April 27, 1881 Letter to Marion Talbot

This is one of many letters to Marion Talbot, the well-known feminist and founder of the American Association of University Women. Talbot and Higginson worked together for many years on women's rights issues.

Higginson's wife in 1881 was Mary Potter Thacher, whom he married in 1879 after the death of his first wife, Mary Channing Higginson, in 1877. In the first few years of their marriage, Mary Thacher had two pregnancies. A daughter, Louisa, who was the first born, died at seven-weeks old. A year and a half later, a second daughter, Margaret, was born. Two pregnancies in so short a time affected Mary's health, and the illness of his wife mentioned in this letter may well refer to problems related to her difficulties in childbearing.

Higginson was elected to the Massachusetts legislature in 1880 and would have still been busy with his first term when he wrote his letter. His cousin, Henry Lee Higginson, was a well known figure himself. A philanthropist and major in the Civil War, he is best known as the founder of the Boston Symphony.

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[Commonwealth of Massachusetts, House of Representatives, Boston.]

April 27, [188]1

Dear Miss Talbot

I am sorry that
my wife & I cannot accept your
kind invitation : she because she
is ill, and I because I
get very tired in the legislature
& must stay at home in the
evening. I should be glad to
meet Mr. Herschel, in whom
my cousin Henry Higginson places
much confidence.

Very Truly

Thos. Wentworth Higginson