A richer reflection of life in early 19th-century Maryland and the Washington environs cannot be found... These superb letters are enhanced by able editing, both in footnotes and excellent essays at the beginning and end.
In 1803 Rosalie [Calvert] began a remarkable correspondence home to her family that continued until her death in 1821. Those extraordinary letters in French, discovered in the family archives in Belgium in the 1970's, triggered the ongoing restoration of the rundown [Riversdale] mansion and in an equally remarkable chronological narrative of the translated letters resulting in a Johns Hopkins University Press book.
Not only can you visit Rosalie's home, you can visit it with Rosalie's words in your head. This is important because, while the structure is in fine shape, the interiors with one notable exception are sparsely furnished on the first floor and unfurnished upstairs. The walls largely have yet to be painted or papered appropriately, and the floors are bare.
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