List of Correspondents

1874    1876
Sarah Orne Jewett Letters of 1875

SOJ to Theophilus Parsons

     South Berwick, 6 Jan. 1875

     Dear Prof. Parsons.

     I hoped to see you long ago or I should have written to thank you for your kind letter. I put off my Boston visits again, until after the holidays; but I have been ill and am just beginning to go out again. It was nothing serious, only I had a shocking 'cold' which, as usual left a cough behind it, and I always have to be careful. I hope it is not too late to wish you a happy New Year. At any rate I do so most heartily. I wish I could see you this afternoon and have a long talk, but I hope I shall see you before very long as I mean to go to Boston about the middle of the month, which is not far off now. I don't wish to go away until I am perfectly strong again. I shall be in a great hurry to get out to Cambridge I can tell you! -- Your letter was such a pleasure to me and I learned much from it as I always do -- but those things are to be talked about soon (I hope) so I will not write a long answer now. I only wished to tell you why I had been silent, though I'm sure you did not suspect that I ever forget you for even a day. And I wished to send you my good wishes for the new year. With much love


     I am beginning to feel very grand for I was advertised among the "crack contributors" to the Independent. Isn't that a step ahead!*


"crack contributors"  Jewett refers to the Independent beginning to list her among its well-known contributors in advertising future issues.

The manuscript of this letter is held by Special Collections at Colby College.  It was transcribed in 1986 by curator Fraser Cocks, with some later corrections by an anonymous hand.  Further corrections, notes and annotations by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Mellen Chamberlain

April 9, 1875

            I have been in Boston again since my long visit. It was last week and I only stayed two or three days. I went down to see Ristori and I enjoyed her most heartily. I saw her play Marie Antoinette and Mary Stuart.* The first play was almost unbearably sad and though I didn't take refuge in tears like my neighbors, I was a day or two "getting over it." I thought of you and Mrs. Chamberlain while I was in the city but I had little time and did not see half my friends.

            I was so glad to hear through Helen Bell* that you are "going abroad." I am sure you will enjoy it so much, and you may be certain that I send you my best wishes. I hope you will have a splendid time and that your plans may all come true, or else something better happen in their places. I hope to go some day myself, but the older I grow, the longer I am content to wait, for I wish to know more than I do now about what I am going to see. I am sorry that you will not be one of the party at "the Cove"* this summer. I shall miss you there, but "good times" rarely repeat themselves I find, and so I am always sorry to have any pleasure come to an end for though I hope for other good things, it is a little sad to have to say goodbye to any one good time in particular. I often think of: "In every end there is also a beginning."*  I associate it with "On the Heights"* but I have a doubt just now as I write whether I found it there or somewhere else.

            As for my collection of Autographs it grows slowly. Mrs. Waterston gave me a charming note of Mr. Longfellow's when I was in Boston and Miss Quincy* has promised to save some for me. I find that I grow more interested in them, and yet it is better fun to get them than it is to have them.

            I must say goodbye now. Please give my kindest regards to Mrs. Chamberlain. If the family knew I am writing they would add some messages I am sure. If you have time while you are gone I should be gladder than ever to hear from you. I went to the Atheneum [sic] the other day with Father and remembered our sojourn there with great pleasure. Father was much edified by my wisdom!

            With the best wishes for your journeys . . . 


Adelaide Ristori ... Marie Antoinette ... Mary Stuart:
    Adelaide Ristori (
1822-1906) was a distinguished Italian tragedienne.  Wikipedia show illustrations of Ristori in her roles as Marie Antoinette and Mary Stuart.

    Paolo Giacometti
(1816–1882) was an Italian dramatist.  In The World's Progress (1896),  William C. King says that Ristori first brought Giacometti's Marie Antionette  to New York in 1867.  She returned with this play and others to New York in 1875 for a nine-month tour of the United States.  A playbill from the Boston Globe Theatre indicates that she performed there in early April of 1875.

    Friedrich Schiller's Mary Stuart
is a verse tragedy telling the story of Mary, Queen of Scots. Link to text of the play.

Helen Bell:  Jewett knew two women named Helen Bell.  For Helen Choate Bell, see CorrespondentsIt seems more likely, however, that this mutual acquaintance of Jewett and Chamberlain would be the daughter of the politician, Charles H. Bell, Helen (Mrs. Harold North) Fowler (1848-1909).

"In every end there is also a beginning."  I associate it with "On the Heights"On the Heights (1865) is by Berthold Auerbach (1812-1882) and translated by Fanny Elizabeth Bunnett (c. 1832-1875).  Though there are passages in this text that connect with the sentiment of the widely quoted proverb Jewett remembers here, this quotation does not appear in Bunnett's translation. One might suspect that Jewett is remembering a line of Schiller's Mary Stuart, whose queen's motto was: "In my end is my beginning," but that line apparently does not appear in the play.

the Cove:  Summer home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Bell at Little Boar's Head in North Hampton, NH.
Mrs. Waterston ... Mr. Longfellow's ... Miss Quincy:
    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) was an American poet, perhaps best remembered for his long narrative poems such as The Song of Hiawatha (1855). He was probably the best-known and most respected American poet of the nineteenth century.  Jewett, through Annie Fields, eventually became friends with his daughter, Alice.
    Among Longfellow's correspondents was the Rev. Robert Cassie Waterston (1812-1893), who also corresponded with Ralph Waldo Emerson.  He was married to the poet Anna C. Quincy, daughter of Josiah Quincy III.
    The Quincy family was prominent in Boston in the 19th century; notable among Jewett's contemporaries and likely acquaintances was the lawyer poet Josiah Phillips Quincy (1829-1910) who became mayor of Boston (1895-1899).  It seems likely that the "Miss Quincy" who might give interesting autographs to Jewett in 1875 would be Eliza Susan Quincy (1798-1884), the artist and author, the oldest sister of Anna C. Quincy, but this is by no means certain.

