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1895    1897

Sarah Orne Jewett Letters of 1896

SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

[8 January 1896]*
[ Opening pages missing ]

many remarks which I cant remember.  A. F.* was so funny coming on the train.  "Lily Phelps* wrote me such [ such is double underlined ] a letter" she said. "How can [ can is double underlined ] you leave home now with this danger of bombardment:* ^think of^ a shell might  bursting in your house !!" [two deleted words]  "Do tell Theodore"* said Aunt Annie with such a grin.  "I had thought of other reasons for staying at

[ Page 2 ]

home but that had not occurred to me."  She told Mr. Aldrich* of the warning and he said "Why I must say that's the time I should want to leave home!" --

    It is a nice day here, and we have just had our breakfast and had Mrs. Leland Stanford pointed out by a pleasant waiter.  I was so glad to get your dear letter.  I had Miss Pike* on my mind ^a day or two ago^ but I forgot her.  I feel better today now that the start is over and [and is double underlined ] the snow which struck in a good deal, but I still wish that I were just coming back instead of just going -- I hate to leave home more and more --  There are those who are very cheerful and have put their many cares behind them Mary and seem to have no cold

[ Page 3 ]

except a poor cough at very rare intervals, and they spoke of fresh [cornbreads ?] at breakfast and seemed to think that they would be very nice ..  I telegraphed to Susy Travers* who answered that she couldn't come to lunch but would be here at eleven so I haven't been as far as [Aitkens ] yet --  With best
     love always

[Upside down bottom left corner of p. 4, in pen & deleted; the rest of the letter appears to be in pencil ]

South Berwick
4th January 1896


8 January 1896:   Annie Fields opens her "Diary of a West Indian Island Tour";  "On the 7th of Jan. 1896 we left Boston to join the ^steam^ yacht Hermione at Georgia.  The thermometer had been ten degrees below zero on Monday but on Thursday night we reached Brunswick."  As Annie Fields, Jewett and the Aldriches, Thomas and Lilian, have been traveling by train on the day this letter was written, the composition date must be on one of the days of this train trip to Georgia, which ended on 9 January.  See below, the note on Mrs. Leland Stanford.
    In the next letter below, also dated 8 January, Jewett uses stationary from the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York's Madison Square, suggesting that she wrote this letter while staying at that hotel.  According to the Rockland County Journal quoted below, Mrs. Leland Stanford probably was staying at the Fifth Avenue Hotel a week later.

A. F.:  Annie Fields.  See Correspondents.

Lily PhelpsElizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward (1844-1911) at birth was named Mary Gray Phelps.  After her mother's death, Phelps wrote under her mother's name, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps.  At home and among her friends, she was called Lily.

bombardment:  While Cuba, where a rebellion was in progress, was a possible destination of the Caribbean tour the group was beginning, the context of this letter makes it seem more likely that Lily Phelps is concerned about bad weather than exposure to a military attack.  The William Steinway Diary notes that in New York City on January 7, 1896, there was "a bad icy snowstorm."  Knowing whether this bad weather extended as far south as Washington D.C. would help to establish where this letter was composed.  See below, the note on Mrs. Leland Stanford.

Theodore:  Theodore Jewett Eastman.  See Correspondents.

Mr. Aldrich:   The chronology of Annie Fields's Diary of a West Indian Island Tour indicates that the party consisting of Jewett, Fields, Thomas and Lilian Aldrich and their servant, Bridget, traveled by train from Boston, MA to Brunswick, GA. during the first full week of January 1896.

Mrs. Leland StanfordWikipedia says:  "Jane Lathrop Stanford (August 25, 1828 - February 28, 1905) was a co-founder of Stanford University in 1885 (opened 1891) along with her husband, Leland Stanford, as a memorial to their only child, Leland Stanford Jr., who died in 1884 at the age of 15. After her husband's death in 1893, she funded and operated the university almost single-handedly until her death in 1905."
    The fact that Jewett has seen Mrs. Stanford provides clues that the letter may have been written from New York City or Washington, D.C.  The Rockland County Journal, (18 January 1896) p. 2, places Mrs. Stanford in New York City in mid-January. while the San Francisco Call 79: 57 (26 January 1896) p. 18, reports on "Movements of People Who Are in the Swim": "Mrs. Leland Stanford will leave Washington in a few days for this City." 

Miss Pike:  Miss Pike appears to be a local resident of South Berwick, though this is not certain.  If she is from South Berwick, she may be Eugenia Pike (b. 1844), daughter of John S. and Abba T. Pike (according to census records).  This Miss Pike apparently taught a term of grammar school in South Berwick in 1860 (See Placenames of South Berwick, p. 76).  However, it appears there were two women named Eugenia Pike in South Berwick, who may have resided there while remaining unmarried in 1896.  The younger woman (born 1870) was the daughter of Edward B. and Susan A. Pike of South Berwick (census records).  Both women had sisters born in South Berwick as well, so there could have been yet other Miss Pikes in South Berwick about whom the Jewett sisters might be concerned.

Susy Travers:  See Correspondents.

Aitkens:  Aitken Son & Company was an upscale New York department store at turn of the 20th century.  

The manuscript of this letter is held in the archive of Historic New England, Jewett Family Papers, Box 6, Folder 3, Letter 9.  Transcribed and annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

[ 8 January 1896 ]*  [Date penciled in another hand ]

    Wednesday Morning

Dear Mary,

    We shall probably be two or three days at Brunswick as Mr. Pierce* has had to take his stormy way down the coast so you can write once there and once to Nassau New Providence Bahamas.  Then if you do not hear from Mr. Talbot B. Aldrich* 148 State St. just send your letters to his care at any time

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as he will forward them but Lilian* says he is going to let you know as often as she telegraphs, which she means to do often.  I am going to send word to Talbot to send you a cable code* so that you can use it in case you want to send a telegram.  I meant to get one in Boston.

[ Page 3 ]

-- We had a comfortable journey getting in on time and we met the little snow storm at Sharon* so that there was no [unrecognized word].  The Linnet & Lilian and [ Mrs Richardson written over words]* are so [rich ?] and full of welcomes.  I couldn't find out much from them about the Smith house except that the [don ?] felt he

[ Page 4 ]

would go down shooting and he went into the house and made a nice fire and when he came back the house was flat.*  The Linnet had been at the Player's Club* to dinner and came in so pleasant and wanted a drink of water & Lilian thought it might not be good water.  I cant die young like Keats* says the Linnet!  and he was so funny with



8 January 1896: This letter is written on lined stationary from the Fifth Avenue Hotel, Madison Square, New York, which is printed up the left side of page 2.  It appears in the scanned copy from which this transcript has been made that Jewett folded a page of stationary in half to produce the 4 existing pages of this letter.  That she folded it and obscured the letterhead suggests that when she wrote the letter she had left this hotel.  This also suggests that in her earlier letter of 8 January, she was staying at the Fifth Avenue Hotel.

Mr. Pierce:  Henry L. Pierce.  See notes for the letter of  January 8, 1896, Wednesday Evening.

Mr. Talbot B. Aldrich:  Talbot is one of the twin sons of Thomas Bailey and Lilian Aldrich.  Among the close friends of the Aldriches, Thomas was known as the Linnet.   See Correspondents.

cable code:  This is a code book for addressing and "coding" telegrams to minimize their length.  A contemporary example is Low's Pocket Cable Code (1900).  In Fields's diary of the trip, she reports losing and recovering their code book on about 19 January.

Sharon:  Sharon, Massachusetts is about 17 miles southwest of Boston.

Mrs. Richardson: It seems likely that this is Mrs. Henry Hobson Richardson, born Julia Gorham Hayden (1837-1914).  H. H. Richardson (September 29, 1838 – April 27, 1886) was a prominent New York architect "who designed buildings in Albany, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and other cities. The style he popularized is named for him: Richardsonian Romanesque. Along with Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, Richardson is one of 'the recognized trinity of American architecture'."  He almost certainly would have become known to Jewett through Sarah Wyman Whitman and Annie Fields.  Whitman worked with him on Boston's Trinity Church, 1872-7.  Fields was a member, and their much admired mutual acquaintance, Phillips Brooks, was rector.  Wikipedia notes: "Despite an enormous income for an architect of his day, his "reckless disregard for financial order" meant that he died deeply in debt, leaving little to his widow and six children."
     Melissa Homestead, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, has confirmed the likelihood of this identification by working out that the Richardsons' son, Henry Hyslop Richardson, a real estate broker, came into Jewett's family in 1906, when he married Elizabeth Lejée Perry, daughter of Charles French Perry and Georgiana West Graves.  Charles Perry was a distant cousin of the Jewett sisters, on their mother's side. Homestead notes that after the death of Jewett's nephew, Theodore Jewett Eastman, Elizabeth Perry Richardson "had some responsibility for Jewett’s literary estate. "

the Smith house:  This tantalizing story of a house fire has not been documented.  Assistance is welcome.

Player's Club:   Edwin Booth (1833 - June 7, 1893), actor and brother of John Wilkes Booth, was a founding member of the New York Players Club in 1888.  A friend of Fields and Jewett, Booth had introduced them to the club in 1891.  See Jewett's November - December 1891 letter to T. B. Aldrich.

KeatsWikipedia says: "John Keats ..(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821) was an English Romantic poet. He was one of the main figures of the second generation of Romantic poets, along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, despite his work having been in publication for only four years before his death."

The manuscript of this letter is held in the archive of Historic New England, Jewett Family Papers, Box 6, Folder 3, Letter 10.  Transcribed and annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

            [9 January 1896 ]  [Date penciled in another hand ]

        Somewhere in North Carolina
    Thursday morning

I have had a pretty good sleep for a sleeping car night and a proper breakfast with much fun and conversation from Mr. T. B. Aldrich, and now I must begin another letter to you{.}  I managed to get the opposite section to the one A. F. and I had engaged together and that makes all the difference in the world, besides which Lilian* overcame the fears of the darkey porter about our freezing and got the heat turned off.  She and T.B. are both so nice as they can possibly be and old Bridget is with us instead of already on the yacht* as I supposed{,}

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a dear old-fashioned woman, so ready to help everybody.  This is all I can think of to say about today except that A. F. is in great spirits and we don't get to Brunswick until seven o'clock instead at [four ?] as I supposed.  We are likely to have to wait for Mr. Pierce* -- yesterday in New York we had a call from Charlie, Mary, looking so pleasant and with sincere wishes that he could go with us, and then Susy Travers came & Miss Appleton and Miss Appleton took me off to do my errands which I did in haste & much tiredness, it being a poor morning to your sister's spirit!!  I got Theresa's matters settled* and

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found Mr. Keet the Forum editor a funny little man like his name.*  I got your trimming Mary, and I hoped it would be what you wanted [--]  it was charming by day and must be still prettier by night.  I waked up in the night with a fuss because I hadn't looked longer for something all made but these were big things to go outside the waist and you would have had to take off all your pretty trimming to manage them.  This was exactly what I had in mind at first and i hope I didn't show poor judgment.  I dont see why Miss Gray couldn't take the little thing Miss [Cameron ?]* made and put two rows of this ^together^ down the front on the chiffon and

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then make a [stiffer collar ?] to put a [band round ?] the neck joining behind.  Carrie will know how to manage it.  You might put some on the sleeves above the [unrecognized word] if you think best.  It came from Aitken's.*
    I went home to lunch with Miss Appleton & Susy and had a dear little time.  They brought A. F. a wonderful box of orchids & daffies and a lot of candy to me, all of which we wished openly to send home to you.
    It is warmer now [ that storm ? unreadable word ] and quite southern already.  It is all alike out of the windows [a vertical mark, possibly a comma] after you get in the level country

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

with the pines and the darkey cabins.  I have write as often as I could{.} Just now there is not much to say. Though we happen [now at this last station and got the air ?].  I hope Stubby* [is ?] in spirits
love to all from Sarah


Mr. T. B. Aldrich ... A. F. ... Lilian ... Bridget ... the yacht ... Mr. Pierce:   Annie Fields, Thomas Bailey and Lilian Aldrich, along with Jewett made up the company traveling to join Henry L. Pierce for a West Indian Island cruise aboard Pierce's steam yacht, the Hermione.  Bridget is an Aldrich family servant.    See Correspondents.

Charlie:  Charles Ashburton Gilman (1859-1938), a Jewett relative.    See Correspondents.

Susy Travers ... Miss Appleton:  For Susan Travers, see Correspondents.
    Mary Appleton, also of Newport, RI, shared Susan Travers's interest in arts and philanthropy.

Theresa's matters settled:  Jewett appears to be handling business for Marie Thérèse de Solms Blanc.  See Correspondents.
    Jewett's translation of a portion of  Blanc's "The Condition of Woman in America" appeared in The Forum XXI (March 1896), 1-20.

Mr. Keet the Forum editorWikipedia says:  "The Forum was an American magazine founded in 1885 by Isaac Rice. It existed under various names and formats until it ceased publication in 1950. Published in New York, its most notable incarnation (1885 until 1902) was symposium based. Articles from prominent guest authors debated all sides of a contemporary political or social issue - often across several issues and in some cases, several decades. At other times, it published fiction and poetry, and published articles produced by staff columnists in a ‘news roundup’ format."  Alfred Ernest Keet was editor 1895–97.  Keet was the author of Stephen Crane: In Memoriam (c. 1900).

Miss Gray ... Miss [Cameron ?]:  Presumably these women were dress-makers, but they have not yet been identified.

Aitken's:  Aitken Son & Company was an upscale New York department store at turn of the 20th century. The Metropolitan Museum of Art holds two items sold by Aitken Son & Company, New York importer and dry goods retailer.

Stubby:  Jewett's nephew, Theodore (Stubby) Jewett Eastman.  See Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter is held in the archive of Historic New England, Jewett Family Papers, Box 6, Folder 3, Letter 12.  Transcribed and annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

            [10 January 1896 ]*
            Oglethorpe Hotel*
            Friday Morning

Dear Mary,

    After I wrote you yesterday we changed cars at Waycross* and waited an hour or more and took a walk to view the place and saw a meetin' house that was bent in the middle and tilted over by a little tornado last summer.  Then we came on here two hours journey and were pretty tired, but this morning as we went to breakfast Old Bridget came running and

[ Page 2]

said that the Hermione was in.  I had heard a gun but I didn't expect her for a season.  Mr. Pierce came up to breakfast presently very smiling, and had had an excellent voyage.  We are not going to start until until tomorrow as brasses are to be rubbed and awnings put up [unreadable marks].  Everything being close reefed as one may say to come round the Cape.  It is a delicious day.  There are those who have taken a prancing walk but I stayed in to wash my wig and dry it by a little light wood fire while I could.  I hope for a letter from you tomorrow morning.
    With so much
    love from Sarah

[ Up the left margin page 1]

Carrie, I may start the worsted work this day.


10 January 1896:  In another hand, this letter is dated 7 or 17 January, 1896.  The chronology of Annie Fields's Diary of a West Indian Island Tour indicates that the party consisting of Jewett, Fields, Thomas and Lilian Aldrich and their servant, Bridget, arrived in Brunswick, GA on the evening of Thursday 9 January.  Jewett wrote this letter the next day on Friday 10 January.

Oglethorpe Hotel:  The party stayed at the Oglethorpe Hotel, then the premier hotel in the town.


Oglethorpe Hotel, Brunswick GA
Courtesy of the Glynn County Public Library, Brunswick.

WaycrossWaycross, Georgia.

Hermione ... Mr. Pierce:  Wikipedia says:  "Henry Lillie Pierce (August 23, 1825 - December 17, 1896)....  pursued classical studies, attended the [Massachusetts] State normal school at Bridgewater, and engaged in manufacturing. He was elected a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, a member of the Boston Board of Aldermen, and served as Mayor of Boston. Pierce was elected as a Republican to the Forty-third Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of William Whiting. He was reelected to the Forty-fourth Congress and served from December 1, 1873, to March 3, 1877. He declined to be a candidate for renomination, was again Mayor of Boston in 1878, and died in that city on December 17, 1896. "  He eventually became the owner of the Baker Chocolate Company.


Henry Lillie Pierce
Courtesy of Wikipedia

The following description of the Hermione appears in The Marine Engineer (July 1, 1891) p. 206.  The yacht was built in Paisley, Scotland.


According to "The Yacht Photography of J. S. Johnston," the Hermione was sold to the United States Navy in 1898, converted into a gunboat, and renamed the Hawk; she then provided service in the Spanish-American War.


  Photo of the Hermione from ClydeBuilt Database.

The manuscript of this letter is held in the archive of Historic New England, Jewett Family Papers, Box 6, Folder 3, Letter 2.  Transcribed and annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

        Saturday Morning
        [ 11 January 1896 ]* 

    Today we are going to the Jekyll Island ^Club^* to luncheon and come back to the yacht in the afternoon and begin our residence -- and start early in the morning for Jupiter Inlet* (or Palm Beach where the new Flagler Hotels are & then I can write again.  Mr. Pierce & Lilian & I took a long drive yesterday afternoon down the bay side (or marsh side) on a shell road & back through the woods.  It was cold enough to be glad to wear a cloak but bright & nice.  I send Stubs* a paper which will make him laugh.
    Good bye with much love    Sarah.


11 January 1896:  This postcard is postmarked 13 January, but Jewett has dated it Saturday, the day of the Jekyll Island excursion, which was 11 January.

Jekyll Island Club:  In 1896, Jekyll Island, Georgia was a private club, established in the 1880s, where the world's richest people built houses or rented rooms in winter.  Only members and their guests could stay on the island.  See Fields's Diary of a West Indian Island Tour for details.

Jupiter Inlet ... Palm Beach ... new Flagler Hotels:  Presumably, the Hermione sailed to the area of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, about 20 miles north of the current city of Palm Beach, FL.
     Wikipedia says: "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. He is known as the father of both Miami and Palm Beach, Florida....
    "Flagler completed the 1,100-room Royal Poinciana Hotel on the shores of Lake Worth in Palm Beach and extended his railroad to its service town, West Palm Beach, by 1894, founding Palm Beach and West Palm Beach. The Royal Poinciana Hotel was at the time the largest wooden structure in the world. Two years later, Flagler built the Palm Beach Inn (renamed Breakers Hotel Complex in 1901) overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Palm Beach."
    See Fields's Diary of a West Indian Island Tour for details.

Stubs:  Theodore Jewett Eastman.  See Correspondents.

The manuscript of this card is held in the archive of Historic New England, Jewett Family Papers, Box 6, Folder 3, Letter 3.  Transcribed and annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

[Begin letterhead

S. Y. Hermione

[End letterhead]

Wednesday 16th
 Jan. [1896]

Dear Mary,

    Luckily the first mail boat of the season is going over to Jupiter Inlet* today where it strikes the Florida train and so after the telegram it wont be many days before you receive this letter, much quicker than if it went way up to New York by sea.  I wrote you last from Brunswick* just after we came on board Friday night, and we started out of the harbor very early and in a calm and collected frame of mind,

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but outside there was an old sea and your poor Sister with others of the ships company were very seasick all that day and were better but very low all that night and in the morning when we got to Jupiter Inlet where we thought we would go to shore and come to life again there was such a sea running that the captain thought we had better not try it as he couldn't get over the bar just then and it was too rough for the boats & ^we were^ four miles off.  (a heaving tumbling sea and your poor sister on it and no old sea dog like a pretty Theodore who sailed the Norma.*  Lilian was much

[ Page 3 ]

sicker than I poor thing and A. F. and T. B. A. were gloomy.*  Then we struck across the Gulf stream* and by night we were much better off and yesterday morning here we were in this nice harbor and summer breezes blowing and the sea water the loveliest colour and coloured persons in boats a fetching sponges and shells and every thing much as we expected.  About Noon we went ashore and found the little [missing word?]  much more delightful than we had looked for: so foreign, so gay and quaint with an English touch about it too: as when one saw a thin clergyman proceeding down the street as if he were in Canterbury.

[ Page 4 ]

    We were too late for all but the last of the market but it was too funny with those elderly old darkies & their few oranges and pieces of sugar cane and there was one old turkey stepping about with a string to him as if he were taking a little pleasure before being sold.  And people carrying everything on their heads and wearing turbans and little buildings with high roofs and high walls with pretty gateways and two or three nice old church towers.  Then we went to the Victoria Hotel* and ate a splendid luncheon with large shore appetites with remarks from Mr. T. B. Aldrich for extra flavoring.  After that we went to drive way up the island and saw cocoanut trees and every kind of green {.}

[Up the left side of the first page]

if we have any more such rough weather now or if we do we shall not mind it as we did coming right out to sea.  Mrs. Aldrich sends her love to you both and so does A. F. and so do I.  I think of you both & Stubby* so often and got him some stamps yesterday & more today but I shall write again before we [sail ?].  Sarah


Jupiter Inlet:  About 20 miles north of the current city of Palm Beach, FL.

Brunswick:  The party boarded the Hermione in Brunswick, GA.

Theodore who sailed the Norma:  It seems likely that Jewett is referring to Theodore Vail (1845-1920), owner of a steam yacht, The Norma.  Vail was president of the Metropolitan Telephone and Telegraph Company of New York.  According to Roger Austen in Genteel Pagan (1995), Vail invited the poet Charles Warren Stoddard on a New England coastal cruise (115-6).  How Jewett was acquainted with Vail and what she would have expected her sisters to know remains a mystery.  According to Wikipedia, Vail was a member of the Jekyll Island Club.  Perhaps Jewett met him there during her party's brief visit before their departure from Brunswick on the Hermione.

Lillian ...  A. F. and T. B. A.:  Lilian and Thomas Bailey Aldrich; Annie Fields.  See Correspondents.  Note that Mrs. Aldrich's name receives two spellings: Lillian and Lilian.

Gulf stream:  An Atlantic Ocean warm current that flows northward out of the Gulf of Mexico.

Victoria Hotel:  The Royal Victoria Hotel was the main tourist hotel in Nassau.  In her diary of the tour, Annie Fields describes dining at the hotel.

