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Clover Adams : a gilded and heartbreaking life /
Natalie Dykstra.
imprint
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.
description
xvii, 318 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0618873856 (hbk), 9780618873852 (hbk)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.
isbn
0618873856 (hbk)
9780618873852 (hbk)
abstract
Clover, an inquisitive, loving, fiercely intelligent Boston Brahmin, married at 28 the older and soon-to-be-eminent historian Henry Adams. She thrived in her role as an intimate to political insiders in Gilded Age Washington, where she was valued for her wit and taste by such artistic luminaries as Henry James and H. H. Richardson. Clover so clearly possessed, as one friend wrote, "all she wanted, all this world could give." And yet there is a mystery: why did Clover, having embarked on an exhilarating self-taught course of photography in the spring of 1883, end her life less than three years later by drinking from a vial of a chemical she used in developing her own photographs? The answer is revealed through Natalie Dykstra's original discoveries regarding the thirteen-year Adams marriage. Dykstra illuminates Clover's enduring stature as a woman betrayed as she untangles the complex truth of her shining and impossible marriage.--From publisher description.
catalogue key
8303825
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [238]-299) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
The hidden story of one of the most fascinating women of the Gilded Age Clover Adams, a fiercely intelligent Boston Brahmin, married at twenty-eight the soon-to-be-eminent American historian Henry Adams. She thrived in her role as an intimate of power brokers in Gilded Age Washington, where she was admired for her wit and taste by such luminaries as Henry James, H. H. Richardson, and General William Tecumseh Sherman. Clover so clearly possessed, as one friend wrote, "all she wanted, all this world could give." Yet at the center of her story is a haunting mystery. Why did Clover, having begun in the spring of 1883 to capture her world vividly through photography, end her life less than three years later by drinking a chemical developer she used in the darkroom? The key to the mystery lies, as Natalie Dykstra's searching account makes clear, in Clover's photographs themselves. The aftermath of Clover's death is equally compelling. Dykstra probes Clover's enduring reputation as a woman betrayed. And, most movingly, she untangles the complex, poignant and universal truths of her shining and impossible marriage.
First Chapter

PROLOGUE

The autumn of 1883 was notably beautiful. Trees lining the streets of Washington, D.C., seemed to hold on to their leaves, and as the season deepened, roses and morning glories defied cooler temperatures, refusing to give up their last blooms. That fall Clover Adams celebrated her fortieth birthday. Her husband, Henry Adams, the historian and a grandson and great-grandson of American presidents, had just finished writing his second novel, Esther, and was again busy at his desk, poring over page proofs for the first section of what would become his nine-volume History of the United States During the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Most mornings, Clover rode her favorite horse, Daisy, through the streets of the capital to enjoy what she called the smiling landscape, returning home to 1607 H Street with flowers for bouquets. Their home faced south to Lafayette Square, with a view of the White House in the background. The Square, also called the President’s Park, offered a shady retreat from southern heat, a place to stroll through elliptical gardens on crisscrossing pathways lit by the yellowish glow of gaslight. At the park’s center a towering bronze of Andrew Jackson reared up on horseback. Senators, vice presidents, cabinet secretaries, and military leaders occupied the stately federal-style homes that ringed the park. 

Three years before, Clover and Henry had signed a lease for two hundred dollars for what they nicknamed the little white house, asking its owner, William Corcoran, the banker, art collector, and philanthropist, to pay for renovations, including a brand-new stable and a large detached kitchen in back. Clover considered it a solid old pile. With six bedrooms and a spacious library, the townhouse, built in 1845, was little only in comparison to the capital’s grander homes, but it suited Clover’s preference for what she called coziness in the New England sense. Hand-carved mantels crowned fireplaces decorated with ceramic tiles. Carpets purchased on the Adamses’ honeymoon to Egypt in 1872 covered the floors. An eclectic mix of Asian bronzes and porcelains were set on tables and shelves, and art, including Japanese hanging scrolls, sepia drawings by Rubens and Rembrandt, and watercolor landscapes by the English Romantics, adorned the walls. Elizabeth Bliss Bancroft, a near neighbor on H Street, once said to Clover, My dear, I dislike auctions very much, but I mean to go to yours after you die. 

