Rebecca Gratz, 1781 - 1869
In her late teens, the lively, beautiful, and articulate Gratz took her place among the social and literary elite of Philadelphia. Philadelphia was a growing cultural center and Gratz came to know many of the important thinkers of her era. She corresponded regularly with Maria Edgeworth, the British educator and novelist, Catherine Sedgwick, the American author, Fanny Kemble, the British actress, Grace Aguilar, the Jewish-British theologian, and many others. Gratz was also familiar with many of the nation's leading artists including, Thomas Sully, Edward Malbone and Gilbert Stuart, all of whom painted Gratz family portraits. Gratz's friends and family encouraged her to submit her own poetry to the Port Folio, a popular literary magazine. However, Gratz was never interested in fame; instead she used her writing talents in prolific correspondence and anonymous organizational reports.