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Precious and Adored

Precious and Adored

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The Love Letters of Rose Cleveland and Evangeline Simpson Whipple, 1890–1918

Editor Lizzie Ehrenhalt, Editor Tilly Laskey, Foreword Lillian Faderman

Minnesota Historical Society Press (May 1, 2019)

Captivating letters, published in their entirety, that document almost thirty years of love between two women of the Gilded Age.


"You are mine, and I am yours, and we are one, and our lives are one henceforth, please God, who can alone separate us. I am bold to say this, to pray and to live by it."—Rose Cleveland to Evangeline Simpson, May 6, 1890

In 1890, Rose Cleveland, sister of President Grover Cleveland, began writing to Evangeline Simpson, a wealthy widow who would become the second wife of Henry Whipple, Minnesota's Episcopal bishop. The women corresponded across states and continents, discussing their advocacy and humanitarian work—and demonstrating their sexual attraction, romance, and partnership. In 1910, after Evangeline Whipple was again widowed, the two women sailed to Italy and began a life together.

The letters, most written in Cleveland's dramatic, quirky style, guide readers through new love, heartbreak, and the rekindling of a committed relationship. Lillian Faderman's foreword provides the context for same-sex relationships at the time. An introduction and annotations by editors Lizzie Ehrenhalt and Tilly Laskey discuss the women's social and political circles, and explain references to friends, family, and historical events.

After Rose Cleveland's death, Evangeline Whipple described her as "my precious and adored life-long friend." This collection, rare in its portrayal of nineteenth-century LGBTQ history, brings their poignant story back to life.

Author information

Lizzie Ehrenhalt is the editor of MNopedia, the online encyclopedia of Minnesota.

Tilly Laskey is the outreach curator at Maine Historical Society in Portland, Maine.

Lillian Faderman is an internationally known scholar of lesbian and LGBT history and literature. She is the author of several books including Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers and The Gay Revolution.

Precious and Adored Facebook Page

Reviews and news

New Hampshire Chronicle/WMUR Emmy Award nominated segment

Washington Post




New York Daily News

Twin Cities Public Television Originals: The Historic Minnesota Love Letters Almost Lost to Time

TPT's Almanac

Pioneer Press

Portland Press Herald (ME)

Lavender Magazine


The Lesbian Review

Write About Now (podcast)

Maine Historical Society (podcast)

Feminist Hotdog (podcast)

Washington Blade

South Florida Gay News

Etta Madden blog post

2020 Over the Rainbow (GLBT Roundtable of the American Library Association) Non-Fiction Longlist

Autostraddle article by Lizzie Ehrenhalt: Precious and Adored: Reading Victorian Love Letters, Writing Queer History

“The letters in Precious and Adored re-create the story of one of the most remarkable love relationships between women in American history. Lizzie Ehrenhalt and Tilly Laskey have done scholars as well as general readers a great service in gathering these letters and providing indispensable context for them through thoughtful and informative introductions and skillful annotations.”
Lillian Faderman, from the foreword

Related resources

MNHS LGBTQ Resources
MNopedia: Evangeline Marrs Simpson Whipple

  • This title is also available at your favorite e-book vendor.
  • 288 pages
  • 15 b&w photos
  • 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • ISBN: 9781681341293

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