Harper Letters, 1801-1912, MS. 1304

Harper Letters, 1801-1912

Maryland Historical Society


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Harper Letters, 1801-1912
Maryland Historical Society

Contact Information:
Manuscripts Department
Maryland Historical Society Library
201 West Monument Street
Baltimore MD 21201-4674
Fax: 410.385.2105


Descriptive Summary

Harper Letters, 1801-1912

[MS. 1304]

Manuscripts Division,

Maryland Historical Society

Baltimore MD 21201-4674



Letters of Elizabeth Ann Seton to Robert Goodloe Harper, 1817-1819

(17 items)



1 January, 1817

Emmitsburg, Md.


Postscript of Elizabeth Harper letter to My Dear Papa.

Seton reports on the health of Mary, Harper's daughter. Though Mary appears well, her cough makes me uneasy. Expects Mr. Harper to visit soon.




5 February, 1817



Seton recounts the activities and describes the health of Elizabeth, another of the Harper children.

She adds: Mr. Cooper has written to us dear Sir of your truly Benevolent exertions for us.




9 December, 1817



Seton reports that Elizabeth is in perfect health. Mentions that My son William received the midshipman's warrant he so much desired.

Asks to be remembered to Mrs. Harper.




25 January, 1818



Seton sympathetically responds to news of Mrs. Harper's illness.

Her son William wants to meet Harper in Washington; Harper may be able to provide some assistance. It appears that no prospect of immediate station in the Navy exists. William may, however, secure a position on a merchantman vessel during the interim.

She adds: Yr Elizabeth's answer to her dear Brother's letter... will be forwarded by next weeks posts.




3 February, 1818



My William will hand you this. Seton comments on the good health of Elizabeth Harper.




26 April, 1818



Seton reacts to the apparently grave health condition affecting Mrs. Harper. She states: I would cheerfully give my life to save that of your precious Mrs. Harper.... Yet respecting the children... she may be sure of every kind of tenderness her own heart could wish for them from us all.




20 September, 1818



Seton writes to Mr. and Mrs. Harper; the couple is in London [Evidently, Mrs. Harper regained her health]. She remarks on the scholarly and spiritual progress of daughters Emily and Elizabeth.

Seton comments on her own health: The complaint on my lungs is past human aid, but our God will order all for the best... if indeed I am near death or unable to attend my normal duties I will write you who is in my place.

Her son, poor William, has been removed from the Independence to the frigate Macedonia and will begin an extended cruise.

She adds: If you go to Florence [Italy]... see Mrs. Philip Filicchi (a widow) and her friend.




29 September, 1818



Seton again writes to the Harper's in London. She encloses some letters addressed to Filicchi family members. Mentions that the Harper children happily anticipate their parents return.




1 April, 1819



Postscript of Elizabeth Harper letter to My Dear Papa.

Comments on Elizabeth's excellent health. Emily has been sent home with an non-specified, seemingly minor, eye

problem. Seton mentions that she received the Harper's letter from Leghorn [Livorno, Italy]; a meeting with the resident Filicchi's not possible.

Her son William is now aboard the Macedonia.




22 May, 1819



Seton remarks on Emily's general health and her return to school with no remains of the weakness of the eyes or specks on the skin. Elizabeth is fond of music but makes only slow progress.

Emily is now at Seton's table fixing flowers; the girl prays for her parents to come home.




18 October, 1819



Mother Seton expresses great joy at the news of the Harper's safe return from Europe.




25 October, 1819



Seton makes general comments on the Harper children. Emily is restless to see her parents; however, she soon engaged in play and forgot her troubles. Though Elizabeth possesses many good qualities, her progress in music is still disappointing; she forgets day to day what she learns.




27 April, 1820



Another Harper daughter, Sweet Bess, is now practicing her writing in front of Seton. While Josephine [a nurse or, perhaps, another daughter?] is away, Mother Seton believes that the children consider me in her place as their friend.

Everyone looks forward to a visit from Mr. and Mrs, Harper.




4 May, 1820

St. Joseph's


Postscript of Emily Harper letter to My Dear Papa.

Seton comments on the personal nature, behavior, and health of the various Harper children.




21 May, 1820


Mother Seton remarks that all is well. Emily was sickened by eating unripened plums and is now better. The young girl commented of herself (as quoted by Seton): I do get so disorderly... when I go from St. Joseph's [that] I do not know myself.




1 July, 1820


Seton provides an overview of the children's health. Emily enjoys and seems to excel in her geography studies.




30 October, 1820



I cannot refuse myself the pleasure of telling you how well the Darlings are. Besides health, Mother Seton comments on the children's progress. She mentions: While I was sick Emily began to be quite indifferent in some of her exercises. Sister Cecilia, Seton's replacement, soon took the matter in hand. The Sister told Emily that her indifference pains me enough. However, What about Mother when she sees these marks? [Mother Seton?] Emily's behavior became markedly better thereafter.

Emily shows a real talent for geography; Elizabeth's diligence, in regard to her studies, has improved.