Elizabeth Boyer Coolidge. Autograph Letter Signed (with initials, E.B.C.). 1816 letter about "gentlemen of Colour" by a future Boston in-law of Thomas Jefferson.
Aug. 20 .·Windsor (Vermont):
by [African American].
Elizabeth Boyer Coolidge. Autograph Letter Signed (with initials, E.B.C.). 1816 letter about "gentlemen of Colour" by a future Boston in-law of Thomas Jefferson. Windsor (Vermont): Aug. 20 . Folded letter sheet, two pages of text, plus address leaf. Creased, portion of back panel torn, with no impact on text or mailing address, remnant of wax seal, a couple of tiny holes at folds, a little staining; otherwise very good. This is an autographed letter from Elizabeth Boyer Coolidge, who signed with her initials (E.B.C.) to her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth (Bulfinch) Coolidge, care of Joseph Coolidge Jr., Boston. Young Elizabeth (1797-1880) was about 19 at the time when she was traveling with her grandfather, who inquired about a Black servant they knew. She was going to call him "Black", but backed off when thinking about her grandfather's sensibilities. "G Papa called me just now to enquire if I recollected a certain Gent in the entry [hall], I was just going to exclaim black Charles" – an old family servant who "enquired particularly about Ma'am" – but then remembered that her grandfather had "requested us to call them gentlemen of Colour". Elizabeth's brother Joseph, after returning to America from a European trip, was invited to the Monticello estate of former President Thomas Jefferson for a dinner honoring the visiting Marquis de Lafayette. There he met and fell in love with Jefferson's granddaughter, Ellen Wayles Randolph; they were married in 1825. (Inventory #: 106343)
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