"Any beauty we have once felt is ours always - and nothing can take it from us, so long as we can think. This is an eternal Now- and is a joy forever. "
~ Mary "Queen" Mellen Palmer, August 1889
Her mother died when she was four years old. She was raised by her maternal grandmother, Charlotte Clark of Cincinnati, and attended the Cincinnati Institute for Young Ladies. Her father,a lawyer, later married his sister-in-law, Ellen Clark. Ellen and William had six more children. Queen was well-educated and was known for her beautiful voice.
|William Jackson Palmer|
St. Louis April 16, 1869
"I note that you persist in calling me by the rank I had before I was promoted to the noble grade of American citizen...General indeed."
Queen Palmer, at age twenty-one, opened the first public school in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in November, 1871. School was held in a three room house she rented on Cascade Avenue.
After more than a month on the road, the party reached Mexico City, where the General left the ladies at the Hotel Iturbides, while he rode north with his engineers to survey the route of his proposed railroad. In his absence, Queen and Rose went sightseeing with an old German priest (the past confessor to Emperor Maximilian), and made friends among government officials and the staff of foreign embassies. Queen would later confide that the three months she spent in Mexico were among the happiest of her life.
|Portrait of Queen taken in Mexico|
Whenever possible, the General took Queen along on his business trips. In February of 1875, he needed to raise additional capital for the Denver & Rio Grande in Europe, so he and Queen set off together for Paris.
|William Jackson Palmer in Colorado|
|Portrait of Elsie Palmer by John Singer Sargent, "Young Lady in White"|
Queen's heart condition continued to trouble her. Fearing that her time with the girls was drawing short, she began to counsel them through a series of endearing in-house letters. In 1886, she wrote a short note instructing them not only to be generous, but also to learn to accept the generosity of others. "Search for the truth," she wrote, "be kind, be kind because kindness may always help out someone who is suffering. I am always with you, waiting for you. Mutterlain."
"I must begin my day's account by saying that I am almost wild with delight!!! A new hunger is discovered in me - by myself! Which has been gradual - ever since I left Nice - it has reached its climax in this great beautiful Florence. -I do not mean to grow too entusiastic in these little notes of daily doings - but I really could not write a word of facts until I had said just this much - let me say it once more - I am almost wild with the joy of living and seeing and - in this air - Saturated with the beauty of past and present! Art has a new meaning to me...I write, become calm...but I wish-wish-wish I had my Elsie and some archetectural help."After her return to England, the home at Ightham Mote was sold, and Queen and her daughters moved Losely Park. Losely Park was an Elizabethan Castle, originally the home of the More-Molyneux family. Queen and her girls stayed there for three years, until the U.S. financial panic of 1893 forced the General to ask her to move back into the cheaper dwelling of Oak Cottage.