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1901    1903
Sarah Orne Jewett Letters of 1902

SOJ to Isaac Rockwood Webber

[ Postal card cancelled January 4, 1902 ]*

[ Address side ]

Mess'rs Estes & ^C. E.^ Lauriat Co.
301 Washington Street

Mr Webber*

[ Message side ]

Please send the Correspondance: 6 vols of George Sand -- and the Histoire de la Dentelle on your last Catalogue (Fine old French Books) to me at 148 Charles Street

S. O. Jewett


1902:  The day is not easily readable in this cancellation; for example it may read JAN 14.

C. E. Lauriat: Charles Emelius Lauriat, Jr. (1842-1920) and Dana Estes (1840-1909) were Boston publishers and booksellers.  Lauriat was a survivor of the sinking of the Lusitania (1 May 1915) and published a narrative of the event.  See Lauriat's 1872-1922 by George H. Sargent (1922) and Who's Who in America (1903).

Mr Webber:  Isaac Rockwood Webber ( - 1940), is listed as Vice-President beginning in 1873 in Lauriat's 1872-1922 by George H. Sargent (1922).

George Sand:  The Correspondance (1812-1876) of French author Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, known as George Sand, was published in French in 1882.  Jewett's spelling confirms that she wants to purchase the French language edition.  WorldCat does not list an English translation before 1902.

Histoire de la DentelleHistoire de la Dentelle (1843) is by François Fertiault (1814-1915), a French author of fiction, poetry and essays.  It was originally published anonymously, as "Par M. de ***."  Encyclopedia Britannica explains that this was a "brief and rather fanciful" history of lace (1911, v. 16, p. 47).

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

SOJ to Lilian Woodman Aldrich

21st January

[ Begin letterhead ]

South Berwick.

[ End letterhead ]

My dear Lilian

    To think that the weeks fly away so! I waited to go to town after I wrote you and when I was there I waited until I could go to see Mrs. Richardson* and then I waited to get home again for a quite time when I could write a longer letter, and here I am with your dear little Christmas present still thankless and your dear little granddaughter* almost a month old!  Well! I knew that Mrs. Fields* would

[ 2 ]

write for both of us in the first place, and that you would not doubt my thanks or my great rejoicing at your own pleasure.

    Mrs. Richardson told me that the smaller Lilian had shown excellent determination as to the employment of her own thumb -- and I seemed to detect signs of inherited energy! I should love to see the dear little thing -- please give my special love to her father and mother. I can hardly think of Charlie's pleasure when he takes a good look at her! ^What would the two great grandmothers have said!^ Most of my

[ 3 ]

my days in Boston this time were spent in my winter visit to "my Mrs. Cabot" who had her eightieth birthday* while I was there, and seemed younger at heart than ever. She is busy reading all day and at night we took to backgammon for [ deleted word ] ^knitting^ work. The chief value of my being there is just my being there! -- so that I dont go out very much if I can help it and last year I was drowned in my story writing* and could really think of little else, but this year we had a dear good time together.  A.F. and I met nearly every day, and I spent a day or two with her before I came home.  Mrs Leonowens grand daughter who plays*

[ 4 ]

quite beautifully was staying with her, but she has just gone now, and Mary* and I are going on Thursday or Friday to make a good visit to 148.* I think that one dear friend has been very well so far this winter, and you do not know how happy she has been at all the good news from you{,} especially to hear of Charlie's getting on so well. I had a nice visit to Mrs. Richardson and I shall go again.  She seemed very cheerful as she did last year when I saw her. And I was glad to see Miss Vauchel* again. It is so sad to see those poor hands -- but lovely to see such patience {--} it is bringing a lesson to us who

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

can go about the world [ deleted word ] while she sits so still! I long to know what T.B.* is doing and with what pipes he is comfortably wintering! I hope that the big Russian holder made its journey safely.  What is he reading I wonder that dear boy! We miss so much his [ unrecognized word -- first ? ]

[ Up the left margin of page 2 ]

word of a new book. I have been reading with the greatest delight the letters of Lady

[ Up the left margin and then across the top margin of page 3 ]

Louisa Stuart to Miss Clinton,* a most delightful book.  Good bye with love to all from


[Top left margin  page 4 ]

Mary sends you her love.


Mrs. Richardson ... Seawoods: According to George Carey's "The Rise and Fall of Elmore," The William Richardsons at Seawoods and the Aldriches at the Crags were neighbors during summers at Tenants Harbor, ME. See Correspondents.

Mrs. Fields:
Annie Adams Fields. See Correspondents.
    Later referred to as A.F.

your dear little granddaughter: Charles F. Aldrich and Maria Louisa Richards had a daughter. Lilian, born on 31 December 1901.

"my Mrs. Cabot" who had her eightieth birthday: Susan Burley Howes Cabot. See Correspondents.  Her birthday was January 13, 1822

drowned in my story writing:  In the previous winter, Jewett was at work on The Tory Lover, which was appearing serially in Atlantic Monthly, beginning in November.

Mrs Leonowens grand daughter who plays:  Anna Harriette Leonowens. See Correspondents.
  Her daughter was Avis Annie Connebeare Leonowens Fryshe, who was the mother of four daughters.  The oldest, Anna Harriette Fryshe (b. 1881), of Montreal, Québec, became a piano performer and educator.

: Mary Rice Jewett. See Correspondents.

148:  The address of Annie Adams Fields on Charles St., Boston.

Miss Vauchel: There is reason to believe this is Lucy Voshell, a Boston private nurse, who cared for Annie Fields, among others.  But this is not certain.

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

letters of Lady Louisa Stuart to Miss ClintonWikipedia says that Lady Louisa Stuart (1757-1851) was a British writer, mainly of memoirs and letters, most of which remain unpublished.  "Between 1895 and 1898, Mrs Godfrey Clark edited and published three volumes of Stuart's work called Gleanings from an Old Portfolio (Correspondence of Lady Louisa Stuart), and the Hon. James A. Home followed these with Lady Louisa Stuart: Selections from her Manuscripts (New York & London: Harper Brothers, 1899) and with two volumes of Letters of Lady Louisa Stuart to Miss Louisa Clinton, published in Edinburgh in 1901 and 1903."

"Sadie":  This nickname in full, with the Aldriches, would have been Sadie Martinot, after the actress of that name. See Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. Thomas Bailey Aldrich Papers, 119 letters of Thomas Bailey and Lilian Woodman Aldrich, 1837-1926. MS Am 1429 (117). Transcribed and annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College.
    At the bottom left of page one, in another hand, is a circled number: 2763.

SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett and Carrie Jewett Eastman

Saturday morning

[February 1902]

Dear Mary and Carrie.

    I meant to get another letter written yesterday but we went out early in a cab to do some errands and then the day flew right away.  I got part of a letter written to Carrie, but there wasnt much in it so I shall begin over again.  I went to see Mrs. Whitman* in the course of the errands and had to talk about so many things that A.F.* thought I never was coming after expecting to stay only a minute --  Dorothy Ward* came over after luncheon and

[ Page 2 ]

is the same nice English girl I remembered grown much older somehow in two years and a half so that I forget half the time that she isn't as old as we are!  Mrs. Fields had asked a good many young people to some music at five o'clock.  Sally Norton* came & played and Miss O'Brion* (more beautiful than ever!) and Mr. Whitney and a young girl* to sing whom we had heard about, and it was all very pleasant.  Ellen Mason* was here and we had a nice time in a corner.  After every

[ Page 3 ]

body else had gone we kept Sally Norton and her sister Margaret* to dinner and had a very gay little time. .  I wore my velvet dress with the high waist and almost found it too warm -- it was such a springlike day.  I have been troubled with my knee -- it comes on to ache but in a way that makes you think it will have a sharp time and then got as well as ever.  at any rate I cant do anything that I know of.  A. F. looked rather wilted with a cold yesterday

[ Page 4 ]

but isn't any the worse today.  Her count of mice has got up to 18 which she wishes to have mentioned, and her bulbs are all in pods to bloom but nothing like Carries. -- I got this nice [letter corrected] from Georgie* which I send you.  And Cora's* telegram I answered with a special delivery letter making bold to say you would be glad to have her come so.  What a nice time Carrie must have had and given.  I wish I were there to hear of it.  I wonder if Auntie could

[ Page 5*
[Fragment from before 1900, but placed with the above fragment in the HNE collection.]

is a lil' scrat.*  I was so much obliged by Sister Carrie's letter -- it afforded me many welcome crumbs of information{.} I was so glad you passed the day in Exeter and with such plesant results to all.  What a good time you must all have had with Hattie.*  I shall try to see her but not today it being a Saturday -- I wish you were here.  Next Saturday Mr. Warner* is coming and he always draws friends like flies to a nice piece of sugar.  I believe he is going to stay two or three days.  He wrote so

[ Page 6 ]

funny saying that somebody else had asked him and that could be done, so you may believe that the desired invitation was promptly sent!  Here's Haggerty* so good by with much love from Sarah.


