Born February 9, 1829, Cambridge, Massachusetts.; Died November 29, 1916, Claymont, Delaware
Daughter of Warren Colburn, Harvard Mathematics Professor
Married F.O.C. Darley, 1859; devoted wife, looked after Felix's sisters until their deaths in the 1890's
Loved the arts and Shakespeare in particular
Buried with Felix and her family at Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
As we all know, not too much is known about Felix's personal life. Perhaps even less is now known about his wife, Genny G. Colburn Darley (February, 9, 1829-November 29, 1916). Perhaps later, there will be a very detailed section added to this site with "all" that we know about her, but for now, here's a few items about her.
Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she was the daughter of Warren Colburn, a noted mathmatics teacher (at Harvard) and math text book writer. She was a 'society' lady who apparently had to try very hard to adjust to rural Claymont, Delaware after her marriage to Felix in 1859.
We have found these key facts:
... She and Felix likely were introduced by Henry W. Longfellow, a friend of Felix and Warren Colburn. Their wedding in Cambridge was a great formal affair, "attended by Longfellow and many notable academians, writers, and artists."
... She moved to Claymont in 1859 with Felix and into an established household of Felix's two brothers and two sisters...residents of the "Chimney's" (to become the "Wren's Nest") since 1842.
Felix joked about her efforts to organize the local women into a Shakespeare reading society ... he called it the "jug club."
"Jane" as she was called in many sources must have been a nickname, as her full name was Genny G., not "J."
Felix called her "Genny Wren, his little wren bird" and named the "Chimney's" the Wren's Nest in her honor.
In Felix's final days, she took his work to the publishers in Philadelphia for him ... by rail from Claymont...only about twenty five miles.
She was very proud of her Cambridge connections and her father; in 1884, she had a special edition of his Warren Colburn's Best (Math) Lessons printed .. "for the heirs of Warren Colburn." The book was originally published in 1849. (The Hester's just bought a copy of this rare, latest edition).
After Felix's death in 1888 (he was 67 and she
59), she continued to live in the "Wren's Nest" until her death in 1916 at age 87.
Her will (we have a copy) was very generous to the Church of the Ascension (now next door, although across the street then), and several relations. She left an adjacent staff house and lot to her gardner and his wife, another, to her driver & cook; all of Felix's art was given to relations and museums.
Oh, yes, she continued to look after Felix's two sisters in the Wren's Nest until their deaths in the mid 1890's.
Yes, Genny "Wren" Colburn was a helpmate and a lady.