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1903    1905

Sarah Orne Jewett Letters of 1904

SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

Sunday night
[ 31 January 1904 ]*

Dear Mary

Yesterday I had a nice drive -- out by Fenway Court* and back with no “damage to crops”.  I begin to feel as if the best investment I could have made in early youth would have been a large accident insurance policy -- then all the times I have been laid up would have brought in a handsomer revenue than even the pursuit of Letters.  To-day might have come under such a head for I had let some body come up whom I didn’t so much wish to see and Mrs. Whitman* came in a minute afterward.  I just sent her word, as I found that she hadn’t got out of the carriage, but it was a calamity.  Alice Howe* was here in the morning; she has been housed by the cold & snow but looked very well and peaceful, and never was better company.  Late in the afternoon Ellen Mason* was here and so pathetic over the loss of Julie Nevins!*  I really felt a sympathy that I never expected to feel -- they were little playmates in Paris.  Then I shouldn’t have seen anybody else but Elise* appeared, so dear and affectionate.  She is going to Philadelphia for a fortnight on Tuesday, and was very sorry not to have seen you but though she meant to the hours flew by, and she had little time for the size of the place evidently.  It has been a very quiet day today, but after so much going on yesterday I could not get asleep until very late and felt rather tired.  Nobody came to dinner so perhaps Mr. Thiddy* went home.  I hope Toesy* didn’t catch a swelled faced from one who was so troubled.  You know he had one once Aunt Mary.*  (This little wad is some candy for a good little dog.  You can have the little peppermint one!)  There was a great turkey today -- a perfectly delicious one -- so any one lost much who didn’t come.  I suppose Lucy Lee wont come into town now that Mr. Parks is going away.* --- I have found out at last that Eleanor Hopkinson has got a baby near a fortnight old, by the name of Harriot for Mrs. Curtis.*  Elise told me yesterday, but that is all the news I can think of.  I must now go to bed -- so good night.  I send back all these letters which turned up in one place and another.  You will know which to keep.  Monday -- no news -- but a snow-eater fog!  Mrs. Perkins* is not coming to-day, so good bye from an affectionate


Please get the money.   



31 January 1904: This date is based upon Jewett reporting the recent death of Julie Nevins, which took place in January of 1904 and that the newborn Harriot Hopkinson is nearly two weeks old.

Fenway Court:  The home of Isabella Stewart Gardner.  See Correspondents. Also nearby was the Fenway Studios building, where Charles Hopkinson and other artists known to Fields and Jewett had studios.

Mrs. Whitman: Sarah Wyman Whitman.  See Correspondents.

Alice Howe: Alice Greenwood Howe.  See Correspondents.

Ellen Mason ... the loss of Julie Nevins: See Ellen Francis Mason in Correspondents.
    Julie Fanchette Henriette Du Gay Nevins (d. January 1904), wife of Henry Coffin Nevins (1843-1892).

Elise: for Elizabeth Russell Tyson, see Emily Davis Tyson in Correspondents.

Mr. Thiddy: Theodore Jewett Eastman.  See Correspondents.

Toesy:  The identity of this personage is unknown.  The context seems to suggest Jewett speaks of a dog in relation to their nephew, Theodore Jewett Eastman. Perhaps Theodore has been ill?

Lucy Lee ... Mr. Parks:  Lucy Lee's identity remains unknown, though she is mentioned in another letter from after 1904, possibly as a friend of Theodore Eastman.  Mr. Parks also has not been identified.

Eleanor Hopkinson ...a baby near a fortnight old ... Harriot for Mrs. Curtis:  The painter Charles Sydney Hopkinson (1869-1962) married Elinor Curtis.  Among their children was Harriot Hopkinson Rive (17 January 1904 - 2005).  Elinor's mother was Harriet Sumner Curtis. See also Harvard College Class of 1891 Secretary's Report (1911, p. 114).

Mrs. Perkins: Probably Edith Forbes Perkins. 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.

SOJ to Mr. Jamieson*

     34 Beacon Street
     February 23, [1904]

    My dear Mr. Jamieson:

     Your letter gives me great pleasure and brings up many pleasant and affectionate associations. Indeed I remember you and your dear mother, whose kindness and gentleness none of her friends could easily forget.
     I should like very much to see you and Mrs. Jamieson and to answer your letter without writing, but I have never got over a bad accident of more than a year ago, and though I have come to Town for a change, I am obliged to be very careful about keeping quiet.1
     I have only the copy of Mrs. Thaxter's book that she gave me,2 and I do not know of another, which could be bought, but I think if you go to Mr. Sullivan at Little and Brown's that he can find one for you, certainly by waiting a little; and you might leave an order, also, at Bartlett's in Cornhill3 where they deal chiefly in secondhand books. Sometimes at the bookstores in smaller cities one can find a book like that and in much better condition.
     Believe me
     Yours most sincerely,
     S. O. Jewett


     1 In May 1904 her "A Spring Sunday" appeared in McClure's, XXIII, 13-19; in 1907 she edited the Letters of Sarah Wyman Whitman; in October 1908 "'The Gloucester Mother" appeared in McClure's, XXXI, 703, With these items her active literary career ended.
     2 Two books by Celia Thaxter are inscribed to Miss Jewett by the author: Poems, 11th ed. (Boston, 1883), and An Island Garden (Boston, 1894). One of Mrs. Thaxter's poems in manuscript, "Vesper," hangs in a frame with her photograph in the breakfast room of the Memorial House at South Berwick.
     3 N. J. Bartlett & Company was the most fully stocked of the several bookstores on Cornhill Street, Beacon Hill east of Scollay Square. Here could be obtained new theological works, fine books by discriminating presses, standard sets of English authors from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, a few first editions, and the run of Georgian and Victorian volumes. Little, Brown & Company, located on Washington Street near the Boston Globe building, offered somewhat the same assortment. Both catered to the gentleman of moderate means intent on a general library rather than to the special collector.

Editor's notes

Jamieson:  The identify of Mr. Jamieson remains unknown. 
    It seems possible that Jewett is writing to a son of Cecilia Viets Dakin Jamison (1840 - April 11, 1909).  Though her name is spelled "Jamison" in her books, it was fairly common during her lifetime to find her books advertised as by "C. V. Jamieson."  Mrs. Jamison was likely well-known by Jewett and Fields, a popular writer and artist living after 1902 in Roxbury, MA, having published with Ticknor and Fields and in many of the magazines where Jewett published.  However, no evidence has been found that she had a son. (Louisiana Historical Association).
    Another potential recipient is "John Franklin Jameson (September 19, 1859 - September 28, 1937) ... an American historian, author, and journal editor who played a major role in the professional activities of American historians in the early 20th century" (Wikipedia).  His mother was Mariette Thompson Jameson (1838-1924)
    Further information is welcome.

