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1887    1889
Sarah Orne Jewett Letters of 1888

SOJ to Anna Loring Dresel

[ 2 January 1888 ]

Dear Mrs. Dresel

    Can you give the bearer the address of the nurse you had lately -- unless you know that she is already taking care of someone?  I am sorry to say that Mrs. Fields is still so ill that she needs

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somebody beside me -- In haste with love

Sarah O. Jewett

148 Charles St.
Monday morning

[ Apparently on the outside of the folded note ]

Mrs Dresel
376 Beacon St.
or Miss Dresel

Wait for answer --


1888:  In the upper right corner of page 1, appear the month and year in what looks like the same ink, but not certainly in the same hand, as the rest of the letter; this is not Jewett's characteristic way of dating her letters. The composition date is inferred from the other letters Jewett wrote reporting on the illness of Annie Fields at the beginning of 1888.

Mrs. Fields: Annie Adams Fields.  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 Louisa Loring Dresel

148 Charles Street
Tuesday morning
[ 3 January 1888]*

My dear Loulie

    We've been having a little  hospital too! for Mrs. Fields* is ill in bed with such a bad cold that at one time she was threatened with a worse ailment.  She is a great deal better today however and wishes me to tell you how affectionately she thanks you for your beautiful new present.  It could not

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have come in a better time for she has enjoyed it so much and we both look at it from hour to hour and keep it in plainest sight in her room -- She will thank you later herself, but she could not leave you in doubt any longer about how very much pleased and touched she is by your kindness --

    I hope that Mrs.

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Dresel is better by this time?  I enjoyed Ellis's* call very particularly on Sunday.  I wish that  he could come oftener -- I must leave everything else to be said when I see you and I hope that will be soon --

    With best new year wishes.

Yours lovingly
         S. O. J.

And I must say again how I delight in my Christmas photographs --


:  In the upper left corner of page 1, appear the month and year in what looks like the same ink, but not certainly in the same hand, as the rest of the letter; this is not Jewett's characteristic way of dating her letters.

Mrs. Fields: Annie Adams Fields.  See Correspondents.

Ellis's:  Dresel's brother.  See Dresel 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 Louisa Loring Dresel

Wednesday Evig [so it appears]
[ 4 January 1888 ]

Dear Loulie

    I have disconnected my invalid's bell* from the one that rings "below stairs{"} -- I think you can find a place to do it if you look on the landing or if not you can just snip the upstairs wire & have it wired together again when you

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get ready -- You see my mind is intent upon [moving ?] !  My invalid does not grow any worse which is something to be very thankful for, but pneumonia is such a treacherous foe that I never feel very easy.

    We got a nurse and she does very well

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and by another day will be of [even ?] more use -- Miss Cochrane* is here & helps me wonderfully -- in ways that the nurse cannot, out door things &c -- How nice about your nurse liking my stories! ----  Goodbye dear Loulie -- Thank Mr. Dresel for coming & give my love to Mamma --  It

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has been very nice to have this little talk with you.

S. O. J.


1888:  In the upper left corner of page 1, appear the month and year in what looks like the same ink, but not certainly in the same hand, as the rest of the letter; this is not Jewett's characteristic way of dating her letters.

invalid's bell:  Jewett's invalid is Annie Adams Fields.  See Correspondents.  In a few weeks, she will take Mrs. Fields south.

Miss Cochrane:  Jessie Cochrane.  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 Anna Laurens Dawes

148 Charles Street Boston

January 1888

Dear Anna

I happened to see the number of the American Hebrew this morning at the memorial to Miss Lazarus* and your letter reminds me of your own pamphlet about the Jews in general!1 — you know that you prom¬ised me a copy, and wrote me about a new edition* that was to be waited for. I did not answer for I thought D. L. & Co. would be sending the little book along but it has never come.

When I was reminded of it again this morning I said to myself that I would hunt it up for I have always wished to see it. When I reflected that you might really have thought that I had it all this time and never said a word about it! So this by way of a sign of life, and to say that you are not to take any trouble, and if the pamphlet is not at hand -- next time I go down Franklin St. I will speak with D. L. & Co. & thank you kindly all the same.

Alice is --  I should think -- a trifle more selfish and unbearable than ever. That seems to be an illness which has “a complete lack of moral basis” for its only cause!

With which kind judgment I will conclude!

Yours sincerely


1 Anna had written a long article for the American Hebrew which had been reprinted and bound for separate distribution. Anna Laurens Dawes (1851-1938) had a small reputation as a writer herself, although her jour¬nalistic career began after the correspondence with Sarah had passed its high period. She wrote numerous articles for Century, Critic, Harper’s, Lend-a-Hand, and Outlook in the 1880s and 1890s, as well as the following books: The Modern Jew, His Present and Future (New York, 1884), 36 pp. (Reprinted from the American Hebrew); How We Are Governed: An Ex¬planation of the Constitution and Government of the United States (Boston, 1885), 423 pp. (Went through five editions up to 1896); Charles Sumner (New York, 1892), 330 pp. (Makers of America Series). Other aspects of her interesting career may be found in the obituary notice in Publisher's Weekly, 134 (October 1, 1938), 1291.

Editor's Notes

memorial to Miss Lazarus:  The American Jewish poet Emma Lazarus (July 22, 1849 - November 19, 1887), was author of "The New Colossus," the sonnet that eventually appeared on the plaque of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.  The American Hebrew, published weekly, presented a memorial issue for Emma Lazarus on 9 December 1887 (Bette Roth Young, Emma Lazarus in Her World: Life and Letters, 1997, p. 221).  Dawes contributed a piece to this issue, as did a number of Jewett acquaintances, including: Mary Mapes Dodge, Edmund Stedman, Charles Dudley Warner, and John Greenleaf Whittier (Young, p. 225).
    Presumably, the memorial event in Boston took place between 9 December 1887 and the end of January 1888.  Further information is welcome.

new edition:  A second edition of The Modern Jew, His Present and Future, published by D. Lothrop, appeared in 1886.

Alice:  Hollis reports that Alice Walworth, sister of their mutual friend Ella Walworth Little, "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." 

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.

SOJ to the Editors of America

148 Charles St. Boston
27 January 1888

Editors of The American*


    I send the story A Player Queen ( or A Tavern Garden whichever you please) and I ask you to pardon the look of the manuscript which should have been put through a final revision and copying.  I find I

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cannot do that just now for which I am very sorry, but I think that you will not find much trouble in making it out although it is a little [fumbled ?] -- I enclose stamps in case you like to return it --  Allow me to give my very best wishes for the American's success; it seems to me that such a paper as you propose is very much needed -----

Yours sincerely

            S. O. Jewett.


American: Jewett has erred in writing the name of the magazine, or perhaps it was not clear what the magazine's name would be at the time she wrote.  Her story appeared in America 1 (July 28, 1888) 6-8, with the title, "A Player Queen."

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 John Geenleaf Whittier

148 Charles Street

[February 1, 1888]


Dear Friend:

     A. F. says she:1 Tell him to take a glass of milk and a tablespoonful of Saint Croix rum* and gently combine them and add four good-sized lumps of sugar, stirring slowly. Then drink and be thankful at 11 A.M. (bitters) and ten P.M. (nightcap).

     And I did mean to write you earlier this day, but your dear note makes my pen go faster. I have just seen daylight after a very big cold, and when one's head tries to be as big as the gas house (like the frog in the fable that also tried such experiments)* letters are apt to be put aside. The cold gave me a nice excuse for staying by the fire in dear A.F.'s room, and to tell the truth I shall find it hard to give up her best society and take my chances of less interesting people out in the world again! She gains steadily and has even begun to sit up. We keep a peat fire, do you know how nice it is? Let's buy a peat bog and go into business!

     Miss Cochrane2 and I enjoyed seeing Phebe* so much the other day. I hope she will always run in when she comes to town, it is so nice to see her and to hear from you. Goodnight, and take A. F.'s best love and mine. She says, "I wonder if he has any first rate rum???" Which means that there are those who know where there is some!!

S. O. J.


1 Miss Jewett's italic is due to the fact that Mrs. Fields was herself quite ill at this time. Whittier had written Miss Jewett that he had not known of Mrs. Fields's condition, and that he had been "too ill anyway to read or write for the last three weeks." (Cary, "More Whittier Letters," p. 136.)

2 Jessie Cochrane, a talented amateur pianist from Louisville, Kentucky, was a frequent guest in the Boston and Man¬chester homes of Mrs. Fields.

Editor's Notes

Saint Croix rum:  Also known as Cruzan Rum, distilled in Saint Croix in the U. S. Virgin Islands since 1760.

frog in the fable:  Jewett probably refers to Aesop's fable, "The Frog and the Ox," in which a frog attempts to inflate himself to equal an ox in size, and explodes in the attempt.

Phebe:  Cary says: "Phebe Woodman Grantham was the adopted daughter of Whittier's cousin Abby J. Woodman. In her childhood she lived at Oak Knoll and was the object of much affection by Whittier, who wrote the poem "Red Riding Hood" for her. She became extremely possessive of Whittier in later life and, from accounts in Albert Mordell's biography and a letter by Miss Jewett to Samuel T. Pickard, could be un¬seemly sharp in defending her interest."

This letter was transcribed and annotated by Richard Cary, and first published in  "'Yours Always Lovingly': Sarah Orne Jewett to John Greenleaf Whittier,"  Essex Institute Historical Collections 107 (1971): 412-50. This article was reprinted at the Sarah Orne Jewett Text Project by permission of the library of the American Antiquarian Society and the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.


SOJ to John Geenleaf Whittier 

Saturday morning

[February 4, 1888]

     I send you a word to tell you, dear friend, that Mrs. Fields* is getting on very well, and sits up more and longer every day and begins to look like herself again. You don't say anything about that Santa Cruz rum!* Phebe* will send me a word (on the edge of a circular!) to let A. F. know if she may send you any.

     We both send love at any rate. I watch the boys skating on the river and think wistfully of my river at home and how I should like to go along under the bank on that edging of smooth ice with an alder bough to whip me in the face now and then. I hope that you are getting over the blows of a worse whip called neuralgia? but winter is half over and we shall be playing outdoors again before long.

Yours affectionately,


Mr. Lowell was here a long time in the twilight yesterday and sat here by the bedroom fire with A.F. and read us a beautiful poem about Turner's picture of the old ship Téméraire. He said it was for the Atlantic.1

Cary's Note

1. James Russell Lowell, "Turner's Old Téméraire," Atlantic Monthly, LXI (April 1888), 482-483. Whittier responded gaily to Mrs. Fields: "I am delighted to have such a favorable report from thee by Sarah's nice letter. Sitting by the peat fire, listening to Lowell's reading of his own verses! A convalescent princess with her minstrel in attendance!" (Pickard, Life and Letters, II, 731.)

Additional Notes

Mrs. Fields:  Annie Adams Fields, also A. F. See Correspondents.

Santa Cruz rum:  In her letter to Whittier of 1 February, Jewett refers to Saint Croix rum.  Presumably she means the same here. Saint Croix rum also is known as Cruzan Rum, distilled in Saint Croix in the U. S. Virgin Islands since 1760. 

Phebe:  Cary says: "Phebe Woodman Grantham was the adopted daughter of Whittier's cousin Abby J. Woodman. In her childhood she lived at Oak Knoll and was the object of much affection by Whittier, who wrote the poem "Red Riding Hood" for her. She became extremely possessive of Whittier in later life and, from accounts in Albert Mordell's biography and a letter by Miss Jewett to Samuel T. Pickard, could be un¬seemly sharp in defending her interest."

This letter was transcribed and annotated by Richard Cary, and first published in  "'Yours Always Lovingly': Sarah Orne Jewett to John Greenleaf Whittier,"  Essex Institute Historical Collections 107 (1971): 412-50. This article was reprinted at the Sarah Orne Jewett Text Project by permission of the library of the American Antiquarian Society and the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.

  SOJ to Anna Laurens Dawes

148 Charles Street

Boston 5th February [1888]1

Dear Anna

I did get the Modern Jew at last!* I should have told you so weeks ago but I have been very much taken into a habit of hurried early morning note writing by Mrs. Fields’* long illness, so that I find it hard to begin to write letters again. I was very much interested in your essay -- and I was tempted to ask you to give me some titles of books so that I could go on growing wise as to this great subject. Indeed it is far too great for one to be bound by ignorant prejudice as I have been; it is such a good hit at me when you ask whether I am willing to have America represented by the typical Yankee! I have heard Mr. Lowell* say the most interesting things about the growing political power of the Jewish race and I believe that he has an uncommon liking for tracing unsuspected lines of Jewish heredity!

Thank you very much for the essay --  I shall beg Mrs. Fields to read it when she is equal to essays again. I have been here since the holidays and have only been at home once but Berwick was going on well without me. I am hoping that Mary* will be here for a time later in the season. I have not seen Ella* lately -- I think that she must be in the South as she told me that she was journeying that way. I suppose that you are in the middle of the season? but I must not forget to tell you that I read your Lend-a-Hand paper2 with great satisfaction the other day.

Ever yours sincerely,



1 Although no year is given, the reference to The Modern Jew indicates that this note follows the letter of January 8, 1888.*  Dawes had written a long article for the American Hebrew which had been reprinted and bound for separate distribution.

2 Anna Dawes appeared a number of times in the religious, up-lift magazine Lend-a-Hand, so that the particular item Sarah read and admired can¬not be identified.*

Editor's Notes

1888:  Jewett's reference to the memorial for Emma Lazarus in her January letter to Dawes suggests that Jewett has been awaiting a copy of the December 9, 1887 Lazarus memorial issue of The American Hebrew to which Dawes contributed.

Mrs. Fields:  Annie Adams Fields, also A. F. See Correspondents.

Mr. Lowell:  James Russell Lowell. See Correspondents.

Mary:  Mary Rice Jewett. See Correspondents.

Ella:  Ella Walworth Little. See Correspondents.

: It seems probable that Dawes sent Jewett a copy of her most recent article in Lend a Hand, "The Union for Home Work in Pittsfield, Mass." in volume 3 (February 1888), pp. 75-80.

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.

SOJ to Edmund Clarence Stedman

148 Charles Street
Boston 10 February 1888

Dear Mr. Stedman

    I think you heartily for your most kind and friendly letter.  I have delayed and delayed answering it because I wished to look over my stories carefully and make sure of getting the very best bit of work I have done -- But Mrs. Fields's* illness (and more

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particularly her getting wellness!) took so much of my time and thought that I cannot arrive at any hour or two ^that^ I am willing to spend over the works of this minor author --

    However! -- for a short story I am tempted to let you read Miss Tempy's Watchers which is already in print for

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the March Atlantic.* Mr. Aldrich is good enough to like it very much, and it would be convenient as to its length.  I like An Autumn Holiday* in the volume called Country By-ways, (and that is short too) -- An Only Son* is as good work, I believe, as I have ever done -- and you will find that in The Mate of the Daylight.  I should like to choose some

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pages from A Marsh Island* perhaps beginning at the top of page 184 and going to the end of the chapter -- or a page or two following 134 -- And in A Country Doctor* a page or two beginning at page 21 or at 260 or 322 or from the chapter called At Dr. Leslie's --

    Pardon this hurried letter: indeed there is much more that I wish to say --

     but believe me yours sincerely

Sarah O. Jewett


Miss Tempy's Watchers:  Jewett's story appeared in Atlantic in March 1888.  This letter concerns Stedman's plan to include Jewett in his multi-volume collection, A Library of American Literature from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time.  Volume 10 appeared in 1889.  It finally included a photograph of Jewett (after p. 514) and two of her pieces: "Miss Tempy's Watchers" and the poem, "A Child's Grave" (pp. 510-18).

Mrs Fields:  Annie Adams Fields.  She was so ill in early 1888 that Jewett accompanied her to Florida to recuperate. See Correspondents.

An Autumn Holiday:  Jewett's short story first appeared in Harper's Magazine in October 1880.  She included it in her volume, Country By-Ways in 1881.

An Only Son:  Jewett's short story first appeared in Atlantic Monthly in November 1883.  She included it in her volume, The Mate of the Daylight in 1883.

A Marsh Island: Jewett's novel appeared in 1885.

A Country Doctor: Jewett's novel appeared in 1884.

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 Willis Boyd Allen

 148 Charles Street
 23 February 1888 *

Dear Mr. Allen

I find your kind note and the March number of the Cottage Hearth on my return to town yesterday.  I thank both you and the author for the personal sketch which is written in such thoughtful and kindly spirit.1 Sometimes one is inclined to misquote Wordsworth and say "Alas the praises of new!" instead of "Alas, the gratitude,"2  Please do not forget to thank "John Kent for me" -- 3

 -- I have not forgoten [misspelled] that formerly I half promised the Cottage Hearth a sketch -- and it happens that just now I have an uncommonly short one nearly done which seems to me the sort of thing that you could use. The name is New Neighbors and the price would ordinarily be $100.4  but I do not know what you would think about that.  It will be somewhere just over 500 words. Please let me know by Saturday if you would care to print it for otherwise I must hurry it off elsewhere. If I do not hear from you I shall understand that you cannot now make room for an unexpected bit of work.

With best wishes for the continued success of your magazine

Believe me Yours truly

Sarah Orne Jewett


1Nagel's Bibliography of Sarah Orne Jewett does not list any such biographical sketch.

2Wordsworth's "Simon Lee, the Old Huntsman:" "Alas! the gratitude of men/Hath oftener left me mourning" (11. 95-6).

3The protagonist in Willis Boyd Allen's The Boyhood of John KentWillis Boyd Allen (1855 - 1938) was a prolific American author and lawyer.  He wrote mainly stories for young readers. He was editor of Cottage Hearth (1881-1893).

4"New Neighbors" appeared in the Washington Post (28 October, 1888, Section 14, p. 2), and was reprinted by Katherine C. Aydelott in American Literary Realism (Spring 2004, v. 36, pp. 256-268).

Editor's Notes

1888: Stoddart uncovers a problem with dating this letter, that Jewett's "New Neighbors" definitely appeared in October 1888, but Allen's The Boyhood of John Kent seems not to have seen print until 1891. However, Kathrine Adylott probably has solved this problem by locating the Cottage Hearth article to which Jewett refers: John Kent,"For the Hearth - 'Sarah Orne Jewett'." Cottage Hearth (Boston, MA) 14 (Mar 1888), 74-75.  Jewett's request to thank "John Kent" suggests that she knows Mr. Allen sometimes publishes under that name.

The manuscript of this letter is in the collection of the Miller Library of Colby College, Waterville, ME.  The transcription first appeared in Scott Frederick Stoddart's Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign: Selected Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett, copyright by Stoddart, 1988.  Annotation is by Stoddart, supplemented where appropriate by Terry Heller, Coe College.

 SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

[ Late February, or early March 1888 ]


Dear Mary

          --------------------- Heat is nothing thought of in Longacres* but that's no matter. I have been looking over Mere Pochette* with mingled sorrow and anger. I don’t know what got into Mr. Alden* not to send me the proof. It seems to hurry so at the very end and I could have set it right in such a few little minutes  --  still there are lots of things in it that I didn't know I knew and I am sure it will remind you as it does me of our lark in those strange countries.* ---------------------------------------------------------------------

                                                            S. O. J.


The hyphens at the beginning and end indicate this is an incomplete transcription.

Longacres: This location has not been identified.  Before 1904, according to Wikipedia, Times Square was named Longacre Square.  It is possible that Jewett writes from New York City at the beginning of her trip to Florida with Annie Fields, which began near the end of February, 1888.  This letter may then be from Thursday 29 February 1888. Assistance is welcome.

Mere Pochette:  Jewett's "Mère Pochette" was originally published in Harper's Magazine (76:588-597), in March 1888

Mr. Alden: Henry Mills Alden.  See Correspondents.

those strange countries:  In Sarah Orne Jewett, Paula Blanchard says that Mary and Sarah Jewett traveled in Canada, mainly Quebec, in the fall of 1884 (p. 161).

This text is from transcriptions from mixed repositories in the Maine Women Writer's Collection, University of New England, Letters from Sarah Orne Jewett, 1875-1890, Folder 74, Burton Trafton Jewett Research Collection. For more information about the individual transcription, contact the Maine Women Writers Collection.  Preparation by Linda Heller.  Notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Maria Bray

March 1, 1888

    Dear Mrs. Bray:

     The scene of A Marsh Island is somewhere within the borders of the town of Essex but even I have never succeeded in finding the exact place! Choate Island suggested the island itself, but I never went there until a year ago -- long after the story was finished. It was seeing it in the distance or perhaps earlier still noticing an 'island farm' near Rowley from a car window on the Eastern railroad, that gave me my first hint of the book.1
     Yours sincerely,
     Sarah O. Jewett


     1 The area of Massachusetts which Miss Jewett here invokes is the coastal stretch between Newburyport and Manchester in the county of Essex, a region of creeks, channels, and salt marshes much traveled and thoroughly familiar to her; the trains of the Boston & Maine Railroad (Eastern Division) ran along this route. The marsh island in her novel is situated in "Sussex" County, not far from the town of "Sussex," similarly marked by tidewater inlets and unreclaimed marshland.
     This is another example of Miss Jewett's reluctance to be pinned down to a specific source of her scenes (see Letters 8, note 4; 96, note 3).

This letter is edited and annotated by Richard Cary in Sarah Orne Jewett Letters; the ms. is held by Fales Library & Special Collections, New York University.

SOJ to Mrs. Colburn

Lakewood New Jersey
3 March 1888

Dear Madam

    I have been prevented from sending an earlier answer to your note by illness -- There was a sketch of my early surroundings &c in a late number of The Cottage Hearth* which will give you what you are seeking for I think.

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I think it was the February number.  With best wishes for your club I am

Very sincerely yours

S. O. Jewett.

    Mrs. Colburn.*


Cottage Hearth:  See John Kent. "For the Hearth - 'Sarah Orne Jewett'." Cottage Hearth (Boston, MA) 14 (Mar 1888), 74-75.

Mrs. Colburn:  Mrs. Colburn and her club remain unidentified.

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 Miss Holloway*

Lakewood New Jersey
Laurel House March 3 [1888]
Dear Mifs* Holloway

    I do not know what Messrs Houghton Mifflin & Co.* will say about the use of a story in other editions than their own, but if they do not object I am quite willing to let you choose a story for your proposed book --.  You do not say how large your "twenty pages" are -- but one of the

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shorter sketches or perhaps one so long as An Only Son* would not take up too much space -- if that is too long I would suggest An Autumn Holiday* --

Believe me
Yours very truly
S. O. Jewett.


Holloway:  This person has not been identified, nor is it known whether the project under discussion came to fruition. However, a possible candidate is Laura C. Holloway (Langford), who compiled an 1889 collection, The Woman's Story: as told by Twenty American Women.  Jewett is not included in this volume, but many of her friends and contemporaries are.  Holloway (1843-1930) was a prolific author and editor.

