 99, 100. 
Curtis, Caroline Gary (Mrs. Charles 

P.), 10, 25, 34, 35, 127, 174, 177, 

391 ; extracts from Memories by, 

10, 16, 18, 48, 172, 263. 
Ciishing estate, Belmont, 22. 

Darwin, Charles, 134, 137. 
Davis, Andrew McF., 241, 242. 
Dresel, Anna Loring, 52. 
Dresel, Otto, 52, 53, 334, 385. 
Duck, steamer, 143. 

Eliot, Charles W., 194, 195, 199, 
200, 204, 205, 231, 239, 241, 250, 
310, 311, 321, 347, 348, 350, ad- 
dress by, commemorative of Mrs. 
Agassiz, 256, 409 ff. 

Eliot, John, 383, 384. 

Emerson, R. W., 14, 32, 388, 402. 

Emmanuel College, 238. 

Esperan^a, lodge of, 70, 163. 



Farlow, Lilian Horsford (Mrs. 

William G.), 196, 201, 207. 
Fawcett, Miss, 293, 299. 
Fay, Maria, 220. 
Fay, Samuel P., 220. 
Fay House, 220, 221. See Society 

for the Collegiate Instruction of 

Felton, Cornelius Conway, 17, 32, 

34, 48, 65, 66, 180, 209, 264, 396. 
Felton, Louisa, 350, 388, 389. 
Felton, Mary Gary (Mrs. Cornelius 

Conway Felton), 10, 13, 16, 34, 

39, 52, 371, 372. 
Felton, Mary, 163, 280, 283, 292. 
Felton, Una Farley (Mrs. Cornel- 
ius Conway Felton), 276, 277. 
Fleming, Mrs. W. P., 361, 362. 
Francillon, Marc, 59. 
Francillon, Olympe Agassiz, 59, 60. 
Froude, J. A., 123, 373. 

Gallison, Mrs. H. H., 372. 

Gambardella, 13. 

Gardner, Mrs. John L., museum of 
(Fenway Court), 377. 

Gaskell, E. C, Ldfe of Charlotte 
Bronte, 53, 54. 

Gilman. Arthur, 192 ff., 205 flF., 210, 
220, 258, 259, 346; Notes, 192, 
193, 195, 200, 204 ff.; article on 
Mrs. Agassiz, 193 ; articles on the 
Harvard Annex, 193; account of 
the hearing for the charter of 
Radcliffe College, 249 fif. 

Gilman, Stella S. (Mrs. Arthur 
Gilman), 193, 195 ff., 201, 208, 
220, 258, 259. 

Gladstone, Helen, 292, 299. 

Goodale, George L., 203, 249. 

Goodwin, William W., 203, 207, 
249, 256, 324; address commemo- 
rative of Mrs. Agassiz, 401 ff. 

Gray, John C, 235 fif., 323. 

Gray, Mrs. John C, 237, 239. 

Greenough, James B., 194 ff., 198, 
202, 203, 208, 323. 

Greenough, Mary B. (Mrs. James 
B.), 194 ff., 201, 207. 

Guanacos, 132, 134, 138, 139. 

Gumey, Ephraim W., 208, 303, 

Gurney, Ellen H. (Mrs. Ephraim 

W.), 201, 207, 303, 402. 

Hale, George S., 248, 257. 

Harcourt, Lady (Lily Motley), 
282, 288, 289. 

Harcourt, Sir William, 289. 

Hare, J. C, Life of Sterling, 42. 

Harvard Annex. See Society for the 
Collegiate Instruction of Women. 

Harvard Graduates* Magazine, viii, 
193, 210, 230, 235. 

Harvard University, 4, 32, 34, 40, 
45, 192, 212, 216, 233, 237, 
241 ff., 252, 255, 263, 269 ff., 368, 
374, 382, 383. See also Agassiz 
Museum, Society for the Collegi- 
ate Instruction of Women, Rad- 
cliffe College. 

Hassler Expedition: plan of, 118; 
life aboard ship, 119, 123, 126; 
at St. Thomas, 120 ff.; at Bar- 
badoes, 122; at Rio de Janeiro, 
124 ff.; at Sandy Point, 126; 
voyage from Rio to Monte 
Video, 128; dredgings, 128 ff., 
136, 144, 151; at Port San An- 
tonio, 130 ff.; in Gulf of San Ma- 
thias, 133; in a "pampiro," 135, 
136; discoveries on Mt. Aymond, 
137 ff . ; Patagonian dinner aboard 
ship, 138; sunset on Elizabeth 
Island, 139, 140; Fuegian settle- 
ment on Elizabeth Island, 140; 
on Marguerita Island, 140 ff.; 
voyage from Otter Bay to Owen's 
Island, 142, 143; at Mayne's 
Harbor, 144; at Puerto Bueno, 
144 ff.; in Corcovado Gulf, 145; 
in Port San Pedro, 146; at An- 
cud (San Carlos), 146 ff.; at 
Lota, 148; at Talcahuana, 149 ff., 
160; expedition to Juan Fernan- 
dez and Valparaiso, 149; at 
ranch near Talcahuana, 150, 151 ; 
at Concepcion, 152, 153; road 
from Talcahuana to Tome, 152; 
at Tome, 153; at a Chilian haei- 



