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Sarah Orne Jewett Letters of 1879

SOJ to Charlotte Alice Baker

3 March 1879

Dear Miss Baker

    Thank you so much for the flowers which perfectly delighted me.  I wish you could have seen the roses in a vase which I think was made for them -- They were all so lovely, and I enjoyed handling them, and looking at them, and smelling t hem, and having them more than I can tell you.  And they were all flowers that I like

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dearly.  It was very kind of you --  I have been off for a long drive today [up corrected ] into the Agamenticus region* and round into the upper part of York & home across the hills which you will remember.  I dont know that I ever had a better 'sleigh ride' only for one thing: "The General"* kicked up a bit of ice which struck

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me in the eye and I find it doesn't feel very well this evening --  I got your note and the paper* [in written over by ?] the seven o'clock mail, and it would have been better if I had answered it then but I was in the midst of a book I wanted to finish, and now my eye seems to be finished too! so I shall have to say goodnight.

    I had a very long letter

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from A. Dawes* lately but I haven't had a chance to answer it, though she will be at home at once now -- I suppose --  I wish you & Miss Lane* had been here tonight.  My mother and I have just finished our little late supper of ale & biscuits, and the moon shines in & the fire isnt out in the fire place though it is late.  We are alone now as my sisters are away --

    Good night again & God bless you.

Yours most affly


Baker:  That this is Charlotte Alice Baker is not certain, though she seems to be the only person named "Baker" with whom Jewett corresponded in the 1870s.  The mention of "Miss Lane" (Susan Minot Lane) supports this speculation.

Agamenticus region:  The town of South Berwick, ME stands near Mt. Agamenticus, the highest point in York County, ME.

"The General":  Jewett seems to have put this name in quotation marks, but this is not certain.  This presumably is a Jewett family horse, but no further information as yet known about this animal.

the paper:  While there is no clear evidence to identify this paper, it is the case that in 1879, Baker published “Historical Sketch of Christina Otis” in History and Proceedings of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Volume 1, pp. 445-467.

A. Dawes:  Anna Dawes. See Correspondents.

Miss Lane:  Susan Minot Lane.  See Charlotte Alice Baker in Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Small Library, University of Virginia, Special Collections MSS 6218, Sarah Orne Jewett Papers.  Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Lillian May Munger

8 March 1879
My dear Lily

    I wrote, after some time had passed, to Miss Rounds* and I told her something of what I have learned myself about writing.  When I see you I'll tell you more about it ^ (what I said --)^.  Her chief fault is that she is young! -- I remember I used to feel very much injured if any body said that to me, but I see now plainly enough that one must have more personal experience of the world than [we ?] can have at sixteen, before one can do much that is really good in the way of writing -- [But corrected ] it is

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none the less dependent upon hard work and patience, though one has a "gift" for it --  I was glad to get your last letter and meant to answer it soon, but you must take the will for the deed. I have written more or less this winter and I have been away once for three weeks ^at Exeter^ & once for a shorter time at Portsmouth.  I have had a good many letters to write as you may imagine, and I have tried very [deleted word] hard to keep well so I could stay here through the winter -- One of my friends in Washington* will not give me up and keeps insisting that

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I must come there! -- and I should like it very much on some accounts.  I am glad that I gave up going to Florida though I would have enjoyed it very much.  They seem glad to have me at home and I have been glad to be here --  I am going to Boston for a little while soon but I think there is no doubt that I shall be here when you come this way.  And I shall be so glad to see you dear -- You must spend part of your time with me, you know --  I will only send you a note today -- and it will be "more love than letter" at that!  Give my kindest regards to your mother and to Annie* & all --

Yours always S. O. J.

[ Back of page 1 ]

Write to me soon, wont you dear?


Miss Rounds:  This person has not been identified.

friends in Washington:  Among Jewett's friends sometimes in Washington, D.C. were Mary Bucklin Davenport Claflin and Anna Laurens Dawes. Jewett spent part of February 1878 in the capital. See Correspondents.