Mifs:  Jewett uses this style of rendering "miss" in this letter.

Houghton Mifflin:  Jewett's publisher.

An Only Son: Jewett's story appeared first in Atlantic Monthly (52:664-678), November 1883.

An Autumn Holiday:  Jewett's story appeared first in Harper's Magazine (61:683-691), October 1880.

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 Mary Rice Jewett

[Spring 1888]*

Dear Peg

            I grab a minute by the hair of its head to tell you that the address is the Laurel House Lakewood New Jersey,* and you must write the New Jersey in full.  I suppose there are other Lakewoods.  Sister always liked the story of the jealous woman who was mad because her husband began a letter Dearest Maria and said Then the monster has other dear marias!  I stepped to church this morning and left all my packing until now but friends have been sitting with me and I am now in haste.  Dear Marigold and Mrs. Whitman have been here and who should appear to see Mrs. Fields but poor little Dr. Holmes,* so affectionate and talking as hard as he could so he wouldn’t cry, and they had a great talk upstairs by the fire, while Mrs. Whitman and I sat below, and had a call to ourselves when he came down.  He was so funny about clearing out his house because Amelia* the daughter is coming to live with him.  Mrs. Whitman said “You might just as well try to clear up your front yard if your front yard was the beach with everything coming ashore!”  -- I heard a wonderful great sermon from Mr. Brooks* this morning and coming out I saw Ella Walworth* and had a bit of gossip with her in the church porch.  She said that she had a beautiful journey south, but poor Emma Caruth is just alive which seemed to sadden her a good deal.  “Bill Bacon” is now talking Charities with A. F. and I am so distracted that I must close so good by with love to Aunt Mary a genuine message because I love her twenty times more than I do most folks so there now, and am as proud as a peacock of her into the bargain, and always was, so no more at present from

                                    S. O. J.


A transcriber's note with this text reads: [to Mary].

Spring 1888:  This date is based upon the implication in this letter that Oliver Wendell Holmes's (Sr.) daughter, Amelia Jackson, is moving into his house after the death of his wife, Amelia Lee, in February 1888.  As daughter Amelia died in 1889, this letter has to come from before that date, and probably, soon after the loss of Mrs. Holmes.  Presumably, it also comes before the death of Emma Carruth on 31 May of 1888.

Peg:  As of this writing, this is the only known letter in which Jewett addresses her sister, Mary, as Peg.  However, in many letters, she nicknames her sister O.P.  Perhaps these initials stand for "Old Peg?"

Laurel House Lakewood New Jersey:  An 1865 resort hotel in Lakewood, New Jersey, where many prominent people of the period, including Oliver Wendell Holmes and Rudyard Kipling stayed..

Dear Marigold ... Mrs. Whitman ... Mrs. Fields ... Dr. Holmes: Marigold is Mary Greenwood Lodge.  Sarah Wyman Whitman, Annie Adams Fields, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr..  See Correspondents.

Amelia:  Amelia Jackson Holmes (1843–1889) was the only daughter of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., and Amelia Lee Jackson.  See Correspondents. Mrs. Holmes died on February 6, 1888.

Mr. Brooks:  Phillips Brooks.  See Correspondents.

Ella Walworth Little: See Correspondents.

Emma Caruth is just alive:  It seems likely this is Emma Carruth (1849-31 May 1888), despite the difference in spelling.  Emma Carruth was Assistant Treasurer (1873-1882) and then Treasurer of the Woman's Board of Missions of the Congregational Church (1882-1888).  Her sister, Ellen (1848-1923, followed her as treasurer (1888-1896).

“Bill Bacon” is now talking Charities with A. F. :  Not surprisingly, there were several prominent Americans named "William Bacon" in the latter part of the 19th century, including the Massachusetts State Senator John William Bacon (1818-1888).  A likely identity for the person with whom Annie Adams Fields (see Correspondents) would confer about "Charities" is the William Bacon who served on the board of directors of the Unitarian charity, the "Children's Mission to the children of the Destitute" for many years.  Assistance is welcome.

Aunt Mary: Mary Olivia Gilman Long. See Correspondents.

This text is from transcriptions from mixed repositories in the Maine Women Writer's Collection, University of New England, Letters from Sarah Orne Jewett, 1875-1890, Folder 74, Burton Trafton Jewett Research Collection. For more information about the individual transcription, contact the Maine Women Writers Collection.  Preparation by Linda Heller.  Notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

St. Augustine
[March 4, 1888]

Dear O. P.*

            Well, I didn't know there was such a place as this in America!  All the way down through the north of Florida and from Jacksonville here I had a sense of disappointment because the country seemed hardly more southern than North Carolina, except for the little palmettos on the ground, for it was flat and covered with pine woods.*  But when you get into this old town there are all the

[ Page 2 ]

queer things you see in Southern Italy or Spain it seems to me-- strange flowers and loads of roses and kinds of palm trees leaning over walls and the people are so many of them of Spanish descent that it keeps up the outlandish feeling.*  And somebody very rich of the Standard Oil Company has fallen in love with the place and built the shops and other buildings in old Spanish style and -- as for

[ Page 3 ]

the Ponce de Leon it is simply beautiful.*  You must come next year and stay there.  Mother would have such a time! There is so much to see and the sea wind is cool though the sun is so hot.  They have picked all the sweet oranges long ago but the bitter ones are left on the trees and look just as well!  Tomorrow this hotel is going to shut up so we are going to move over to the Ponce de Leon.* They

 [ Page 4 ]

say that this is much better kept in some ways, but I should like to be there to look about at my leisure.  The Lorings had friends the here.  You don't know what good times we had together.  Katherine Loring* is such a nice girl and has lived abroad a good deal and got so much out of it and is a born traveller so that we have been much the gainers.  She has made the plans and we have taken the good of them.  They live up at Pride's Crossing near [n written over b ?] Mrs

 [ Page 5 ]

Cabots* and I knew her but it was before she went off the last time about two or three years ago.    You wouldn't care much about Jacksonville -- it might be a town anywhere except for the orange trees.   We were in a first rate hotel the little time we stayed, but here there is really something to see and enjoy.  The streets are as narrow as can be for driving and the Spanish balconies poke out overhead so you

 [ Page 6 ]

can walk along in the shade of them.*     I have been dreadfully afraid of having Mrs. Fields go up the rivers or indeed to stay long here for it is really wilting hot now and too hot to have come for any length of time, but we are going to take one day's journey to where we can see the pink birds fly about.*  Florence Cushing* is here & knows K. L. also, and we have pleasing times.  I am so sorry to miss a letter to you but I was out gadding all the early part of the day until the ^last^ mail was gone.  I sigh

 [ Up the left side of p. 6 ]

 and sigh for Caddy.  Oh Caddy such joys and even [grimed ? ] hens a squawking is no more from Sister

[ Up the left side of p. 1 ]

 We haven't been to the old Spanish fort* yet but are going tomorrow or perhaps early this evening.



Peg:  Peg and O.P. were Jewett family nicknames for Mary Rice Jewett, as Seddie and Sadie were for Sarah Orne Jewett, and as Caddy and Carrie were for their youngest sister, Caroline Jewett Eastman.

through the north of Florida...:  Though Henry Flagler quickly developed his hotels in St. Augustine and the railways that would bring northerners to them, the work was not quite completed in the spring of 1888, when Jewett and Fields first visited.  For that visit, Jewett and Fields could travel by sleeper car from New York to Jacksonville.  There they would ferry across the St. John's River, and then take another quite uncomfortable train to St. Augustine.  See Thomas Graham, Mr. Flagler's St. Augustine, Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2014.

of Spanish descent:  While the Minorcan community of St. Augustine was significant in 1888, they did not form a majority of the local population.  At this early point in Jewett's acquaintance with St. Augustine, she had not yet absorbed the knowledge of the town she would gather before publishing her main story set there, "Jim's Little Woman."  See The Diverse People of "Jim's Little Woman" by Sarah Orne Jewett.

the Ponce de Leon:  As she writes this letter, Jewett has not yet stayed at the Ponce de Leon hotel, and she has not yet learned very much about Henry Flagler, a partner in Standard Oil, who was investing so heavily in the transformation of St. Augustine.

Katherine LoringKatharine Peabody Loring (1849 - 1943) of Beverly, Massachusetts, was the older sister of  Louisa Putnam Loring (1854 - 1923).  They were daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Caleb Loring. Blanchard in Sarah Orne Jewett says Katharine Loring was one of the founders of the Radcliffe College precursor, the Society to Encourage Studies at Home in 1873, where she was head of the history program (109).  Katharine Loring probably is best known as the domestic partner of Alice James (1873-92), sister of Henry and William James. Henry James, according to Leon Edel, loosely based his characters Olive Chancellor and Verena Tarrant (The Bostonians, 1885-6) upon Katharine and his sister (Henry James: A Life, pp. 308-314; see also Edel's introduction to The Diary of Alice James).

    Link to John Singer Sargent painting of Katharine and Louisa Loring.

Mrs. Cabot:  According to Richard Cary, Susan Burley Cabot (1822-1907) was a close friend of Jewett. Jewett often spent part of the winter at the older woman's home. Cabot was married to the former mayor of Salem, MA, Joseph S. Cabot (1796-1874) (Sarah Orne Jewett Letters, p. 87).  In the 1907 codicil to her will, Jewett mentions a legacy from Susan B. Cabot.  Mrs. Cabot and the Lorings lived in Massachusetts, northeast of Boston and not far from many of Jewett's and Fields's friends, such as Henry L. Pierce and Lilian and Thomas Bailey Aldrich, and near Fields's summer home at Manchester-by-the-Sea.  Note that there is some confusion about the identity of Mrs. Cabot's husband, reflected in the Joseph S. Cabot Wikipedia entry which gives him a different wife, and in her Boston Evening Transcript obituary of 23 March 1907, which gives her husband as Joseph G. Cabot, former mayor of Salem.

the pink birds fly about:  While one might assume these pink birds would be flamingos, in fact flamingos rarely are seen in Florida, especially in north Florida.  More likely, Jewett and Fields are expecting to see Roseate Spoonbills.

the Spanish provides an architectural history of St. Augustine.  Spanish home architecture in the city featured second-story balconies to provide shade and to shelter lower windows and doors from rain and wind.

Florence Cushing:  Florence Cushing (1853-1927).  This biographical note appears with the description of her papers at the Vassar College libraries:
Born in 1853 outside Boston, MA, Florence Cushing was the daughter of an esteemed family known as “The family of judges” for their participation in legal affairs. Florence Cushing was the valedictorian of her Vassar class of 1874 and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She was among the founders of the Girls’ Latin School of Boston as well as the Association of Collegiate Alumnae, which became the American Association of University Women, an organization of which she was the second president (1883-1885). She was the first alumna to sit on the Board of Trustees, and served between 1887-1894 and 1906-1912. In 1913, she was elected to life membership on the Board, a position which she held until 1923, when she became 'trustee emerita.' For her exemplary work and devotion to Vassar, Cushing Hall [now Cushing House], built in 1923, was named after her. She died at home in Norwell, MA on 20 September 1927.

Spanish fort:  Fort Marion at the north end of Bay Street, now a national monument, the Castillo San Marcos.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Houghton Library, Harvard University in Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909. 94 letters to Mary Rice Jewett; 1888-1900 & [n.d.] (Nos. 92-94 incomplete). Sarah Orne Jewett additional correspondence, 1868-1930. MS Am 1743.1 (121).

SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

Ponce de Leon,
St. Augustine -- Monday
[March 11, 1888]

 Dear O. P.

             Here we are I am thankful to say, so comfortable in this beautiful place with a big room and a little room out of it, looking out into the great Spanish court of the hotel with a big fountain and gardens and palmetto trees, and through the big arched and cloistered walk into the street.  Really it is a perfect palace of a place and though we were told again that it's [meaning its] beauty was all it had and the table was n't good we never half

 [ Page 2 ]

believed it, and had as good a dinner and breakfast as "Youngs"* could give and who need ask more?  It costs but when you feel as if you had your money's worth it gives you quite a different feeling!*  Mrs. Fields got here pretty well on the whole though she is very weak poor thing and I know she longs to be at home.  I feel as if this were the right place for her for a few days at any rate since she isn't able to start [st over other letters] on the home journey, and being so amused and pleased with the hotel that it helps along a good deal.  You feel as if you

 [ Page 3 ]


were living in a bran [instead of brand] new palace and every way you look you see something really artist-like and charming.  For instance the [deleted word] china is real china of the most lovely pattern of gold on white in little figures and such pretty shapes -- so refined, as if a lady had picked ^it^ out, and the carpets are so full and handsome* -- You will perfectly delight in it and if I don't have some of my family spending their little all in St. Augustine the latter part of next winter it will be because I can't prod 'em!!!  Mrs. Fields has said

 [ Page 4 ]

over and over that Mother must come, and how it would please Mary.  We will start Caddy with Pretty Peggy* and "her folks" and come as a whole.

             -- I was afraid after I wrote yesterday that I spoke as if I thought you had been impatient about my being gone so long, but I didn't mean it that way.  I feel the worse because you have been so good about it when I know you want me.  I would have been home long ago if I had started for mere pleasure.  And it has seemed to me some days as if I

 [ Page5 ]

were pulled almost in two!  I think it all depends upon the next few weeks or months whether Mrs. Fields ever gets strong again.  She seems to pull up a certain distance and then something pulls her back, and if she got a bad cold it would go very hard with her.  There is said to be a very good doctor* here and I am going to get her to have him come today and be sure she is on the right track about after this upset.  There goes the band -- oh how I hope this same one will be here next winter!* 

            Ever so much love from



"Youngs"Young's Hotel (1860--1927) in Boston, MA would have been familiar to the Jewett sisters. Wikipedia says:
A travel guidebook described Young's in 1895: "The main entrance to this hotel is on Court Avenue, and the hotel extends to Court Square and Court Street. It is one of the largest and best of the hotels on the European plan. One of the features of this hotel is the ladies' dining-room, the entrance to which is on the Court Street side. This is a handsomely decorated room 100 feet long and 31 feet wide. It connects with other large dining-rooms, and a cafe for gentlemen on the ground floor. This hotel is a favorite place with New Yorkers. ... Recognized as among the best [hotel restaurants in the city] are those connected with Young's Hotel, the Parker House, and the Adams House. That of Young's Hotel is very extensive, occupying a large part of the ground floor of that establishment. It has dining-rooms for ladies and gentlemen, lunch rooms, and convenient lunch and oyster counters."

It costs:  Thomas Graham in Mr. Flagler's St. Augustine reports that charges, including meals, at the Ponce de Leon ranged from $5 to $25 / person / day, which compared well with other first-class hotels.  In 1894, the nearby, less luxurious Cordova Hotel, also owned by Flagler, charged $3-$4 / person / day for a room and 3 meals.

real china ... carpets are so full and handsome:  Thomas Graham in Mr. Flagler's St. Augustine says that Clarence B. Knott was in charge of supplying the Flagler hotels in St. Augustine.  He managed large warehouses in St. Augustine, ordered materials in bulk and distributed them to hotels as needed.  These included everything from electrical parts to china, silver, linen and carpets.   "Knott would obtain samples of goods from several companies to make sure they met Mr. Flagler's high quality standards, and then he would negotiate the lowest possible price with one supplier.  For example, in 1903 Wanamakers of Philadelphia received the contract for all fabric materials, from table and bed linen to carpets and window draperies" (Chapter 17).

Mary ... Caddy ... Pretty Peggy:  Though this letter is addressed to Jewett's sister, Mary, it seems clear that she is speaking to both of her sisters, Caddy or Carrie being the younger.  The identity of Peggy is not known.  Assistance is welcome.

very good doctor:  This is likely Dr. Frank F. Smith, whom Jewett later recommends to Lilian Aldrich (see below).

the band:  Thomas Graham says that the Ponce de Leon was one of the hotels that employed bands during the winter seasons of 1888 through 1890.  During January - April period of 1888, Jewett could have heard two performances per day, morning and afternoon, of Maurice J. Joyce's Military Band, including a program of sacred music on Sunday morning (175).  These performances took place in the loggia. Joyce's band was well known, especially in New York, where he and Thomas H. Joyce were prominent entertainers at Saratoga Springs and in New York City.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Houghton Library, Harvard University in Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909. 94 letters to Mary Rice Jewett; 1888-1900 & [n.d.] (Nos. 92-94 incomplete). Sarah Orne Jewett additional correspondence, 1868-1930. MS Am 1743.1 (121).

SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

Aiken, Thursday
[ March 22, 1888]

Dear Peg,

Then Olive moved nothing with her but the worktable!*  Perhaps there was a picking up after her, but we can set down six good chairs to her account and feel she did well by us on the balance -- How that old furniture went from one house to another in old times when there wasn't so much buying of new!  Please don’t let [Siden's / Siddie's?] little chair in the pantry be used for standing upon by Philander, Mary!*  it wouldn't bear him perhaps.  I try to picture to myself the roof a 'histing and I am that pleasured about Caddy's* mule

[page 2]

mule [ repeated word  ] that I wish I could see it this minute driving by down this red and yellow road. --  Yesterday was as crisp as October and the pea vines were nipped to the sorrow and astonishment of beholders -- I have just got your Wednesday letter which skipped here amazing lively!  A. Warren didn't send the jars herself but told me that an old gentleman ^was going to ^ send them whom I saw there last year + that some big ones were coming by the next Fayal packet.*  She had an outburst of fear because she thought she had told him North Berwick, but very likely Mr. Morgan didn't get what he wanted and waited -- I grieve to have

[ page 3]

stirred you up for nothing, but it was an innycent Sister to begin with.

We mean to do the next best thing to Florida and step as far as Savannah.  What do you think of that?  We mean to break the journey North and to be free of the Vestibule train,* and we are going to stay a day or two just to see Savannah where we can get pretty easily from here, and then come up to Beaufort and we have promised to make a little two days visit to Miss Laura Towne (Mr. Darrah's sister-in-law) just out of Beaufort on one of the Sea Islands.*  Then we are coming up

[page 4]

to Charleston for a day and night and then up to Petersburg to spend a day with Mr. Lassiter,* his mother being dead and he having gone home to stay with his father and imploring us --  Then we can go up to Washington and make our little visit.  I think after Tuesday Morning you had better send one letter Wednesday to Sea Island Hotel, Beaufort, S.C. and ^also^ Thursday and Friday: and ^then^ Saturday to Charleston Hotel Charleston and after that I will tell you, but probably to Washington.  Yes, next year you and Mother and I must come down and dally along home seeing the places.  I should love it!  Really it takes hardly longer to go right through in the vestibule train to Jacksonville than from New York than it does to go in ordinary trains from here. ----- Yesterday we had

[page 5]


a nice day going to walk in the morning, and just as we came out of the woods we met Sally Norton from Cambridge, who is here with Mrs. William James and the Lorings whom we l I like so much especially Miss Katherine Loring* and we [loitered ?] round a while together, and in the afternoon we took a long drive with Mary Edmunds* out into the country to a little pottery, and it was such a picture to see the old coloured man at his potter's wheel and a great fire blazing in the end of a long cabin and all the pots and jugs set about to dry.  I must now close this letter with much love to all.  I am glad to hear such good news about Will Collins tell Annie.*  I

[page 6]

know it will make her feel happier to think he is at work again, and trying to do well. --------- -------

& gals.  These violets are enclosed by Mrs. Fields with love to you and Mother.  I wish that the little pink ones would get there without [mizzling ?] all up. We got them in the woods yesterday and they were so pretty.  I will answer your sister Eastman's letter when I get blowed up ^to begin^ again like the minister, but she shall not want for peanuts.




Olive:  This may be Olive Raynes, operator of and teacher in the popular South Berwick private elementary school that Jewett attended.  Or, more likely, Olive Grant, the Jewett sisters' dressmaker.  See Blanchard, Sarah Orne Jewett, pp. 20-21, 37, 55.

Philander:  Given that a roof seems to need repair or perhaps rebuilding, it is possible that Jewett is speaking of Philander Hartwell Fall (1833-1915).
    This note appears in an entry on "Capt. Isaac P. Fall (1830-1909), Civil War veteran, mason," at the Old Berwick Historical Society:

"Historian Marie Donahue wrote in The Old Academy on the Hill, her history of Berwick Academy, that the academy schoolhouse preceding Fogg Memorial was built in 1853 by a contractor named Ebenezer Fall. Another member of the family, Philander H. Fall (1833-1915), is listed as a building contractor in the Maine Register business directory of 1880."

Caddy:  Caddy is a family nick-name for the youngest Jewett sister, Caroline Eastman, referred to at the end of the letter as "your sister Eastman."

A. Warren … Mr. Morgan:  Warren is an old family name in the South Berwick area, but whether this person is connected with that family is not yet known.  See Gladys Hasty Carroll's Dunnybrook (1943)  for an account of the family.  Mr. Morgan also has not been identified.

Fayal packet:  Though this is not clear, it is possible Jewett refers to a packet boat that makes regular trips to a local port, such as Portsmouth or, more likely, Boston from the Portuguese Island of Faial.

vestibule train:  The development in the 1880s of technology to allow rail passengers to move between cars by connecting and enclosing the vestibules or ends of the cars made it practical to have a dining car and Pullman sleeper cars as part of a train, allowing easier long runs with fewer stops for overnight, intercity travel, such as from New York to Jacksonville, FL.  In the earlier Thursday letter from Aiken, Jewett complains about how crowded the north-bound trains are.  Changing their travel plans frees them from the difficulty of making stops on their journey north and being unable to board a later train in the same direction.

Aiken and locations Jewett plans to visit:
    It appears that Jewett and Fields did not follow the itinerary she gives here, interposing a return trip to St. Augustine by boat.

            Aiken, SC, near Augusta, GA, was a popular winter resort for New Englanders in the 19th century.  Senator George Edmunds and his family were regular residents at the Winter Colony in Aiken.  It appears the Jewett and Fields spent a good deal of their time with the Edmunds family, particularly daughter Mary.  Presumably they stayed near the Edmunds, but it is not yet known which of the many hotels and guest houses they used. Further information is welcome.

            Savannah, GA is a coastal town on the Savannah river near the South Carolina border.  The historically significant city was a popular tourist destination in the 19th century.  Savannah is about 120 miles from Aiken.

            Beaufort, SC is a coastal town near the Sea Islands, where Jewett sets her story, "The Mistress of Sydenham Plantation."  With the notes to that story is extensive information about the town, the islands, and Laura Towne.  Beaufort is about 40 miles northeast of Savannah.

            Charleston, SC holds considerable historical interest because of its age, its centrality as a port in the antebellum South, and as the site of the opening battle of the American Civil War in 1860.  It is about 70 miles northeast of Beaufort.