Stubby:  Theodore Eastman Jewett.  See Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter is held by Historic New England in "Sarah Orne Jewett Personal Correspondence," Box 6.3  Letter 7Transcription and annotation by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Sarah Wyman Whitman

     S. Y. Hermione, Nassau, Wednesday, 16 January [1896]

     And I a writing to a friend on a pleasant summer morning and wishing that we could have a word together. Two days ago I was ready to change places with the coldest old hurdy-gurdy woman that ever sat at the State House corner, and nobody cared whether the Gulf Stream* was blue or whether it was pink, but yesterday I waked up in Nassau harbour and all was well and we went ashore to luncheon and life


seemed to begin with flying colours. It is a charming little town along the waterside with its little square houses with four-sided thatched roofs and down the side lanes come women [carrying corrected] things on their heads -- firewood and large baskets 'of shapes,' and an idle man-person on a small donkey and little black darkeys, oh, very black ones! with outgrown white garments ----  I think it is a little like Italy but I suppose it is really more like Spain. And I who write you have seen cocoanuts a growing and as we drove along the bushy


roads, A. F.* did so squeak aloud for joy at every new bush and tree and tame flower a-growing wild. And when I found how easy it is to get here all the way by rail to Florida and across from Palm Beach (Jupiter Inlet) in a day,* I wonder that more people dont come to this charming Victoria Hotel among its great silk-cotton trees* instead of staying in all the dull little sandy southern towns of the Carolinas.* You would see such pictures. I love your Bermuda sketches* a thousand times more than ever now -----

    Things are going pretty well. 


I came away with a pretty heavy heart darling and I still have that sense of distance which tires ones spirits, but distance is its own cure and remedy, and all but ones swiftest thoughts at last stop flying back, and you get the habit of living where you are. -- Who was it said that you never get to a place until a day after you come, nor leave it until a day after you go?*

(I send you my love dear and so does A. F.  I'm [inserted between lines] ^She's at the other end of the ship^{.} sure -- and Mrs. Aldrich asked me when I wrote to give a message from her.*  The yacht is very nice and big and there is a high quarter deck

[18 circled, probably in another hand, appears in the bottom left corner of this page.]

[ Written up the left margin of page 1]

where I sit and get cool in the salt breeze  This is well

[ Written down from left to right margin in the top margin of page 1 ]

for one who left her native Berwick at 12 below zero!

Yours ever  SOJ

We are going to be here a few days and I may

[ Written up the left margin of page 2 ]

write again simply because I haven't managed to say

[ Written up the right margin of page 2 ]

anything in this letter.


hurdy-gurdy woman ... State House corner ... Gulf Stream: A hurdy-gurdy may be a barrel organ or other similar instrument often carried and played in the street. State House corner in Boston faces the Boston Common. The Gulf Stream is a warm ocean current originating in the Gulf of Mexico and flowing into the North Atlantic. Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas.

A. F.:  Annie Fields.  See Correspondents.

by rail to Florida and across from Palm Beach (Jupiter Inlet) in a day:  On the 1896 trip during which this letter was written, Jewett and Fields along with Thomas Bailey and Lilian Aldrich and their servant, Bridget, to Brunswick, GA, where they joined Henry L. Pierce on his steam yacht, the Hermione.  They then steamed to Palm Beach and on to Nassau.  However, by this date, it was possible to travel by a rail line built and owned by Henry Flagler to his hotels in Palm Beach.  On the return journey, Jewett and friends leave the Hermione at Palm Beach, where they recover for a few days, before traveling by rail to St. Augustine and eventually home.

Victoria Hotel among its great silk-cotton trees:  The Royal Victoria Hotel was the main tourist hotel in Nassau.  In her diary of the tour, Annie Fields describes dining at the hotel.  Ceiba petrandra or Kapok, in the American tropics, is often called the silk cotton tree.

dull little sandy southern towns of the Carolinas:  In 1888, Jewett and Fields stayed a week or two in the areas of Aiken and Beaufort, South Carolina, after a couple weeks in St. Augustine, FL. 

your Bermuda sketches:  In Letters of Sarah Wyman Whitman, Whitman wrote about staying in Bermuda in the spring of 1892.  To Jewett she wrote:
New York, March 24, 1892.
     I am writing from New York on my way to Bermuda for two weeks. . . . I take with me the munitions of war, oil paints, pastel, and even water colours, for who shall say of what complexion the emotions of Bermuda will be?
Bermuda, April 12, 1892.
     It is a little world all by itself and a world of colour, as its main attribute. Such a Sea, such a Sky! A dream of beauty different from anything else and I can see amazing pictures to be painted at every turn. . . .
     The local incident; the white houses built from the coral of which the island itself is made, . . . the negroes and their picturesque methods, the acres of lilies all in fragrant bloom, these things one can only glance at in writing, but some day I will tell you a pretty chapter of geography and history made out of this strange island in the sea, so lovely and so serene.
On Easter (April 17), Whitman wrote to Mrs. Bigelow Lawrence:
I am returning from the enchanted island,... and O, what an island it is! No one can say too much of the color and fragrance of it, -- the sea, which is mixed of violet and turquoise, the sky, radiant with trailing clouds, everywhere beauty, and with it all a sort of strange romance, -- set in such loneliness, yet smiling and rosy as the dawn. It made me feel things that cannot be expressed in words.
  Whitman's Bermuda sketches have proven difficult to locate and reprint.  Below is a sample of her painting.

Passion Flowers

Passion Flowers (Oil on Panel)
Sarah Wyman Whitman
C. 1875-9
Boston Athenaeum

Who was it said that you never get to a place until a day after you come, nor leave it until a day after you go: Jewett uses this saying in "William's Wedding," section 3, Atlantic Monthly (106:33-40), July 1910.

The original of this letter is held by Houghton Library, Harvard University: Whitman, Sarah (Wyman) 1842-1904, recipient. 25 letters; 1892-[1900] & [n.d.]. in Sarah Orne Jewett additional correspondence, 1868-1930. MS Am 1743.1 (126).  A partial transcription appears in Annie Fields, Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett #92.  New transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

Undated Fragment from Nassau.

point – and lovely things growing altogether so that A. F.* was pointing like a young one --  you know how she likes to see strange trees and bushes!  There never was such a time in the world and we brought home large boughs of nearly everything, beside as many roses as we could carry, only a little darkey garden. (price a shillun.) You look along the little bowery roads with ^little^ thatched houses that have four sided roofs.  and of ^down^ the side [deleted word] lanes come women with bundles on their heads and a big man on a little donkey.  I keep thinking that it is something like Italy but I suppose it is more like Spain.  We are going ashore every day to

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lunch.  and we shall be here some days longer which we all like very well.  Something is wrong with the ships water pipes and this morning clever ebony countenances of useful plumbers and carpenters passed by my high [nigh?] porthole in a crowded boat.  T. B. sputters because the Alabama and other commerce destroyers were fitted out here in war time and was so funny with his unexpectedly great anger at this late day.  I must hurry and read up about Nassau for I know less I find than about almost any other island.  I am arrayed in my denim dress but finding it heavy!  Tell John that I saw the Talisman* the yacht he heard about – not nearly as large as this, lying up to the wharf at Brunswick* & they said she had a hard time out at sea.  but so far the Hermione is all right.  She is being steady.  I doubt


A. F.:  Annie Fields.  See Correspondents.

T. B.:  Thomas Bailey Aldrich.  See Correspondents.

Alabama:  Presumably, Aldrich refers to the CSS Alabama, "a screw sloop-of-war built in 1862 for the Confederate States Navy at Birkenhead on the River Mersey opposite Liverpool, England by John Laird Sons and Company. Alabama served as a successful commerce raider, attacking Union merchant and naval ships over the course of her two-year career, during which she never docked at a Southern port. She was sunk in June 1864 by USS Kearsarge at the Battle of Cherbourg outside the port of Cherbourg, France" (Wikipedia).  Whether the Alabama used Nassau as a port is not clear, but other Confederate navy ships apparently did, e.g. the CSS Florida.

John:  John Tucker.  See Correspondents.

Talisman:  The 1896 American Yacht list includes The Talisman, a steam yacht owned by Capt. George E. Crawson of Newark, NJ (48).

Brunswick:  The party boarded the Hermione in Brunswick, GA.

The manuscript of this fragment is held by Historic New England in "Sarah Orne Jewett Personal Correspondence," Box 6  Letter 1Transcription and annotation by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to sisters, Carrie Jewett Eastman & Mary Rice Jewett

[Begin letterhead

Steam Yacht Hermione

[End letterhead

Jany 19th [1896] Sunday Morning

Dear Mary & Carrie

    I have finished a breakfast of the best [fishballs ? ]* as if it were Sunday morning at home and it seems a good moment to begin a letter.  We hoped that we should get a mail yesterday but it seems that the Florida steamer won't bring the mails until February -- and so we are waiting until tomorrow when the regular steamer comes from New York.  I suppose that I shall have to post this before I hear from you.  We think now that we shall set sail in the afternoon as soon as we get the mail so as to be off San Salvador next morning.  Mr. Pierce*


told me that he wanted to reach Jamaica by February but we have long runs all the way to get there.  We have had a very nice time in Nassau and it is a great thing to really get acquainted with a little foreign town.  Yesterday was the first day that we didn't go ashore to luncheon and I stayed on board until evening, most of the time reading Mr. Midshipman Easy* on the hurricane deck where there was a delightful breeze and I was always stopping to see what was going on.  We have come close to the wharves to get our coal and water in. (Lilian wont be made fast because rottens would like to step aboard on the cables!)*  We are right beside the schooner Nathan K. Cobb of Rockland* which put in leaking and has had


to unload her cargo, and the darkies were busy all day with a tackle and fall* hoisting up sugar bags out of the hold and singing a chanty which [seemed written over another word] new every time.  There was such a funny shift in its few notes.  I saw the Capins* wife sitting on the deck looking quite lonesome.  In the evening Mr. Pierce and Lilian and I went ashore and drove out to a village called Grantstown* where they have a great Saturday night market [--] such poor little wares all laid out in ha'pennyworths and they are chaffering* and you can see into the cabins and every body has a little fire of pitch pine twigs to show their goods.  It was a lovely night.  The steamy south wind had changed to a northerly one -- and it has been cool and


fresh so that we could wear thicker clothes again.

    One day at the hotel someone [ written over she?] came up to me and said that she knew my friend Miss Mary Longfellow of Portland and had seen you, Mary, at Aunt [Helen's ?],*  as their Miss Crain of Portland -- who has come down to spend the winter.  I have seen her several times since and so has A. F. and we find her pleasant to talk to and very knowing about Nassau things.  She says she knows Jane Sewell too, so you must tell Jennie that I've seen her.  I must see her tomorrow when we expect to go ashore for a last [send ?] up and down Bay Street.  Today we went to church at the Cathedral, all but T. B. -- whom we pulled up by the roots toward evening and took for a walk on land.  The church was quite big and grand with a lot of mural tablets and black and white pews mixed all together.  There were two clergymen with

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[Cambridge ?] hoods* who looked delicate as if they had come out for their

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health and there was good singing and a proper sermon.  The black troops in the garrison were marched in just before us in fine uniforms of white and red.  You ought to have seen Bridget going in alone an hour before we did

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to mass, with the rowers and the Capin steering her!*  I have had

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a very nice time in Nassau and I hope we shall come back again. Ever

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so much love to all   Your Sarah.


fishballs:  A New England Recipes web page says: "The American Frugal Housewife published in Boston in 1833 has the earliest recipe for fish and mashed potatoes. 'There is no way of preparing salt fish for breakfast, so nice as to roll it up in little balls, after it is mixed with mashed potatoes; dip it into an egg, and fry it brown.' Fish balls were synonymous with New England Sunday breakfast. However, not all cooks served it at Sunday breakfast."

San Salvador ... Mr. Pierce:  San Salvador Island is a district of the Bahamas.  The island would be on the route to Jamaica, the next main stop Mr. Henry Lillie Pierce (1825-1896), owner of the Hermione, has planned.  Pierce also was owner of the Baker Chocolate Company.

Mr. Midshipman Easy:  Wikipedia says: "Mr. Midshipman Easy is an 1836 novel by Frederick Marryat, a retired captain in the Royal Navy. The novel is set during the Napoleonic Wars, in which Marryat himself served with distinction."

Lilian ... rottens:  Along with Pierce, the touring party on the Hermione included Thomas Bailey Aldrich, his wife Lilian, and their Irish servant, Bridget, as well as Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Adams Fields.  If the word Jewett wrote is, indeed, "rottens," it is difficult to know quite what Lilian meant by fearing they would board the yacht via the cables were they to tie up to the dock.  Perhaps she feared rats, but more likely criminals.

the schooner Nathan K. Cobb of Rockland:  Probably Jewett meant the Nathan F. Cobb, of which Wikipedia says: "The Nathan F. Cobb was a three-masted schooner named after the shipbuilder and founder of Cobb’s Salvaging Company whose many rescues of stranded ships helped lead to the formation of the United States Life-Saving Service. Despite its namesake's history of shipwreck rescues, the Nathan F. Cobb capsized in heavy seas on 1 December 1896 en route from Brunswick, Georgia to New York with a cargo of timber and cross ties....  The Nathan F. Cobb of Rockland, Maine was a three-masted, square rigged schooner constructed in 1890...."  Cobb (b. 1797) came from Eastham, Massachusetts on Cape Cod.

tackle and fall:  A system of pulleys and ropes for lifting and lowering heavy objects.

Capins wife: The names of the captain and crew members of the Nathan F. Cobb are not yet known.  Assistance is welcome.

Grantstown:  Grants Town was a village south of Nassau.

chaffering:  Bargaining. 

Miss Mary Longfellow of Portland ... Aunt [Helen's ?] ... as their Miss Crain of Portland ...  A. F. ... Jane Sewell ... tell Jennie that I've seen her:  Richard Cary says "Alice Mary Longfellow (1850-1928), daughter of the poet, was a friend of long standing. Jewett often visited with her in the summer at Mouse Island in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, where Miss Longfellow annually filled in the season with a vigorous regime of walking, rowing, and sailing." 
    Helen Gilman was Jewett's much admired great-aunt.  See Correspondents.
    Miss Crain of Portland has not been identified.  It is possible that she has married since meeting Mary in Portland, but Jewett seems unclear about this.  Assistance is welcome.
    A. F. is Annie Fields.
    Jane Sewell, according to The Placenames of South Berwick (75), was a resident of South Berwick, ME and, therefore, a neighbor of the Jewett family.  More information is welcome.
    Jennie also is unidentified, but it is possible that she is Jane Sewell, and that Jewett wishes to convey a greeting to her.

Bay Street:  A main thoroughfare along the north coast of Nassau, facing Paradise Island.

the Cathedral ... T. B. ... mural tablets and black and white pews mixed all together ... two clergymen ...[Cambridge ?] hoods:  See Field's "Diary of a West Indian Island Tour" for her account of Nassau.  The English Church in Nassau would have been Christ Church Cathedral.  The church's website notes that no one is buried in the cathedral, that the inscriptions are plaques rather than markers.
    T. B. is Thomas Bailey Aldrich.
    It is uncertain what Jewett means by noting that "black and white pews" were mixed all together.  Perhaps she means that, unlike in many churches she would attend outside New England, black and white people were integrated in the congregation.  If so, it also is unclear to what degree they were integrated.  Was each pew occupied only by people of one color?  Or were whites and people of color free to sit wherever they chose?  In her 2 February letter from Mandeville, Jamaica, Jewett says that church there was much like in Yorkshire, except for "all the decent black people scattered in." More information is welcome.
    The identities of the presiding clergy are uncertain.  The Right Reverend Edward Townson Churton, educated at Oxford, was Bishop at Nassau 1886-1900.  More information is welcome.
    The clergy wearing Cambridge hoods, if Jewett's description is precise, would indicate that they were graduates of Cambridge university and that they wore their academic hoods with their gowns during worship.  More information about this is welcome.

Bridget ... mass:   The Aldriches brought with them, Bridget, an Irish Catholic, as a maid and general servant.  The names of the crew of the Hermione also remain unknown.  Further information is welcome.

The manuscript of this letter is held in the archive of Historic New England, Jewett Family Papers, MS014.02.01.  Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to sisters, Carrie Jewett Eastman & Mary Rice Jewett

[Begin letterhead

Steam Yacht Hermione

[End letterhead

Port au Prince   Hayti
25 Jany 1896

Dear Sisters,

    I was sorry that I sent such a poor letter from Inagua* but there seemed to be scant time to do that and take it ashore [but written over another word] I found out afterward that I need not have hurried.  You will now get further particulars with a one legged pen* of A. F.'s and hear that we were much interested with poor Inagua which seemed to have neither 'taters nor poor [ rabbit ? ] either!  There had been a great enterprise of salt-making two or three square miles of flats all dyked and put in working order with salt houses and wheels and dams & channels and after they had made good salt a while like Turk's Island* there came a great cloudburst and all the mud, red and


sticky-looking worked up through, and the whole thing was left to go to ruin.  The Consul's father was one of the men ^but died long ago^ and he and his old [unrecognized word] mother and the children have lived on but the little town went to pieces like the salt works because every body went away, and there lies Inagua in the hot sun low and hungry looking. [deleted word] All the little scrub oaks and things were quite forlorn ^looking^ beside ^after^ Nassau which was as bushy as Ireland.  We had a nice long drive (though pretty hot and glaring) across the great salt plain where we saw snipe* feeding, and best of all, the most splendid flock of flamingos off on the flats, as bright as geranium flowers at that distance and the Consul said that they were tall enough to touch the top of his head with their beaks.  I wish that Stubby* could have seen & shot one.  I tried


to see if I could get an egg to bring him for his collection, [but written over another word] I couldn't.  There must have been two or three hundred of them.  We had the Consul & his mother & sister to dinner, and in the night we set sail over a rough piece of sea.  From Inagua we could just see the mountains of Cuba, but I suppose that is all we are likely to see, and we turned south toward Haity [sic] and got into the most lovely bay among the mountains,* at sunrise -- with a queer little town like a geography picture -- high mountains behind and a long row of cocoa palms.  The Republic of Hayti presently came off in a boat -- a number of persons who were dignitaries of that port the chief among them being a old black person like Charles [Tash ? ]* with a silk hat much too large for him so that it went down over his shoulders like a cape.  Mr. Pierce and I were on the upper deck and I hopped up to see the boat


load thinking that they wanted to sell conch shells & things and my eye met this scene of splendor & I got Mr. Pierce and I thought he never would stop laughing: dont you know how Uncle William* would laugh sometimes until he cried?  It had its affecting side too, but of all the majesty I ever saw! and that great hat!  We stayed there all day but didn't go ashore.  The Captain went off in a little boat and shot a pelican, and brought him aboard to our great interest.  We saw them flying and fishing all down the shore and it was a great pleasure, nice picture-book pelicans, Carrie and Mary!
    [Deleted word] Your sister tried to draw a little one but could not stop....  There was another big yacht in the bay & we left it there.  We had our dinner and then went up on the Captain's bridge and stayed until bedtime.  It was a lovely night perfectly quiet and still, and we sailed at nine o'clock and got here at seven this morning.  The mountains are beautiful and the harbor full of shipping.  There is a big steamer unloading

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pelters* that kick and swing in the air.  Mary would know them all again and some behave so well poor things.

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A. F. who has been rather upset and poorly of late, is nicely this morning and in great feather.  Mr. Pierce says we shall go ashore a week in Jamaica & go up among the mountains & stay

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perhaps.  Lillian [spelling varies] who is much sicker than anybody is also well

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again.*  And I have not been very badly off except that first day.  Now we are away from that

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great Atlantic swell that knocks us about we shall be more comfortable.


Inagua:  Inagua is the southernmost part of the Bahamas, consisting of two islands: Great Inagua and Little Inagua.

one legged pen of A. F.'s:   A. F. is Annie Fields.  The phrase "one legged pen" occurs several times in documents available on the Internet, but what distinguishes it from any other pen is not clear.  The phrase does not appear in the Oxford English Dictionary.  Examining the image of the manuscript shows no obvious difference between this and other letters Jewett mailed from the Hermione.  Perhaps the phrase refers to the writer rather than the pen?

enterprise of salt-making ... like Turk's Island:  See Fields "Diary of a West Indian Islands Tour" entry for January 24, for her account of visiting the salt works at Inagua.  Though the production of sea salt on Inagua had failed by 1896, the Morton Salt Company now provides Inagua's main industry, with a large solar salt operation.  The Turks & Caicos Islands had long been a source of salt in the Caribbean, from the 1600s to the present.

snipe ... flock of flamingos:   Snipes are small wading birds, of which there are many varieties.  Wikipedia says of Inagua: "There is a large bird sanctuary in the centre of the island with a population of more than 80,000 West Indian flamingoes and many other bird species....

Stubby:  Theodore (Stubby) Jewett Eastman is Carrie's son, Jewett's nephew.  See Correspondents.

lovely bay among the mountains:  According to Fields's diary, this bay was at Môle-Saint-Nicolas, on the northwest coast of Haiti.  Wikipedia says: "Christopher Columbus' first voyage to the Americas landed at the site of what is now Môle-Saint-Nicolas on December 6, 1492. The town received its present name after France gained control of the western part of Hispaniola in 1697."  Wikipedia notes that the French began to occupy the area beginning in 1625.

old black person like Charles [Tash ? ]:  The identify of Charles Tash is unknown.  Assistance is welcome.

Uncle William:  Jewett's Uncle William Jewett died in 1887.

pelters:  This word occurs several times in Jewett's writings, and its meanings often are elusive.  She seems here to refer to animals with pelts, but it is hard to imagine a ship-load of live, fur-bearing animals arriving in a Caribbean port.  Could she refer to sheep?

Lilian:  The Hermione's party consisted of: Jewett, Annie Fields (A.F.), Thomas Bailey (T.B.A.) and Lilian Aldrich and their servant, Bridget, and the yacht owner and host, Henry Lillie Pierce.  See Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter is held in the archive of Historic New England, Jewett Family Papers, MS014.02.01. Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Louisa Loring Dresel

     Steam Yacht Hermione, Kingston, Jamaica, January 30, 1896*

     Dear Loulie, -- I was so glad to get your letter today, and so was Mrs. Fields.* We are having a very much better time as we go on, for A. F. is better and I, too, and I find Jamaica a most enchantingly beautiful country. My fellow travellers say that Ceylon* is not a bit more beautiful. We have been a week in Nassau, where I wrote you, and then came down through the Bahamas, stopping only at Inagua, a strange lonely island which I must tell you about some day, with its wild marshes and a huge flock of flamingos, like all your best red paints spilt on the shining mud. There had once been square miles of salt works which were ruined by a tornado, and now the flamingos blow about there like flames. Then we went to Hayti, which was oh, so funny with its pomp of darkeys. Port au Prince was quite an awful scene of thriftlessness and silly pretense* -- but one or two little Haytian harbours and the high green coast were most lovely. And then Jamaica, with all its new trees and flowers, and its coolies, Loulie! with their bangles and turbans and strange eyes. You would like Jamaica immensely.