Clover and Henry had married eleven years before, when she was twenty-eight and he was thirty-three, joining Hooper wealth to Adams political renown. In the close quarters of Boston Brahmin society, where they had both grown up, they were a likely — if not inevitable — match. If Clover could be an undemonstrative New Englander, as she herself admitted, her practicality and quick wit tempered Henry’s sometimes anxious nature. Together they enjoyed days of simultaneous fullness and leisure: a horseback ride in the morning, afternoons set aside for Henry’s writing, tea promptly at five o’clock for visitors, then dinner and an evening’s ride or a long stretch of reading by the fireplace. They collected art, traveled, gossiped about politics, supported various causes, and attended dinners and galas, which during the high time of the social season, from mid-October until Lent, took up many evenings. Of these years, Henry wrote, This part of life — from forty to fifty — would be all I want. 

A wide array of writers and artists, politicians and dignitaries, doctors and academics made their way to the Adamses’ salon for food and talk. Presidents and their families made appearances. Elizabeth Adams knew it was her Aunt Clover who brought people to their house and gave it its character and warmth. Henry James, who liked to stay with the Adamses for weeks at a time, at one point called Clover a perfect Voltaire in petticoats and thought her an ideal specimen of a particular type of American woman — practical, honest, quick-thinking, with a streak of independence and rebellion. She read widely — George Sand, William Dean Howells, Henry James — and she took up Greek, tackling Plato and the Greek playwrights in the original language, a passion that never faded. Though Clover sometimes battled dark moods, she was no neurasthenic who took to her bed. She used her acerbic wit to maintain perspective and had the will to manage things to suit her. For example, because she was athletic and petite, at five feet two inches in height, and her husband was just an inch or so taller, she had the legs of all chairs and sofas shortened to better fit their personal proportions. When offered a seat, much taller guests, including the six-foot-two Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., later a Supreme Court justice, would precipitously drop onto the low seating. 

Clover reserved Sunday mornings not for church but for writing a letter — what she called her hebdomadal drivel — to her widowed father. Sometimes she despaired at how her writing failed to express all she wanted to say: Life is such a jumble of impressions just now that I cannot unravel the skein in practical, quiet fashion. Oh, for the pen of Abigail Adams! But Clover need not have been intimidated by her husband’s great-grandmother. In fact, her father found it hard to comply with her request that he not read her letters aloud to family and friends — she told such interesting stories.

In early November of 1883, Clover reported that our days go by quietly and pleasantly. The lively social season had not yet begun, though it would commence in the next month, when Congress returned to session. With no children of her own to take care of, with Henry busy at his desk, and with time on her hands, she turned once more to what had absorbed much of her attention during the summer. The previous May, she had started something new: she had begun taking and printing her own photographs. She delighted in every step of the process, from selecting a subject, through exposure of the negative, to the final print. She had shown interest in photography before, by collecting Civil War stereographs and small commercial photographs of the sights she wanted to remember from her Grand Tour through Europe in 1866. She’d spent hours looking at fine art in museums around the world, amassing with Henry a large collection of watercolors and charcoals, Japanese prints and ceramics. But taking a photograph was different from looking or collecting. With her portable five-by-eight-inch mahogany camera, Clover started making art, and the process was changing her life. 

On a warm, windy November afternoon, just after lunch, she decided to photograph her beloved Skye terriers in the garden behind the townhouse. She draped a bed sheet over the back fence and positioned three chairs around a small dark table, complete with tea set — teapot, three cups and saucers, and a silver spoon. She placed each dog on a chair, somehow perching their front paws on the table and getting them to stay in position while she scrambled back to her camera. She took only one exposure with her new instantaneous lens, which didn’t require the extended exposure of the usual drop lens. She made a careful entry in her small lined notebook where she listed her photographic experiments, giving the details: Nov 5 — 1 p.m. — Boojum, Marquis & Possum at tea in garden of 1607 H. St. instantaneous, not drop shutter — stop no. 3. Later, with a different pen and in larger script, she commented on what she thought of the result: extremely good. 

