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Sarah Orne Jewett Letters of 1905

Annie Adams Fields to Mary Rice Jewett

Thursday afternoon
[ 9 March 1905 in another hand]*

Dear Mary:

    Sarah arrived "as brisk as a Bee" for her and seems right this morning.  She begs ^me to^ you send you this bit of a note from S. H. A.* to show you how well she is getting on{.}   Also the doctor wrote me she was practically

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well again.  I hope you can say as much for yourself.  I hear you have had a touch of rheumatics -- ^['S. O. J. ' printed apparently in another hand]  Beware of running out of the warm house without sufficient "togs" {.}  They are a great bore I know.

    Pray be getting ready to come to town.  Pray come the week of the 28th ^the 27th for me please^ and stay over Brother Robert's* visit.  There's nothing like a definite time{.}

Affectionately yours


1905:  The rationale for this date is not known, but it fits with Jewett's precarious state of health after her September 1902 carriage accident.

S.H.A.:  This reference is a puzzle.  Jewett may be referring to herself by initials that she and Mary will recognize.  Or perhaps there is an enclosed note from another person with these initials?

Brother Robert:  Robert Collyer.  See Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter is held by Historic New England in Letters from Annie Fields to Mary Rice Jewett, Jewett Family Papers: MS014.03.02.  Transcribed and annotated by Terry Heller. Coe College.

SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

[Sunday afternoon
March 1905]

[Dear Mary]

I wonder if you wanted to keep the notice of Mrs. Goodwin in the Free Press?  I thought Ella or Mrs. Ricker had done it very well.  I wont send it to Mrs. Gordon until you say, or perhaps you will send five cents and buy another -- dont they have them at Davis’s?


March 1905: This date is based on the probability that the letter concerns the recent death of Sophia Elizabeth Hayes Goodwin. Handwritten notes with this text read: [Dear Mary] [Sunday afternoon].

the notice of Mrs. Goodwin in the Free Press:  If this is Sophia Elizabeth Hayes Goodwin, she died on 25 March 1905.  Probably, then, Jewett refers to a local newspaper, the Somersworth (NH) Free Press, which published 1893-1949.

Ella or Mrs. Ricker:  These are very likely Jewett's South Berwick neighbors, Maria Louisa deRochemont (Mrs. Shipley/Shepley Wilson) Ricker (1838-1921) and her daughter, Ella Wilson Ricker (1856- ).  Mr. Ricker (1827-1905) had died earlier in the year, in January.  He had operated a fancy goods store in South Berwick.

Mrs. Gordon:  This may be Katherine Sleeper Gordon, the mother of Jewett's friend, Grace Gordon Walden, but it is not clear that she was still living in 1905.  See Correspondents.  Assistance is welcome. 

Davis's:  A South Berwick drug store, where Jewett believes Mary could buy another copy of the Free Press.

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.

Elizabeth Cabot Cary Agassiz to Annie Adams Fields

Quincy Street, Cambridge, April 1, [1905]

My Well-Beloved Friend:

The glimpse of Sarah [Jewett] and yourself in that dear South Berwick note from you took me down to the riverside and gave
me all the country sights and sounds in which you are rejoicing. I too have had a lovely visit with my Emma and I understand from the few lines for her in your note how well you know our lives to-gether, between music and books and the mingled past and present which we share. You will have heard perhaps that I am again leaving my beloved Nahant this summer and going to my niece Lisa Felton, who has a dear little nest on Arlington Heights commanding one of the finest views I know. Night is really a revelation of Heaven trembling with countless worlds above you -- but I will not try to describe it though I wish you could see (it) with me.

I went there last year at the command of the physicians  -- "high and dry," -- such was the air they ordered and it certainly proved most salubrious, -- beside its beauty in point of situation.

I am just now expecting my son from across the water. He has had an enchanting winter on the Nile; after seven winter voyages of most laborious work among the Coral islands of the Southern Pacific he has at last taken a vacation which he has greatly enjoyed. Now he is coming home for his Newport summer.

I hear only dimly from the world outside; but I have tidings now and then of Radcliffe and its affairs from Miss Irwin and from our President — Mr. Briggs, one of the faculty. He is a charming man and a great favorite with the students. When I remember
our small beginnings — without buildings or books or apparatus which makes the outfit of an educational institution, I can hardly believe that we are as it were anchored against the whole teaching force of Harvard.

But I must not run on.

