Partner Rose Cleveland, buried together

Queer Places:
Old Connecticut Path, Wayland, MA
4th Ave NW & 7th St NW, Faribault, MN 55021
Cathedral-Our Merciful Saviour, 515 2nd Ave NW, Faribault, MN 55021
Shattuck-St. Mary's School, 1000 Shumway Ave, Faribault, MN 55021
Casa Bernardini, Via Bagno alla Villa, 55022 Bagni di Lucca LU, Italia
Casa Burlamacchi, Via S. Francesco, 6, 55022 Bagni di Lucca LU, Italia
Cimitero Inglese di Bagni di Lucca, Via Letizia, 55022 Bagni di Lucca LU, Italia

Evangeline Marrs Whipple (15 January 1857 – 1 September 1930) was an American philanthropist and author, who was known for her humanitarian activities as a member of the American Red Cross in Europe during the First World War. Rose Cleveland exhorted her companion Evangeline Simpson to “carry my body to the summit of joy, the end of search, the goal of love!” and who declared, “Yes, I dare it now—I will no longer fear to claim you—you are mine by everything in earth and heaven—by every sign in soul and spirit and body.”

Evangeline E. Thurston Marrs was born in Wayland, Massachusetts, to Jane Marrs, an immigrant from England, and Dana Marrs, a machinist and farmer from Ireland.[1][2]

In her first marriage, Evangeline married Michael Hodge Simpson in 1882, who was 48 years her senior.[2][1] As a wedding present, he gave her $1 million (equivalent to $25,358,621 in 2017) in bonds.[3] While the newlyweds went on their honeymoon in Europe, Simpson commissioned a $150,000 (equivalent to $3,803,793 in 2017) mansion to be built for Evangeline in Wayland, overlooking Dudley Pond. Local residents responded badly to their age difference however, and the couple did not end up spending much time in the mansion.[1] Simpson later died of heart failure in 1884 and left an estate of $10–12 million to Evangeline.[3][2]

Being a wealthy widow, Evangeline later began having sexual relationships with Rose Cleveland, the sister of President Grover Cleveland.[4] The relationship continued until when Evangeline met Bishop Henry Benjamin Whipple in Florida while she was on vacation. Henry Whipple was the first bishop of Minnesota, known for advocating for Native American rights. He maintained a winter home in Florida, and founded a church in Maitland, Florida.[2] Evangeline married the bishop in 1896, moved to Massachusetts, and changed to her legal family name to Whipple. Henry Whipple was 36 years her senior.[2][5]

Cimitero Inglese di Bagni di Lucca, Via Letizia, 55022 Bagni di Lucca LU, Italia

She then began a period of humanitarian and philanthropy, working with her husband, a missionary for the Episcopal Church. She greatly expanded the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour, provided the fund for the construction of the St. Mary's School for Girls, also in Faribault, and worked to improve education provided to women. The school worked to erase Native American culture through assimilation; the experience was predictably harmful to both the girls and their communities.

Henry died in 1901. In his honor, Evangeline commissioned several memorials to him, which includes the bell tower for the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour.[5] She stayed in Minnesota following his death and continued supporting the community.[2] In 1902, she traveled to Italy with Cleveland. They corresponded when apart.[6]

In 1910, Whipple left Minnesota for Italy, traveling with Cleveland, to be with her terminally ill brother, Kingsmill Marrs and never returned to the United States.[2] Whipple moved to Bagni di Lucca and the two women spent the next eight years doing philanthropic and civic work, such as building an orphanage. In recognition of their contribution to the city, Bagni di Lucia named a street after Whipple.[7] Whipple often socialized with her friends such as Nelly Erichsen in the three houses that she owned.[2]

After the onset of the Great War, both Whipple and Cleveland volunteered for the Red Cross in Italy, in addition to their friend Erichsen. During the war, Whipple also worked to address the Spanish flu pandemic and transport people displaced due to the war to Bagni di Lucca by providing humanitarian aid. Erichsen contracted Spanish influenza during the 1918 flu pandemic, and died shortly after the end of the war. Cleveland also died several days later from the flu after nursing for Erichsen.[2]

Whipple continued to travel around Europe and advocate for women's issues around the continent. In 1928, A Famous Corner of Tuscany written by her was published. It was dedicated to Cleveland.[2][8][9]

In 1930, Evangeline fell ill while traveling in London, and died shortly after in 1930. She was buried alongside Cleveland in the English Cemetery section in Bagni di Lucca.[2] In her will, she left millions of dollars to schools, churches, people, and Native American programs in Minnesota that she worked with.[2] It is believed that she gave a total of what would have been $53 million in 2013 to the St. Mary's School for Girls, now called the Shattuck-Saint Mary's.[10]

Archived at the Minnesota Historical Society is the correspondence, described as love letters, between Evangeline and Cleveland. It is part of the Whipple-Scandrett collection.[8]

Her influence on the Faribault, Minnesota area was portrayed in Rice County Historical Society's version of A Night at the Museum that features historical people in a 2013 event.[11] The historical society received a grant from Minnesota Historical Society in the amount of $9,800 to produce archives of Whipple's life. Tilly Laskey, who traveled to Tuscany to research Whipple's live and is considered the "premier historian" on her legacy, was expected to be commissioned to work on the project called "Hidden in Plain Sight: Recovering Evangeline Marrs Whipple’s Minnesota Story Through Archival Research."[10]

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