That same afternoon, Clover loaded her black carriage with her camera, tripod, several lenses, a notebook, and a carefully packed set of glass negatives called dry-plate negatives because they’d been commercially prepared with light-sensitive chemicals. She rode out three miles to Arlington National Cemetery and stopped at a spot within view of General Robert E. Lee’s former home. The new German minister’s twenty-year-old wife, Madame von Eisendecker, whom Clover described as a young Pomeranian blonde, tagged along. She had just arrived in America and wanted Clover, who was gaining a reputation around town for her portraits, to take her photograph. The two women arrived at the cemetery in the midafternoon, and after setting up her equipment, Clover took two exposures of General Lee’s house on the hill. But by some crass idiocy, as she later explained, Clover ruined the pictures. After the first exposure, she’d forgotten to replace the glass negative at the back of camera with another unused negative, something she had done several times before. Such mistakes irritated her. She crossed out the entry in her notebook with a large X. But she didn’t give up. Late in the afternoon, she took a picture of a haunting landscape of soldiers’ graves set against a background of trees. The tombs of those who died in the Civil War, the cataclysm that had profoundly shaped her generation and her own sense of America, rise up like unruly memories among the fallen leaves. 

The next Sunday Clover wrote to her father that she’d spent two good morning hours to develop photographs today, promising to send him a print or two. The complicated process of making a photograph — exposing the image, developing the negative, sensitizing the printing-out paper, making and developing the print — required patience and concentration. Kodak’s promise (You take the picture and we do the rest) was still five years away. When it came time to put prints in her album, Clover paired the image of her dogs at tea with the one of the Arlington graves, putting each in the exact middle of the page, so when the album was fully opened, the two images would be seen at the same time. On the left page, she wrote the dogs’ names in the lower right-hand corner, beneath the photograph. She typically identified her photographs this way, with a quick description of who or what was pictured, the location, and sometimes the precise date or just the year. Beneath her image of the soldiers’ graves on the right side, she wrote a Latin sentence meaning You sleep in our memory. In the upper-right corner of the image itself, the only time she would write directly on a photograph, she included the last lines from the first act of Goethe’s Faust, the book she had been reading aloud with Henry in the evening: Ich gehe durch den Todesschlaf / Zu Gott ein als Soldat und brav (I go to God through the sleep of death, / A soldier — brave to his last breath). 

If Clover could be playful and mocking with her pictures, as with her dogs at tea photograph, a send-up of a social convention she occasionally found tedious, she could also evoke sadness or an intense feeling of loss. With her camera, she recorded her world for herself and for others to see, and in less than three years, her collection would grow to 113 photographs arranged in three red-leather albums.

But just when Clover discovered a powerful way to express herself, her life started to unravel. What had been a recurrent undertow of dark moods gathered force until she was engulfed by despair, pulled down, in the words of a friend, as if by some unseen tide. On a gloomy Sunday morning in early December of 1885, two and half years after she had first picked up her camera, Clover committed suicide by drinking from a vial of potassium cyanide, which she had used to develop her photographs. The means of her art had become the means of her death, a weapon she used against herself. The most dramatic moment of her life also became its most defining, cocooning her memory in the hush-hush of familial shame and confusion; when she was remembered at all, it was most often as the wife of a famous man or as a suicide. 

Henry commissioned the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens to create a bronze statue that would memorialize Clover. It was not intended to be a realistic image of her; instead Saint-Gaudens created a compelling and mysterious figure, draped and seated, which Henry informally called The Peace of God. It is the only marker for her grave in Washington’s Rock Creek Cemetery and Henry’s only public tribute. He almost never spoke of her and did not even mention her in his Pulitzer Prize–winning autobiography, The Education of Henry Adams. Eleanor Shattuck Whiteside, a friend from school days, tried to find words to express her confusion at her friend’s sudden death, writing to her own mother that Clover’s death has been a great shock and surprise to me. I can’t get it out of my head . . . How often we have spoken of Clover as having all she wanted, all this world could give . . . It seems to me a kind of lesson on what a little way intellect and cultivation and the best things of this life go when you come to the heart of life and death. And yet they are all good things and the desired. And that’s the puzzle. 