            Petersburg, VA, near Richmond, could have held particular interest for Annie Fields, apart from Mr. Lassiter's invitation, because in the 1880s, while Republicans continued to dominate the Virginia legislature, institutions benefiting freedmen, such as Virginia State University, in Petersburg, were flourishing.  The university's first president, John Mercer Langston, became the first African-American to represent Virginia in the United States Congress; elected in 1888, he served 1890-91.  This would seem a natural stop after their visit with Laura Towne.  Petersburg is about 400 miles north of Charleston.  From Petersburg to the final stop Jewett mentions, Washington, DC, is about 130 miles north.

Mr. Lassiter:  This is quite likely to be Francis Rives Lassiter (1866 - 1909).  Born in Petersburg, he studied law at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville and practiced briefly in Boston, before returning home in 1888.  His parents were Dr. Daniel William Lassiter and Anna Rives Heath (5 June 1835 - 6 February 1888).  He later served as a Democrat in the U.S. Congress.

Miss Laura Towne (Mr. Darrah's sister-in-law):  Blanchard in Sarah Orne Jewett says that Jewett and Fields visited "Annie's old friend Laura Towne (1825-1901), a homeopathic physician and educator who, many years earlier, had established a clinic and school on the island for its large population of freed slaves" (193-4).
            Laura Towne's sister, Ann Sophia (1819-1881), married Robert Kendall Darrah of Boston.  She became a noted American painter.  Robert K. Darrah (1818-1885), according to Memorial Biographies of  the New England Historical Society,  was a Boston merchant who became appraiser at the Custom House in 1861 (p. 211).  Annie Fields wrote an obituary piece on Mr. Darrah in 1886.

Sally Norton from Cambridge:  Sara (Sally) Norton (1864-1922) was a niece of James Russell Lowell, and the daughter of Charles Eliot Norton, (1827-1908), who was co-editor of the North American Review (1863-1868) and then professor of literature and art at Harvard University. Jewett and Sally Norton became close friends and frequent correspondents. 

Mrs. William James: The American philosopher and psychologist, William James (1842 - 1910),  married Alice Howe Gibbens (1849 - 1922)  in 1878.  For information about the impressive Mrs. James, see Alice in Jamesland: The Story of Alice Howe Gibbens James by Susan E. Gunter (Nebraska 2009).

the Lorings … Miss Katherine Loring:  Katharine Peabody Loring (1849 - 1943) of Beverly, Massachusetts.  See Correspondents.

Mary Edmunds:  Daughter of Senator George F. Edmunds.  See note on Aiken above.

the old coloured man at his potter's wheel:  The Aiken area was part of what became known as the Edgefield district for making pottery.  An important local enslaved African-American potter, Dave Drake (ca. 1801-1870s) probably predates Jewett's visit.  However, according to Brenda Baratto of the Aiken County Historical Museum of South Carolina, the date of Dave the Potter's death has not be established.  The fact that Mary Edmunds, who had some familiarity with the area, led Jewett and Fields on a long carriage ride to visit a specific African American potter suggests that this particular potter was widely known and believed to be worth visiting.  Dave -- or perhaps members of his family still making pottery -- presumably would be at or near the Pottersville site where Dave began his career, which was roughly 24 miles from the Winter Colony area of Aiken. They might easily have visited other potters nearer to Aiken's Winter Colony.  While it now seems unlikely that Jewett actually met Dave the Potter, perhaps she did.  Information about which potter Jewett may have visited would be welcome.

Will Collins tell Annie:  See Annie Collins in Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Houghton Library, Harvard University in Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909. 94 letters to Mary Rice Jewett; 1888-1900 & [n.d.] (Nos. 92-94 incomplete). Sarah Orne Jewett additional correspondence, 1868-1930. MS Am 1743.1 (121).

Sarah Wyman Whitman to SOJ

Palm Sunday, 1888.  [March 25]

     The tender majesty of this high day is with me still, dear friend (though the hour has slipped past which sets its limit in time), and I love to write to you in the shadow of its associations. Mr. Brooks* preached quite a wonderful sermon this morning; taking man as his own Jerusalem, receiving everything as coming from God, and greeting it with Hosanna. A "hard doctrine;" but hard as everything worth having is hard, either in getting or holding or loving.


Mr. Brooks: Phillips Brooks (1835-1893) became rector of Trinity Church (Episcopalian) in Boston and became Bishop of Massachusetts in 1891. He died on 23 January 1893. Jewett's "At the Funeral of Phillips Brooks" appeared unsigned in Atlantic Monthly (71:566-567) in April 1893.

This transcription appears in Letters, Sarah Wyman Whitman.  Cambridge, MA:  Riverside Press, 1907, "Letters to Sarah Orne Jewett: 1882-1903," pp. 61-109. 

SOJ to Louisa Loring Dresel

Aiken SC 29 March [1888]

[1888 in upper left corner, in another hand]

My Dear Loulie,

    I have begun on the wrong side of my little sheet of paper which is quite discouraging, but I am going to send you a note in a hurry at last since it has been so long in starting!  Our coming to Aiken has been most successful for we have found old and new friends, and the weather has been almost always delightful so that

[ Page 2 ]


we have played out of doors to our heart's content ^It is lilac time now! -- ^ .  Mrs. Fields* has gained very fast, but she does not get her whole strength back yet:  I can see that she is tired more easily than usual and being so long in bed has taken her usual fleetness of foot away from her for the time being, so that she is much provoked at not taking such long walks as she likes -- But I think that time is doing wonders, and she has lost the terribly pale look that worried me so when we came away.  The storms and

[ Page 3 ]*

the late spring will keep us south longer than we like but I am very anxious not to leave this region too soon.  I hope indeed that we shall see you and dear Mrs. Dresel before you sail.  How pleasant all the plans sound for the summer and what good wishes I send your for their carrying out!  I am as interested about the [duck ?] as possible: you must tell me all about [his corrected] share of the journeys -- -- Somehow I find it hard to write in Aiken but there are so many things I should

[ Page 4 ]

like to tell you --  There ought to be a second Millet* for this Southern country -- to paint the coloured people at work in the cotton fields and their cabins and the peach bloom that was like little pink clouds everywhere when we first came.  You would like the great Southern pines so much with "spills" nearly two feet long !!!  We have driven a great deal and seen the country about here pretty thoroughly.
    Tomorrow we go to Charleston for the night on our way to Beaufort where we are going to spend the next week and make a little visit to Miss Laura Towne* in the course of it.  Here are some wild violets which I delight in -- crowfoots they call them.  If it

[ Up the left margin and then down the top margin of page 1]

were not so wet you should have some other flowers --  I am so sorry about not seeing your sketches, but "some other ship -- some other day" -- to quote the Kate Greenaway* [ booksy ?]{.}  A. F. sends much love and so do I to you and "Martina." *

    Yours faithfully
    S. O. J.


Mrs. Fields:  Annie Adams Fields; See Correspondents.

Page 3:  a blotted line appears in the top center of the page, extending 4 lines down, which may be the impression made by a violet to which Jewett refers on p. 4.

a second MilletJean-François Millet (1814 -1875) "was a French painter and one of the founders of the Barbizon school in rural France."

Miss Laura Towne:   Laura Matilda Towne  (1825-1901) was one of the first northern women to move to the South to serve freedmen during the American Civil War.

Kate GreenawayCatherine "Kate" Greenaway (1846-1901), British children's verse writer and illustrator.  Her first books of illustrated poems was Under the Window (1878), in which appeared, "I Saw a Ship."

"Martina":  Jewett may have written "Martine."  This person's identity is unknown; assistance is welcome.

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.

SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett
Sea Island Hotel*  Beaufort, Saturday 31 April
[Probably March 31, 1888 ]*

Dear O. P.

Sister has come to the prettiest place now that ever was!  The hotel is a great big old-fashioned Planter's house looking out on the lovely bay and Sea Islands beyond --  all the land very low like the tropics, but fig trees and magnolias and live oaks and all the trees as green as grass and yesterday we picked great boughs of

[ Up the left side of page 1]

There is a monkey show* under the window! 

[ Added sideways in the top margin of page 1]

Sister is now seen how rice grows!*

[ Page 2

Cherokee roses* and in the Charleston gardens roses were all blooming ^in full bloom^ on arbors and seemed to be as big as grapevines or else stood up tall like lilacs and things.  I was delighted with Charleston -- you have no idea what a foreign sort of place it is -- The French Huguenots came there didn't they?* and you are always seeing lovely iron work gates as you

[ Page 3 ]

do abroad ^and so many touches of French taste^.  You take [deleted letter] in for the first time how rich and splendid things were before the war and now you can not conceive the piteous desolation, for some of the best houses on the Battery (a sort of bank on the harbor side) are so shattered by the earthquake* that the owners have gone away and left them to drop to pieces{.}  The walls are cracked and crumbling

[ Page 4 ]

 -- the chimneys are gone and the cornices all awry and ready to fall where they have not fallen already.*  I've done for honors and saw everything we could think of or that the nice colored driver could think of.  Of course one might spend a great deal of time in such a place and I look forward to seeing it again.  As Sunday was coming and the best train for Beaufort was a morning one we started off and here we

[ Page 5 ]

are.  Mrs. Fields doesn't seem nearly so tired as she did yesterday.  The sea air is lovely and so soft.  I am not sure now just what we shall do or where we shall do it!  we must wait to hear from Miss Towne before we go over to the Island.  You see we have just got here and it is but a little after one o'clock.  Katharine Loring and [and written over a letter ] her father who are perfectly charming people

[ Page 6 ]

to go anywhere with are going to Florida from Savannah next week -- not by rail but by sea, down an "inside" channel to Jacksonville among the Georgia Sea Islands, if they can arrange it, and if they do we have half a mind to go too, in which case we perhaps can go to Savannah from here by boat which would save cars.  We should only stay a few days for it is getting hot but it would give us a lovely summer like look at St. Augustine.  Don’t be too sure, for I am not, whether it will come right to do it, but I thought I would tell the plan.*  I

[ Up the left side of page 5

keep thinking how you and Mother will enjoy Charleston.  Love to all from Sarah.  Tell Caddy not to let yellow [onions ?] grow on her pelter.*


Sea Island Hotel:  The Sea Island Hotel in Beaufort, SC, was a plantation house before the Civil War (1861-65).  It was for a number of years the home of John Allan Stuart, editor of the Charleston Mercury.   
    Link to an image of the Sea Island Hotel in Beaufort, March 1911, from  the Penn School Papers.

31 April
:  This is an impossible date.  Given Jewett's location, she almost certainly meant 31 March, which fell on a Saturday in 1888.

monkey show:  Possibly Jewett refers to an example of the fairly common small "dog and pony shows" that typically included monkeys.  Henry B. McKay offers this description in Do You Remember When?;

    This was during the years from 1900 to 1906. They seemed like huge affairs to me then, but when I look at the lots today, they must have been comparatively small shows. The ponies were all small, of the Shetland or Indian type ponies. They were well trained and could race in singles or in groups hitched to small chariots. They were made to jump and dance and perform in every way except talk, and perhaps a little of that.
    The dogs were many and varied. They were very intelligent and also well trained. Each would come out when called by name and would go back to his little stool when his act was finished. They would jump over hurdles, through hoops onto a pony, or on each other's backs. They would walk a ladder, a tight rope, a pole at the command of the trainer. The act that always caused the most excitement was to see a little fox terrier climb a ladder into the top of the tent and jump off into a net only a few feet above the ground. The oh's and ah's as it was climbing, the stillness when it got ready to jump, and the sighs of relief when it safely landed in the net are real today!
    In addition, to add the necessary spice to the show there were always a few monkeys. They were dressed in clothes, some as old men and women and some as babies. They pushed wheelbarrows, baby carriages, jumped on and off dogs and ponies, and did the many things that always amuse grown folks, as well as the children. The climax of the monkey show was when a paper house was placed in middle of the arena and set afire. Bells rang, horns tooted, and firemen came out, who were monkeys pulling a little red fire engine.
    There was a hand pump of the old-fashion fire engine variety and they pumped water and actually put the fire out.
    The show was held in a tent and there was another smaller tent behind for the animals. They usually stayed there for a week. The charge was only twenty-five cents. It could easily be walked to, from our part of town.

how rice grows:   Wikipedia says of St. Helena Island: "The area was noted to be similar to the rice growing region of West Africa and soon captured slaves were brought to the Sea Islands, mostly from what is today Sierra Leone. Rice, indigo, cotton and spices were grown by these slaves, as well as Native Americans, and indentured servants from Europe. The mix of cultures, somewhat isolated from the mainland, produced the Gullah culture."

tell the plan:  Though documentation so far is sparse, it appears that Jewett and Fields accepted the Lorings' invitation, for Jewett and Caleb Loring write later letters from St. Augustine (see below).

Cherokee roses:  Of the genus rosa, this is the species laevigata. This climbing evergreen rose produces long, thorny, vine-like canes that sprawl across adjacent shrubs and other supports. The pure white single flowers appear in spring and are densely arranged along the length of the canes. The plant can reach 10 to 12 feet in height and 15 or more feet wide. (Source:

Charleston .. HuguenotsWikipedia confirms that among the earliest settlers in Charleston were Huguenots:  "The French Huguenot Church of Charleston, which remains independent, is the oldest continuously active Huguenot congregation in the United States."

the war ... the earthquake:  Jewett refers to the American Civil War, 1861-1865.  The effects of this war on southern landscapes receives attention in two Jewett stories, "The Mistress of Sydenham Plantation" (August 1888) and "A War Debt" (January 1895). 
    Wikipedia says: "The Charleston Earthquake ... occurred at 9:50 p.m. on August 31, 1886, and lasted just under a minute. The earthquake caused severe damage in Charleston, South Carolina, damaging 2,000 buildings and causing $6 million worth in damages, while in the whole city the buildings were only valued at approximately $24 million. Between 60 and 110 lives were lost. Some of the damage is still seen today.
    "Major damage occurred as far away as Tybee Island, Georgia (over 60 miles away) and structural damage was reported several hundred miles from Charleston (including central Alabama, central Ohio, eastern Kentucky, southern Virginia, and western West Virginia). It was felt as far away as Boston to the North, Chicago and Milwaukee to the Northwest, as far West as New Orleans, as far South as Cuba, and as far East as Bermuda."

not to let yellow onions grow on her pelter:  This passage is so obscure that I doubt that I have correctly read Jewett's handwriting.  A pelter is a pelt, a cleaned animal skin, with the fur remaining.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Houghton Library, Harvard University in Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909. 94 letters to Mary Rice Jewett; 1888-1900 & [n.d.] (Nos. 92-94 incomplete). Sarah Orne Jewett additional correspondence, 1868-1930. MS Am 1743.1 (121).

SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

St. Helena's Island Sunday [ April 1, 1888 ]

Dear O. P.

            I feel as if I were at the end of the earth, but I only hope that all the other ends are as pleasant!  We came across the long ferry in a rowboat this morning and then drove across Lady's Island and three miles, and across St. Helena's seven miles* before we came to the great clump of live oaks and the old plantation house* where Miss Towne and Miss Murray have lived

[ Page 2 ]

for over twenty years.*  They have done everything for the colored people in teaching them other things besides book learning or rather they have taught to find the application of book learning to every day life.  You would be surprised to see how neat and nice their houses are -- and they were all out working on the land this morning as we drove along and were so respectable looking and polite* -- Miss Towne has a fortune which has

[ Page 3 ]

helped her in many ways but nobody can tell how many sacrifices must be made when anybody starts out to do a thing like this and sticks to it -- Miss Murray is an Englishwoman and they are such an interesting pair -- and way off here they keep account of what is going on in the world and read and think about things as if they were in the middle of them, and perhaps more than we do.  All the way

[ Page 4 ]

along we have been seeing palms and palmettos and strange trees and flowers -- and you have no idea what a difference there is in the size of the Sea Island cotton plants from those in Aiken.  On some of these islands the cotton was worth $200 a pound (to put with silk) when the common cotton was only five cents.*  I don't know where to tell you to write next until we settle about Florida but I think to Washington unless you hear the contrary.  Just Care Senator Edmunds.* 

Love to all from Sarah


seven miles:  A map from Letters and Diary of Laura M. Towne (1895). indicates the route from Beaufort to Penn School.

old plantation house
:  The original building of the Penn Center was the Oaks Plantation house

Miss Towne and Miss MurrayLaura Matilda Towne  (1825-1901) was one of the first northern women to move to the South to serve freedmen during the American Civil War.  According to the PBS web page, "Only a Teacher," "The teachers who went south sought not only to teach the freedmen how to read and write, but hoped to help them develop socially and morally. They saw themselves as missionaries who would 'bring the light of God's truth' to people they assumed were in need of such enlightenment."  Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Towne and her family became interested in abolitionism when her father moved to Boston to superintend the city gas works.  Their commitment deepened after her father retired to Philadelphia, where they joined First Unitarian Church, then under the leadership of the pacifist and abolitionist, William Henry Furness (1802-1896). Towne eventually trained as a physician and was in practice when she felt the call to St. Helena in 1862.  She remained at Penn School until her death. 
    Ellen Murray (1834-1908), Towne's close friend, shared the work at Penn School from 1862 until her death, primarily as teacher and school administrator.  In South Carolina Women: Their Lives and Times v. 2, Ronald E. Butchart's "Laura Towne and Ellen Murray" (pp. 12-30) says that Murray was born in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada, and though her father died when she was 2, she and her two sisters were educated in Europe and eventually came to live in a substantial home in Newport, RI.  There she became a teacher.  Invited by Towne to help with the Penn School, Murray became an ardent abolitionist and advocate for African Americans.  Scholarly Editing presents one of her poems from The Anti-Slavery Standard of 1864 and provides useful biographical notes on her.
    Though both Towne and Murray came from privileged backgrounds and were well-educated, Butchart does not confirm that either was independently wealthy, as Jewett suggests here.  He says how the partners became acquainted is unclear, though Towne at least once spoke before a Quaker meeting in Newport, RI.  A confusingly presented webpage, Travels with Jeremy and Rexanna in the Maritimes, offers more background for Ellen Murray, indicating that after her father's death, her grandmother and step-grandfather, William Botsford, a prominent New Brunswick judge, took care of Ellen and her sisters.  Though it has been suggested that Murray was a Quaker, this web page indicates that her family were prominent members of the Anglican Trinity Church, Saint John, New Bunswick, founded by Loyalists after the American Revolution.  This is confirmed inHistory of Trinity Church, Saint John, New Brunswick, 1791-1891 by Frederick Hervey John Brigstocke, pp. 123-4.

working on the land:  Jewett elaborates this description of freedmen farming on St. Helena in "The Mistress of Sydenham Plantation."

Sea Island cotton plantsSea Island cotton was of a special long-stranded variety, making it particularly valuable.  After the Union gained control of the islands, it was eager to continue cotton production during the American Civil War.

Senator Edmunds:  Of the stop in Aiken, Blanchard says, "… they ran into the distinguished abolitionist Senator George Edmunds of Vermont, who was vacationing there with his family, and the two parties joined forces for a few days." Jewett's letter indicates that their meeting was planned rather than fortuitous, as Blanchard suggests.  See notes above for more on this family.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Houghton Library, Harvard University in Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909. 94 letters to Mary Rice Jewett; 1888-1900 & [n.d.] (Nos. 92-94 incomplete). Sarah Orne Jewett additional correspondence, 1868-1930. MS Am 1743.1 (121).

SOJ to Francis Jackson Garrison

10 April -- Florida [1888]

Dear Mr. Garrison

    I have extended my journey but I expect to be in Washington on Monday ^next^ and if the proofs are ready I will look them over there.  I shall be in Charles Street the end of the week and I will see you then.  As soon as I get nearer to Boston I will send you the rest of

[Page 2]

the copy, but I do not want to run the risk of its being lost by trusting it to the uncertainties of small expresses -- as I have only one copy of the story.
    Mr. Alden offered to waive the usual six months delay with another story lately printed in Harper's, so if our matter runs short I should like to put Mére Pochette*

[Page 3]

in.  It was not printed right by a mistake & some ^pages^ were left out, but I have the manuscript and I think it is worth [deleted word] ^printing^ in its right order --     Thank you for the picture of Mr. Whittier which seemed to give Miss Schofield* great pleasure  --     In haste
        Yours sincerely
            S. O. Jewett.

[Page 4]

Please direct to me care of Senator Edmunds *
Washington, D.C.

but there will only be time to send proof until Saturday afternoon the 14th ------


Mére Pochette:  This story appeared in Harper's in March 1888 and was collected in The King of Folly Island  the same year.

Mr. AldenHenry Mills Alden (1836 - 1919) was editor of Harper's Magazine for fifty years -- from 1869 until 1919.

Mr. Whittier ...  Miss Schofield:  John Greenleaf Whittier (1807 - 1892).  Miss Schofield has not been identified.  Assistance is welcome.

Senator Edmunds: George Franklin Edmunds (1828 - 1919) was a Republican U.S. Senator from Vermont.  In 1852 he married Susan Marsh (1831-1916); they had two daughters, Mary (1854-1936) and Julia (1861-1882).

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Houghton Library of Harvard University: Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909. 68 letters from; 1870-1907 and [n.d.]. Houghton Mifflin Company. Houghton Mifflin Company correspondence and records, 1832-1944. MS Am 1925 (962).

Caleb William Loring to Louisa Putnam Loring*

St. Augustine
April 17, 1888

Dearest Louisa,

    Thank you for your pleasant notes.  I suppose Katharine has written to you much that I shall say: how different Florida is from So. Carolina; --* here all the fields are green with grass; the green here [unrecognized word: lasting?] keep that growing, though underneath it is as sandy as around Aiken.  The Pride of China trees* are in all in full blossom, a very pretty blue blossom with quite a delicious scent.

[ Page 2 ]

This is a curious old Spanish town* with its large fort & the Old City gate & its narrow streets; though on those streets the Yankee wooden houses crowd the old coquina stone ones & take the place of the old gardens.  And the great sight is the Ponce de Leon hotel & the Alcazar & the Squares & gardens & fountains; & in the evening the electric colored lights.  There is no hotel approaching it that I ever saw & I saunter around day & evening in admiration.

[ Page 3 ]

    Josh Blake & his [ Cara? Cass?]* & her family have been very attentive; she has a nice house right on the sea wall: just rebuilt after the old fire.*  There are quite a number of little attractions, [views & scenes ?].  I saw some stuffed rattle-snakes,* close killed close by, that perfectly astonished me by their size: much bigger than any black snake I ever saw north.

    Our excursion to Silver Springs* was most delightful: think of a [ditch ?] never [beginning ?] at once some fifty feet or more wide & very deep right out of the ground: the water so clear you could see the smallest fish, fifty-feet down,

[ Page 4 ]

swimming about.  Then we saw an old orange grove with palms seventy feet high & all so shady & cool & [regularly ?] over-grown with wild oranges & grape fruit &c.--

    The blacks too are much more flourishing than around Aiken, better dressed with glass in their houses & not those old shuttered cabins.

    Orange groves everywhere in the interior on the way to Silver Springs, most of them recently set out.  but I shall have a good deal to tell when I get back.  The case comes on this week or not at all.*  I hope to get off Friday but don't know.

