Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Botta, Vincenzo
BOTTA, Vincenzo, author, b. in Cavaller Maggiore, Piedmont, 11 Nov., 1818; d. in New York, 5 Oct., 1894. He was educated at the university of Turin, in which he became professor of philosophy. In 1849 he was elected to the Sardinian parliament, and in 1850 commissioned, in association with Dr. Parola, another deputy, to examine the educational system of Germany. Their report on the German universities and schools was published at the expense of the government. In 1853 he came to the United States for the purpose of investigating the public-school system, settled here, became naturalized, and for many years filled the chair of Italian language and literature in the university of the city of New York. He married, in 1855, Anne Charlotte Lynch, the author. He published an “Account of the System of Education in Piedmont”; “Discourse on the Life, Character, and Policy of Cavour” (1862); “Dante as Philosopher, Patriot, and Poet,” with an analysis of the “Divina Commedia” (New York, 1865); and “An Historical Account of Modern Philosophy in Italy.” —
His wife, Anne Charlotte Lynch, author, b. in Bennington, Vt., 11 Nov., 1815; d. in New York city, 23 March, 1891. Her father was a native of Ireland, who joined the rebels under Lord Edward Fitzgerald. He was captured, and remained a prisoner four years, when, still refusing to take the oath of allegiance, he was banished, and came to the United States, where he married and died a few years later. His daughter was educated in Albany, N. Y., and began early to write for literary periodicals. She removed to Providence, R. I., and there edited the “Rhode Island Book,” containing selections from the authors of that state (Providence, 1841). Soon afterward she returned to New York, where she has since resided, and in 1855 married Prof. Botta. Their house has been for many years open to a wide range of literary and artistic people, and Mrs. Botta's receptions have been attended by many of the most famous authors, painters, and musicians of Europe and America. During the Franco-Prussian war (1870-'1) an effort was made in New York city to collect funds for the suffering women and children of Paris. Mrs. Botta prepared as her contribution an album of autographs, photographs, and original sketches by celebrated artists, which was sold for $5,000. As the war had closed before the collection was complete, this sum was appropriated to found a prize at the French academy, to be awarded every five years, when the interest of this sum reached $1,000, for the best essay on the “Condition of Woman.” Mrs. Botta's style is musical, elegant, and finished. Among her best poems are “Paul at Athens,” “Webster,” “Books,” and “Wasted Fountains.” Her sonnets are especially successful. She published in periodicals innumerable stories, essays, and criticisms. The first collected edition of her poems (New York, 1848; new ed., 1884) was illustrated by Brown, Darley, Durand, Huntington, and other artists. Her “Leaves from the Diary of a Recluse” appeared in “The Gift” for 1845. She also published a “Handbook of Universal Literature” (New York, 1860), containing concise accounts of great authors of all ages and their works, which has been adopted as a text-book in many educational institutions. A memorial volume, with selections from her writings, prepared by Prof. Botta, appeared in 1894.