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First Cousins in Love

Lydia Dugard's Letter to her Cousin Samuel

This letter tells part of the story of Lydia and Samuel Dugard, who were first cousins and in love. A letter from Lydia to Samuel describes her daily life and feelings in striking detail. Because of their close familial ties they tried to conduct their relationship in secrecy, although in this letter Lydia reports that after being questioned by her mother’s closest friend, “I confes’d some of the truth. I am not sorry I did so.” As their correspondence swelled, Lydia began intertwining Samuel’s first initial with her own in “their” signature. In 1672 Samuel, a fellow at Trinity College, Oxford, defied university regulations forbidding fellows to marry; when he was discovered shortly thereafter, her was forced to resign. Lydia died in childbirth three years later.


Read a transcription  of Lydia Dugard's letter to her cousin Samuel. 

Lydia DuGard. Autograph letters signed and initialed from Lydia DuGard to Samuel Dugard. Manuscript, 1665?-1672

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