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Orra White grew up in Amherst, Massachusetts. At age 17 she became head mistress and assistant to Edward Hitchcock at Deerfield Academy. She served from 1813 until 1818 and taught astronomy, painting, drawing, and map making. She and Edward Hitchcock were married in 1821. Remembered as one of the first woman
book artists, she had created a notebook of 64 pages of watercolor pictures of plants while she was still at Deerfield. For more than 20 years, she made pictures for Hitchcock's lectures and his books. The Hitchcock years at Deerfield Academy proved to be an unusually creative time for learning.