Clover’s life has remained half-illumined, a reflection of how others viewed her but not how she saw herself. But she left behind clues to what her friend called the puzzle of her life and of her death, clues in her many letters and, most eloquently, in her revelatory photographs, which invite the viewer to stand not on this side of her suicide, but on the other, the one she lived on. Her story begins in Transcendentalist Boston, with a privileged childhood shadowed by early losses. It moves on to the story of her iconic American marriage to a complicated, brilliant man who invented the study of American history, of their initial happiness, and of their inability, finally, to reach each other. Connection and disconnection, vitality and loss — these were deep currents in Clover’s life, which she attempted to transform, as artists do, into something beautiful and something to be shared. To be stirred by her photographs, to understand them in the context of her whole life, is to give her back some measure of her full humanity.

Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2012-01-01:
Marian "Clover" Hooper Adams, wife of historian Henry Adams, was a well--educated Boston socialite, often considered the inspiration for Henry James's Daisy Miller and The Portrait of a Lady. The Adams home was a center for intellectual social life in 1880s Washington, DC. Witty, clever, and engaging, Clover sometimes suffered from depression but eventually found creative refuge in photography. Shockingly, she committed suicide at age 42 by drinking a chemical used in developing her photographs. Speculation about the cause included a family history of depression/suicide; her father's recent death; her inability to have children; and her husband's alleged extramarital affair. Earlier biographies by Otto Friedrich (Clover) and Eugenia Kaledin (The Education of Mrs. Henry Adams) left unsolved the mystery surrounding her death. Dykstra (English, Hope Coll.) draws heavily on Clover's photo albums as well as newly found family papers to reveal a new story of her life and death. VERDICT This compelling narrative reads as well as any page-turning novel. Highly recommended for anyone interested in women's studies, 19th-century American history, or well-written biographies. [See Prepub Alert, 8/26/11.]-Leslie Lewis, Duquesne Univ. Lib., Pittsburgh (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Anticipating a fresh and absorbing read about someone not that well documented." Library Journal (pre-pub alert)"Natalie Dykstra writes of Clover Adams' striking photographs that they "defeat distances between people and make time stand still." Dykstra's biography achieves the same remarkable feat, bringing us close to an inspiring if ultimately tragic life, a celebrated marriage gone awry, a vanished world of privilege where the universally costly emotions of love, loss, and envy nevertheless hold sway. "I spare you the inside view of my heart," Clover Adams once wrote to her beloved father; Natalie Dykstra spares nothing in this eloquent and powerfully sympathetic portrait of the artist as a lady, a haunting hymn to women's ways of seeing." Megan Marshall, author of The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism "What happened to Clover Adams broke Henry Adams' heart. And, in Natalie Dykstra's splendid retelling, it will break yours. This is a moving book, deeply researched, fast-paced, and profoundly engaging. It is not easy to write a book the family for so long did not want written. Natalie Dykstra has succeeded in doing so, and she has returned Clover Adams to us as a living figure." Robert D. Richardson, author of Emerson: The Mind on Fire and William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism "Dykstra's contextually rich and psychologically discerning portrait of an underappreciated luminary is enlightening and affecting." Booklist
"Natalie Dykstra writes of Clover Adams' striking photographs that they 'defeat distances between people and make time stand still.' Dykstra's biography achieves the same remarkable feat, bringing us close to an inspiring if ultimately tragic life, a celebrated marriage gone awry, a vanished world of privilege where the universally costly emotions of love, loss, and envy nevertheless hold sway. 'I spare you the inside view of my heart,' Clover Adams once wrote to her beloved father; Natalie Dykstra spares nothing in this eloquent and powerfully sympathetic portrait of the artist as a lady, a haunting hymn to women's ways of seeing." Megan Marshall, author of The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism "What happened to Clover Adams broke Henry Adams' heart. And, in Natalie Dykstra's splendid retelling, it will break yours. This is a moving book, deeply researched, fast-paced, and profoundly engaging. It is not easy to write a book the family for so long did not want written. Natalie Dykstra has succeeded in doing so, and she has returned Clover Adams to us as a living figure." Robert D. Richardson, author of Emerson: The Mind on Fire and William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism "Dykstra's contextually rich and psychologically discerning portrait of an underappreciated luminary is enlightening and affecting." Booklist "This compelling narrative reads as well as any page-turning novel. Highly recommended for anyone interested in women's studies, 19th-century American history, or well-written biographies." -- Library Journal