Annie:  Munger's older sister. See Munger in Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Small Library, University of Virginia, Special Collections MSS 6218, Sarah Orne Jewett Papers.  The envelope associated with this letter is addressed to Millbury, MA.  Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Lillian May Munger

South Berwick
1 May 1879

My dear Lily

    I was very glad to get your letter and as I read it I wondered if you knew how different you are from the girl I first knew you! [so written]  It is just the change I hoped and believed would come in time, but my dear child do not you find that the horizon widens as you go on and that there are troubles and temptations as great and even greater than ever?  It is God's law of growth -- we cannot get beyond these perplexities and disappointments

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and anxieties ----- We climb higher, and we see more joys, and more miseries -- -- --  This is all very general on my part, and now I wish to be very particular.  In the first place, dear, I beg you to remember your promise to me, not to overtax your self and not to forget that you must "hasten slowly" -- It would be very hard for you just now to have to take some long months of enforced idleness, and you know you are not strong, and you have been steadily at work for a long time.  So these

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new cares and interests will take the greater hold on you -- when you work very hard now you are using your capital and that one always has to feel the loss of most keenly in the end.  I know it to my cost and so do you.  And with your mother so delicate, you must remember that you ought to take great care not to go home nervous and [ sick ? ] to worry her.  You may think I am speaking far too strongly to you but I could see that you were very tired in Boston and that you felt the

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reaction a good deal.  Won't you try, dear, to rest all you can and to take things easily, and to remember that even before gaining a good record as a teacher you ought to make sure of keeping as well as you can.

    I am very happy when I think of you with your scholars, and of your new, sweet, helpful interest in them -- of your wish to come close to them -- and I look ahead to your useful loving life, for you know what it is to fight hard with self and will have the [instruction ?]

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sympathy and tenderness, for those who make mistakes and who are in the dark and who need real friendship so much, which I think every teacher ought to have.

    As for your going to Wilmington I should advise you decidedly no!  There is to some people a certain glory in going far from home -- but I fear you would find the climate anything but invigorating and your own position not half so pleasant as it would be in New England.  And you would not find such friends

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there as you will find here.  I do not think you would be able to do so much for others, or that others would help you so much in any way as here.   You dont know how great a difference there is between North and South.  And if I were you I should like to keep somewhere near my mother -- Wilmington is a good way off. -- And then if you were dissatisfied after a time and wished to return to this part of the country you would

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have to begin all over again here -- dont you see? -----

    Now don't be discouraged at the sight of so much good advice.  I do truly give it from my heart and from the best knowledge I have -- I am so anxious that nothing may come your way to hinder you . -- ---

   I have been at home a day or two over a week and the last of my visit in Boston was very pleasant -- but I caught cold and have been sick since I came back.  I am beginning

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to feel better however and as soon as it is less damp I shall be all right.  I have a good deal of work planned out this summer -- in the way of writing. -- I had a sweet little note from your Annie* acknowledging a little Easter card that I sent her.  Give my love to her and to your mother when you write --

    Goodbye dear and God bless you always -- and your work, and and [repeated] your play, and I hope you will take all you can of that!

Yrs. sincerely * affly


[ Up the left margin of page 1 ]

I hope you liked Mr. Brooks* at Easter.  I heard of you then through Mrs. Halliburton,* but I failed to see you myself. --


Annie:  Munger's older sister. See Munger in Correspondents.

Mr. Brooks:  Phillips Brooks.  See Correspondents.

Mrs. Halliburton:  Georgina Halliburton.  See Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Small Library, University of Virginia, Special Collections MSS 6218, Sarah Orne Jewett Papers.  Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Adams Davenport Claflin

South Berwick
10 May 1879

My dear Adams

    I did not answer your letter sooner because every day I have been expecting these photographs to come from Boston and I wished to send you one.  I hope you will like it.  I think people usually think them good.  I am glad to have some at last, for I have been promising to many of my friends for so long.  I have not got all the pictures yet.  The trouble about going to the fashionable photographer

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is that he keeps you waiting.

    I was so glad to get your nice long letter and to hear something about you my dear fellow, but I am so sorry you have not been well.  I wish indeed that I could have been with you in Florida.  I often thought of you and when I see you I shall ask you no end of questions.  I certainly hope to see you here this summer if all goes right, but I cant promise you much in the way of hunting.  Poor Mr. Eastman* is usually doomed

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to disappointment, but he take it very kindly for he likes to be off in the woods ^if he doesnt shoot much^.  I had a capital ride yesterday, about fifteen miles, and at least ten were through the woods.  I took John,* our man, with me and we explored cart paths to my hearts content and waded brooks to "Sheila's"* heart's sorrow -- The season is very late with us.  The buds are just starting on the trees and we are in the midst of the mayflower season.  While I suppose you are far on your way to the golden rods and

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asters!  Wont you be glad to get home again!  I wish you had been there while I was in Boston.  I was in Cambridge and Newport and Boston a month or more and I had a very nice time.  I think I never enjoyed being with my friends more.  Do tell me a little about your mother and Mary Davenport.*  I haven't heard a word from them all winter, and if it weren't for the newspapers I should be in a great puzzle.  I happened to take up a Sunday Herald a while ago which gave Mary great compliments.  I meant to send her those particulars but I didn't.  I am

[ Up the left margin of page 1 ]

going out now and must say good bye to you.  Thank you so much for your letter.  I think of you so often Addie and you know I am always yours most lovingly


Mary* wishes to be remembered to you.