Atheneum: Wikipedia says the Boston Athenaeum "is one of the oldest independent libraries in the United States. ...The institution was founded in 1807 by the Anthology Club of Boston, Massachusetts.It is located at 10 1/2 Beacon Street on Beacon Hill."

This letter, transcribed by John Alden, originally appeared in Boston Public Library Quarterly 9 (1957): 86-96.  It is reprinted here courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/Rare Books.  Alden introduces this letter: 
            The friendship thus begun in 1874 was no mere summer's encounter, for in a letter of April 9 of the following year, written on her return from a visit to Boston, Miss Jewett refers to seeing Chamberlain on an earlier trip: he appears to have taken her to the Boston Athenaeum.* The actress who occasioned the recent trip was the famous Italian, Adelaide Ristori; the plays, Giacometti's Marie Antoinette and Schiller's Mary Stuart:
  Alden omits the salutations and signatures in his transcriptions.

 SOJ to Georgina Halliburton

South Berwick
        13 April 1875*

Dear Georgie

    Before I begin my work this morning I wish to have a little talk with you.  I was ever so glad to get your note and all the more so because I did not expect it that night.  I was very glad to see the 'blue paper' I assure you!  I have missed you very much since I came home and have thought of your talks a great deal.  I hope it will not be so very long before we see each other again.  I am delighted when I think if your going to Boston and I hope

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you will have the loveliest of all your visits there, and I shall expect to hear all about it by and bye -- I told Hatty Seeger* that you are to be at 23 Marlboro St.  That's right, isn't it?  She is ever so glad you are coming and says she shall see you very soon.  I hope you will see Kate and Ellen.*  I wish if you have time you would go to see Kate, Georgie -- I think she would be greatly pleased and she is very pitiful it seems to me.  She doesn't seem to make new friends readily now and though the larger part is her own fault, it is just as bad or even more so -- I think it must

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do her good to see any body like you -- and she [ corrected from they ] needs a great deal of 'scarlet'* evidently -- since she has fallen into a way of living which makes her own life a dull cloudy color and casts a shadow over her friends.  I thought just now that it would be fun sometime to compare our friends and acquaintances to different colors! -- I wrote Ellen a long letter a day or two since and talked about Kate in it -- not scolding at her or making fun of her, but because I pitied her and felt so strongly that she needs help.  I hope to hear from Ellen [ written over Kate ] sometime this week.  I don't think she realizes that Kate is drifting the wrong way, for she likes to

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take care of her, and the more Kate depends upon her, the more tenderly she feels.  But you know all this and so I will talk about something else --

    I am going to finish "Seashore Cronies" and then if I have sufficient courage I shall begin our story.*  I have had another cold since I left you and I have felt too stupid to do anything, but I am ever so much better this morning.  I find how much this series of 'colds' has taken out of me -- when I try to write and especially when these warmer spring days come -- but I shall get on all right and it is no use to worry.  I am afraid I

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shall soon be good for nothing but visiting my friends! -----

Wednesday.  I didn't finish my letter yesterday, as I meant to do but I hope to be forgiven!  I meant to write you more in the evening but I was writing ^nearly^ all day and had my German lesson beside.  So I was tired enough in the evening to go to bed early.  I had another nice letter from Prof. Parsons* yesterday, indeed I have had ever so many nice letters lately and I ought to take at least three days to pay my debts in.  I really should like to take one day every week

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for my letters -- but then I never should feel like writing, that day.

I am at work now on "Sea-shore Cronies{.}"  I wish you were here so I could read what I have written to you and talk it over.  I hope it is going to be nice.  I must say good-bye though I always find it hard to stop when I once begin talking to you!  I hope you will have a perfectly lovely visit, and will not lunch with him.*  I believe he is there Wednesday. Poor soul!  I think we are rather hard upon him.  My heart relents when I think how unappreciative we must seem.  But you and I understand each other, don't we

Yours always with truest love

Sarah --


1875:  This transcription is uncertain.  Jewett's handwriting admits of reading the date as 1876 or 1878 as well as 1875.  My choice is based upon Jewett's discussion of "Sea-shore Cronies," a sketch that presumably became "Deephaven Cronies" and was published in September 1875.
    This may be confirmed by noting that 13 April is clear in the ms., and that Jewett indicates that she completed the letter on Wednesday.  13 April fell on Tuesday in 1875, but not in 1876 or 1878.

Hatty Seeger: C. Carroll Hollis says that Hatty Seeger probably is Harriet Woodworth Seeger (b. 1843?), a schoolteacher and Jewett friend from Boston.  If this identification is correct, then her parents were Harriet Woodworth Foot (1814-1843) and Dr. Edwin Seeger (1811-1866).

Kate and Ellen: Kate de C. Birckhead and  Ellen Francis Mason. See Correspondents.

scarlet:  In her sketch, "A Color Cure" (1882), Jewett says: "Scarlet is most invigorating and cheering in its effect upon the human mind. Let us imagine a person in most feeble condition, who has suffered some terrible strain or other, who cannot bear even the most delicate treatment with tonics. The skillful doctor of this new school reads the case at a glance and orders a very few minutes of the red room to be administered with great care. The light is shaded at first, and the duration and brilliancy of the color are increased from day to day, until the recovery is completed."

our story: Which story Jewett refers to is difficult to know.  Jewett published only a few stories between April 1875 and the release of her novel, Deephaven, in 1877.  Perhaps there is something autobiographical in "Deephaven Excursions" (1876).  Perhaps this story was published much later, if at all.

Prof. Parsons:  Theophilus Parsons.  See Correspondents.

he:  The identity of this person is as yet unknown.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Houghton Library of Harvard University, Cambridge, MA: Sarah Orne Jewett correspondence, 1861-1930. MS Am 1743 (260).

William Dean Howells to SOJ

Editorial Office of
The Atlantic Monthly
The Riverside Press
Cambridge, Mass

                            May 21, 1875

Dear Miss Jewett:

    Your paper is perfectly charming.  You've worked in the old material skilfully and the new is good.  You've got an uncommon feeling for talk -- I hear your people.  And I have had a better laugh than I've enjoyed for many days at the lecture on [illegible] Manhood.*  But wasn't it too bad?  I feel as if I had delivered it.

