This collection contains incoming correspondence of Danske Dandridge. The majority of correspondents are members of her family, including her husband, children, parents, siblings, and cousins. Other correspondents include New York Independent editor William Hayes Ward, H.C. Hopkins, the Reverend Washington Gladden, and the publisher G.P. Putnam's Sons. Subjects include Dandridge's literary career, personal and social news, and legal matters, among other topics. Part of the correspondence relates to the Bedinger and Lawrence-Townley families. Please see "historical note" for further information concerning Danske Dandridge.
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Caroline "Danske" (Bedinger) Dandridge (19 November 1854-3 June 1914) was a poet, horticulturalist, garden writer, and amateur historian. Dandridge was born in Copenhagen, Denmark to Henry Bedinger III, the United States' first ambassador to Denmark, and Caroline Lawrence Bedinger. "Danske", her lifelong nickname, means "little Dane". Her family returned to the United States in 1857, eventually settling in Shepherdstown, (West) Virginia. In 1859, Dandridge's mother purchased a Shepherdstown estate named "Poplar Grove, which Dandridge would later inherit and re-name "Rose Brake".
Dandridge showed a talent and passion for writing from an early age, crafting poetry and keeping journals. Despite her conviction that "it is my destiny to write", after finishing formal schooling and her failure to secure a writing job, Dandridge put her potential career aside, returning to West Virginia in 1873. In 1877, she married Stephen Adam Dandridge; the pair had three children, Violet, Adam Stephen, and Dorothea Spotswood.
Dandridge began to write poetry again in 1883 and had her first poem published in Godey's Lady's Book in 1885. Her poetry continued to be published in magazines and was also collected into books. During this period, she also become interested in botany and the local flora of West Virginia. She planted and cared for an extensive garden of flowers, shrubs, and trees at Rose Brake. Eventually, this interest lead to Dandridge writing articles for horticultural magazines in the 1890s. Between 1904 and her death in 1914, Dandridge turned to writing works of history on local and colonial topics.
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