Maria Mitchell In Her Own Words

Maria in her chair

April 21 {1858}. This morning was given to the Pitti Palace and its gallery. I had tho’t the Uffizi must be the finer when I visited it yesterday, but the Pitti is really elegant in its apartments and worthy to be a Ducal residence . . . .

On her European trip, Maria saw many of the sites that were “required” visits for a grand tour of Europe in the nineteenth century, akin to a college education. I often wonder what she would have thought about the works of famous artists she would have seen at the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace. I am also curious as to what ran through her mind when she compared the decadent living quarters of the ruling families of Europe to those of the Quaker built and Quaker-influenced homes of tiny Nantucket. It must have been overwhelming, especially in comparison to her Quaker upbringing and relatively simple life, but also even when comparing the age of these sites to the relatively “new” nation of the United States of America.