Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia

Union or Secession
  • "Wear Breckenridge next your heart"
  • "Wear Breckenridge next your heart"
  • "Wear Breckenridge next your heart"
Writing from a Bedford County school for girls during the autumn of 1860, eighteen-year-old George Ann admonished her friend Callie Anthony to support the Democratic presidential candidate, John C. Breckinridge, over the Constitutional Union candidate, John Bell.
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My Dear Callie

"Wear Breckenridge next your heart"

George Ann [surname unknown] to Callie Anthony, 1860, Anthony Family Papers, 1785–1952, Acc. 35647, 35648, Library of Virginia.

Callie Anthony says: My friend George Ann is so prone to poetical fancy. Her opening lines are an adaptation of lines from a poem by Clarke McDonald, "Death in Disguise." Her quotation from Robert Burns's poem "Man Was Made to Mourn" is not as effective in summing up her eighteen years of life as it does the eighty years of the original poem's speaker! But I understand her sadness, we live in such uncertain times, it seems to permeate everything. I'm pretty sure, however, her depression is over the fact that she has no beaus.

It is impossible to avoid mentioning politics. I'm not surprised that George Ann brought up the election. She's right that I support Democracy, and it's obvious that George Ann backs John C. Breckinridge, the Southern Democratic candidate.

George Ann still attends my old school in Liberty, in Bedford County. I miss those girls so much sometimes, even though I love being at Hollins Institute. I'm jealous that George Ann is so cozy and cared for by Aunt Mandy. Mandy is the house servant in charge of the girls' rooms. She is just the dearest old thing and took care of us like a mother hen.

George Ann [surname unknown] to Callie Anthony, 1860, Anthony Family Papers, 1785–1952, Acc. 35647, 35648, Library of Virginia.

My Dear Callie,
"Night has let down her curtains and pinned it with a star." Glorious night, with what delight do I hail its its comeing, aye I have learned to welcome it with joy and gladness. Then nature seemingly seeks repose, and all is quiet, but ever and anon, the foliage of these beautiful aspen trees, fanned by the gentle breezes of heaven— murmer in soft, sweet accents, alone, alone; how sweet sometimes to be alone; to seek solitude, and mourn in secret over the depravity and deception of the human race. "Dear Me" I forgot one of your practical nature would not like anything after this style— However knowing my predilection, as well as Shine, for the hifalutin I hope you will excuse me.
Wednesday morning After my return from the French Class hap happy to find a letter on the table from, my most esteemed, I need not add it gave me pleasure, after eyeing your words for a considerable length of time, for if you remember rightly they were very scateringly written. Please write your letter from beginning to end as beautifully as you direct my letters, you were my brag corespondent in Vacation, My Cousin Janis admired your direction extravagantly.
Well Callie I'll answer your question first. I am coming with Ada and Jane Ann, in my same dear old "cozy" room. Aunt Mandy waits on us and we have splendid fires, as of you. I agree to the "covenant", and see that it is attended with all due promptness on your part. Yes— "still, love and write to each other" tho I be transformed from the youthful "George Ann" to an honorable, tho abominable "Old Maid," its insinuated to me daily that I look like as one of forty, and another transformation after this, I think, would be ridiculous, although a brave young knight should offer services. But not speaking in irons I must confess the sweet language of a Burns speaks my sentiments,
"I have seen yon weary winters sun,
Twice forty 9 9 times return
And every time has added proof,
That man was made to mourn."
Pardon my trespass on your time in saying what amounts to naught. and lets talk about news in general. We have 104 pupils, the dining room tables have been lengthened and our illustrious "Chorus" look quite vain to behold the increased number when assembled there. Politics run high and muston—hack goes a begging. I see you have inherited the right principals, those of Democracy. I hope you'll not have the little charm strung from your neck with Bell & Everett on it because it is a pretty ornament, no spurn these, but wear Breckenridge next your heart. However while we are on the themes which engage the public attentions, how do you like the Prince? I give him to you for I think you deserve a prince if he is as good as he should be.
If I am here Xmas and dont have to revised French too hard and "Providence permitting" I hope to gratify myself the peculiar pleasure of seeing you at some point— time and chance will determine this. Nothing would afford me a higher pleasure than to visit one whom I hold so dear as you. Florence has just stepped in and says give Cousin Callie her love and a kiss— she rooms with Sweets and Mary Lewis, and is dear sweet child, my pet. I cannot give you the minutia this time, but suffice it to say Ema Burk is as much excited, for fear Lincoln will be elected, as when Mr Burkes Duncans end was on fire. Sweets sends love to you also Mary Lewis, Ada, and Jane Ann. Sweets sends her love to the General.
Write to me immediately— and a long plainly written letter.
Your own dear
Ask Sall if she ever intends answering my letter.