     Your news of the bicycle is very entertaining. you will be cutting by a slow-footed friend any day after I get back. I think it is so good for you, -- one needs a serious reason for getting out of doors sometimes, and a bicycle is a very serious reason indeed. The roads are so fine here, winding and looping along the sides of the hills as they do in Switzerland, -- fine English-made roads, -- and you look up to the great mountains, and down to the blue sea.

     I am writing in a hurry to catch a mail, and I send ever so much love to you and to dear Mrs. Dresel, and I know A. F. sends her love too.

     You will find this an old date, dear Loulie, but the letter was overlooked when our last mail was sent ashore, and there hasn't been one since, this being the 19th of February! We are on our way to Nassau now, expecting to reach there in a few days. We got into a port way down in Porto Rico, and after they had collected all the fees they told us if we went on to St. Thomas (where all our letters were!), or to any of the Windward Islands upon which our hearts were set, we should have to go through a long quarantine!* So we turned meekly around and came back all our long way, but we have seen a good many islands and many rough seas and I feel more resigned now than I did at first. We are sure to be at home in two or three weeks now if all goes well. I think this is a more important postscript than letter!


1896:  Fields dates this letter in 1899, but clearly it refers to their 1896 Caribbean tour on the Hermione.

Mrs.  Fields: Annie Adams Fields. See Correspondents.

Ceylon:  In 1894-5, Thomas Bailey and Lilian Aldrich traveled to the far east, visiting Ceylon (Sri Lanka) along with Japan, China, India and Egypt.  See The Life of Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Chapter 7, "Indian Summer Days."

pretense: Annie Fields observes, in her journal of the 1896 Caribbean tour, that she found Port au Prince perhaps the most "strangely barbarian place ... on the face of the earth!" She goes on to offer the opinion that after years of occupation by Spanish, English and French colonialists, the Africans of Haiti are more degraded than those found in the "wilds of Africa."  Fields does not describe what exactly provoked her reaction, as it does not appear that any of their party went ashore in Port au Prince. See her entry for Friday 24 through Monday 27 January.  In her journal, Fields frequently recurs to this event as defining the darkest episode of the tour, the most challenging to her views about the progress of human history.  In this letter, Jewett seems to react more moderately, though still quite judgmentally.

long quarantine:  Fields explains in her journal that as a result touching shore in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, because there had been at least one case of yellow fever on the island, they would have to wait in the St. Thomas harbor for 10 days before they could go ashore there or in any of the Windward Islands.  Rather than wait so long and possibly increase their liability of exposure, they elected to return to San Domingo.

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 sisters, Carrie Jewett Eastman & Mary Rice Jewett

Mandeville, Jamaica*
2nd February [1896]

[Begin letterhead

Steam Yacht Hermione

[End letterhead

Dear Mary & Carrie

    We came up to this pretty old fashioned English village high enough among the mountains to be cool -- to spend Sunday and you can't think how nice it is!  We miss some of the luxuries of the yacht to be sure but I cant say I regret them so much as to make me suffer though I never did sleep in a bed that felt more like plain wicker work than this one last night.  We went to a hotel six miles from Kingston and spent Friday night for they were going to paint the hurricane deck and do some other jobs and mending of the Hermione, and the harbor of Kingston


is neither the coolest nor the most fragrant. So we spent the night at the Constant Spring Hotel where there is a view of both mountains & sea and found it a great rambling dull barrack in itself but pretty comfortable.*  Yesterday we drove to Castleton gardens (one of the Government Botanical gardens)* and started at seven for the 13 miles which we enjoyed going up ) [sic] very much, it was so shady and cool.  The gardens don't interest me half as much as those at Bath though I did see a mahogany tree and send you some leaves.  It isn't half as handsome as it ought to be!  when we think of its dignity.  We drove back to Kingston after lunch and meant to go to Spanish Town* where the old Spanish & other government buildings are, to spend last night and then come on up here, but we found


it was low & hot like Kingston, so we made a bold [wish ? ] and a sudden change and come on fifty miles by rail, in a first class English "carriage" and drove up the mountains ten miles more which made us [147 ?] miles ^ [drive ?] ^ in all and wicker beds didn't matter!  The air is delicious -- so cool and lovely & fresh.  A. F. & Mr. Pierce* & I went to church this morning and you would certainly have thought you were in some old church in Yorkshire, if it had not been for all the decent black people scattered in.  The Church tower is square & low with a clock and a funny bell, it ought to be a little peal and you would say it was certainly England with its church-yard & rector and two or three clergymen.
    One thing we have had new here is bread fruit.*  It is very good and,

now I believe I have had every thing the Swiss Family Robinson* did but the cassowary.*  Wasn't that the nutritious bird they shot?  After church we could see the people going home through the fields in little companies to eat their Sunday dinners.  I don't know what they have but always yams.  I have almost never tasted such sweet oranges as grow here.  I believe they are quite famous.
    We mean to sleep on board tomorrow night, then we sail next night for San Domingo which will take us two days nearly.  There are some things to see in Kingston yet.  We drove through the grounds of King's House where the governor lives and oh such flowers! all the coloured leaved things are splendid, here coleus & crotons.*  But oh my dear sisters imagine my feelings at find[ing] the Browell* growing by the roadside in Jamaica!!  I was penetrated with feelings at beholding it and I longed

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to have you both near -- It is a small blue flower that we have had in Maine.

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I trust you will feel an interest.  I saw such pretty oxalis will* and this is the home of the storied Wandering Jew! and lots of others little garden things.  It is so funny to see them and makes me think of meeting a

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gov's seal those warm May days that we generally choose.  But [those ?]

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delights don't grow as they do in Switzerland.  The Consul has paid us

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every kind attention [and ?] I can't think I shall like any place better than Jamaica.

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Give my love to John & Jenny & Liza and much to you all. 

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Sarah.  I was so sorry to hear of our Mrs Downy.  Becca will miss her.*


Mandeville:  According to Wikipedia, "Mandeville is the capital and largest town in the parish of Manchester in the county of Middlesex, Jamaica."  Stark's Jamaica Guide provides a fairly detailed description of Mandeville as an English village in a tropical setting (pp. 112-6).

Constant Spring Hotel:  The Constant Spring Hotel near Kingston may be seen in a rich post-card collection, in which this 1905 image appears.  See Fields's diary, January 31, for more detail.

Constant Spring

Castleton gardens ... Bath
:  Castleton is on the Wag Water River, which flows into Annotto Bay on the north side of the island, about 24 miles from Kingston.  According to Stark, by the 1890s, the Wag Water had become an important part of Kingston's water supply.  Wikipedia says: "In the 19th century, the British established a number of botanical gardens. These included the Castleton Botanical Garden, developed in 1862 to replace the Bath Garden (created in 1779) which was subject to flooding. Bath Garden was the site for planting breadfruit, brought to Jamaica from the Pacific by Captain William Bligh. It became a staple in island diets."

mahogany tree ... send you some leaves: Wikipedia says Swietenia macrophylla, commonly known as mahogany, Honduran mahogany, Honduras mahogany, or big-leaf mahogany, is a species of plant in the Meliaceae family. .... It is native to South America and Mexico, but naturalized in Singapore and Hawaii,[2] and cultivated in plantations elsewhere.The wood is prized for color, hardness and resistance to termites.


Mahogany leaves

Spanish TownWikipedia says:  "Spanish Town is the capital and the largest town in the parish of St. Catherine in the county of Middlesex, Jamaica. It was the former Spanish and English capital of Jamaica from the 16th to the 19th century. The town is home to numerous memorials, the national archives, a small population, and one of the oldest Anglican churches outside England."  Spanish Town is about 13 miles west of Kingston.

A. F. & Mr. Pierce:  The Hermione's party consisted of: Jewett, Annie Fields (A.F.), Thomas Bailey (T.B.A.) and Lilian Aldrich and their servant, Bridget, and the yacht owner and host, Henry Lillie Pierce.  See Correspondents.

bread fruit:  "Baobab, common name for a tropical African tree (see Mallow). ... The fruit, called monkey bread, is about the size of a citron; the pulp, which has a pleasing acid taste, is used in the preparation of cooling drinks. The bark of the tree yields a strong cordage fiber. The baobab, native to Africa, is now cultivated in many tropical countries throughout the world."  Encarta

Swiss Family Robinson
Wikipedia says: "The Swiss Family Robinson ... is a novel by Johann David Wyss, first published in 1812, about a Swiss family shipwrecked in the East Indies en route to Port Jackson, Australia."

cassowary:  "Common name for any of three members of a genus of flightless birds. Cassowaries stand 1.2 to 1.8 m (about 4 to 6 ft) high and can run as fast as 48 km/h (30 mph) when frightened.Encarta.  Among the birds the Swiss Family Robinson shot for food were ortolans and a bustard.  More likely, Jewett is thinking of a bustard, heavy Old World birds that rarely fly.  The Swiss family probably knew bustards from Switzerland and gave the name to a large terrestrial bird they shot in the East Indies; therefore, Jewett is correct that they more likely found a cassowary, which is a native of the East Indies.

King's House: the governor's residence was north of the village of Halfway Tree.  Henry Arthur Blake was governor of Jamaica, 1888-1897. 

coleus & crotons ... the Browell: According to Encarta coleus is a "large genus of tropical African and Asian herbs, of the mint family. The genus comprises about 100 species, several of which are extensively cultivated for their brilliantly colored, variegated foliage." 
    Crotons are pantropical plants with multiple varieties, making it difficult to determine which plant Jewett refers to.  A number of domesticated varieties have multi-colored leaves.
    Perhaps Jewett refers to Browallia which Wikipedia describes as "a genus of Solanaceae family. It is named after Johannes Browallius (1707–1755), also known as Johan Browall, a Swedish botanist, physician and bishop." 



oxalis willWikipedia says: "Oxalis ... is by far the largest genus in the wood-sorrel family Oxalidaceae: .... The genus occurs throughout most of the world, except for the polar areas; species diversity is particularly rich in tropical Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. Many of the species are known as wood sorrels ... as they have an acidic taste reminiscent of the unrelated sorrel proper (Rumex acetosa). Some species are called yellow sorrels or pink sorrels after the color of their flowers instead."

Wandering Jew:  As a legendary figure, the Wandering Jew was a person who refused to allow Jesus Christ to rest at his door as he bore his cross toward Calvary, and so was condemned by Jesus to wander over the earth until His second coming.  Wikipedia says that there are three species of Spiderwort, Tradescantia, called Wandering Jew, perhaps because they grow out in lengthening vine-like stems.

John & Jenny & Liza ... Mrs Downy.  Becca will miss herJohn Tucker was a long-time employee of the Jewett family.  See Correspondents.
    Jenny and Liza probably also are Jewett employees.
    Mrs. Downy and Becca have not been identified, though Becca may be Rebecca Young.  See Correspondents..  Assistance is welcome.

The manuscript of this letter is held in the archive of Historic New England, Jewett Family Papers, MS014.02.01. Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to sisters, Carrie Jewett Eastman & Mary Rice Jewett

Mayaguez, Porto Rico*
Tuesday 11 February [1896]

[Begin letterhead

Steam Yacht Hermione

[End letterhead

Dear Sisters,

    Here we are in a new little island country -- Spanish this time and as foreign as it can possibly be.  We had an awful voyage from Jamaica rough and tumbling day and night nearly all the way until until I didn't care whether I ever saw another island or not!  We meant to go to San Domingo city along the south coast of Hayti but we got into the great blow & current of trade winds and turned about so that the course was changed and we stopped first at a little town called Boury* and then came 'north about' to another


dirty dilpidated [darkey ?] town called Cape Haytien* where there was a pretty harbor with old Spanish forts, but we made a very short look of the town answer, and then came on our way here.  The air is quite different, very cool and fresh and delicious and the hills ashore look charming not so tropical but plenty of trees scattered about and a grassy look which we have seldom seen down here.  All the town (the houses I mean) looks one story high and lovely Spanish damsels made eyes at T. B.* as we drove along.  There is a good big cathedral with two yellow towers and


a square in front with a fine statue of Columbus.*  It is very interesting because it is A.F's & my first look at Spain.  We are going ashore again this morning to see the market and mean to sail this afternoon for San Juan on the north shore 80 miles and then go on from there to St. Thomas where I hope there will be a good big mail.  How far we ^shall^ get "down the islands" I can't say: it will depend upon the blowing of the winds and the height of the waves, but the trade wind which keeps the air so fresh makes a great surf and you find very few harbors


but only roads for the most part, as if we anchored half a mile or a mile out of Wells in front of Sam's -- Inagua* was like that and this roadstead is not much better.  I have wish[ed] so many times that I hadn't left my last letter from Auntie* ^before I left home^ in which she said the name of the place where Mrs. Lind lived.  I have tried & tried to think of it.  I asked the consul last night if he knew anything of the family but he had only been here a few years.  He came off to call quite handsomely with a little old French mother from Bordeaux with whom A. F. held a great French conversation and made her have a beautiful time.  There are electric lights in Mayaguez and
[Up the left margin of page 1]

what always pleases us -- an artificial ice machine so that we stock up and have ice water to drink*.  Your sister who writes you is rather low this morning owing to a steady roll but she hopes to be the better of going up on

[Up the left margin of page 3]

the hurricane deck and reading a lively tale where the

[Up the left margin of page 4]

wind is blowing.  The captain has just been trying to shoot

[Down from the left margin in the top margin of page 4]

a shark which has distracted my mind{.} Ever so much love to all from S. O. J.


Mayaguez, Porto Rico:  Near the center of the west coast of Puerto Rico.

San Domingo city along the south coast of Hayti ... a little town called Boury:  Jewett may be confused about the location of San Domingo, unless she only means that their intended route was along the southern coast of Haiti.  Wikipedia says: "Santo Domingo ... known officially as Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic and the largest city in the Caribbean by population." 
    There is no town named "Boury" on the west coast of Haiti, though there is an inland area so named northeast of Port au Prince.  In her diary for February 8, Fields reports sailing as far south as Cape Esavois on the south coast of Haiti, but no coastal town of this name can be located either.  Because the sailing was terrible, perhaps both writers failed to hear correctly the name of the point at which the Hermione gave up trying to reach the Dominican Republic and turned northward toward Cape Haytien on the way to Puerto Rico.  Possibly Fields meant Les Irois, a village on the tip of the southern peninsula of Haiti.

Cape HaytienWikipedia says 21st century Cap-Haïtien is "often referred to as Le Cap or Au Cap, is a commune of about 190,000 people on the north coast of Haiti and capital of the Department of Nord. Previously named as Cap Français, Cap Henri and historically known as the Paris of the Antilles, displaying its wealth and sophistication through its beautiful architecture and artistic life."

T. B.:  Thomas Bailey Aldrich.  The Hermione's party consisted of: Jewett, Annie Fields (A.F.), Thomas Bailey (T.B.A.) and Lilian Aldrich and their servant, Bridget, and the yacht owner and host, Henry Lillie Pierce.  See Correspondents.

Cathedral ... statue of ColumbusWikipedia says:  "Plaza Colón is the main plaza in the city of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. This plaza and its fountain commemorate the explorer Christopher Columbus, whose name in Spanish was Cristóbal Colón. The plaza presents the traditional urban relationship in Puerto Rico with the church, now Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria Cathedral on one end of the plaza and the "Alcaldia" or Mayagüez town hall in the other."  A statue of Columbus stands in the center of the plaza.


Plaza Colón c. 1898

A. F
.:  Annie Adams Fields

Wells in front of Sam's -- Inagua:  Jewett and her sisters in South Berwick were familiar with nearby Wells, Maine.  Sam's would appear to be a business, but information about this has not been located.  In her January 23 diary entry, Fields reports: ",,, there is no more landing at Inagua now than there was in the days of Columbus.  All [the ?] night we could hear the waves dashing up on the cliffs and up the little beach; the breakers still washed rather high although there was no storm.  However we ladies were carried ashore by the Captain except S. O. J. who watched for a chance and deftly jumped and ran."

from Auntie ... Mrs. Lind:  Usually, when Jewett refers to "Auntie," she means her great aunt, Helen Gilman.  See Correspondents.
    The identity of Mrs. Lind is unknown.  Assistance is welcome.

electric lights in Mayaguez ... artificial ice machine:  The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority says that electric lighting was introduced to the island in 1893.  Dr. John Gorrie (1803 -1855) patented the first ice-making machine in the United States in 1851.  For a detailed history of ice-making in the nineteenth century, see J. F. Nickerson, "The Development of Refrigeration in the United States," especially, pp. 170-1, in
Ice and Refrigeration, Volume 49, Nickerson & Collins Company, 1915.

The manuscript of this letter is held in the archive of Historic New England, Jewett Family Papers, MS014.02.01. Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to sisters, Carrie Jewett Eastman & Mary Rice Jewett

        Cape St. Nicholas Mole Haiti.*
        Tuesday 18th February

Dear Girls

    This is the third letter I haven't been able to mail!  At San Domingo* we thought we were pretty sure of catching a steamer but when caught we found that letters sent by it wouldn't get to New York before the fifth or sixth of March.*  So we came along letters in [and ?] all, but at Nassau they will have to look out an extra mail bag.  Today we are left here in this nice snug harbor by a Norther which is raining a great rain and blowing up the sea outside.  We are making our way as fast as we can to Nassau but it is a long stretch and oh so rough all the way along the South coast of San Domingo & Haiti!  We had two quite awful nights when the minute you got to sleep a great


roll would bang you awake again.  Your poor sister has often thought of  her nice room and the fire in the fireplace those nights before she came away!  but everything good costs something as we have heard, and I shall be glad to have seen these lovely places.  I was dreadfully disappointed about "the islands,"* but now we are getting near Nassau again and I hope again for letters and so those woes are put by.

    There is a schooner from Tenants Harbor anchored close by us loading with logwood, or from St. George which is the same thing.*  Isn't it funny?  We have seen a Rockland schooner several times.


    We have had to lie here two days more until the Norther blew itself out and now tonight we are going on, I suppose to be


rolled about more, but it is only two days to Nassau and then I shall feel quite near to you all, and I hope to find some letters.  The last one I had from you was at Kingston the 30th of Jan and dated the 24th so it is almost a month.  I have thought of telegraphing but I knew you would get all the news there was from Lilian's despatches, and at a dollar & eighty-seven cents a word your ideas seem to fly away!  We have been reading the life of Columbus* all of us and ^getting^ so interested because he was right here in these little harbors that we have learned to know so well and even named them all. It has been cold these last few days so that I took heart to get out my worsted work and have been much stayed with


the pleasure of doing it though I haven't got the black sprigs all filled in yet.

    We went ashore day before yesterday and saw the funniest little mardi gras procession with masks and red things over their heads dancing in the streets with pipe & drum.*  Coloured children & some bigger ones who danced ahead and twirled and then went back again.  It was so wild looking somehow.  There was a huge old fort here which has all crumbled down and this poor village seems to be cobbled up out of the ruins.  The President gave us a mongoose in a cage at San Domingo & we had great fun with it at first but it drooped under sea faring so today the chief engineer & a 'boy' rowed ashore and let him out.  Bridget* is quite bereft.  I shall leave this envelope open to add

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

a word later as we hope now to get to Nassau Sunday morning & I think the mail doesn't go until Monday.


Cape St. Nicholas Mole HaitiWikipedia says: "Christopher Columbus' first voyage to the Americas landed at the site of what is now Môle-Saint-Nicolas on December 6, 1492....  Vestiges of colonial forts can be found in several locations: Batteries de Vallières, Fort Georges, Saint-Charles, La Poudrière, Le Fort Allemand, Les Ramparts. Ruine Poudrière is an old magazine built sometime in the 1750s."
    Jewett began a sketch entitled "The Cape St. Nicholas Mole \ Hayti Story," held by the Houghton Library in Sarah Orne Jewett compositions and other papers, 1847-1909. MS Am 1743.22 (10). Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

San Domingo ... letters ... wouldn't get to New York before the fifth or sixth of March:  In her diary of 13 - 15 February, Fields details the Hermione's stay in Santo Domingo.

disappointed about "the islands":  The original goal of the Hermione was the Windward Islands, the Lesser Antilles, between Puerto Rico and Venezuela, but bad weather prevented their steaming so far south.

Tenants Harbor ... or from St. George which is the same thing ... a Rockland schooner:  Jewett and Fields had spent part of the summer of 1895 at Tenants Harbor, ME, the village which bears some resemblance to Dunnet's Landing in The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896), which was appearing in serial while Jewett was sailing with the Hermione.  St. George and Rockland ME are on the peninsula north of Tenants Harbor, St. George about 5 miles, Rockland about 14 miles.

the life of Columbus ... he was right here in these little harbors ... and even named them all:  Jewett, Fields, and perhaps their fellow voyagers, as well, were reading Washington Irving's A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (1828). 

mardi gras: In her February 18 diary, Fields wrote: "It was Mardi gras and a little procession of a dozen boys ^and girls^ or perhaps they were all boys dressed as women, and a few children ^all^ in the simplest disguises danced fantastically to tom-toms up and down the open ways between the huts -- when their noise stopped a perfectly ^the^ silence of the wilderness settled down.  The gaily dressed figures stood out against the dark mountain-sides, clothed with green to the summit and black with cloud and vapor which lie behind and make a background to the place."

President gave us a mongoose ... at San Domingo ... Bridget:  In her diary of 13 - 15 February, Fields describes the party's dinner with Louis Mondestin Florvil Hyppolite, President of the Dominican Republic.  Bridget is the servant of Thomas Bailey and Lilian Aldrich.  Wikipedia says "Mongoose is the popular English name for 29 of 34 species in the 14 genera of the family Herpestidae, which are small carnivores that are native to southern Eurasia and mainland Africa."  They are an introduced species in the Caribbean. 

