Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Gay History: Evangeline Marrs Whipple

Evangeline Marrs Simpson Whipple (1857 - 1930) was an American philanthropist and author, who was known for her humanitarian activities as a member of the American Red Cross in Europe during the First World War. When she died in 1930, she was buried at her request in Italy next to the love of her life, a woman with whom she had a relationship that spanned nearly 30 years. That woman, Rose Cleveland, was the sister of President Grover Cleveland, and had served as her brother's White House hostess (First Lady of the United States) from 1885 to 1886 because he was not married when he took office.

The relationship between the women continued until Evangeline met Bishop Henry Benjamin Whipple in Florida while she was on vacation. Henry Whipple was the first bishop of Minnesota, known for advocating for Native American rights. Henry died in 1901. In his honor, Evangeline commissioned several memorials to him, including the bell tower for the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour. She stayed in Minnesota following his death and continued supporting the community. In 1902, she traveled to Italy with Rose Cleveland. They corresponded when apart.

The letters, preserved by the caretaker at Evangeline's Minnesota home, are collected in a new book, "Precious and Adored: The Love Letters of Rose Cleveland and Evangeline Simpson Whipple," and make clear that they were more than just friends.

( ~ Wikipedia)

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