Mrs. Whitman: Sarah Wyman Whitman. See Correspondents.

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

Dorothy Ward: Dorothy Ward paid a long visit to Jewett and Fields in February of 1902.  See Mrs. Humphry Ward in Correspondents.

Sally Norton: Sara Norton. Her sister Margaret also was present on this occasion. See Correspondents.

Miss O'Brion: Mary Eliza O'Brion (1859-1930 -- unconfirmed life dates), Boston-based concert pianist, private teacher, and instructor at Wellesley College. Her name appears regularly on programs as a piano soloist and accompanist with various groups and orchestras.

Mr. Whitney and a young girl: Mr. Whitney is very likely Myron W. Whitney (1836-1910), a Boston-based operatic bass.  At the time of this letter, he was retired from the stage.  The young girl singer who joined him remains unknown. 

Ellen Mason:  See Correspondents.

Georgie:  Georgina Halliburton. See Correspondents.

Cora:  Cora Clark Rice. See Correspondents.

Page 5: The apparent lack of continuity here suggests that a page or more may be missing from the letter, but almost certainly what follows is part of a different letter.  The reference below to Charles Dudley Warner dates this fragment from before his death in 1900, while the reference to a visit by Dorothy Ward above dates that fragment to 1902.

Auntie could ... lil' scrat:  The identity of Auntie is unknown.  Without more context, what Jewett means by "scrat" is uncertain.  Dictionaries associate the word with "scratch," suggesting that she refers to something painful or irritating or to a devil as in "old scratch."

Hattie: The identity of Hattie is uncertain.  She may be Hattie Denny, sister of Augusta Maria Denny Tyler. See Correspondents.

Mr. Warner:  Charles Dudley Warner. See Correspondents.

Haggerty:  This seems to be a worker at Fields' house.

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

SOJ to Louise Chandler Moulton

[ March 19, 1902 ]

Dear Mrs. Moulton

    I find that it is not possible for me to say yes [two marks, possibly a dash?] on Saturday I must be in Cambridge instead of in town, before I return here to see some friends who are coming, and it looks like a busy end to a delightful but very busy week!  With Easter coming,* both Mrs. Fields* and I are full of small affairs. -- If it were not for my

[ Page 2 ]

Cambridge Engagement (which had slipped from my mind when we spoke together yesterday) I could hardly promise to go out to luncheon{.}* Mrs. Fields and Mrs Meynell* look forward to being your guests -- at the Brunswick* and at one o'clock.

    Please to pardon this hurried note and believe me

Yours most sincerely
Sarah O. Jewett

148 Charles Street


1902:  As the notes below indicate, Alice Meynell visited Boston in March of 1902.  It is likely that this letter was composed the week before Meynell's lecture, and, therefore, on Wednesday 19 March.

Easter:  In 1902, the Christian holiday of Easter fell on 30 March.

Mrs. Fields:  Annie Adams Fields.  See Correspondents.

:  Jewett's double negative is difficult to interpret.

Mrs. Meynell
:  Alice Meynell.  See Correspondents.  The British poet Alice Meynell visited Annie Fields in Boston in the March of 1902, giving a lecture shortly before 26 March.

the Brunswick:  Almost certainly this was the Brunswick Hotel on Copley Square in Boston. 

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Library of Congress in the Louise Chandler Moulton papers, 1852-1908.  MSS33787.  This transcription of from a microfilm copy of the manuscript, on Reel 8 of Microfilm 18,869-15N-15P.  Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

 SOJ to Sara Norton

     South Berwick, Thursday, 20th March [1902].

     On Sunday evening Mrs. Meynell is expected,* and both Mrs. Fields and I look forward to seeing her with great pleasure. We have cared a good deal for the thoughtfulness and beauty, and above all for the reticence and restraint, of her poems and brief essays. I suppose that Mr. Ruskin first set our eyes in her direction when he was so enthusiastic long ago about her letter from a girl to her own old age, but it is one of her poems that I really care least about now. One always cares about "Renouncement," that beautiful sonnet, though one discovers after a time that she ought to have called it "Possession," or something of that sort!*

     It is a great delight that your father has promised to come to dinner on Tuesday.* I can't help hoping that I shall see you on Wednesday morning, if not before; Mrs. Meynell has a reading on seventeenth-century poetry. She is going to give it to some club or company in London, and wished to try it here first. It is always interesting (though sometimes a cause for apprehension) to have a friend come in this way -- to see an old friend for the first time, as one may say; but both Shady Hill and 148 Charles Street have gathered many an angel so, and strangers are not real strangers when they are of the world of letters.

     I do not forget that we are to see Dorothy* again so soon, or to look forward with delight. It is a great pleasure to have had her here in the old house, such guests never really go away -- which makes an old house very different from a new one!


Mrs. Meynell: Alice Thompson Meynell (1847-1922), English poet and essayist. "A Letter from a Girl to her own Old Age" appeared in Preludes (1875), and "Renouncement" in Poems (1893).

     "A Letter..." begins:

Listen, and when thy hand this paper presses,
O time-worn woman, think of her who blesses
What thy thin fingers touch, with her caresses.
O mother, for the weight of years that break thee!
O daughter, for slow time must yet awake thee,
And from the changes of my heart must make thee!


I must not think of thee; and, tired yet strong,
   I shun the thought that lurks in all delight -
   The thought of thee - and in the blue Heaven's height,
And in the sweetest passage of a song.
O just beyond the fairest thoughts that throng
   This breast, the thought of thee waits hidden yet bright;
   But it must never, never come in sight;
I must stop short of thee the whole day long.
But when sleep comes to close each difficult day,
   When night gives pause to the long watch I keep,
    And all my bonds I needs must loose apart,
Must doff my will as raiment laid away, -
   With the first dream that comes with the first sleep
     I run, I run, I am gathered to thy heart.

Mr. Ruskin
: Wikipedia says: "John Ruskin (8 February 1819 - 20 January 1900) was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, also an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist."  When Alice Meynell's first book, Preludes (1875), appeared, Ruskin, a family friend, wrote to her mother in praise of the volume.  He particularly praised the poems Jewett mentions: "I really think the last verse of that song ('A Letter from a Girl to her own Old Age') and the whole of San Lorenzo and the end of the daisy sonnet the finest things I've seen or felt in modern verse."  (See Alice Meynell).

Your father:  Charles Eliot Norton. 
See Correspondents.   Shady Hill was the Norton residence in Cambridge, MA.

reading on seventeenth-century poetry:  In fact, Meynell presented her lecture "The Great Transition in English Poetry: From the Seventeenth to the Eighteenth Century" across the United States during 1902.  This presentation was developed into her book, A Seventeenth Century Anthology (1904), which she selected, edited and introduced.
    The lecture was covered in newspapers from Oregon and California to Chicago, Indiana and Boston, including the Los Angeles Herald (8 Feb) and the Chicago Inter Ocean (23 March).   The Boston Daily Globe of March 26, 1902 says that "Mrs. Alice Meynell, England's foremost woman of letters," recently spoke on seventeenth century poetry for a gathering of women in Boston.  The Herald reported on the presentation in detail, noting that "Mrs. Meynell's lecture was artistically anthological, and the many beautiful extracts from the different poets of .the period of which she talked delicately illustrated the points made in her story of the transition of the poetical spirit of that age."  Her stay in California began with a lecture at the Los Angeles Newman Club on Catholic poets, announced in the Herald on 25 January.