eruiei, 153 ff.; road to Chilian, 
156; at Chilian, 157; at Sinarez, 
158; road to Talca, 159; at Talca, 
160; at Curicu, 152, 161; at 
Panama, 163; at San Francisco, 

Hemenway, Harriett L. (Mrs. Au- 
gustus Hemenway), 311 ff. 

Higginson, Henry L., 64, 106, 207, 
208, 319, 329, 332, 342. 

Higginson, Ida Agassiz (Mrs. 
Henry L.), 37, 44 ff., 64, 106, 
114, 329, 372, 382, 397. 

Higginson, Thomas W., 57. 

Hill, Thomas J., 118, 144. 

Hoar, Ebenezer R., 268 ff., 402. 

Hoar, Joanna, 269 ff. 

Holbrook, John E., 40. 

Holbrook, Mrs. John E., 40. 

Holmes, O. W., 32, 107, 220, 385, 

Hoppin, Eliza M., 326. 

Horsford, Lilian. See Farlow, Lilian 

Howe, Julia Ward, 382. 

Ireland, Nathaniel, 220. 

Irwin, Agnes, 259 ff., 300, 310, 
317 ff., 324, 340, 341, 346, 351, 
364, 390; Commencement ad- 
dress by, 364 ff . 

Italy, 284. 

James, Henry, W, W. Story and his 

Friends, 383. 
James, Wilham, 68, 72, 88, 195, 

335, 336, 375, 383. 
Johnson, Andrew, 111. 
Johnson, Captain P. C, 118. 
Johnson, Mrs. P. C, 118, 123, 

130, 137, 144, 145. 

Kimball, Mrs. David P., 316, 325, 

Kindergarten for the Blind, 275, 


Leach. Abby, 197, 198. 
Lee, Elizabeth Cabot (Mrs. Henry 
Lee), 18, 28, 108, 374. 

Lincoln, Abraham, 77. 

Longfellow, A. W., 325, 341. 

Longfellow, Alice M., 195, 201, 
207, 276, 346. 

Longfellow, H. W., 32, 107, 110, 
178, 180, 184, 186, 188, 220; The 
Fiftieth Birthday of Agassiz, 52, 
63; Three FHends of Mine, 180; 
sketch of his life by Norton, 392, 

Lyman, Miss (governess), 17, 113. 

Manaos, 91, 336. See also Agassiz, 

Elizabeth Cary, Letters from. 
Martineau, Stvdy of Rdigion, 376, 

Mary, Queen of Scots, 295. 
Mason, Ellen F., 207. 
Mayor, A., 184, 185, 191. 
Mettenius, Cecile, 59, 184, 187, 

189, 190, 375. 
Motier, 35. 
Mt., Buckland, 127; Darwin, 127; 

Melimoya, 145, Osorno, 146; 

Sarmiento, 127. 
Mowlson, Lady. See Radcliffe, 

Mowlson, Sir Thomas, 242. 
MuUer, Max, 296, 297. 
Miiller, Mrs. Max, 296, 297. 
Museum of Comparative Zoology. 

See Agassiz Museum. 

Neuch&tel, 30, 35, 184. 

Newman, J. H., Apologia, 388. 

Norton, C E., 207, 209, 238, 249, 
322, 323, 374, 392; address com- 
memorative of Mrs. Agassiz, 
407 ff. 

Peabody, Andrew P., 108. 
Peabody, Josephine P., Marlowe, 

Pechet Harbor, 140. 
Peck, Thomas Handasyd, 6. 
Peirce, Benjamin, 118. 
Peirce, J. M., 203, 207. 
Penguins, 141, 142. 
Perkins, Alice, 6. 
Perkins, Edmund, 6. 



Perkins, Edmund (son of Edmund 

Perkins), 6. 
Perkins, Elizabeth Peck (Mrs. 

James Perkins), 6, 7, 46. 
Perkins, James, 6. 
Perkins, John, 5. 
Perkins, Mary. See Gary, Mary 

Perkins, Sarah Elliott (Mrs. 

