A warm and personal letter from the famed architect of the U.S. Capitol.
Benjamin Henry Latrobe was the America’s first trained architect who was instrumental in establishing the Greek, Gothic and Neoclassical styles of architecture in the United States. He is renowned for designing the U. S. Capitol and the pioneering Philadelphia and New Orleans waterworks; less well known is his design of elements of...
Benjamin Henry Latrobe was the America’s first trained architect who was instrumental in establishing the Greek, Gothic and Neoclassical styles of architecture in the United States. He is renowned for designing the U. S. Capitol and the pioneering Philadelphia and New Orleans waterworks; less well known is his design of elements of the White House and his role in its furnishing. He saw great potential for growth in New Orleans, designed a number of important projects there. During one trip New Orleans was rife with yellow fever, so upon returning he and his fellow travelers were quarantined. His daughter Lydia was a dynamo noted for her independence and spirt, and she was the wife of Nicholas Roosevelt. As such she became the great aunt of President Theodore Roosevelt.
Autograph Letter Signed, quarantine ground, New York, October 12, 1819, to Lydia. “I arrived here in the Brig Emma after passage of 17 days from New Orleans in perfect health yesterday morning. Being quarantined for 10 days I obtained permission to spend that time with you. But unfortunately the Shrewsbury steamboat made her last trip yesterday & I do not know how to get at you. I therefore applied to go to Elizabethtown from whence I mean to proceed immediately to Baltimore. It is my intention after just spending time enough in Baltimore to settle my affairs, to come on New York, & thence to West Point, before I remove with your mother & sister to New Orleans for a year or two, & to propose that you & your husband should meet us somewhere, so as to go to West Point with us. I wish you could contrive something to make this practicable in spite of your baby & babies. As you are the principal in this affair, I write to you.
“Your husband knows how affectionately I esteem him, but I never have had, & never shall have, the means & opportunity of showing you how much I love you, how proud I am of you, & how entirely you form part of the motives that induce me to think this life of labor & vexation worth preserving & prolonging. To have such a daughter as you is sufficient to constitute as much happiness as any father can deserve, but when I look at you all, Julia, John & Ben, I should be the most ungrateful of mankind were I not proud & thankful.” Just the most wonderful letter imaginable for a father to write his daughter.
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