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Orra White grew up in Amherst and, at age seventeen became preceptress and assistant to Edward Hitchcock at Deerfield Academy. She served from 1813 until 1818 and taught astronomy, painting, drawing, and cartography. She and Edward Hitchcock were married in 1821. Remembered as one of the first woman illustrators, she had created an herbarium notebook of sixty-four pages of watercolor botanical specimens while she was still at Deerfield. For more than twenty years, she illustrated Hitchcock's lectures and his books. The Hitchcock years at Deerfield Academy were characterized by an unusually creative climate for learning.