Whittier Cameo        
Elizabeth Whittier Pickard        
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Elizabeth Whittier Pickard (Niece)

I was known in the family as "Lizzie." I came to live with my uncle Greenleaf shortly after my Aunt Elizabeth died. I moved in to help look after him and acted as a hostess for him. My uncle was very kind and generous to me. He sent me to school at the Ipswich Seminary when he received royalties from Snowbound.

Snowbound was his most famous poem. The poem was about home and hearth, family and security, and it seemed to connect with so many people. I think it was written from his personal grief now that his mary_0698-denoise-clear_cp1_fx1_med.jpg mother, sister, and aunt had died, leaving him lonely in his Amesbury house. It was written at the end of the Civil War, when the whole nation was feeling loss too, and longing for times past. The success of the poem catapulted him to financial security; he received $10,000 in royalties for the first printing. From this fame almost all of his writings went on to be best sellers.

When I finished school I went to Richmond, VA to teach in a school for Negroes and taught at other places in the south. Coming north during the cooler summers, I would accompany my uncle to one of his favorite places - the Isles of Shoals - and these were always pleasant visits.

I was married in my uncle's Amesbury home when I was 30 years old. As his health deteriorated, I helped him pack up when he decided to move to Oak Knoll. There he would have the company of his three women cousins Caroline, Abby, and Mary, and Abby's daughter, Phoebe Woodman.

In 1893, a year after my Uncle's death, I returned all the birthplace furniture when I found that the homestead was going to become a museum. My husband, Samuel T. Pickard, was my uncle's first official biographer.

I was also instrumental in the establishment of the Whittier Home Association. At the turn of the 19th century, a movement had begun nationally to form a Federation of Women's Clubs "to broaden the thoughts and aims of women, to give them an intelligent interest not only in literature, art and music, but in education and philanthropy and in all the affairs of the day in town and country." In keeping with these ideals, twenty-two women met in 1898 to organize a society to honor the memory of my uncle. I leased this group the home for five years for the sum of $100/year, on the condition that they would honor him and his writings, and care for the artifacts, as well as his personal papers. The organization is still in existence today, successfully running the Whittier Home.

Note. Whittier became known as one of the "fireside poets." He kept company with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell, and William Cullen Bryant. These poets wrote for the common man, on topics of American legends and themes, home life and contemporary politics. The rhyme and cadence of these poems made them easy to recite and memorize while in the classroom or sitting around the fireside.

In his long life, the very last woman he turned to was a Quaker acquaintance, Sarah Ann Gove, who offered him a place to rest.