The manuscript of this letter is held in the archive of Historic New England, Jewett Family Papers, MS014.02.01. Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Carolyn Jewett Eastman and Mary Rice Jewett

       Nassau  Tuesday Morning [25 February 1896]*

Dear Girls

    We are so delighted to get in -- and after all our fears of the long stretch & head wind{,} the last day & night proved better than the first -- I am hoping to get letters this morning -- and you can't think how long the weeks seem without a telegram or anything.  We are anchored opposite the barracks this time and I now hear an early


bugle.  After this we get letters nice and often.  Keep sending them to 148 State St. to Talbot* -- until I say not, because they will be telegraphing & knowing just where we are.  It seems so near to what it has been!  that I feel as if I could almost speak across.
    Ever so much love
    from A. F. & me.


1896:  According to Fields's Diary of a West Indian Island Tour, the Hermione party returned to Nassau on Monday, 24 February 1896.

Talbot:  One of the twin sons of Thomas Bailey and Lilian Aldrich,.  The sons have remained at home, while the parents travel with Fields and Jewett on this cruise.

A.F.:  Annie Fields.  See Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter is held by Historic New England in Letters from Sarah Orne Jewett to Caroline Augusta Jewett Eastman and Mary Rice Jewett, Jewett Family Papers: MS014.01.02.01.  Transcribed and annotated by Terry Heller. Coe College.

Sarah Wyman Whitman to SOJ

March 4, 1896.

     I think I have not written much of late, you seemed to be out of reach of letters, and beside I have been in a great valley of silence in which I seemed to have learned much that I knew not of before. I have been alone long days together; I have worked and dreamed, and have felt the days blessed and the lesson of continuance begun.


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

SOJ probably to Mary Rice Jewett

Monday morning
[ March 16, 1896 ]

                    [ Begin hotel stationary letterhead ]

                    Hotel Ponce de Leon
                    Gillis and Murray, Managers
                    St. Augustine, Fla.

                    [ End letterhead ]

……………….…Mr. Whitridge* made us a long visitation yesterday afternoon and it is always very pleasant.  He was so funny and dispairing about Kate Foot*  --  always complaining of something  --   cant tell much by what she says ….. he speaks sometimes just like Mr. C. Hobbs* so you would think them same  –  it gives me such a funny home like feeling   you must tell Mr. Hobbs that he is here and so interested to hear all about him and the old place.  I promised him one of my snow pictures of the house taken there by the Methodist church and if it isnt too much trouble I wish you would look for it in the box and send it to me.  I have had to go all over the Hayes and the Ferguson girls and Jourdin Ferguson and that golden time.  You would like Mr. Whitridge.  Your sister is so much distracted by the band playing without and beaucoup des personnes* passing up the middle of the court past the fountain and some of them getting the particulars with marked interest* that she cant compose her thoughts to this letty.* Fifteen rooms of Vanderbilts have created a great excitement but they are going to Tampa or some where to-day.  There were terrapin for dinner last night. I suppose in the Vanderbilts honor.*  This is all the news of today.



Mr. Whitridge:  This is likely to be Frederick Wallingford Whitridge (1852-1916), the New York City businessman who married Matthew Arnold's daughter, Lucy.   The biographical sketch below, from Encyclopedia of Biography of New York Volume 5, indicates the Whitridge's grandmother's family lived in South Berwick.  This makes it understandable that he would remember visiting Cushing relatives in South Berwick in his youth and would be familiar with local families such as "the Hayes and the Ferguson girls and Jourdin Ferguson."  Such visits would have taken place during the childhoods of Sarah and Mary Jewett, but it sounds as if Mary has not met Whitridge, or at least, that she has not met him as an adult.

WHITRIDGE, Frederick Wallingford,
Lawyer, Railroad President.

Frederick W. Whitridge springs from New England ancestors, and partakes of the qualities of thrift and enterprise which have distinguished the people of that section for three centuries. The founder of the family in this country was William Whitridge, born 1599, died December 9, 1688, came to America in the ship "Elizabeth" in 1625, with his wife, Elizabeth, born 1605, and son, Thomas, from Beninden, County Kent, England....
    Thomas Whitridge, son of William and Elizabeth Whitridge, born 1625, was living in Ipswich, Massachusetts, in 1648, and had a wife, Flor-
ence, who died in 1672.
    Their son, William Whitridge, born 1659, resided in Rochester, Massachusetts, and was the father of Thomas Whitridge, born there
November 12, 1710, died March 7, 1795. His intention of marriage to Hannah Haskell was entered September i, 1733.
    Their third son. Dr. William Whitridge, was born February 13, 1748, in Rochester; settled at Tiverton, Rhode Island, in 1780, dying there April 5, 1831. In 1791 he received the honorary degree of Master of Arts from Yale College, and in 1823 received the honorary degree of
Doctor of Medicine from Harvard University. He married Mary Cushing, born July 21, 1759, in Scituate, Massachusetts, died in Tiverton, March 17. 1846.
    They had a large family of children born in Tiverton. Of these, the second son, William Cushing Whitridge, was born November 25, 1784, in Tiverton, and became a physician, practicing many years with great success in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He married his cousin, Olive
Cushing, born February 20, 1783, in Boston, eldest daughter and fifth child of John and Olive (Wallingford) Cushing, of South Berwick, Maine, died September 9, 1876.
    John Cushing Whitridge, son of William G. and Olive (Cushing) Whitridge, was born in Tiverton, Rhode Island, and lived in New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he died in 1908. He married Lucia Shaw Bailey, daughter of John G. Bailey, of Newport, Rhode Island, and they were the parents of Frederick Wallingford Whitridge.

    Frederick Wallingford Whitridge was born August 5, 1852, in New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he grew up, and received his primary education in the public schools. Entering Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts, he was graduated A. B. in 1874, following which he entered Columbia Law School in New York City, from which he received the degree of LL. B. in 1877. In that year he was admitted to the New York bar, but did not engage in active practice. For some years he was lecturer in the school of political science attached to Columbia University, and is one of the founders of the Civil Service Reform Association. Mr. Whitridge has given his talents and energies to the development and progress of many business enterprises, and is now a director of the Niagara Development Company and the Cataract Construction Company. He is and has been for several years receiver and president of the Third Avenue Railroad Company of New York City. In religion he is an Episcopalian, and in politics independent of party dictation. On the occasion of the marriage of King Alfonso of Spain to Princess Victoria Eugenie of England, Mr. Whitridge was appointed by the President as special ambassador to attend the ceremonies as representative of the United States. He has been an occasional contributor to magazines on various subjects, and has demonstrated a large amount of business ability and versatility in other directions. He is a member of several clubs, including the University, Knickerbocker, Metropolitan, City, Downtown Players, Century and Westchester County clubs.
    He married, in 1884, Lucy Arnold, daughter of Matthew and Lucy (Wightman) Arnold, and they have children: Arnold, Eleanor, Joan. For a quarter of a century the family has resided in the same house on East Eleventh street, New York City, and the summers are spent in the Scottish Highlands, where Mr. Whitridge is the owner of a beautiful estate.

Kate Foot:  This may be Kate Knowlton Foote (1860-1943), wife of the American composer Arthur Foote (1853-1937). See Correspondents.

C. Hobbs:  This may be Charles C. Hobbs (1835-1917), local historian in South Berwick.  He is a grandson of Olive Wallingford Cushing of South Berwick, as is Frederick Wallingford Whitridge.
    It is possible however, that Jewett refers to South Berwick grocer, Charles E. Hobbs (1844-1941).  See Business Block, the Old Berwick Historical Society

the Hayes and the Ferguson girls and Jourdin Ferguson and that golden time:  The Hayes and Ferguson families were old and prominent South Berwick families.  As indicated above, "the golden time" is likely to include time Frederick Whitridge spent with family in South Berwick during his childhood.

Your sister is so much distracted The Ponce de Leon was one of the hotels that regularly employed bands to entertain guests during the winter season.  See note and photograph above.  It appears Jewett writes in the loggia or in a room that faces the courtyard and fountain, with windows open, allowing her to hear the band, and people passing and gossiping.

beaucoup des personnes:  French.  Many people.

Fifteen rooms of Vanderbilts:  Thomas Graham reports in Chapter 17 of Mr. Flagler's St. Augustine, that in March of 1896, Cornelius Vanderbilt reserved nearly 20 rooms for "a huge retinue of friends."  He quotes a contemporary: "Mr. Vanderbilt is very unassuming, the ladies and gentlemen going about in the most democratic fashion while here."  But he notes that "the Vanderbilts usually dined upstairs in a private room set up for them, with their own headwaiter to bring up dishes from the main kitchen below."

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, Undated Letters, Folder 75, 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 Mary Rice Jewett

[16 March 1896]  [Date penciled in another hand ]
Monday Morning in the train

[ Begin hotel stationary letterhead ]

Hotel Ponce de Leon
Gillis and Murray, Managers
St. Augustine, Fla.

[ End letterhead ]

Dear Mary

    Here we are all started and so pleased to be going home, though it is so very pleasant to stay at our fine palace of the Ponce de Leon.  Who do you think saw us to the train but Mr. & Mrs. Edmunds!*  Who came up from the south where he had been fishing -- with such a sunburnt nose and great friendliness.  They [came ? written over another word] Saturday night but we didn't see

[ Page 2 ]

them until yesterday morning since when we have played together pretty steadily.  They were so sorry we were coming away for they mean to stay until Saturday and your sister is decked with violets presented by old Mr. Whitridge* -- who was delightful to the last & hopes to come to S Berwick -- some time.  He had seen the Berwick paper in the New England* & couldn't say enough about it --  I really enjoyed him very much -- I dare say we shall find it cold on getting home but we dont

[ Page 3 ]

much care & mean to be careful.  We shall not stay long in New York.  I am afraid from what you say that I am not likely to find you there but we can "play something else" -- A. F.* interpolates a grateful message about the bonnet which she appreciates all over again ^it^ having been laid aside in the warm season for Madame Howard's hat* --
    -- As we go along all the pear trees & cherry trees look

[ Page 4 ]

so pretty in full bloom.  I wonder how far the Hermione* has got through the big seas.

    I am going to post this at Jacksonville.*  We hope to reach the Albemarle tomorrow afternoon{.}* The train gets in between three & four.
    With ever so much love.

Mr. Whitridge was so pleased with the pictures you sent -- of the house.  Perhaps you could

[Up the left side of page 1]

come up to 148* to meet us.  A. F. just came out with the same [wish written over letters] -- It would give you [a written over letters] nice little change.  "prepared to stay a few days" A. F. says!!


Mr. & Mrs. 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.

Mr. Whitridge:  See note above on Frederick Wallingford Whitridge [March 16, 1896  Monday Morning].

Berwick paper in the New England:  Jewett's historical essay, "The Old Town of Berwick" appeared in New England Magazine in July 1894.

A. F.:  Annie Fields.  See Correspondents.

Madame Howard's hat:  In the 1890s, Mme. Howard operated a millinery shop at 6 Beacon Street off Charles Street, Boston.  Images of some her more elaborate creations may be found at Pinterest.

Hermione:  Jewett and her friends have recently returned from a cruise aboard Henry L. Pierce's steam yacht, the Hermione.

Jacksonville:  In northern Florida.

Albemarle: The Albemarle Hotel, Madison Square West, New York City.  See letters below.

This is a transcription of Letter 11  in Box 6 of Sarah Orne Jewett, letters to Mary Rice Jewett in the archive of Historic New England:  Jewett, (Theodora) Sarah Orne (1849-1909), sister, January 4, 1896 - April 15, 1896\n  Box 6, Folder 3, Letter 11.  Transcribed and annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

[17 March 1896]  [Date penciled in another hand ]

Tuesday Evening

[Begin hotel letterhead]

Albemarle Hotel,*
Madison Square West,
New York.
O. B. Libbey, Prop'r.

[End letterhead]

Dear Mary.
    Our long stretch is over and we got here just before dark an hour or so late which isn't very much for a southern train.  I had my cold come back with seven others -- (or caught a new one I dont know which) and last night and today have seemed pretty long.  I had a brow-ago almost -- like the one John had once* so that I could hardly see all day and the sun on the snow blinded me to pieces, but now I am here and we have a good supper of some tea &

[ Page 2 ]

bread & butter broiled together and feel much better so as to take notice.  Your dear letter and Stubbys* met me when I came and as I finished my supper first I had such a good time reading.  And they were appreciated by 2 ants.  Only think of dear Cousin Maria's* having come!  I can seem to see her sitting by the window -- and I hope to really see her in a [very ?] few days -- (I wish you could run up for one night to go & see the portraits with me.  Stubby would come over and pass the night to keep company.)
    I shall come right home (unless the Hermione* has got in before me) and then I shall have to

[ Page 3, 2nd sheet of stationary ]

come back to get my things for Mrs. Fields & Lilian will be busy enough and I have got stowaway shells, beside a share of shells in common.  How I with I had a lot of lovely things to bring you all!  I was sure of great shoppings in "The Windward Islands" -- but almost everywhere we went the things in the stores were from here & poor looking, and we could rarely find nice shells and were always told of tortoise shell & baskets down the islands.  But you would forgive a sister if she came home pleasant I felt sure!  (A. F. sends her love.  She was hoping to see you as much as I, but we can make other arrangements.)

[ Page 4 ]

We like the hotel very much you know the old Brevoort people* are here, and we have got such nice little rooms with a bathroom up one flight just what we like
=    I dont know how I shall feel about staying on -- if my cold troubles me as much as today I had rather go right on, for there is a lot of melting snow, and I couldn't get about.  But it does feel ameliorated tonight.  I wish you could see the puckers in my green dress! -- I don't think you ever saw so many but I had to do it up to keep the damp out & keep it in a locker.  Goodbye with much love to all.
    from Sarah.


Albemarle Hotel:  A 1904 ad in McClure's Magazine 22 (p. 27), describes the Albemarle: "The location of this house is most desirable, being central to all places of amusement and convenient to the shopping district.  O. B. Libbey, Prop., (for twenty-five years at the Brevoort House.)"  Historic Hotels of the Village says: "The Hotel Brevoort was built in 1845 by the Brevoort family, owners of a large tract of land stretching from 5th Avenue to the Bowery and extending north of 14th Street. The hotel was demolished in 1954 and a new residential building, aptly named the Brevoort, still stands today. The hotel, and its later café, were frequented by heads of state as well as Village artists and writers."

brow-ago: Presumably Jewett is fancifully spelling "brow ague," referring to neuralgic pain in the temple, as in a sinus headache.

John:  John Tucker, a Jewett family employee.  See Correspondents.

Stubby:  Jewett's nephew, Theodore (Stubby) Jewett Eastman.  See Correspondents.

Cousin MariaIn Sarah Orne Jewett, Blanchard mentions a Cousin Maria (p. 36) as residing in Portsmouth, NH.  Further information is welcome.

Hermione:  The Windward Islands were the intended destination of the exhausting cruise on The Hermione just completed, but rough seas frustrated the party's plans, and Puerto Rico marked the outward limit of their tour.  The Hermione's party consisted of: Jewett, Annie Fields (A.F.), Thomas Bailey (T.B.A.) and Lilian Aldrich and their servant, Bridget, and the yacht owner and host, Henry Lillie Pierce.  See Correspondents.

Brevoort people:  See note above for the Albemarle Hotel.

The manuscript of this letter is held in the archive of Historic New England, Jewett Family Papers, Box 6, Folder 3, Letter 4.  Transcribed and annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

            [18 March 1896 ]*  [Date penciled in another hand ]


[Begin hotel letterhead]

Albemarle Hotel,*
Madison Square West,
New York.
O. B. Libbey, Prop'r.

[End letterhead]

Dear Mary,

    I just send a word to say that my cold still rages and you might hear loud sneezes if you listened, but I hope to be out tomorrow.  It seemed wiser to keep in though it is a lovely day -- I suppose this will delay our getting back as I want to do a few errands against my summer clothes.  There are those who have been as far as Stern's* this morning, and had a beautiful time.  I was so

[ Page 2 ]

much obliged for your letter & Becca's{.}  Give my love to her & to Liddy* and to "all" -----
    In haste

I do hope Cousin Fanny & Auntie* can come --  We'll have a great time.


Stern'sWikipedia says: "Stern Brothers was founded in 1867 by Isaac, Louis and Benjamin Stern, sons of German Jewish immigrants. In that year, they began selling dry goods in Buffalo, New York. From these humble beginnings, the Stern Brothers became an important merchandising family in New York City.
    "In 1868, they moved to New York City and opened a one-room store at 367 Sixth Avenue. In 1879, the store was again relocated to larger quarters at 110 West 23rd Street. Outgrowing the store at 110 West 23rd Street, Stern Brothers erected a new structure at the same location which became the new flagship store in 1878. It was noted for its cast-iron facade at 32 to 36 West 23rd Street and 23 to 35 West 22nd Street."

Becca ... Liddy:  Jewett family employees, probably, about whom little is known.  Assistance is welcome.

Cousin Fanny & Auntie:  For Jewett, Auntie often means Mrs. Helen Williams Gilman (1817-1905).  See Correspondents.  However, as the 19 March letter to Mary below indicates, Jewett is expecting a visit from her Exeter relatives upon her return, and, therefore, she may mean her Aunt Lucretia.
    Cousin Fanny (sometimes Fannie) would then be Frances F. Perry (1861-1953), Jewett's mother's niece, the daughter of Dr. William G. Perry and Lucretia M. Fisk.  See Cary, Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett.

The manuscript of this letter is held in the archive of Historic New England, Jewett Family Papers, Box 6, Folder 3, Letter 5.  Transcribed and annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

[19 March 1896]  [Date penciled in another hand ]


[Begin hotel letterhead]

Albemarle Hotel,*
Madison Square West,
New York.
O. B. Libbey, Prop'r.

[End letterhead]

Dear Mary

    I feel better today but it is a great rain so there is no thought of going out.  It is a good thing to have this great cold over, so that I can start fair when I get home.  I don't think we shall go until Saturday at any rate.  there are those who are so pleasant Mary and ran out to 23rd St. this morning between the drops.  Dont have the company from [Exeter ? written over letters] *

[ Page 2 ]

until next week -- I should be so distressed to miss a beautiful occasion.  Thank you so much for the Transcript* [re ?] -- they have beguiled a poor sister much this day.  Susan Travers* has been here, as nice as ever and I haven't been unhappy though I should like to have spent the day at the Metropolitan museum!*  We have been counting on this couple of days for some time -- A. F. sends her love --  With much love to all



company from Exeter:  Several of Jewett's mother's family, the Perrys, resided in Exeter, NH.  See above the 18 March letter to Mary.

Transcript:  The Boston Evening Transcript.

Susan Travers:  See Correspondents.

Metropolitan museumWikipedia says: "The New York State Legislature granted the Metropolitan Museum of Art an Act of Incorporation on April 13, 1870 'for the purpose of establishing and maintaining in said City a Museum and Library of Art, of encouraging and developing the Study of the Fine Arts, and the application of Art to manufacture and natural life, of advancing the general knowledge of kindred subjects, and to that end of furnishing popular instruction and recreations.'
    The museum first opened on February 20, 1872, housed in a building located at 681 Fifth Avenue in New York City."

A. F.:  Annie Fields. See Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter is held in the archive of Historic New England, Jewett Family Papers, Box 6, Folder 3, Letter 6.  Transcribed and annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Annie Adams Fields or possibly Sarah Wyman Whitman*


Albermarle [ so transcribed ] Hotel*

Madison Square, West

New York

[ March 1896 ]*

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . This is my love O as children said [intended send ? ] a kiss in a letter.*  I send one myself to you.  And I love you and keep you safe in my heart just as if you were the Spring.  Which is not the flowers or the green leaves or the look of the sky but something warm that has a heart -- something live that could not say it if you were here but I wish I were with you for all that!  Good night dear!  S. O. J.


Whitman:  Though Jewett and Whitman were close enough to exchange letters expressing affection in this style, this letter seems more characteristic of Jewett's writing to Fields.

March 1896:  This date is very tentative, based on the fact that Jewett wrote a series of letters from this hotel in March of 1896 after she and Fields had returned from a long and taxing Caribbean cruise with Henry Pierce and Lilian and Thomas Bailey Aldrich.  Jewett stayed at the hotel for several days while recovering from a severe cold.  Whether Fields departed before Jewett is not yet known. 
    A handwritten note with this text reads: [To: S.W.?].  The points the beginning indicate this is an incomplete transcription.

Albermarle Hotel:  The Albemarle Hotel, Madison Square West, New York City.  A 1904 ad in McClure's Magazine 22 (p. 27), describes the Albemarle: "The location of this house is most desirable, being central to all places of amusement and convenient to the shopping district.  O. B. Libbey, Prop., (for twenty-five years at the Brevoort House.)"

kiss in a letter:  It is difficult to locate authoritative on-line sources on the history of using "x o x o" and variations in correspondence to signify hugs and kisses. Wikipedia offers a tentative beginning (May 2017).

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 Louisa Loring Dresel


[ Late March, 1896 ]

My dearest Loulie

I am so grieved to think that I cannot get to see you today but I am so miserable yet after last week's illness in New York and so anxious not to fall ill again here that I can do nothing but stay in by the fire.  A few days at home will set me up and then

[ Page 2 ]

I can come back.  It would be too much for dear A.F.* to have me upon her hands again ...  A touch of the grippe* or whatever it was has made me very shaky & useless.  But I think and think of you dear and somehow live over again my waiting and watching like yours, of three or

[ Page 3 ]

four years ago.  I hope you will feel something of the love and nearness I feel for you Loulie dear and that I can be really nearer to you in every sense later on.

    Send for your "Aunties" dear.  -- I hope your aunt 'Kiddy'* will be well enough to come to you.  It will be the greatest comfort you can give her

[ Page 4 ]

in what is ^is & will be^ a great sorrow* to her to have you turn right to her -- I learned this myself, for I think one is mistaken in trying to 'save' people -- She will want to be 'the one' as children say --- they all will.  I dare say you would think of this before me, but you know I am older and alas I know!  And I hate to think of you alone though one must be alone no matter.

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

how many there are ... And when the suffering is all done you will feel a great peace as if it shone back to you from the new life just beginning.

    with love and thought of you.  S. O. J.


Late March, 1896:  Almost certainly, Jewett refers in this letter to the death of Louisa Dresel's mother, Anna Loring on 23 March 1896.  Jewett implies that the weather is chilly, making it hard for her to go out as she recovers from her recent illness in New York, probably following her grueling winter 1896 cruise in a stormy Caribbean.  This would be another reason why she would not want to burden Annie Fields, who also was exhausted by the cruise. Jewett does not mention Dresel's mother, but suggests turning to her aunts for comfort.  Further, the reference to Louisa watching for Jewett a few years earlier (actually about 4 and one half), is likely a reference to the death of Jewett's mother in October of 1891.