Mr. Eastman:  Edwin Eastman, husband of Jewett's sister Caroline Augusta Jewett. See Correspondents.  

John: John Tucker. See Correspondents

Sheila:  Jewett's horse.

Mary Davenport: See Emma Ellis in Correspondents.  In the absence of any other known "Mary Davenport" connected with the Claflin and Ellis families, it seems possible that Jewett refers to Mrs. Ellis's daughter, Mary Agnes, by this name, to distinguish her from her step-grandmother.  Presumably something has appeared in the Boston Sunday Herald about Mary Davenport, but this article has not been located.  Assistance is welcome.

Mary:  Mary Rice Jewett. See Correspondents.  

The manuscript of this letter is held by Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in the  Governor William and Mary Claflin Papers,  GA-9, Box 4, Miscellaneous Folder J.  Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

OJ to Henry Mills Alden

     South Berwick, Maine
     June 21, [1879]

    Dear Sir:

     I enclose some verses1 though I think you may say you have enough of my writing already.

     Yours sincerely,

     Sarah O. Jewett


     1"A Night in June," identified by a notation on page 4 of the letter. Alden rejected the poem and it was later published in the Christian Union, XXII (July 7, 1880), 4.

    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.

SOJ to Mary Bucklin Davenport Claflin

South Berwick
6 July 1879
Dear Mrs. Claflin

    Will you take dear Sarah* in for a day and night this week if she will be good, and fetch particulars?  I hardly dare to go away at all on Carrie's* account, but she is much better than she has been and I ought to go to Boston

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to see Mr. Osgood --*  in fact I ought to have gone before{.}    Besides I have promised to spend a night in Newport to see Ellen Mason* before she goes away -- I cant tell you when I shall start now, but I will send either a note or telegram.  I wanted to see you and Mary* dreadfully before your note came, and

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all the more since -- and yet I have been obliged to put off my little visit from one week to another.  I am in a great hurry to see Addie* and I shall be so disappointed if he  [ Intended "she"?] is not at home.  Freeland* surprised us yesterday by walking in -- grown very much and as restless as ever -- poor little fellow!

    With love to all
Yours ever

[Sarah O. Jewett. in another hand]


Sarah:  Jewett seems to refer to herself.

Carrie:  Carrie Jewett Eastman.  See Correspondents.

Mr. Osgood:  James Ripley Osgood.  See Correspondents.

Ellen Mason:  See Correspondents.

Mary:  The identity of this Mary remains uncertain, but seems likely that she is the daughter of  Emma Harding Claflin Ellis.  See Correspondents.

Addie: Jewett mentions an Addie in a 15 March 1877 letter to her sister Mary, in which Addie is closely associated with Mary Claflin's step-daughter, Emma Ellis, but seems clearly differentiated from Mrs. Ellis's daughters, Mary and Annie.   Note that in this letter, Jewett indicates that Addie is male, which suggests this may be a nickname for Mary Claflin's son and Mrs. Ellis's half-brother, Adams Davenport Claflin (1862-1910).

Freeland:  The identity of this person is uncertain, but it seems likely this is Freeland Jewett (1865- ), the son of Annie Freeland (1841- 1871 or 1874) and Dr. Charles Cogswell Jewett (1831-1884).  As the dates indicate, Freeland would have lost his mother when he was between 6 and 9, and at the time of this letter would have been 14.  Find-a-Grave and the History and Genealogy of the Jewetts in America (Vol 2, p, 650) give different death dates for Mrs. Jewett.

The manuscript of this letter is held by Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in the  Governor William and Mary Claflin Papers,  GA-9, Box 4, Miscellaneous Folder J.  Transcription and annotation by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to William Dean Howells

South Berwick, Maine
30 July 1879

My dear Mr. Howells
    Thank you with all my heart for your very kind and pleasant letter which I was so glad to have.  I am delighted that you have liked my stories and I am half glad and half sorry to know that there is another Georgie.*  -- Of course a good deal of what I said about mine was suggested by the rest!  but my little fellow really did like going out alone for lobsters better than playing with other children ashore.

