This collection (22 items) contains 19 letters between Henry Charles Lea of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and his fiancée, Anna Caroline Jaudon of Wilmington, Delaware, and Cincinnati, Ohio, as well as 3 letters from other members of the Lea family. Henry Lea, who wrote most of the correspondence, discussed his social life, his reading habits, and his love for Anna.
Henry C. Lea wrote 19 letters to his future wife between September 11, 1842, and March 17, 1850. Most of his correspondence includes poetry, such as copied poems showing "Gradations of Style" (September 11, 1842), as well as original compositions. Lea often reported family news, including the death of his uncle in June 1845, and commented on the controversy surrounding Elizabeth Lea's marriage to William Woodhouse Bakewell in 1847. He frequently discussed his personal life and hobbies, which included reading and collecting books, and he occasionally commented on political issues, such as a proposal to move the United States capital to Cincinnati (December 7, 1845) and possible European reactions to increased American militarism (May 31, 1846). The correspondence also reflects the couple's relationship and anticipated marriage; in his final letter, Lea discussed his attempts to locate a house (March 17, 1850). One letter contains Lea's drawing of a lamp (December 16, 1849).
Anna C. Jaudon received letters from her future brother-in-law, Matthew Carey Lea (October 19, 1847), and from his uncle, Isaac Lea (November 28, 1847). Matthew Carey Lea commented on Elizabeth Lea's marriage to William Woodhouse Bakewell, and Isaac Lea discussed financial issues. Anna C. Jaudon also wrote one letter to Henry C. Lea from New Orleans, Louisiana, in which she lamented her sister's living situation in New Orleans and expressed her concern about locating a good home in Philadelphia (March 3, 1850). While Jaudon lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, she addressed her letters care of Christian Febiger, a relative.