Amanuensis (a person who writes down what another says), photographer, collaborator, author, companion, wife - Alma Cardell Curtin.
Alma Cardell was born March 11, 1847 at Warren, Vt. the daughter of James and Mary Cardell.
Alma attended schools in Warren and attended, as a young girl, a female seminary in Middlebury, Vt. Went to Madison, Wisconsin where she became a teacher at a home for orphans of Civil War veterans. In January 1872 Jeremiah Curtin visited that orphanage and met Alma. Four months later, on July 17, they were married at Warren, Vt. and immediately embarked for Russia where they staid five years.
Following their stay in Russia they spent years traveling through Europe, the Orient, Mexico and Guatemala. That he might learn their language and customs more readily Mr. Curtin always lived among the natives and adopted their own mode of life and always beside him, regardless of the hardship, was his faithful wife. For more than a year they lived in a crude hut in Northern California studying the ways of the primitive Indians of this region.
Mr. and Mrs. Curtin lived a life of continuous adventures and interesting experiences. In the Black Sea, Mrs. Curtin fell off a boat and was almost drowned, in Turkey her photographic plates were confiscated and destroyed because the authorities feared she and her husband were spies, in Siberia they witnessed the Sacrifice of the Horses, a religious ceremony of the Mongols never before seen by Americans, in the mountains of California their home was invaded by snakes through a bole in the floor of their cabin until Mrs. Curtin obstructed the passage by placing a large Polish dictionary over the hole. "Maybe it was the big words that scared the snakes away."
Mr. Curtin dictated all of his work to his wife
who wrote out each of his books three times in long-hand. She helped him
correct and revise his work and completed several of his books which were
left unfinished at his death. She illustrated all his books with
photographs taken by her on their journeys. Besides this she is an author
in her own right having published a number of newspaper and magazine articles
based on her travel experiences. For more than a quarter of a century
she was a member of American Penwomen.
Following the death of her husband Mrs. Curtin resided on Mountain Street, Bristol, Vermont.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Curtin are buried in Greenwood Cemetery.
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