Latrobe, John H. B. (1803-1891)

Autograph Letter Signed, Baltimore, September 23, 1834 to Charles A. Poulson, Philadelphia

Quarto, 2 pages of a bi-folium, formerly folded, postal markings and remains of sealing wax on integral address leaf, written in a neat and very legible hand.

Latrobe writes to Poulson discussing his "concological mania"

"My dear Sir,

... You may have thought that our conchological mania would soon be cured as the occupations of home were substuted for the idleness of travel. But no such thing I assure you. We found many pretty good shells among those left by Mrs. Latrobe's cousin and some very queer ones - We soon distinguished with the aid of our Encyclopedia, as yet our only adjunct, the Lymea Teguis C. Arabia C. Vespa and many others - also the Voluta Episcopalis, Buceinam harpa, &c &c &c - and we proceeded to assort them in some fashion. All our friends are at once put in requisition, day by day we get some few, with many promises of more - those that are given to us as yet, however are chiefly mantle piece shells. Some of those by the Potomac I think you would be pleased with. We are sadly at a loss from what we see cant get along without - a book with the plates of the different shells. The nomenclature of the parts we have learned, but we want natures pictures! If you could lay your hands on Lamark or any other good picture book, and let me have it, it would give me great pleasure - and I would remit the cost. I ask this for the love of - conchology. By the by - I have got a message to Africa by one who is going to live there, a gentleman of great intelligence, white, and he promises ... to send me all he can lay his hands on. Don't forget that you are to give Mrs. L a lift in her studies. She is quite in earnest I assure you and is relying on your contribution to her embryo cabinet. I see plainly as I go along that a conchologist must be a beggar, nolens volens.

Apropos to conchology ask you please so far to oblige me by handing the enclosed to the above man, and ask him to send in good order and conditions to Baltimore a cooking stove with all its appurtenances, ...

Mrs. L - is by no means as well as her friends wish ... among other advantages she promises herself to get a great store of shells from the Mississippi, which you must now is, with those who are born on its borders, the treasury of all that is good beautiful and scientific..."

John Hazlehurst Boneval Latrobe, son of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, was a prominent 19th century Baltimore attorney, counsel for the B & O Railroad, 1827-1891, Incorporator of the Bar Association of Baltimore City 1879; co-founder American Bar Association. Latrobe helped to found the Maryland Institute in 1825, was one of the founders of the Maryland Historical Society in 1844, he was active in the colonization movement and was a president of the American Colonization Society, was influential in establishing the Maryland Colony at Cape Palmas Liberia. Latrobe also had a favorable reputation as an amateur painter and architect. He was a co-organizer of the Maryland Institute College of Art.

American National Biography, volume 13, pp. 246-247

Dictionary of American Biography, volume VI, pp., 27-28