        With my very best love
    Ever your affectionate father

C. W. Loring


Caleb William Loring to Louisa Putnam LoringSee Correspondents. where Louisa's sister, Katharine also is identified.

So. Carolina:  As indicated in Jewett's letter of 22 March, she and Fields enjoyed the company of the Caleb and Katharine Loring in Aiken, SC in late March.  This letter indicates that Caleb and Katharine have returned to St. Augustine from Aiken at the same time that Jewett and Fields have done so, apparently during the first week in April.  This suggests that they did indeed take the coastal cruise they had been thinking about in late March.

The Pride of China trees:  It is not clear to which tree Loring refers.  "Pride of China" apparently is the common name for several species.  That he sees it in St. Augustine and specifies that it has blue blossoms in April makes it unlikely that he refers to trees commonly called Pride of China, such as Chinaberry.

old Spanish town ... large fort & the Old City gate ... old coquina stone ones ... the Ponce de Leon hotel & the Alcazar:  For details about and images of these aspects of St. Augustine, see the notes on Jewett's story set in St. Augustine, "Jim's Little Woman."

Josh Blake & his [ Cara? Cass?]: These people have not been identified.  Assistance is welcome.

the old fire: Fires were relatively frequent in St. Augustine in the 19th century, and it is not clear, therefore, which fire is the "old" one.  Recently in 1887, a fire had devastated much of the center of the town, leaving the cathedral, for example, as a shell.

some stuffed rattle-snakes: It is likely that Loring saw the snakes at the Vedder Museum.  "Florida's Lost Tourist Attractions: The Vedder Museum"  says of  Mr. Vedder (1819-1899): "Dr. John Vedder,  his title as 'Doctor' stemming not from a University but the remnant of a short stint practicing as a self-taught dentist, was born in Schenectady, New York, on July 22, 1819. He seems to have been a bit of an adventurer, traveling and working at various times and places as a soldier, blacksmith, machinist, locomotive engineer, inventor, dentist, taxidermist, and, in his final occupation, museum and zoo curator.
    "In his travels he had gathered a large collection of natural oddities and curiosities, including many animal specimens he stuffed and mounted himself. He turned them into a traveling display for a time and then, in the 1880's, opened a permanent museum in an old colonial era house on the corner of Bay and Treasury Streets in St. Augustine. A major part of his attraction was also an exhibit of live animals, including collections of snakes, birds, alligators, and some other native and exotic wildlife."

Silver Springs:   Wikipedia  says "Silver Springs is a U.S. unincorporated community and the site of aquatic springs in Marion County, Florida. The springs are one of the largest artesian spring formations in the world, producing nearly 550 million gallons of crystal-clear water daily. Silver Springs forms the headwaters of the Silver River, the largest tributary on the Ocklawaha River, a part of the St. Johns River system."

The case comes on this week or not at all:  Caleb Loring as a trustee under the will of Mary Wadsworth, filed a suit in June 1887 (Loring v. Carnes) that was not heard until November 1888.  While Loring may be referring to another case altogether, this is a likely possibility.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Beverly MA Historical Society in the Loring Family Papers (1833-1943), MSS: #002, Series IV. Letters to Katharine Peabody Loring, and Louisa Putnam Loring,  Box 1, Folder 15, Letters 1887-1916. Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Lilian Aldrich

Hotel Ponce de Leon  St. Augustine

18 April 1888

Dear Lilian

            When you and Mr. T.B.A. and Mr. Pierce* take another journey together don't go to Europe but start a little earlier than this and come down to [deleted word] a most beautiful hotel in as quaint a Minorcan town* as any in Minorca or Spain!  As for the hotel, it is the most luxurious and refined and really charming place that I ever saw -- I sighed when I heard about it in the winter, but when I saw it for myself I sighed no more!  I am looking down on a moorish courtyard with a fountain

[Page 2]*

if you please and palm trees and roses and balconies with gardens of flowers hanging over their edges, and a tower that might belong to Venice showing over the tiled roof -- You see I ought not to say Venice, but I have never been to Spain and don't know whether such a tower ought to grow there or not -- But you put a mark in at St. Augustine in your guidebook and open it there next time.

            You are wanting to hear about dear A.F. I know, and I am glad to say that she is better, for she had another illness lately which pulled her back a good deal and made me

[Page 3]

very anxious.*  I can see now that she gains every day but she will have to be very careful this summer -- By the morning paper Mrs. J.T.F. and Miss Sarah Jewett the actress are reported! and they are having as good a time together as they can -- Sadie is playing the player, you see and wonders if people who identify her think she is a likely looking star !!!! --*

            We were so saddened yesterday by the news of Mr. Arnold's death* which seemed terribly sudden though I knew when I saw him a summer ago in Stockbridge* that he had angina pectoris --  and I was

[ Page 4 ]

sure that I never should see him again.  Poor Mrs. Arnold and Nelly!  I have an aching heart whenever I think of their sorrow -- But it will be a great comfort to have the world acknowledge Mr. Arnold's genius.  It is a thankless task for any man to be ahead of his time and people [ deleted word ] resent anybodys [suggestion written over another word] that they might think otherwise than they do, or that they might behave better, or live their lives for higher ends -- I grew very fond of Mr. Arnold in those delightful weeks he gave us in Charles Street.  I learned so much from him, and I can hear his voice now reading the Scholar Gypsy by the fire in

[ Page 5 ]

the library.  I was wondering just now if Miss Harriet Preston* still had the enthusiasm for him that she had years ago and was the first to teach me.  I think then almost no one could have written about him as appreciatively as she could.  I remember a review of his poems that she wrote once for the Atlantic that I must read again someday or other.

            I can only say that his "Literature and Dogma{"} taught me as much or more than any [book altered from bod] I ever read of what one should know of spiritual truth and right living and right mindedness.

    I am so eager to see this new paper of his about America.  I don't doubt that there is a great deal of needed truth in that ^it^, but in the Shelley paper he gave a sign of illness and weakness in the way he spoke - - - -

            Now I am writing to you ^at last^ after thinking about you both many times, and I have so many things to say that I find it hard to stop.

            About our Southern journeyings, I dont dare to begin, but I must take a long summer day and try to tell you some of the charming things that have happened.  Our visit on one of the Sea Islands off Beaufort and some of the Aiken experiences.*

            A. F. sends much love with mine to you and kindest remembrance of the grandmothers & the boys for I cant stop calling Tal and Charley by [up the left side of page 4] that name yet a while -- Yours affectionately  S. O. J.

[Up the left side of page 5

We have planned our going home so many times that I am afraid to set another date for fear of another delay, but I think you will see us within a fortnight now{.}  Of course we have to stop by the way.

[In the left side and top margins of page 1

The Brownell poem* did not get to us in very good season but we read it with a wish to say how much we cared for it.  If St. Augustine were a day nearer Boston it would be perfect.


Mr. Pierce:  Henry Lillie Pierce (August 23, 1825 -- December 17, 1896) became wealthy in the chocolate business and went on to become mayor of Boston and a congressman from Massachusetts.  He became a very close friend of the Aldrich family, who often were guests aboard his yacht, the Hermione.  Among their cruises together was an 8-week trip among Caribbean islands in early 1896, which included Jewett and Annie Fields.

Minorcan town:  St. Augustine numbered a significant population of Minorcan ancestry at the end of the 19th century, but Jewett seems to refer more directly to Henry Flagler's decision to build the Hotel Ponce de Leon in a Spanish style.  See Marty & Jim in St. Augustine and The Diverse People of "Jim's Little Woman."

[ page 2]:   Jewett has numbered the folded sheets 2 and 3, but I have inserted a number for each page in the sequence.

very anxious:   The 1888 southern trip, on which Jewett accompanied Annie Fields was to seek rest and warmth to help Mrs. James T. Fields recover from a serious attack of pneumonia.

likely looking star:  According to Richard Cary in Sarah Orne Jewett Letters, "Sara Jewett (1847-1899) was the leading lady of Augustin Daly's Union Square Theatre company. Miss Jewett of South Berwick recounts drolly that upon several occasions during her travels she was mistaken for Miss Jewett of New York, then considered one of the most beautiful women in America. In an ironic extension of the parallel, illness and enforced retirement became the lot of both thespian and literary Jewett. Sara Jewett's last appearance as an actress took place in the spring of 1883."  See her obituary in Boston Evening Transcript.
     J.T.F.  is Mrs. James T. (Annie Adams) Fields.

Mr. Arnold's death:  British poet and cultural critic, Matthew Arnold (24 December 1822 - 15 April 1888). Arnold visited America for the last time in 1886.  His wife was Frances, his daughters were Eleanore and Lucy.  He is the author of the poem, "The Scholar Gypsy" (1853) and of numerous prose works, including Literature and Dogma (1873).  His essay on Shelley appears in Essays in Criticism, Second Series (1888).  His Civilization in the United States appeared in 1888.

StockbridgeStockbridge, MA.  In a 1932 Yale dissertation, Chilson H. Leonard presents chronologies of Arnold's visits to the United States.  Of Arnold's 1886 American trip, Leonard writes: "He 
spent most 
this visit 
 Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where 
, fished, swam, and 
with his infant
" Arnold's daughter, Lucy, and her family, friends of Annie Fields, had a summer home in Stockbridge.

Harriet Preston:   Harriet Waters Preston (1836-1911) was a Massachusetts author and translator and a mutual acquaintance of Jewett and Marie Thérèse de Solms Blanc (1840-1907).  Jewett may refer to Preston's essay, "Matthew Arnold as  a Poet," Atlantic 53 (May 1884) pp. 640-650.

Aiken experiences:  See letters above for some account of Jewett's stays in Aiken, SC and St. Helena.
    This letter, dated 18 April, indicates that Jewett and Fields traveled to Aiken after their first stay in St. Augustine and then accepted the offer to return to St. Augustine by boat with the Lorings.  This letter was written during their second stay at the Ponce de Leon in the spring of 1888.

Tal and Charley:  The Aldriches' twin sons, Talbot and Charles were born in 1868.

Brownell poem:  It seems likely that one of the Aldriches has shared with Jewett and Fields Thomas Bailey Aldrich's sonnet, "Henry Howard Brownell," (1820-1872), which appeared in Atlantic 31 (May 1873) p. 609, not long after Civil War poet's death.


 THEY never crowned him, never knew his worth,
            But let him go unlaureled to the grave.
            Hereafter -- yes! -- are guerdons for the brave,
            Roses for martyrs who wear thorns on earth,
Balms for bruised hearts that languish in the dearth
            Of human love. So let the lilies wave
            Above him, nameless. Little did he crave
            Men's praises. Modestly, with kindly mirth,
Not sad nor bitter, he accepted fate,
            Drank deep of life, knew books and hearts of men,
            Cities and camps, and War's immortal woe;
Yet bore through all (such virtue in him sate
            His spirit is not whiter now than then!)
            A simple, loyal nature, pure as snow.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Houghton Library, Harvard University in Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909. 119 letters to Thomas Bailey and Lillien (Woodman) Aldrich; [188-]-[1902]. Aldrich, Thomas Bailey, 1836-1907. Thomas Bailey Aldrich papers, 1837-1926. MS Am 1429 (2654-2772). Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.  Jewett consistently spells Mrs. Aldrich's name as "Lilian.

Annie Adams Fields to Anna Loring Dresel?*

April 20th 1888.
St. Augustine, Florida

Dear friend:

    The days are slipping away with sorrowful rapidity, when I remember that it means I am not to see you before you sail.  But I have been kept back by lack of strength to take the journey northward with safety and my physician here still


prescribes a day or two of delay.  Nevertheless I must add that in this beautiful place I am at last rapidly improving.  Indeed I have reason to think I may return perfectly well.  But meanwhile I think of you [and ?] your going! and comfort myself with the [memory ? ] that change places as we may the same love waits for us and hearts we lean upon are unchanged.


St. Augustine is a new experience indeed.  How I wish you could see it in these months of April and May when Florida is true to its lovely name and redolent with flowers of every kind.  The Magnolia Grandiflora easily leads in the train.*  I have never seen anything so truly queenly, so exquisite as this flower is in this its home.  The odor is so delicate too that you hardly observe it in the room, and its [June or fine ? ] beauty is something I


have scarcely been able to look upon with dry eyes.
    A singular fortune has befallen this little half decayed Spanish town.  One of the richest oil kings of this wonderful country of ours has taken a fancy to the place and has built a palace here for a hotel as huge and glorious as the Spanish palaces of old.*  I should weary you if I tried to tell you of its [gardens ?] and fountains, its campaniles domes and arcades, of the artists who have exhausted their taste and skill here, of the baths, like the Roman baths of old, -- but sometime I hope you will all come to see it.
    Meanwhile, dear friend, you will rejoice with me that our

[ Up the left margin of page 1 and then down the top margin ]

absence has been softened in this way -- Sarah is quite well and sends her dear love with mine to you all.  Come back dear Anna.

[ Up the left margin of page 3 ]

to yours affectionately, Annie Fields.


Anna Loring Dresel:  This letter's recipient has not been determined with certainty.  Friends of Fields who might be addressed as Dear Anna, include Anna Dawes, Anna Loring Dresel, Anna Johnson, Anna Eliot Ticknor, and Anna Clarke (wife of James Freeman Clarke).  Assistance is welcome.  A later letter of June 18 with a similar salutation -- "My dear friend" --  is believed to be addressed to a member of the Loring-Dresel family, since it is included among the Ellis Gray Loring Family papers at Harvard's Schlesinger Library.  The suggests that Fields is addressing Anna Loring Dresel.  Further assistance is welcome.

Magnolia grandiflora:   Wikipedia says "Magnolia grandiflora, commonly known as the southern magnolia or bull bay, is a tree of the family Magnoliaceae native to the southeastern United States, from southern Virginia to central Florida, and west to East Texas and Oklahoma. Reaching 27.5 m (90 ft) in height, it is a large, striking evergreen tree with large, dark green leaves up to 20 cm (7.9 in) long and 12 cm (4.7 in) wide, and large, white, fragrant flowers up to 30 cm (12 in) in diameter."

richest oil kings:  "Henry Morrison Flagler (January 2, 1830 -- May 20, 1913) was an American industrialist and a founder of Standard Oil. He was also a key figure in the development of the Atlantic coast of Florida and founder of what became the Florida East Coast Railway."  Fields and Jewett are staying at his newly opened Ponce de León Hotel in St. Augustine.

The manuscript of this letter is held by Milne Special Collections, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, N.H.: Fields, Annie, Correspondence, 1882-1911,  Special Collections MS 58.  Transcription and Annotation by Terry Heller, Coe College. 

SOJ to Etta*

South Berwick 29 April

[ 1888 ? ]
My dear Etta

    I did not receive your note until today as it did not reach Brooklyn until after I had gone to Boston.  You are very kind to ask me to visit you but it would be impossible this spring, even if I had received the note while I was near you, for I have already been away from home over three

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three [ repeated ] months in Washington [ DC or &c ?] -- and it is very necessary that I should be at home to look after my writing as well as all things which have been sadly neglected.

    It does seem a great while since I saw you but I hope we shall meet before long -- Sadie* and I often spoke of you and I wish you could persuade her to visit you for I think the change would do her ever so much good -- Please remember me to Mrs. Hasbrough* and dont forget that I am your sincerely & affly

Sarah O. Jewett


Etta:  This letter remains mostly a mystery.  Among Jewett's acquaintance was Etta Dunham, the daughter of James Dunham of New York, and the subject of a portrait by John Singer Sargent.  That she seems to reside in the New York City area suggests that she is the recipient of this letter, but no corroborating evidence has been found.  Likewise, Sadie and Mrs. Hasbrough are as yet unknown.  The transcription of "Hasbrough" is doubtful; it could be "Hasbrouck" or "Hasbrouch."  Among Jewett's correspondents is Sarah (Sadie) Jane McHenry Howell, a Philadelphia relative.  No evidence has get been located to suggest that these people are connected with each other, except perhaps by being known to Jewett.

1888:  This date is based upon Jewett indicating that she has been away from home for three months, including time in Washington, DC.  The only time she is known to have been away from home for so long in the spring and that included a stay in Washington, was in 1888, when she accompanied the ailing Annie Adams Fields on an extended southern trip.  It has not been confirmed that they stopped in Brooklyn on this trip, nor is it known whom they may have visited there. 
    The New York stop suggests another year when Jewett was away from South Berwick for about 3 months before April, in 1896, when she and Annie Fields joined friends on a grueling Caribbean cruise.  However, there is as yet no evidence that Jewett visited in Washington, DC on that trip.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Small Library, University of Virginia, Special Collections MSS 6218, Sarah Orne Jewett Papers.  While working from a microfilm copy, this is uncertain, but the note appears to be written on two sides of a card. Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Walter Romeyn Benjamin

South Berwick, Maine
     May 15, 1888

     Mr. Benjamin will please find enclosed a cheque for the letters of Sainte-Beuve and Mme. George Sand, advertised in the May no. of The Collector.1
    S. O. Jewett


     1Miss Jewett had a marked predilection for volumes of collected letters. Her library included those of Jane Welsh Carlyle, Madame de Sévigné, Voltaire, Dickens, FitzGerald, Lady L. Duff-Gordon, Thomas Lovell Beddoes, William Cowper, Edward Lear, Lady Louisa Stuart, William Thackeray, and three volumes of British Letters edited by Edward T. Mason. In addition, she mentions reading those of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Scott, Lowell, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Celia Thaxter, Julie de Lespinasse, Saint Teresa, Queen Victoria, and others.

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 Annie Adams Fields

Thursday evening
[Spring 1888]*

Dearest Fuff,

Your surprising paper* did not come until tonight and I had begun to grow worried about it, but here it is, safe and sound! I have read it as fast as I could, wondering when you did it! The notes are charmingly selected but you take too much for granted on your reader's part. How does he know what books and how you came to have them, and how they look and all those necessary things -- you know perfectly well that in this library* which was gathered most carefully and lovingly, by a book-loving hand near a window which gives on the beautiful bay of Charles River there are certain shelves which hold part of Leigh Hunt's books,* a miscellaneous and most interesting collection which after his death found their way to America.

    There Fuff! what a long sentence -- but you forget in writing your paper that your reader hasn't all the general information that would make your particular information interesting. You speak of annotated books and then of Leigh Hunt as a man and artist and annotator and then you get down your Diogenes* -------- and go to work! You must write all your astronomizing proclivities will let you (!) about the bookatees and their being your dear bookatees and make it more essayish in the beginning and not hurry on to your lists. Can't you wait and read it aloud to me and let us talk it over just as we did the Centaur work?* You know it isn't like writing a poem. It has all the material, but it wants to be more smoothly and gracefully set, to be finished, in short, as you finished your beautiful Longfellow paper.* I am not sure that I do not want you to write from your journal and your recollections and a letter or two of L. H's, a half page about your seeing him -- how he looked and was. Then it would come in as pleasantly about your satisfaction when the library came over to America, (interesting to all book-lovers.) Then follows a bit about the books as they stand near the western window and so you naturally take down one and another. All this ought not to give you more than ten or fifteen pages more writing. I do really think the paper needs it, it is only four pages or less of Scribner
print now and you might just as well make it six or seven with its picture. How much I have written! I am a tiresome Pinny* with so many views -- but when you are going to do anything I am so ambitious about it, and insist that it must be your very best. I will send the paper so that you ought to have it Saturday morning, but don't do tired work on it, just hunt for the right journal book (I think 1t would be in the stiff covered one, not in the blue one) and take it to Manchester when we go .

    This day seemed very idle to me.  I have been good-for-nothing and would not work, but I got John* to take me down to Pine Point* our favorite pine pasture you know, and I felt beter.  Tell me how the Linnet* was.

    Good night dear dear Fuff -- If you did only dream how I want to see you! What is in bloom in the garden?  I wish I could send you a sniff of our big flowering currant bushes.

Your own P. L.


1888:  While this date is not certain, it seems likely to be close.  The letter speaks of Fields's 1886 "Longfellow paper" as being complete, and it seems clear she has completed a first draft of her Leigh Hunt paper, apparently already contracted to Scribners, which appeared in April 1889.

Fuff:  Fuff and Pinny Lawson are nicknames Jewett and Fields use with each other.  See Correspondents.

paper: It seems clear that Fields is drafting her essay, "A Shelf of Old Books: Leigh Hunt," which appeared in Scribner's in April 1889. When the essay was collected in A Shelf of Old Books (1894), there were several illustrations.

library:  This is Fields's own library at 148 Charles Street in Boston, MA.

Leigh Hunt's books: James Henry Leigh Hunt (1784 - 1859) was a British critic, essayist, poet.

Diogenes: Diogenes Laërtius (third century C.E.) was a biographer of ancient Greek philosophers. According to Judith Roman in Annie Adams Fields, the collection of Hunt's books that she received included his annotated copy of Diogenes Laërtius (p. 126).

Centaur work: Presumably, this refers to Fields's essay, "Guerin's "Centaur," which appeared in Scribner's in August 1892. Georges-Maurice de Guérin (1810 - 1839) was a French poet. Le Centaure, one of major works, was composed in the 1830s and published after his death.

Longfellow paper: Probably this refers to Fields's essay on American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "Glimpses of Longfellow in Social Life," which appeared in Century in April 1886.

John: John Tucker.  See Correspondents.  

Pine Point:  This point on the New Hampshire side of he Piscataqua River forms the southern end of Stiles's (St. Alban's) Cove.  Jewett mentions this location in at least two of her works, The Tory Lover (1901) and "River Driftwood" (1881).

Linnet: Thomas Bailey Aldrich. See Correspondents.

This transcription appears in Nancy Ellen Carlock's 1939 Boston University thesis, S.O.J. A Biography of Sarah Orne Jewett.  Notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

[Late Spring or early Summer 1888-96]

Dear Mary

We had a great day a most lovely drive down finding an old house on the way that we explored!  such a pretty old place on a hill that a dozen people might step right into to spend the summer it was so clean and pleasant and un-trampified.  The woodwork was really charming with wainscotting and handsome fireplaces, and there is a little decent furniture still left though somebody told us the people (Nick Littlefield)* "moved out" six years ago.  I wish you and Helen* could see it.  It is a rambling old house which always looked interesting, but I can't remember going there.  I quite long to ask John Clark.*  We had a beautiful picnic in the woods.  They were taken out and anchored to trees and we sat in the near neighborhood on a slope; there were beautiful big pines all about and we could hear the sea making a great noise and get a beautiful salt wind.  It was so hot at Ogunquit* that we just drove down to the Maxwell Tavern* and then turned down the new bridge to the beach.  You have a  beautiful view from it but you know the beach itself is pretty soft there -- at any rate it was a high tide.  Theodore* caught a chicken partridge by hand just as we were coming out of the big woods which was the great event of the day and we saw a black snake in the road the biggest we ever saw any of us and Mr. Tucker* was speechless for sometime afterward with rage and terror at such a terrible sight.  Last night just as I had gone to bed there was a cry of fire and a great blaze down the street and Allen Warren's* house and barn burnt up -- the insurance had run out two or three weeks ago.  I believe a kerosene lamp blew up.  Isn't it too bad!  Carrie* went to church this morning but my nose was burnt that I felt it a proper excuse.  Carrie and Theodore went off with their supper round the John Grey road* and had great privileges of seeing the  Emery's Bridge congregation* on their way to the evenin' meetin'.  I requested Rebecca* to dinner and she also took a nap on your sofa and stayed to tea and we had a very nice time.  I am hoping for a letter from you in the morning and find myself thinking of you and Helen very often and wondering what you are doing.  The church carpet is all eated with moths and the ladies of the parish* are requested tomorrow at three p.m.


