Impressions from a Lost World: The Discovery of Dinosaur Footprints

Portrait of Maria-Louisa, Orra White

zoomable artifact image here

In December of 1814, while she was preceptress (headmistress) at Deerfield Academy, Orra played the part of Maria Louisa in Edward Hitchcock's play, Emancipation of Europe, or the Downfall of Bonaparte: A Tragedy. The role was presumably her inspiration for creating this drawing. Maria Louisa (also called Marie Louise) was Napoleon Bonaparte's second wife, empress of France from 1810 to 1814 and was named Duchess of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla in 1814. Napoleon divorced his beloved Josephine to marry Maria Louisa in the hope of producing a son and heir. Maria Louisa had a son in March, 1811.

Maria Louisa saw her husband for the last time in January 1814 and later was discouraged from accompanying him into exile. When he was finally banished to the remote island of St. Helena in 1815, she stayed in Europe. She refused to divorce Napoleon, but did have three children with the man she installed as prime minister of Parma, whom she married after Napoleon's death in 1821.

Orra White
pen and ink, pencil
Courtesy of:
Edward and Orra White Hitchcock Papers, Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College Library