Hoping that I may have the happiness of seeing you both as the warm weather sets us free,

Your loving old friend,

E. C. Agassiz


This letter appears in Elizabeth Cary Agassiz: a Biography by Lucy Allen Paton (1919) pp. 389-90.

Annie Adams Fields to Mary Rice Jewett

Day before the preachin'.
[ 1 April 1905 in another hand ]*

Dear Mary:

    This is just one word of greeting this Saturday morning to tell you I am truly sorry you cannot come during our dear friends visit, and sorry for the reason.

    Next year, if we all live, and you see Mr. Rheumatic coming to make you a visit just run away.  I have

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seen that trouble avoided by running away!  Once in, he cannot be so easily dislodged like other unwelcome visitors.

    And now one word of thanks for your lovely roses.

    Our friend seems remarkably well.  He goes this A.M. to Fenway Court.*

Affectionately your
Annie Fields.


1 April 1905: The rationale for this date is not known.  It may have been added in Mary Jewett's hand.
    However, if the date is correct, then the dear friend almost certainly would be Robert Collyer.  Fields reports in her 1905 Home Club notes that Robert Collyer was present for a Home Club dinner on 30 March 1905.  See Correspondents.

Fenway Court
:  This is the home of Isabella Stewart Garner.  See Correspondents.

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 William Dean Howells

South Berwick, Maine Friday evening. [ May - June 1905 ]

My dear friend, please, please come!  The miserable thought of your stopping at the Car Barn* is not to be borne.  You shall be driven to an express train, and then take the last trolley home from Kittery Junction* if you must save time.  To have you and Mr. James* together will be such a delight and make me sure of the future of American Literature.  (I speak as the author of When Knighthood was in Flower to the holder of many Degrees.)*

    When may I look for you both?  I don't stray far from the garden in these days, but I wish to be at the hither end of it.  Mrs. Howells* said Monday:  can it be before luncheon?  Perhaps you will send me word tomorrow  --  we keep our telephone across the street; if somebody will call South Berwick the man will speak to us.  Only come as early and stay as long as you both can.  Mrs. Howells said perhaps you could come, but I hold it for a certainty.  I thank her for her most kind note.

Yours always affectionately,

 S.  O.  Jewett

Here is your friend Theodore just home from Rangeley Lakes, and not good fishing!


May - June 1905:  Henry James and William Dean Howells visited South Berwick together in June 1905.
    Notes with this transcription read: JEWETT-HOWELLS CORRESPONDENCE [copies owned by Prof. Matthiessen deposited in Colby College Library, Waterville, Maine]

Car Barn: A car barn is a building for storing horse-drawn streetcars such as those carrying passengers between Kittery, ME, near Portsmouth, NH, where William Dean Howells maintained a summer residence, and Jewett's South Berwick, ME home, approximately 20 miles away.  It is not clear exactly what Jewett intends, though it seems she wants to save Howells a long wait when he returns from an anticipated visit to meet Henry James at her home. Assistance is welcome.

Kittery Junction: This was a point where one could disembark from a Boston & Main Railroad train and find a local streetcar to deliver one to various points in Kittery, ME.

Mr. James: Henry James. See Correspondents.

the author of When Knighthood was in Flower to the holder of many DegreesWhen Knighthood was in Flower (1898) is a novel by Charles Major (1856-1913), who wrote under the name Edwin Caskoden.  The novel was immensely popular and by 1901 had been adapted as a popular broadway play by Paul Kester (1870-1933).   Jewett is engaging in some irony.  Her own historical romance, The Tory Lover (1901) formed part of the wave and was moderately successful, but not on the level of Major's novel.  Neither James nor Howells thought her final novel very good, but Jewett came to think of it as probably her best (or favorite?) of her novels.
    Howells held honorary degrees from Harvard (1867), Yale (1901), Western Reserve (1904), Oxford (1904).  He received another from Columbia (1906).

Mrs. Howells:  See William Dean Howells in Correspondents.

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

SOJ to Dora H. Turner

June 14th 1905
South Berwick.