                Yours truly

                       W. D. Howells


Manhood:  Jewett's "Deephaven Cronies" appeared in Atlantic Monthly (36:316-329), September 1875, and was collected (rearranged) in Deephaven (1877). In that sketch, the protagonists attend a lecture on "The Elements of True Manhood."

This text is from transcriptions from mixed repositories, Letters from Sarah Orne Jewett, 1875-1890, folder 63, Burton Trafton Jewett Research Collection. For more information about the individual transcription, contact the Maine Women Writers Collection. Notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Mellen Chamberlain

May 30, 1875

            I think you were very kind to write to me so soon, and I enjoyed your letter exceedingly. I am so glad that your sight-seeing has begun so charmingly and your letter made me wish I could be in Killarney too. Though I am in no hurry to "go abroad" for I think the longer I wait, the more I shall enjoy it and besides, there is still so much to be seen and done at home. I am still a stranger to many charming things in this little country-town of mine and it is more beautiful this spring than ever before. I have been boating a great deal and I wish you could go with me "down river." The other night I took a basket with me and put ashore wherever I pleased -- for it was high tide -- and dug fern and columbine roots, and picked anemones and violets, and then, after it was too dark for that, I rowed up river a long distance and let my boat drift down again. There was a little of an exquisite sunset left, and the birds were going to sleep and the air was sweet with the smell of willows and wild cherry blossoms. I think it would all have been as pleasant to you as it was to me.

            I must tell you something about my work as well as my play, and first, I have finished a continuation of "The Shore-house"* which perhaps you remember. I worked very hard on it and was a little tired at the last, and expected a letter of criticism in two or three weeks, so it was "ever so nice" to have a note from Mr. Howells* in less than two days, beginning with "Your paper is perfectly charming" and saying also "You have an uncommon feeling for talk. I hear your people" -- and some other charming "remarks." So I was goodnatured for several days, and I was all the better pleased because I felt I had tried to earn the praise. I am getting on slowly now with some other sketches, but I have many interruptions and sometimes I am sadly puzzled, not liking to neglect either my writing or the other things and something must be crowded out. Gardening and driving with Father and studying and sewing and visitors cannot be put off or ignored oftentimes and so the writing has to wait -- and I often feel very sorry, for the ideas and plans that come into my head are like the dreams which are clear enough when one first wakes in the morning, but which are faded out and forgotten by noon.

            I am glad you liked the verses in the Atlantic.* I do not remember however, that you said you liked them! I suppose I guessed at it from your telling me that you read them over more than once. You are right in saying that somebody would read between the lines: they were written once when I was thinking of one of my "cronies" in Boston of whom I am very fond; but I have not confessed this to anybody but the person herself. I have innocently answered when people asked if they were for any one in particular, that they would do for several of my friends -- as the Pope sends encyclical letters to the bishops! It is somewhat true -- that answer, but not strictly, so you must keep the secret.

            What do you suppose I have for a bouquet on my desk? I have just looked up and saw them: a big bunch of dandelions. I'm so fond of them, and I believe on reflection, that there is no other flower I like so well. They bring back my childhood so vividly, if indeed I need to have it brought back, when it seems to me sometimes I never have lost it! It has been hard for me to get used to being grown up.

            I wonder if I have anything to tell you in the way of news? I never have very much to tell. My letters seem to be made up of chatter about myself. We are to have Helen and Persis Bell* here as soon as they are through with a fair which is to come off in Exeter. May Gilman* was here with another small cousin of mine two or three weeks ago, and I enjoyed her more than ever. We condoled with each other tenderly because you were not to be at the Cove, and I am sure we shall miss you very much indeed. I wonder where you are?   I think you must be somewhere in England and I hope you are enjoying yourself most heartily. Thank you again for writing to me for it was a real pleasure to hear from you. The family would wish to be remembered to you if they knew I was writing ...


"The Shore-house":  "The Shore House" appeared in Atlantic Monthly (32:358-368), September 1873.  Jewett reworked it and incorporated it into Deephaven (1877).   The "continuation" was "Deephaven Cronies," which appeared in Atlantic in September 1875.

Mr. Howells:  William Dean Howells.  See Correspondents.

the verses in the Atlantic:   "Together" first appeared in Atlantic Monthly (35:590) May 1875.

Helen and Persis Bell: Sarah Almira Gilman (1827-1850), a Jewett relative from Caroline Perry Jewett's side of the family, had married the politician, Charles H. Bell  (1823 - 1893). Their daughter was Helen (Mrs. Harold North) Fowler (1848-1909). C. H. Bell's second wife, Mary E. Gray Bell (1826-1894), was the mother of Mary Persis (Mrs. Hollis Russell) Bailey (1864- ).  It appears that Mary Persis at least sometimes was called Persis.
     Bell built for his second wife a summer home, the Cove, in Little Boar's Head in North Hampton, NH.

May Gilman:  Presumably this is Mary Gilman, daughter of Mrs. Alice Dunlap Gilman.  See Correspondents.

This letter, transcribed by John Alden, originally appeared in Boston Public Library Quarterly 9 (1957): 86-96.  It is reprinted here courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/Rare Books.  Alden omits the salutations and signatures in his transcriptions.

SOJ to Mellen Chamberlain

Summer 1875

John Alden says, "During their visit to 'The Cove' that summer the Jewett girls joined other guests in an omnibus letter to Chamberlain. Sarah's contribution was a poem referring to a relative, a Mrs. Willard, known as "Aunt Long."  She introduces her lines:

            I feel that you will deeply sympathize in the feelings I have tried to express in the enclosed Lament, and send it, thinking it will be more interesting than any other addition to this letter. I hope you are enjoying yourself particularly. We have missed you very much.