Dorothy Ward paid a long visit to Jewett and Fields in February of 1902.  See Mrs. Humphry Ward in 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
Children of the Grammar Schools of Indianapolis, IN

South Berwick, Maine,

March 21, 1902.

          My dear Children of the Grammar Schools:

          One of your friends has written me that you have read my story of Sylvia and the little White Heron* and have liked it. You cannot know how much pleasure this news gives me if I do not write and tell you, so I give you my best thanks now, and my kindest wishes.

          I should like very much to know what each one of you liked best in the story and what seemed to you the best part of it, and if you think Sylvia would always be glad because she had been the heron's friend? I am sure that you do think so, as the writer of the story did. You see that the best thing in the world is to be self-forgetful and Sylvia was just that when she took care of the bird.

          I wish that I knew whether you know the different kinds of birds that live near you, and how many you have learned to know by sight or by their songs, for even if you live in a large city like Indianapolis you must have many birds for neighbors. Some of you may have seen very strange and interesting birds, when you have been away from home, or have seen, what is still better, something very interesting about the birds that live in the trees that you know best. Perhaps you will each write a letter to tell me! Believe me always,

     Yours affectionately,

     Sarah Orne Jewett


White Heron:  Jewett's short story, "A White Heron," appeared in A White Heron and Other Stories in 1886.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Am 1743 (109). It appears with a group of letters from school children in Indianapolis, Indiana, responding to "A White Heron." Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to David Douglas

          South Berwick, Maine, April 6, 1902.

     Dear Mr. Douglas, -- The photograph delighted me of the quaint old Scottish house of Traquair!* I had never seen any picture of it. I hope that it may not be many years before my hope comes true of spending some time in Scotland, and seeing many and many an old house. I never forget the pleasure of that day with you both at Hawthornden, how often Mrs. Fields and I speak of it! You see that I too have run away from town? It is a very early spring with us. I have never in my life seen our "Mayflowers" (the trailing arbutus) in full bloom on April 6th as I saw them to-day.


the quaint old Scottish house of Traquair: This house near Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott, in the Tweed Valley of Scotland, South of Edinburgh, is supposed to be the model for "Bradwardine" in Scott's Waverly.

HawthorndenWikipedia says that  Hawthornden Castle is located on the River North Esk in Midlothian, Scotland, built by the Douglas family beginning in the 15th century. Whether David Douglas the publisher and recipient of this letter is closely related to the Douglas family of Hawthornden is not yet known.
    Blanchard in Sarah Orne Jewett (1994) says that Jewett and her maid, Liza, traveled to Edinburgh briefly in August 1882, while in England with Annie Fields.  As of yet, we have no other record of Jewett visiting Scotland, though she had ample opportunity in 1892 and 1898, during two long periods in Europe.  In this letter, the meeting at Hawthornden seems more recent than 20 years, and Fields seems to have been with Jewett.
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 Mark A. deWolfe Howe

May 8th [ 1902 ]              
South Berwick

Dear Mr. Howe:

    I am very sorry that the story was not what you wanted -- if only that I have given you the discomfort of writing to say so!  Perhaps a jury of girls might have liked it better; perhaps I spoiled it by trying to shorten it at the last moment!  Please send it back and believe me,


Sarah Orne Jewett


1902: While this date is not certain, there is foundation for choosing it, as this letter seems related to another to Mr. Howe dated 10 May 1902.

This transcription appears in Nancy Ellen Carlock's 1939 Boston University thesis, S.O.J. A Biography of Sarah Orne Jewett. Carlock says that at the time of the transcription, the manuscript was in the "private collection of manuscripts" in Howe's library.  Notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Mark A. deWolfe Howe

Saturday 10th May [ 1902 ]*
South Berwick

Dear Mr. Howe:

    As I read your second most kind note I am afraid that something crept into my own note of a very difficult day in which I wrote it.  I did not mean in the least to be impatient with the little story which I had sent you.  An old writer like me learns to ignore the "fortunes of war".  I should have stopped to say that I  meant to look at the story again and to tell you later what I thought could be done.  I do not send my work 'on approval' any more except to a friend like you since we are on quite different terms from the plain Editor and Contributor relations, but I hope that you will always say just what you think as you have done now. You know what a warm interest I take in both the Companion* itself and your connection with it.

    And now about the cheque!  It doesn't seem very easy to take it, at first thoughts, but neither does it seem easy to send it back since that might seem to have a pettishness that does not exist!  Will you therefore mark the sketch Left Out (instead of Counted Out),* which I believe comes closer to its meaning, and then put it in a pigeon hole?  You can use it in your announcement (out of which I refuse to be left!) and before the time comes for printing, either you shall have something you like better, or this story shall be made better, itself.  I do not wish to rule out many of the omissions that I made when I thought with sudden woe that it was far too long.

    Mrs. Fields has come back to finish her visit which was so sadly broken into, last week, by her brother's death.*  I went up to town with her, and I hoped to see you and Fanny while I was there not only to tell you how touched and pleased our dear friend was with your lovely flowers -- but to have a word about the story to save your writing.

    I was obliged to come home on Wednesday without doing, and your letter followed me.  Mrs. Fields asks me to give you her love, you will know how good it is to have her here.

Yours always most sincerely,

Sarah Orne Jewet

I have been reading a most delightful book of Irish stories, "Irish Pastorals" by Shan Bullock.*  There is a man to remember!  There is so little troublesome dialect and the true turn and quality of Irish wit and pathos.  "The Diggers and the Reapers" makes me think of Millet's pictures.*


1902: Carlock notes that Howe has written the date of his reply to this letter in its margins: 5/12/'02.  10 May fell on Saturday in 1902.

Companion:  Howe was editor of the Youth's Companion.

Counted Out
:  Jewett's story appeared as "Counted Out" in the Youth's Companion for December 24, 1903.  Whether Jewett completed the promised revisions is not yet known.  She ceased writing for publication after her September 1902 carriage accident.  It's appearance 17 months after this letter suggests that Howe may have hoped for revisions that Jewett was not able to complete.

Mrs. Fields ... brother's death:  Annie Adams Fields. See Correspondents.   Her brother, Dr. Zabdiel Boylston Adams, Jr, died on 1 May 1902.

"Irish Pastorals" by Shan Bullock:   Irish author Shan F. Bullock (1865-1935) published Irish Pastorals in 1901.  "The Reapers" is chapter 5; "The Diggers" is chapter 6.

Millet's pictures: Jean-François Millet (1814 -1875) was a French painter of the Barbizon school.

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

Sarah Wyman Whitman to SOJ


May 15, 1902. England.

     One word with you . . . to-night, by the river Dart, . . .* I am looking out on one of the most romantic bits of English scenery I ever beheld, -- an idyllic loveliness, and the sea's pulse stirring every now and then the quiet breast of the stream. One can look at England from so many points of view, and just to-day it seems to me a garden in which dwell the most innocent and naive beings ever known in this world of sin. I feel quite old and withered in this cheerful young company, but take heart of grace because of their gentle acts. . . . In this last week I have seen some delightful people; . . . the long-dreamed-of sight in her own house of Mrs. Ritchie has made a mark on my heart forever.* And so I might go on telling you of this strange leisurely life in this more than strange world. So many gates open quietly where I want to go in and browse a little on the herbage.


river Dart: The Dart flows through Kent in southeastern England.

Mrs. Ritchie: The novelist Anne Isabella Thackeray, Lady Ritchie (1837-1919), was the daughter of William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863).