Summer 1888-96:  Internal evidence indicates the letter was written during a summer.  As Ned Eastman (d. March 1892) is not mentioned, one might suspect the letter was written between his death and that of Caroline Eastman in April 1897.  However, if John Clark is correctly identified below, the letter would have to have been composed before his death on 5 February 1889.

Nick Littlefield:  Nick Littlefield has not been identified with certainty.  Given that Jewett is reporting on a trip to the vicinity of Wells, ME, it is possible she refers to the deceased residents, Nicholas (1768/9-1834) and Hannah Neal Littlefield (1778-1834), who raised a large family in Wells.  However, Nicholas himself would have left the family home long before the time Jewett reports here.

Helen: Among the Jewett friends named Helen, it is difficult to determine which Mary Rice Jewett was visiting when this letter was written.  Choices would include Helen Choate Bell, Helen Bigelow Merriman, and Helen Choate Pratt Prince. See Correspondents

John Clark:  While this is not certain, this may be John Theodore Clark (1820-1889), the father of Jewett's friend, Cora Lee Clark Rice.  See Correspondents.

Ogunquit … the Maxwell Tavern: Ogunquit beach, ME is near Wells.  The Maxwell Tavern nearby has not yet been identified.  Assistance is welcome.

Theodore:  Theodore Jewett Eastman.  See Correspondents.

Mr.  Tucker:  John Tucker.  See Correspondents.

Allen Warren's house and barn burnt up:  Though this is not certain, Jewett likely refers to Edward Allen Warren  (1855-1932), who married  Geneva Rines (1875-1961).  He was well-known as a local contractor and road builder.

Carrie: Caroline Jewett Eastman:  See Correspondents.

John Grey road: Also known as Gray's Road, this was northeast of South Berwick, beyond the Emery's Bridge Meeting House.  See Pirsig, The Placenames of Berwick (2007), pp. 196-7.

the  Emery's Bridge congregation:  On Emery's Bridge Road, northeast of South Berwick, was the Emery's Bridge Meeting House, now the Emery's Bridge Christian Church.  See Pirsig, The Placenames of Berwick (2007), pp. 184-5.

Rebecca: Rebecca very likely is Rebecca Young (1847-1927).  In Sarah Orne Jewett: her World and her Work (2002), Paula Blanchard says: "Rebecca Young, who lived a few doors from the Jewetts, was an old classmate of the [Jewett] sisters from the days of Miss Raynes's school and Berwick Academy and an intimate friend of both Mary and Carrie.  She was for many years treasurer of the South Berwick Savings Bank" (p. 203).  She was riding with Sarah Orne Jewett on 3 September 1902, when a stumbling horse threw both of them from the carriage.

the parish:  Though Sarah Orne Jewett became Episcopalian as an adult, when at home, she and her family regularly attended and supported the First Parish Federated Church (Congregational) of South Berwick.

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 Annie Adams Fields

 Thursday --
[ May 31, 1888 ]

My dear Fuff --*

            Who do you think has been passing the afternoon with me but Gen. Armstrong!*   He was on his way to Prout's Neck and stopped over, which was very kind and very invigorating!  He was as much in a hurry and talked as fast as ever and on the whole I feel much the better for him.  He asked all about you and said he should go to see you next week on his way back.  He wants now to be in a place where he can wear a flannel shirt and be very lazy.  He thought he might not like Prout[']s Neck and should run away and I suggested that it was better if he didn't like it and he had better be tied to a stout post in the middle of a desert place which seemed to amuse him highly.  Sometime he is coming here to have a good long horse back ride, being delighted with Berwick, that is, he thinks he will.  He has been reading the Country Doctor* and had it with him.  As he came up from Conway Junction I drove him back there and he was pleased with Sheila.*  And Grandpa* & he found great satisfaction in each other so it was all very nice.  I couldnt help thinking what an example it was for these rich boys.  The one who needed it most was not here though!  I think I shall have to let this week go, hook and sinker, but next week I must make up for it.  I suppose the interruption is the best thing, but there are times when it seems the worst.  I have thought at the story a good deal, and got out of the bog I was in the first of the week, at least I hope I have.

 [Handwritten note appears here on this transcription: Other side continuation of this letter?]

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Yesterday was Decoration day* and I have told you how touching it always is to me  --  the little procession of "veterans" grows more and more pathetic year by year.  In the morning I went down to Pound Hill* to see an old woman who is very sick, an old patient of father's whom I have a kindness for  --  and then John* confided to me that his old captain (afterward Colonel)*  whom he hadn't seen for a great many years, was going to be the speaker in Dover at the afternoon celebration, so we scurried across the Eliot bridge and into Dover and you never saw any thing more touching than John's delight and feeling about the interview.  John said  "th' Cap'n knew me in a minute.  I was goin' right by him.  Hullo John says he,  that you! an'  I says yes!" . . . . . . . . . .

            Your loving Pinny*


The ellipses in the transcription indicate that this is a selection from the manuscript.

1888:  If Jewett has correctly identified the day of the week and the two pieces here are both from the same letter as the transcriber believes, then Jewett would have to be writing on Thursday 31 May, 1888, the only day that 31 May fell on a Thursday between 1884, when A Country Doctor was published, and 11 May 1893, when General Armstrong died.

Fuff: Nickname for Annie Adams Fields. See Correspondents.

Gen. Armstrong: This probably is  Samuel Chapman Armstrong. See Correspondents

Prout's NeckProuts Neck is a peninsula, within the town of Scarborough, in southeastern Maine.

Country Doctor:  Jewett's novel, A Country Doctor, was published in 1884.

Sheila: Jewett's first horse, purchased in 1877.

Grandpa: Dr. William Perry. See Correspondents.

Decoration day:  Now called Memorial Day, this is an American holiday honoring military veterans, particularly by decorating with flowers the graves of deceased veterans.  In 1888, as was customary at the time, Decoration Day fell on 30 May, a Wednesday.

Pound Hill:  Pound Hill is east of Hamilton House in the Old Fields area of southern South Berwick. Norma Keim of the Old Berwick Historical Society has located the it  on what is now Fife's Lane, which once was part of the main road from Old Fields to York. This location is just east of Old Fields. See The Maine Spencers, A History and Genealogy by W. D. Spencer (Concord: Rumford Press, 1898) p. 108. It is quite likely that the name derives from the location of the village livestock pound. In the colonial period, many New England villages had pounds where strayed livestock would be kept at village expense until the owners claimed them and payed their fine or pound fee. (See John R. Stilgoe, Common Landscape of America 1580-1845. New Haven: Yale UP, 1982, p. 49).

John: John Tucker. See Correspondents.

old captain: This captain probably appears as a character in Jewett's story, "Peach-tree Joe" (1893) in which John Tucker tells Jewett a story from his Civil War service.  His name is not yet known.  Assistance is welcome.

Pinny: Nickname for Sarah Orne Jewett.    See Correspondents.

This text is from transcriptions from mixed repositories in the Maine Women Writer's Collection, University of New England, Letters from Sarah Orne Jewett, 1875-1890, Folder 72, Burton Trafton Jewett Research Collection. For more information about the individual transcription, contact the Maine Women Writers Collection.  Preparation by Linda Heller.  Notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

John Greenleaf Whittier to SOJ

Amesbury 5/31 1888

My dear friend,

    Thy lovely book with the generous dedication reached me last night.  I am glad exceedingly to have my name so pleasantly associated with thine.  I was longing for it, and especially needed it for I have been suffering from the dampness and east winds of to me the [ hardness ? ] month in the whole year -- and the loveliest!  I have been reading today the King of Folly Island*

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with renewed admiration of ^its^ exquisite descriptions, admirable characterization, and pathos which brings tears to one's eyes.

    I am sure this [ last ? ] book is thy best and that is saying much.

    Thanks to thee & Mrs. Fields* for Senator Edmund's fine portrait.*

    I am afraid our dear Annie is not yet quite well.  I hope she will feel that she can leave her hard work in the Associated Charities for the present.

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I am quite uncertain as ^to^ myself this summer.  I scarcely feel like looking forward.  I go to Oak Knoll as soon as the rain & fog pass off.  The dampness of this spring has been very trying to me.

    With grateful love thy friend

John G Whittier


the King of Folly Island:  Appearing in 1888, "This book of stories is dedicated with grateful affection to John Greenleaf Whittier."

Mrs. Fields:  Annie Adams Fields. See Correspondents.  Mrs. Fields was a leader of the Associated Charities of Boston.

Senator EdmundsGeorge Franklin Edmunds (1828 - 1919) was a Republican U.S. Senator from Vermont.  In 1852 he married Susan Marsh (1831-1916); they had two daughters, Mary (1854-1936) and Julia (1861-1882).  Jewett and Fields enjoyed friendly association with the family during their 1888 stay in Aiken, SC.  See the letters of March 1888.

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.

SOJ to Louisa Loring Dresel

[Late spring, 1888]*

Manchester by the Sea
Saturday --

Dear Loulie

    Here I am, helping to set up the housekeeping and I was so glad to have your letter yesterday.  I am so pleased because you liked Miss Peck:  Mrs Fields* has always favored her, but the Sister Wisby Story* is my joy and pride.

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I do think it is pretty where Miss Peck speaks of sitting up front with the eyes of the whole congregation sticking in her back !!!   (Please excuse my quoting it!) -- I am going home the first of the week so that I fear I shall not see you and Mrs. Dresel this time but I shall come back very soon, probably

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the last day or two.

    Mrs. Fields would send love if she knew of my letter but I cant stop to give notice because it is time to send to the post office

Yours with many thanks



1888:  Though someone has written "1887 ?" in upper left corner of page 1, it seems more likely that Jewett composed  this letter after the appearance of The King of Folly Island in 1888, probably in late spring, when Annie Fields annually shifted her housekeeping to Manchester.

Miss Peck ... Mrs Fields ... Sister Wisby:  Mrs. Fields is Annie Adams Fields.  See Correspondents. "Miss Peck's Promotion" appeared in Scribner's Magazine in June 1887.  "The Courting of Sister Wisby" appeared in Atlantic Monthly in May 1887.  That Jewett and Dresel are corresponding about both stories suggests that perhaps Dresel has been reading them in The King of Folly Island, which appeared after March of 1888.

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.

Annie Fields to a member of the Loring Family -- possibly Anna Loring Dresel.

                        148 Charles St. June 18th  '88               

My dear friend,

    The first thing to greet me on my toilet table when I returned from the South, was your beautiful parting gift. It has lain where I found it, ever since suggesting many a thought of you and yours; but I have avoided writing more than is necessary because (you know!) paper interviews take something of one's strength also. But it is a pure pleasure to find a moment when I can say not only "thank you" but when we can talk as it were. Today is a holiday here. Yesterday Sunday being the 17th of June,* so I am free for a time! In the early afternoon I am going to Craigie House where Miss Longfellow* has asked some Working Girls* to pass a day. You will be interested to know that she is doing all a daughter can to make Craigie House hospitable to all who are interested to go there. On Wednesday again the Annex girls* are to go and I shall be interested to see the contrast between the two. I hope it will be very great because I always [suffer ?] for girls who work with their hands and yet are longing for something else.
    You will see by this that I am much better, indeed, quite well if not so strong as before my illness. I hope you too are much better!
    Yesterday I mailed you the Christian Register containing some things that have been said and done --- (but alas! how poor it all seems in contrast to what we feel) in memory of our dear friend Mr. Clarke.* I thought of you on that day when his dead form was brought and laid down before the spot where his spirit had shown out so brightly for mankind year after year, and I know that you were there in thought. One of the most perfect tributes --- to me, the most perfect was made by Phillips Brooks* and by strange good fortune I read the sermon aloud from his manuscript to Mary Lodge*  who has been very ill. (She is convalescing now but you know what a hard period the time of convalescence is.) His text is "Ye are our Epistle".* He portrays Paul striving to say in simple phrase so that men might understand the truth he had himself learned and at last build up the Tiring Man ^to whom he wrote^ to grave the significance of it on his [deleted word] heart so that other men might read. He said Mr. Clarke had done this.  He had carried the living truth written on his own heart to men. --- This is only a hint of the scheme of the sermon but you will fill it out and see what he could make of it. At present it will not be finished.
    It is very pretty just now here in Charles St. Our bit of ground has grown far more green and leafy and flowery since you saw it last. Mr. Millet and his little family, consisting of his picturesque wife, their baby girl and the dog* pass the entire day there when the weather is as warm as it is today under the trees. The baby tumbles about in the grass or swings in her small hammock and makes a lovely picture what ever she does. I shall stay here until July when I go to make Sarah a visit at South Berwick -- afterward we mean to wander off along the coast of Maine for a few weeks and about the 1st of Sept. I go to Manchester. So you have the story of our plans.
     Meanwhile she has kindly lent me Loulie 's nice long letter* to read telling us a great many things I wanted to know though I was sorry to know you had such a bad voyage. O what a pond that is! The depths of its villainy will never be known however we may measure the depths of its waters.
    Sarah and I were delighted to have Loulie 's letter and she will have an answer I know by and by. At present the dear child has been over tired with moving back into the old house where she was born -- not so bad as going to a new house but there is a great deal of work attendant upon such changes.*
    I can't remember what I told you of our Southern trip. The days at St. Helena with Laura Towne were intensely interesting because the result of her work lay like a map before us. Florida too was delightful in quite another way, with its semi-tropical vegetation, its beautiful buildings and lovely sea.
    St. Helena however was full of our dark history and every step spoke to us of the sacrifice and sufferings of humanity and of its advance in the present time. But it is good to be here again, in the old familiar places where I can see the chair in which Mr. Clarke last sat and listen to his voice in the silence.

Good bye
Yours most lovingly
Annie Fields

    My affectionate remembrance to you all.   


17 June:  June 17 is Bunker Hill Day in Suffolk County, MA, memorializing the American Revolution's Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775.

Craigie House ... Miss Longfellow ... Working Girls:  Craigie House was the home of American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882).  After his death, his daughter Alice Mary Longfellow continued at Craigie House.  A traveler, preservationist and philanthropist, Longfellow, along with Fields, joined in the work of providing social occasions for working women of the Boston area.

Annex girls:  The Annex girls were students at the Harvard Annex, a precursor to Radcliffe College, that offered women access to Harvard faculty and resources.  The "Annex girls" were generally the daughters of the wealthy and/or privileged, in contrast to the "working girls" Alice Longfellow also hosted.

Mr. ClarkeJames Freeman Clarke (April 4, 1810 - June 8, 1888) was an American theologian and author, and a prominent abolitionist.

Phillips Brooks: Phillips Brooks (1835 - 1893), according to Wikipedia, "was an American Episcopal clergyman and author, long the Rector of Boston's Trinity Church and briefly Bishop of Massachusetts, and particularly remembered as lyricist of the Christmas hymn, 'O Little Town of Bethlehem.'"  His sermon on "Living Epistles" was reprinted -- minus reference to Mr. Clarke -- in Seeking Life and Other Sermons (1904).

Mary Lodge: Richard Cary in "Jewett to Dresel: 33 Letters." Colby Library Quarterly 11 (1975): 20n, says "Mrs. James (Mary Greenwood) Lodge was fulsomely eulogized in the Boston Evening Transcript on January 3, 1890 as 'the Queen Vashti of Persia, as she was, too, the Priscilla of the Puritans.'  She was in fact a woman of considerable presence, wit and learning, who compiled A Week Away from Time (Boston 1887), new stories, translations, and verses, to which Mrs. Fields and Owen Wister contributed.  She had a keen sympathy for the poor and outcast and was active with Fields in founding and operating the Associated Charities of Boston.  Jewett nicknamed her 'Marigold' and dedicated Betty Leicester (1890) "With love to M. G. L., one of the first of Betty's friends."

Mr. Millet and his little family, consisting of his picturesque wife, their baby girl and the dog:  It is unlikely that this is the artist Francis [Frank] Davis Millet, as his daughter would have been 8 years old in 1888, and he would have had at least two other children at that time.  Information about the identity of this Mr. Millet is welcome.

the old house where she was born:  After the death of the daughters' uncle, William Jewett, in 1887, Sarah and her sister, Mary, and their mother moved from their home next door into the Jewett House, at the corner of Portland and Main in South Berwick, where Sarah was born.  At the same time, the youngest sister, Caroline, with her husband Edwin Eastman and their son, Theodore, moved into the vacated house, which had been the daughters' childhood home.
    That this change was under way in June 1888 probably explains some topics of Jewett's letters to Mary during the weeks Jewett and Fields were in the South.  Jewett's Friday 23 March letter to Mary opens with reference to Olive taking furniture and to a contractor working on a roof.  Presumably, these activities are part of the complex process of moving two families into two houses.
    And in the letter from the Ponce de Leon, St. Augustine -- Monday, Jewett includes a long post-script about feeling torn in two by her concern for Annie Fields's health and being needed at home in South Berwick.  It seems likely the South Berwick issue was the quantity of labor and decisions to be made in preparing the two houses and organizing the moves.

Loulie:  Louisa Loring Dresel (1864 - 1958), according to Richard Cary in "Jewett to Dresel: 33 Letters." Colby Library Quarterly 11 (1975): 13, "was one of the great breed of literate, talented, austerely sophisticated women of genteel upbringing that proliferated around Boston" near the end of the nineteenth century."   As shown in the collection of 33 letters Cary collects, Jewett and Dresel were kindred spirits and intimate friends, who shared interests in several of the arts.  Links to images Dresel and to examples of her painting.

Laura Towne:  See notes for letters above.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.  Ellis Gray Loring Family papers, 1828-1923 (A-115), folder 74, box 1, Annie Fields letter of June 18th 1888, 6 pages.  The Loring Papers are in the public domain.  Transcription notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Sarah Wyman Whitman

South Berwick
Sunday July First [ 1888 ]

My dear S.W.

    I wish to see you very much and I am equal to begging for a nice letter | in a large envelope |* but I also wish to tell you that I was sorry that I sent you that last letter which wrote itself and would go off in the post bag

[ Page 2 ]

quite against my better [judgment corrected ].  This is a word to ask you to give me Miss Franklin's* address. No, I am not always wanting it! but I shall have a note to send to her presently and all sense of Charlestown locality is blurred in my Sunday memory.

[ Page 3 ]

    It has been a delightful country Sunday with a fresh breeze and little brown elm-seeds blowing in at every window and all my fat robins hopping in the green grass where they look just like the robins I knew when I was a baby.

    And tomorrow afternoon comes A.F.* for a good

[ Page 4 ]

bit of a visit . . . I was in town one day this last week and tried to find you but there was no use going up to your turret chamber that day.  I have at last seen the Richardson book* and I dont wonder at your -- well, I would have left wigs on the green, and I can imagine what the title paged looked like at first.  It is a beautiful book [deleted word], and I treasure the memory of that little

[ Up the left margin and then down the top margin of page 1 ]

scene in the studio.  Good-night and just write the address or as near as you can get to it on a post card.

yours most lovingly
S. O. J.


1888:  This date is based upon the high probability that Jewett refers to Whitman's book design work for Henry Hobson Richardson & his Works (1888).  Furthermore, July 1 fell on a Sunday in 1888.

envelope:  Jewett appears, uncharacteristically, to have written in the two vertical lines where she would usually use m-dashes.

Miss Franklin:  Probably this is Miss Elizabeth Franklin, who was a member of Whitman's Bible class and one of her correspondents.  See Sarah Wyman Whitman, Letters (1907).  Further information about her has not yet been discovered.

A.F.: Annie Adams Fields. See Correspondents.

Richardson book:  It seems likely that Jewett refers to Whitman's design for Henry Hobson Richardson & his Works, (1888) by Mariana Griswold Van Rensselaer.  Richardson (1838 - 1886) was a prominent American architect. One of his major designs was for Trinity Church, Boston, which Jewett and Whitman often attended.
    Jewett's comments suggest that Whitman's design ideas for the book were altered in ways she thought unfortunate.  What Jewett means by "wigs on the green" is problematic in part because the transcription of "wigs" is uncertain.  It may be relevant that the cover and spine use the colors cream and green.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Houghton Library of Harvard University, Cambridge. MA: Whitman, Sarah (Wyman) 1842-1904, recipient. 25 letters; 1892-[1900] & [n.d.]. Sarah Orne Jewett additional correspondence, 1868-1930. MS Am 1743.1 (126).  Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Adams Davenport Claflin

Manchester by the Sea
Eighth of July
[ 1888 ]

My dear Adams [D. Claflin added in brackets by another hand]

    I wish to tell you how glad I was to hear of your engagement* and to send you my best wishes for your best happiness.  I hope that the years will grow brighter and brighter

[ Page 2 ]

as you go on --  I hope that I shall see you some day when we can talk instead of trying clumsily to say things with pen and ink.  But believe me always and sincerely your friend

Sarah O. Jewett


engagement:  Adams Claflin Davenport was a son of Mary Bucklin Davenport  and William Claflin.  See Correspondents.   He married Agnes M. Walker (1870-1910) on October 30, 1888.  See Who's Who in New England v. 2 (1915) p. 237.

With this letter is an envelope cancelled 3 October 1888, and addressed to Mrs. Charles Ellis.  Almost certainly this envelope does not really belong with this letter.

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.

Louisa Loring Dresel to SOJ

Jungfraublick Hotel.
Near Interlaken.*
July 21, 1888

My dear S. O. J.