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 Louisa Loring Dresel

[June 1904]  

[ Begin letterhead ]

South Berwick.

[ End letterhead ]

Dear Loulie

    I wonder if you cant use these tickets?  the 'Pudding Play' is apt to be good fun.  I expected to get back to town before this, but my sister is still ill from a long continuing rheumatic attack.  I am getting

[ Page 2 ]

on pretty well, but between a desire to do all that one can in a busy season outdoors and in, and knowing that if a person moves round too much it makes trouble, life isn't so very easy.  I hope you are getting on well -- it isn't until late next month that you sail, is it dear? but I know what a busy Loulie you are.  Dont

[ Page 3 ]

stop to write about the tickets at any rate, and find the love I sent you by this small letter{.}

    Yours very affectionately

S. O. J.


June 1904:  Though it is possible this letter was composed in 1903 or, perhaps even in 1905, it seems more likely to come from 1904.  Jewett's report of her health problems would seem to place it after her September 1902 carriage accident. Her speaking of Hasty Pudding tickets and dating the letter in June point toward 1904. Jewett was likely to have received such tickets from her nephew, Theodore Jewett Eastman, who was a Harvard medical student during those years.

'Pudding Play':  Almost certainly, Jewett offers Dresel tickets to a theatrical put on by the Hasty Pudding Club of Harvard University.  The club's theatricals typically are "burlesque cross-dressing musicals."  The April 1903 show was The Catnippers.  In June 1904, the club presented Boodle and Co.  The May 1905 production was entitled Machiavelli.

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.

Death of Sarah Wyman Whitman
June 25, 1904

Annie Adams Fields and SOJ to Sylvia Hathaway Watson Emerson

[ After April 1904 ?]

Dear Sylvia: I seize the paper nearest at hand to thank you for your dear letter.  I was saying to Sarah only last eveg "we have neither of us been able to write to Sylvia and thank her for her dear letters and flowers and all kindnesses", and here you are writing us again and telling us what we wish to hear.  We are getting on, yet rather slowly and letters are more than we are able to --  I rejoice to hear particulars of the young engagements, for although we have heard some of the bare facts it is good to have them allied to real persons and made as the phrase is, into human documents --.

    How interesting that Richmond

[ Page 2 ]

business* has been, doing a world of good I am sure to both North & South -- Mrs Booker T. Washington* has been here, a delightful creature, singularly like her husband, both in appearance and interests.

    Sarah sends you ^both^ her love and thanks with mine.

    Goodbye dear Sylvia and Ralph* from your affectionate

Annie Fields

Dear Sylvia

    I found this note going on and said that I must add a word to it.  As I get better I find it harder to write for some inscrutable reason and I can hardly write at all if I set at a desk, [ as ? corrected?] I have had a slight habit of doing these many years!  I know you will be eager to hear about dear Mrs. Fields and I hasten to

[ Page 3 ]

say that I have found her even better than I had expected, looking almost entirely well often and often, but much effort makes her look pale and weak.  I think the conditions of an illness, the shutting up and losing ones work which is the backbone of life, are often as bad as the illness itself.  And you know how she has depended upon her walks? --  I am slowly getting over the effects of my accident,* but "I aint what I was" as our country friends would say --  I still have much pain and dizziness, and I cant walk very well, but before I came away the weather had been so bad that I could only get out a very little, and I need practice!!  All my excellent doctors have said 'no writing, no effort for a long time yet.' You will know how I keep thinking that it would be nice if I were well and could do things to help our dear A.F. but we must be patient.  Mary* is coming

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for me next week.  How I wish that I could get to see you and dear Mr. Emerson{.}*  I hoped to see you both, and that we should be playing together a great deal this last winter -- but now let's just look forward to next winter instead and no matter how many pencils there are, I'll come and sharpen them!

    I don't think much of this block of paper.  I'd like you to believe that these finger marks aren't appertaining to either A. F. or me.  I just tore the page off, but they look like gardening persons fingers, and I wish mine had been grubbing.

    Yours with unforgetting love
S. O. J.

[On the reverse side of page 1 are these notes, which may not be in Jewett's hand.]

Dr. Seiss.  17th St. E.
Please call.  Write to [Sir or Dr. Thorst ?] Prof Zeiss?*


1904:  The letter is not dated, but apparent references to Jewett's 1902 carriage accident as some time in the past and Fields's mentioning the Richmond Streetcar Boycott suggest this date.  Jewett's expression at the end of the letter of a wish to be gardening indicates a spring or summer season.

Richmond business:  It seems likely that Fields refers to the 1904 Richmond Streetcar Boycott, which began in April of 1904 and lasted until early fall.

Mrs. Booker T. Washington: Wikipedia says: "Booker Taliaferro Washington (1856 - 1915) was an American educator, author, orator, and advisor to presidents of the United States. Between 1890 and 1915, Washington was the dominant leader in the African-American community."  He married his third wife, Margaret James Murray, in 1893, after losing his first two wives.
    Whether there is a link in Fields's mind between the Richmond Streetcar Boycott and Booker T. Washington is not clear.  It is generally assumed that Washington opposed such boycotts, preferring a more accommodationist approach to opposing "Jim Crow" racial segregation laws.

Ralph:  This is likely Mrs. Emerson's son, Ralph Lincoln Emerson (1868 - 1899), though it may be her husband, William Ralph Emerson.

my accident:  A carriage accident on 3 September 1902 incapacitated Jewett for professional writing; thereafter, she no longer wrote for publication.

Mary:  Mary Rice Jewett.  See Correspondents.

Mr. Emerson:  William Ralph Emerson.  See Sylvia H. W. Emerson in Correspondents.

Prof Zeiss: The meaning of these notes is not yet known, nor have any of the names been identified.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Library of Congress in the Owen Wister Papers, 1829-1966, MSS46177, Box 19.  Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Frances (Mrs. Henry) Parkman

[Summer 1904]*

Dearest Frances

            Did you ever see a little sermon called Happiness that S. W. wrote years ago, and printed in a book that Mrs. James Lodge put together:  partly her own writing, with a really delightful preface, and partly stories, translations & verses etc.  all ‘amateur’ work in a way, but it made a pretty gold and white book called “A Week away from Time"?*  I had much to do with it and it always brings back some very pleasant things.  Mrs. Fields* and I re-read the sermon on Sunday, after I had again got hold of it myself, and with new admiration.  Mrs. Fields always said it was the best of the book and liked it dearly, but I was not so sure then, and on Sunday I liked it a thousand times more than even before.  I’ll send you the book if you like, and dont know it.

