“In forms, furniture, and arrangement the fines taste prevails; everything is soft and noble, and as comfortable as it is tasteful. The only brilliant things in the rooms are the pretty flowers in lovely vases and baskets. Besides, there are books, busts, and some pictures. Above small bookcases, in the form of Gothic windows, inserted like niches in the walls of the parlor, stand busts of Linné, Franklin, Newton, and many other heroes of natural science. One seees in this dwelling a decided and thorough individuality of character, which has put its stamp on all that surrounds it, and every one ought to mold himself and his own world in a similar way. … A real luxury obtains in food, fruits, and in many small things, but it makes no outward show; it exists, as it were, concealed in the inner richness and exquisite selection of the thing itself. I did not expect to meet this type of home in the young New World.”
America of the Fifties: letters of Fredrika Bremer, ed. Adolph B. Benson, (Oxford University Press, 1924), p. 8-9.
“My happiest hours here are those which I spend alone in the forenoon, in my room, with American books which Mr. Downing lends me, and those passed in the evening with my host and hostess, sitting in the little darkened parlor with bookcases and busts around us, and the fire quietly glimmering in the large fireplace. There, by the evening lamp, Mr. Downing and his wife read to me by turns passages from their most esteemed American poets. Afterward I carry the books with me up into my chamber; in this way I have become acquainted with Bryant, Lowell, and Emerson, all of them representative, in however dissimilar manner, of the life of the New World.”