Lydia Smith Morgan Bulkeley (1806-1894)
The wife of Eliphalet Bulkeley, Lydia Morgan Bulkeley was a public-spirited woman who played an active role in Hartford's charitable concerns. Admired for the energy and executive ability that she brought to her philanthropic work, Mrs. Bulkeley served for twelve years (1853 1868) as president of the Hartford Orphan Asylum, an institution she assisted in founding. She was also an influential figure in Hartford society, taking considerable pride in the city where she made her home. Married in 1829, Lydia Bulkeley was mother of six children, two of whom died in infancy. Her eldest son, Charles, succumbed to disease while serving with the Union army, but her younger sons survived the war and later rose to prominence in business and politics. Her only daughter wed a Connecticut businessman who held elective office as a state legislator and afterward as Hartford's mayor. When Lydia Bulkeley died at the age of eighty-seven, she was remembered not only as "a model wife and mother" but as "a leader of pronounced ability and influence in whatever work enlisted her attention and sympathy."
Augustus Washington's portrait of Mrs. Bulkeley was made at about the time she assumed the presidency of the Hartford Orphan Asylum.