    You cannot imagine how delightful it was to get your letter & the book;* it is n't a "booky" this time, is it?  And it was a surprise too, because I thought you told me it was not to come out till the Autumn.  You have had a busy Spring: -- Moving,* & a new book, & several thousand things that I know about.  I hope now you are getting rest & enjoyment somewhere together with Mrs. Fields.* Our news from home has been rather meagre, so your letter was welcome in many ways -- it has gone just now to pay a short visit to Marianne,* and to answer properly I should wait till it comes back, but there being so many things to tell you, it seems prudent to make a beginning.  So much seems to have happened to me since Dresden & my letter to you.  Not so much places, as people.  It has only been Pyrmont,* & Frankfurt, & Interlaken, but

[ Page 2 ]

that meant Marianne (& other exciting rencontre* in Pyrmont, of which later) & Aunt Hermine,* & family again, & my Swiss friend, beside assorted relations, sprinkled along at intervals -- Now life is quiet & serene, & I am here with parents & Ellie,* & it rains all the time, with short pauses, in which I go off sketching, & always get caught in showers!  This is my life -- & now you will like to hear that Mamma is very much better for her cure.  Nearly where she was before last winter, & seeming quite lively & cheerful, & delighted to be among her beloved Swiss mountains.  Papa has found a piano, of Swiss origin, & the familiar sounds of Bach reach me through the ceiling, his room being above ours.  Also being enterprizing [ so spelled ] to a high degree, he has discovered that a little village-church, half an hour from here, has a new & very fine organ.  Like Columbus,* no difficulties appalled him -- & he even bearded the lion in his den -- the conductor of the "Kurhaus"* brass-band, as he stood in his "Pavillon" [so spelled]  surrounded by his orchestra.  This gentleman considers himself quite the lion of Interlaken,

[ Page 3 ]

& when papa* persuaded him to show him the new organ at "Gsteig",* he "roared" at first very loud indeed.  You see he thought papa was quite an ignorant wild-American amateur, & so he performed many imposing feats, thunderstorm on the high Alps! & cow-bells & "godling"? & then condescendingly invited papa to try it a little.  Papa played a Mendelssohn* Sonata or something, & the great local celebrity collapsed utterly, & quite refused to touch the keys again, & changed his roar to a most apologetic & meek behavior -- & papa gained his point, a permission to play the organ six days in the week!  So he trots off every day or two, & borrows the keys & a boy to pump the bellows from the sexton, & has long confidential conversations with the village-parson, & I have no doubt creates quite a breeze in the quaint little mountain-village.  It has a covered bridge & a mountain-river foaming away under it, & picturesque châlets, not quite so spick & span but quite as unreal as the musical-boxes & ink-stands in the shop-windows!  The little church stands on a a slope just above the village-inn,

[ Page 4 ]

and has an old half-ruined bell-tower with ivy & bushes growing on it, & there is a graveyard around it that runs a little way up the slope of the mountain behind, with its graves each like a little garden of old-fashioned posies, & the touching little crosses of wood over each one, with wreaths of dried flowers, or painted tin, or colored bead ones! -- not very aesthetic you see, but all very bright & gay, not at all like the severe granite-slabs of New England --

    My Swiss friend Mathilde de Chambrier* has been staying with us.  The fortnight she was to be with us here unhappily dwindled down to four days, but we tried to put a fortnight's worth into them & in some ways succeeded{.}

    It was rather a painful & exciting meeting to me -- I think she only felt relief or pleasure, & certainly was touchingly grateful for our attempts to make her visit a pleasant one, & at last perfectly broken-hearted to leave us.

    Poor child, she is passing through dark days -- of which her mother's death is not the deepest shadow.  One night she poured out her whole heart to me, and it was indeed a tragical

[ Page 5 ]

revelation, of passion & hopeless longing for "something else",* & discontent with self & others --

    -- It seems so sad she should just choose me, & have such a [ piteous ?] conviction that I can help her. -- she is just beginning to ask [ miracles ? ] of life, without understanding that the answer lies only in herself -- I think it is something {like} the state of mind I was in two years ago, & when I remember how good & dear you were to me, & how much some long talks we had helped & encouraged me, I wish that you could be her friend too -- while I seem to myself quite unequal to fill the place that she has put me in, or with all the love & sympathy I feel for her, to ever really help or comfort in any way. 

    Still, if it seems sent to me -- not to anyone else, I must try -- She is such a superb creature -- I wish you could see her & put her in a story; imagine a Greek goddess come to life and animated with very human failings & charms -- she is a little over life-size, otherwise the beauty would be perfect --, the features are nearly perfect, & the eyes superb, & though so

[ Page 6 ]

very tall every movement is perfect grace, and every attitude a picture. -- There is an almost painful intensity of expression in her face, & I have never seen a sadder look in any being's eyes than hers wear at times.  She is capable of so much enjoyment, having such a rare sense of fun & love for the comical view of things, & seems beside, with her rare beauty, so much a creature one instinctively would wish to shield from all pain & trouble, that it seems doubly hard to see how hard life has been to her, & foresee the suffering she must still pass through before self is at peace. --  It is such a lonely, cold life for her -- & I cannot see that outwardly it can ever be any better for her.  Is it not hard to stand helpless before such a problem, & remember that we all  have to fight our own battles -- & how very little all the wishes & goodwill of others can do. -- I remember your talking about this once, but it is not clear to me -- Whenever I think of it, the two sides rise up before me & fight together; one minute it seems everything, the next nothing enough philosophy for the present however ^ I mean what one is able to do for another -- do you understand at all?^

[ Page 7 ]

Mathilde de C. is very musical, & it was bliss to her to hear papa play -- He gave very original evening-concerts to us up in his bed-room, on the bad little Swiss piano, & one day in spite of pouring rain, we all drove to "Gsteig" & he played the organ to us for two hours or more. -- The picturesque church is very severely Puritanical inside, white-washed walls & such hard benches, not even a cushion for the Minister -- however to the hardy race of Swiss mountaineers perhaps they are not such a penance after all.  Papa had a little boy to pump the bellows, & my friends to turn the pages, & while the rain came down in torrents outside, & heavy mists veiled the [mountain corrected], he forgot the world, & nearly lifted the roof off with Bach fugues --  Mamma & I retreated to the furthest end of the little church, and I even sought refuge in the pulpit!  I cannot understand a musician's ecstacy at the volume of sound -- I enjoy chorals, & soft accompaniments, but fled before this overwhelming storm of music.  Later he calmed down, & I sat in the organ-loft, charmed not alone by Mendelssohn strains, but by the poetry of the scene -- the light streaming in through the

[ Page 7 ]

tall window, the two figures dark against it, the musician intent & eager at the organ, & beside him the girl's tall graceful figure, the light on her fair hair, her black dress & dreamy face, & statuesque pose with back against the organ, completed a picture which needed another artist's pencil than mine, even had I had my sketch-book with me.  My friend is much like of of du Maurier's* beautiful women, the air & grace, & the same fault of being unnaturally tall!

- July 25. --

    The weather has been so uncommonly & persistently rainy, that sketching has prospered but little -- only two watercolors since I have been here, one a heroic effort, not crowned with deserved success!  The other, a picturesque corner of a châlet, covered with vines, under a soft rainy sky, gives more the idea & feeling of time & place.  I believe you know this region well, & know what a drive to Lauterbrunnen means, without further description.  Ellis has gone today with a friend to Grindelwald.* Unhappily his cure seems to have done him but little good, & he seems ill & nervous; it is indeed discouraging,

[ Page 8 ]

& the poor boy seems depressed & unlike himself, which it makes mamma quite miserable to see him looking so pale, & thinner than ever  Principally for  his sake, we are going to try higher air & tomorrow leave here for the Rigi.* We are going to the hotel where I stayed two years ago, as our friends Mrs. Lehmann & her daughters* are there for a week or so.  I hope after they leave, we shall find a high place where my pencil finds more to do -- the Rigi is rather too civilized, beside presenting nature too much as a bird's-eye-view!  There is a valley on the top of the Gotthard that fills my soul with yearning, & I have written to an artist-friend for information; so you may imagine us probably there in August.  In September we are thinking of going to the Austrian Tyrol, having had a cordial invitation from old friends of mammas who have a "villa" on a lovely lake, near Salzburg, or not far from it I believe.  The region is said to be wildly picturesque, & the peasants all wear orthodox Tyrolean costume, bare knees & spikey shoes!  Marianne & I cherish hopes of meeting there, her parents meditate a journey to the Tyrol

[ Page 8 ]

in the autumn, & I think she will be able to influence the direction! Then we plan a return to Dresden by way of Munich, where the International Picture Exhibition is a great magnet to us both.  We expect to be in Dresden by Oct. 1st at latest.  Papa in the mean time is distracting himself & us by talking of steamers for Nov. 1st, having recovered the use of his arm, Bach Club & Beacon St. Organ are calling to him so entrancingly that he seems ready to desert family & fatherland for the sake of a solitary winter in their company!  He is going through the agonies of making up his mind -- just now, -- & being in love with the Gsteig organ at present he is not even going the Rigi with us, but leave wehim behind, with his bad little piano & music ms., to flirt with the "Jungfrau" from his window! --

    Mrs. Fields will like to hear that Mamma seems very well now, -- the Carlsbad cure having worked wonders -- The foot is still lame, but she can take little walks, & in other respects is where she was before the long illness; principally she seems bright & cheerful & able to enjoy the beauties around her --

[ Page 9 ]

I must tell you that we both love your new story!  All the others were old friends to me, but not the less welcome for that; I have been loving them all over again, & now the book is going to Marianne for a while.  But the "Village Shop" is really one of the very best.* Don't people think so? Don't you? That intolerable & yet entirely amiable bookworm is to me a wonderful creation.  I have known him, in a previous state of existence, if not in this one!  The contrast between brother & sister is so perfect & consistent all through.  The whole story is remarkably satisfactory.  Your things always satisfy me in one way, in the best way; -- but as a work of art this one seems to me particularly [satisfactory corrected ], it is just what it ought to be in every way -- & more I can't say, to tell you the pleasure it gave me. -- Only one thing, is it not a little hard that you leave the reader to imagine the reconciliation between Nelly & Miss Jaffrey?  I felt rather abused to be deprived of that, but if you say it is better so, I will try to be reconciled! --

[ Page 10 ]

Your letter was so nice -- & your tale of "poor dear"* enchanted me; could n't you put him in a story? -- I mean to write to you again, to really answer your letter, & tell you about Pyrmont & Marianne, (who is back in Leipzig, & quite well & lively, thank you) but now it seems better to send this rather disjointed beginning off, as it may be some time before I have a good writing-time.  I am going in for frivolity & Bessie Lehmann's society on the Rigi, & till we are on some mountain-top in a howling storm, letters will have to wait.

    -- It has turned out such a warm day that I quite envy Ellis inside the Grindelwald glacier! As a less cool thing to do, I must now pack my trunk -- the penalty of travelling, & a severe one, I think.

    Mamma sends dearest love to you & to Mrs. Fields, -- please give her mine, too.  When you are not at all very busy (does that ever happen?) will you write to me again?  It seems greedy to ask for "more"so soon, but you hardly know what a pleasure your letters are to me.

With dear love & thanks for everything,
yours always    Loulie.

[ Down from the left in the top margin of page 1 ]

I think I have repeated myself several times -- which excuse this letter having been written in scraps at different times.  A fellow-pupil of Ross Turner's* class turned up here, & we have been going sketching together.


Interlaken:  In the Alps of Switzerland

book:  Jewett presumably has send Dresel a copy of The King of Folly Island (1888). Her story, "The Village Shop," appeared for the first time in this volume.

Moving:  In Sarah Orne Jewett, Paula Blanchard notes that in the spring of 1888, Jewett and her sister, Mary, moved from the house in which they had grown up into the original family home next door at the corner of Portland and Main in South Berwick, ME (p. 193).

Mrs. Fields: Annie Adams Fields.  See Correspondents.

Marianne:  Marianne Theresia Brockhaus. See Correspondents.

Pyrmont:  Bad Pyrmont, a popular German resort and spa.

rencontre:  French.  Meeting.

HermineHermine Dresel (1814-89) was the half-sister of Otto Dresel, Lousia's father.  She married F. Louis Bolongaro-Crevenna, a businessman in Frankfurt, Germany.

Ellie:  Dresel's younger brother, Ellis. 

Kurhaus:  Sanitarium.

papa:  Dresel seems usually not to capitalize this word.

GsteigGsteig bei Gstaad is a village near Interlaken, Switzerland.

godling:  Though it seems this is what Dresel has written, her usage here seems puzzling.  Does she mean that the man behaved like a local god?

Mendelssohn:  Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809 - 1847), better known as Felix Mendelssohn was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor.

Mathilde de Chambrier:  Little has yet been learned about this person.  It is possible that her father was the historian James de Chambrier (1830-1920).   A death notice in a Neuchâtel, Switzerland newspaper lists the family of Madame Robert de Chambrier (Blanche Chabaud-Latour) after her death on 19 June 1918.  It suggests at least that the following may be siblings of Robert: Henry, Mathilde, and Geneviève.  Whether James is their father has not been established, nor is their mother known, though it seems clear that she died probably in 1888 or 1887.

"something else":  The use of quotation marks suggests that Dresel alludes to Jewett's A Country Doctor (1884), in which Nan Prince's desire to follow the vocation of medicine manifests itself at first as "a longing for the Great Something Else."

du Maurier'sWikipedia says: "George Louis Palmella Busson du Maurier (1834 -8 October 1896) was a Franco-British cartoonist and author, known for his drawings in Punch and for his novel Trilby."

Lauterbrunnen ... GrindelwaldLauterbrunnen and Grindelwald are picturesque alpine villages near Interlaken.

Rigi:  "The Rigi (or Mount Rigi; also known as Queen of the Mountains) is a mountain massif of the Alps, located in Central Switzerland. The whole massif is almost entirely surrounded by the water of three different water bodies: Lake Lucerne, Lake Zug and Lake Lauerz."

Mrs. Lehmann & her daughters:  A daughter, Bessie, is named later in the letter.  These people remain unidentified.

best:  Dresel places her opening quotation mark for the story title in the subscript position.  This sentence ends with a question mark, the upper portion of which is deleted to change it to a period.

"poor dear":  This phrase indicates that Jewett has in mind a character she will present in 1896, in the book version of The Country of the Pointed Firs, "Along Shore."

Ross Turner's:   Ross Sterling Turner (1847-1915) was an American painter, water-colorist, and illustrator in the Boston area.

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 an Unknown Recipient*

South Berwick Maine
14 August 1888

Dear Madam

    I am sorry that I have not photographs now but I will try to send one for the purpose you describe. [deleted sentence ]  As for the facts about my early literary work, you will find in a file of Every Other Saturday* -- a fortnightly story paper which was published in Boston a few years ago, or in the biographical file of

[ Page 2 ]

the Boston Herald more material of than I have time to write out today --  I dare say that there are other things in print, but I cannot recall ^tell you where to find^ them -- I am an old contributor to the Atlantic now for my first story was written for it when I was but nineteen.  Most of Deephaven* was written within the next two or three years, though it did not come out in book form until later -- I dare say

[ Page 3 ]

that what people like in it (and it has brought me many pleasant friends) is that it looks at life from a young girl's point of view -- ----- I have always had my home in South Berwick where I was born, and still live in a very old house built in the colonial times.  I spend my winters in Boston however.  Pray pardon this hurried note and believe me

Yours sincerely

S. O. Jewett.


Recipient: As of this writing, no publication has been discovered that seems very likely to be the one for which Jewett writes this letter.  Kathrine Aydelott locates two pieces from 1889 that could have resulted from this letter, though they appear more than a year later.  An anonymous biographical sketch was in Book News ((Philadelphia, PA). 7 (Aug 1889), pp. 361-62.  Edward Bok's "Literary Leaves" was in Ladies Home Journal VI:9 (Aug 1889), p. 11.  As LHJ editor, Bok may have had a woman gathering materials for his piece.

Every Other Saturday:  Jewett refers to a biographical sketch that appeared in this publication on 5 December 1884.

The Boston Herald:  The Boston Herald was founded in 1846.

Deephaven:  Jewett's 1877 novel.

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 Willis Boyd Allen

Manchester by the Sea
16 of September [1888]

My dear Mr. Allen

Your note finds me here, but the book has not yet followed it, and I shall expect to find it waiting for me when I come back after two or three days spent away from the shore.1

--"I must thank you for it beforehand -- but at any rate such a note as yours is a very great pleasure.  If I like the book half as well, it will be a very good "little book" indeed!

-- I have not forgotten your kindness while speaking of my own last storybook.

Believe me

Yours sincerely

Sarah O. Jewett


1888:  The circumstantial evidence for dating this letter is thin and, so, this date is tentative.  We know that Jewett had in her library a copy of Allen's Kelp: A Story of the Isles of Shoals (1888), as evidenced by the first inside page of this Google book.  We know that a very positive review of The King of Folly Island (1888) appeared in Cottage Hearth 14 (August 1888), p. 262.  This makes it at least plausible that Allen sent Jewett a copy of Kelp and that she was pleased with the review of The King of Folly Island and, therefore, that this letter is from September of 1888.

The manuscript of this letter is in the collection of the Miller Library of Colby College, Waterville, ME.  The transcription first appeared in Scott Frederick Stoddart's Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign: Selected Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett, copyright by Stoddart, 1988.  Annotation is by Stoddart, supplemented where appropriate by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to John Greenleaf Whittier

Manchester, Mass.
21 Sept. [1888]

My dear Friend

    I was so glad to get your letter last week and we have hoped to drive over to see you as soon as we were sure that you were in Danvers.*  I hoped that you and Mr. and Mrs. Cartland* would be able to stop in Berwick, but I had an idea that you went home long before you really did.  The last time we heard from you, you told us that the Sturtevant Farm house* was full so that we gave up the idea of joining you there, and when we went to Shelburne* we went and came by Portland and the Grand Trunk railroad.*  We had a delightful three days there with Miss Whitney and Miss Manning.*  They have a beautiful view, near the bridge from which Storring* thought he found the best view in the mountains.

    It has been dull weather almost ever since I came to Manchester, (ten days after Mrs. Fields came)* but we have had Alice Longfellow here and Miss Fanny Stone* a charming Newburyport girl whose father I saw once at your house in Amesbury,* and several other people for short visits -- and I have been writing some new stories.  One of them I like pretty well.  It is a story of retired shipmasters, and I called it The taking of Captain Ball.*  It reminds me of "Porchmouth"* but I really had in mind in one or two places an old Capt. Rice* who lived and died in Berwick when I was a little girl.  The other story is only a short one but there are two people talking in it.  One says, "Elder Bickers has gone an married a gal thats four year younger than his daughter."

    "Goin' to have a mild, open winter over that way, aint they?" says the other and they drive along.  When that wrote itself down I couldn't help laughing.*

    Our dear A. F. seems better but even now she hasn't much capital in the way of strength, and has to be a little careful.  You will see us driving up, one of these days -- before we go away.  Love to your cousins and to Phebe.*  I shall want to hear all about Alaska* when I come.
Yours lovingly



Danvers:  Richard Cary says: "In 1875 Whittier's cousins, the Misses Johnson and Abby J. Woodman, purchased a farm of sixty acres in Danvers and invited him to make his home there whenever he wished. The place was notable for beautiful lawns, orchards, gardens, and grapevines. Whittier suggested the name of "Oak Knoll," which was immediately adopted."

Mr. & Mrs. Cartland:  Mrs. Cartland:  Richard Cary says: "Joseph Cartland (1810-1898) and Gertrude Cartland (1822-1911), ... ac¬companied Whittier on his summer vacations in Maine and New Hampshire for five decades, ... in whose home at Newburyport, Massachusetts, he lived most of his last fifteen winters."

Sturtevant Farm house
... Shelburne ... Portland and the Grand Trunk railroad:  Whittier spent parts of some summers at Sturtevant farm house, a boarding house near Centre Harbor on Lake Winnepesaukee, NH.
     Shelburne, VT was a summering place for artist friends of Jewett and Fields, including Anne Whitney and Abby Adeline Manning.
    The Grand Trunk Railway provided service between Portland, ME and the summer resort towns of New Hampshire and Vermont, including both Shelburne and Centre Harbor.

Miss Whitney and Miss Manning
:  Abby Adeline (Addy) Manning (1836-1906), the partner of the American sculptor, Anne Whitney. (1821-1915).  Paula Blanchard says that the couple were early friends of Annie Fields, and later of both Fields and Jewett (p. 215).  See Manning in Correspondents. says that Whitney maintained a studio in Boston after 1876.

Storring: This person has not been identified.  Assistance is welcome.

Manchester ... Mrs. Fields:  Manchester-by-the-Sea, location of the summer home of Annie Adams Fields or A.F. See Correspondents.

 Alice Longfellow here and Miss Fanny Stone: Alice Mary Longfellow. See Correspondents.
    Fanny Stone may be the daughter of Charles Pomeroy Stone (1824 - 1887), who was a career United States Army officer, civil engineer, and surveyor.  Near the end of his career, he served more than a decade in the Egyptian army, leaving after the British suppression of an Egyptian nationalist rebellion against British and European control over the Suez Canal.
    During the bombardment of Alexandria in 1882, his wife and daughters were trapped in Cairo.  Fanny Stone published a diary of this experience: "Diary of an American Girl in Cairo During the War of 1882," in Century 28, 2 (June 1884), pp. 289-302.   Further information is welcome.   

The Taking of Captain Ball:  Jewett's story, "The Taking of Captain Ball" appeared in Harper's Magazine  80 in December 1889.

Porchmouth:  Jewett sometimes offers this spelling for Portsmouth, NH.

Captain Rice:  This probably is Captain Samuel W. Rice (1784-1858), who may have been Jewett's great uncle.

laughing:  Jewett refers to her story, "A Winter Courtship," which appeared in Atlantic Monthly 63 in February 1889.

Phebe ... Alaska:  Richard Cary says: "Phebe Woodman Grantham was the adopted daughter of Whittier's cousin Abby J. Woodman. In her childhood she lived at Oak Knoll and was the object of much affection by Whittier, who wrote the poem "Red Riding Hood" for her. She became extremely possessive of Whittier in later life and, from accounts in Albert Mordell's biography and a letter by Miss Jewett to Samuel T. Pickard, could be un¬seemly sharp in defending her interest."
    According to The Letters of John Greenleaf Whittier v. 1, Whittier's cousin, Abby Johnson Woodman (1828-1921), "was a wide traveler and published an account of her travels, Picturesque Alaska (1889)" (p. 336).

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 Emma Harding Claflin Ellis

[10/2/88 in another hand]
Manchester by the Sea
Second October
[1888 bracketed in another hand]

Dear Mrs. Ellis

    I return the story* with many good wishes for its fortunes.  Of course the worst faults that I see is its youthfulness.  A young writer must be contented to wait patiently until she comes to somewhere near the standpoint of the "reading public{,}" to the point of view from  which

[ Page 2 ]

grown persons look out and see life with right perspective.  It is this lack of perspective which troubles one a little in the sketch you sent me and this is not so much a fault as a necessary misfortune.  The best one can do, -- this 'foreshortening' and it hindrance being granted -- is to see whether there are hopeful signs and a growing clearsightedness.  I think one does find these in the sketch of Boarding School

[ Page 3 ]

life.  There is a lightness and gayety in the manner of it that will be a charming thing to fall back upon by and by, when there are wiser and better stories to tell! and there certainly is great clearness in seeing the situation and not too much detail on the whole, in describing it.  I have a great wish that the story and this imperfect note about {it} might be read together, say three years from now!  And I think

[ Page 4 ]

that it would be a pity for a young girl who has had patience to work the whole of this sketch, not to keep her gift bright with use.  I would not try very long things for until she "grows up" a little more it must be counted chiefly as practice work.  I would try a good deal of what Dr. Weir Mitchell* calls word-sketching, writing down

[ Page 5 ]

the same thing over and over again in words, at short intervals and again at longer ones.  Ones whole life and thought and experience go to the writing of the briefest story, as ones whole musical education ministers to the singing of the simplest song -- but there must be a solid foundation of drill and accuracy and certainty and justesse* of touch.  And there must be the round globe for the gayest and wildest imagination to take wing from.