            I had a most dear letter from Mrs. Wolcott.  I wish that you and she would read The Way it Came, my favorite among all Mr. James’s stories, together, when she gets to you.  I marked that, and The Liar, which comes next, in their respective volumes.  The Way it Came is a great story I think, so full of feeling and of a subtle knowledge of human nature, of the joyful hopes, and enlightenments, and gray disappointments of life -- the things we truly live by! -- I dont know how many times I have read this of the half dozen others that come next: The Liar, The Death of the Lion etc.

            I often wish that I could see you.  This moon makes we wish that we were together, and I am always wondering if I cant get to you.  Things happen if you want them enough; I keep saying this with happy certainty, but I am just ending almost a week of the old thing in the back of my head, that came on when I felt very flourishing one morning and drove over to Mrs. Howe’s garden & back!!  You see that the effects of a railway journey would just cover a longer visit than anybody could possibly want.  To day I am flourishing enough to be worth inviting.  I have been down into the woods with my stick while Mrs. Fields went to drive.  It is but a hampered life with these aches, and such stumbling feet when they go.  Oh, I am tired of talking about them, as tired as anybody can be to hear me insist that they exist.  Good-bye dear with love always from


Thank you over and over again for your last dear and delightful letter.


Summer 1904:  The earliest date for this letter would be 1903, the summer after Jewett's September 1902 carriage accident, but in this letter she seems somewhat better recovered than she was in 1903. Fields places it with other letters from near 1904.  That Jewett and Fields have been reading a favorite Sarah Wyman Whitman piece together suggests that they are remembering Whitman after her death on June 25, 1904.

"A Week away from Time": Mary (Mrs. James) Lodge (1829-1889) edited A Week Away from Time in 1887. Annie Fields provided a "Poetical Prelude." Sarah (Mrs. Henry) Whitman wrote "Happiness" for the collection. Mary Lodge contributed a preface, notes, and "Story of a Voice." See Blanchard, p. 225, for a brief description of the book.

Mrs. Fields:  Annie Adams Fields.  See Correspondents.

Mrs. Wolcott: In a letter to Louisa Dresel of August 18, 1896, Jewett mentions a visit from Mrs. Edith Wolcott, wife of Massachusetts governor (1896-1898) Roger Wolcott (1847-1900). Edith (1853-1934) was the daughter of American historian William Hicking Prescott. See "Jewett to Dresel: 33 Letters" in Colby Library Quarterly 7 (March 1975): 45.

"The Way it Came" ... Mr. James ... "The Liar" ... "The Death of the Lion": These stories are by Henry James (1843-1916). "The Way it Came" appeared in Embarrassments in 1896. "The Liar" appeared in A London Life (1889). "The Death of the Lion" appeared in Terminations (1895).

old thing in the back of my head:  Jewett refers to the effects of her carriage accident of September 1902.

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

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

Annie Fields's Transcription of a portion of this letter

from Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett (1911), 

     Dearest Frances, -- Did you ever see a little sermon called "Happiness?" that S. W. wrote years ago, and printed in a book that Mrs. James Lodge put together? partly her own writing, with a really delightful preface, and partly stories -- translations and verses, etc.; all amateur work in a way, but it made a pretty gold and white book called "A Week away from Time."* I had much to do with it and it always brings back some very pleasant things. Mrs. Fields and I re-read the sermon on Sunday, after I had again got hold of it myself, and with new admiration. Mrs. Fields always said that it was the best of the book and liked it dearly, but I was not so sure then, and on Sunday I liked it a thousand times more than ever before. I'll send you the book if you like and don't know it.

     I had a most dear letter from Mrs. Wolcott.* I wish that you and she could read "The Way it Came," my favorite among all Mr. James's stories, together, when she gets to you. I marked that, and "The Liar," which comes next, in their respective volumes. "The Way it Came" is a great story, I think, so full of feeling and of a subtle knowledge of human nature, of the joyful hopes, and enlightenments and grey disappointments of life -- the things we truly live by! -- I don't know how many times I have read this or the half dozen others that come next: "The Liar," "The Death of the Lion," etc.*

SOJ to Kate Douglas Wiggin (Mrs. George C. Riggs)

Sunday August 20th -- [ 1904 ]*

Dear Mrs. Riggs

    You have arrived via Berwick in high academic splendour and I am so glad to have your letter and to follow your track of the summer.  It strikes me as a fine touch, the gold tassel, with the white hood -- I like a lot of colour! And I always love Radcliffe Commencement* -- though I do wish that you had happened to go once when dear Mrs. Agassiz* was the best of all simple dignities -- and was quite unconscious of it -- better still: you can imagine how lovely a part of the scene her dear face alway made as one looked at the platform.  Thank Heaven she is better this summer than she was last summer, but I suppose she will not try to share any more in these great days ---- And I loved the post cards -- your house, the little church!  My heart gave a sudden beat when I looked at the second story window in the front and thought that there might still be high "singing seats"* within.  You have been very kind in writing, and in making me these pleasures beside the greater one of remembrance.

    I am glad to say that I am stronger than in the spring, and I have a sense of getting hold of myself again at times which is very pleasant to feel, but I have so little "capital" that to sit in the middle of a company of five or six, and try to keep the talk straight, or to write or read long, or to walk more than a little way brings a quick punishment.  I am so glad to have got here by the sea -- (and to Mrs. Cabot before I began this visit to Mrs. Fields)* -- the sea air is so good after being robbed of it for the last two summers -- and in both houses I am at home, not a guest exactly, which is delightful.  Almost the best thing about your photograph is the sight of your being so much better than when I saw you last.

    With many thanks and wishing that I could drive from my river to your river once more

Yours most sincerely

Sarah O. Jewett

I was so glad to see the other day that Rebecca* was in the Tauchnitz Edition.  She little thought it once!


1904:  Dating this letter is problematic.  It seems, with some ambiguity, to refer to Mrs. Riggs receiving an honorary degree from Bowdoin College, which took place in June of 1904.  However August 20 falls on Saturday in 1904, Sunday in 1905.  I have chosen 1904 as the more probable date.

Radcliffe Commencement ... Mrs. Agassiz:  Elizabeth Cabot Cary Agassiz was one of the founders of Radcliffe College, which gave women access to programs at Harvard University. See Correspondents.  

"singing seats":  Jewett's reference remains unclear.  Jewett seems to indicate that the photograph Riggs has sent her shows a church with a second-story window, suggesting to her that there is a choir balcony or loft in the pictured church.  These would be the singing seats.  The quotation marks suggest that Jewett may refer to one of Rigg's books, but the only one so far known to mention "singing seats" is her 1913 novel, The Story of Waitstill Baxter.

Mrs. Cabot ... Mrs. Fields:  Susan Burley Cabot and Annie Adams Fields.  See Correspondents.  

Rebecca:  Wiggin's Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1903) is her best-known work. That her book has been published by Tauchnitz (Liepzig, Germanyy) in 1904 means that it receives distribution in English throughout Europe and that she is being paid for these sales.