Whether or not Chamberlain's sense of humor was equal to the poem we shall never know.


A Lament

                        Tune, Hamburg.*

The tides creep slowly in and out,
            The sea winds blow; the wild birds call;
Oh sweet and bright the wild rose blooms –
            There is a shadow o'er them all.

Oh, what to us the rose's bloom?
            How can we care for sea-birds' song?
Through tears we watch the restless sea
            For absent is our dear Aunt Long.

We loved to sit upon the rocks;
            To watch the waves and dashing spray,
 But sigh, for she, who oft last year
            Was spattered with us, is away.

No more we raise our voices sweet
            To that melodious darkey tune,--
There's no Aunt Long to serenade,
            And useless is the fair new moon.

Her grave behavior; solemn looks;
            The hat she wore of ample size
Sweet reminiscences by scores,
            Fond memory shows to mournful eyes.

Oh, "Herring" wails and "Gusty" howls,
            And Mary fadeth like a leaf.
Persis and Sary, pale and thin
            No longer eat, for deepest grief.

The elders strive to hide their grief --
            Her namesake steals away to cry;
The afternoons are spent in tears,
            And unavailing misery.

Her call on Thursday only served
            To make our sadness still more deep.
It passed as quick as swallow's flight,
            Or pleasing vision seen in sleep.

The roses fade upon our cheeks,
            And hushed is mirthful shout and song.
We mourn beside the sad sea waves,
            The absence of our dear Aunt Long.


Aunt Long:  The identity of Aunt Long remains unknown.  Assistance is welcome.

Tune: Hamburg:  The hymn tune "Hamburg," is credited to Lowell Mason (1824).  Perhaps the most familiar hymn sung to this tune is "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" (1707) by Isaac Watts.

This letter, transcribed by John Alden, originally appeared in Boston Public Library Quarterly 9 (1957): 86-96.  It is reprinted here courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/Rare Books.  Notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.  Alden omits the salutations and signatures in his transcriptions.

Horace Elisha Scudder to SOJ -- (5 August 1875)

My dear Miss Jewett

           I must obey my impulse to tell you how delighted I am with Deephaven Cronies in September Atlantic.  It is the real thing and I hope you will not mind what I or any one else may have said to the contrary, but go on writing in just this way, until you give us not another Cranford,* but something just as agreeable and just as idle.

          Do you ever come to Cambridge?  I wish we might see you here.  We being also Mrs. Scudder and the twins, / with minds, ma'am / who are now beginning their eighth month, small girls to whom I have just dedicated a child's book.*

          I left the firm at the beginning of the year and am given over to all manner of book and article and story making.

                                                                                                                   Ever sincerely yours

                                                                                                                             Horace E. Scudder

No. 3 Berkeley Street

          Cambridge 5 August 1875

Miss Sarah O. Jewett


Deephaven Cronies:  "Deephaven Cronies" appeared in Atlantic Monthly (36:316-329), September 1875. 

i>CranfordElizabeth Gaskell (1810 - 1865) was the British author of Cranford (1851-3), of which Wikipedia describes as a collection of sketches, "which sympathetically portray changing small town customs and values in mid Victorian England."

dedicated a child's book:  Scudder's Doings of the Bodley amily in Town and Country, published by Houghton & Co., in 1875, was dedicated to Ethel and Sylvia, the dedication including this verse:

    They came by night at the turn of the year:
    One was dark and one was fair,
    It would have been lonely for one to be here,
    So both came down the heavenly stair.

The manuscript of this letter is at the University of New England,  Maine Women Writers Collection,  Jewett Collection  correspondence corr041.-o-soj. 26.  Transcription and notes by Terry & Linda Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Horace Scudder

     South Berwick, Maine
     August 12, 1875*

    My dear Mr. Scudder:

     Your kind note reached me yesterday, and I thank you most heartily for telling me that you liked "Deephaven Cronies."1 You have always been exceedingly helpful and kind to me and I assure you I am not disposed to be unmindful of it, or to forget how much interest you have shown in my work. I am so glad that the sketch pleases you and so glad that you cared to tell me so! I mean to do the best I can and I am growing more and more interested in my writing every week. I have not seen the sketch yet, but no doubt the magazine will be published in a few days.

     I should be very glad to see you again and I wish I knew Mrs. Scudder. When I am in Boston next winter I shall be glad to accept your kind invitation and shall certainly 'make a point' of calling at No. 3 Berkeley St.

     It is very pleasant to have your praise but I should be equally glad to be warned and reproved when you find occasion. I am glad you are writing again, as glad as I was sorry that you stopped.

     Yours most sincerely,

     Sarah O. Jewett

Cary's Note

     1Atlantic Monthly, XXXVI (September 1875), 316-329; collected in Deephaven.

Additional Notes

August 12, 1875:  Richard Cary dates this letter in 1873, but there seems to be ample internal evidence that it comes from 1875.  The most obvious point is that it seems a direct response to Scudder's letter of 5 August 1875.  Also, the letter refers to Mr. and Mrs. Scudder being established at Berkeley St. in Cambridge, though their marriage took place on 30 October 1873.  And the reference to "Deephaven Cronies," about to be published in August of 1875, also seems to point to this year for this letter.

This letter is edited and annotated by Richard Cary in Sarah Orne Jewett Letters; the ms. is held by Colby College Special Collections, Waterville, Maine.  Additional notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

Sarah Jane McHenry (Howell) to SOJ

Phila.  Nov. 21st 75.*
1937 Chestnut St.