"Natalie Dykstra writes of Clover Adams' striking photographs that they 'defeat distances between people and make time stand still.' Dykstra's biography achieves the same remarkable feat, bringing us close to an inspiring if ultimately tragic life, a celebrated marriage gone awry, a vanished world of privilege where the universally costly emotions of love, loss, and envy nevertheless hold sway. 'I spare you the inside view of my heart,' Clover Adams once wrote to her beloved father; Natalie Dykstra spares nothing in this eloquent and powerfully sympathetic portrait of the artist as a lady, a haunting hymn to women's ways of seeing." -Megan Marshall, author of The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism "What happened to Clover Adams broke Henry Adams' heart. And, in Natalie Dykstra's splendid retelling, it will break yours. This is a moving book, deeply researched, fast-paced, and profoundly engaging. It is not easy to write a book the family for so long did not want written. Natalie Dykstra has succeeded in doing so, and she has returned Clover Adams to us as a living figure." -Robert D. Richardson, author of Emerson: The Mind on Fire and William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism "Dykstra's contextually rich and psychologically discerning portrait of an underappreciated luminary is enlightening and affecting." - Booklist "This compelling narrative reads as well as any page-turning novel. Highly recommended for anyone interested in women's studies, 19th-century American history, or well-written biographies." - Library Journal "In a beautifully written and immensely satisfying new biography . . . what emerges is a clear and nuanced image of Clover that makes previous accounts seem as vague and shadowy as photographic negatives . . . Dykstra has done the legacy of Clover Hooper--and the modern reader--a great service." - Boston Globe "In this substantial biography, Dykstra sheds light on Clover's remarkable life and … manages to re-create a compelling story. With empathy and compassion, she gives voice to a woman nearly written out of existence." - Publishers Weekly "Reveals a complex woman grappling with betrayal, loss and her era's discomfort with female ambition. A startling, original portrait of a woman in a shining cage discovering the terrible strength of its bars." -- People Magazine (3 1/2 out of 4 stars)"Dykstra is the first to give Clover's artistry its full due." -- Wall Street Journal "Dykstra admires Clover's photographs, which she gracefully describes ... in them she finds the living Clover [who] was able to transform her feelings of loss and isolation into art." -- New York Times Book Review "Tautly conceived and concisely written . . . What Dykstra brings to a fuller understanding of Clover's plight is a fresh and generous response to her work as a photographer. . . . Perhaps, like Virginia Woolf's artist Lily Briscoe, Clover Adams had her vision after all." -- New York Review of Books
This item was reviewed in:
Booklist, January 2012
Library Journal, January 2012
Boston Globe, February 2012
Kirkus Reviews, February 2012
Wall Street Journal, February 2012
New York Times Book Review, March 2012
New York Times Full Text Review, March 2012
PW Annex Reviews, March 2012
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Back Cover Copy
"Natalie Dykstra writes of Clover Adams's striking photographs that they 'defeat distances between people and make time stand still.' Dykstra's biography achieves the same remarkable feat, bringing us close to an inspiring if ultimately tragic life, a celebrated marriage gone awry, a vanished world of privilege where the universally costly emotions of love, loss, and envy nevertheless hold sway. 'I spare you the inside view of my heart,' Clover Adams once wrote to her beloved father. Natalie Dykstra spares nothing in this eloquent and powerfully sympathetic portrait of the artist as a lady, a haunting hymn to women's ways of seeing." Megan Marshall, author of The Peabody Sisters "What happened to Clover Adams broke Henry Adams's heart. And in Natalie Dykstra's splendid retelling, it will break yours. This is a moving book, deeply researched, fast-paced, and profoundly engaging. It is not easy to write a book the family for so long did not want written. Dykstra has succeeded in doing so, and she has returned Clover Adams to us as a living figure." Robert D. Richardson, author of Henry Thoreau: A Life of the Mind , Emerson: The Mind on Fire , and