Let them eat cake

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Let them eat cake

2008-09-12 10:45
A different monarch, a different century, but this letter to Anne Sophia Penn Chew (1805-1892) includes not only an interesting reference to a remarkable cake, but fragments of the cake itself! Anna Maria Rush wrote to Anne on March 13, 1840, including crumbs from Queen Victoria of England's wedding cake. Rush had received some crumbs from another woman, Mrs. Stevenson, who attended the February 10 wedding, and sent on to Anne a few of them, "as a curiosity at least."

(click on images to enlarge them)

The crumbs are encapsulated to prevent them from harming the letters they are filed amongst. The envelope that the encapsulated crumbs are stored in dates from earlier processing of parts of the collection, in the early 1980s.

I am beginning to sort Anne's correspondence this week and my first impression of this Chew is that she was a strong and independently-minded woman. I wonder if her friend Anna's opening comment in this letter provides a clue to a less-than-orthodox range of womanly interests: "I do not know that you will value any thing so trifling as Queen Victoria's wedding cake..."

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The Mrs. Stevenson mentioned in this letter could be my great grandmother, Mary Slade Stevenson. Her father, Edward Walker Slade, was called back to England to bake Queen Victoria's wedding cake. My mother told me that on the anniversary of the wedding, Mary would bring out a piece of the cake and give each of the grandchldren a CRUMB!

Esther C Norbut, ecnorbut@sbcglobal.net

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