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

SOJ to Ellen Chase

     South Berwick, Maine, Friday, 23 September, 1904.

     My dear Ellen, -- I must thank you, too, for your royal present of the Herbal,* which was waiting for me when I got home from the mountains. I am put on such short commons of reading and writing, and can manage to do so little of either, yet, that after the first delighted look I had to fall back on the (after all!) deep joys of possession. But I look forward to the day when I can quite live between the covers of that great book. I have thought of you many and many a time this summer, and always with a true gratitude for your dear thoughtfulness and kindness in so many ways.

     Yours most affectionately.


the Herbal: Mary Ellen Chase's publishing career begins seriously after Jewett's death. An herbal that she might have given Jewett could be that by John Hill (1714-1775), The Family Herbal, Or, an Account of All Those English Plants Which Are Remarkable for Their Virtues, and of the Drugs Which Are Produced by Vegetables of Other Countries; with Their Descriptions and Their Uses, as Proved by Experience (1754), which was reprinted in 1900. Another candidate, also reissued in 1900 is Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654), Culpeper's Complete Herbal : Consisting of a Comprehensive Description of Nearly All British and Foreign Herbs; with Their Medicinal Properties and Directions for Compounding the Medicines Extracted from Them.

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 Messr. Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

     South Berwick, Maine
     October 1, [1904]

     I thank you for your kind messages during the summer to which I could not make any answer, in fact, I have but lately begun to look over the many letters, etc., which had accumulated. I am still kept on short commons of either writing or reading, but there are one or two things which I wish to say.
     I find another long letter from Mr. Edward Garnett1 of London (the writer, as Mr. Mifflin will remember, of some letters on the part of Messrs. Duckworth & Co. in the late winter) inquiring again as to the prospect of a new edition of my books, and saying that they would take 1000 copies of each volume, etc. I do not press for an immediate decision but lay the matter again before you.2 (I should feel bound, in case of such a plan, to speak also to Messrs. Smith & Elder.)3
     And I have noticed among the letters that I have been going over, a good many from young persons who seem to have taken my stories of Betty Leicester much to heart. This, with the remembrances of Mr. Garrison's4 writing me last spring of these books having done noticeably well in the last six months, makes me feel that we might do well to put them in some way freshly before the public this autumn and take advantage of the wave of new interest which seems to exist, and in a way that really surprises me. But will you please give directions at the Press that the old binding should be restored to Betty Leicester? -- the scarlet and white -- for it is an ugly little book at present; the die does not sit well sidewise on one corner and this green and red cloth are very far from the beauty of Mrs. Whitman's5 charming design. Even if the original cloths are no longer in market, I should think they might be approached in colour without much trouble.
     Believe me, with kindest regards and thanks, especially to Mr. Mifflin and Mr. Garrison for their letters,
     Yours most truly,
     S. O. Jewett


     1 Edward Garnett (1868-1937), English critic, essayist, playwright, and literary adviser to several British publishers over the years, had a hand in developing the careers of Conrad, Galsworthy, and D. H. Lawrence, among others. In his long letters to Miss Jewett during this period Garnett expresses pleasure that Duckworth & Co. has introduced The King of Folly Island to English readers, urges that she secure permission for them to reissue Deephaven from the American sheets, assures her that Duckworth is interested in putting out a new selection of her stories, thirty of them in "a modest edition of (say) three volumes," and says that he is advising Fisher Unwin to publish The Country of the Pointed Firs.
     In the letter Miss Jewett cites here (August 31, 1904, on Duckworth stationery), Garnett specifically proposes that Houghton Mifflin publish an edition of The Best Tales of Sarah Orne Jewett, the first volume to be an entirely new work; volumes II, III, and IV, Selected Tales; volume V, The Country of the Pointed Firs. "I believe that Duckworth would take a thousand copies of each volume if such an Edition could be arranged." (Colby College Library)
     2 No formal edition of Jewett Works was ever published. In 1910 Houghton Mifflin reissued seven volumes in uniform bindings but from the original plates, which were called collectively Stories and Tales. The books included: Deephaven, A Country Doctor, Tales of New England, A Native of Winby, The Life of Nancy, The Country of the Pointed Firs, The Queen's Twin. An English edition was brought out by Constable & Company (London, 1911).
    3 Smith, Elder & Company published The Queen's Twin (London, 1900) and The Tory Lover (London, 1901).
    4 Francis Jackson Garrison (see Recipients).
    5 Sarah Wyman Whitman (see Recipients).

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 Charles Miner Thompson

     South Berwick, Maine, October 12, 1904.

     My dear Mr. Thompson, -- I wish that I could have written sooner to tell you how deeply I feel the kindness and sympathy for my stories in your "Atlantic" paper.* Perhaps you may know already that I have not yet recovered from a bad accident and long illness that followed it, and that I find it very difficult now to read or to write, and so you will not have thought me unmindful of such friendliness as you have shown to me and to my work. If you felt the difficulty, of which you speak in your first paragraph, in writing about a writer, I feel, too, as one might who heard some one begin to speak frankly of one's self in the next room. This has been an innocent sort of eaves-dropping, and not without profit and suggestion, as well as happy reassurance for me. Indeed, I understand that "The Country Doctor" is of no value as a novel,* but it has many excellent ideas, for which I must thank not only my father's teaching, but my father himself. It only makes me wish to see you some day, when we can talk together as much as we wish, now that I am trying to write this letter to you; indeed, there are many points in your paper that give one something to think about and to say. I was looking at a translation of one of Turguenieff's stories, "Rudin," not long ago, and came upon something in Stepniak's preface to the book which struck me deeply with its likeness to some of your own words about -- not a Master by any means, but a story-writer of certain instincts! "But there was in him such a love of light, sunshine, and living human poetry, such an organic aversion to all that is ugly, or coarse, or discordant, that he made himself almost exclusively the poet of the gentler side of human nature. On the fringe of his pictures, or in their background, just for the sake of contrast, he will show us the vices, the cruelties, even the mire of life. But he cannot stay in these gloomy regions, and he hastens back to the realms of the sun and the flowers, or to the poetical moonlight of melancholy, which he loves best because in it he can find expression for his own great sorrowing heart."

