Online Photo Collection


 
 
Lucy Littell, 1882
1861 - 1940; never married; parents: Robert Smith Littell, Harriet Anne Moody; lived at 38 Alton Place

The Littell family has longstanding roots in America and hosts a number of interesting stories. Lucy’s grandfather, Eliakim Littell, founded Littell’s Living Age, a publication lasting nearly 100 years that reprinted highlights from American and British newspapers. Lucy’s father, Robert Littell, took over the reins after his death with his sister, Susan Littell, assisting as editor. He and his family lived for many years at 38 Alton Place, near Coolidge Corner. By 1895 there remained the Littell sisters, Lucy, Alice, and Harriet, along with Susan Littell who had joined the household to care for the children after the early death of their mother, in 1873. After their father died in 1896, the house was purchased by Harry Freeman who tore down the house, created a cross street in its place, named Littell Rd., and built a development of houses.

Lucy’s brother, Philip, graduated from Harvard, married, and was a newspaper columnist for The Milwaukee Sentinel, which was owned by the family of one of his classmates. He later became a writer and editor for the New Republic and was a regular visitor to the "House of Truth", a mansion in Washingotn, DC that served as living quarters and a gathering place for intellectuals of the day like Walter Lippman and Oliver Wendell Holmes. He was also an essayist, dramatist, and a member of the Cornish Art Colony in Plainfield, New Hampshire where some descendants continue to live.

Lucy’s sister, Alice, who was injured in this deadly 1893 train crash, was a physician who interned at the New England Hospital for Women and Children in 1895. Alice had made the acquaintance of her future husband, an artist named Arthur Murray Cobb, though exactly when and where is still not known. He was part of a group of wealthy ex-pat artists who gathered in Monet’s village of Giverny, France where he married Mariquita Gill, also an artist from Boston. They both, like Lucia Fairchild in this album, had paintings exhibited in the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. By 1895, Cobb was divorced from Gill. Cobb and Alice Littell married in London in 1898 and became part of a group of American ex-pats in Florence. They lived in the famous Casa Guidi, which had been the house of Elizabeth Barrett Browning until her death, and they were featured in various international newspapers of the day. Their son, Humphrey, was a screenwriter and novelist who authored the novel Paths of Glory which was made into the famous movie by Stanley Kubrick.

Note that the inscription in the album appears as "Laura Letelle" or "Ketelle". There is no evidence that these are valid names. We believe that the album creator, Mary Williams, only remembered that this girl's first name started with "L" and that her last named sounded like Letelle. Other photographs support our belief that this is Lucy Littell.

ref. Platt-Littell web site