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 Sara Norton

     South Berwick, Maine, June 30 [1902].

     I am just having a little visit from Mrs. Riggs, the author of our beloved "Penelope in Ireland."* We have known each other in a pleasant way for a good many years. I happened to be near her in London once, and last week when I happened to be in Brunswick, she was there too, and to my great pleasure said that she should like to come over to Berwick. She is the very nice person who wrote our enchanting book. Being with her has reminded me of your pleasure in her story last year, as well as mine. One doesn't always find the writer of the story, -- at least in early acquaintance! but with Mrs. Riggs there is the certainty that one might go right on, and see the next chapter, and Salemina and the maid are absent only for the moment.*

     Great things have been happening in Berwick: there was the 200th anniversary of the old village church (that was the time, 1702, when we were converted by missionaries from Harvard, and before we had been only a little royal colony with Church of England preaching)!*


Mrs. Riggs, the author of our beloved "Penelope in Ireland": Mrs. George C. Riggs (1856-1923) is Kate Douglas Wiggin's name by her second marriage. She wrote a series of stories for young readers based on her travels in Britain. Three of these published during Jewett's lifetime were: A Cathedral Courtship and Penelope's English Experiences (1893), Penelope's Experiences in Scotland (1896), and Penelope's Irish Experiences (1901).

Salemina and the maid:  Salemina is a character in Penelope's Irish Experiences.
1702:  According to the Old Berwick Historical Society, the First Parish Congregational Church of South Berwick was organized in 1702:  "This parish was organized under the name of Unity, in 1693. The first church organized within the limits of Berwick was at Quamphegan Landing, now South Berwick village. This church was formed by the Rev. John Wade, a native of Ipswich, Mass, and graduate of Harvard, in 1693, who had been employed as the minister of the town. Considerable religious interest was awakened during 1701, and on June 4, 1702, an organization was effected with 17 members. The Revs. John Pike, of Dover, Samuel Emery, and Samuel Moody officiated as counsel."

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

OJ to Alice Dunlap Gilman

     Pride's Crossing
     Beverly, Massachusetts

     July 12, [1902]

    Dear Cousin Alice:

     I am really ashamed to have been so long in writing to you after my delightful visit, for though Mary gave you my messages and wrote for us both, I wanted to tell you myself how often I think of the pleasure you gave us. I don't know when I have enjoyed a visit so much; Brunswick is always full of happy associations and everybody was so kind -- most of all, yourself.
     I was dreadfully sorry to lose nearly all of Lizzie's visit which Mary* has enjoyed so much, but I had long been promised -- on the first of July to my old friend here* -- and I had already put off coming until the fifth! Every year I say to myself that perhaps I shall not come again, but this summer I have found her better than for a long time before and we have been very happy together. Sometimes she hardly leaves her room when I am staying with her but now she gets down to breakfast, which is quite splendid. You would find the town of Beverly very little changed, but down along the shore it has been built up very much with summer houses, many of them very large and fine, like the Baxters', of which I am sorry that I could not see the interior. But we did so many things! I am not often so gay!!
     Do keep your visit to us in mind when cool weather comes -- you and Mary must come. I think of Cousin Fanny's being with you now and must give her my love. I hope that we shall see her on her way home. With love to all the family, believe me always
     Yours most affectionately,


Lizzie's visit ... Mary:  Lizzie probably is Elizabeth Jervis Gilman for more on her and on Mary  Rice Jewett see Correspondents.

my old friend here:  Jewett's old friend at Pride's Crossing almost certainly is Susan Burley Cabot.  See Correspondents.

Baxters:  These Baxters have not been identified.  Assistance is welcome.

Mary ... Cousin Fanny: This Mary probably is Mrs. Gilman's youngest daughter.  See Correspondents. Cousin Fanny has not yet been identified.

This letter is edited and annotated by Richard Cary in Sarah Orne Jewett Letters; the ms. is held by the Sarah Orne Jewett Papers, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections and Archives, Bowdoin College Library.

SOJ to Annie Adams Fields

     Saturday afternoon, [1902].*

     I long to have you get to the chapter in Dr. James's book that I have been reading to-day: "The Value of Saintliness." I "find" it most particularly fine, and penetrating. There is a good page or two about St. Teresa in the chapter before which would do your heart good to quote, -- I mean now the first paragraph as far as "It is a fine summing-up."*

     The other day quite out of clear sky a man came to Mary* with a plan for a syndicate to cut up and sell the river bank all in lots, and oh if Mrs. -- only does want to buy it, or her friend, it will be so nice and make such difference to me. Sometimes I get such a hunted feeling like the last wild thing that is left in the fields.


1902:  Fields dates this letter in 1892, but Jewett could not have read William James's (1842-1910) The Varieties of Religious Experience until 1902, when his Gifford Lectures were collected in a book.  Probably this letter was written before 2 September, the date of Jewett's devastating carriage accident.

the chapter in Dr. James's book ... "The Value of Saintliness"
:  Lectures 7-13 were on "Saintliness"; Lectures 14-15 were on "The Value of Saintliness."
    Saint Teresa of Avila was a Spanish Carmelite nun and mystic, author of The Way of Perfection (1583) and The Interior Castle (1588).
good page or two about St. Teresa in the chapter before:  Jewett almost certainly has made an error.  The phrase -- "It is a fine summing-up" -- does not appear in an electronic search of the text. Saint Teresa is mentioned several times, and there are two pages on her in "The Value of Saintliness" (339-40) but they are not complimentary and, unless Jewett is being ironic, probably are not part of the passage she recommends.  In the previous chapter, "Saintliness" where one may expect to find the passage, Teresa is mentioned only once, briefly.  In the chapter, "Mysticism" is another passage on Teresa (399-404) which seems more likely to have interested and attracted Jewett, but this is the chapter after rather than the chapter before "The Value of Saintliness." 
    It is possible that Fields made a transcription error, for the phrase "final summing up" appears several times.  One paragraph that seems as if it could have interested Jewett is: 
    Let us agree, then, that Religion, occupying herself with personal destinies and keeping thus in contact with the only absolute realities which we know, must necessarily play an eternal part in human history.  The next thing to decide is what she reveals about those destinies or whether indeed she reveals anything distinct enough to be considered a general message to mankind.  We have done as you see, with our preliminaries, and our final summing up can now begin. (493)
This is not, however, in either of the chapters Jewett mentions, but in "Conclusions."

Mary: Jewett's sister, Mary Rice Jewett. 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 possibly to Sarah Wyman Whitman

[ Summer 1902 ]

     And then "Lady Rose's Daughter"!* If you were here how much we should talk about it. There are splendid qualities of the highest sort. One says at certain moments with happy certainty that here is the one solitary master of fiction -- I mean of novel writing. How is she going on at this great pace to the story's end? But one cannot let such a story flag and fail -- there must be an end as good as this beginning.


This paragraph appears in Annie Fields, Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett (1911), where she attaches it to an 1892 letter from Jewett to Whitman.  However, Lady Rose's Daughter (1903) by Mrs. Humphry Ward began serialization in Harper's Magazine in May 1902.  See Jane Silvey, "'The Sympathy of Another Writer':  The Correspondence between Sarah Orne Jewett and Mrs. Humphry Ward," in Transatlantic Women, edited by Brigitte Bailey and Lucinda Damon-Bach (pp. 295-6).