     I find myself copying the whole of this, -- but you would like the whole preface: it is in an edition lately republished here by Macmillan, edited by Mr. Garnett.* I did not know much of Turguenieff in earlier years, but there is all the greater pleasure in making one's self familiar now with all his work. I remember Mr. Howells asking me with great interest long ago when I had written the story of a "Landless Farmer,"* if I knew Turguenieff's "Lear of the Steppe";* but I did not then or for a few years after. I confessed to Mr. Perry that I never was a Hawthorne lover in early life!* I am afraid now that it was a dangerous admission to have made to my kind essayist editor! but I tell this also to you, since after what you said, it will not be without interest; we come to our work by strange paths -- we hardly know how. It was hard for this person (made of Berwick dust) to think of herself as a "summer visitor," but I quite understand your point of view; one may be away from one's neighborhood long enough to see it quite or almost from the outside, though as I make this concession I remember that it was hardly true at the time of "Deephaven."*

     I must not try to write longer, but I shall be looking forward to seeing you. I hope that this may be when winter comes, for I hope to be well enough then to get to town. I can seldom think at all about the affairs of writing, of which my mind used always to be full. Once lately something made me turn to one of my stories -- "The Only Rose";* I read it to a young friend who wished to hear it, with a very strange feeling, because there it was, quite alive and well, even if its writer was no longer good for any writing at all. You will see by this what pleasure I could get from your serious and interested talk about all the stories; I liked to think that they were so alive to some one, and had given, or could still give pleasure.

     Believe me, with my best thanks and regards to so kind a friend,

     Yours most sincerely,

     S. O. Jewett.


your "Atlantic" paper: Charles Miner Thompson (1864-1941), "The Art of Miss Jewett," appeared in Atlantic Monthly in October 1904 (94:485-497).

"The Country Doctor": Jewett's A Country Doctor was published in 1884.

Turguenieff's stories ... "Rudin" ... Stepniak's preface ... lately republished by Macmillan, edited by Mr. Garnett: Rudin was Ivan Turgenev's (1818-1883) first novel, published in 1856 and translated into English in 1873. Jewett was reading the W. Heineman (London) / Macmillan (New York) The Novels of Ivan Turgenev volume 1, Rudin (1894). This Constance Garnett (1862-1946) translation includes an introduction by S. Stepniak (Sergei Mikhailovich Kravchinskii, 1852-1895). Editor of the series was Edward Garnett (1868-1937); he corresponded with Jewett and promoted her work in England.

Howells:  William Dean Howells.  See Correspondents.

"Landless Farmer": Jewett's "A Landless Farmer" appeared in Atlantic Monthly (51: 627-37; 759-69) in May and June of 1883, and was collected in The Mate of the Daylight (1883).

Turguenieff's "Lear of the Steppe": Ivan Turgenev's A Lear of the Steppes, and Other Stories appeared in an English translation by Edward and Constance Garnett in 1898.

Perry:  Bliss Perry.  See Correspondents.

Deephaven: Jewett's Deephaven was published as single book constructed out of previously published sketches in 1877.

"The Only Rose": Jewett's story appeared in Atlantic Monthly (73:37-46) in January 1894 and was collected in The Life of Nancy (1895).

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

SOJ to Annie Adams Fields

Monday eveg

Fall 1904 ]

Dearest Annie

    I have been thinking about you so much today -- Thank you for your dear letter. Helen* will have a cold bright night under the stars at Intervale. I often think about the place and the trees -- some of the trees I hated last summer = I used to feel as if they were coming at me! but at last I went out in the dark by myself before I came away and got over that!

    -- I laughed a little laugh
[ Page 2 ]

-- with a little tear in my mind's eye too -- over your note on the back of the envelope. When I had read the brief ^Atlantic^ paper* as I had not done before. My Fuff* must have been a little tired! -- but I am going to give her a hug, and tell her it is beautiful to take things in large -- only not to tell the accurate that they* are wrong ^in details^ !! Fuffy to gayly say sometimes, -- "Oh I daresay you are right!" and still possess the field! Details are good in their place too!

    Later -- I am writing the rest

[ Page 3 ]

of my poor remarks while your dinner is going on -- it is a few minutes before nine and I have just come upstairs. Dont forget to tell me who were there beside the two dear guests I already know. ---- I am so glad that it is cool and fresh weather -- you aren't half so likely to be too tired. --

    I wish to ask you before I forget it, whether the Spectators* have been coming regularly -- I shouldn't have any fears -- for you might easily wish to keep some numbers a little longer, but you know we thought one had missed just before I came away -- We must speak

[ Page 4 ]

with the Corner Bookstore* if they haven't come would you just write my name and the Spectators! on a piece of paper and ask John* to stop someday as he goes [ to changed from by ] that neighbourhood??

    I was thinking about John tonight, -- [ telling corrected ] Mary* that we must convey a sample of the browntail moths* for him to see = when he goes to Manchester in the early visitation; he can see if there are any about the place.

    Good-night dear -- this hasn't been a very good day for me. I was convinced that I did well not to try to get to town, but tonight I have got "straightened out." Tomorrow Mrs. Walden* is expected but she sent a note to Mary to say that she shouldn't come until half past three & go away at half past six! -- I cant think

[ Manuscript breaks off; no signature.]


Fall 1904:  Fields penciled "1904" in the upper right of page 1There is little evidence for or against this date within the letter, though it seems likely to be close.  Jewett mentions Intervale, where she spent parts of the summer often from 1896 until her death.  In the absence of more conclusive evidence, I have accepted Fields's dating.
    Parenthesis marks in this manuscript also were penciled by Fields.

Helen: There are several Helens among Fields and Jewett's friends.  Probably, but not certainly, this is Helen Bigelow Merriman, who had a home in Intervale, NH. See Correspondents.

Atlantic paper: Fields is not known to have published anything in Atlantic Monthly after March 1903, when her essay "Saint Theresa" appeared. Perhaps Jewett refers to a current "paper" Fields had commended to her attention.

Fuff:  Nickname for Annie Adams Fields. See Correspondents.

they:  Jewett has underlined this word twice.

Spectators: Probably the British weekly public affairs magazine, which began publication in 1828.

Corner Bookstore: A major Boston bookstore of the time, at the corner of School and Washington Streets.

John: Almost certainly an employee of Annie Fields.

Mary: Mary Rice Jewett. See Correspondents.

browntail mothsWikipedia says that the brown-tail moth is native to Europe, and nearby Asia and North Africa. Accidentally introduced into North America in the 1890s, it was found in New England and neighboring Canada.

Mrs. Walden:  Katherine (Kate) Sleeper Walden. See Correspondents.

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 Annie Adams Fields

Wednesday morning

[ Late October 1904 ]*

Dearest Annie

    I have been thinking that I should like it if I could be there to open the door for you* when you get home today! .  -- but you must make believe as I shall, that I am there and think of many happy times that nobody can rob us of -- I hope you will let Margaret* offer a portion of cocoatina!* It is so "staying and resting" a good drink! -- I had a nice letter from Mary*

[ Page 2 ]

yesterday -- yesterday must have been a beautiful day at the mountains with its rainy morning coming up so suddenly and the splendid clear afternoon{.}

    -- I hope it was so there, but ^perhaps^ the clouds didn't "blow out of the mountains" as Helen* says, as quickly as they did here. Today is windy and gray -- a day when it isn't so hard to leave dear Manchester. I am thinking about it as if I were there.

