Letter from Frances Miller Seward to Lazette Miller Worden, December 14, 1849

  • Posted on: 6 December 2018
  • By: admin
Letter from Frances Miller Seward to Lazette Miller Worden, December 14, 1849



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Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections


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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to Lazette Miller Worden, December 14, 1849

action: sent

sender: Frances Seward
Birth: 1805-09-24  Death: 1865-06-21

location: Washington D.C., US

receiver: Lazette Worden
Birth: 1803-11-01  Death: 1875-10-03

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: maf 

revision: tap 2018-11-12

Page 1

Friday night
My dear Sister
The children
x Birth: 1830-07-08  Death: 1915-04-25  Birth: 1839-06-18  Death: 1920-04-29 
have been here four days
and I am just commencing the letter I promised –
Birth: 1826-12-12 Death: 1909-08-24
has written a long letter and I suppose told you
all we have been doing – Wednesday I went with Henry
Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10

and Caroline
Birth: 1834-07-25 Death: 1922-02-28
to the “Academy of the Visitation” at
Georgetown – We rang the bell when a priestess
an inside door separated from us by wooden grates
and enquired our wishes – She was clad like the
Sisters in black with a black hood – We made known
our desire to see the Lady directress
Birth: 1801 Death: 1860-07-25
– she ushered
us into a small reception room separated from
another room of the same kind by an entire partition
of wooden grates – The Lady Directress soon made her
appearance and commenced a conversation on the
other side of the grates – She was clad entirely
in black with a white band around her head
and a black hood – She is a fine looking
woman – well bred and pleasing in manner –
After conversing a while she enquired if we would
like to go over the rooms – We were then admitted
by the priestess (who carried a ponderous bunch of keys)

[top Margin]
has written you a letter — Willie and
Fred send love
When are you and Pa
Birth: 1772-04-11 Death: 1851-11-13
coming — Love to Clara
Birth: 1793-05-01 Death: 1862-09-05

your own
Sister —
Page 2

the other side of the grating and proceeded over the
establishment which consisted of a large study room
recitation rooms, music rooms — lecture rooms
dormitories &c all in perfect order and the cleanliness
only equalled by the Shakers – We did not see
the eating hall – every pupil is required to bring
2 knives and forks 2 spoons a bed bedding and
napkins – the rooms are chiefly heated by furnaces
The regulations are strict – Pupils are allowed to visit
their friends one day every month – to see them
at the Seminary Wednesday’s and Fridays –
I think it altogether an excellent place for a child
whose early education has been as sadly neglected as that
of Caroline – If habits of neatness and order can be acquired
any where I think this is the place – Caroline is willing
to go but I think not very desirous – She will remain
here until after Newyears as there is a vacation
for the Holidays – The next day I adjusted an
affair which has occasioned me some trouble – Frances
purchased her shawl by my advice — which would
have been judicious had she been willing to have worn
a long shawl – the square shawl though very pretty is
not warm enough for cold days and she requires some
other outer garment – I knew that she was not quite
satisfied though she did not at first admit it –
Page 3

Considering myself responsible for the mistake I have returned
her the $30 which she paid for the shawl – with this
she can get whatever you or v she think suitable –
I dare not trust my own judgement again – I wish
you were here to advise us – Yesterday she brought home
from the store a merino cloak with velvet trimmings
which was very pretty but I did not think it worth
$30 which was the price – There is nothing pretty here
of velvet – I had written to her while at Philadelphia
to procure something there but Fred’s coming so soon
prevented this – I am very sorry for I fear it makes
her uncomfortable as such things always have more
weight with young persons than they deserve — So
far the weather has not been so cold that I have
required more than my square shawl – I[ f ]


you have
any thing to suggest write us all about it –
Thursday Henry and I dined at the Presidents
Birth: 1784-11-24 Death: 1850-07-09
with about
#40 guests chiefly members of Congress and their wives
I being the only Senators wife Pr present was honoured
with the Presidents arm to Dinner – the Vice President
Birth: 1800-01-07 Death: 1874-03-08

followed with Mrs Bliss
Birth: 1824-04-20 Death: 1909-07-25
Birth: 1788-01-03 Death: 1867-07-07
& Mrs
Birth: 1790-09-17 Death: 1873-08-07
John & Mr
Birth: 1791-05-08 Death: 1853-10-03
Birth: 1791-12-14 Death: 1878-11-03

James King of N. York were there – I enjoyed the
evening very much – the President was very sociable
Henry says he looked at no one else but me
during dinner – I like him and his family – They
are sensible unpretending people – The President apologized
for his slight knowledge of etiquette – I told him
he had always been occupied with affairs which I
Page 4

considered infinitely more important – Henry Clay
Birth: 1777-04-12 Death: 1852-06-29
there but very quiet – he looks old – Mr Winthrop
Birth: 1809-05-12 Death: 1894-11-16

and his new wife
Birth: 1814 Death: 1861-04-26
were there – Mr
Birth: 1811-11-10 Death: 1873-04-30
& Mrs Brooks
Birth: 1816-03-06 Death: 1882-08-07

of the Express – Capt Forest
Birth: 1796-10-04 Death: 1866-11-22
(in full naval uniform)
and Mrs Forest
Birth: 1810-06-03 Death: 1880-04-09
— The dinner was handsomely served
the plateau graced the center of the table –
ten courses before the desert – a variety of wines
but no healths drank – We sat down at 6 and
rose at 9 – took a p cup of coffee in the
drawing room and came directly home –
This is probably the largest assembly I shall
meet this Winter – Mourning unless afflicted
in recent does not excuse one from accepting
an invitation from the President – I am not
surprised that the Gen— complains of the exactions
of etiquette – Washington in this respect approximates
much more nearly to a court than any other
society in the Union – I find it next to impossible
to ascertain just what is required about visits –
I told the Gen - I thought they should have a book
like the Army regulation and reduce such matters
to a system that might be studied – It is said
that Col. Bliss
Birth: 1815-08-17 Death: 1853-08-05
has an arduous task to make his
father in law comply with ^its^ the requisitions – Henry
Birth: 1844-12-09 Death: 1866-10-29
and I go this morning to call on the ladies of
the Foreign Ministers – and make some other calls less
important my list is long – We are to go in Mrs
Birth: 1816 Death: 1871-05-26Certainty: Possible
carriage with Oscar
Birth: 1820
in livery – Our furniture
from Philadelphia does not come so that I am
unable to say anything about Denis
Birth: 1827
– I have not
written half I wish but will write another sheet
by and by – Dear little Fanny