SOJ to Annie Adams Fields

     Monday morning. [Before September 1902 ?]*

     I had a really beautiful day yesterday. I stayed at home from church in the morning and took up President Eliot's life of his son, and I don't know when anything has moved me so much. You remember how beautiful the magazine paper was that President Eliot wrote about one of their island neighbours down at Mount Desert -- and this is written with that same veracity and Defoe-like closeness to the fact, and with such deep affection as one seldom feels in a book. I finished it last night, for although it is a big volume, much of the latter half preserves his own reports of work on the Metropolitan Park Commission etc., which one does not need to know exactly, at least in the first reading, though this will interest you deeply. So I am sending it right over to you.*

     The dining-room looks as it used now, and is so much pleasanter! but when we had all the birds, the cardinal, and the charming sparrows, and all those, they were really very nice. I don't care much for any of these, especially since I came home this last time to find that dear bright wise little Bobby, father's tame little bird that he was so fond of, was dead and gone.* There never was a little creature with so true and good a heart. He knew so many things -- though not one trick! and he would chirp at me until I answered and spoke to him, and then would sing himself to pieces. How often I have laughed and begged him to be still; and now that live little voice is still enough and its wisp of grey feathers. John* and I put him into a little box, and buried him when nobody else knew it, down under the grass on father's grave, where so much sweet cheerfulness lies still already. It was one of the dear links with those old days, you know, dear, and I can't help thinking that Bobby's spark of life is not put out altogether.


Before September 1902: The earliest year this letter could have been composed is 1902, the year Eliot published his biography of his son (see note below).  If the letter was written in 1902, it almost certainly was completed before Jewett's accident in September.

President Eliot's life of his son: Charles William Eliot, (1834-1926) was, according to the Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, "a reforming president of Harvard University and editor of the Harvard Classics." Eliot's The Right Development of Mount Desert appeared as a pamphlet in 1904. The comparison is to Daniel Defoe (1660-1731), for example in Robinson Crusoe (1719).
    Eliot's biography of his son is Charles Eliot, Landscape Architect, a Lover of Nature and of His Kind, Who Trained Himself for a New Profession, Practised it Happily and Through it Wrought Much Good (1902). Charles Eliot (1859-1897) proposed a plan to the Boston Metropolitan Park Commission, which was published in 1893: Map of the Metropolitan District of Boston, Massachusetts Showing the Existing Public Reservations and Such New Open Spaces as Are Proposed by Charles Eliot, Landscape Architect, in His Report to the Metropolitan Park Commission.

magazine paper ... of their island neighbours down at Mount Desert:  It is possible Jewett refers to "The Forgotten Millions," Charles W. Eliot, which appeared in The Century 40:4 (Aug 1890) pp. 556-565.

Bobby:  No other information has turned up about this pet bird that had belonged to Jewett's father, who died in September 1878.  Since it seems clearly to have survived at least 24 years after his death, it probably was a parrot.
    Jewett's poem "A Caged Bird" (1887) mentions a canary, but canaries seldom live more than 10 years.
    Further information is welcome.

John:  John Tucker, long-time Jewett family employee.  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.

3 September 1902

Sarah Orne Jewett is thrown from a carriage in South Berwick, sustaining head and neck injuries from which she never fully recovers.  Her professional writing career essentially ends with this accident, but she continues an extensive correspondence until 1909, the year of her death.


SOJ to Thomas Bailey Aldrich

   October 1st  [1902 ]*

[ Begin letterhead ]

South Berwick, Maine.

[ End letterhead ]

My dear T.B.

    Thank you so much for sending me this charming book.* It could not have come in a better week and my beloved Thomas Phipps "reads" better than ever -- as for His Grace the Duke I think that is one of the most beautiful pieces of work

[ 2 ]

that you have ever done! There are so many things I long to say about it ---- and indeed I wish that I could see you and Lilian to hear about Charley* and all about Tenants Harbour and how you both are and how Mrs. Richardson* is. Theodore*and I went to see her one Sunday afternoon in Spring, [when corrected] I was in town and the house at 59 had just been closed. (He has [ deleted word ] been abroad all summer [ and corrected ] has just gone back to the medical school.) Perhaps you haven't heard what bad days I have fallen upon -- or rather that I fell upon too hard a road the first part of last month! I was thrown out of a high wagon and hurt my head a good deal and concussioned my spine so that I am still not very well mended, and have to stay in bed or lie down nearly all the time -- But

[ 3 ]

these days give a great chance for reading now that I am so much better -- you see how glad I was to get your book!

Yours most affectionately

Cant you run down to have luncheon with A.F.* some day? She has a telephone -- just call 'Manchester' {.}  I dont think she is numbered, but she's there. (But do keep writing stories!) What does make Mr. Howells* scold us so for writing about the Past?


1902:  Jewett reports that her September 1902 carriage accident occurred a month previous to this letter.

charming book: Probably, this is Aldrich's A Sea Turn and Other Matters (1902), which included his stories "The Case of Thomas Phipps" and "His Grace the Duke."

Charley: The Aldriches' twin sons, Talbot and Charles were born in 1868.  Charles was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1902, a*nd he died two years later in March 1904.

Mrs. Richardson's:  According to George Carey's "The Rise and Fall of Elmore," The William Richardsons at Seawoods and the Aldriches at the Crags were neighbors during summers at Tenants Harbor, ME. See Correspondents. Mrs Richardson died late in 1902 or early in 1903.

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

Mr. Howells:  William Dean Howells. See Correspondents.
It is difficult to know exactly to what Jewett is responding in the writings of Howells.  In his "Editor's Study" column in Harper's Magazine 105 (September 1902), Howells quotes from a letter that could have been written by Jewett, though the style seems not to be hers. Howells identifies the author as a female writer of the best local realism, and he lets her freely defend the importance of a necessary distance from one's subject: "Surely ... we must have some atmosphere, some distance or time between us and our theme, to get any perspective, whether we are painters or writers. One can get color, action, beauty, in one's composition of past or present, if one knows to the heart's core the materials with which one works; it is the thing of to-day, the voices on the street, the action in one's own house, that is most impossible to do, because we can only half understand, it being so close" (p, 648).
    This letter seems to have been written in response to Howells pronouncing on the value of historical fiction, but such a pronouncement in Harper's has not yet been located.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. Thomas Bailey Aldrich Papers, 119 letters of Thomas Bailey and Lilian Woodman Aldrich, 1837-1926. MS Am 1429 (117). Transcribed and annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College.
    At the bottom left of page one, in another hand, is a circled number: 2765.

SOJ to Jennie O. Starkey

     South Berwick, Maine
     October 5, [1902]

     My Dear Miss Starkey:

     I thank you for your very kind note which I should have been glad to answer at once but I am slowly recovering from a bad accident in being thrown from a carriage -- and even after some weeks I can write very little.1
     The story you ask about was printed with others in a volume called The Queen's Twin. Your letter gave me real pleasure and I am very glad indeed that you liked "Nora."2 I also have to thank your paper, the Free Press, for much pleasure in the past: I like to think that I have this good chance to say so!
     Believe me, with my best wishes for your own happiness in your work of writing,
     Yours sincerely,

     S. O. Jewett


     1 The date of the disabling accident was September 3, 1902, Miss Jewett's fifty-third birthday. While taking her habitual afternoon ride that day, Miss Jewett was thrown upon the road head first when her horse suddenly slipped and fell going downhill. Miss Jewett did not seem to suffer any serious immediate effects, but the spinal concussion which resulted from the fall brought about recurrent headaches and weak spells, putting a virtual end to her literary productivity. Though she tried valiantly (see her letter to Willa Cather in Fields, Letters, 234-235), she wrote nothing of consequence after this mishap.
     2 "Where's Nora?" appeared first in Scribner's, XXIV (December 1898), 739-755.

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

SOJ to Annie Adams Fields


[ Begin letterhead ]

South Berwick.