    I am sorry about Alice* for all reasons. I wish that

[ Page 3 ]

I felt Dr. Goldthwaite* to be a better doctor than maker of appliances -- he doesn't seem to succeed in either direction with our poor friend. ^but there are some things that cant be done.^*  Oh darling how I wish you were going to feel as if the change of coming here for a little while would be good for you, we would do every thing we could to have it pleasant and comfortable -- we are sure to have better weather.  October has been more like December so far, and presently it will be still and sweet and windless. My beloved Early November is yet to come, too!

[ Page 4 ]

Katy* has held to it from the first that she must have a visit!

    I meant to keep that little book of Dr. Osler's,* dear. I see that St. Timothy's belongs to Mark Howe,* so I shall send it back by first conveyance. I own it -- Russell Greeley* gave it to me -- it is a beautiful piece of work. -- I saw Mrs Doe* yesterday - I am going to lend her the Osler lecture ----

With dearest love, your



Late October 1904:  This tentative date is supported by Jewett's report of reading a lecture by Dr. William Osler that is probably his Ingersoll Lecture of 1904.  See notes below.
   Penciled in the upper right corner of page 1, probably by Annie Fields: "October".  Parenthesis marks in this manuscript were penciled by Fields.

you: A blot appears before this word; it may be a deleted insertion.

Margaret: Presumably a Fields employee.

cocoatinaPowdered chocolate beverage. Presumably Jewett quotes advertising copy.

Mary:  Mary Rice Jewett.  See Correspondents.

Helen:  Probably Helen Merriman. See Correspondents.

Alice: Presumably, this Alice suffered from rheumatic illness, as she was likely treated by a specialist in such diseases.  Which Alice this is has not yet been discovered.  Likely candidates are Alice Longfellow and Alice Greenwood Howe. See Correspondents.

Dr. Goldthwaite: This may be Dr. Joel Ernest Goldthwaite (1866-1961) an orthopedist at the Harvard Medical School, who specialized in part in the treatment of rheumatoid illness.  Little more had yet been learned about him.  Born in Boston and educated at Harvard, he married Jessie Sophia Goldthwaite.  Their son Joel Addison Goldthwaite also became a physician.

be done: Jewett has not indicated exactly where she wishes to place this insertion.

Katy:  Probably Katy Galvin. See Correspondents.

Dr. Osler's:  Probably this is Sir William Osler (1849-1919), a Canadian physician and medical educator, one of the founding professors of Johns Hopkins Hospital. Of his published lectures, probably the one that appeared in Jewett's lifetime and was most likely to interest her and Fields was his Ingersoll Lecture, Science and Immortality (Houghton Mifflin, 1904).  The Ingersoll Lectures on Human Immortality took place at Harvard University, beginning in 1896.

St. Timothy's ... Mark Howe: Mark Antony De Wolfe Howe. See Correspondents. Which book Jewett is returning is not yet known.

Russell Greeley:  Richard Cary identifies Russell Hubbard Greeley (1878-1956), a classmate of Theodore Eastman at Harvard College. Eastman is Jewett's nephew. See Correspondents
     The Third Catalog of the Signet (1903) shows that Greeley was living in Boston soon after his 1901 graduation, where he was studying painting, and notes that while at Harvard, he was editor of the Lampoon (p. 79). He studied at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston School, where he won two student prizes in 1905.  He is listed among the members of the Tavern Club of Boston in 1904.

Mrs. Doe: Edith Bell Haven Doe. See Correspondents.

Pinny:  Pinny Lawson (Pinny / Pin) was an affectionate nickname for Jewett, used by her and Annie Fields. See Correspondents.

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 Miss Louisa P. Loring

     South Berwick, Thursday, November 3, 1904.

     My dear Louisa, -- If you knew how much pleasure your note and the exquisite photograph gave me yesterday, you would never forbid my writing a word to say so! I only wish you would come flying down like one of your own pigeons, out of the blue sky, so that we could talk as much as we wish about the Hermes. I find in the note that you felt there at Olympia just as I felt!* The light on the face in this photograph is nearest the real thing of any picture or copy of any sort whatever that I know.

     Thank dear K. for her last note.* I hope to see you both before winter gets very far, but my last grind of "headaches" and "the prevailing fall cold" on top of it have sent this slow patient down hill again. Never mind! there ought to be time enough for everything, taking this world and the next together!

     Yours lovingly.


Hermes ... Olympia: Karl Baedeker's Greece: Handbook for Travellers 2nd Revised Edition, 1894, indicates that Louisa has sent Jewett a photograph of the statue of Hermes by Praxiteles, which stood in the Museum at Olympia.

dear K.: Almost certainly this is Katharine Peabody Loring (1849 - 1943) of Beverly, Massachusetts, Louisa's older sister, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Loring. Blanchard in Sarah Orne Jewett says Loring was one of the founders of the Radcliffe College precursor, the Society to Encourage Studies at Home in 1873, where she was head of the history program (109). Helpful information also appears in Sally Schwager's Harvard thesis, "Harvard Women": A History of the Founding of Radcliffe College (1982). Katharine Loring probably is best known as the domestic partner of Alice James (beginning in 1873), sister of Henry and William James. Henry James, according to Leon Edel, loosely based his characters Olive Chancellor and Verena Tarrant in The Bostonians (1885-6) upon Katharine and his sister (Henry James: A Life, pp. 308-314; see also Edel's introduction to The Diary of Alice James).
    Katherine Loring was responsible for the preservation and eventual publication of Alice James's diary, in which Katherine is usually referred to as "K."

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 Sarah Cabot Wheelwright

148 Charles Street
Wednesday [November 1904]

Dear Sarah

You will be glad to know that Mrs. Fields is getting on well and begins to look like herself though she is still very weak.  It is a great comfort and stay to have your good Katy* and we begin to feel as if we were put together again. Mrs. Fields gains a little every day but there came a time when after such worry and fatigue I felt each day a little worse than the day before, and thought the pieces of me weren't worth the trouble of picking up. Alice Howe* has been a great good friend as always and I have had luncheon with her tui [so transcribed ] twice and the last time I went off alone and saw two acts of The Admirable Creichton at the Easton Square.*  I  have always wished to see the play and could quite get the run of it before I felt too tired to stay any longer. I thought almost as much of you as of the play! I sat way over the other side -- there was a little Cuban woman in front as usual, and much the same congregation -- It does change one's wearing thoughts like nothing else, and I could come home and tell Mrs. Fields about that too funny first scene when they all come in to the party!

Good night with love to you and Mary.

