Rose Cleveland and Evangeline Whipple

Rose Cleveland, 1885

Frontis portrait of Rose Elizabeth Cleveland from George Eliot's Poetry and Other Studies by Rose Elizabeth Cleveland; New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1885

In 1885-86 Rose Cleveland served as “acting First Lady” for her then-unmarried brother, President Grover Cleveland. Later, she met Evangeline Whipple.

Their letters pop with passion. Evangeline to Rose: “Oh, darling, come to me this night—my Clevy, my Viking, my Everything—Come!”; Rose to Evangeline: “Ah, Eve, Eve, surely you cannot realize what you are to me . . . you are mine by everything in earth and heaven.”[1]

One note sizzles with woman-on-woman erotic role-play timeless as the Nile: "Ah, my Cleopatra [Evangeline] is a very dangerous Queen, but I will . . . crush those Anthony-seeking lips . . . because I [Rose] am her Captain . . . How much kissing can Cleopatra stand?”[2]


1. Lillian Faderman, Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America (New York: Penguin, 1991), 32.

2. Faderman, 33.