[ End letterhead ]

6 October 1902 ]*

My dear beloved Annie

    It was so good to get your letter this morning with Mrs. Bells.* It sounds pleasant at Pomfrett,* I should like to see Pomfrett. It is a lovely high country as you go through by rail. I remember its beauty even once in the [ water / winter ? ] when I was on my way to Horsfords* with Sally Norton* -- we must find some [ new books ? ] for

[ Page 2 ]

dear Mrs Bell. I hoped to look for some today but I could do nothing. I hope it will not worry you but do your dear [ unrecognized word ] good if I have to bring Miss Ryan* with me to Manchester.  I am still so shaky and I [ several unrecognized words ] her{.} I really do not feel as if I could come alone or quite [ unrecognized word ]

[ Page 3 ]

[ two unrecognized words ] while I am there but with her I can do very well and I feel sure of the good the change will do{.} I will begin a letter to [ Linnet ? ]* but it seems to grow harder and harder [ unrecognized word or words to write ? ] I cant say [ how I long ? ] to get to you [ just ? ] as if [ if repeated ] would you {give ? } me new life. I shall [ stay ? ] until the 17th [ perhaps five unrecognized words ] Louisa* will come

[ Page 4 ]

down with me. I am just going to ask Loulie if she will meet me with her motor at Hamilton* and bring Miss R & us right to you? The train gets there ( from Ports* ) at fifteen or 20 minutes past 11. if you see her first perhaps you will ask her [ unrecognized word ] for

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

me -- . or you might [ stop and take ? ] [ unrecognized words ] [ from ? ] there or Beverly{.}

[ No signature ]


6 October 1902: This letter was obviously composed at a time when Jewett was seriously ill, almost certainly fairly soon after her September 1902 carriage accident.The lines are not straight and the handwriting erratic.
    Monday 6 October seems a likely date, as about the earliest time she could have dreamed of leaving home, though the letter seems to make clear that she is overly optimistic about departing in a few days and staying until the 17th of the month, or perhaps leaving home on the 17th. Fields rarely remained in Manchester-by-the-Sea past the end of October.
     This transcription often produces what Jewett apparently intended to write rather than what actually appears on the page.  Scholars wishing to see exactly what she wrote should consult the manuscript. Link to manuscript image.

Mrs. Bells: Helen Choate Bell. See Correspondents.

Pomfrett:  Probably, Jewett means Pomfret, CT.

Horsfords: The family of Eben Norton Horsford.  See Correspondents.

Sally Norton: Sara Norton.  See Correspondents.

Miss Ryan: Presumably, Miss Ryan is a nurse and companion, aiding Jewett after her injury.  No information about her has been located. Later in the letter, she is Miss R.

Linnet:  This transcription is uncertain.  If it is correct, then Jewett refers to Thomas Bailey Aldrich. See Correspondents.

Louisa: Louisa / Loulie Dresel. See Correspondents.

Hamilton: Hamilton, MA, a town just north of Manchester-by-the-Sea.

Ports:  Almost certainly Jewett is abbreviating Portsmouth, NH.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Houghton Library of Harvard University. Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909. Annie Fields (Adams) 1834-1915, recipient. 194 letters; 1877-1909 & [n.d.] Sarah Orne Jewett correspondence, 1861-1930. MS Am 1743 (255). Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

Sarah Wyman Whitman to SOJ


Walpole,* October 25, 1902.

     I am seeing really amazing beauty, a great fall mosaic rich as Aaron's breastplate and multiplied with tones and overtones of color.


Walpole: in Massachusetts, southeast of Boston.

Aaron's breastplate: See Exodus 39.

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

SOJ to Louisa Loring Dresel

South Berwick
Sunday 25th October [1902]*

My dear Loulie

    My letter almost reached you before yours came to me!  I have been thinking of you and wishing to write.  I am so glad to know all about you dear, but I refuse to take the photograph of Loulie however good the likeness is of the handsome cat.  I really cant 'discover that you sat' for it, and looked at the names on the back of the card with wonder!  I suppose

[ Page 2 ]

it is the angle at which your dear head was tipped. --

    I wish that I could say after all this time that I feel good for much.  I am better (I am so tired of that endless word!) than I was in Early Summer after the shock and worry of dear Mrs. Fields's* illness &c but as I look back I dont believe that I can do much than I could a year ago or when I was at my best at Mrs. Cabots* in the winter.  The sprained

[ Page 3 ]

=ancle-feeling [so written] in the back of my neck and the attacks of pain trouble me less just as they did then, but they are still ready to come back at the least provocation.  But I wont talk about it and I do try not to grumble, though I haven't the spirit about things that I kept for a long time.  Reading and writing are both pretty difficult, but I have taken to crocheting! --

    I love to hear about your cousin Johanna,* do tell me about

[ Page 4 ]

her again!  Try her with Miss Sarah Rackemann!*  I remember how hard it used to be, when I was taller than most and could not feel more than nine years of age.  Mrs. Agassiz* would be so dear to her -- she would feel quite at home with her, would Johanna. -- but oh how I wish I could know how that dear friend is! Do write soon again on purpose to tell me and give my love to your Aunt Emma Cary* too when you see her -- The Time grows very long that I have missed seeing my friends and I do miss dear Mrs. Whitman* so

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

dreadfully --  Good-bye dear Loulie{,} Thank you for writing such a good letter.  Mrs. Fields is at 148 and will be so glad to see you and knows. Yours always

S. O. J.


Sunday 25th October [1902]:  While the archivist gives the letter a 30 October date and the manuscript is very difficult, it seems fairly clearly to read 25 October, which fell on Saturday in 1902 and on Sunday in 1903.  This is problematic for determining the year of this letter.  Jewett's report on her health and a long period of not seeing her friends fits better with October of 1902, just weeks after her September carriage accident, than with 1903, when -- though she remained limited in health -- she was more actively traveling and visiting.  Jewett fairly often dates her letters incorrectly, giving a day of the month different by a day from the day of the week.

Mrs. Fields: Annie Adams Fields, who lived in Boston at 148 Charles St. See Correspondents.

Mrs. Cabots: Susan Burley Cabot. See Correspondents.

Cousin JohannaJohanna (d. 1852?) has been identified as a grand-daughter of Julius Dresel, half-brother to Louisa's father, Otto. Julius Dresel (1816-1891?), an immigrant wine-grower in Texas and then in Sonoma, California.  His wife probably was Jane/Johanna Plage (1823-1864?), whom he married in Bexar, Texas on 6 August 1850.  She is likely, then, to be visiting Louisa from California, and is likely to be about 10 years old.  Further information is welcome.

Sarah Rackemann: Probably this is Sarah Parkman Rackermann Hyde (1892-1988), the daughter of Felix Rackemann (1861-1954) of Boston.  She first married Edward Wigglesworth (1885-1945), who became director of what is now the New England Museum of Natural History.  See also the Minot-Rackemann Family Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Mrs. Agassiz: Elizabeth Cabot Cary Agassiz. See Correspondents.

Aunt Emma Cary:  Emma Forbes Cary (1833-1918) was the youngest 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).

Mrs. Whitman: Sarah Wyman Whitman. See Correspondents.

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

Isabella Stewart Gardner to SOJ

Sunday Oct. 25. [ 1902 ]*

[ Begin Letterhead ]

                  BROOKLINE, MASS.

[ End Letterhead ]

Dear Miss Jewett

I have just come from spending the night in your room at 148 Charles Street!

    This is why -- Mrs. Fields* was bad & wicked, [apparently deleted letters ] overworked "doing Boston" with Lady

[ Page 2 ]

Henry Somerset, Miss Cameron & Mr. Saunders,* & topped off last night by the Symphony Concert, where the heat was intense!  The combination was too much for her, & she had a fainting spell.  She was sitting in Mrs. Whitman's seat,* directly behind me, so that when she went out, I went too.  When she was in bed ^at 148 Charles Street^ with Dr. Williams* & a nurse in attendance, I thought perhaps the servants might

[ Page 3 ]

get rattled, so I calmly walked into your room & spent the night.  Please forgive --  Of course the doctor was worried, as she is not a young girl, although she acts like one -- But this morning  she is ever so much better.  I & she

[ Page 4  letterhead page ]

had our breakfasts in our rooms, after which I had went into her for a little chat.  And to scold her for getting over-tired!  The doctor

[ Page 5 ]

thinks she must really have great quiet & rest.  She likes her nurse, she told me, & looked so pretty in bed [this corrected] morning, with her soft hair about her face --  I told her I would write to you, so don't expect others from her.  She sends her love.  I shall take her in [some ?]