Thomas Handasyd Perkins), 7. 
Perkins, Thomas Handasyd, 4, 5, 

7, 9 ff. 
Perkins Institution for the Blind, 

5, 7, 275. 
Pourtales, Count Francois de, 118, 

120, 122, 132, 133, 137 £f., 140, 


Hadcliffe, Anne, 241 S., 252, 253, 


RadclifFe College, naming of, 241 ff . ; 
proposed incorporation, 243 fif., 
opposition to its charter, 244 ff . ; 
hearing for its charter, 248 ff.; 
incorporation, 258; reorganiza- 
tion, 258; officers, 258 ff.; rela- 
tion to Harvard University, 
245 ff., 261 ff., 265, 268, 271, 287, 
301 ff., 344 ff., 349, 357, 390; the 
Joanna Hoar Scholarship, 268 ff . ; 
halls of residence, 299, 301, 310, 
311, 313 ff.; first Commencement 
in Sanders Theatre, 302, 303; 
needs in 1895, 310; purchases of 
land, 311, 314, 325; architectural 
scheme for its buildings, 313 ff.; 
Gymnasium, 311 ff.; library 
building, 315, 340; Bertram 
Hall, 316, 325 ff.; Associates, 322, 
323, 343, 346; Students' House 
(Elizabeth Gary Agassiz House), 
25, 329 ff., 336 ff., 341, 354, 356, 
357, 394, 400; Whitman Room, 
355; ideals and tradition, 358, 
364 ff.; relation to the Agassiz 
School, 48, 394, 395, 400. See also 
Society for the Collegiate In- 
struction of Women; Agassiz, 
Elizabeth Gary. 

Rancho, 98. 

Revere, Paul, 6. 
Ropes, J. H., 350, 351. 

Schuyler, Georgina, address com- 
memorative of Mrs. Agassiz, 49, 
394 ff. 

Seward, William H., 77. "f^ 

Shaw, Louis A., 65, 66, 81, 82, 88, 
94, 105, 110, 113, 114, 163. 

Shaw, Pauline Agassiz (Mrs. 
Quincy A.), 37, 45, 54, 58, 64, 81, 
88, 113, 126, 149, 163, 183, 280, 
281, 287, 356, 372, 379. 380, 397. 

Shaw, Quincy A., 64, 183, 281, 372. 

Smith, Clement L., 207. 

Sidgwick, Henry, 291 ff. 

Sidgwick, Mrs. Henry, 291 ff., 299. 

Society for the Collegiate Instruc- 
tion of Women, formation and 
early activities, 192 ff.; pub- 
lished accounts of its origin, 193 ; 
founders, 194 ff.; relation to 
Harvard University, 194, 196 ff., 
200, 206, 215 ff., 219, 225, 227, 
228, 230 ff.; first circular, 200; 
officers, 202, 203; students, 202, 
212, 213, 218, 224, 254, 364; 
rooms in Appian Way, 203, 219, 
221; opening of its courses of in- 
struction, 202, 203; list of its in- 
structors, 203; called "Harvard 
Annex," 203, 206, 207, 212, 251, 
252; becomes a legal corporation, 
206, 207; adopts as name, "The 
Society for the Collegiate In- 
struction of Women," 206; sign- 
ers of its Articles of Association, 
207 ff . ; officers, 207 ff . ; raises an 
endowment fund, 211 ff., 219; 
development from 1879-1883, 
211 ff.; from 1883-1884, 217, 
218; purchases the Fay House, 
220 ff.; enlarges the Fay House, 
223, 224, 226, 227; purchases 
land and equips its first labora- 
tories, 224; library. Fay House, 
226; proposed change in its or- 
ganization, 230 ff . ; memorandum 
of its agreement with Harvard 
University, 240; adopts the 



name Radcliffe College, 241 ff. 

See also Agassiz, Elizabeth Gary; 

Radcliffe College. 
Spain, war of United States with, 

Steindachner, Franz, 118, 123, 131. 

139, 144, 152, 160, 161. 
Storer, Mrs. Robert, 401, 402. 
Straits of MageUan, 118, 126, 130, 


Thayer, Nathaniel, expedition to 

Brazil, 68, 336. 
Thayer, Van Rensselaer, 68, 72. 

Venice, 297, 304, 305. 
VogeU, 111. 

Wagnon, Cecile Agassiz, 59 ff. 
Warner, J. B., 193, 202, 207, 230, 

234, 249, 258. 
Wendell, B., Ldterary History of 

America, 374. 
Whiting, H., 214. 
Whitman, Sarah W. (Mrs. Henry 

Whitman), 164, 323, 325, 330, 

331, 351, 354 ff. 
Whittier, J. G., 179. 
WUder, B. G., 58, 1661 168. 
Wolcott, R., 373. 
Women's Educational Association, 

Boston, 228. 

Zell-am-See, 281. 

U . S . A 

QH . Paton, Lucy Allen. 

3 1 Elizabeth Gary Agassiz 

.A 19