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

'Kiddy':  Caroline Howard King (1822-1909), called "Kiddy" by her family, was born in Salem, lived there until 1866, then for thirty years in Boston, after which she returned for the rest of her life to Salem. She authored When I Lived in Salem 1822-1866 (Brattleboro, Vt., 1937) -- for which Dresel wrote the preface. (Richard Cary)

great sorrow:  Louisa's father died in July 1890, her mother on 23 March 1896.

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 Caroline Howard King*

148 Charles Street
[ Late March 1896 ]
Dear Cousin Caroline

    I thought of you when I first waked up this morning, and with so much love -- I wish that I could say anything that would give you a little comfort in so great a loss* but I cannot help remembering that your own love and memory comfort you best. And there does come such a new feeling of nearness, and

[ Page 2 ]

complete understanding.  I sometimes think that mis-understanding is the only thing to fear! -- and all that is forever swept away.  I like to think that Loulie* is with you -- it is a blessing to her and will be her best comfort.

    Please do not forget that my heart is with you, even if I cannot go.

    Yours very affectionately and with dear remembrance of her --


[ Page 3 ]

I hope to see Mrs Cabot* today.


Caroline Howard King: While it is not certain that this letter is addressed to Caroline Howard King, it seems likely, and if that is the case, this may another of several letters Jewett wrote upon the occasion of the death of Louisa Dresel's mother on 23 March 1896. See Correspondents.  The recipient and this date remain somewhat uncertain because King is not yet known to be related to Jewett.  She was sister to Dresel's grandmother.

Loulie:  Louisa Dresel.  See Correspondents.

Mrs. Cabot:  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

Friday March 27th
[ 1896 ]*

[ Begin letterhead ]

South Berwick.

[ End letterhead ]

My dear Loulie

    You are so often in my thoughts -- after all, one sometimes comes nearer by thinking than by speech and if I were still in town I could not go to see you.  I think of you particularly today when you will be finding it very strange to have all hurry at end, and that there are fewer things coming to you for decisions.  You and Ellis* have had to decide things more and more in these last months

[ Page 2 ]

and have grown used to new cares.  One does get used to all that and to taking responsibilities -- it is when new and unforeseen conditions come that you will be always thinking that she would know about them.  I believe I miss my mother's* counsel much more in new affairs than in familiar ones.

    -- I wonder if one thing is paining you now as it pained me and if I cannot help you a little.  I was so distressed by all I saw my mother go through, and I became aware when she was gone of many sufferings

[ Page 3 ]

which I thought I had not felt half enough at the time, and it seemed to me as if they would forever haunt me sleeping and waking.  But dear Loulie they do fade out and time is a great healer.  If they trouble you now be sure they will not always trouble you.  All the piteousness and ignominy of a long illness fades out of mind and will not spoil your peace any more than they will hers.  I want to tell you this and to tell Ellis.  And one learns over again that a larger life opens for us just as it does to the dear one who has

[ Page 4 ]

gone; those who are wiser than us help so very much at such times.

    I love* A. F.'s verse*

    Still in thy love I trust
    Supreme in Death since deathless is thy essence
    For, putting off the dust
    Thou hast but blest me with your presence.

    I love to think of your dear Aunt Sallie Cary's* being with you -- She came to me that morning like the dearest and kindest of friends, and gave me a bit of sunshine to keep for ever in remembrance.  And I know you will be a great comfort to your other Aunties.  I send you

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

Dr. Morton's* card.  She came after I had come home that day & A.F. had gone out.  The real feeling of what she wrote in her little message touched me very much and you will like to see it.  Goodbye dear Loulie{.}  I shall be thinking of you and I shall see you next week.



1896:  Louisa Dresel's mother, Anna Loring Dresel, died on 23 March 1896.

:  For Ellis Dresel, see Louisa Loring Dresel.

mother's:  Jewett's mother, Caroline Frances Perry died on 21 October 1891.

love:  Jewett underlines this word twice.

A. F.'s verse:  Annie Adams Fields. See Correspondents.  Her poem, "Still in Thy Love I Trust" appears in The Singing Shepherd (1895).  Jewett quotes the first stanza.

Aunt Sallie Cary'sSarah Gray Cary (1830-1898) was a younger sister of Elizabeth Cabot Cary Agassiz.  See Correspondents.  Though Lousia's mother was a close friend of the Cary family, no evidence has yet been found to establish that she was a relative.  Therefore, it appears the "Aunt" is an honorary term in this case.  See Lucy Allen Paton, Elizabeth Cary Agassiz: A Biography (1919).

Dr. Morton'sDr. Helen Morton (1834-1916) had offices successively on Marlboro, Boylston, and Chestnut streets in Boston. Richard Cary says that Jewett once characterized her as "touchy {touching?} in her doctorly heart and more devoted in her private capacity as a friend."

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.

Sarah Wyman Whitman to SOJ

April 3, 1896. At Sea.

     The "deep" wasn't very bad, but somehow I succumbed with more than my usual facility (spite of the presence of dear S. C. W.'s Elixir); that admirable weapon the Human Will going to pieces as if it were made of flax; and reducing one to terms of which we will not speak for very scorn. But now I have regained a human composure. . . . Not having thought I naturally have not read, till now I find myself wandering in the sweet mystic pages of Le Tresor des Humbles, where I find some words that have much truth and beauty. I think you will have read it too, and will have believed that the soul is entering upon such possessions as are therein described. Ah, how the "dream saves the world," how real is that which lies just out of sight it may be, but not out of feeling.


S. C. W.'s Elixir: It is probable that a mutual friend, Sarah Cabot Wheelwright, was visiting Whitman at this time. Wheelwright (1835-1917) was an artist, married to Andrew Cunningham Wheelwright.  See Correspondents.

Le Tresor des Humbles: The Belgian author, Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949) wrote Le Tresor des Humbles (1896, The Treasure of the Humble, trans. 1897). Presumably, "dream saves the world" is from this work, but the quotation has not yet been located. Help is welcome. Research assistance: Gabe Heller.

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 Horace E. Scudder

     148 Charles Street
     Friday afternoon
     [Spring 1896]

    Dear Mr. Scudder:

     I thank you for your very kind note. I have been hoping to go to 4 Park Street every day but I came back ill, and the owner of what you might call either a lame or a game eye, so that both business and pleasure have been neglected. I have the better part of a new sketch done of Mrs. Todd and an island hermitage1 and I shall finish it before I do anything else.

     I hope that you and Mrs. Scudder have had a good winter, and I shall ask you eagerly for news from Bryn Mawr.2
     Yours sincerely,

     S. O. Jewett


     1 Published as untitled Chapter XIV of The Country of the Pointed Firs in the Atlantic Monthly, LXXVIII (July 1896), 83-86; called "The Hermitage" when issued in book form later that year.
     2 Scudder's daughter Sylvia was in her freshman year at Bryn Mawr College at this time.

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 Thomas Wentworth Higginson

148 Charles Street
Wednesday April 9th [1896]*

Dear Colonel Higginson

    Your most kind note has been taking a Southern journey on its own account but I glad to say that it has sought the North again and comes to my hand today.  I don't know why I said gaff and meant sprit!*  I can see the sail as I saw it when I was writing and I know better!  You see how much I needed a winter

[ Page 2 ]

cruise in the Bahamas and West Indies* to make me more accurate in using a sea phrase?

    You give me great pleasure by saying such kind things about the two sketches -- or rather the three sketches.*  Mr. Scudder* left out their ^sub^ titles of which I thought best to scatter in now and then at the head of my divisions, but I feel as if some persons would take

[ Page 3 ]

the Pointed Firs to be a poor invertebrate sort of serial.

    I am truly sorry that you have had such a siege of illness, and I hope that the month since you wrote your letter has done much for you.  I think it may seem unsympathetic to suggest that my own diet in the regions of the Caribbean sea on the other side of the republic of Haiti and in the Navassa passage* makes yours of the winter sound

[ Page 4 ]

like a banquet!  Trade winds taken the wrong way can make a monstrous sea: but when half a dozen of the crew are in the last agonies no wonder that a reflective passenger goes below and reads the letters of Madame de Sévigné* and declines a summons to luncheon.

    With kindest regards and a hope that you are much better in these bright spring days

Yours most truly

Sarah O. Jewett

[ Up the left and top margins of page 1 ]

I have very good news from Madame Blanc* who always keeps kindest remembrance.  Her Les Americains Chez Elles has gone through many large editions.  It is meant for France but it has pages that are good for America too.


1896:  This letter was composed shortly after Jewett's return from her winter 1896 Caribbean cruise and while The Country of the Pointed Firs was appearing in serial in Atlantic Monthly.

gaff ... sprit: F. O. Mathiessen in his biography of Jewett writes:

Thomas Wentworth Higginson, after reading the second section in the 'Atlantic,' told her, 'That last paper of yours is perfectly fascinating -- your trip to the island -- nothing in "Deephaven" is more redolent of bayberry and wild roses .... But are you sure you are right in putting a gaff to a spritsail?' And the rest of this letter is a long discussion of the point with drawings of various sails.

The word "sprit" does not appear in The Country of the Pointed Firs, and "gaff" appears only once, in Chapter 8, Green Island.  It is exactly the same in the March Atlantic installment.  It appears that if Higginson caught an error, Jewett lost track of it as she prepared the book publication.

West Indies:  Jewett in the company of Annie Fields and Thomas and Lilian Aldrich were the guests of Henry Pierce on his steam yacht, the Hermione, for a January-March 1896 Caribbean cruise.

three sketches: It is not perfectly clear why Jewett identifies three sketches.  The second Atlantic installment of The Country of the Pointed Firs had appeared in March, with chapters 1-11. 

Mr. Scudder:  Horace Scudder.  See Correspondents.

Navassa passageNavassa Island is a small, uninhabited island between Jamaica and Haiti.

letters of Madame de Sévigné:   Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, marquise de Sévigné (1626-1696). Her correspondence with her daughter, more than 1500 letters, was published between 1725 and 1734.

Madame Blanc ... Les Americains Chez Elles:  Marie Thérèse de Solms Blanc.  See Correspondents.  Her notes on visiting the United States, American Women at Home, appeared in 1896.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, MA in Sarah Orne Jewett Papers, Misc. mss. boxes “J.”  Transcribed and annotated by Terry Heller. Coe College.

SOJ to Edward Henry Clement

20 April
[ 1896 ]*

[ Begin letterhead ]

South Berwick.

[ End letterhead ]

Dear Mr. Clement

    This poem of Mrs Fields' seem to have been written on purpose for these new days of the old Great Games,* so I have copied it from the volume of The Singing Shepherd* hoping that you will find a place to reprint it.  It might have a

[ Page 2 ]

word of 'heading'.  I am so glad that the olive wreath* is still used ^at the games^ instead of a modern symbol of it.

With my kind regards
Yours sincerely
S. O. Jewett


1896:  This date, in another hand, appears on the manuscript of this letter.  1896 marked the first "modern" international Olympic summer games, and this date is confirmed by the reprinting of the poem Jewett offers Clement in this letter..

Great Games:  The 1896 summer Olympic games were held in Athens, Greece on 6-18 April.  A Jewett relative, Henry Jewett Furber, Jr. in 1901 became president of the International Olympic Games Association of 1904.

The Singing Shepherd:  Mr. Clement, editor-in-chief of the Boston Evening Transcript, did in fact reprint "The Coronal" from Annie Adams Fields' The Singing Shepherd (1895) on 23 April 1896, p. 8.  This head-note appeared with the poem: "The giving of the wild olive wreaths made from the trees of Olympia to our young American winners of the old Greek games recalls Mrs. Field's [so written] beautiful poem in her late volume of verse: 'The Singing Shepherd.'"

The poem includes these stanzas:
Behold the white-robed band,
Holding the mightiest tribute Greece can give, --
    A little fading wreath!
The deed with Zeus shall live.

What needs he other gift,
The hero, with his living torch aflame,
    Held high until the hour
The godhead gild his name!

No dusty sign for him,
No flaunting pile to quicken Fortune's wheel!
    Only Demeter's leaf
And tears that downward steal.
olive wreath:  According to Wikipedia, the first-place winners in 1896 events received a silver medal and an olive branch.

The manuscript of this letter is held in the Abernethy Collection; Special Collections and Archives, Middlebury College Library, Middlebury, VT, Jewett, Sarah Orne  Letters to Edward Henry Clement, 1896, Box 8, Folder 15.

SOJ to Rose Lamb

     Monday [May] 11th, 1896,* South Berwick, Maine.

     My dear Rose, -- I was in town again for a few days, last week; I mean week before last, and I thought of you and of Mrs. R -- ,* but I was more taken up with affairs than usual so that I could not manage to get to see you. Now I am so busy with some writing here that I cannot say when I shall get to town again. But tell Mrs. R -- that the only way is to keep at work! If I were she I should read half a dozen really good and typical stories over and over! Maupassant's "Ficelle" for pathos and tragic directness, for one, and some of Miss Thackeray's fairy stories, "Cinderella," for instance, which I have always admired very much, old-fashioned romance put into modern terms, and Miss Wilkins's story about getting the squashes in one frosty night, and the cats being lost! I can't remember its name though the story is so clear and exquisite to my mind, and Daudet's "La Chevre de M. Sequin [Seguin]" and "La Mule du Pape."* These are all typical and well proportioned in themselves and well-managed, and I speak of them because they come readily to my mind, and give one clear ideas of a beautiful way of doing things. One must have one's own method: it is the personal contribution that makes true value in any form of art or work of any sort.

     I could write much about these things, but I do not much believe that it is worth while to say anything, but keep at work! If something comes into a writer's or a painter's mind the only thing is to try it, to see what one can do with it, and give it a chance to show if it has real value. Story-writing is always experimental, just as a water-color sketch is, and that something which does itself is the vitality of it. I think we must know what good work is, before we can do good work of our own, and so I say, study work that the best judges have called good and see why it is good; whether it is in that particular story, the reticence or the bravery of speech, the power of suggestion that is in it, or the absolute clearness and finality of revelation; whether it sets you thinking, or whether it makes you see a landscape with a live human figure living its life in the foreground.

     Forgive this hasty note, which perhaps you will read to Mrs. R -- I could not say more just now if we were talking together.

     Yours affectionately.


1896:  Assuming that Fields has the correct year for this letter, then the only Monday to fall on the 11th was in May.

Mrs. R:  The identity of this person is not yet known.  Assistance is welcome.

Maupassant's "Ficelle" ... some of Miss Thackeray's fairy stories, "Cinderella," ... Miss Wilkins's story about getting the squashes in one frosty night, and the cats being lost! ... Daudet's "La Chevre de M. Seguin" and "La Mule du Pape":
    Guy de Maupassant's (1850-1893) collection of stories, Yvette. La Ficelle. Le Papa De Simon. Deux Amis. La Parure, first appeared posthumously in 1907 in French.  However "La Ficelle" had been published in France in 1884.
    Anne Thackeray, Lady Ritchie's "Cinderella" appeared in Five Old Friends and a Young Prince (1868).
    Mary Reichardt identifies the Mary Wilkins Freeman story as "An Object of Love." She says "It was commissioned by Harper's Bazar for the Valentine's Day 1885 issue, and was later collected in a Humble Romance and Other Stories (Harper and Brothers, 1887), Freeman's first short story collection." For an analysis of the story see Reichardt, Mary Wilkins Freeman: A Study of the Short Fiction (1997). Reichardt points out that there is only one lost cat in the story.
    Jewett probably read Daudet's stories in French. She could have found "La Chevre de M. Seguin" in Baptiste Méras's collection Cinq Histoires  published in the United States in 1899. "La Mule du Pape" appeared in the United States in Le Siége De Berlin, et D'autres Contes (1887) and again in Trois Contes Choisis (1891).

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 Samuel Sidney McClure

South Berwick Maine
3 June [ 1896 ]
Dear Mr. McClure

    I will send you one or two short sketches for your youths department between now and August -- My serial in St. Nicholas* has given me a new interest in such work, but I do not wish to undertake a long piece of writing -- How your work

[ Page 2 ]

has grown!  I like to think that I had to do with its beginning* --

Yours very truly
Sarah O. Jewett.

I have not forgotten the sketch for older people* which I promised you last year.  Indeed I was thinking it over today.


1896:  As the notes below indicate, this letter is likely to have been composed soon after Jewett's "Betty Leicester's English Christmas" appeared in St. Nicholas.

serial for St. Nicholas:  Jewett published two serials in St. Nicholas, "A Bit of Color" (1889), which was incorporated into Betty Leicester (1890) and "Betty Leicester's English Christmas" in 1895-6.  This letter seems to suggest that Jewett plans to submit stories for McClure's Magazine, which began publication in 1893.

beginning:  Jewett contributed to the first issue of McClure's Magazine in June 1893, introducing "Human Documents: Portraits of Distinguished People."

sketch for older people:  Jewett is not known to have published any fiction for younger readers in McClure's Magazine.  Her first story to appear there was "Bold Words at the Bridge" in April 1899.

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 Annie Adams Fields

     June, 1896.* 

     Such a hot and agreeable day as yesterday was! We played on the beach at Wells, but not quite so hard as at York, the sun being hotter. I got pretty tired, but enjoyed it all vastly, and met with many old and fond friends at the fish-houses, -- R -, M -- and F --, whom I wrote the story about, and old D -- B --, who can't go out fishing any more, so that he sits at home and knits stockings and thinks on his early days as an able seaman in foreign parts. His wife died two or three years ago and he calls her "Poor dear!" when he talks about her.* And there was big C. D. and big H. R., who pulled him out of the waves in an adverse squall at the Banks once,* so that they, are famous pals; all the old fishermen whom I have known since these many years; and A -- and L -- P -- and younger fry, who were also cordial and yet not so dear. I lagged along from one fish-house door to the next, and thought I wasn't going to see D -- B --, the knitter, but early in the afternoon he rolled along as if he trod a quarter-deck all the way, and mentioned after a time that he saw me driving down -- he saw a team and got his glass and found out it was I. My heart was quite touched when I found that he hadn't been over to the moorings but once before this spring! I don't think from the looks of him that he will be missing "Poor dear" a great while longer. Yet he asked for some good books of stories, detective ones, none of your lovesick kind, which he couldn't go! I must betake me to Wells again before long with a selection of literary offerings, G -- H --, the elder, being a great reader, but of another stamp and really one of the best-informed men I ever knew, never forgetting anything apparently; and when I tried to tell him about being at St. Augustine,* he told me the Indian names at the Fort, and much else that had slipped my mind. The drive home was as lovely as it could be, the country so green and the farms all so tidy, and the sheep and cattle thick in the pastures, with such a sunset across all the western sky.

     This morning I have been to church, and this afternoon I rested and read, chiefly the "Alchemist," which is a great story, all the early part of it. I think that Balzac* got tired of it toward the end -- there where he makes Margaret regain her lost fortune over and over, as a lobster grows a new claw.


1896:  Fields dates this letter in 1885, but as the notes below suggest, Jewett seems to be thinking about The Country of the Pointed Firs, and she indicates she has recently been in St. Augustine, FL.  This makes 1896 a more likely year than 1885.
   When the manuscript of this letter is located, the many initials Jewett uses may turn out to be names.  As of this writing, they have not been identified.

"Poor dear!": This fisherman is a model for Captain Tilley in "Along Shore" in The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896).

the Banks: The Grand Banks, according to Britannica Online, "a portion of the North American continental shelf in the Atlantic Ocean, lying southeast and south of Newfoundland, Canada. Noted as an international fishing ground, the banks extend for 350 miles (560 km) north to south and for 420 miles (675 km) east to west."

St. Augustine: The Spanish first permanent settlement in North America was St. Augustine, Florida. Jewett and Fields visited the city fairly often, and Jewett's story, "Jim's Little Woman" in The Life of Nancy (1895), is set there. 
    Jewett's indication that she has visited St. Augustine shows that this letter is incorrectly dated, for Jewett's first visit to St. Augustine was in the spring of 1888, when she accompanied the ailing Anne Fields on a southern journey that included a stay with Laura Towne near Beaufort, SC, and culminated at the newly opened Ponce de Leon hotel in St. Augustine.  Jewett and Fields returned to St. Augustine in February 1890 and again in March 1896.  While it is possible that Jewett sent this letter at any time after 1888, there is a fair likelihood that she wrote in 1896, at the time she was working on the final chapters of The Country of the Pointed Firs.  This would account for her interest in the person who became Captain Tilley in her book, a character not fully realized until the summer of 1896, when she was working on the final chapters.  However, it is possible this letter was composed in 1895, when Jewett was working with the idea of Captain Tilley, though she had not yet found his final identity. See Melissa Homestead and Terry Heller.  “The Other One”: An Unpublished Chapter of Sarah Orne Jewett’s The Country of the Pointed Firs (Fall 2014) 331-365.   

the "Alchemist"... Balzac: Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850), The Alchemist, or, the House of Claes (English translation, 1861).

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 Mary Rice Jewett


[14 June 1896]*

Dear Mary 

Only think of Mrs. Claflin’s being dead!*  We were so surprised -- it seemed as if it must be Mr. Claflin.  Mrs. Fields* saw her just before she came down here.  I suppose the funeral will be Tuesday and so I shall not come home tomorrow night as expected.  I am pretty sure you will want to go to the funeral.  I think we ought and if it is Tuesday I will meet you at the club.  The last time I saw her was while Miss Kingsley was in Boston: how one only remembers the kindness at such a time and forgets everything else.  I have been wondering if Mrs. Ellis wont come & stay with her father.  Arthur & his wife* have let their house up the shore here and were going to Europe & I wonder if they may not be gone.

The company here is getting on nicely.  They are going in the morning.  I wish you were here to see them Susan* is so engaging.  Mrs. Whitman* is coming to dinner tonight.  I shouldn’t have had very pleasant weather at Conway,* but every opportunity to go over the house.  I wonder if you have been detained from church another Sunday!  I shall see you so soon that I can tell things.  I have been doing a little writing yesterday & today so my beak is up again.  A poor sister sends much love & love from A.F. Mrs. Cabot* is really better but she still looks pretty sick.  Good bye with love to all from




14 June 1896:  A handwritten note on this transcription reads:1894? However, the exact date is indicated by the reference to the death of Mary Claflin, which took place on Saturday, 13 June 1896.

