Boston Apr. 22 1817
Your letter of 16th is just received. The Tholeus odoratus flowers about May 10-20 in wet grounds, edges of meadows, &c. A spec. is inclosed. A dissection showing the calyx, corolla, stamen, & styles , separate, will be acceptable when perfectly convenient. You refer to a list of plants in Deerfield lately sent to me. I have not received any such list & doubt not that it must have miscarried. If you will inform me by whom it was sent, I shall probably be able to look it up.- To the list of plants which I have requested Miss White to paint, I will now add the following Indian corn, Potatoe, Wheat, Rye, Oats, Barley.- These if re-copying may be of the size of a quarto page As the corn is rather an unwieldy specimen for a single page, I have cut it up in a sketch on the opposite page. It is made at random for many but may serve as some guide.- Of the potatoe I should like a stem or two in flower, & a specimen of the fruit & root.
very truly yours
The Boston physician Jacob Bigelow describes a flower, adds to the list of plants he would like "Miss White" to paint for his upcoming Medical Botany, and provides a labeled sketch of a corn plant. His specific naming of plant parts shows the importance he placed on accurate depictions of plants to be used in medical compounds. As an unmarried woman of the middle class, it would not have been seemly for Orra to conduct business correspondence on her own. Had Edward Hitchcock not been around to do this, her father might have stepped in.