[ Page 6 ]

-- I feel as if I were just beginning with every new story after all these years, but I have learned somethings and one is that no matter what ones gift maybe, the better it is the harder work it demands.  And the greater treasure it wins, too, in spite, or I can almost say because of ones disappointments and a fast receding horizon.

    = There are so many things

[ Page 7 ]

to be said but I must not make this long letter any longer.  We were every so sorry to miss your promised visit this year, but you must give us double next time.  They are all very well at home, & I mean to go over this week for a few days.  With best remembrances to Mr. Ellis and Mary and Annie I am

always yours affectionately
Sarah O. Jewett

Mrs. Fields* sends her love with mine

[ Written up the margin of page 1 ]

I would not roll the manuscript when you send it to an Editor -- beautiful clear manuscript this!  I quite envy it!


the story: Details about this story are unknown.  However, since Mrs. Ellis was older than Jewett, it seems likely the story is by one of Emma's daughters, Mary or Annie, or perhaps her younger half-brothers, .  None of these people is known to have published fiction under his or her own name.

Dr. Weir Mitchell calls word-sketching: See Correspondents.  In S. Weir Mitchell (2012) pp. 202-3, Nancy Cervetti describes Mitchell's practice of "word sketching."

justesse:  A French noun that suggests objective correctness.

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, Ac 950.  Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Hamlin Garland


South Berwick, Maine 24 October 1888

Professor Hamlin Garland

 Dear Sir

 I thank you for your letter and I am much interested in what you say. I have often wondered why we read realistic sketches with such delight when the scene is laid in foreign countries and are apt to find equally truthful and truly artistic sketches of our own neighborhood a trifle dull. But perhaps I do wrong in insisting that we are always as artistic in our work as our foreign neighbors. It is not the accuracy of the likeness but the artistic quality of the work that does count and should count most.

 Octave Thanet's ^& Mrs. Cooke's^ and Mrs. Chase-Wymans [sic] and Miss Wilkins's* stories are so much better than all but the very best of Russian and French stories.

 I listen to all that you say of the dark and troubled side of New England life. Mrs. Cooke has felt that and written it, but her Connecticut people are different from those I have known and thought most about. It is a harder fight with nature for the most part there and there were not such theologians in the old days here as in that part of New England. Yet the types of humanity are the same varied by the surroundings. I am often struck by the fact that the old fashioned people here have small vocabularies and are sure to say least when they feel most.

 Later in the season, by the first of the year I come to town and I shall be glad to see you at 148 Charles Street. With best wishes for your work. Believe me

Yours truly

  S. O. Jewett


Octave Thanet's ^& Mrs. Cooke's^ and Mrs. Chase-Wymans ... Miss Wilkins's stories: Octave Thanet is the pen name of fiction writer Alice French (1850-1934). Rose Terry Cooke (1827-1892) was an American poet and fiction writer. The Wikipedia entry on the reformer Elizabeth Buffum Chace says that her daughter, Lillie Buffum Chace Wyman (1847-1929), "became an author publishing several books and writing regularly for such magazines as The Atlantic Monthly in addition to being a tireless social reformer. " Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman (1852-1930), a prominent New England fiction writer, had not yet married at the time of this letter.

Transcriber James Nagel says "This letter is Item 97 in the Hamlin Garland collection of the University of Southern California Library, Los Angeles, CA." Nagel published and discussed his transcription in "Sarah Orne Jewett Writes to Hamlin Garland." The New England Quarterly 54.3 (September 1981), pp. 416-23. Notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

Reprinted by permission of the New England Quarterly.

SOJ to The Brandon Mail [Manitoba]

Nov 8, 1888

[The newspaper solicited letters from professional women on the topic of whether they would vote if American women were enfranchised.]

I believe it would have been better to carefully restrict the voting of men by high educational and certain property qualifications. But since only the matter of general representation, and not a certain degree of intelligence and knowledge of the care of property are considered in the matter of deciding upon public questions which concern women as well as men, I believe common justice gives women the right to vote. Personally, I have no wish to hasten the day when woman suffrage will be allowed, but I believe that day to be inevitable, and I should certainly consider it my duty to vote. To the plea that the ignorant vote would be so greatly increased, I maintain that women will become educated by the use and possession of their right much faster than men who have become educated, and that there will be a larger proportion of conscientious and unpartisan votes than are cast now.

            Sarah Orne Jewett.


Jewett's letter appeared in "WOULD WOMEN VOTE?" The Brandon Mail [Manitoba] -- Nov 8, 1888, p. 3

SOJ to Edmund Clarence Stedman

S. O. Jewett
148 Charles St. Boston

Dear Mr Stedman,

    I am so sorry to have made so much trouble.  I had confidence all the time in that photograph and the way was this: poor Karl Thaxter* made a very good plate ^last spring^ and printed some of the enlarged copies so well that Mrs Fields* and others equally

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demanding thought the best of likenesses.  So I asked to have a print sent on to you but very likely Mrs. Thaxter could not get hold of a good one just then.  I told her that there was a hurry about it, and as I look back over the whole business I accuse myself at every turn!  But the skies are not going to fall

[ Page 3 ]

and we wont think of the matter again.  I think that it would be a great pity to keep back the volume,* on anything of that sort.

[=  possibly in another hand]   And when you come to South Berwick you will surely find a welcome.  If you come "by sea" to "The Landing" or by rail to the village the house is not far, exactly in the middle of the village in fact, with its door

[ Page 4 ]

wide open.  Will you thank your son* for his most kind letter of last week.  My Mother was very glad to hear from him again for she has kept a most pleasant memory of that brief glimpse of him, when [ | ? | possibly in another hand ] she didnt know his name and saw him go off, as it were, into space!  So we hope that he will come wayfaring again

[=  possibly in another hand]    With Mrs. Fields's best regards and mine I am yours sincerely

S. O. Jewett.


Karl Thaxter: Karl is the son of Celia Thaxter.  See Correspondents.

Mrs. Fields:  Annie Adams Fields. See Correspondents.

the volume:  This letter concerns Stedman's plan to include Jewett in his multi-volume collection, A Library of American Literature from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time.  Volume 10 appeared in 1889.  It finally included a photograph of Jewett (after p. 514) and two of her pieces: "Miss Tempy's Watchers" and the poem, "A Child's Grave" (pp. 510-18).  Whether the photograph is the one by Karl Thaxter, to which Jewett refers, is not yet known.

your son:  Arthur Griffin Stedman. 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 Annie Adams Fields

     Sunday evening.  [Autumn 1888]*

     I have got a little cold, so I stayed in most willingly today, and have finished the Coleorton letters.* I long to have you begin them, or to begin them over again with you. I suppose that some or many of them must be printed elsewhere, I am too ignorant to say; but Wordsworth's and Dorothy's letters are more delightful and wise and like their best selves than any words of mine can say. Coleridge's, too, follow his varying fortunes and ailments over hill and dale. In Wordsworth's there is a delectable account of his planning and overseeing a "winter garden" for the Beaumonts, which I hope we shall go to see, some day, and there are particulars now and then about how the evergreens grow, and he writes inscriptions for it, and it is a great play! But Dorothy! how charming she grows as one grows older and learns to know her better. How much that we call Wordsworth himself was Dorothy to begin with. Wordsworth's letters so often make me think of Mr. Arnold. He would love the book -- but I am in such a hurry to get you at it.

     "Existence is the most frivolous thing in the world if one does not conceive it as a great and continual duty."* I am so glad you told me to read this, for I might never have gone back to it of my own accord.

     I have such a charming new book, the "Life of William Barnes" the Dorset poet, by his daughter.* There is almost too much of his own poetry sandwiched in, which delays the run of the biography (to me) -- not but what I love some of the poems very much. He is like the parish priest in the "Deserted Village," -- [with the wonder] "that one small head could carry all he knew"!* I think it would be a lovely thing to make a paper for the "Atlantic" or some of the magazines. If I had been to his village, how I should love to do it, and there is my priest of Morwenstow waiting yet!* Perhaps they will be nice things to do this winter?


Autumn 1888:  The notes below indicate the Jewett was reading new books that had appeared late in 1887 and in 1888, and that she was looking forward to reading some titles in the coming winter.

Coleorton Letters: Memorials of Coleorton (1887) was reviewed in Atlantic 61 (February 1888) 270-76: "Being Letters from Coleridge, Wordsworth and his Sister, Southey and Sir Walter Scott, to Sir George and Lady Beaumont, of Coleorton, Leicestershire, 1803 to 1834. Edited, with introduction and notes by William Knight, University of St. Andrews. Two volumes. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1887."

great and continual duty:  The quotation is from Ernest Renan, Souvenirs d'Enfance et de Jeunesse (1874), English translation: Recollections of My Youth (1883).  The quotation appears in a review of an 1883 French edition  in The Atlantic Monthly 52 Issue 310 (August 1883) pp. 274-282.  Jewett's quotation is from the Atlantic review and not from the 1883 translation, which appears as follows: 

I was so well prepared for the good and for the true, that I could not possibly have followed a career which  was not devoted to the things of the mind. My masters rendered me so unfit for any secular work that I was perforce embarked upon a spiritual career. . . . I no longer believe Christianity to be the supernatural summary of all that man can know; but I still believe that existence is the most frivolous of things unless it is regarded as one great and constant duty. (126)

The Atlantic translation may seem "toned down" in its religious radicalism: 

I was so effectually made up for the good, for the true, that it would have been impossible for me to follow any career not directed to the things of the soul. My masters rendered me so unfit for all temporal work that I was stamped with an irrevocable mark for the spiritual life. . . . I persist in believing that existence is the most frivolous thing in the world, if one does not conceive it as a great and continual duty. (281)

"Life of William Barnes" the Dorset poet, by his daughter: William Barnes (1801-1886) was "the Dorset poet." The Life of William Barnes, Poet and Philologist by "Leader Scott" was published by Lucy Baxter (1837-1902) in 1887.

the parish priest in the "Deserted Village,"... "that one small head could carry all he knew": Oliver Goldsmith (c. 1730-1774), British writer, published his poem "The Deserted Village" in 1770. Jewett quotes from the description of the village schoolmaster (about line 216):

     Amazed the gazing rustics ranged around;
     And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew,
     That one small head could carry all he knew.

my priest of MorwenstowWikipedia says: "Robert Stephen Hawker (3 December 1803 -- 15 August 1875) was an Anglican priest, poet, antiquarian of Cornwall and reputed eccentric....  Hawker was ordained in 1831, becoming curate at North Tamerton and then, in 1834, vicar of the church at Morwenstow, where he remained throughout his life."  It seems likely Jewett was looking forward to reading The Vicar of Morwenstow: A Life of Robert Stephen Hawker (1888) by Sabine Baring-Gould.

This letter appears in Annie Fields, Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett (1911),  Transcribed by Annie Adams Fields, with notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Annie Adams Fields

     Wednesday evening [1888?]*

     (with a great rain on the roof of the study).

     I have been reading Mr. Arnold's "Essays on Celtic Poetry" with perfect reverence for him and his patience and wisdom. How much we love him and believe in him, don't we? Do you know this book and the essay on translating Homer?* I long to read it all with you.


1888?:  The reverent tone of this letter suggests that Jewett may have written it after learning of Arnold's death.

Mr. Arnold's "Essays on Celtic Poetry"
: Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) published his book On the Study of Celtic Literature, and on Translating Homer in 1867.

This letter appears in Annie Fields, Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett (1911),  Transcribed by Annie Adams Fields, with notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Annie Adams Fields

          Sunday afternoon, December, 1888. 

     I had just been reading Mr. Arnold's essay on George Sand, and finished it with tears in my eyes. How beautiful, and how full of inspiration it is! We cannot be grateful enough to either of them, and yet how little I really know her books! I am willing to study French very hard all winter in order to read her comfortably in the spring!

     This morning at church I was dreadfully bored with a sermon, and I made up a first-rate story which will have to be written very soon after Christmas. I must tell you all about it. How soon we shall be talking now, if all goes well, and good-bye to letters for a while. Tomorrow I shall be busy getting my things together, and doing up Christmas bundles. I am not sure whether I shall take the half past ten train or the half past two, so go your ways, dear, and I hope you will find me there when you come home to dinner.

     That story of Tolstoi's was such an excitement that I did not sleep until almost morning.* What a wonderful thing it is! I long to talk with you about it, but do let us think a good deal. It startled me because I was dimly feeling the same kind of motive (not the same plan) in writing the "Gray Man."* Nobody cared much for it, but it is the same sort of story, it is there. I wish that you would look it over and see. I believed in that story so that I would have published it if I had to make the type. If I can only feel that I am in the right road, in one sense nothing else matters. I have felt something of what Tolstoi has been doing all the way along. I can tell you half a dozen stories where I tried to say it, "Lady Terry,"* "Beyond the Toll-gate" and this "Gray Man." Now and then it came clearer to me. I never felt the soul of Tolstoi's work until last night, something of it in Katia, but now I know what he means, and I know that I can dare to keep at the work I sometimes have despaired about because you see people are always caught by fringes of it and liked the stories if they liked them at all for some secondary quality. I know there is something true, and yet I myself have often looked only at the accidental and temporary part of them.

     Another postcard from Mr. Freeman.# He has found about Maurice!! and is more friendly than ever. How can I live up to this correspondence? I am going to head him off and keep him quiet for a while by telling him that I have only a few of my books at hand.

Fields's note

#The historian.*


Mr. Arnold's essay on George Sand: Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) published "George Sand" in The Fortnightly Review in June of 1877; it was reprinted in Mixed Essays in 1879. George Sand (Amandine-Aurore Lucille Dupin, Baronne Dudevant, 1804-1876) was a productive French novelist, remembered also for her love affairs with the painter Alfred de Musset and the pianist-composer, Frederic Chopin.

That story of Tolstoi's: Leo Tolstoy's (1828-1910) Katia appeared in English translation in 1887.

"Gray Man":  "The Gray Man," according to Weber and Weber in A Bibliography of the Published Writings of Sarah Orne Jewett (p. 11) was rejected by Thomas Bailey Aldrich for Atlantic Monthly. It first appeared in A White Heron and Other Stories (1886).

"Lady Terry": Jewett probably meant to write (or Fields to transcribe), "Lady Ferry," which had been published in Old Friends and New (1879).

Mr. Freeman ... Maurice: Jewett corresponded with Edward Augustus Freeman, author of History of the Norman Conquest, during her work on The Story of the Normans.  A letter to Jewett from Freeman of November 20, 1887 speculates about the identity of "Maurice."  The topic of this mystery remains a mystery.  See Silverthorne, p. 133.

This letter appears in Annie Fields, Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett (1911),  Transcribed by Annie Adams Fields, with notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Hamlin Garland

South Berwick Maine 18 December 1888

  Dear Sir

 I am sorry that I shall not be able to use these tickets* which you have kindly sent and I hasten to return them so that you may give some-body else the pleasure which I must lose.

With Thanks Yours Truly

 S. O. Jewett

  to Hamlin Garland Esq


tickets: Nagel is not able to identify the play for which Garland supplied tickets, but he believes they were likely for a current production in the Boston area.

Transcriber James Nagel says "This letter is Item 98 in the Hamlin Garland collection of the University of Southern California Library, Los Angeles, CA." Nagel published and discussed his transcription in "Sarah Orne Jewett Writes to Hamlin Garland." The New England Quarterly 54.3 (September 1981), pp. 416-23. Notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

Reprinted by permission of the New England Quarterly.

Louisa Loring Dresel to SOJ

Dresden Dec. 27, 1888

    The old year shall not go by, dear S. O. J. without a less hurried greeting between us than the last I sent you.

    I have been writing any number of useful, necessary letters lately, but before doing up various German aunts & cousins sprinkled up & down the Rhine, I must reward myself for future as well as past virtue, by a talk with you.

    I believe I am getting quite aged, for I find writing letters is no longer the congenial occupation ^in itself^ I once found it & it now depends entirely upon to whom the letters are written. It is really a pleasure to write to you, especially when I hear that you like to read my letters -- in fact it [is ?] quite ruinous to my natural modesty to hear that Mrs. Fields & Mrs. Lodge* are interested in anything I relate -- & of course Mrs. Lodge is quite welcome to reading my yarns provided she cares to.

[ Page 2 ]

Today it ought to be a long yarn, there is so much spinning in my head -- The German Christmas sweeps all before it, & I have been living in an atmosphere of Christmas-tree & gilt gingerbread & other things that I specially delight in --  -- Also before this I have had such interesting experiences --
    But I will try to give you a whiff of Christmas in Germany first -- The pleasantest thing about it is the way that everybody gives themselves up to it body & soul -- the very [Dienstmӓnner ?] (messengers that stand on the streets) & Cab drivers have an air of extra good nature & suppressed excitement, & everyone on the street is full of business & importance, & there is a better understanding between Mankind, with this Free Masonry of "Christmas"* in the air.  You know everyone has a tree, -- All the squares of the city turn into forests, & the days before the 24th the trees promenade about the streets till Macbeth is nothing to it--*  There is a man behind the tree, but no one who can afford it, would invest in such a small

[ Page 3 ]

one that the bearer w'd be visible!

    -- The poorest women go to the tree-sellers the cast-off branches [so the text appears] & make a little celebration with one or two candles -- * ^The peasants about Dresden have a curious "eerie" old custom; -- on Christmas night they carry the trees to the churchyards -- stripped of all but the candles -- these they light again, & leave the trees standing in the graves.  Is not that an odd touch of poetry?^  As for me I have been deep in it -- On the 23d I helped some friends dress their tree -- such a monster!  A huge step-ladder hardly made it possible to reach the higher branches, & we all worked all afternoon & evening tying strings on cakes & stars & toys & then hanging them artistically.  As a surprise I dressed a little tree for our private selves -- but they had one in the hotel beside.  My best tree was at my friend's Lily v. Dzienbouska's,* because it was for my small four-year-old friend, & I would enjoy him with it.  He is the sweetest child, a creature all life & vigour, & yet with sympathy & thoughtfulness rare at any age.  He had a surprise for us, which acted wholesome as a counter-excitement to that of the tree -- just as the doors opened & showed the lights behind, he

[ Page 4 ]

appeared in the guise of a Christmas cherub, with a "verschen" to say & ^a^ basket of flowers in each hand, gifts for his mother & grand-father, for whom the surprise was planned.  I have never seen anything half so pretty; the little white & silver dress & gauze wings seemed the natural setting for the child's brilliant beauty & unconscious sweetness -- he has long gold curls, & great blue eyes, & dimples, & he was so solemn & so impressed, saying his "verse" quite carefully & very earnestly, but entirely unintelligibly.

    -- Afterward he subsided into a boy, & seemed more commonplace in a red velvet suit, lace [ collar corrected ], but it was pretty to see his ecstacies over a live bird in a cage, & a large hand organ, (only to be worked by tremendous exertion, it seems of head & legs as well as of arms!) which shared his especial affections together with a real umbrella -- carefully proportioned to the miniature size of the small owner. It was pretty that the little man never forgot his manners, & amid all the excitement & glory of tree & a cartload of toys

[ Page 5, numbered 2 by Dresel ]

went from one to a friend to another with hugs & kisses & quaint acknowledgement of their gifts -- He is a rare example that a petted & adored child is not always a spoiled one --

    Tomorrow his mother is to have the tree lighted again, & have a Christmas party for 32 poor children & their mothers.  She has been running a sewing circle, & there are enough garments for each child to be well provided, & the mothers too & beside, each household gets a couple of pounds of meat & packages of coffee, rice, & sugar, & gilt gingerbread & penny boxes for the children --  Of course I think it is well that our poor in Boston should be taken care of, but oh dear -- how different it is here! -- Think of people who do not know the taste of meat, who live on black bread & acorn-coffee (or some such mess!) with an occasional cabbage, & too many potatoes, from year's end to year's end, & are  happy & contented, on it, as long as both man & wife can work & earn the rent & the bread & potatoes.

[ Page 6 ]
Lily's poor people are cases where the husband ^can't work or the woman^ is ill or there is no {or is}a widow, -- in these cases it is hard indeed to keep body & soul together.  Intemperance & shiftlessness are nearly unknown -- Of course sometimes an incapable case turns up that can't be dragged along, but they are so hard-working & economical as a race that a little help seems to go a long way.  Mrs. Lehmann* & Lily v. Dz. have just taken charge of such a piteous case -- a poor little woman with five children under ten years old, the husband just dead after five months agony from some horrible disease --  The poor wife was walking in the street, perfectly hopeless, no bread & no money in the house -- when she was stopped by another woman -- a poorly dressed one, but of a better class, she says, -- who asked her why she was crying -- She told her her story, & added she had no friends, & knew of no help -- The woman said: "In this street there lives a good lady who will help you -- Frau Lehmann -- go to her" -- the poor creature said she never had begged in her life -- but the other said "it won't be

[ Page 7 ]

begging, you will find a friend -----"

    Is this not odd? -- Mrs L. has no idea who it can have been that told her -- Certainly for her an angel in disguise,* & the little woman firmly believes it was a special message from "der liebe Gott" --*

    At any rate, her rent is paid, & she feels taken care of, & is making paper-boxes with much energy & cheerfulness, & feeding those five poor little chicks on the proceeds, converted into potato-parings & messy coffee! --

    -- Marianne* writes to me entreating me to come to Leipzig before their tree is dismantled, but I shall wait till after New Years now, as I am going on then to a big ball.  I am having a queer dress made, "Empire" style, pale yellow lace & a dull blue sash -- it is not at all hideous, though it sounds so -- Marianne is to be in pink & black, with many roses & she will look like one herself -- You see we are both going in for "pomps & vanities" & I daresay I shall enjoy it, with Marianne to pull me through, truth to tell I am

[ Page 8 ]

rather frightened at the prospect -- hate ball-dress toggery & have violent stage fright till the last minute -- However, as Marianne has set  her heart on taking me to this ball, I go like a lamb to the altar, & have quite a fellow-feeling for Iphigenia* for the first time!

    It seems unnatural & horrid that I should feel so! -- I acknowledge I like it -- mildly -- when I am once there -- but beforehand! -- But I was not made to shine in society -- --

    -- Sometimes I wonder whether I shall ever shine in any way -- & in which is certainly undecided!