My dear Sarah,

    You will doubtless think I intend slighting you, but such is not my intention, but I  have been very busy the last few week{s} getting furniture and seeing about our house.  We have bought one in West Philadelphia, a square below Uncle [Fred's ?].*  I am perfectly delighted with it, but cannot say that I am a great advocate for the country.  I must tell you some thing of our plans, the

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thirtieth of December is Mammas thirtieth anniversary and we [propose corrected] celebrating it by [my marriage ?].  I will be married by Dr. Boardman,* the same minister who officiated at Mas.  We are going to have three bridesmaids & groomsman [intended groomsmen?].  Lizzie Crane, Mollie Smith, & Miss Howell, are [ practicing away ?].  This is about all the news I can tell you at present.  I must tell you one thing more about some presents we have received.  A new set of Gorham Silver,* also

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a pitcher, salver, & goblet of Gorham, a doz. solid knives, ladle, &  [2 unrecognized words] I think so soon we have received quite a number, don't think I am egotistical, but if ever you get into the same scrape you will feel the same.  When does Carrie expect to be married?

    Yesterday afternoon about four o'clock the whole city was excited with the tidings that the Market St. bridge* was in flames, it was too true, it caught by the

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explosion of gas, it had been burning scarcely half an hour when it fell with the most awful crash into the river, it was put out by the rain, for it just came down in torrents.  The rain still continues; I went up to see the [wreck ? corrected] and they are putting up telegraphs wires, poles, etc.  Arrangements have been made to begin to morrow to reconstruct the bridge.  Great excitement prevails about the Moody & Sankey meetings;* Ma intended going this morning but the rain prevented.  I have

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such a sick headache I can hardly see, and with [this head / check ?] I [deleted letter] am [deleted letter] not in the most delightful state of mind.  [Orne Godion ?]* has just come in and such a clatter, it is almost impossible for me to write.  The awful King about lime and all kinds of fertilizers; I expect Etta Jackman [ over ?] to our wedding.  She was over here a few weeks ago and she promised since to come; We have all been wishing for some roast oysters.  Alice* is going to get some, Do you remember the night we had the frolic, when we all got

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down on the floor{?} What a nice time we had that winter.  I should not mind going through the [ unrecognized word]. Give my love to all the family and accept a large share for your self .  Your loving friend

Sadie McHenry --


75:  This letter appears to have been composed before McHenry's marriage to William Howell, which apparently took place on 30 December of this year.

Uncle Fred:  This appears not to be a paternal uncle; but beyond that nothing is yet known of this person. 

Dr. Boardman:  Probably this is Henry Augustus Boardman (1808-1880), long-time pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, PA.

Lizzie Crane, Mollie Smith, & Miss Howell:  None of these women has been identified, though, presumably, Miss Howell would be a sister of the groom, William Howell, Jr.

Gorham Silver:  The Gorham Silver manufacturing company was founded in 1831 in Providence. RI.

Market St. bridge* was in flames:  The Market Street bridge over the Schuylkill burned on 20 November 1875.

Moody & Sankey meetings:  On 21 November 1875 "Moody and Sankey, famous religious revivalists, began a series of meetings in the old Pennsylvania freight depot, southwest corner of Thirteenth and Market Streets."  Dwight Lyman Moody (1837-1899) was a Massachusetts born Christian evangelist who established himself in Chicago, IL in the early 1870s.  At about the same time, he met the popular Pennsylvania born gospel singer and composer,  Ira David Dankey (1840 - 1908).  They became partners in evangelism, holding "revival" meetings through the United States and Great Britain from 1871.

Orne Godion ... awful King about lime and all kinds of fertilizers: This transcription of the name is uncertain, and no further enlightening information about these references has yet been discovered.

Etta Jackman:  This person has not been identified.  Assistance is welcome.

Alice:  It seems likely that Alice is a household employee, but this is not certain.

The manuscript of this letter is held by Columbia University Libraries Special Collections in the Sarah Orne Jewett letters,  Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College, from a Columbia University Libraries microfilm copy of the manuscript.

Grace Gordon (Walden) to SOJ

Boston -- Nov. 28" 1875 --

    Dear Sarah -- I am writing on the 'Missionary Book."* [so punctuated ]  Are not you pleased? -- This is really the first moment I have had to write a line -- since I received your letter.  It is only because it is Sunday evening & therefore wicked for me to sew or paint that I am not busy as busy can be for that sale which is to come off on Wednesday next & shall not I be glad that when it is over -- !  This pen is atrocious! excuse me, it is one of your making --

    I am ever so much obliged for your photograph -- it

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is so good - does not every one say so? -- Georgie* was here the other day & saw it & likes it as much as I do -- do not you like it?  I am so glad you have some struck off -- how are your Father's --?  You must [faded word ] us one --

    Aunt Elizabeth & Ellen* are here now.  Came last Monday.  We had quite a pleasant Thanksgiving Day.  Did you?  you must write & tell what you did.  We went to Ch. in the mg.*  Our "Harvest Home" was even more successful than last year, & it was so good{.} Afterward  I [see ?] the 50 boys heaped with the offerings which went [to ?] many

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poor families -- how glad they must have been.  Joseph* sent quite a handsome [unrecognized word contribution ?] -- he was here the other morning.  I do not think he is looking at all well --[as intended and ?] we were very glad to see him -- Will* to return --[ three unrecognized words ] & I had a nice walk{.}  I have seen so little of her since she has been back -- & in evening we all went out to the [ Sleepers ?]* -- after having all the "Proffesers"* [so it appears] to dinner -- There was nothing wildly exciting but you see -- there never is in a family party -- Tell Mary* please, that, thanks to her, my eyes are ever so much better -- well I call

[ Page 4 ]

them, though they still trouble me when I get tired -- This is a very poor apology for a letter dear Sarah, but I thought I would not [ deleted letters ] let another day go by without a few lines at least.  I will write longer next time -- write to me soon -- won't you? --  It is just "porridge time"-- & I must go to brs --*

    Grace --

"Love to Mary " ----


"Missionary Book":  This ambiguous reference is not resolved in the letter.  Two likely possibilities are that Gordon is using a book about Christian missions as a portable writing desk, or that she is reporting on her work preparing a book to be sold at a fund-raising sale for church missions.

Georgie:  Georgina Halliburton.  See Correspondents.

