Laura Maria Wolcott Rankin


Laura Maria Wolcott Rankin,
Courtesy of Michael McGiffert
Laura Maria Wolcott was born on August 14, 1811. She was the youngest child of Frederick and Betsey Huntington Wolcott. She had three older sisters: Mary Ann Goodrich, Hannah Huntington, and Elizabeth Huntington. She also had two older brothers: Joshua Huntington and Frederick Henry.

Laura attended the Litchfield Female Academy from 1822 to 1827. While in school, Laura kept a diary that the Ingraham Library has among the papers collected from the Academy.

In her journal she discusses classes, teachers, friends, her feelings, her times at Church, and even the weather. The following are excerpts from her diary:

Excerpt #1:

Monday. 22.

To day M.B.G. [Mary B. Gardiner] has given me
an account of the greatest
piece of meanness I every saw or heard of.
she says S.L.B [Sophronia L. Beebe]
had four examinations last week she has been over
with this term. "Philosophy. Chemistry. Paley. Logick"-
For a few paltry credit marks. and for having the
students" say she is a good scholar. She is willing to
forfeit the esteem and respect of her classsmates &
gain the igdination of all.


Cover of Laura's Journal

Excerpt #2:

When Mr. Rutledge
bid me good bye he said "Farewell Miss Laura.
I hope I shall visit you in six years and
find you as gay and lively as you know
are."- I do not know what is the reason but
every one appears to think I am so gay & thou=
=ghtless. but little they know Laura Wolcott
if they think so - with the gay. I am the
gayest & often feel so but my gaiety is more
the result of former habits than of present
feelings.

Excerpt #3:

Saturday 17. Mamma & Sister Elisabeth went
to Hartford this morning and Charles return'd
to the Lancasterian School at New Haven. &
Elisabeth also left. I understand her brother is
crazy & in the ho^spital in New York. They do not
wish to have her know it until she gets home-
She was so happy in her anticipated visit home
and in seeing that brother who she has not
seen for nearly two years. Now bereft of his
reason it will almost break her heart-


Inside Laura's Diary
These pages are available in more detail: left and right

Excerpt #4:

Tuesday 13. Amelia has not spoken to me yet
I cannot conceive what reason she has for
behaving so. I am sure she will never find
a friend who loves her better or was more
willing to pardon the inequalities of her
temper. I should think Miss Lupton would
be the last person she would choose. Once
she loved EEP and wanted I should love
her. And now because I love her and go with
her the "last week" she is offended.

Laura Wolcott's diary is located in the Litchfield Female Academy Papers at the Litchfield Historical Society.


A Litchfield Academy Diploma

Larger View of Writing on the Diploma


Robert Rankin,
Courtesy of Michael McGiffert
On March 30, 1831, Laura married Robert Gozman Rankin of Fishkill, New York. Robert graduated from Yale in 1826 and attended the Litchfield Law School in 1827. He was a businessman, railroad engineer, and Regent of New York State University.

Laura and Robert had eleven children. She died in 1887, at the age of seventy six.