    It was not true about the auction or the tea party though you will be sure that, living here in the country as I do, within a few miles of the sea, I have had a great many friends and a great many experiences which bear a strong likeness to those two.  I was so much interested in what you said of the girls who took such pleasure in hearing your talks about books.  I am always glad when people are fond of reading!  and when a life is shut in to very narrow bounds in the country I think books give perhaps the greatest pleasure.  But I am writing you too long a letter.  Only I must thank you again and say how kind I think you were to write me as you did.

Yours sincerely

Sarah O. Jewett.


another Georgie:  Jewett refers to her short story, "A Bit of Shore Life," which appeared in Atlantic in August of 1879.  There is an auction in this story, but not an actual tea party.

A note on this transcription indicates that the original is in the: Joseph A. Howells Collection of the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library.  It is listed in "Incoming Correspondence I-K" in Howells, William Dean -- Gilded Age Collections 487, GA20 at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center. 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 Anna Laurens Dawes

1 Sept 1879

Dear Anna

            I beg pardon for not having answered your letter sooner, but I have written very few letters as I had to be busy with some stories & we have had people staying here and I have been on the fly a good deal of the time. And first I must tell you that I am afraid I cannot go to you this fall -- much as I would like it -- there are one or two short visits I must make before cold weather but I shall be away from home as little as possible -- both because I think I ought to be here and because I wish to write. You know how it is: if I go to you, I must make a dozen other visits, and then the next three months will be gone before I know it. I think I shall go to Newport again for a few days this month for I shall not see my friend whom I am to visit for a very long time if I do not -- as she lives very far south.* I promised her a little visit early in the summer -- and I hate to refuse when my friends ask me to come to them -- in the first place I am too selfish to be willing to give up the good times and then I am sorry to disappoint people whom I am fond of. And I have been away so often that I really at one time fell into a confirmed habit of visiting!

I should like to have you here now to go out riding with me. I enjoy my horse more and more and I have ridden more this summer than ever before. I had her down at York for a week this last month and it was great fun -- I used to go off by myself almost every evening for two hours or so; the York roads are much better for riding than these in Berwick. Do you still like your horse? I got a new phaeton this sum­mer for Sheila* -- a light little gig which she whisks along joyfully. I dont like to make her pull anything heavy for I think it is bad for a saddle horse. I am so glad you liked the stories. I have some new ones almost ready and I am to begin my proofs in a week or two. The other day I found I had written eighty-five pages -- letters and all -- and I came down stairs as late as usual in the morning and did ever so many things beside. Most of it was first writing of course, for I copy much more slowly than that. I believe I have never enjoyed writing more, and after this month I shall have a good deal more time for it. I think there must be twenty or thirty people coming here before cold weather. I tried to count up yesterday and keep thinking of one and another. We had very few here through July and August or rather through July -- on my sister's account. Did you know that I have a nephew? 1 He is a very fine baby but I suppose I shall not be so disinclined to touch him when he is a year older. I like him very much however -- & he is named for my father.

I  wonder if you are going to W. this winter?* I don't know whether I should like another glimpse of it or not -- though I always like to think of my winter there or rather my two months. I saw a good deal of Maidie Devens at York* this summer and I have a greater fancy for her than ever. It seems to me there was some one else -- no matter! I had the nicest letter a while ago from Ella Walworth that I ever had in my life (and it ought to be answered too!). Isn't it funny that she and Mrs. Goddard should have been boarding down at Nantucket together? Mrs. Goddard spoke so kindly of Ella and seemed to be delighted with her. I haven't heard from the Horsfords for some time. I promised to go down to Shelter Island but when Lilian wrote me about coming I had to give it up though 1 hope I shall see them before winter -- I grow fonder and fonder of them all.

I believe John Burleigh goes on worse and worse -- I did honestly try to help that fellow -- but it seemed to be no use at all. -- There are so many things I wish I could say to you -- I hope all goes well with you. I suppose you are as busy as I with visitors and with your 'own affairs' though I wonder when we draw the line between our only & other peoples! It is a puzzle sometimes to me -- but I grow more certain that I cannot write so much as I do and do everything that other girls do beside. Write to me when you can, and I always say from my heart God bless you!