William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism "At last, Clover Adams has the biography she deserves. Long glimpsed only as the wife of a famous man or the dazzling hostess to Gilded Age luminaries, she emerges here as a complex and fascinating woman a thinker, writer, and photographer, but also a deeply troubled soul. Natalie Dykstra follows her subject from the academic circles of mid-nineteenth-century Boston to the halls of power in Washington, D.C., giving us a broader portrait of late-nineteenth-century life. But she never loses her focus on Clover and the dark demons that haunted her throughout her life. This is a compelling read, so beautifully written and persuasively argued it's hard to put down." Martha A. Sandweiss, author of Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line
Description for Library
Dykstra sets out not only to write a biography of Clover Adams, wife of the redoubtable Henry and a luminary who dominated Gilded Age Washington, DC, but to solve the mystery surrounding her death. Adams, who had begun enthusiastically teaching herself photography, killed herself in 1885 by drinking potassium cyanide, a chemical used in developing film. Dykstra investigates the Adams's 13-year marriage to determine what went wrong. Highlighted at the Librarians Shout and Share at BEA; I'm anticipating a fresh and absorbing read about someone not that well documented.
Library of Congress Summary
Clover, an inquisitive, loving, fiercely intelligent Boston Brahmin, married at 28 the older and soon-to-be-eminent historian Henry Adams. She thrived in her role as an intimate to political insiders in Gilded Age Washington, where she was valued for her wit and taste by such artistic luminaries as Henry James and H. H. Richardson. Clover so clearly possessed, as one friend wrote, "all she wanted, all this world could give." And yet there is a mystery: why did Clover, having embarked on an exhilarating self-taught course of photography in the spring of 1883, end her life less than three years later by drinking from a vial of a chemical she used in developing her own photographs? The answer is revealed through Natalie Dykstra's original discoveries regarding the thirteen-year Adams marriage. Dykstra illuminates Clover's enduring stature as a woman betrayed as she untangles the complex truth of her shining and impossible marriage.--From publisher description.
Main Description
A legendary American womanbrilliant Washington hostess, wife of historian Henry Adamsand her iconic marriage revealed anew through original, dramatic discoveries.Clover, an inquisitive, loving, fiercely intelligent Boston Brahmin, married at twenty-eight the older and soon-to-be-eminent Henry Adams. She thrived in her role as an intimate to political insiders in Gilded Age Washington, where she was valued for her wit and taste by such artistic luminaries as Henry James and H. H. Richardson. Clover so clearly possessed, as one friend wrote, "all she wanted, all this world could give." And yet at the center of her story is a haunting mystery. Why did Clover, having embarked on an exhilarating self-taught course of photography in the spring of 1883, end her life less than three years later by drinking from a vial of potassium cyanide, a chemical she used in developing her own photographs? The answer is revealed through Natalie Dykstra's original and dramatic discoveries regarding the thirteen-year Adams marriage. The denouement of Clover's death is equally compelling. Dykstra illuminates Clover's enduring stature as a woman betrayed. And, most movingly, she untangles the complex and poignant truth of her shining and impossible marriage. http://www.nataliedykstra.com/
Main Description
A revelatory life of Clover Adams, casting a lens on her iconic marriage to historian Henry Adams and her famously fatal embrace of photography in her last months Clover, an inquisitive, loving, fiercely intelligent Boston Brahmin, married the older and already eminent Henry Adams at age 28. She embraced her role as intimate to political insiders in Gilded Age Washington, where she was valued for her wit and taste by such artistic luminaries as Henry James and John Singer Sargent. Clover so clearly possessed, as one friend wrote, "all she wanted, all this world could give." And yet at the center of her story is a haunting mystery. Why did Clover, having embarked on an exhilarating self-taught course of photography in the Spring of 1883, end her life less than three years later by drinking from a vial of potassium cyanide, a chemical she used in developing her own photographs? The answer is revealed through Natalie Dykstra's original and dramatic discoveries regarding the thirteen-year Adams marriage. The denouement of Clover's death, astonishingly, is equally compelling. Dykstra illuminates Clover's eventually iconic stature as woman betrayed. And, most movingly, she untangles the complex and poignant truth of Clover's shining and impossible marriage.
Main Description