Mrs. Claflin’s:  Mary Bucklin Davenport Claflin.  See Correspondents.

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

Miss Kingsley:  The identity of Miss Kingsley is not yet known. Two possibilities are Mary Kingsley (1862-1900), the British writer and explorer and niece of Anglican priest and author, Charles Kingsley, and Mary St Leger Kingsley (1862-1931), the British novelist daughter of Charles Kingsley.  Whether either of these women visited the United States and met Mrs. Claflin in the 1890s is not yet known.  It is quite possible that another less illustrious Miss Kingsley is meant.

Mrs. Ellis ... her father ... Arthur & his wife:  Mrs. Ellis is Emma Harding Claflin Ellis.  See Correspondents. Her father was Massachusetts Governor William Claflin, and Arthur Bucklin Claflin was her half-brother.

Susan:  This Susan may be Susan Travers, a regular visitor, or possibly Susan Marcia Oakes Woodbury or even Susan Hayes Ward.  Assistance is welcome. See Correspondents.

Conway:  Conway, NH is a resort town in the White Mountains, where Jewett often vacationed.

Mrs. Whitman: Sarah Wyman Whitman.  See Correspondents.

Mrs. Cabot: Susan Burley Cabot.  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 73, 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.

Alice Morse Earle to SOJ

20 June 1896

[ Letterhead ]

[Street address is underlined by hand]


[Left side, seal of the Daughters of the Revolution]




BROOKLYN, L.I., June 20th 189 6
[Underlined portions of the date filled in ink]

[End of letterhead]

My dear Miss Jewett --

    [Inserted in pencil between lines in another hand:  Sarah
                                    Mary J ?]

    I am informed ---- not however on your authority that a celebrated adventuress -- of whom I tell in my "Colonial Dames and Goodwives" viz: Eliza Wilson, who masqueraded under the name of Princess Caroline Matilda, Duchess of Brownstonburges &c &c -- died in Berwick Maine about 1775.*  I write to you asking you the name of some person in that town -- of antiquarian tastes, to whom I

[2 penciled and circled in another hand in left bottom margin]

[ Page 2 ]

could write and learn of the end of her days . --  or in fact any other information about her.

    I had hoped ere this to meet you -- for I am told you are one of the fair "littery fellers" (as Senator Cameron said of Lowell)* who are satisfying as ^an^ acquaintance.  The few whom I have met -- of "the art and mystery" of book-craft -- were most distinctly disappointing.  Miss Wilkins was interesting -- [fair ?] however -- from being as I thought she would be --
I am very cordially yours
    Alice Morse Earle

June 20th. 1896

[In pencil in another hand, bottom margin:  Taken from Sun dials and roses of yesterday.
    Alice Morse Earle]


"Colonial Dames and  Goodwives" viz: Eliza Wilson:  Colonial Dames and Goodwives (1895) tells the story of Sarah Wilson (b. 1754), though Earle seems clearly to have named her "Eliza" in this letter (pp. 166-72).  A convicted and transported thief, Wilson escaped her seven years servitude in 1771 in Maryland and assumed the identity of Princess Susannah Caroline Matilda, Marchioness de Waldegrave, sister to Britain's Queen Charlotte, the victim of her theft.  Earle believes she may have appeared in Massachusetts in 1775 under the name Caroline Augusta Harriet, Duchess of Brownstonburges.
    An on-line account of Sarah Wilson says that after being exposed and returned to servitude, she escaped a second time, married a British officer and eventually lived out a respectable life in the area of the Bowery, New York.

"littery fellers" (as Senator Cameron said of Lowell):  The New Castle Herald of New Castle, Pennsylvania (Friday, August 27, 1920 p. 20), published a widely reprinted column on the administration of U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes (1822-1893).  Here it was reported that in 1877,   "To the disgust of 'practical politicians' he [Hayes] 'threw away' a high-class foreign mission on a man like James Russell Lowell, "a dashed literary feller," as Senator Cameron said."  In 1877, this almost certainly would have been Senator Simon Cameron (1799-1889) of Pennsylvania.
     For more on Lowell, see Correspondents.

Miss WilkinsMary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman (October 31, 1852 - March 13, 1930) was a 19th-century American author of novels and short stories, such as A New England Nun and Other Stories (1891).

Sun dials and roses of yesterday:  Earle's Sun Dials and Roses of Yesterday (1902).

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Houghton Library of Harvard University: Sarah Orne Jewett  correspondence, 1861-1930, MS Am 1743, (55) Earle, Alice Morse. 2 letters; [1893] - 1896.  Transcription and annotation by Terry Heller, Coe College.

Sarah Wyman Whitman to SOJ

June 26, 1896.

     Last night having 16,000 letters and jobs to do, I turned aside and just, first, read the last chapters from that most real country where someone is living with the Pointed Firs.* Just altogether beautiful I call it, dear, and wish to tell you so, because there is gratitude, and then the heart's gratitude, that strange deep joy of the soul at touch or sight of a new sympathy with the soul's life; I love to have you write and write in these levels; where star and pebble make part of the divine chord. . . . I am working as hard as I can, with no intention of ever stopping, if I can help it, this side heaven.


Pointed Firs: Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896).

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 Thomas Bailey Aldrich

     [June 1896]

          South Berwick, Maine.

     My dear Friend, -- I am much pleased at hearing of your collegiate honors, and especially (from some one who was present) of the delightful and hearty applause. How I should have clapped my bands and pounded if I had been there!! Did the boys use to pound their feet on the floor in Portsmouth? Only a very great moment on the stage of the village hall wins such expression here. Anything that does you and your lovely work honor wakes something very good and unspeakable in my heart. I should have seen the author of a poem called "Elmwood," and a story called "A Bad Boy,"* and other poems and other stories, too many to count here, stand up in the Sanders Theatre,* and I should have been so glad to think he and I were friends.

     I hope that there may be a little better news from your two old invalids* -- that these are days of less pain and discomfort. I think so often of you and Lilian* waiting and watching there. I am glad you are out in the country and not in town. With love to you both.


"Elmwood" ... "A Bad Boy": The Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia says Thomas Bailey Aldrich "is best remembered for his semi-autobiographical novel The Story of a Bad Boy (1870), a work that resembles but predates by six years Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer."   
    "Elmwood" was Aldrich's memorial poem to James Russell Lowell (d. 1891), whose family home, Elmwood, was in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Sanders Theater:  Harvard University commencement exercises in 1896 took place in Sanders Theater.  There on June 24, Thomas Bailey Aldrich received an honorary Master of Arts degree.

two old invalids:  The identities of the invalids are unknown.  Assistance is welcome.

Lilian:  Mrs. Aldrich.  See Correspondents.

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 Louisa Loring Dresel

[ Begin letterhead ] South Berwick Maine [ End letterhead ]    July 1st [1896 ?]*

Dear Loulie

    Thank you so much for your delightful letter.  I had an attack of wishing I could fly to Folly Cove* and take the place of some of the artists who had left me room, but this July is full of plots and plans and I am going away next week for a few days in an Eastward direction with

[ Page 2 ]

A. F.*  We are going to stay a few days with the Aldriches* and then I shall leave her to go elsewhere and I shall come home again to go away with my sister Mrs. Eastman & Theodore.* -- Theodore took his preliminaries last week -- it was a great excitement for the family!

    I wish that I were writing as much as you are painting

[ Page 3 ]

-- perhaps the Clam* would kindly assist me if I were in his neighborhood!  It has been delightful weather and not the least delightful part has been these comfortable rainy days which I suppose you must have minded a good deal. I wish I could see what you are doing:  It sounds so very nice all about the sketches.  Mrs.

[ Page 4 ]

Fields remembers Folly Cove, and sighs for Pigeon Cove "when it was all like that" ----- I am obliged to confess that I have never been beyond Gloucester, and there is a standing grievance that once when I was away ^from Manchester^ a party was made to take the little Danas* to the end of the railroad so that they* saw Pigeon Cove and its neighborhood while I did not.  It stands for a Carcassonne* at present, but

[ Page 5 ]

What would life be with without

[ Begin letterhead ]

South Berwick Maine

[ End letterhead ]

a Carcassonne let us ask !!

    -- I am glad that you were pleased with my note of acceptance (!) of the rabbit.  I thought it was a fine letter of its sort, but nothing to be compared with the rabbit itself.

    I had a nice letter from Mrs. Howe* the other day from Venice, but it has not

[ Page 6 ]

seemed to me as if she had been in very good spirits all this winter.  Do you feel that in her letters? ---- or is it only my own imagination?  I hope it does not mean that she is not well but she speaks of going to places and doing things and all that.

    Yes. Mrs. Fields & I are going to Mrs. Cabot's* in

[ Page 7 ]

August to make a [ deleted word ] visit but I haven't seen my way to The Shore except at that time.  I shall be sure to see you then and it will be nice ^to^ be near neighbors.  I am so glad to hear of Miss King's* being better.  I did not get to see them at all which made me feel sorry -- last winter, but then I didn't

[ Page 8 ]

really have my "winter" except a fortnight or so in March did I? -------

    Good bye dear Loulie.  I really wish that I could look over your shoulder this minute to see what you are painting, and I am ever your affectionate friend


O                O                O*


1891:  Jewett's date is difficult to read. Columbia's archivist has read the date as 1891, but on July1, 1891, Jewett was deeply involved in Berwick Academy centennial.  She may have written 1895 or 1896.  As she reports in the letter that her nephew, Theodore, has just taken his preliminary exams for entering Harvard University in 1897, it seems very likely that the letter was composed in 1896, or perhaps in 1895 if he took them very early.

Mrs. Howe:  Alice Greenwood (Mrs. George Dudley) Howe.  See Correspondents.

Folly Cove:  Folly Cove is on Ipswich Bay, Rockport, Cape Ann, Massachusetts, not far northeast from the Dresels' summer cottage in Beverly.

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

Aldriches: Thomas Bailey and Lilian Aldrich.  See Correspondents.

Mrs. Eastman & Theodore ... preliminaries:  Carrie Eastman and her son, Theodore.  See Correspondents.   That Theodore has taken his preliminary exams tends to confirm that this letter is from the year or two before he entered Harvard University in the fall of 1897. 

Clam:  Presumably, Dresel has reported painting a clam, or eating them while painting.  Jewett seems to be joking about the inspirational value of clams.

Pigeon Cove: Pigeon Cove on Cape Ann in Massachusetts is roughly 10 miles north of Gloucester, MA.

little Danas:  Jewett and Fields were friends of Richard Henry Dana III (1851-1931), who had married Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's daughter, Edith, and lived near the Longfellows and the Horsfords at 113 Brattle Street in Cambridge.  See Correspondents.  The little Danas would be their children, who were close in age to Theodore Eastman.

they:  Jewett underline this word heavily twice.

Carcassonne:  Almost certainly Jewett refers to the ancient town in southern France, but it is not clear what she means by this reference, except perhaps, to a place she wishes to visit someday.

Mrs. Cabot's:  Susan Burley Cabot. See Correspondents.

Miss King's: Caroline Howard King. See Correspondents.

O:   At the bottom of page 8, Jewett has added a line of three spaced circles.

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 Sarah Cabot Wheelwright

2nd of July [1896]1
South Berwick.

Dear Mrs Wheelwright

Thank you so much for your kind note. I have been meaning to write to you and to say how sorry I am that I see no chance of accepting such a delightful invitation. It would add to the pleasure to having have [so transcribed] Rose2 for company, but indeed I should like very much to see you and dear Mr. Wheelwright and to stay with you in your home house, [so transcribed] while you must know by this time the depth of my feelings about the coast of Maine! This is a very busy summer for me and I am not likely to get far from Berwick -- at least I must be within easy reach of the Riverside Press, and I am surer of giving up some engage-ments that I have already made than I am of adding to them and being able to keep a promise. -- It is not enough to get a long story ready for the magazine=now [so transcribed] I am making some changes for the book, and it is very slow work going over so much material and doing it twice, once for the printing here and once for London where I ought to have sent the sheets long ago. And when all that is done, I must lay the ghost of my conscience about some short stories, very long overdue.  I hope that you will not think that I am making excuses -- they are Solemn Reasons if ever there were any! As winter comes on I am going to begin an idle holiday, and then everybody else will be busy and I may get nobody to play with!

With love and thanks and
sincere wishes that I could come

Yours most truly

Sarah O. Jewett.


1 From the reference to working on the London and Boston editions later in the letter, it is my guess that 1896 is the date of this letter. The book must be The Country of the Pointed Firs, since it was the only book of Jewett's to be published simultaneously both in Boston and London.

2 Rose Lamb was both a business associate and friend of Annie Fields, with whom Jewett edited The Letters of Celia Thaxter (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1895).  Celia Thaxter was a popular poet and children's writer.  See Correspondents.

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 Annie Adams Fields

     Sunday, 5th July. [1896]*

     . . . I have been reading the beginning of "The Pearl of Orr's Island"* and finding it just as clear and perfectly original and strong as it seemed to me in my thirteenth or fourteenth year, when I read it first. I never shall forget the exquisite flavor and reality of delight that it gave me. I do so long to read it with you. It is classical-historical -- anything you like to say, if you can give it high praise enough. I haven't read it for ten years at least, but there it is! Alas, that she couldn't finish it in the same noble key of simplicity and harmony; but a poor writer is at the mercy of much unconscious opposition. You must throw everything and everybody aside at times, but a woman made like Mrs. Stowe cannot bring herself to that cold selfishness of the moment for one's work's sake, and the recompense for her loss is a divine touch here and there in an incomplete piece of work. I felt at the funeral* that none of us could really know and feel the greatness of the moment, but it has seemed to grow more great to me ever since. I love to think of the purple flowers you laid on the coffin.

     I hope the York visit will be worth while. I look forward to seeing Mrs. Lawrence* more than anything, and to the funny Indians, and the lights across the harbor at night. I am so glad you have seen the little place and know where I shall be.


1896:  Because this letter seems to have been written soon after Harriet Beecher Stowe's funeral, the date must be 1896. Stowe died on July 1, 1896 and, according to the New York Times, her funeral took place on July 3.

The Pearl of Orr's Island
: Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) is best known for Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852); she published The Pearl of Orr's Island in 1862. 

the funeral:  Harriet Beecher Stowe died on 1 July 1896.

Mrs. Lawrence:  One possibility for Mrs. Lawrence's identity is Julia Lawrence.  "William Lawrence (1850–1941) was elected as the 7th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts (1893–1927). Lawrence was the son of the notable textile industrialist Amos Adams Lawrence and a member of the influential Boston family, founded by his great-grandfather and American revolutionary, Samuel Lawrence. His grandfather was the famed philanthropist Amos Lawrence"  (Wikipedia).  He and his wife, Julia (1853?-1900), summered in York, ME.
    Another possibility is Elizabeth Chapman Lawrence (1825-1905), the second wife of Timothy Bigelow Lawrence.  See notes for SOJ to Sara Norton, September 16, 1908, and E.L., the Bread Box Papers: The High Life of a Dazzling Victorian Lady: a Biography of Elizabeth Chapman Lawrence (1983) by Helen Hartman Gemmill.  Daughter of Henry Chapman (1804-1891), a Pennsylvania congressman, she was a popular and cosmopolitan woman who, after her marriage, moved in the same circles as Annie Fields and Jewett and corresponded with Sarah Wyman Whitman.

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 Field

     Stonehurst, Intervale, N. H.,
     Tuesday night [ Summer 1896]*

     Such a nice day -- out all day up in the Carter Notch* direction, trout-fishing, with the long drive there and the long drive home again in time for supper. It was a lovely brook and I caught seven good trout and one small one -- which eight trout-persons you should have for your breakfast if only you were near enough. It was not alone the fishing, but the delightful loneliness and being out of doors. Once I was standing on a log that had fallen across the stream, and I looked round to see a solemn little squirrel who had started to cross his bridge! and discovered me. He looked as if he had never seen such a thing before, and he sat up and took a good look, that squirrel did, and then discreetly went back. You ought to have seen us looking at each other; I didn't know there was anybody round either!! I went off alone down the bed of the great brook, and was gone three hours, and the boys went off another way.* It really did me good, and I got wet and tired hopping from stone to stone, and liked it all as much as ever.


Summer 1896
Annie Fields dates this letter in August 1896, but this seems unlikely in that there is strong evidence that Jewett was cruising the Maine coast with her nephew at that time.  See the notes for the following Summer 1896 letter to Louisa Dresel.

Carter Notch
: Carter Notch is a "high mountain pass through the White Mountains of New Hampshire."   Jewett apparently was staying at Stonehurst Manor, which in 1896 was the North Conway private home of Helen Bigelow Merriman, daughter of Erastus Bigelow, "the inventor of the power loom, which revolutionized weaving."  See Correspondents.

the boys:  If Jewett is vacationing in New Hampshire with boys, they are likely her nephew, Theodore Jewett Eastman, and a friend. 
See Correspondents.

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 Louisa Dresel

     [ Summer  1896 ]*

     My dear Loulie:

     Thank you so much (and thank Miss Brockhaus)* for this nice long letter.  I am so sorry that you should have had such a bad time with your eyes, but if it sets you right for a long time to come it may not after all be lost time. I am truly sorry that sketching isn't one of the things with which you can amuse yourself in this seclusion! but that would be asking too much from a kind oculist!! It seems so much easier than reading or any minute work, but I suppose nothing is really a greater strain, from the nature of its exactness. I hope that you will come home well mended in every way and that you and Ellis* are keeping cheerful company in France at this moment.

     I have been going on quietly. After my visit to Mrs. Cabot* I was at home except for a few days at the mountains -- at my friend Mrs. Merriman's1 at North Conway -- where among other great pleasures I had a perfectly delicious day fishing up Wild Cat Brook with noble results of trout and the joys of solitude. I look back to a certain three hours when I was all alone with a feeling of rest and of true enchantment. Then after a day or two at home I came here and it has been very pleasant -- a much less hurried and flurried summer than one sometimes gets on the shore. You will know how I enjoy seeing Mrs. Howe again, and we have had a visit from our dear friend Miss Garrett of whom we are both so fond, A. F. and I, and the Wolcotts have been here, the Governor and Mrs. Edith and dear little Oliver,2 who all gave us much satisfaction, each in their own way. Last week I went up to Ashfleld for two days to the Nortons3 with Mrs. Whitman* for company and we had a most dear and delightful time in spite of the great heat which has put a bar to much wayfaring inland and even seaward. I seldom have known so hot a week on the shore here.

     Mrs. Cabot is very well. I have not seen her for nearly two weeks when we went to dine with the Trimbles from whom she had a visit of a round fortnight. "Plummy" is there now with The Baby and today she gives a famous luncheon. I never have told you of a delightful luncheon at your aunties while I was staying at Mrs. Cabot's and which I enjoyed very much. Your Aunt Susie looked thinner (you know I had not seen her in a long time) but she seemed very bright and altogether in good spirits. Miss Huntington4 was there.

     I am hurried very much now with getting an end written to the Pointed Firs papers which are to make a little book of themselves this autumn. I shall do very little to the sketches as they stand but speak of my getting away and add some brief chapters.5 I like to think that much of it will be new to you. I have done very little work this summer though I had such great plans. October and November must make up!

     I do not know that there is anything more to write, Loulie dear, except to send you Mrs. Fields love and mine and to say that we keep a welcome all ready for you. Oh yes, Mrs. Fields was much troubled about your not receiving her note in answer to the little package -- she was most eager that you should know how much she cared for what you sent her and sent it down by a special messenger to be sure that you had it before you left home.

     Yours most affectionately,

     S. O. J.

Cary's Notes

     1Helen Bigelow Merriman (1844-1933), artist and author of books and essays on painting and painters. She summered at Stonehurst, the Bigelow estate at Intervale, New Hampshire. En route between here and Boston she occasionally dropped in on the Jewetts without notice.

     2Roger Wolcott (1847-1900), governor of Massachusetts in 1896-1898, married Edith, daughter of the American historian William Hickling Prescott.

     3Charles Eliot Norton (1827-1908), professor of literature and the history of fine arts at Harvard University, translator of Dante, and co-editor of the North American Review. He had three daughters -- Sara (Sally), Elizabeth (Lily), and Margaret. Jewett often visited him and the girls at Shady Hill, their Cambridge home, as well as at this summer home in northwestern Massachusetts.

     4Possibly the same Miss A. O. Huntington to whom Jewett wrote on April 15, 1895 (see Fields, Letters, 113-114)See Correspondents.

     5The first fifteen numbered chapters of The Country of the Pointed Firs had been published In the Atlantic Monthly for January, March, and July 1896. By this time she had submitted chapters XVI-XX, which appeared in September 1896. Now she made no significant verbal changes in the magazine text, but she supplied each chapter with a title. and she combined the original chapters XVIII and XIX into one, which she named "The Bowden Reunion." The original chapter XX became chapter XIX in the book, entitled, "The Feasts End." For the first edition of the book, which came out in time for the Christmas season, Jewett supplied two new chapters: XX. Along Shore; XXI. The Backward Glance. She also wrote four other stories which pertain to CPF: "A Dunnet Shepherdess," "William's Wedding," "The Queens Twin," and "The Foreigner." These have been included in numerous editions, in various order, after her death. Jewett herself never interpolated any of them into her initial pattern.

Editor's Notes

Summer 1896:  Richard Cary dates this letter August 18, [1896].  However, this date seems very likely to be incorrect.  Elizabeth Silverthorne quotes Jewett discussing her plans for completing The Country of the Pointed Firs by 8 August of 1896 (p. 164).  Jewett says she then plans to cruise the Maine coast with her nephew, Theodore Eastman.  In letters to her sister, Carrie, she writes about that cruise, which seems to take place at virtually the same time that Cary places Jewett fishing in the White Mountains.  Furthermore, in this letter, Jewett speaks of her work on finishing Country as still planned, but not near completion.  It would seem clear then that she writes this letter and the next before August of 1896.  However, it is difficult to be certain about this sequence of events.

Brockhaus:  Marianne Theresia Brockhaus.  See Correspondents.

Ellis:  Louisa's brother.  See Correspondents.

Mrs. Cabot:  Susan Burley Cabot. See Correspondents.

Mrs. Howe ... Miss Garrett ... A. F. ...  Mrs. Whitman:  Alice Greenwood (Mrs. George Dudley) Howe, Mary Elizabeth Garrett, Annie Fields, Sarah Wyman Whitman.  See Correspondents.

