1841: Emily Vanderveer to Miss Julia A. W. Morgan

This letter was written by Emily Vanderveer (1818-1903), the daughter of Cornelius Vanderveer (1794-1843) and Maria Helena Phillips (1794-1834). Emily married David Parsons Corey (1802-1869) in May 1844 in Amsterdam, Montgomery County, New York. The letter isn’t dated but we know it was prior to Emily’s marriage in 1844, and prior to her father’s death in 1843. I believe it was written in 1841 or 1842.

Image 58The identity of the recipient of this letter hasn’t been conformed. She may have been a daughter of Rev. Gilbert Morgan. He was the second chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh, then called the Western University of Pennsylvania, serving only one year from 1835 to 1836. Morgan was appointed by the University Board of Trustees in 1835 following recommendations from his associates at Union College. His short tenure as President was considered mostly unsuccessful and he resigned only a year later. In 1842, we see that he was the Principal of the Amsterdam Female Seminary. Just prior to that, he was affiliated with the Presbytery in Albany. In 1853, Morgan established the Harmony Female College in North Carolina.

Stampless Letter

Stampless Letter

Addressed to Miss Julia A. W. Morgan, 135 Washington Street, Albany, New York
Favored by A. H. Phillips, Esqr.

[New York City, New York]

Dearest Julia “My Friend,”

I am as you may perceive in the great city of Gotham. I arrived here safe after having had a most delightful passage down the magnificent Hudson. I found my company much more agreeable and comfortable that I had anticipated from appearances. Gents condescending, I found the aristocratic Lady the mistress of Hats. Travelling seemed to inspire her with generous feeling. It made her quite confidential. She gave me her family history. She said she had two sons and an only daughter (If I should make some slight mistakes as to the number, blame my want of benevolence and philanthropy, not me). Well her daughter was educated in part at several schools, the last being the Academy at which place she did not graduate and consequently her education is only in part at last. However, she is “pursuing” French under the most approved master. I doubt not she will succeed admirably if she has half the talent of her fat nonentity of a mother who does not exist but just stays. A steamboat is just the place to see who is well bred and those who are start ups. I found at least one of the latter class, don’t you think I did?

How goes it in Albany? I hope brother McMicken is well. Please give him my “specks” and a little bit of love — just enough to keep the specks right. I dare not give him more if I could. As to that tall “tea pot” body, “milk pot lower extremity” and “sugar bowl” shoulders, you may give him as much of my regards as you may deem proper and expedient under “existing circumstances.” I feel much indebted to all of the gentlemen for their politeness and kindness — to brother John most specially. tender him my warmest thanks. The last mentioned gentleman I do admire, esteem, &c. If comparisons were not odious, I might possibly venture to say something complimentary to the other friend but I will desist rather than send you  an odious scrawl.

I had a charming shower bath the morning of my arrival. It was quite cooling and I need not add refreshing. I thought more than once of my despised cloak and muff.

Miss Ross and the Misses Auchincloss are now in the city. I shall return with them to L. tomorrow or Monday. I regret not having made my calculations for a longer stay at the North. I would have had so many good opportunities of returning with company. Aunt Cochran is now at Amsterdam this afternoon. Albert goes up. He is pleased with the idea of calling to deliver a note &c.

Julia, write very soon and tell me all the news. Remember me to the Miss Wolbert. I cannot spell their name. You know “wood and washing dishes.” Apologize to the Miss Meads and Martha for not calling. Tell them I should have been very happy to have called had it been possible. Don’t forget Texas.

Uncle William had a letter from Professor Yates ¹ who has spent the winter in Texas. He gives a very flattering account of the country and all he says in regard to Uncle A.H. Phillips corroborates the favorable accounts that have reached us before. What does brother McMicken think of our expedition to Texas? I wonder if he could not be prevailed upon to accompany us there. Also “cousin Nathan.” Please give them my compliments and say that I have a little anxiety to ascertain their views on the subject of Texas emigration. They are welcome to go in almost any capacity. Stewarts, agents, friends, quakers if they please. Let them decide upon the matter at their earliest convenience for I have commenced making my arrangements. Go ye and do likewise. Anna sends her best love to you and Nancy. Let me know all that is going on and you shall know everything pertaining to my affairs.

Julia, don’t open your eyes too far, but I tell you I am going to fall in love “over head and ears” the first good opportunity. I do not know what tempted me to write these last lines. It must be ominous. I never feel more like falling in love than when I have no occasion for such feelings and as long as I write in this strain, there are no very dangerous symptoms. Pardon me for trespassing on your time with such nonsense. Write all sorts of stuff for I am half inclined to be dismal since I have seen Father.

Your ever sincere, — Emily Vanderveer

My dear Miss Morgan. Allow me to introduce you to the bearer A. H. Phillips, Esqr. and be assured that no kindness extended towards him will be thrown away on an unworthy object for he is deserving of much attention for my sake!!!! A hem! ha! ha!


¹ This may have been Professor John Austin Yates (1801-1849) who graduated from Union College in 1821 and then taught oriental literature at that institution until his death in 1849. Union College was in Schenectady, New York — not far from Amsterdam.


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