Aunt Elizabeth & Ellen:  Gordon's relatives are not yet known.  Ellen may be a cousin, daughter of Elizabeth.  Elizabeth may be the wife of one of her paternal uncles: Nathaniel, John, Stephen, and George, or she may be a sister to Gordon's mother.

Ch. in the mg:  Church in the morning.

"Harvest Home": The Harvest Home festival in the United States generally has been incorporated into the Thanksgiving holiday, though in European history, it has occurred at other times during the late summer and autumn.  Gordon seems to refer to a celebration at her Boston church that included expressing gratitude for well-being and providing charity to the needy.

Joseph:  This person has not been identified.

Will:  The transcription at this point is uncertain.  If Gordon intends a name, this person is not yet known.

[ Sleepers ?]:  Though the transcription is uncertain, this probably refers to the family of her mother, Katherine Sleeper.

"Proffesers": Gordon's meaning is uncertain.  Professors in her context could refer to university scholar/teachers or to members of her family's church.

brs: breakfast.

Mary:  Mary Rice Jewett.  See Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Columbia University (New York) Library in Special Collections, Jewett.  Transcription from a microfilm copy and annotation by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Anna Laurens Dawes

South Berwick1
21 Dec. 1875

Dear Anna

    You see I keep to the fashion of our tender farewell and discard forever the formal “Miss.” I wish to tell you about the circular I promised you and which no doubt you have entirely forgotten. However I must try to keep my promise all the same! I mean the society for the encouragement of study at home*-- you remember we were talking about it one day? I wrote to my friend Ellen Mason2 to send me some circulars for you but though I have two letters since she has quite forgotten to put them in. She is busy-- and I don't suppose that when I mention them again I should get them for a week or so, and the truth is I can no longer put off telling how dreadfully edified Mary3 and I were with your sweet note and your lovely appreciation of the item I had sent. I knew in an instant what you referred to in "Baddeck"4 and it was capital! How did you happen to think of it? Mary and I had such a laugh and I went up in the book closet in the garret and sought for the Atlantic and brought it down to Mary's room in triumph. I wish you had been there-- and indeed I have wished I could see you a dozen times. Didn't we have a good time! I have heard twice from 'the bride,' 5 once from Washington and once from home. She appears cheerful doesn't she? Only think of Alice's6 going to Paris.

I have been very quiet since I came home and did not do anything during the first week as making eight visits in less than three weeks is apt to lessen one's enthusiasm. I had some blessed good times though! Last week and this I have been writing with great diligence and have never felt more like it. Isn’t it nice to be busy? Which question I am proud to ask being woefully lazy by nature. Did you know you have another friend in Berwick beside the Jewetts? Mrs. Burleigh,7 -- who goes to Congress-- and she told me the other day to give her love to you. I wonder if you have gone to Washington yet -- I have forgotten when you told me you were to leave. I must stop writing-- but you don't know how much I wish this could have been a talk instead of a letter. I wish I could see more of you. I hope you will have a pleasant winter. Don't you want to send me a little letter one of these days? though I know it is a great deal to ask of such a busy girl. Only I know you wouldn't write if you didn't care to do so & I have confidence in your sincerity. "Are you asleep?" "Good night Pet!"

Yours sincerely


Mary sends ever so much love to you-- and desires to say that that was a sweet note of yours, and she hopes you will lose none of your interest in good reading while you are in Washington.

 Hollis's Notes

1 Most of these letters were written from the Jewett home, and for subsequent letters there seems no reason to repeat this address. Similarly, although the signature varies from Sarah O. Jewett to Sarah to S. O. J., there is no apparent relation of the form used to the tone of the letter, so the concluding name is omitted.

2 Ellen Mason of Boston and Newport was a longtime friend whose many social and charitable enterprises are mentioned throughout this correspondence.

3 Mary Jewett, two years older than Sarah, enjoyed many of the same friendships. She also was at Ella Walworth's wedding where the two sisters met Anna Dawes.

4 Under the heading "Recent Literature" In Atlantic Monthly, XXXV (June 1875), 737-738, an anonymous critic (probably Howells) reviews Baedeker’s Handbook for Travelers (Boston: J. R. Osgood, 1875). The genial commentator remarks humorously on the value of Baedeker's and its American counterpart (also reviewed) for American tourists and especially for honeymoon couples.

5 The bride was Ella Walworth Little. She seems to have been a favorite friend of both Sarah and Anna, and at her home each had been a frequent guest.

6 Alice Walworth, Ella's younger sister, was apparently something of a problem in the Walworth household. Subsequent references reveal that Sarah and Anna finally came to dislike her, although earlier they had taken her side in family differences.

7 John H. Burleigh was a Member of Congress from 1873 to 1877. In Berwick the Burleighs were a well known family who ran the town industry, the woolen mill, and lived in a locally famous estate on Powderhouse Hill.

Additional Notes

society for the encouragement of study at home: Anna Eliot Ticknor (1823-1896) founded the Society to Encourage Studies at home in Boston in 1873.  This first correspondence school united states offered women access
college courses.

This letter was transcribed and annotated by C. Carroll Hollis.  It appeared in "Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett to Anna Laurens Dawes," Colby Library Quarterly No. 3 (1968): 97-138.  It is in the Henry Laurens Dawes Papers in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress.  Additional notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

Mary Mapes Dodge to SOJ.

[Letterhead, with “Dec 21” and “5” (after 187) written in for the date.]


          St. Nicholas,

[SCRIBNER & CO., 743 & 745 BROADWAY.]

                             New York, Dec 21 1875 -

My dear Miss Jewett

                   Your bright little owl story is accepted with pleasure for St. Nicholas, though we have taken out one episode which we felt marred the story.  I send it to you, thinking you might like to use the verses elsewhere.

          If you do not approve of this change (though really the story is charming & complete without these pages as the “joining" can be made perfect) or you prefer to have the MS entire to use elsewhere, you have but to say so, & it shall be promptly forwarded.