Trimbles ...  "Plummy" is there now with The Baby ... Your Aunt Susie:  The identity of the Trimbles is as yet unknown.  A possible candidate is Walter Underhill Trimble (7 March 1857 -  18 September 1926), a New York lawyer and banker.  Plummy and the baby are not yet identified.  "Aunt Susie" also is mysterious.  Dresel's mother, Anna Loring Dresel, had no sisters, and no sister of Otto Dresel is known to have resided near Boston.  Louisa had an aunt, Helene Dresel (born circa 1842), who was the wife of Otto Dresel's brother Adolf (b. September 27, 1822); she seems to have been living in California at this time.  Perhaps Jewett refers to Mrs. Susan Cabot, implying a close bond of affection between Louisa and Susan? 

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Am 1743 (50).  This transcription by Richard Cary appeared originally in "Jewett to Dresel: 33 Letters," Colby Library Quarterly 7:1 (March 1975), 13-49, which gave permission to reprint it here.  Notes are by Cary, with additions by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Mary Bucklin Davenport Claflin

Wednesday morning
[ late summer 1896 ]*
Charles Street

Dear Mrs. Claflin

    I came to town for a few days just as you kindly sent your note and the books to Berwick to find me.  I dont believe in acknowledging books before I read them -- as a general thing! -- but I must thank this time and tell you now how much I like the stories when I come up again

[ Page 2 ]

and can see you.  Mary* writes me that Mother* has been enjoying your reminiscences* very much and that alone gives me great pleasure in having them.

    I am glad to say that dear Mother is much more comfortable than she has been and that she gets out to drive in pleasant weather &c. but she is

[ Page 3 ]

still very far from strong and we are always trying to take great care of her.

    I wish that we could have sent for you to come to Berwick this summer, but we had to be very quiet of course, nearly all the time.

    With my best thanks and much love

    Yours sincerely
Sarah O. Jewett


1896:  As the note below indicates, this letter is dated in relation to Mrs. Jewett's health and the publication date of Mary Claflin's Under the Old Elms.  It is possible that the letter was composed in 1895, or perhaps at another time when Mrs. Jewett was unwell and Mrs. Claflin had published one of her three biographical books.

:  Mary Rice Jewett. See Correspondents.

your reminiscences:  Given that Jewett's mother, Caroline Perry, is seriously ill and that she died in the spring of 1897, it seems reasonable to guess that the book Jewett mentions is Claflin's Under the Old Elms (1895).

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 Robert Underwood Johnson

     Manchester, Mass.
     [August 18, 1896]

    My dear friend:

     I am sadly ashamed to have kept this advance copy so long!1 I have been at Ashfield for a few days and I forgot to send it back as I meant to do last Thursday without fail. It turns upon my desk with a reproachful countenance. Thank you so much for sending it to me. I enjoyed it even more than I expected, which is as much as can possibly be said.

     This will be the best of days at York. I know such weather well there.

     With best thanks and remembrance.

     Yours ever sincerely,

     S. O. Jewett

     You couldn't do better than to print Mr. Norton's address2 at the dedication of a tablet to G. W. Curtis!3 It was most beautiful and I say it who heard it at Ashfield last week. I wish you had been there.


     1 In a letter from York Harbor, Maine, dated August 8, 1896, Johnson wrote: "Here are the sheets of the last part, and welcome! There is nothing more to be done about the paper of Mme. Blanc's, thank you!" (Houghton Library, Harvard) "About French Children," by Th. Bentzon, illustrated by Maurice Boutet de Monvel, appeared in the Century, LII (October 1896), 803-822.
     2 Charles Eliot Norton (1827-1908) was co-editor of North American Review from 1863 to 1868, professor of literature and the history of fine arts at Harvard University, translator of Dante, and editor of George William Curtis' Orations and Addresses (New York, 1894), 3 vols. Miss Jewett often visited Norton and his daughters at Shady Hill, their Cambridge residence, as well as at Ashfield, their summer home.
     Johnson did not respond to Miss Jewett's suggestion but the address received publication in the Springfield (Mass.) Daily Republican, August 13, 1896, and in Norton's privately printed Memorials to Two Friends, James Russell Lowell: 1819-1891, George William Curtis: 1824-1892 (New York, 1902).
     3 George William Curtis (1824-1892), author, orator, and adviser to Presidents, was editor of Harper's Weekly from 1863 to 1892. Curtis also maintained a summer home in Ashfield, Massachusetts, and took active interest in local affairs. In the Ashfield Town Hall is a bronze tablet to his memory. The installation ceremony was held on Wednesday, August 12, 1896.

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 Carrie Jewett Eastman

Monday Morning
[ August 1896 ]*

Dear Carrie

    The weather promises much fairer than I feared and I dont doubt we shall make a good run -- I hope Theodore* will have a good time -- it will be a pretty experience for a person.  Mrs. Fields* & I are going to Mr. Higginsons* to lunch this noon and I hope to find him here when I get back.  I do so hope that we shant

[ Page 2 ]

strike across to Portland way out! -- I desire to pass Boon Island!!*  and I hope that I may feel to enjoy that and all other passing sights.

    We had a quiet day yesterday.  in the morning we went down into the woods a while and it rained in the afternoon [and ? ] we went over to Mrs. Howes* to dine at night and had a very pretty time.  Today I am going to count my spare minutes

[ Page 3 ]

and get on with some copying as best I can --  It is funny -- When I first heard about Mr. Merriman* and that he was so able & had evidently stayed just about where he was!  I said to myself that he had some clog or other upon his life -- and I wondered if he had any sort of wife to take hold with him.

    Evidently she isn't able ( "an able boat")*  And I am so sorry because though Mrs. [Greenlaw ?]* appears well, she never has been minister's wife to the Academy.*

[ Page 4 ]

Perhaps she will now.  What does John* think of them?

    I do hope that I can either come home by rail from the v'yg'e or be set ashore at Portland or Portsmouth to come home for a day or two.  Next week I shall be very much taken up here, but I count on getting home to see a sister and do some things first.

    I took in Mary Wilkinson the full size.  You must have known it would be so --  I hope Emerson coped with her case, and I should like to see her & Columby* on the water.  They would both sit aft to be near together and the bow of the boat would be all out of water.

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

I can picture it.  Goodbye with much love

from Sarah.

With love to [Jimson ? ],* and John and all.


August 1896:  This date is uncertain, based on Elizabeth Silverthorne's statement that in August 1896, after Jewett completed The Country of the Pointed Firs, she and her nephew, Theodore, took a cruise together along the coast of Maine.  In Sarah Orne Jewett, Silverthorne quotes Jewett saying that she plans to complete her book by 8 August, and then she will "take a fresh look" at the setting she used for her novel (p. 164).

Theodore:  Theodore Jewett Eastman.  See Correspondents.

Mrs. Fields:  Annie Adams Fields.  See Correspondents.

Mr. Higginsons:  Probably this is Henry Lee Higginson.  See Ida Agassiz Higginson in Correspondents.

Boon Island: It seems likely that Jewett refers to Boon Island, off the coast of southern Maine, near Cape Neddick.  It would be interesting because it is the site of the tallest lighthouse in New England (1855).
    The letter seems to imply that Jewett is writing from Annie Fields's at Manchester-by-the-Sea, and that she and Theodore, plan a short sail -- presumably with friends owning a yacht -- from there toward Portland, ME.

Mrs. Howes:  Probably this is Alice Greenwood Howe. See Correspondents.

Mr. Merriman:  Jewett corresponded with Helen B. Merriman, wife of Rev. Daniel Merriman, but this does not seem likely to be the Mr. Merriman she refers to in this letter.  Assistance is welcome.

able boat:  These two words are double underlined in the manuscript.  Presumably the phrase is in quotation marks to place it in the context of boating terms, where an able boat is one that is especially seaworthy.

Greenlaw ... wife to the Academy:  The transcription of "Greenlaw" is uncertain.  It also is unclear to which academy Jewett refers.  Ordinarily, one would assume she speaks of the Berwick Academy in South Berwick, ME, but the names "Merriman" and "Greenlaw" have has yet no known connection with the administration of the Berwick Academy.  A second likely possibility is the Phillips Exeter Academy, but again, there is no known likely relationship. Assistance is welcome.

John:  John Tucker. See Correspondents.

Mary Wilkinson .. Emerson ... Columby:  These people remain unidentified, and the meaning of this passage remains obscure.  The best-known "Columby" in the South Berwick area during Jewett's lifetime is Columbia Warren (1817-1908), who appears as a main character in Gladys Hasty Carroll's (1904-1999) Dunnybrook.

Jimson:  This transcription is uncertain, though a Jimson is mentioned in SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett and Carrie Jewett Eastman, 12 July 1894, this person has not been identified.  Assistance is welcome.

The manuscript of this letter is held by Historic New England in Letters from Sarah Orne Jewett to Caroline Augusta Jewett Eastman, Jewett Family Papers: MS014.01.01.04.  Transcribed and annotated by Terry Heller. Coe College.

SOJ to Carrie Jewett Eastman

[ August 1896 ]*

Dear Carrie

    I must put in this brief note -- there is not any sign of clearing weather but we came ashore in the morning and have after a little drive up the coast to the harbor store we have spent the day at Mrs. Richardsons.*  And I am going to sleep ashore tonight as it is wet for womenfolks getting back to the yacht --

[ Page 2 ]

We meant to sail for home this morning but there was a white fog.  Mrs. Aldrich* was going to be put off at Portland with me and we were going to stop over at home! but I dont know how it will be now.  I dare say we shall go right to Boston if it is smooth enough --  It is hard to find out

[ Page 3 ]

about plans when you are yachting.  I have seldom seen Mr. T. Stubs show such unaffected signs of enjoyment, & he has learned much that pleases him about [ ginnets ?]* and kinds of knots, & is so busy all the time.  We went over he & I, to Martinsville* yesterday but I didn't see Mrs. [Bachelder ? ] *-- she

[ Page 4 ]

had gone berrying Carrie. 

    We were so glad to get your nice letter just now -- & one from Mary,* but I am disappointed that she [ would get none this week ? ] not until Monday when [deleted word between lines.] I shall have to be back at Manchester.*  In haste with much love

Sarah --

& love to Susy.*


August 1896:  This date is uncertain.  This letter seems to follow up on the above letter probably from August 1896, in that it recounts part of a trip Jewett and her nephew made along the Maine coast, which Elizabeth Silverthorne in Sarah Orne Jewett places in August1896 (164).

Mrs. Richardsons:  According to George Carey's "The Rise and Fall of Elmore," "William Richardson, known to his intimates as “Will Dear ... had made a small fortune when he invented the clothing snap, the popular forerunner of the zipper, and with some of his money he built Seawoods, a 13-room house that faced the ocean [near Tenants Harbor, ME]. Richardson’s sister-in-law married Thomas Bailey Aldrich, the editor of The Atlantic Monthly, and soon his large rambling cottage, The Crags just to the north of Seawoods, was drawing to Elmore such literary luminaries as Mark Twain and Sarah Orne Jewett."

Mrs. Aldrich:  Lilian Aldrich.  See Correspondents.

T. Stubs:  Theodore Jewett Eastman.  See Correspondents.

ginnets: This transcription is uncertain.  "Gennit" refers to cordage, particularly binding pieces of wood together with cord.

Martinsville:  Martinsville, ME, a favorite summer vacation spot for Jewett, became the setting for The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896).

Mrs. Bachelder:  Paula Blanchard in Sarah Orne Jewett, identifies Mrs. Rozilla Trussel Harris Batchelder (1837-1922), wife of Nathan Batchelder (1828-1900), a favorite friend in Tenants Harbor, ME (pp. 275-6).  The spelling of names varies in different sources; these spellings are from "Find-a-Grave."

Mary:  Mary Rice Jewett.  See Correspondents.

Manchester:  Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA, where Fields had her summer home.

Susy:  It seems likely that this is Susan Jameson Jewett (1857-1954).  Her mother was named Sarah Orne Jewett (1820-1864), as was a sister who died in infancy (1864-5).  See Pirsig, "The Jewetts of Portland Street" (2004).

The manuscript of this letter is held by Historic New England in Letters from Sarah Orne Jewett to Caroline Augusta Jewett Eastman, Jewett Family Papers: MS014.01.01.04.  Transcribed and annotated by Terry Heller. Coe College.

South Berwick Maine
29 Septr 1896

Messrs. H. O. Houghton & Co.


    Will you please ask the proofreader to see that the ^title of^ the next before the last chapter of The Pointed Firs* is changed from Poor Dear to Along Shore?

In haste

Yours very truly
Sarah O. Jewett


Firs:  This name change was made before the publication of Jewett's 1896 novel, The Country of the Pointed Firs.

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.

Caroline Jewett Eastman to Sarah Orne Jewett and Mary Rice Jewett

[1 October 1896 ]*

    Thursday night.

Dear Sisters,

    I am glad indeed of your letter tonight and the dear one from Billy, and a nice one from Dave Gilman* who wants to spend Saturday night with me -- as he is coming up Saturday on his bicycle, if pleasant, of course, and going on to Exeter Sunday.  So if you will tell "Mary Ann Boyd" to make your little rooms ready for him please -- if he comes.  I shall be glad to see Dave.  I don't expect to

[ Page 2 ]

get home till Saturday night at six.  Mrs. [ Kidner? ] may come tonight -- but I don't believe it.  Yet the maids say tomorrow night anyway.  I think I shall take the big trunk over tomorrow and get the things out, and finish Saturday -- And Theodore will go to church with the Perrys Sunday, as Eliz. is at [ Groveland ?].* So there will be a seat for him.  I think Theodore is very happy in his school, and will "catch on" very easily and quickly, being

[ Page 3 ]

friends with Neil Fairchild the first one -- and they evidently all straggled across home together.  He said the little while they were in school this morning, they all talked about foot-ball!  The teachers were setting classes [ ve ? ]. and Thider seems to take heart, tho not much is said, it being a serious occasion.  Theodore came home even before Eva left this morning.*  I did have a lovely time with her, she being funny and her very dearest beside.  Thider & I went down town [parting at Steavens ?]*, and I

[ Page 4 ]

went to [Hoveys ?] too.*  I have to be awfully careful with my foot out doors, its so weak, to say nothing of [ unrecognized word ] from using it.  I met with [ 'Pessy / Percy / Persy' ? ] staring ahead of her, and told her to "drink only [foaming ?]" and then she [spluttered ?] and saw me.  I never saw her look as she did, except at the 'occasion' at Exeter, when she was overheated.  Sometimes she looks [big ?], yet a lady, but today!*

    Oh, if only we had been as a "family" at Keiths.*  It was was splendid, and I longed for Seddie.  Yet Mary* today would have thought well

[ Page 5 ]

of it.  It was a good thing for Theodore to do, to say nothing of his mother! and we did have a beautiful time -- I kept wishing you could have seen a nice real old country woman along the row from us, leaning forward a little with her mouth wide open to take in more, perfectly wrapped in amusement.  I was actually glad when she was moved to laugh hard -- [ as / at ? ] some of the living pictures in tights.  & a splendid skirt-clog girl* must have been a question -- to the poor soul

[ Page 6 ]

as I think she was of the "Free will"* persuasion.

    Theodore & I dressed before dinner, and ^after^ then went to the Perrys, where we had a great welcome tho' it was evidently a cross to Thider that Elizabeth was away.  Georgie* has been so busy fixing and straightening out the house --  I thought -- we never should get away.  Only think of Ann [Davis's ?] fire.*  What an occasion for Stubbs to lose.  I am wondering if [ Toby ?] came tonight.  Tell her she has got to wait -- for me.  Thider had [ unrecognized word ] of Bert*

[ Page 7 ]

today, who was on hand at school.  Thider also called on Talbot Aldrich,* who was very nice -- and said "come in and see a fellow again [unrecognized marks] when you can.["]  Mr Pierce* was out. Theodore has been [waiting / writing ?], and may have told you already.  Yet it was almost ten when we got home from the Perrys.  & he was tired.  I am writing on a Harper* in my lap, and hurrying at that.  So you must "excuse bad writing.["]  Oh, I keeping wishing you could have been at Keiths -- it was very good & awfully bright & funny,

[ Page 8 ]

and I hate to think of not having Thider [ unrecognized word ] go back, to be speaking about it.  I hope the boy will soon find he is to be comfortable and happy at the [ Kidners?], and we shall really feel we have done the best thing.  Give my love to John and my household.  They better give [ Tous ?] the air before going to bed.  Sometimes I think he takes trips to the new city, he is gone so long.  Yet it works well in the end!  With dearest love to you all.


    Eva guessed she would take take Mama as far as Mt. Auburn this afternoon

[ Up the right margin of page 8 ]

for the air.  [Triena ?] is on the sea.


1 October 1896:  This date is penciled in by an HNE archivist.  At the bottom of page 5 another date is penciled in: 10 OCT 1896.  1 October 1896 fell on a Thursday.
    According to Paula Blanchard, Sarah Orne Jewett (2002) p. 305, Theodore transferred from the Berwick Academy to the Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, MA, which is south of Boston.  This letter offers an account of his starting at the new school.

Billy, ... Dave Gilman:  Billy has not been identified.  Possibly he is Jewett's distant cousin William Elbert Furber, son of Jewett correspondent, Cynthia Elvira Irwin Furber.
    For David Gilman, see Correspondents, Alice Dunlap Gilman.

"Mary Ann Boyd": Mary Boyd does house-cleaning for the Jewetts as indicated in other letters, but no further information about her has been discovered.  There was a Boyd family in South Berwick, as indicated in Wendy Pirsig's The Placenames of South Berwick (2007), p. 212, but the identity of this person remains unknown.  Also a mystery is why Carrie Eastman puts the name in quotation marks.

church with the Perrys Sunday, as Eliz. is at [ Groveland ?]:  The Perry family references here have not been sorted out.  It seems clear that Carrie Eastman, while establishing her son, Theodore, at Noble and Greenough, is staying somewhere in the Boston area with a Perry family, to which she probably is connected on her mother's side.  Members of the family seem to include Georgie, who has been "fixing and straightening out the house," and Elizabeth and Eva, both of whom seem to be younger members of the family, probably daughters.
    On this occasion, Elizabeth seems to be in Groveland, MA, a town north of Boston, about 55 miles from Dedham.
    No further information on this family has yet been located, and assistance is welcome.

Steavens:  This transcription is uncertain.  The text suggests that Steavens may refer to a store in downtown Boston.  Further information is welcome.

Hoveys:  This is pure speculation.  If the name given is Hovey, then living in Boston in the 1890s were Charles Henry Hovey (Civil War veteran and Harvard AB 1872) and Louise C. Perry Hovey. While no connection has been found between the Jewett sisters' mother, Caroline Perry Jewett, and Louise C. Perry Hovey, there may have been one.  Their son, Carl (1875-1956), graduated from Harvard in 1897.

Kidner ... Fairchild:  These people remain mysterious.  However, in Theodore's Harvard class of 1901 were the following people:
    Frederick C. Kidner, of Massachusetts, who became a physician in Detroit, MI.
    Nelson (Neil) Fairchild (1879-1906).  He was the son of Charles Fairchild, a Boston banker, and Elizabeth Nelson Fairchild, a poet.  The Fairchild family were long-time friends of Sarah Orne Jewett. The Brookline Historial (Massachusetts) Society provides this suggestive sketch of the Sally Fairchild and her family:

     Her father was a wealthy stock broker and banker and her parents were frequent hosts of prominent artists and writers. She never married and often lived with her younger brother, Gordon: at St Paul’s School where he ran the Upper School; in the Philippines; in Japan; and, when he returned to Boston around 1930, at his house at 391 Beacon St., Boston. After he died at sea in 1932 she moved to 241 Beacon St. 
    She made quite an impression on some very famous people of that era. There are descriptions of her by George Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell, George Santayana, the Fabian leader Beatrice Webb, and the Shakespearean actress Ellen Terry. Shaw took several photographs of her and corresponded with her for many years. She also gave a young Ethel Barrymore a letter of introduction to Shaw. Here is a description from Gertrude Kittredge Eaton, in her Reminiscences Of St. Paul's School: "Mrs. Fairchild had at one time what might be called a salon, in Boston. She knew all the interesting people of the day. She was one of the first to appreciate Walt Whitman. John Singer Sargent was a great friend, and painted many pictures of Sally, who had lovely red hair. Red hair fascinated Sargent. She was an early admirer of Robert Louis Stevenson. When her husband went abroad one year, she told him to look up young Stevenson and have Sargent paint his portrait, which he did. Stevenson stayed with the Fairchilds in Boston, and Gordon remembered sitting on the foot of his bed while Stevenson told him stories. There are many letters to the Fairchilds in the collected letters of Stevenson. "

Theodore:  Theodore Eastman is Carrie Eastman's son, also called Stubbs and Thider in this letter.  See Correspondents.

Pessy ... today:  This incident remains obscure in part because of the difficulties of transcription.  Assistance is welcome.

KeithsBenjamin Franklin Keith (1846 - 1914) was "an American vaudeville theater owner, highly influential in the evolution of variety theater into vaudeville.... In 1885 he joined Edward Franklin Albee II, who was selling circus tickets, in operating the Boston Bijou Theatre. Their opening show was on July 6, 1885. The theatre was one of the early adopters of the continuous variety show which ran from 10:00 in the morning until 11:00 at night, every day. Previously, shows ran at fixed intervals with several hours of downtime between shows. With the continuous show, you could enter the theatre at any time, and stay until you reached the point in the show where you arrived."

Seddie ... Mary:  Seddie is Sarah Orne Jewett; Mary is Mary Rice Jewett.

skirt-clog girl:  If this transcription is correct, Carrie Eastman seems to refer to an act with a female clog dancer, which a person of "Free Will" persuasion would find risqué.

"Free Will" persuasion:  Presumably, Carrie refers to the Free Will Baptists.  The Free Will Baptist church of South Berwick was just a few steps from the Jewett home.  In the 21st century, this denomination would be characterized as fundamentalist and socially conservative.

Ann [Davis's ?] fire:  Apparently there was a fire in South Berwick at the home of Ann Davis near the first of October in 1896.  Further information is welcome.

wondering if [ Toby ?] came tonight.  This person is unknown, and the transcription of the name is uncertain.  Information is welcome.