A revelatory life of Clover Adams, casting a lens on her iconic marriage to the historian Henry Adams and her fatal embrace of photography in her final months Clover, an inquisitive, loving, fiercely intelligent Boston Brahmin, married at twenty-eight the older and soon-to- be-eminent Henry Adams. She thrived in her role as an intimate to political insiders in Gilded Age Washington, where she was valued for her wit and taste by such artistic luminaries as Henry James and H. H. Richardson. Clover so clearly possessed, as one friend wrote, "all she wanted, all this world could give." And yet at the center of her story is a haunting mystery. Why did Clover, having embarked on an exhilarating self-taught course of photography in the spring of 1883, end her life less than three years later by drinking from a vial of potassium cyanide, a chemical she used in developing her own photographs? The answer is revealed through Natalie Dykstra's original and dramatic discoveries regarding the thirteen-year Adams marriage. The denouement of Clover's death is equally compelling. Dykstra illuminates Clover's enduring stature as a woman betrayed. And, most movingly, she untangles the complex and poignant truth of her shining and impossible marriage.
Main Description
A revelatory life of Clover Adams, casting a lens on her iconic marriage to the historian Henry Adams and her fatal embrace of photography in her final months Clover, an inquisitive, loving, fiercely intelligent Boston Brahmin, married at twenty-eight the older and soon-to- be-eminent Henry Adams. She thrived in her role as an intimate to political insiders in Gilded Age Washington, where she was valued for her wit and taste by such artistic luminaries as Henry James and H. H. Richardson. Clover so clearly possessed, as one friend wrote, “all she wanted, all this world could give.” And yet at the center of her story is a haunting mystery. Why did Clover, having embarked on an exhilarating self-taught course of photography in the spring of 1883, end her life less than three years later by drinking from a vial of potassium cyanide, a chemical she used in developing her own photographs? The answer is revealed through Natalie Dykstra’s original and dramatic discoveries regarding the thirteen-year Adams marriage. The denouement of Clover’s death is equally compelling. Dykstra illuminates Clover’s enduring stature as a woman betrayed. And, most movingly, she untangles the complex and poignant truth of her shining and impossible marriage.
Main Description
Clover, an inquisitive, loving, fiercely intelligent Boston Brahmin, married at twenty-eight the older and soon-to-be-eminent Henry Adams. She thrived in her role as an intimate to political insiders in Gilded AgeWashington, where she was valued for her wit and taste by such artistic luminaries as Henry James and H. H. Richardson. Clover so clearly possessed, as one friend wrote, all she wanted, all this world could give. And yet at the center of her story is a haunting mystery. Why did Clover, having embarked on an exhilarating self-taught course of photography in the spring of 1883, end her life less than three years later by drinking from a vial of potassium cyanide, a chemical she used in developing her own photographs? The answer is revealed through Natalie Dykstra's original and dramatic discoveries regarding the thirteen-year Adams marriage.
Main Description
Clover, an inquisitive, loving, fiercely intelligent Boston Brahmin, married at twenty-eight the older and soon-to-be-eminent Henry Adams. She thrived in her role as an intimate to political insiders in Gilded AgeWashington, where she was valued for her wit and taste by such artistic luminaries as Henry James and H. H. Richardson. Clover so clearly possessed, as one friend wrote, Sall she wanted, all this world could give. And yet at the center of her story is a haunting mystery. Why did Clover, having embarked on an exhilarating self-taught course of photography in the spring of 1883, end her life less than three years later by drinking from a vial of potassium cyanide, a chemical she used in developing her own photographs? The answer is revealed through Natalie Dykstra "s original and dramatic discoveries regarding the thirteen-year Adams marriage.
Table of Contents
Prologuep. xi
A New World
"She Was Home to Me"p. 3
The Hub of the Universep. 16
Clover's Warp. 26
Six Yearsp. 40
Henry Adamsp. 48
Down the Nilep. 60
"Very Much Together"
A Place in the Worldp. 73
City of Conversationp. 90
Wandering Americansp. 95
Intimates Gonep. 108
"Recesses of Her Own Heart"p. 117
The Sixth Heartp. 127
Clover's Camera
Something Newp. 137
At Seap. 143
Estherp. 151
Iron Barsp. 160
A New Homep. 166
Portraitsp. 171
Mysteries of the Heart
Turning Awayp. 185
"Lost in the Woods"p. 192
A Dark Roomp. 199
"That Bright, Intrepid Spirit"p. 207
"Let Fate Have Its Way"p. 214
Epiloguep. 22 3
Family Treesp. 228
Acknowledgmentsp. 231
Sourcesp. 235
Notesp. 238
Indexp. 300
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