My dear Mrs. Turner

     I am sorry that I have lost even a few days in thanking you for your most kind letter and for the sympathy and interest I felt instantly in this essay upon a certain writer's stories. Forgive me if I say, first, how deeply your own literary gifts have interested me, your power of saying things with a beautiful simple directness -- ("-- These are not common people. They are people" -- !) -- There is nothing that a writer should know better than the value of what the reader herself may bring to such stories -- else they may fail in their errand. As I read one column of your paper after another it touched me deeply to see that you chose almost inevitably the paragraphs that had touched my own heart as I wrote them down . . . * I find myself wishing very much that we were talking together -- perhaps in our old garden here this June day! -- instead of my trying to write. I am but slowly recovering from a severe illness that came from an accident in driving more than two years ago;* I have never been able to take up my old affairs of writing, and even writing a note seems clumsy and difficult. I tell you this partly because I wish you to know that your great kindness counts double in days of much enforced idleness -- it seems to me that you kept back your letter and the essay until the moment when they should mean most. Let me thank you from my heart, and send you my best wishes: -- indeed I hope that you will go on, giving and finding pleasure with your own work and way of writing, and all the 'works and ways'* that are nearest your hand.

Yours most sincerely

 Sarah Orne Jewett


down:  Jewett's ellipses.

two years ago:  Jewett refers to the September 1902 carriage accident that ended her professional writing career.

works and ways:  In her letters, Jewett several times repeats this phrase, sometimes within quotation marks.  The actual phrase does not appear, as one might expect, in the King James Bible, though it is suggested in several places: Psalms 145:17, Daniel 4:37, and Revelations 15:3.  In each of these passages, the biblical author refers to the works and ways of God.  Jewett may be quoting from another source or from commentary on these passages, which tend to emphasize that while God's ways are mysterious, they also are to be accepted humbly by humanity.

The manuscript of this letter, in 1970, was in the possession of Mr. Patrick Shelp, who allowed Richard Vanderbeets and James K. Bowen permission to publish their transcription in "Miss Jewett, Mrs. Turner, and the Chautauqua Circle," Colby Library Quarterly, 9:.4 ( December 1970)  p.233-234.
In their accompanying introduction, Vanderbeets and Brown identify Dora H. Turner as the author of a 4500 word presentation given before the Chautauqua Literary Circle of Fort Dodge, IA on 26 April 1905.  Turner mailed Jewett a copy of this lecture as printed in the Fort Dodge Messenger for 11 May 1905.
    Dora Hane Turner (1877-1964), according to her obituary, was born in Kirksville, MO, daughter of Arthur and Amind Hane.  She graduated from Kirksville State Normal School and became a teacher.  She married Harry H. Turner in 1900 and eventually moved to Fort Dodge, Iowa.  Internet search reveals that Turner made a number of presentations at meetings of Iowa teachers, on topics such as the values of hand work and music in general education.
  These notes are by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Annie Adams Fields

     June 25, 1905.

     Here is another rainy Monday, much noticed in housekeeping. Yesterday was such a lovely day, and the strange thing to me was to remember how exactly the weather was like it last year, the Sunday morning when I heard that dear S. W. had gone. I remember well that long bright day and the wonderful cloud I watched at evening floating slowly through the upper sky on some high current northward, catching the sun still when we were in shadows. I could not help the strange feeling that it had something to do with her. It was like a great golden ball or balloon, as if it wrapped a golden treasure; her golden string (that Blake writes about)* might have made it. Those days seem strangely near. After a whole year one begins to take them in.


dear S. W.:  Sarah Wyman Whitman died on June 25, 1904.

her golden string (that Blake writes about): William Blake (1757-1827) begins Plate 77, after Chapter 3, of Jerusalem (1804) with three epigraphs. The third is:

     I give you the end of a golden string,
        Only wind it into a ball,
     It will lead you in at Heaven's gate
        Built in Jerusalem's wall.

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 Julia Stowell Laighton

September l5th [1905]1
South Berwick. Maine

Dear Mrs. Laighton

You were very kind to remember about the dear honeysuckle and you do not know with how much pleasure I have planted it in a warm corner and shall treasure to watch it growl The old 'bush' in bloom was one of my best pleasures in the [visit ?] to Appledore,2 but indeed I have looked back to more pleasures than one and I have felt more and more glad that I could go to the islands this summer. Please believe me with many thanks

Yours most sincerely
Sarah O. Jewett

Stoddart's Notes

1 The accompanying envelope is postmarked 1905.

2One of the Isles of Shoales; it was the locale of the Laightons' Inn and the home of Celia Thaxter (1835 - 1894).  See Correspondents.

Editor's Notes

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.

SOJ to
Mark Antony De Wolfe Howe

148 Charles Street

Sunday night
[After June 1905]

 I wasn’t at that dinner nor did I see him until some weeks later when he came to Berwick. . .                                    


