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Letter to Mary Cochran from daughter Martha Cochran regarding Miss Martineau

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(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Miss Harriet Martineau (1802-1876), a famous English author and abolitionist, enjoyed celebrity treatment when she arrived in the Connecticut River Valley in the mid-1830s. She had come to the United States in 1834 to write a book about the young nation and published "Society in America" in 1837. In this letter, Mary Cochran of Northampton, Massachusetts, reports to her mother the comings and goings of Miss Martineau. Cochran describes much anticipation as Miss Martineau's travel plans to Springfield change and respected citizens jockey to spend time with her. After a trip to the top of Mount Holyoke, Cochran finally is able to "drink in her (Martineau's) conversation" and reports that "(y)ou could not hear her speak ten words without being impressed with the majesty of her mind." Cochran reports that she eventually mustered up enough courage to take up Martineau's "speaking tube" (Martineau was slowing going deaf), and hold a conversation with her about her travels.


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