Before the American Civil War, Louisa Catherine Adams and her husband Charles Kuhn traveled extensively in Europe, sojourning during 1859-1860 in Florence, Italy. Louisa loved Italy; she was 'hotly Italian', said her brother Henry. In a home letter, she referred to 'lovely Italy - the land of poetry & art & beauty'.
Louisa and Charles Kuhn were aristocratic Victorians; She was a Boston Brahmin, a bona fide member of the New England elite. In Florence they leased a grand apartment in the Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore, employed a staff of servants, and went about constantly in an upper class society, a group composed of Americans as well as English, Italians, French, Germans, Greeks and Russians. Nathaniel and Anne Frothingham, Annie Jessie Smight, Count Alessandri, Count Bonci, Baron Lonenburg, and Countess Bobrinsky were among their friends. Louisa and Charles were eager Anglo-Florentines: they promenaded in the Cascine park, attended the opera, and danced all night at parties during Carneval. They both studied Italian. He lunched at the Jockey Club and read newspapers at the Gabinetto Vieusseux library. She circulated in Florentine society, paying and receiving social calls, and also hosting lunches and dinners.
In addition to living the 'gay' life in Florence, Louisa wrote twenty-six letters to her parents in America, letters that demonstrated remarkable powers of observation and expression; some of her prose was lyrical, almost poetical. She reported numerous details of her social and domestic lives, on several occasions demonstrating she was subject completely to the whim and will of her husband, She commented intelligently on political affairs, both American and Italian. In some letters she praised her father's achievements as a freshman Congressman, and in others, she reported the progress of Tuscany and Florence in the Risorgimento, the ongoing movement for the unification of Italy. Proclaiming herself a 'liberal', Louisa favoured the ouster of the Austrian Duke Leopold II and unification of Tuscany with Piedmont under King Victor Emanuel II. On 31 March 1860, she gleefully reported the results of a Tuscan plebiscite: 'we are annexed to Piedmont'. A few weeks later, she witnessed the triumphant arrival of Victor Emanuel II and his prime minister, Count Cavour. The king's parade through the streets of Florence was 'a splendid pageant', Louisa wrote, 'so brilliant in color & movement & sunshine, and music that it seemed like a dream'.
During the American Civil War, Louisa and her husband Charles resided in the United States but later they returned to Italy. In 1870 they lived again in Florence and summered in nearby Bagni di Lucca. While residing at the Hotel d'Amerique in Bagni di Lucca, Louisa suffered minor foot injuries in a carriage accident, injuries that caused a tetanus infection and resulted in an agonizing death on the 13th of July. Louisa was buried in Florence in the 'English' Cemetery, the final resting place of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Theodore Parker and other Anglo-Florentines.
|Offspring of Charles F Kuhn and Louisa Catherine Adams (1831-1870)|
|Mary Elizabeth Kuhn (1857-)|