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Foster, Florence

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According to the drawing Norman's Woe, 1861 (inv. 114) Lane made a painting for Florence Foster, most likely The Western Shore with Norman's Woe, 1862 (inv. 18). Foster was a long-time school teacher in Gloucester, having been born there in 1839, a daughter of Captain Thomas Jefferson Foster and Elizabeth Elwell Foster. Her great-grandfather was Colonel Joseph Foster, one of Gloucester's legendary Revolutionary War heroes.

Miss Foster's interest in culture, her ties to Gloucester and its rich history, and her situation as a teacher, made her an obvious patron of Fitz Henry Lane. She was friends with Isabel Babson Lane, who gave The Western Shore with Norman's Woe, 1862 (inv. 18) to the Cape Ann Historical Society, and the reason it is thought to be the one originally made for Foster. Foster's sister was married to Joseph Hooper, who accompanied Lane to Maine on his visits there, and her cousin was Caroline Stevens.

Florence was among the group of young, middle class New Englanders who came of age in the mid-nineteenth century, just as educational and employment opportunities for women were opening up. After completing her primary education in Gloucester, she attended Oread Institute, a women's college in Worcester, Massachusetts, and in 1860, at the age of twenty one, began working in the Gloucester schools. By 1866, she was principal of the girls' high school. Florence's obituary noted she was "a woman of ripe culture and pleasant manners, her well stored mind making her an entertaining companion, and her kindly nature making her friendship a valued treasure."

She died in 1892 without heirs.

Related tables: Hooper, Joseph S. »  //  Stevens, Caroline Foster »

Citation: "People." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum.§ion=Foster%2C+Florence (accessed July 23, 2024).
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