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STOP PRESS. WE HAVE NOW FOUND THE LOST TOMB OF LOUISA ADAMS. IT WAS IN PIECES AND THE INSCRIPTION IDENTIFYING IT HIDDEN. WE CAN NOW REASSEMBLE IT AND PLACE IT IN ITS ORIGINAL POSITION INDICATED BY A NOTES AND QUERIES ARTICLE PUBLISHED A HUNDRED YEARS AGO, IF WE CAN FIND THE FUNDS TO CARRY OUT THIS WORK.

LOUISA CATHERINE ADAMS KUHN

FLORENCE AND CHAOS, 1859-1860

ROBERT J. ROBERTSON
 

LOUISA CATHERINE (ADAMS) KUHN/ AMERICA/ Kühn/ Caterina Luisa/ / America/ Bagni di Lucca/ / / / 1117/ Catherine Louise Kuhn, l'Amerique/ [Henry Adams' sister (whose tombstone has just been found in the 'English' Cemetery in Florence). Her death from tetanus in Bagni di Lucca is described in the 'Chaos' chapter of the autobiography, The Education of Henry Adams.]
 

Proposed Subject: The Florentine letters of Louise Catherine Adams Kuhn (1831-1870), granddaughter of John Quincy Adams, daughter of Charles Francis Adams and Abigail Brooks Adams, sister of Henry Adams, and wife of Charles Kuhn of Philadelphia.

efore the American Civil War, Louisa and her husband Charles Kuhn traveled extensively in Europe, sojourning during 1859-1860 in Florence, Italy. Louisa loved Italy; she was 'hotly Italian', said her brother Henry. In a home letter, she referred to 'lovely Italy - the land of poetry & art & beauty'.

Louisa and Charles Kuhn were aristocratic Victorians; She was a Brahmin, a bona fide member of the New England elite. In Florence they leased a grand apartment in the Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore, employed a staff of servants, and went about constantly in an upper class society, a group composed of Americans as well as English, Italians, French, Germans, Greeks and Russians. Nathaniel and Anne Frothingham, Annie Jessie Smight, Count Alessandri, Count Bonci, Baron Lonenburg, and Countess Bobrinsky were among their friends. Louisa and Charles were eager Anglo-Florentines: they promenaded in the Cascine park, attended the opera, and danced all night at parties during Carneval. They both studied Italian. He lunched at the Jockey Club and read newspapers at the Gabinetto Vieusseux library. She circulated in Florentine society, paying and receiving social calls, and also hosting lunches and dinners.

In addition to living the 'gay' life in Florence, Louisa wrote twenty-six letters to her parents in America, letters that demonstrated remarkable powers of observation and expression; some of her prose was lyrical, almost poetical. She reported numerous details of her social and domestic lives, on several occasions demonstrating she was subject completely to the whim and will of her husband, She commented intelligently on political affairs, both American and Italian. In some letters she praised her father's achievements as a freshman Congressman, and in others, she reported the progress of Tuscany and Florence in the Risorgimento, the ongoing movement for the unification of Italy. Proclaiming herself a 'liberal', Louisa favoured the ouster of the Austrian Duke Leopold II and unification of Tuscany with Piedmont under King Victor Emanuel II. On 31 March 1860, she gleefully reported the results of a Tuscan plebiscite: 'we are annexed to Piedmont'. A few weeks later, she witnessed the triumphant arrival of Victor Emanuel II and his prime minister, Count Cavour. The king's parade through the streets of Florence was 'a splendid pageant', Louisa wrote, 'so brilliant in color & movement & sunshine, and music that it seemed like a dream'.

During the American Civil War, Louisa and her husband Charles resided in the United States but later they returned to Italy. In 1870 they lived again in Florence and summered in nearby Bagni di Lucca. While residing at the Hotel d'Amerique in Bagni di Lucca, Louisa suffered minor foot injuries in a carriage accident, injuries that caused a tetanus infection and resulted in an agonizing death on the 13th of July. Louisa was buried in Florence in the 'English' Cemetery, the final resting place of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Theodore Parker and other Anglo-Florentines. 


 

© Robert J. Robertson

See also Robert J. Robertson, "Louisa Catherine Adams Kuhn, Florentine Adventures," The Massachusetts Historical Review, Volume II, 2009, 119-151.


THE LOST, NOW FOUND, TOMB:

§1117/ LOUISA CATHERINE (ADAMS) KUHN/ AMERICA/ Marmista  ignoto. Sec. XIX, post 1/1832. Ambito toscano. Due basi ottagonali, ora spostati. Possibile intervento di ripristino e pulitura. [M: A: 115; circum: 97; M: A: 86; L: 70; P: 70; M base: A: 31; L: 90; P: 90.] Iscrizione sepolcrale in inglese incisa in lettere capitali e numeri arabi:

Prof. Robert J. Roberston ha chiesto un preventive appena possibile per re-fare questa tomba, ora in pezzi fuori dell’area delle tombe (prova di un furto), ma prima accanto di quello di Christina Temple-Bowdoin/Professor Robert J. Robertson has requested an estimate as soon as possible to restore this tomb, now disassembled in pieces away from its original position, but formerly beside that of Christina Temple-Bowdoin, according to the Notes and Queries essay by Liutenant Colonel G.S. Parry of Eastbourne, published in 1908-1911.


465. Mary Isabella Page, d. of Thos. Jefferson Page, Esq., b. at Washington, U.S., 6 Jan., 1849 ; ob. 20 Ap., 1871. 466. Laura Temple Bowdoin, Princess of Pandolfina, ob. at Villa Belmonte, Acqua Santa, near Palermo, 6 Feb., 1877. 467. Christine Temple-Bowdoin, ob. at Villa Cristina, near Florence, 14 May, 1872. 468. Louisa Catherine Kuhn, ob. at the Baths of Lucca, 13 July, 1870.

 

                                 

Posizione originale                     Base ora al cancello norte                            Drum ora al muro             Tomba simile di Louisa King AB10
Original position                         Base of tomb at north gate                          Drum against wall             Similar tomb of American Louisa King 

FLORIN WEBSITE © JULIA BOLTON HOLLOWAYAUREO ANELLO ASSOCIAZIONE, 1997-2017: MEDIEVAL: BRUNETTO LATINO, DANTE ALIGHIERI, SWEET NEW STYLE: BRUNETTO LATINO, DANTE ALIGHIERI, & GEOFFREY CHAUCER || VICTORIAN: WHITE SILENCE: FLORENCE'S 'ENGLISH' CEMETERY || ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING || WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR || FRANCES TROLLOPE || || HIRAM POWERS || ABOLITION OF SLAVERY || FLORENCE IN SEPIA  || CITY AND BOOK CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII || MEDIATHECA 'FIORETTA MAZZEI' || EDITRICE AUREO ANELLO CATALOGUE || FLORIN WEBSITE || UMILTA WEBSITE || RINGOFGOLD WEBSITE || LINGUE/LANGUAGES: ITALIANO, ENGLISH || VITA
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