Yours sincerely and affly


far south:  Richard Cary notes that Jewett's close friends, the sisters Ellen and Ida Mason, had homes on Boston's Beacon Hill and in Newport, R.I. While neither of these is likely to be the friend who lives "very far south," it is likely that this unnamed friend was their guest in Newport.

Sheila:  Jewett's first horse.

nephew: Theodore Jewett Eastman, who years later was to become the trustee of the Jewett Family Papers.  See Correspondents.

W. this winter:  Anna Dawes's father, Henry L. Dawes, served as Republican U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, 1875-1893.  The family usually resided in Washington, D.C. during the terms of the Senate. See Correspondents.

Maidie Devens:  Little has been learned about Maidie Devens.  The Cambridge (MA) Historical Society has published "Recollections of the Cambridge Social Dramatic Club" (1960) by Richard W. Hall.  Hall notes that Maidie Devens, along with Alice Longfellow, "starred" in the club's first performance, on February 1, 1877, of The Critic.  It is possible that she was Mary Devens (1857-1920), the prominent American photographer who, according to Wikipedia became "a founding member of Alfred Stieglitz’s famed Photo-Secession."  As the daughter of a prominent Cambridge family and a professional, she was likely to have associated with the Cambridge Social Dramatic Club and to be known to Jewett.  Further information is welcome.

Ella Walworth ... Mrs. Goddard:  For Ella Walworth Little, see Correspondents.  Martha LeBaron Goddard (1829-1888) was the compiler, along with Harriet Waters Preston, of Sea and Shore: A Collection of Poems (1874).

the Horsfords ...  Shelter Island ... Lilian: See Correspondents, Eben Norton Horsford.

John Burleigh:  In his notes for a July 7, 1878 letter to Dawes, Hollis says: John H. Burleigh (1822-1879), the Maine congressman from South Berwick, had died a year earlier, and I imagine the reference here is to a son who perhaps had remained in Washington. A later reference, in the letter of September 1, 1879, indicates that young Burleigh had some personal difficulty, perhaps a drinking problem."  John H. Burleigh did, indeed, have a son, John Micajah Burleigh (1854- ), who graduated from Willliams College in 1878 and married Lulu Dickerson in 1880 and who became a businessman in South Berwick. What Jewett was trying unsuccessfully to help him with remains unknown. Assistance is welcome.  See Who's who in New England (1915), p. 186.

This letter was transcribed and annotated by C. Carroll Hollis, with additional notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.  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.

SOJ to Lilian May Munger

South Berwick 17 Nov '79*

My dear Lily

    I thanked you so heartily in my thoughts for these roses that it flashed though my mind only yesterday, that I had never told you so by letter how much pleased I was at your remembering me.  It was such a lovely thing* for you to do dear, and I did appreciate it as much as you could possibly wish.  I am shocked at myself for forgetting to write you, but indeed I thanked you over and over again{.}

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They looked very fresh and lovely and bright when I opened the box, but they were tired with their long journey and did not last as long after I took them out as I wish they would have, though I had some of them here on my desk until two or three days ago. --    I heard in a roundabout way that you had written a little paper for Zion's Herald* -- was it true and why didn't you tell me about it? I

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shall be very anxious to see it.  Wont you tell me what number it was, so I may [find ?] and get it? or if you will send me yours I will read it and return it to you at once -- I have been busy as ever lately, and [just corrected] now I am dress-making for I have never had a chance yet to get ready for winter!  I am going to Boston in a fortnight, for a very short visit and then I am coming home to do nothing but write for a good many weeks -- and you must wish

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me good luck!

    I am so glad you are growing contented and I think of you very often.  I wish I could see you this minute, for it was such a hurried visit last summer, and I had hoped to see a great deal of you.  Do you know I have a new book out -- Old Friends & New -- (with Miss Sydney's Flowers in it!)* and it is getting on capitally.  Do write soon, and I will not count this a letter {--} it is only an apology -- and a kiss!

Yours always affly
Sarah O. Jewett


'79:  The envelope accompanying this letter is addressed to Tileston Normal School, Wilmington, NC.

thing:  Jewett may have put "thing" in quotation marks, but it is difficult to be sure.

Zion's HeraldWikipedia says that the Zion's Herald, now The Progressive Christian, founded in 1823, was published under that title in the period of 1868 - c.2003 by the Methodist Episcopal Church.  Whether Lilian Munger published a paper there in 1879 or ever is not yet known.

unreadable line:  This line probably is readable in the original penciled manuscript, but it barely registers on the microfilm copy.

