Mary Higgins was born on this day March 1, 1849 in Baltimore Maryland or Virginia or Brooklyn, New York. In any event she was from a very wealthy family and married U.S. Navy Commander Roswell D. Hitchcock in 1871. He died in 1892 leaving her a bored and wealthy widow.
She was an eccentric writer who came to Alaska three times with her friend Edith Van Buren (grand-neice of President Van Buren), the last in 1899. Later that year she wrote a book entitled “Two Women in the Klondike” of her adventures with Edith and their two great dane dogs, Ivan and Queen, a dozen pigeons, two canaries and a parrot. I have read this account of their hardships (having to wait all morning for the warm water for their manicures) and having to discipline the insubordinate “servants” that they encountered. It would be funny except that I’m sure that their fellow travelers were not amused.
When they finally got to Skagway on their way south, they stayed at Brannick’s Hotel that had a 4-poster bed with spring mattresses, sheets and pillowcases.
They went to an oyster bar for dinner (beer, ten cents) and took the City of Topeka steamer south the next day.
She had her portrait done with Ivan, seen above. She felt she had endured great hardships, and told stories of her adventures back in Amityville, New York where she died in 1920 at the age of 71.
nytimes article 8/22/1899; victorian-cinema.net; Two Women in the Klondike by Hitchcock.