S. O. J.


November 1904:  This letter is speculatively dated based upon a known performance of The Admirable Crichton in Boston in November of 1904. However, as the notes below indicate, several details in the letter cast doubt upon this choice.

Mrs. Fields
Annie Fields.  See Correspondents.

:  Presumably this is not Katy Galvin, a long-time employee of the Jewett family.  Assistance is welcome.

Alice Howe
:  Alice Greenwood Howe.  See Correspondents.

The Admirable CreichtonThe Admirable Crichton by J. M. Barrie was first produced in 1902 in London.  It opened on 16 November 1903 at New York's Lyceum Theatre, played there for four months, and toured the United States after this run.  Wikipedia summarizes the first act:

Act One is set in Loam Hall, the household of Lord Loam, a British peer, Crichton being his butler. Loam considers the class divisions in British society to be artificial. He promotes his views during tea-parties where servants mingle with his aristocratic guests, to the embarrassment of all. Crichton particularly disapproves, considering the class system to be "the natural outcome of a civilised society."

A production of The Admirable Crichton with William Gillette ran for at least two weeks at the Hollis Street Theatre in Boston, beginning approximately on 2 November 1904.  While it is not certain that Jewett attended one of these performances, the inference is plausible.
    The location of the theatre Jewett attended is problematic.  There is no longer an Easton Square in Boston.  Stoddart says that Easton Square was renamed Bowdoin Square, the location of the Bowdoin Square Theatre.  However, no record has yet been found of a production of The Admirable Crichton at the Bowdoin Square Theater before 1909.  Nor is it established that the Hollis Street Theatre was near or in a location named Easton Square.

Mary:  Mary Cabot Wheelwright. 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 by Terry Heller, Coe College.

Annie Adams Fields to Mary Rice Jewett

148 Charles Street

[ 1904 ]*
Dear Mary,

    Your letters from your cousins have given me a delightful picture of seaside life in winter of which we know too little.  My cottage* is so essentially a summer perch that I never ever dream of it after November until June.

    I was just about to write you about our visit next week from you to which we are looking

[ Page 2 ]

forward when the Mrs Tyson* at the telephone, after speaking of an appointment here for Mme Massenbach* etc., said she wanted you to make her a little visit, but the time was [unrecognized word] etc., and she had not been able to induce you to come.

    Now, do be good to us both and prepare for a little longer stay by going first to Mrs Tyson

[ Page 3 ]

for a couple of days from Tuesday until Thursday night or Friday morning and then coming for a week here.  I think Sarah* is comfortable and quiet now and I fancy it will be as well for her to stay where she is for a week longer.

    Pray think this proposition over formally.  Give my love to Katy* and thank

[ Page 4 ]

{her }for wishing me to go back with you.  Tell her that I am of no great use surely, but such as I am, having been away all last winter, I must stay now until April and attend to my little ship and its cargo.

    Mrs Tyson is to have cousins to stay ^for^ some time the last of next week, ^Saturday^ but that is just the moment for a bit of a visit between now and then -- so arrange for this "spree" dear Mary and please us both.

Affectionately yours
Annie Fields.


1904:  This date is speculative.  Annie Fields seems to have had a telephone already in 1884, as indicated in her 19 September 1884 letter to Eben Horsford.   Emily Tyson became a regular contact in about 1899.  The letter hints that Jewett's health has been poor, pointing toward 1903 or later.  If Mme. Massenbach is correctly identified in the following notes, then 1904 would be a likely date for this letter.

my cottage:  Fields refers to her Gambrel Cottage on Thunderbolt Hill in Manchester-by-the-Sea, where she resided most summers.

Mrs. Tyson: Emily Davis Tyson. See Correspondents.

Mme Massenbach:  This transcription is quite uncertain.  If it is correct, this may be the Dutch Baroness de Massenbach, who is known to have visited the United States in 1904.
    "Baroness de Massenbach of Holland, whose home is at The Hague, was in the city yesterday on her way from the Yellowstone park to St. Louis.  She was with a party of twenty-two travelers who are "doing" the United States.  Among the places visited was Minnehah Falls, which the baroness admired very much."  Minneapolis Journal 25 July 1904, p. 7.
    However, this is uncertain and no confirming information has been discovered.  Assistance is welcome.

Sarah: Sarah Orne Jewett. See Correspondents.

Katy:  Probably Katy Galvin.  See Correspondents. However, Sarah Cabot Wheelwright also seems to have had a Katy working for her at this time.

The manuscript of this letter is held by Historic New England in Letters from Annie Fields to Mary Rice Jewett, Jewett Family Papers: MS014.01.04.  Transcribed and annotated by Terry Heller. Coe College.

SOJ to Thomas Bailey Aldrich

   Friday Decr 8th [1904 ]*

[ Begin letterhead ]

South Berwick, Maine.

[ End letterhead ]

My dear T.B.

    It is such a pride and pleasure to have a book* from a live author especially when I feel just like a dead one! I think that I never wrote you before before  [ repeated ] I read the book.  I wish I could see the Play, but I shall hear all about it when I see you and Lilian* again.  With love to you both, and a thousand good wishes for the Book and Play both

Yours always affectionately

S. O. J

[ 2 ]

I hope to get to town before long.  Mrs. Tyson* has been gone a fortnight and we miss her so much.

    I should not have written you before I could read your Judith, but it has only just reached me after some delays, and I wished to say it had come, and how much I thank you, without writing{.}


1904:  As the notes below indicate, Jewett refers to an autumn 1904 production of an Aldrich drama based on his poem Judith and Holofernes.

a book:  Probably, Aldrich has given Jewett a copy of his dramatization of Judith and Holofernes: A Poem (1896).  Aldrich draws upon the Book of Judith, which Protestants place in the Apocrypha, as a non-canonical biblical text. The widow, Judith, delivers her Jewish people from their Assyrian conquerors by gaining the trust of General Holofernes and then beheading him.
    According to Greenslet's The Life of Thomas Bailey Aldrich, his dramatization of his poem -- commissioned by the American actress Nance O'Neil (1874-1965) opened in New York on 13 October 1904 (pp. 228 ff).

Lilian: Lilian Woodman Aldrich. See Correspondents.

Mrs. Tyson: Emily Davis Tyson. 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: 2766.

 SOJ to Alice Meynell

          South Berwick, Maine, December 14, 1904.

