WRITTEN BY SARAH JACKSON, ADVANCEMENT INTERN
“…and it means every thing in the world to me—because I love you more and more and I am looking forward to peaceful happy days in our lovely home and garden—With a heart full of devotion—Yours as always,
Arthur Cummer met Ninah May Holden at the University of Michigan. Ninah received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1895, and two years later, Arthur and Ninah were married in Michigan City, Indiana. After their marriage, they moved to Jacksonville. Although Ninah valued her independence and individuality, it is clear from this letter—written by Ninah to Arthur—that she loved him deeply.
In 1903, Arthur and Ninah built a large Tudor-style house, with a sweeping drive and immaculate gardens. The first formal garden—an English style—was added in 1910 and was replanted with hundreds of beautiful azaleas. In 1931, the Italian Gardens were created, patterned after the famous garden of the Villa Gamberaia. Towering above it all was a majestic 175-200 year-old live oak tree, with a canopy spanning 150 feet. This oak tree is now known as the Cummer Oak.
This Valentine’s Day, bring your sweetheart to the Cummer Museum to enjoy a romantic stroll through the gardens, walk hand-in-hand along the St. Johns River, or sit under the shade of the Cummer Oak. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll be able to feel the love that Arthur and Ninah felt for each other.
The Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays, so you’ll be able to spend all day exploring the campus. Don’t forget to stop by the Cummer Shop to buy something beautiful for your beloved.