Tuthill, Louisa (Caroline) Huggins

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TUTHILL, Louisa (Caroline) Huggins

Born 6 July 1799, New Haven, Connecticut; died 1 June 1879, Princeton, New Jersey

Wrote under: Mrs. Louisa C(aroline) Tuthill, Louisa Tuthill

Daughter of Ebenezer and Mary Dickerman Huggins; married

Cornelius Tuthill, 1817 (died 1825); children: four

Educated in seminaries for young ladies in New Haven and Litchfield, Connecticut, Louisa Caroline Huggins Tuthill apparently expected to settle down into an unexceptional life as a lawyer's wife, but a religious experience caused her husband to give up the law for the ministry and an attack of typhoid fever forced him to give up the ministry for a brief attempt at publishing a literary magazine. Tuthill encouraged his wife to write. After his death in 1825, she began to write steadily and seriously in order to support herself and her four children.

Tuthill's guidebook for young girls leaving school, The Young Lady's Home (1839) is a combination of vignette, sermon, and sentiment typical of her work. It is dedicated "to my young friends, who, in completing school education, have arrived at an important era in life, hoping it may aid you in estimating the value of knowledge already acquired, in the momentous task of self-education, and the performance of the duties at home." Throughout, the emphasis is on the qualities and accomplishments that make one "a good, useful American woman!" In the modest fictional frame of the book, three girls leave school together. Clara, who feels "every inch of the United States is home to me," returns to her mother to learn domestic economy and later marries a kind and distinguished U.S. senator. Isabel, who longs for the lights of New York, is gradually brought to an understanding of the dangers of pride and, with the guidance of Clara and her husband, exercises her Christian usefulness by rescuing from poverty the third friend, Geraldine, who, searching for the excitement of Europe, has married "a dissipated gambler."

Tuthill counsels young women to be silent in company and to respect their elders, but she also insists on good nutrition, plentiful exercise, and fresh air. She advocates a much broader curriculum than was generally recommended for female education at the time: systematic and continuous study of history, literature, natural science, composition, classical and modern languages, and the fine arts—especially architecture. Tuthill wrote the first history of architecture published in the U.S. (1848).

Among the most successful of her guidebooks for behavior were I Will Be a Lady: A Book for Girls (1845) and I Will Be a Gentleman: A Book for Boys (1846). A popular author, whose works often ran to many editions and were reprinted in England, Tuthill wrote with a clear intention to instruct, to edify, and to raise the moral tone of the women and children who read her books.

Other Works:

James Somers: The Pilgrim's Son (1827). Love of Admiration (1828). Mary's Visit to Boston (1829). Ancient Architecture (1830). Calisthenics (1831). The Young Lady's Reader (edited by Tuthill, 1839). The Belle, The Blue, and the Bigot (1844). Onward! Right Onward! (1844). Any Thing for Sport (1846). When Are We Happiest (1846). My Wife (1846). Hurrah for New England (1847). The Mirror of Life (edited by Tuthill, 1847). My Little Geography (edited by Tuthill, 1847). The Boarding-School Girl (1848). The Boy of Spirit (1848). History of Architecture from the Earliest Times (1848). Goals and Guerdons (1848). The Nursery Book (1849). The Merchant (1850). A Strike for Freedom (1850). Braggdocio: A Book for Boys and Girls (1851). Queer Bonnets (1852). Tip-top (1853). Joy and Care (1855). Beautiful Bertha (1855). Reality (1856). Edith, the Backwoods Girl (1859). Caroline Perthes, the Christian Wife (edited by Tuthill, 1860). I Will Be a Soldier (1862). Romantic Belinda (1864). Larry Lockwell; or, I Will Be a Sailor (1864). True Manliness (1867). The Young Lady at Home and in Society (1869). Get Money (1871).


Reference works:

Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography (1889). NAW (1971).