     My very dear Friend, -- I have been thanking you in my heart all this time for the letter which came in the summer, just when I was most grateful for such pleasure of getting hold of your hand again. The letter and the beautiful Cowper preface came together:* I was in retreat at the Mountains, staying alone in a journeying-friend's big country house with my nurse for many weeks, -- the doctors had forbidden both writing and reading; but on a long day it happened that by an odd chance, this letter of all letters, being forwarded with other things, dropped into my hands! I had to read it and read it and hold it fast to my heart, -- the nurse looking on with true sympathy. One of the first things when she came, a stranger, and we were a little uncertain of each other's claws (!) I was fretting because I hadn't brought at least two or three books that I loved. I wished for your poems and almost cried as I said so. -- "I've got that book in my trunk!" said dear Miss O'Bryan * with shining face, and we feared each other's claws no more! She used to read to me a little now and then; I never knew how I loved you, either in your work or out of it, before that summer brought me a long way further into the country of our friendship. It is very strange to go through this long time of silence; a strange loss of balance followed the terrible blow on my head, and I am not yet free from its troubles or from the attacks of pain in the back of my head. People say, "Can't you write a little?" but in nothing can that sense of balance count as it must in writing. I am stronger, I am even going to town presently. I am so often thinking of you in the long hours when I crochet instead of reading everything as one used! I do read a little every morning now, in Santa Teresa's Letters,* -- and I pick up other things now and then for a little while, but my wits get blurred over, easily. Say that you and Mr. Meynell are coming over in the spring, when you write again! And take all my heart's wishes for a happy Christmas for you and for those you love, dear.


Rita Gollin in Annie Fields (2002) says of this letter, "After Sarah suffered a carriage accident in 1902, she entered into an even deeper friendship with Meynell than Annie's [Fields].  Forbidden to read or write, she longed for Meynell's poems ... as Sarah confided two years later....  Annie included that letter to "My very dear friend" in her edition of Sarah's letters, although Mrs. Meynell had hesitated to send it because it seemed 'too much about me and not enough about her'" (297).

Cowper preface: Alice Meynell (1847- 1922) published an edition of William Cowper's (1731-1800) Poems with her preface in 1900.

Miss O'Bryan:  Jewett's nurse has not been identified. Assistance is welcome.

Santa Teresa's Letters: Jewett may have read The Letters of St. Teresa by Saint Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) in a 1902 edition from T. Baker of London, though it is possible she had an earlier edition.

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 Dorothy Ward

     South Berwick, Maine, December 14, 1904.

     My dearest Dorothy, -- I have been looking through our dear Mrs. Whitman's letters to me, -- of many years, -- much beloved letters! and this morning I happened to find one of yours which had strayed among them.* You can hardly think with what true pleasure and delight I have read it, a letter written just after you had left Levens. You will remember the afternoon on Cartmell Fell,* of which you and Sally* both told me; I wish that I could find her letter too, for I love to go back to it all.

     You should be here now, so that we might talk about that day and many other days. I wish very much to hear from you and to know what you are doing, as I did know then, dear. It is a very long time since I have seen Sally, -- not since one afternoon last May, which I dearly love to remember because I believe she was never closer to one's heart. This long pull of illness makes one feel a little like being dead! -- for many months I could not read or write, and even now I find neither very easy; but things are mending slowly, and this week I am making the great adventure of going to Town for a little while.* The temptations of Town are much greater than the temptations of dear Berwick, but it is good to have the change I am sure. And I shall see Sally just as soon as I can and tell you about her. Everybody is reading William Ashe and Lady Kitty as if they were alive and behaving nobly and excitingly before one's very eyes.* The story is quite splendidly talked about even here in little old Berwick, and there is that pain when the new "number" is read and there must be a whole month's waiting for another one, which is the highest tribute to a great novelist. In the summer I was a long time in getting a "number" read, -- by little pieces with sometimes days between, -- and that taught me its quality, I can tell you. Please give my love, and my pride, too! to your Mother. I feel sometimes as if nobody knew as well as I what a noble piece of work she can do! Perhaps this isn't true, but nobody takes greater pleasure or pride.

     Yours ever lovingly.


our dear Mrs. Whitman's letters: Sarah W. Whitman died on 25 June 1904. Jewett wrote the preface for Sarah Whitman, Letters of Sarah Wyman Whitman (1907).

Levens ... Cartmell FellLevens is an estate where Mrs. Humphry Ward, Dorothy Ward's mother, sometimes wrote, and "a village and civil parish in the South Lakeland district of the English county of Cumbria." Nearby, Cartmel Fell "is a hill, a hamlet and a civil parish "about 9 miles by road from Levens.

Sally:  Sarah Norton.  See Correspondents.

Town:  "Town" for Jewett in 1904 is Boston.

William Ashe and Lady Kitty: The Marriage of William Ashe (1905) is by Dorothy's mother, Mrs. Humphry Ward (1851-1920). Kitty Bristol is the novel's heroine. The novel was serialized in Harper's Monthly beginning in volume 109, June 1904, continuing through March 1905. Ward adapted it to the stage, where it had a successful run in the United States in 1905.

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 Elizabeth McCracken

     148 Charles Street, Boston, December 28. [1904]*

     My dear Miss McCracken, -- My last copy of your delightful book* was just going to my friend Madame Blanc-Bentzon in Paris when you put this one into my hand! You see that I have -- unconsciously, too! -- been behaving with it as some one else did with a certain book called "The Country of the Pointed Firs"!* And this I shall keep, with a great pleasure of thankfulness in remembering your kind thought of me. I wish to say what an excellent piece of work I believe "The Women of America" is: it has insight, which is a far rarer gift than the gift of observation, and I am sure that it will help many a reader to understand things better. I am always saying to myself and often to my friends -- I may have already repeated to so kind a friend and reader as you -- Plato's great reminder that "the best thing we can do for the people of a State is to make them acquainted with each other."*

     When I wrote to you before, I must have complained of being ill, and now I have the same hindrance still, -- else I should beg you to come to see me some day very soon. I hope, however, to stay on in town for some little time and I am going to ask, at any rate, that if you should be in this neighbourhood on a winter day you will not pass the door. I am not able yet to say that I am sure to be equal to seeing any one at this hour or that, -- and put them to the trouble of refusal, -- but now there are many afternoons as early as one chooses when I need not send the pleasure of a friend away, -- and once within this door I could show you many things you would care to see!

     Believe me, with my best thanks and best wishes for a Happy New Year.


1904:  While Fields groups this letter with those of 1907, it seems more likely to come from December of 1904, soon after the publication of The Women of America (see next note).

your delightful book: Elizabeth McCracken (1876-1964) seems to have given Jewett a copy of her The Women of America (November 1904), which included praise of The Country of the Pointed Firs and recounts giving away several copies.

Madame Blanc-Bentzon:  See Correspondents.  Note that she died on 5 February 1907.

"Country of the Pointed Firs": Jewett's novel was published in 1896.

Plato's great reminder "... make them acquainted with each other":  The Plato quotation comes from Book V of "Laws," in which Socrates does not appear: "for there is no greater good in a state than that the citizens should be known to one another." (Research: Jack V. Wales, Jr. of the Thacher School, Ojai, CA.)

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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