          Entre nous, though these verses & the relative letter-press are so well managed that they might pass, I have more than once rejected MSS on account of a point being made jocularly, of cooking and eating mice, & have so stated to the authors (my personal friends) & so I hardly feel ^that^ it would be 'fair play' to make an exception now --  This much by way of explanation so that you may acquit me of the possible charge of undue squeamishness --

          With hearty greetings, in view of the coming Xmas,

                   Yours truly

                   Mary Mapes Dodge.

Shall we We shall send you a 'proof' of the story before it appears in St. N.

With the letter is the returned portion of the manuscript, two pages from "The Pepper Owl."  The first page, the prose paragraph, has a line through it diagonally top left to bottom right.


 One of the dolls whose name was Adeline and who wore a plaid silk dress with a black lace cape, had a gift for repeating poetry: she also made up verses herself sometimes.  She was very obliging and not at all shy, so when some of the company asked her to say something she began at once to repeat this poem which she said she had lately learned.  


          As I was walking through a grove

          I saw the sweetest fowl!
His head was round, his eyes were big
He looked so graceful on his twig,
          It was a charming owl.

He bobbed his head to me and said;
          "Do you live in a house?" --
"Of course" I said  "My lovely bird." --
"Don't wait to speak another word,
          Let's go there for a mouse!"

He took my hand: he whispered low
          "A hungry bird am I."
I told the cook to serve some mice
One broiled, two baked, three roasted nice
          And four mice in a pie. 


When that dear owl had eaten all
          He sweetly smiled and said
"I love a friend who treats me so.
And when I'm hungry I shall know
          Where I can be well fed.


 In all the world I truly think
          There's nothing half so dear
So beautiful as good mice pies
You were an angel in disguise
          Who kindly brought me here.



The Pepper Owl:  "The Pepper Owl" appeared in St. Nicholas in June 1876 (3:492-496).

The manuscript of this letter is at the University of New England,  Maine Women Writers Collection,  Jewett Collection  correspondence corr047-0-soj. 32.  Transcription and notes by Terry & Linda Heller,  Coe College

Anna Laurens Dawes to SOJ

Washington, D. C.

Dec. 23, 1875

My Dear Sara--1

A merry Xmas to you and your sister. I wish I could say it to you. However letters are almost as good.

Your charming and characteristic letter was a sort of stirrup cup as I started for this place. The plain English of which remarkable expression is that it was brought to me after I was already seated in the cars-- and put me into a most exhilarated state of mind. I shall be only too glad to buy your epistles with the depreciated paper currency in which I deal myself, and count it a kind thought on the part of my Fates which made it necessary to explain Miss Mason's silence.2

I wish that young woman had remembered however-- for I hadn't forgotten by any means: & if ever I am through with the accumulated horrors of the dressmaker, the dentist, the holidays, & the like I hope to spend some of my mornings in study.* I confess however that I have a sort of childish dread of exposing my studying to perfect strangers, beside an idea founded on past experience that regular hours are an impossibility to me; at least until I go to live in my Chateau en Espagne. You have no idea what an enviable person you are -- with your opportunities to be "busy" and your ability to improve them.

Social life is in a quiescent state as yet. A few vigorous people are "making as many calls as they can before New Years," or getting a few dinner parties "off their hands," but the whirl has not yet commenced. Mrs. Robeson* called the other day, but I am sorry to say that I was out. It doesn’t make any material difference however, as I presume I shall have another opportunity before the season is over. Indeed I do know Mrs. Burleigh.* I like her too. Don't you remember I said I knew somebody in S. Berwick, but alas for any advantage it might be to me with Mrs. B. I couldn't remember who! Is she coming on this winter?

Our bride is an old married woman by this time, and apparently likes it better than ever. After all said & done, I don't feel particularly attracted, do you? I always did admire St. Paul, & I agree with him that the unmarried state is "better." I am not strong minded either! And Alice is on the other side. Happy mortal! I think it is just the thing for her too, don't you? What a fine family that is and what fine attachés they have too. Did ever girls find better husbands than George Little and Wallace Pierce? 3

I must stop, though I feel inclined to run on indefinitely. Do write to me someday soon, and if you will ask a lot of questions I will try to write a letter that will interest you.  My love to your sister, please.

Very sincerely yours,

Anna L. Dawes 

Do you remember our conversation on the education of working people -- please to laugh, for it has been my stock in trade for some time!!!! My address is simply to Father's care.

Hollis's Notes

1 This spelling is not a simple mistake, for the envelopes of both letters spell the name correctly. Probably the name was part of some teasing in reference to Sara Jewett, the actress, on whom see Richard Cary, Sarah Orne Jewett Letters (Waterville, Maine, 1967), 45, 46.

2 Reference is to Sarah’s paragraph of explanation about the missing circulars for a home study course which Ellen Mason* was to have forwarded.

3 George Little had married Ella Walworth, and another of Ella’s sisters, Stella Louise, was engaged to Wallace Pierce.

Additional Notes

mornings in study:  Dawes refers to Jewett's promise to send her a circular from The Society to Encourage Studies at Home.  See Jewett's letter of 21 December.

Ellen Mason: Anna Eliot Ticknor (1823-1896) founded the Society to Encourage Studies at home in Boston in 1873.  This first correspondence school united states offered women access college courses.  Ellen Mason was among the founders of this organization.  See Correspondents.

Mrs. Robeson:  It seems likely that in Washington, DC in 1875, this would be Mary Isabella Ogston Aulick (1840 - 1910),who was widowed in 1872, when she married George Maxwell Robeson (1829-1897), who, among other government offices, served as Secretary of the Navy (1869-1877) in the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant.

Mrs. Burleigh:  Hollis explains that John H. Burleigh was a "Member of Congress from 1873 to 1877. In Berwick the Burleighs were a well known family who ran ... the woolen mill, and lived in a locally famous estate on Powderhouse Hill."