    My painting has been taking a rest -- life has been too distracting to settle down to it much -- I have only accomplished one good piece of work -- I think the best on the whole -- certainly the most mature.  It is a present for Mrs.Brockhaus -- quite a big water-color -- 14 in. x 20 about-- the subject, old, Beverly wharves on a gray day -- a schooner lying by, & an old salt at work on a barrel -- There is less made of all this foreground -- &

[ Page 9, marked page 3 by Dresel ]

the sky with dark scurrying clouds, & glassy water with old piles reflected in it, are emphasized as the principal things --

    I thought so much of some of your stories while I was painting that I am sure some of my inspiration came from you --  I wish you could see the picture -- I can show you the original sketch some day, but that looked puny & weak beside the new one. --

    I spent a week in Berlin shortly before Christmas -- combining pain & pleasure -- dentist & the joys of sight-seeing & friendship.  Mamma was there a couple days, & then I went to stay with my friend Lili Hensel,* at Westend, just out of Berlin -- I wrote to you of her, did I not? --

    After our visit together in Aussee & journey back together I felt very intimate with her, but it was my first acquaintance with her family & the household Hensel --

    -- -- Such dear cordial people, -- so much real cultivation & talent, & refinement

[ Page 10 ]

of the best kind.  Certainly a "feast of wit "& "flow of soul",* but O ye Gods! such a queer harum-scarum as regards outwards!  Only endurable by the amiable unconsciousness of all the inmates that anything was out of the way! -- What did it matter after all, that we had the roast beef for dinner, & the cauliflower that ought to have gone with it, for supper, as long as the "Hausfrau" preserved a calm equanimity, & every one took it as a matter of course! -- That the curling tongs were heated on the family tea-kettle seemed charmingly naïve & delightful, as long as the family seemed accustomed to it, & were all of the same easy-going affectionate impulsive type! --

    Of course I loved all this little by-play, -- it is wicked of me to relate it, & should you ever meet any of the charming family Hensel you must preserve a discreet silence & merely chuckle to

[ Page 11 ]

 yourself! -- Never mind, it is refreshing nowadays to meet with the opposite when "high living" seems to be the [rule corrected'] & I enjoyed immensely the literary and artistic atmosphere of the house.  Mrs. H a most brilliant cultivated woman, with the reputation of a "bluestocking," is in very poor health, -- I imagine the queer ways of the household are much owing to this.  Mr. H., is both writer & artist in his leisure hours -- a man of liberal progressive ideas, & keen intellect, a brilliant talker, & almost sharply witty, -- the faintest resemblance of a joke is received with applause, & the ball is kept rolling by intricacies of allusion that escape my duller senses at times -- though my enjoyment of the broader hits was an evident encouragement & satisfaction to them.

[ Page 12 ]
My friend Lili is engaged to a son of the great scientist du Bois-Reymond* -- & I made the acquaintance of several of the five daughters & three sons of the family.  Such pleasant cosy people, with the ease of manners & self-possession that comes with an assured position, & the best kind of cultivation, not to say learnedness, which is evidently the strong under-current of life with them, but never obtrusively on the surface -- They are types of Advanced German though -- the new German liberal element, that centered around the Emperor Will Friedrich --

    This type was a new study to me -- very different from the old-fashioned steady-going Conservatism of the Brockhauses & other friends, -- who welcome the young Emperors every endeavor to uphold the old régime inaugurated by his grandfather, as the only means of Germany's salvation, while these liberal pioneers mourn Friedrich's* ^death^ as the setting of their rising star. The reaction in favor of Conservatism is very strong
[ Page 13, marked as page 4 by Dresel ]
just now -- & I think it is as well -- the German Empire is too young to try its wings in such a new departure, & I think it is well it should grow & develope [ so spelled ] more gradually under the old rule & Bismark's* protecting care.  Friedrich's policy was a noble, progressive, & liberal one, but the times were not ripe for it -- he was in advance of his age, & will be appreciated better when general ideas have grown up to his --

    ---- As with all Germans of the liberal school, America is the Ideal of their secret souls, & I had several long discussions with Mr. Hensel, rather enjoying dispelling several illusions, as to the seraphic condition of politics, & ^vastly^ superior position of women in America, for instance!

    ---- I walked with Mr. H. to the old Charlottenburg Schloss* where Friedrich passed the last months of his life -- it is such a quaint old place, in early rococo style, with copper roofs, green with age --

[ Page 14 ]

There are wings extending around a large courtyard that is paved with tiles, & ^it^ has queer box hedges growing in patterns in the centre.  The park even in winter, is a lovely dreamy place, with beautiful old trees, & long stately avenues, & lakes, & odd rococo Pavilions.  The Mausoleum is at the end of a long avenue of dark firs, a small ^pseudo^ Greek temple standing among dark evergreens -- I had never seen the famous Rauch Statues of Queen Luise & her Friedrich Wilhelm* -- they are certainly most impressive -- there is an indescribable atmosphere of peace & rest in the little place, the reclining statues & dim light, & marble walls covered with laurel-wreaths & other tributes to the dear old Emperor William -- whose coffin stands in a little adjoining chapel, cofl covered by a mountain of dry wreaths & flowers -- There is to be a special Mausoleum in the Park, close to that of his father & mother, as he especially desired it.  Friedrich lies in the Potsdam Church --

[ Page 15 ]
    -- You have seen Hensel's book "Familie Mendelssohn," with the portrait-sketches by Hensel, père?  These Hensels have the whole collection of drawings, -- 49 volumes!  I looked through a number with much interest -- especially portraits of Fanny, neé Mendelssohn, -- Felix & the rest of his family -- There was an interesting sketch of the old Emperor, as Crownprince [so written] in 1842, with his signature below, & on the opposite page a rough scrawl by his royal hand, to show the way  his orders were to be placed & were not!

    There was another sketch that interested me deeply -- a portrait of the poet Heine,* -- as quite a youth, with long hair & a delicate sensitive face -- Also with signature & a few lines of quotation below --

    -- Do you know Chodowieki's* etchings & prints?
-- He was an ancestor of Lil Hensel's "young man" -- He always seemed to me so very ancient & far-off & here he turns up to have been somebody's great-grandfather!

[ Page 16 ]

    -- Do you know Pierre Loti's books?* There is a charming little Japanese story in the November "Revue des Deux Mondes," & I have been much delighted with his "Pecheur D'Islande" -- it is very tragical, but singularly fresh, true & tender to have come from a French pen --  There are scenes that reminded me of your work - A poor old woman with a dead cat, that is too pathetic.  The scene is in Brittany -- there is a wild passionate strain running through the whole, in keeping with the strangeness & Northern voyages, but the whole is told so well, & the local coloring one feels to be so wonderful, that I hope you will read it if you have not already --  They say "Mon frère Yves" is equally good, but I cannot believe it, till I read it, at least! --

    Last summer I took quite a course of G. Eliot,* -- Daniel Deronda, Clerical Life, Theophrastus, & the "Life' [so written, but with opening quotation mark in subscript] -- beside several German novels -- Taylor's "Antinous"* being the most lasting of those.

[ Page 17, marked as page 5 by Dresel ]
I also tried Bulwer, & read "My Novel,"* not without much scolding and [fuming ?] -- Did I tell you that Marianne & I read your "King of Folly Island"* book togerther?  She loved the "Village Shop" till just at the end, & then was in a perfect rage at Leonard's marrying Nellie after all! ... "horrid selfish man, such abominably good luck, & the library beside!" -- Her very excitement was a proof of how real you had made the people to her, & when I said so, she rejoined: "yes, that is the worst of it! In real life such good-for-nothings get taken care of too well; what's the good of a book if it's going to be just as provoking?!"  And she quite refused to be pacified, referring to the whole conduct of the dear, selfish, booky creature as simply criminal! -- You see you have produced a great effect on one mind, whether exactly the one you intended, I do not know! "Miss Tempy" was unalloyed

[ Page 18 ]

satisfaction -- we both agree in thinking it one of the very best. "The Country Doctor"* is going to Lili Hensel, whose women's rights' sympathies are working much in that direction just at present.

    Our plans are very undecided -- Mamma is not so well as she has been, & every now & then I issue an awful threat about carrying her off to Meran* or some such place.  Ellie* is to be sent to a Cure at Wilhelmshőhe near Cassel, after New Year -- the doctors agree that it is the only speedy & certain treatmnet for such nerve diseases, & we hope great things from it. Poor boy, it is a dismal idea in the middle of winter, but he is wonderfully brave & puts a cheerful face on the matter, decided to go without troubling Mamma about it, & I think the very fact of the thing being an imperative decision has had a good influence on his nerves & spirits --

    -- It is a "Kurhaus" where everything is done by physician's advice -- one these new-fangled cures made to

[ Page 19 ]

suit the new-fangled ills!  There are baths & massage & electricity & gymnastics & Lord knows what all, & the skillful combination of all this is said to work wondeers --

    If it only will in his case, the sacrifice on his part & ours is of course nothing.

    -- We hear a vague rumor that you & Mrs. Fields are to come to Europe in the spring -- we heard it by a mere chance, & knowing by own experience how much better it is not to discuss vague possibilities beforehand with all one's acquaintances, we will be careful not to mention it to others -- but we are so delighted to think of possible meetings in some lovely spot.  Our pet dream is Venice in May, & Mamma says "do tell Mrs. Fields to make it possible to join us there" -- I dare not think of such heavenly visions, but my soberer fancy paints a meeting in Switzerland -- or perhaps even in Germany.  Will you come to Berlin & Dresden, I wonder?

[ Page 20 ]

& see some of my dear places & dear people?  We talk of going South in February but must get Ellie settled first, & of course our plans depend on him -- his cure is so uncertain, it may be only 6 weeks, or may be three or four months --

    Papa you know plans returning in April -- perhaps Mrs. Fields will sail in his steamer which would be a great pleasure to him, & I am sure that he would be only too glad to help about any arrangements, & do everything on the way & on landing that he could to make it easy for her & you -- It is such a pleasant idea, that of seeing you both "this side" before very long, that I must try not to think of it too much, for fear of being disappointed at last.


    The ducky little book has just come!  Dearest thanks.  I have not had it & shall love to read it -- it is so nice to read a book in that way, & "those ones" shall be read first of course.  Again thanks of the object itself, & more thanks for the loving thought that sent it -- It must have spent a couple days at the banker's or I should have got it quite punctually -- Mrs. Fields' book* & letter for Mamma came on Christmas Eve, just as we were lighting the tree.

[ Filling all the margins of page 1, beginning up the left, then down the top,
with one line turning back upside town across the very top, and finally up the right.

There is room up here to send my dearest love -- & to Mrs. Fields & to Mrs Lodge too, please.  Mamma is going to write to her soon & so sends only thanks in general today, & dear love to you both -- Tell Mrs. Fields we are going to read the essays together -- "Sylvester"* the last day of the old year we are going to a little party at Lehmanns -- to watch the New Year in, -- there are all sorts of quaint old German customs -- pouring melted lead in cold water to guess one's fortune, & at midnight all the windows are open to hear the bells ring in the New Year & the Christmas tree is lighted for the last time -- You see my budget has burst out of all bounds & is running over at the edges! It seems too outrageous to take a 6th sheet!  yrs. Loulie.


Mrs. Fields & Mrs. Lodge:  Annie Adams Fields and Mary Greenwood Lodge. See Correspondents.

"Christmas":  The first quotation mark is in the subscript position. Dresel continues this practice inconsistently in her letters. This transcription presents all quotation marks in the superscript position.

Macbeth:  In William Shakespeare's tragedy, Macbeth, Macbeth is told that he cannot die until Birnam Wood moves to his fortress at Dunsinane.  This impossibility is realized when his enemies cut branches from trees to disguise their attack on the castle.

candles:  Dresel places an asterisk here, and up the right margin adds text that is marked by a beginning asterisk.  I have placed the insertion within the letter where she apparently wanted it inserted.

Lily v. Dzienbouska's:  Lily von Dzienbouska, if the transcription is correct, has not been identified.

Mrs. Lehmann:  This person has not been identified.

angel in disguise:  Perhaps an allusion to Hebrews 13:2, "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels."

"der liebe Gott":  German, roughly translating as "dear God."

Marianne:  Marianne Theresia Brockhaus. See Correspondents.

Iphigenia:  In Greek mythology, King Agamemnon is commanded to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia in order to gain fair winds to sail to the Trojan war.

Lili Hensel ... Westend .. Aussee:  As Dresel says, Westend is a locality in Berlin.  Probably Dresel refers to Bad Aussee, a tourist and spa town in central Austria.
    Lili Hensel is Elisabeth (Lilli) Hensel (1864-1948), daughter of Ludwig Felix Sebastian Hensel (1830-1898) and Juliette von Adelson (1836-1901 ) of Berlin-Westend. Sebastian Hensel was the son of Wilhelm Hensel and Fanny Mendelssohn (1805-1847), pianist, composer, and sister of the German composer, Felix Mendelssohn.
    Lili's siblings were Fanny Roemer, Cécilie Leo; Prof. Paul Hugo Hensel, Prof. Dr.; Kurt Jacob Wilhelm Sebastian Hensel.  Lili married Emil Alard du Bois-Reymond (1860-1922) around 1889.

"feast of wit "& "flow of soul":  Dresel may refer to a passage describing mealtime at the home of Sir Joshua Reynolds in Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds (1797) by Edmond Malone (v. 1, pp. lv-lvi).

du Bois-ReymondEmil du Bois-Reymond (1818-1896) was a German physician and physiologist.

FriedrichFrederick III (1831 - 15 June 1888) was German Emperor and King of Prussia for ninety-nine days in 1888, which was the "Year of the Three Emperors" in Germany.  Wilhelm I died on 9 March, and was followed by the reputedly liberal Friedrich William / Frederick III, the husband of Princess Victoria, the daughter of England's Queen Victoria.  After his death in June, he was succeeded by his conservative son, Wilhelm II (1859-1941).

BismarkOtto von Bismarck (1815 -1898) was a conservative Prussian statesman who was thee first Chancellor of the German Empire from 1871 to 1890, thus seen as a force of stability in 1888, the year of the three emperors.

Charlottenburg Schloss:  The Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin contains the graves of the emperors Wilhelm I and Frederick William III.  See notes above.

Rauch Statues of Queen Luise & her Friedrich Wilhelm: In 1811, The German sculptor Christian Daniel Rauch (1777 - 1857) created the marble monument to Queen Louisa of Prussia (1776-1810), wife of Frederick William III (1770-1840), and mother of German Emperor Wilhelm I.
    The Wikipedia entry on German Emperor Frederick III notes that he is buried in a mausoleum attached to the Friedenskirche in Potsdam.

Hensel's book "Familie Mendelssohn":  Sebastian Hensel's Die Familie Mendelssohn 1729-1847 : nach Briefen und Tagebüchern was in print by 1879.  It appeared in English translation by 1881.

Heine:  The German poet, Christian Johann Heinrich Heine (1797- 1856), who was also a journalist, essayist, and literary critic.

Chodowieki's Daniel Niklaus Chodowiecki (1726 - 1801) was a Polish/German painter and print-maker with Huguenot ancestry. He became the director of the Berlin Academy of Art.

Pierre Loti's books: Pierre Loti is the pseudonym of Louis Marie-Julien Viaud (1850 - 1923), a French naval officer and author of exotic novels.

a charming little Japanese story in the November "Revue des Deux Mondes," ... "Pecheur D'Islande" ... "Mon frère Yves":  Loti's 1886 novel, An Iceland Fisherman, about Breton fisherfolk, probably was his most popular work. His 1883 novel, Mon Frère Yves, was one of his early successes.  His 1887 novel, Madame Chrysanthème, tells a story similar to that of Puccini's 1904 opera, Madama Butterfly.  The table of contents for Revue des Deux Mondes 90, for November-December 1887 includes Loti's "L’Impératrice Printemps" (The Empress Spring). It was collected in his 1889 book, Fall Japaneries.

G. Eliot, -- Daniel Deronda, Clerical Life, Theophratsus, & the "Life'Mary Anne Evans (1819 - 1880) wrote under the name George Eliot. Daniel Deronda (1876) was her final novel.  Scenes of Clerical Life (1857-8), was her first published fiction, a collection of three stories.  Impressions of Theophrastus Such (1879) also is a work of fiction, experimental in its approach. The "life" Dresel has read is likely J. W. Cross, Life of George Eliot (1884).

Taylor's "Antinous"Antinous: A Romance of Ancient Rome (1880) by Adolph Hausrath (1837-1909), a German theologian, who wrote historical romances under the pen name of George Taylor. Antinous is described as "the story of a soul 'which courted death because the objective restraints of faith had been lost'."

Bulwer ... "My Novel": Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton (1803 - 1873), English novelist, poet, playwright.  Among his many novels was My Novel, or Varieties in English Life (1853).

"The King of Folly Island":  Jewett's 1888 collection of short stories.

"The Country Doctor":   Jewett's 1884 novel.

MeranMerano is a spa resort town in far northern Italy.

Ellie:  Dresel's younger brother, Ellis.

Cure at Wilhelmshőhe:  It is likely Dresel refers to Bad Wilhelmshöhe, a state-recognized spa in central Germany.

ducky book:  While Dresel seems to imply that this is a book by Jewett, the only book she published in 1888 was The King of Folly Island.  Possibly she has sent Dresel A Week Away from Time (1887), in which Fields and Lodge participated anonymously, but Jewett did not contribute.

Mrs. Fields' book:  While one might expect that this gift would be a book by Fields, this is quite unlikely.  Dresel suggests that it is an essay collection.  Fields had not produced such a book by the end of 1888.

Sylvester:  Dresel refers to Saint Sylvester's Day, December 31.
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 Lilian Aldrich

Saturday 29 December
[1888, from 148 Charles St., Boston]

 My Dear Lilian,

            When I saw in the Transcript* that you and Tal* had gone to St. Augustine I thought that you were only thinking about it, but when I met Mr. T.B.A. yesterday I found that you had really flown.  I shall miss you and I wish that you hadn't had to go, but I envy you all the same for I know how you must feel as if you were let out of jail in this weather.

[ page 2

I hope that I shall see St. Augustine ^again^ myself for I did have such a good time there and thought it such a charming, enchanting sort of place.  I can imagine you going all about -- and do go to old Mr. Vedders curiosity shop and view his beasts and birds and big [ deleted word ] snakes and see how the nephew Vedder came honestly by his strange fancies!*  And be sure to go to Anacosta [meaning Anastasia] Island to play on the beach and if you want a friend go to see Dr. Smith who did so well for A. F.*

[ page 3 ]

and was such a kind friend to us.  Whether you need him as a doctor or not.  And give him our best regards.  How I wish that I were there with you! but we must talk it all over when you come home.  Was my pretty turtle (bestuck with useful pins) a symbol of the land to which you fled?  I didn't take it so, and I was on my way to see you yesterday all unconscious of your being so far away.

            We heard of a delightful

[ page 4 ]

new hotel on the Gulf side way down farther south in Florida.*  I wonder if you will find it out? but I forget its name.  Dont linger in places like Palatka along the river,* I think the river air pulls one down but the longer you stay in St. Augustine the better you feel.  Goodbye and love to both of you.  I hope that you are ^in^ the Ponce de Leon where we were so comfortable and happy, but perhaps it isn't open yet.*  A. F. sends love and I mean to write you often{.}

            Yours affectionately "Sadie"


Transcript:  The Boston Evening Transcript for 27 December 1888, p. 2, carried this "Personal" announcement: "Mrs. T. B. Aldrich has gone to St. Augustine with one of her sons, whose physician has advised a milder climate for a while."  Link to Transcript for December 26 and 27, 1888.

Tal:  The Aldriches' twin sons, Talbot and Charles were born in 1868.

Mr. Vedders curiosity shop:  "Florida's Lost Tourist Attractions: The Vedder Museum"  says of  Mr. Vedder (1819-1899): "Dr. John Vedder,  his title as 'Doctor' stemming not from a University but the remnant of a short stint practicing as a self-taught dentist, was born in Schenectady, New York, on July 22, 1819. He seems to have been a bit of an adventurer, traveling and working at various times and places as a soldier, blacksmith, machinist, locomotive engineer, inventor, dentist, taxidermist, and, in his final occupation, museum and zoo curator.
    "In his travels he had gathered a large collection of natural oddities and curiosities, including many animal specimens he stuffed and mounted himself. He turned them into a traveling display for a time and then, in the 1880's, opened a permanent museum in an old colonial era house on the corner of Bay and Treasury Streets in St. Augustine. A major part of his attraction was also an exhibit of live animals, including collections of snakes, birds, alligators, and some other native and exotic wildlife."
     After Vedder's death, the museum was purchased by the St. Augustine Historical Society, but the building and the collection were lost in a fire in 1914.

nephew Vedder came honestly by his strange fancies:  It is probable Jewett refers to Elihu Vedder, 1836-1893, a prominent contemporary painter, illustrator and author, known for his use of fantasy.  Elihu was a member of the Vedder family of Schenectady.  Jewett was familiar with Elihu Vedder's work, mentioning him in an 1886 book review.

Dr. Smith who did so well for A. F. :  Probably, Jewett refers to the prominent St. Augustine physician, Frank F. Smith, who practiced in the Post Office block, near the major hotels, and who helped to care for Annie Fields the previous spring.  Born in Hillsboro, NH, in 1854, Smith studied at Dartmouth College and the medical school of the University of Pennsylvania, completing his work in 1883.  After a year at the Kellogg Sanitarium at Battle Creek, MI, he took up practice in St. Augustine, where by 1888, though young, he was well-established both as a physician on the medical staff of the new Alicia Hospital and as a promoter of St. Augustine's healthy winter climate.

new hotel on the Gulf side way down farther south in Florida:  According to Thomas Graham, Henry Plant opened the palatial Tampa Bay Hotel in 1888, hoping to compete successfully with Flagler's new east coast Florida hotels.  See Chapter 14 of Mr. Flagler's St. Augustine.  It is likely Jewett refers to this hotel.

Palatka along the river:   Palatka, FL, on the St. Johns River, about 30 miles southwest of St. Augustine, became a winter health resort before the Civil War.  Through the 1880s, the town continued to attract tourists with several large hotels.

perhaps it isn't open yet:  In Chapter 12 of Mr. Flagler's St. Augustine, Thomas Graham reports that the Ponce de Leon did not open for this season until January 10, 1889.   Flagler's Alcazar Hotel opened on Christmas Day in 1888, not long after a yellow fever quarantine had been lifted.  Mrs. Aldrich and Tal could have stayed at any of a number of hotels upon arriving in St. Augustine, but not at the Ponce de Leon.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Houghton Library, Harvard University in Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909. 119 letters to Thomas Bailey and Lillien (Woodman) Aldrich; [188-]-[1902]. Aldrich, Thomas Bailey, 1836-1907. Thomas Bailey Aldrich papers, 1837-1926. MS Am 1429 (2654-2772). Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.  Jewett consistently spells Mrs. Aldrich's name as "Lilian."

Edited by Terry Heller, Coe College.

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