Jeannie's "Cottage by the Sea"

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  • Between February 1869 and November 1870, Dr. Elliott Coues and his wife, Jeannie, lived with their young daughter at Fort Macon, North Carolina. Dr. Coues was an officer in the U. S. Army who was transferred to Fort Macon as Assistant Post Surgeon. Besides being a doctor, Elliott was an accomplished ornithologist who had sent enormous collections to the Smithsonian Institution from earlier military assignments in the Arizona Territory. His army record also shows a direct assignment to the Smithsonian itself from December 1865 to May 1866.
  • During the time the Coues family lived at Fort Macon, Jeannie corresponded with her sister, Louise, in New York State. A descendant of Louise shared some of those letters with the author (the journal's editor), who comments that the letters give a first-hand account of domestic life at an army fort in the 19th century. The author states that Jeannie writes about the fauna of the beach environment in which they lived, and the daily work and activities experienced. The author notes that in his extra time, Elliott wrote articles for scientific publications.
  • When the Coues family was transferred to Baltimore in November 1870, the author comments that Elliott would have then been much closer to the Smithsonian. The article concludes with brief sketches of biographical information for both Elliott and Jeannie, who divorced in 1886.


  • Coues, Elliott 1842-1899
  • Coues, Jeannine


Smithsonian History Bibliography


Full texts of six series of Jeannie Coues' letters were published in the Summer 1998 through Spring 2000 issues of Fort Macon Ramparts.

Contained within

Fort Macon Ramparts Vol. XI, Issue 2 (Journal)

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


Summer 2004


  • Animals
  • Domestic life
  • Collectors and collecting
  • Birds
  • Naturalists
  • Biography
  • Ornithologists

Physical description

Number of pages : 2; Page numbers : 1-2

Full Record

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