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Introduction  Let love attend my letter over the sea to my darling. Carrie Prudence Winter, August 29, 1890 When an old house in Berkeley, California, passed from one generation to the next, it needed a new roof. That construction project revealed five old trunks in the attic that had been forgotten for more than a century. Four of the trunks contained valuable scientific research records, correspondence , photograph albums, old newspaper clippings, and more. The late professor who had owned the home had been an internationally known scientist, so University of California archivists sought the collection for its value to the history of science. When the last trunk was opened, it contained an unexpected gift, an extraordinary surprise. The surprise was a young woman’s handwritten love letters to her fiancé. These letters were postmarked between 1890 and 1893, when twenty-threeyear -old Carrie Prudence Winter was a missionary teacher at Kawaiaha‘o Female Seminary in Honolulu. Carrie’s letters to her beloved “Charlie” give the reader a private view into a nineteenth-century courtship. Carrie described teaching and living with Hawaiian girls, the often strict discipline she and her colleagues imposed, and her struggles with pedagogy, classroom management, and fellow teachers. She earnestly described her encounters with royalty as well as ordinary citizens in the Islands. She discussed profound health issues, such as leprosy, smallpox, and malaria, which irrevocably affected the lives of her students. She took a lively interest in writing about the turbulent politics that would ultimately lead to the revolution and to the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands by the United States. Carrie Prudence Winter was born August 24, 1866, in South Coventry, Connecticut, one of six children of a Congregational minister, Alpheus Winter (1839–1903), and his wife, Flora Damaris Thompson Winter (1835–1918). Carrie’s siblings were Alpheus IV, Mahlon Alpheus, Julia Flora, Eugene, and Horace. She was raised with strict Congregational principles that were old fashioned even at the time. For instance, her father sought to introduce her to mortality and consequently to encourage the development of her Christian faith when he urged her, as a very young child, to prepare a will. XXI Carrie’s father was a staunch New Englander who trained at Rock River Seminary in Mount Morris, Illinois, and led churches in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Even though Reverend Winter rose in prominence from pulpit to pulpit, his salary rarely increased, and Mrs. Winter supplemented the family income by growing and selling flowers. Reverend Winter served on the Connecticut State Temperance Union while his children were growing up but resigned in order to pursue some business opportunities that never proved as successful as promised. By all accounts, the Winter family was blessed with strong family ties and even stronger faith, but little ready money. Carrie was an exceptional student at Hartford Public High School, and one of her father’s parishioners gifted her with a scholarship to Oberlin College, a rare educational opportunity for a woman in the nineteenth century. A hotbed of abolitionism, this Ohio college accepted Christian students of all races and was the first college to accept black women students. Carrie was away from home for the first time, but in this progressive environment, she flourished both academically and socially, with a particular interest in philosophy and in classmate, Charlie. Charles Atwood Kofoid was born October 11, 1865, in Granville, Illinois, to Nelson Kofoid (1838–1908), a Danish-born carpenter and house builder, and Janette Blake (1844–1865), who died in childbirth. Charlie’s father married a XXII  AN AMERICAN GIRL (L) Carrie P. Winter, Hartford, c1883. Tintype. (R) Carrie P. Winter, 1890. Portrait by Theo Endean, Cleveland second time to Elizabeth Jane Ellis, and they had three additional surviving children. Charles entered Oberlin to study theology and then natural history and took on the duties of tutor. It was during those tutoring sessions that he fell in love with Carrie. In 1889, they became engaged, and both graduated in 1890 with bachelor’s degrees. After their college commencement , the engaged couple faced the problem of setting the wedding date. Charlie had a strong desire to further his education and obtain an advanced degree in science, an expensive and time-intensive endeavor . Scholarships, assistantships, and money made on the side would support him as a doctoral student at Harvard, but it wouldn’t support a family. Carrie agreed with his practical decision to delay the wedding. With a lengthy four-year engagement ahead of her, she...


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