story illustration by Monica Vachula

Orra accompanied Edward on many surveying expeditions to draw the landscapes included in his report to Massachusetts. Artist Monica Vachula hiked to this spot on Mt. Toby to create this view of the Connecticut River Valley.

Working Together

Lifelong Companions in Science, Art, and Religion

Edward and Orra White Hitchcock were partners in art, science, and religion. Intellectually adventurous but conservative by temperament and religious conviction, their work together kept well within the gender roles of their place and time.

Edward taught from the podium, gave sermons from the pulpit, and traveled the country to give public lectures. He traversed all of Massachusetts by horse and on foot when he conducted geological surveys for the state. 

Orra taught in academies, but left classroom teaching when she married. As a wife, she led Bible study meetings at home and drew landscapes, maps, geological cross-sections and other illustrations for her husband's use. She was not paid for her work, but Edward recognized its value and openly showed his gratitude to her.

They were both ahead of their time and very much part of it.

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