[ Page 6 ]

flowers tomorrow, & do some more scolding.  She really must rest.

    Do take care of yourself dear -- I think of you so much.  don't hurry to get well{;} do it slowly, that is

[ Up the right margin of page 6  ]


affy yours  Isabella


1902:  The envelope associated with this letter was cancelled at 8 a.m. on 26 October, 1902.  On the back of the envelope Gardner wrote this note:  "I nearly stole your story which I saw on your table.  But really I did not touch."

Mrs. Fields:  Annie Adams Fields. See Correspondents.  For roughly half of each year, Jewett resided with Fields at 148 Charles Street in Boston or at her summer home in Manchester by the Sea, Massachusetts.

Lady Henry Somerset, Miss Cameron & Mr. Saunders: The Minneapolis Journal (22 October 1902, p. 5) reports that the American Women's Christian Temperance Union held its 29th Annual Meeting in Portland, ME on 17-22 October,1902.  Distinguished guests and speakers included three representatives of the British Women's Temperance Association, Lady Henry Somerset, Miss Cameron, and Rev. Dr. Henry Sanders (accounts vary in spelling his name). Somerset and Sanders also spoke at the Tremont Temple in Boston, on 26 October, in favor of allowing a local option governing the sale of alcohol (see The Congregationalist & Christian World 1 November 1902, p. 613 and Boston Post, 27 October 1902, p. 8).
    Lady Henry Somerset (1851-1921) was a British philanthropist who focused on women's rights and temperance.  With Frances Willard (see Correspondents), she formed part of the British and American leadership for temperance activism.
    Miss Cameron almost certainly is Julia Mary Hay Cameron (1873-1937), Somerset's cousin, the niece of her maternal aunt, the photographer Julia Margaret Pattle Cameron (1815-1879).  Rita Gollin, in Annie Adams Fields, refers to a second letter to Jewett, written the following day, which identifies Miss Cameron as an expert at needlework (253-4).  Miss Cameron is named as a member of Lady Somerset's party in the Minneapolis Journal.
    Rita Gollin transcribes the third name as "Miss Saunders," though in the manuscript the word looks like "Mr." or perhaps "Mrs."  Almost certainly Gardner refers to the Rev. Dr. Henry S. Saunders/Sanders of London.  Little has yet been learned about Rev. Sanders. The Minneapolis Journal says he was rector of a large parish in East London. 

Symphony Concert:  The 24 October 1902 program for the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Wilhelm Gericke included works of Berlioz, Rubinstein, Saint-Saëns, and Huber.  Cello soloist Elsa Ruegger performed the Rubinstein Concerto No. 2 in D. Minor.

Mrs. Whitman's:  Sarah Wyman Whitman. See Correspondents.

Dr. Williams: Perhaps the most prominent Dr. Williams practicing in Boston at this time was Francis Henry Williams (1852-1936), who was making his name at Boston City Hospital in the 1890s for developing ways of using x-rays for chest scans.  However, it seems unlikely that he would be been treating Fields in general practice.

better:  Gardner refers to Jewett's very slow and never fully completed recovery from her carriage accident of September 1902.

The manuscript of this letter is held in the archive of Historic New England, Jewett Family Papers, Folder 13, Letter 15.  MS014.  Transcribed and annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College.

 SOJ to Sara Norton

          Thursday, November 20. [1902]

     How much I wish for you at this moment, Sally dear! but it must be a heavenly day at Newport, and without this touch of the North that makes a fire not look unwelcome in my room. Now that the leaves are down I can see the smooth top of my hill like a little Yorkshire moor, and it makes me wish that we were walking there again. Oddly enough I am just reading one of Mrs. Ritchie's stories that keeps one much out of doors in the Lake Country, -- "Mrs. Dymond,"* -- and between reading and looking up at the hill, I got too keen a sense of being housebound! One flies to Miss Thackeray's stories at certain turns of Fate, for a world full of shadows, and written out of deep and touching experience, but with beauty and consolation never forgotten or curtained away. Don't you remember Fitzgerald's saying somewhere that he thirsts for the Delightful as he grows old and dry?* Perhaps he was writing about Miss Thackeray -- then the Village on the Cliff which he really loved.

     Get rested, dear, and make the most of these days in Newport by doing just the least you can with them! I think of you most lovingly and oftener than I can dare to say. As for me, I am much the same, getting back little by little to ordinary life, but not downstairs yet, or equal to much that can be really called decent or properly useful behaviour.


1902:  Fields places this letter among those from 1905, where it may well belong.  However, Jewett implies at the end that she has been ill for a long time and unable to go downstairs.  This suggests that the letter comes from the first months after her September 1902 carriage accident.  Blanchard in Sarah Orne Jewett (1994) says that Jewett was confined to her bedroom until Thanksgiving of 1902 (p. 350).

Mrs. Ritchie's stories ... "Mrs. Dymond": Anne Isabella Thackeray, Lady Ritchie (1837-1919), published Mrs. Dymond in 1885.

Don't you remember Fitzgerald's saying somewhere that he thirsts for the Delightful as he grows old and dry? ... The Village on the Cliff: The Village on the Cliff (1866) is by Ann Thackeray, Lady Ritchie. Edward Fitzgerald, in a letter of December 30, 1875 says that William M. Thackeray's novels are "terrible," because like Jane Austen and George Eliot, they deal too much with ordinary life: "I really look at them on the shelf, and am half afraid to touch them. He, you know, could go deeper into the Springs of Common Action than these ladies: wonderful he is, but not Delightful, which one thirsts for as one gets old and dry." In other letters, he says that he does not much like Ann Thackeray's books either. See Letters and Literary Remains of Edward Fitzgerald (1889).

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 Bliss Perry

22nd November [ 1902 ]

[ Begin letterhead ]

South Berwick.
[ End letterhead ]

Dear Mr. Perry

    I hoped to write to you very soon and to tell you that I had read ^all^  your book,* but I am on short allowance in these days of both reading and writing.  -- You were giving more pleasure than you knew with your kind remembrance and your most kind words on the flyleaf. I have read the Short Story chapters

[ Page 2 ]*

over again with great admiration, and ^as^ for the Chapter on Realism, I can hardly say how much I admire such a broad and truly admirable piece of work! I wish that I could say at this moment all I feel about it!

    I hope that you and Mrs. Perry are both well

[ Page 3 ]

and I send my affectionate wishes and regards to you both.

Always your sincerely

S. O. Jewett

    I am getting well, but very slowly. I shall hope not to have such an accident again, but I shall be sure to believe my good doctors when they say it must take Time to cure me! I wished so much to tell you what a delightful number

[ Page 4 ]

of the Atlantic you made for October* -- one of the first half dozen of all the numbers that have ever been.  Miss Preston's Meredith* was almost incomparably good. I remember Miss Francis* too -- but one needs to speak of everything{.} Has Miss Preston ever written about "Mifs Thackeray?" I loved to see Fitzgerald again -- one of your headings -- 'One thirsts for the Delightful as one grows old and dry.' *


1902:  This date is based mainly upon Jewett referring to as recent, the October 1902 issue of Atlantic Monthly..  She also refers to a recent accident that has limited her reading and writing. This would the near-fatal carriage accident of September 1902, from which she never fully recovered.

Page 2: In the bottom right corner of page one is penciled, in another hand, the ms number, 295.

your book: Almost certainly, Jewett is reading Perry's A Study of Prose Fiction (1902), which contains a chapter entitled, "Realism."  However, there is not a chapter specifically on short stories.

Miss Preston's Meredith: Harriet Waters Preston.  See Correspondents. Preston's essay on British author George Meredith (1828-1909), "A Knightly Pen" appeared in Atlantic Monthly v. 90, October 1902, pp. 506-514.
    I have not been able to learn whether Preston published anything on the British novelist, Anne Thackeray (1837-1919), daughter of novelist William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863).