Old Friends & New ... Miss Sydney's Flowers:  Jewett's first collection for stories for adult readers appeared in 1879.  "Miss Sydney's Flowers" first appeared in The Independent (26:1-4) for July 16, 1874.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Small Library, University of Virginia, Special Collections MSS 6218, Sarah Orne Jewett Papers.  Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Adams Davenport Claflin

South Berwick
2n Dec. 1879

My dear Adams

    I thank you very much for the photograph which came this morning.  I should like to see the bicycle itself and its owner better than the picture!  I wonder if both are enjoying the smooth Washington pavements

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just now!  I should think you would spend your time in going back and forth from the Capitol & Georgetown!

    Thank you too, for the invitation to your Ball at Philadelphia* which came here while I was away.  I have been gone for three weeks and made

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a short visit in Portsmouth before that.  I never go there that I dont think of the bean-poppers!* and do you remember the drive home and the little green apples!  I have no hope of either riding or driving much for some time to come for there is a good deal of snow and I have

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to keep in the house, but I have a new habit just home from Hollander's* and I shall be fine enough to make up when I do ride out again.  I am going to send a letter to Mary Davenport* tomorrow and I shall tell her about my Boston visit which I enjoyed immensely. 

    Good night, and I send you no end of good wishes for Christmas and the New Year, dear Addie.

Yours always affly
S. O. Jewett


Ball at Philadelphia:  Adams Claflin turned 17 years old in 1879. It is unknown as yet to which ball he might have invited Jewett.

bean-poppers:  In the nineteenth century, a bean-popper may have been a kind of sling-shot.  Assistance is welcome.

Hollander's:  This is likely L. P. Hollander & Co., Boston dealers in dry goods and men's and women's apparel, established in 1848 by M. T. Hollander.  See The Book of Boston (1916), p. 335.

Mary Davenport: See Emma Ellis in Correspondents.  In the absence of any other known "Mary Davenport" connected with the Claflin and Ellis families, it seems possible that Jewett refers to Mrs. Ellis's daughter, Mary Agnes, by this name, to distinguish her from her step-grandmother.

This letter is written on black-bordered stationary.  The manuscript is held by Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in the Governor William and Mary Claflin Papers,  GA-9, Box 4, Miscellaneous Folder J.  Transcription and annotation by Terry Heller, Coe College.

December 3, 1879
Atlantic Monthly dinner to honor Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. on his 70th birthday.

Paula Blanchard identifies this as an important inception date in the friendship of Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields, who both attended this dinner. Blanchard says:  "Annie ... afterwards wrote to Ellen Mason how particularly she enjoyed seeing Miss Jewett.  Actually, Ellen reported that Annie had been 'delighted ... to make your acquaintance' [Ellen Mason to SOJ, Mar. 2 (1880)].  Blanchard notes that there is evidence Fields and Jewett had become acquainted by 1877 (Sarah Orne Jewett 113-4).

John Greenleaf Whittier to SOJ

Oak Knoll Danvers
12 Mo 30 1879

My dear Friend,

    I am glad to get thy charming book from thy own hand.  I have read "Deephaven"* over half a dozen times and always with gratitude to thee for such a book -- so simple, pure, & so true to Nature.  And "Old Friends & New"* I shall certainly read as often.  When tired & worried I resort to thy books and find rest & refreshing. 

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I recommend them to every body, & every body likes them.  There is no dissenting opinion; & already thousands whom thee have never seen love the author as well as her books.

    I wish thee had taken {in} Oak Knoll on thy way from Boston.

    Remember me to thy sister whom I met at Mrs Claflin's*  & take for thyself all the good wishes of thy friend.

John G. Whittier


12 Mo 30 1879:  Whittier uses the Quaker dating system, giving the day and the number of the month.  This letter is written on lined paper.
    A transcriber's note reads: "the first paragraph of this letter appears verbatim in Pollard 413, footnoted there as appearing in Picard." Samuel Thomas Pickard and John A. Pollard are Whittier biographers.

Deephaven:  Jewett's first novel appeared in the spring of 1877.

Old Friends and New:  Jewett's collection of short works appeared in 1879.

thy sister whom I met at Mrs Claflin's:  At the home of Mary Bucklin Davenport Claflin, Whittier is likely to have met Mary Rice Jewett.  See Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the South Berwick Public Library, South Berwick, ME.  Transcription by John Richardson.  Annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College.

Edited by Terry Heller, Coe College.

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