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Letter, 23 Sept. 1860 (Karlsruhe, Germany) from
   James Reeve Stuart to Mary Barnwell Stuart
   (Port Royal, S.C.)

| Manuscripts Gifts 2006 | Front Page 2006 | Previous Issues | Friends of the Library |

NOTE: Full-text transcription of letter available

Letter, 23 September 1860, of James Reeve Stuart is written from Karlsruhe, Germany, and addressed to his mother, Mary Barnwell Stuart, who lived in Port Royal, South Carolina. The letter discusses James’ travels through Germany and the sights he had recently seen while studying at the Royal Academy of Art in Munich and the Karlsruhe Art School.

The Stuart family, as evidenced in the letter’s frequent references to “Rob” Barnwell, had close ties to Senator Robert Woodward Barnwell’s kin (the “Rob” of the letter being Robert Hayne Barnwell, the Senator’s son). Other family members are mentioned briefly—George Cuthbert, John Elliott, and William Elliott—and most of James Stuart’s siblings are named.

James calls Karlsruhe “the place where I commenced to be a German,” but since his traveling partner Rob Barnwell left Germany to return home, Karlsruhe seems to have lost some of its luster for James: “The last I saw of [Rob] he was standing on the platform of the station at Leipsig which he was to leave at seven. I left at five. To prevent my feeling lonely I determined to do a light sight seeing by myself....”

The rest of the letter describes some of the places he visited to stave off his solitude: Wartburg in Eisenach, where “Luther was shut up for ten months and commenced the translation of the Bible.” There James saw “the spot on the wall where the inkstand struck when [Luther] threw it at Satan one night.”

Also chronicled are trips to Dresden, Rönigstein castle, Berlin, Charlottenburg, and finally to Leipzig, about which he remarked to his mother, “The great fair was in progress in Leipsig and the City crammed. There are people from all quarters of the globe there and generally of a rather disreputable appearance, especially the Jews, the meanest dirtiest greasiest set you can imagine, wearing cylinder hats and black tight fitting coats to the ankles.” This anti-Semitic attitude is fascinating historically, considering events that would occur in Germany nearly eighty years after James’ commencing “to be a German.”

| Manuscripts Gifts 2006 | Previous Issues | Endowments | Friends of the Library |

 

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