Thider had [ visions ? ] of Bert:  The identity of Bert is unknown.  Information is welcome.

Talbot Aldrich:  Talbot Bailey Aldrich  (1868 - 1957), a painter, is one of the twin sons of Thomas Bailey and Lilian Aldrich.  See Correspondents.

Harper on my lap:  Presumably, Carrie is using a copy of Harper's Magazine as backing for her paper as she writes.

John ... [ Tous ?] the air before going to bed:  John probably is John Tucker, a Jewett family employee.  See Correspondents.
    The reference to someone needing air before going to bed and his traveling to the "new city" before returning seems likely to refer to a pet dog, as in Touser.  It is not clear whether this is Carrie's dog or the Perrys'.  Further information is welcome.

Eva ...  Mama ... Mt. Auburn:  The people are not yet identified, though an Eva is mentioned in other letters. See: SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett [September 9, 1900]; SOJ to Elizabeth J. Gilman [September 22, 1905].   So far, only one mutual acquaintance of Fields and Jewett named Eva is Baroness Eva von Blomberg; see Correspondents.  However, it seems unlikely that the seemingly young woman mentioned here is the Baroness.
     Mt. Auburn is a well-known cemetery about 14 miles from Dedham.  It is the burial place of a number of prominent Americans, including Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner and the clergyman Phillips Brooks.

[Triena ?] is on the sea:  The transcription of this name is very uncertain and the person has not been identified.

The manuscript of this letter is held in the archive of Historic New England, Jewett Family Papers, MS014.02.01.  Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Sara Norton

     Thursday night, [Autumn 1896].

     Today we went out to the desired Canterbury to the great Shaker convent,* which I have long wished to visit: it is more like a monastery than Alfred,* and in some ways more interesting. I found friends of our old acquaintances there and heard the Alfred news. This great group of old houses is on a high hill, quite Italian in its site, and the views of the great lower country and the mountains beyond are wonderful. The color was most splendid today, and the lights and shadows chasing each other from yellow maple to brown oak. It would be a perfect place to send children now and then, as we used to think at Alfred. I shall love to tell you about it. I was deeply touched at heart to find the old sisters knew my stories ever so long ago, and were getting up a little excitement about my being there. The girls and my cousins had a great day, but such days are almost too much pleasure for my heart to bear, the pathos, -- the joy of those faces, the innocent gayety of their dull lives.


Fall 1896 ... Canterbury ...  Shaker convent, ... Alfred:  Fields dates this letter in 1897, but in Sarah Orne Jewett, Blanchard says that in the fall of 1896, Jewett and Fields visited the Shaker settlement at Canterbury, NH (p. 302).  According to M. F. Melcher, The Shaker Adventure (1968), the community at Alfred, Maine was the smaller; founded in 1792 and closing in 1931, the community had 70 members in 1874. The larger community at Canterbury, New Hampshire was founded in 1792 and had 145 members in 1874.


19th-Century Guest Residence at Canterbury Shaker Village, NH
Photograph by Terry Heller, October 2016.

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

Sarah Wyman Whitman to SOJ


October 18, 1896.

     I have really been working day and night for weeks, the little portraits of the little children, and then Dr. Mitchell appearing with a view to portraiture and yet with a relish for Society;* these things have kept me on a stretch not wholly admirable. However one got something out of it, and some moments of intercourse with the children -- some hints of the untried secrets of those little hearts have seemed to me deep chapters in experience. But without time I will not speak of the eternities.


Dr. Mitchell: Whitman is working on a portrait of Silas Weir Mitchell (1829-1914), one of the best-known American physicians of the nineteenth century, famed for his "rest cure" for nervous diseases such as neurasthenia. He was the author of a pair of historical novels as well as of poetry and biography.

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

Sarah Wyman Whitman to SOJ

Old Place,* October 25, 1896.

     It was a great comfort to get that dear letter and it gave me beside a swift impulse to go sailing down the coast to Berwick. . . .*  I did not do it; but that is only an incident, the impulse was the large, round, whole scheme. Now it's Sunday, and on Wednesday I shall strike my tent and be off for the winter campaign, with a terrible sense of weakness at the heart, but a great many straps and buckles about the belt, wherewith I hope to make some stout show.


Old Place: The Old Place, Beverly Farms, between Beverly and Manchester-by-the-Sea in MA., was the location of the Whitman summer home.

Berwick: Sarah Orne Jewett's home in South Berwick, Maine.

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 Louise Imogen Guiney

148 Charles Street

Monday --

[Autumn 1896]*

Dear Louise

    I had a talk with Mr. Putnam of the Public Library yesterday and he asked me to say something to you about the matter of your taking a position in the Catalogue Department in course of time. He seems to think that he told us that you had better make formal application when we [word deleted] saw him last year, but I do not remember that it was so; I thought that we were to wait and hear from him someday!

    But however that may be, I think that he wishes you to go through this form now, and you can go to the Library to see him or write and ask him for directions. He wished me to say that you would go in for a time to Grade B which is on a [lowest] basis of eleven dollars a week & rising from that -- but presently, finding you ready for intelligent work in literary matters! you would go into Grade A at increased rates. The work is from 9 to 5 o'clock with 24 days vacation beside [word deleted] public holidays.*

    I think that this is all he wished me to say. For myself I think, as I said last year, and as Mrs. Fields thinks & says too that once belonging to the corps of the Library you would stand a chance of finding some [more responsible &] particular piece of work and making it your own. It must be looked after directly, now -- I should say -- to please Mr. Putnam who wishes to put his wheels in motion! I was afraid that he thought I had been remiss but I certainly did not understand!

    It seems very long since we have seen you -- I have been coming to town and going home again as fast as I could run, but after a week at South Berwick now, I hope to be here for a longer stretch --

Your most sincerely

Sarah O. Jewett

    We were much interested a week ago Saturday at seeing Mr. Day & a mandarin sitting together at a Symphony concert!*


1896:  This letter is dated by the preceding one (See SOJ to Louise Imogen Guiney 5 December, 1895) since it was written the year following their appointment in the Boston Public Library to see Mr. Putnam .  That it was written in the autumn is indicated by Jewett's recent presence at a Boston Symphony Orchestra concert, the subscription series of which began in autumn for the 1896-7 season.
    148 Charles Street was the address of the Boston home of Annie Fields, widow of James T. Fields, the publisher. Mrs. Fields willed Louise Guiney a half-share for life in the annual interest derived from the sale of this house. (A. L. S., Feb. 11, 1915 of LIG to R. Norton, in the Guiney Collection in Dinand Library.)   

The work is:  Herbert Putnam did find a place for Louise Guiney in the Boston Public Library and she worked in the Catalogue Department from January 22, 1899 to December 27, 1900. There "in our great Boston Public Library" she found the atmosphere more congenial and her "daily chore" to her liking.

Mr. Day:  Frederick Holland Day, mentioned in the postscript, was, in Miss Guiney's words, "An old friend of mine, an ex-publisher [Copeland and Day], a great bibliophile, and a most distinguished amateur in photography and kindred arts."  "Fred Holland Day (1864 - 1933) was an American photographer and publisher" Wikipedia.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Dinand Library of Holy Cross College in the collection of materials of Louise Imogen Guiney.  The transcription by William L. Lucey, S. J. appeared in "'We New Englanders': Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett to Louise Imogen Guiney." Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia 70 (1959): 58-64.  In his transcription: "Words inserted above the line by Miss Jewett have been lowered and bracketed; deleted words have been bracketed and italicized or, when illegible, a deletion has been indicated."  Notes are by Lucey and supplemented by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to an unidentified recipient*


148 Charles Street

Tuesday morning [ November 1896 ]*

Thank you so much for your most kind and dear note dear friend -- This is what Susy Travers* and I both thought it, for I sent it right away to her and she writes me this morning.  She was only here from noon on Thursday to eight o’clock next morning when she went to Newport.  I

[ Page 2 ]

found that nothing would give her more pleasure than to see you again and we were both much disappointed not to find you at home.  We must talk about Susan one of those days!  I have known her a long time and have watched her grow.  You would delight in her real wit and honest brusque ways and (what I can only call in this hurried moment!) her individuality!!  

Yours most affectionately Sarah O. Jewett

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How delightful Dr Weir Mitchells new story is!  I really love it and [unrecognized word] old Gainor Wynne and that exquisite French lady the mother.*  I have found myself thinking sadly that she was dead:  we must have a good talk about such a good live story as Hugh Wynne!  it is far and away the best thing going.  I do not get hold of the Martian* yet and

[ Up the left margin of page 3 ]

it seems so tired – I can somehow always see our Maurices* tired kind face over his book

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Mrs. Fields* is better and sits up quite gallantly by the fire for a good bit of the day.  I try to make life so enchanting in this state of health that she will forget about going down stairs.


November 1896:  This date is based upon Jewett's apparent reference to Weir Mitchell's "new story," which began to appear in serial in November 1896, and upon her not yet knowing of the death of Du Maurier.

unknown recipient: The Maine Woman Writers Collection groups this letter with others from Jewett to Dr. Weir Mitchell, but this text seems clearly about him in part.  While Jewett could have written to Mitchell himself in this way, that would not be characteristic of her work.

Susy Travers: See Correspondents.

Dr Weir Mitchells new story:  For Silas Weir Mitchell, see Correspondents.  His new story, is Hugh Wynne, Free Quaker (1897), which began appearing in serial in Century Magazine (53:1) in November 1896, and continued through October 1897.

the Martian:  George Du Maurier (1834 - 8 October 1896) was author of The Martian: A Novel, which began to appear in serial in Harper's New Monthly (93:557) in October and November of 1896, after which it was discontinued, perhaps because of the author's death.  The completed novel was published posthumously in 1898.

our Maurices:  Jewett presumably refers to du Maurier, with whom she was friends.  It appears that when she composed this letter, she did not yet know of du Maurier's death, of which she had learned by 9 November, when she wrote to Ellen Chase.

The manuscript of this letter is held in the Sarah Orne Jewett Papers, Maine Women Writer's Collection, University of New England, Houghton Autograph File to S. Weir Mitchell  #1. Transcription by Linda Heller; annotation by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Ellen Chase

     9 November, 1896, South Berwick, Maine.

     Dear Ellen Chase,* -- How very good of you to send me these nice photographs of Whitby!* The face of the old woman is really wonderful, with its eyes that have watched the sea, -- indeed every one is interesting. I brought home a good many in 1892,* and wished for more, -- but is it not delightful that all these are new and different? I am very grateful to you, dear, for such kind thought. I knew Whitby first through Mr. Lowell,* who used to talk much about his summers there: so that after he died, and I went there, the place was full of memories of him. Do you know (of course, you do) his letters about it in the Life that Mr. Norton edited?* I am sorry to say that Mrs. Fields overlooked one, in sending her letters to Mr. Norton, which is more beautiful than any: about grey St. Hilda's Abbey and the red roofs of the old town.* And now as I look back I remember also how I went about the streets of Whitby with Mr. Du Maurier and his little dog, and one day I heard the songs in "Peter Ibbetson,"* with their right tunes sung by that charming voice that is silent now. So, with all this, you see that pictures of Whitby mean a great deal to me.

     I am very glad to have the photograph of your own house. It looks as if it were old, and not new: it looks as if it were not without a past and dear associations, which is much to say of a new house. Some day -- oh, yes indeed! -- I should like dearly to come and see it.

     Yours very affectionately.

     I wonder if you have not been reading "Sir George Tressady,"* -- a really great and beautiful story as I think. I care very much for it.


Ellen Chase:  Note that Mary Ellen Chase (1887-1973) was about nine years old when Jewett wrote her this letter.  See Correspondents.

WhitbyWikipedia says: "Whitby is a seaside town, port and civil parish in the Borough of Scarborough and English county of North Yorkshire."

1892:  Jewett and friends spent several months in Europe during 1892, including a visit to Whitby.

Mr. Lowell:  American poet and critic, James Russell Lowell (February 22, 1819 - August 12, 1891).

Life that Mr. Norton edited: Charles Eliot Norton (1827-1908) was co-editor of the North American Review (1863-1868) and then professor of literature at Harvard University. He and his daughters' summer home was in Ashfield. He was the author of James Russell Lowell (1893) and the editor of a number of Lowell's works.

St. Hilda's Abbey: also known as Whitby Abbey in Whitby.

songs in "Peter Ibbetson": Peter Ibbetson (1891), by George DuMaurier (6 March 1834 - 8 October 1896) . Note that Mr. DuMaurier had recently died when this letter was written.

Sir George Tressady: Mrs. Humphry Ward's Sir George Tressady appeared in 1896. 
See Correspondents.

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 Louisa Loring Dresel

Tuesday [December 1, 1896]1

My dear Loulie

Your letter has been taking little journies and finds me here at last!  Oh how sorry I am to know of your illness and how I wish that I could have done anything for you! If you do not get on to Milton2 tomorrow please send me word so that I can come to see you -- A. F. has been very poorly with one of her bad colds -- going out one day and then getting housed again. but I hope she is better now and you too --  (I am glad my Pointed Firs* were there if I myself were not,) I wished to see you last week but I had two or three such busy days and I could not get time before I went home. I think you will be sure to "pick up" in Milton -- I have jus just been out there to Annie Russell's wedding,3 and it was so pleasent [so transcribed] and the air so fresh & bright even if it was wintry. I shall be here for a week or so now, and I count up on seeing you.

Yours most affectionately,

S. O. J.

Stoddart's Notes

1 Colby curators have dated this letter "12-1-96."

2 It is not clear whether Jewett refers to the residential and manufacturing town in Norfolk county, eastern Massachusetts, known for being the home of Milton Academy, a private boy's school, or to Milton, Delaware, then a beach and resort town.

3 This Annie Russell has not be identified.  It seems clear she is not Annie Russell Marble, for she married in November 1890.  See Correspondents.

Editor's Notes

Pointed Firs:  It is unclear whether Jewett refers to Dresel visiting the part of Maine where her novel, The Country of the Pointed Firs, was set, or if Jewett refers to a copy of the novel itself being in Dresel's possession.

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.

Thomas Bailey Aldrich to R. W. Gilder

Boston, Dec. 12, 1896.

Dear Gilder, --

I suppose that Woodberry has told you what a sad and anxious household we have here. Mr. Pierce came in from Milton a week ago last Thursday to pass three or four days with us, intending to go to New York on Tuesday. On Monday morning he had a stroke of paralysis, and has ever since been lying helpless in our house. His situation is very serious. For nearly twenty-five years he has been one of the most loved of guests at our fireside, and it takes all our fortitude to face the fact that that wise and gentle and noble heart has come to us for the last time. He is dimly conscious, but cannot speak; his right side is completely paralyzed. Should he, by a miracle, recover, he would never be able to walk, and his mind would be partly gone. I am sure you will be grieved to hear all this, for no one could be with him, even for so short a time as you were last summer, without being impressed by the sweetness and simplicity and integrity of his character. When I think of the false and cruel men who are let live, I don't understand the scheme which blots out such lives as his. I would have given him ten or fifteen happy years more. In haste.

Yours sincerely,

T. B. A.


R. W. Gilder:  Richard Watson Gilder (1844 - 1909) was an American poet and editor.

Woodberry:  George E. Woodberry (1855 - 1930).  See Correspondents.

Mr. Pierce:  Henry L. Pierce (1825-1896), owner of Baker Chocolate and a politician who, among other offices, served as mayor of Boston, MA.  The Aldriches, along with Jewett and Annie Fields, were regular guests on the steam yacht, Hermione, which Pierce owned during the last decade of his life.   Pierce died on 17 December.  Wikipedia.

This transcription was published in Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1908) by Ferris Greenslet, pp. 195-6.

SOJ to Louise Imogen Guiney

28 December 1896
South Berwick.

Dear Louise

    I think you so much for my Book and for your most kind and dear remembrance.  When I see you I shall tell you how much I like it, the book, I mean now; if it were your own I should read it first and write afterward.  Which is what I mean to do with this exquisite little handful of (rose) leaves which comes from Alice Brown.*  I wish you would tell her if you see her or if you write.  I can wait to take the right hour (which one cannot always do with a book that deserves justice) for I have forgotten her Pinckney Street number and so I must wait to thank her also when I get back, presently, to town.

    There are many things I should like to talk about with you and with her -- one is that this autumn I was off for a weeks driving and I went to the Shaker houses at Canterbury.*  I have just been reading Sainte Beuve's Port Royal and I hardly knew the difference between Mère Angelique and Eldress Joanna Kaime with her white hood and stately old head.*  New England was going to do without somethings and thought they were left behind, but human nature is too strong.  So we have monasteries but we call them Shaker families!  Oh there is much to tell about that day to which you would both listen and wish you had been with me.

    I hope that I shall see you soon -- Yours affectionately,

    Sarah O. Jewett

    I hope that my Pointed Firs will remind you of some shoreward pleasures.


Alice Brown:  Four books by Alice Brown were published in 1896, among them The Road to Castaly which was dedicated to Louise Guiney. It would seem, however, from Miss Jewett's remark that Louise had sent her The Rose of Hope.  The guide to the University of New Hampshire collection of Brown's papers says: "Alice Brown was born in Hampton Falls, N.H. on December 5, 1857, the daughter of Levi and Elizabeth (Lucas) Brown. She graduated from the Robinson Seminary in Exeter, N.H. in 1876. Brown taught school for five years in both New Hampshire and Boston, but found she preferred editing to teaching. She worked on the staffs of The Christian Register and Youth’s Companion and by 1884 had begun her long career as a writer of short stories, novels, and plays. She continued publishing into the 1940s. Brown lived at 11 Pinckney Street, Boston, and summered in Newburyport, Massachusetts and at her farm in Hill, N.H. She died in Boston on June 21, 1948."

Canterbury:  The Shaker Village mentioned in this letter was located in Canterbury, New Hampshire, a small farming town about twelve miles north-east of Concord. Miss Jewett described a visit to the Canterbury Shakers in a letter to Annie Fields dated "Thursday night, 1897." (Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett, edited by Annie Fields, p. 134). Both letters, it seems, refer to the same visit, and if this is so the date of the letter to Annie Fields should read 1896.  See Wikipedia.

Sainte Beuve's Port Royal ... Mère Angelique and Eldress Joanna Kaime:   Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve (1804 - 1869,) "was a literary critic of French literature ... Port-Royal (1837–1859), probably Sainte-Beuve's masterpiece, is an exhaustive history of the Jansenist abbey of Port-Royal-des-Champs, near Paris. It not only influenced the historiography of religious belief, i.e., the method of such research, but also the philosophy of history and the history of esthetics" (Wikipedia). 
    "Jacqueline-Marie-Angélique Arnauld, S.O.Cist. or Arnault, called La Mère Angélique (8 September 1591 in Paris – 6 August 1661) in Port-Royal-des-Champs), was Abbess of the Abbey of Port-Royal, which under her abbacy became a center of Jansenism" (Wikipedia).

Eldress Joanna KaimeEldress Joanna Kaime Obituary of December 29, 1899, Granite State Free Press

    Our community was deeply saddened by the intelligence from East Canterbury of the death of Eldress Joanna Kaime, on Dec. 29, of paresis.  As presiding Eldress in the ministry for nearly thirty years she has in this capacity alternated in her home between the society of Shakers at Enfield and that at East Canterbury.  She was truly a most estimable woman, of exceeding loveliness and sweetness of character, true and genuine in all the relations of life.  None knew her but to love her, not only in her own home, where the sweet unselfishness of her life was best known, but many friends and acquaintances outside the home circle could bear witness to the saintly presence, which diffused blessing and peace, to those privileged to come under the shadow of her loving, gentle spirit.  Although she had been in failing health for two months no one apprehended the end so near, until the final summons told us she had entered into rest.

The photograph of Eldress Kaime is from The Granite Monthly: A New Hampshire Magazine, Volume 16 (1894), p. 261.

Pointed Firs: The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896), has been described by Carlos Baker as Miss Jewett's masterpiece.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Dinand Library of Holy Cross College in the collection of materials of Louise Imogen Guiney.  The transcription by William L. Lucey, S. J. appeared in "'We New Englanders': Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett to Louise Imogen Guiney." Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia 70 (1959): 58-64.  In his transcription: "Words inserted above the line by Miss Jewett have been lowered and bracketed; deleted words have been bracketed and italicized or, when illegible, a deletion has been indicated."  Notes are by Lucey and supplemented by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Frederick M. Hopkins

     South Berwick, Maine
     December 29, 1896

    My dear Mr. Hopkins:

     I thank you for your kindness in sending me the Review of Reviews for December, and for all your friendliness in regard to the Pointed Firs.1 I am sure that you will like to know that it is doing capitally well as to sales.

     I think very well of your suggestion in regard to Mrs. Thaxter's Among the Isles of Shoals.2 I mean to speak to Mr. Mifflin3 about it at once, and I should be very glad if you would tell him what you think about the matter. The House will soon settle upon next year's plans and some things are of course already under weigh [so transcribed].

     With my best thanks and best New Year wishes.

     Yours very sincerely,

     S. O. Jewett

     I have in mind Mr. J. Appleton Brown and Mr. Ross Turner4 for the illustrators, for they both know the Islands so well -- are charming artists, especially Mr. Brown, and were Mrs. Thaxter's intimate friends.

     1 Hamilton W. Mabie's brief but laudatory critique of The Country of the Pointed Firs ("shows her true and delicate art in all its quiet and enduring charm") and a bust portrait of Miss Jewett appeared in the year-end review of worthy books in Review of Reviews, XIV(December 1896), 743.
    2 Celia Thaxter wrote this book (Boston, 1873) upon Whittier's insistence that she put into print her engaging anecdotes and impressions of the scenes and natives of these seaweed-encircled islands.
     3 George Harrison Mifflin (1845-1921), senior partner and, later, president of Houghton Mifflin Company. His major functions were to make policy and deal with the more important authors.
     4 Ross Sterling Turner (1847-1915) was a teacher of water color at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Normal Art School, with studios in Boston and Salem from 1882 to the year of his death. Mrs. Thaxter took lessons from him during the winters when she lived in Boston and arranged for him to come to the Isles of Shoals in the summer. She became fond of the young man, called him her "grandson," and attended music concerts with him. After he married, he built a studio on Appledore Island near Mrs. Thaxter's cottage.
    For J. Appleton Brown, see Correspondents.

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.  Notes supplemented by Terry Heller, Coe College.

Edited by Terry Heller, Coe College.

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