Miss Francis: Susan M. Francis was an editorial assistant and copy-editor for nearly 50 years at Atlantic Monthly and a frequent contributor to the magazine, as well as an editor and compiler of various books. She may be best remembered for her work on a revised edition of John Gibson Lockhart's Memoirs of the Life of Sir Watler Scott (1901).  See Ellery Sedgwick, A History of the Atlantic Monthly 1857-1909, pp. 78, 172, 206, and Bliss Perry, And Gladly Teach (1935 printing), pp. 168-9.
    She appears to have no signed contribution to the October 1902 issue of Atlantic, but several sketches and reviews appear in the "Books New and Old" columns for September and November; these are signed S. M. F.

Fitzgerald ... old and dry:  British poet, Edward Fitzgerald (1809-1883) is best remembered for his translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1859).  The quotation is from his letter to S. Laurence of 30 December 1875, speaking of William Makepeace Thackeray: "... wonderful he is, but not Delightful, which one thirsts for as one gets old and dry" Letters and Literary Remains of Edward Fitzgerald, v. 1 (p. 378).
    I have not been able to confirm that Fitzgerald is mentioned or quoted in the October 1902 volume of Atlantic Monthly.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.  Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909. 8 letters to Bliss Perry; undated. Perry, Bliss, 1860-1954, recipient. Bliss Perry letters from various correspondents, 1869-1942. MS Am 1343 (290-297).

SOJ to Annie Adams Fields


[ December 1902 ]

Dearest Annie

    (Your letter was the best of comforts last night -- my heart hops right up to the ceiling when you are feeling better -- philosophical as it may try to be about down days!  I could seem to share Mr. Thiddy's* visit -- though I am glad enough that he had it to himself. He has been waiting so long for the chance -- as you say, hours dont match! I couldn't help thinking how wise Dr. Williams* was about your not seeing people after six -- If I am not careful then, I get into such a worry ^after I get to bed^ so that I put off upstairs as early 

[ Page 2 ]

as I can after we have finished supper. The pencil doesn't hold out, I can see, on that soft rough paper, but get John* to sharpen it good and long; it will be nice for your little note-sheets that we normally write on, where a hard pelty* is so wearing to the writer's feelings --)  I dont say much about Christmas dear Fuff* but you will know that it goes very hard with me that I cant think of being with you. After all, as I said to myself this morning, it would be a great deal harder [ not written over to ] to be together, if we didn't care about each other any more! if there were any real separation ) I

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mean, but we are closer than ever in love and friendship and belongingness, aren't we? It is wonderful with all the chances and changes of life that I could always [ manage corrected ] to have part of Christmas Day in Charley Street* for twenty years without any break -- and we mustn't mind too much if an unlucky tumble keeps your Pin* away this year!

    -- ( As for Christmas things = I was looking over a box, and trying to see how I could help Mary* yesterday and I got so puzzled and tired that I could have cried. The less we think about them the better! Mary is going to send along a basket of jelly &c right away for a useful Christmas

[ Page 4 ]

offering -- and you shall have more by and by! She thought the perils [of corrected ] such a basket would be greater later in the week. I begin to doubt about the French Country House* &c but I [ )( in pencil by Fields, superimposed and perhaps deleted ] -- I mean to send you a few copies of The Flower of the Mind* ^with^ which you can do what you like -- or put them by.

     But do take your copy and read a poem of Campion's "Follow Your Saint"* -- It is full of the most exquisite music and unexplainable charm to me -- (Somehow it makes me think of your things though I cant say just what!  Just read it two or three times and see if you fall under the spell too!!

    Oh dear, another Sunday

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

is coming -- but much too soon! What a nice thing if there were a Sunday mail! It is a most clear and lovely morning here.

    Goodby dear with a heart [ full ? ] of love from your



December 1902: Fields penciled "December 1902 1904" in the upper right of page 1.
Almost certainly, this letter was composed near the Christmas after Jewett's September 1902 carriage accident.
    Parenthesis marks in this manuscript also were penciled by Fields.  Fields has deleted "Annie" in the greeting, and she has drawn a line from about the middle of the page down to the right corner. On page two Fields draws another line down about half the page, to where she placed her end parenthesis.

Mr. Thiddy's:  Theodore Jewett Eastman. See Correspondents.

Dr. Williams:  Perhaps the most prominent Dr. Williams practicing in Boston at this time was Francis Henry Williams (1852-1936), who was making his name at Boston City Hospital in the 1890s for developing ways of using x-rays for chest scans.  However, it seems unlikely that he would be been treating Fields in general practice.

John: Almost certainly an employee of Annie Fields.

pelty: This word seems to be a coinage by Jewett.  She uses it in various contexts to describe people and horses as difficult to manage; that seems to be her sense here as well.

Fuff:  Nickname for Annie Adams Fields. See Correspondents.
    Fields has deleted this word with her pencil.

Charley Street: Annie Fields's Boston home at 148 Charles Street.

unlucky tumble ... Pin: Jewett almost certainly speaks of her serious carriage accident in September 1902.
    Pinny Lawson (Pinny / Pin / P. L.) was an affectionate nickname for Jewett, used by her and Annie Fields. See Correspondents.

Mary:  Mary Rice Jewett. See Correspondents.

French Country House:  As Jewett mentions Adelaide Kemble Sartoris (1815 - 1879) in another letter of 1903, it seems likely that this is her reference here as well.  Sartoris was an English opera singer, the younger sister of Fanny Kemble, actress and anti-slavery activist.  She wrote A Week in a French Country House (1867).

The Flower of the Mind:  British poet, Alice Meynell (1847-1922) edited an anthology of English verse, The Flower of the Mind (1897). See Correspondents.
    British poet Thomas Campion's (1567-1620) "Follow Your Saint" appears on pp. 51-2 of the 1904 edition.  Jewett may have underlined Campion's title in addition to placing it in quotation marks.

    Follow your saint, follow with accents sweet!
    Haste you, sad notes, fall at her flying feet!
    There, wrapped in cloud of sorrow, pity move,
And tell the ravisher of my soul I perish for her love:
    But if she scorns my never-ceasing pain,
Then burst with sighing in her sight and ne'er return again.

    All that I sang still to her praise did tend,
    Still she was first, still she my songs did end;
    Yet she my love and music both doth fly,
The music that her echo is and beauty's sympathy.
    Then let my notes pursue her scornful flight!
It shall suffice that they were breathed and died for her delight.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Houghton Library of Harvard University. Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909. Annie Fields (Adams) 1834-1915, recipient. 194 letters; 1877-1909 & [n.d.] Sarah Orne Jewett correspondence, 1861-1930. MS Am 1743 (255). Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Harriet Prescott Spofford

     South Berwick, Maine, December 31, 1902.

     My dear Friend, -- I am late in thanking you for my dear little Christmas book,* but I wished to read it before I wrote, and these have not been good reading-days. It is a dear story: I felt almost as if I were seven years old again and cuddled into a corner with my beloved story of "Mr. Rutherford's Children."* The same feeling came over me as nearly as it ever can come again. Your story walks faster, as a story of these days should, but there are very real people and real experiences, and your charming fancy -- your quick imagination -- your beloved sympathy, make the pages live. What any "sister authoress" would really love to do would be to hold the pen that was equal to writing you!

     But I must write no more at this hour of night! I hope to see you very soon, as I am coming back to town presently.


my dear little Christmas book: It seems clear that Harriet Prescott Spofford (1835-1921) gave Jewett a copy of one of her books for Christmas in 1902, and it is likely this would have been a book for children. It seems possible that the gift was The Children of the Valley (1901), or perhaps even an early copy of That Betty (1903). Spofford also published The Great Procession and Other Verses for and about Children in 1902, and she contributed the introduction to Gail Hamilton's Life in Letters, by Gail Hamilton (Mary A. Dodge, 1833-1896) in 1901. 

my beloved story of "Mrs. Rutherford's Children": Susan Warner (1819-1885) is best known for her very popular novel, The Wide, Wide World (1850). She published Mrs. Rutherford's Children in 1853.

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

Edited by Terry Heller, Coe College.

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