This letter was transcribed and annotated by C. Carroll Hollis.  It appeared in "Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett to Anna Laurens Dawes," Colby Library Quarterly No. 3 (1968): 97-138.  The manuscript is held by the Columbia University Library.  Additional notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

Grace Gordon (Walden) to SOJ
5 Walnut St. Boston.
December 28. 1875 --

Dear Sarah:

    I am so glad you like the photograph book -- the letter case is a perfect beauty.  Such a nice size & just the thing. Ever so many thanks for it.  Your letter was very interesting & did indeed remind me of "old times" -- how interesting some of our old letters would be to read over now -- for they were so like journals, telling everything.  I think -- I must read some of

[ Page 2 ]

them over -- some time -- when I am over troubled with too much time!  Will that ever be--! not till I'm 92, I know -- & then my eyesight will be too dim for me to decipher the old faded writing.  I'm glad you had such a pleasant Christmas -- mine did not seem much like Christmas to me -- for some reason -- I can not tell exactly why either -- I think the weather had something to do with it --  Christmas Eve was [ made real to ?  two unrecognized words ] -- & I had such a

[ Page 3 ]

pleasant "little time" -- Arthur Walden,* the little four year old, had a Christmas [ tree ?]*  --  all to himself -- & I was the only guest -- It was so pretty to see him -- It was a little tree -- (why do I insist upon spelling tree with three e's -- ) just big enough to put upon the table. A nice little, full, sturdy tree -- all lighted up & hung with little things for Artie  & the rest -- Artie was with some difficulty induced to remain upstairs till all was ready -- then such a ringing of sleighbells announced

[ Page 4 ]

the arrival of SantaClaus [ so written ].  & when Artie first saw him he was peeping out behind the tree.  All dressed up in furs -- a round, fat, little man -- with a long beard, all glittery with frost --[he ?] stopped one moment only & looking at Artie, with his finger on one side of  his nose, wished "A Merry Christmas to all & to all a good night"* -- & disappeared.   Artie stood perfectly wonderstruck -- looking after him -- & listening to the retreating sleighbells, then said "KrisKringle [so written ], & I have seen him!"  It was so [ cunning ? ] & he believed it all so fully --

[ Page 5 ]

Lionel* took the part of Santaclaus & did it so well -- but Artie's belief in it all & the enjoyment of the Children made it a real Christmas Eve to me -- The next day I went to Ch.  I heard a very fine sermon from Mr. Walden -- * which of course I enjoyed -- but first I must tell you my first act Christmas mg.  It was to take some flowers to Mrs. Harvey!* -- but she is ill Sarah, so you'll forgive & forget --I should not have done it if she'd been well -- After Ch. I went in & wish [intended wished ? ] Bessie* a "Merrie Christmas" {,} also the Waldens -- We did not

[ Page 6 ]

dine at Kitty's* as she was not well enough to have us -- but we were all there in the [evening ? ]* --  I dined there, or rather I went there to dine -- but was so tired that I rested on the sofa upstairs till dessert & then went down & took a cup of coffee which set me up for the rest of the [ evening ? ].  We had quite a pleasant time -- & I had some very pretty presents --  We did not go into expensive presents [ much ? ] this year -- every one is feeling so poor -- And yet, inspite [ so written ] of the "hard times"* -- never did I see the shops so full of

[ Page 7 ]

costly things -- & never did I see them so full of people -- or the streets so crowded --

I want to see you{r} stories..  When shall I?

Now that Christmas is over, Epiphany is coming, & with it the festival for our Sunday School -- in the mean time packing boxes -- missionary boxes.* After that is over I wonder if there will be a lull -- I hope so, for there is so much that I want to do --

Papa came home on Friday, from Cheshire.*

[ Page 8 ]

where he had been for more than two weeks -- I suppose you know that Mr. Brown,* up there, died -- Papa goes again next week I believe.  Imagine him of all people being for a moment in those cold regions --.

Must say good night.

"love to Mary"* & happy New Year to you all



Arthur Walden: Arthur Treadwell Walden (1871-1947).

tree:  Gordon uses the word four times in this passage.  The first two are blotted, bnt all of them look very much like "tree."  However, as she explains with the third appearance, she intends to write either "teee" or "treee," before clarifying that she is speaking of a tree and not a tea party.  Perhaps she is transcribing the four-year-old's pronunciation?

good night:  Gordon draws upon the popular poem, "A Visit from Saint Nicholas" (1823).  The poem narrates the magical visit of a mythical bringer of gifts to children on Christmas Eve.  Alternate names for St. Nicholas are Santa Claus and Kris Kringle.

Lionel:  This person has not yet been identified.

Mr. Walden:  In 1876, Gordon's future husband, Jacob Treadwell Walden (1830-1918), was rector at St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal Church, Boston.  He was then married to Elizabeth Leighton Law, who died in 1883.

Mrs. Harvey:  This may be Elizabeth French (Mrs. Peter) Harvey (1813-1901).  See also Peter Harvey.

Bessie:  This person has not yet been identified.

Kitty's:  This may be Katherine Sleeper Walden (1862-1949), or perhaps Gordon's own older sister, Kate Gordon Hoffendahl.

evening:  Here and in similar instances in this letter, Gordon appears to have written "eving," perhaps an abbreviation for evening.

hard times:  Probably Gordon refers to what is now called "The Panic of 1873," which began a 6 year depression in North America and Europe.

missionary boxes: Probably this refers to "home missionary boxes," in which donated goods were packaged for "home" missionaries to deliver to the needy in a local community.  Similar boxes for foreign missions were more complicated and, therefore, less likely to be packed in local churches.

Cheshire:  Gordon's father, George William Gordon, was, in 1876, the proprietor of the Berkshire Quartz Sand Mining Company in Cheshire, MA. 

Mr. Brown: The identity of Mr. Brown is not yet known.  It seems likely that he had something to do with the Berkshire Quartz Sand Mining Company.

Mary:  Mary Rice Jewett.  See Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Columbia University (New York) Library in Special Collections, Jewett.  Transcription from a microfilm copy and annotation by Terry Heller, Coe College.

Edited by Terry Heller, Coe College.

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