After June 1905: A handwritten note with this transcription reads: [To:  Mark Howe].  A typewritten note reads: [speaking of Henry James]. If the notes are correct, then it must have been composed after James visited Jewett in South Berwick, in June of 1905.

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

SOJ to Elizabeth J. Gilman

     Poland Spring, Maine
     Friday evening
     [September 22, 1905]

    My dear Lizzie:

     I thought that I should send you a 'line' at once, but I found myself pretty tired and I have not tried to do much. I undertook rather too many things the week before I saw you, and after keeping myself wound up like an old watch, I seem to have stopped now and quite run down. That's just what I came to do! Now that I think of it -- it is so easy to gain a little strength and so much easier to spend it again, that a patient like me doesn't get ahead. I am quite by myself here, which is good. I only know one person in this great place, a Cambridge acquaintance, for most of the company seems to be from the West or from Philadelphia, not very interesting to my eyes either, but quite splendidly arrayed!
     I heard from Mary that she got home all right on Tuesday and yesterday she was going to York with Eva to luncheon.* It was really a splendid day here. I am more and more thankful that we could have those few hours with you on Monday, and you will not need to have me say how many dear memories filled my heart of your mother's affection and kindness to us all. You know how much we all loved her, and how near Mary and I shall always feel to you four children. You will have a great many sad times in missing your dear mother, but I am sure that the happiness of knowing how she was loved, and how much you all did to make her happy, especially in these last years, will be a great comfort.*
     With true love to all, and I shall often be thinking of you, dear Lizzie,
     Yours very affectionately,
     Sarah O. Jewett

     If there has been some notice of your mother in the Brunswick paper, I should be so glad if Charlie would be kind enough to send it to me.*


Mary ... Eva:  Mary Rice Jewett; see Correspondents. Eva has not be identified; though here it appears she may be a member of the family, well-known to Elizabeth Gilman as well as to the Jewetts.  However, she may be Baroness Eva von Blomberg, a mutual friend of Jewett and Fields.  See Correspondents.

dear mother:  Mrs. Alice Dunlap Gilman died on 15 September 1905.    Her four children were:  David Dunlap Gilman (1854-1914); Elizabeth Jervis Gilman (1856-1939); Charles Ashburton Gilman (1859-1938); Mary Gardiner Gilman (1865-1940).  See Correspondents.

Charlie:  Charles Ashburton Gilman.see Correspondents

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 Frances (Mrs. Henry) Parkman

     Poland Spring House, Monday.  [September 20, 1905]

     I think this great place would amuse you some time -- perhaps we could forsake the world together for a week! -- but the line between being innocently amused and wickedly bored is very narrow. It is a little like what crossing the continent with a big train party must be, -- not the people you or I run across very often, but all sorts of terrible rich and splendid westerners and southerners of a sort who must have had German grand-mas* and have prospered in the immediate past. Their jewels and their gowns are a wonder, and the satisfaction in life must be very great, though the best of them look as if keeping things just right and according to at this high rate were almost too much effort. It is the kind of rich creatures who are more at home in big hotels than in fine houses. They are apt to speak of last winter at "Pa'm Beach," and altogether they made me understand what my old grand-father, who had travelled wide, meant when he said, "Oh, they 're not people, they're nothing but a pack of images!" This is in the mass; one individual opposite me at the table has been quite entertaining; such a diamond cross she wears upon her; but I must hold back from relating such parts of her history as have been ascertained, -- automobile and private car. A great many puzzling facts were brought together into simple certainty yesterday when I heard somebody say she was a prosperous retired hotel-keeper. It made you see her fine and masterful above quailing maids. These dazzle one's eyes; but now and then, when you see the backs of two dear heads of ladies a table or two away, you feel as if you must stop and speak! I feel sure out of two or three hundred fellow pilgrims I must find as many of my betters, but I have been so long away that my country seems strange in its great crowd of citizens. One thing certain is, it is a rich country, -- it is like Rome before it fell! And the clouds have all blown out of the mountains yesterday and today. I can see them all safe and sound, -- the Mount Washington range just as I used to see it all last summer; but we are far enough away to see the other ranges by themselves -- Ossipee and the rest.*


September 20, 1905:  This letter is dated in relation to a Wednesday 22 September 1905 letter from Poland Spring House to Elizabeth Gilman.  Richard Cary says that Jewett stayed at Poland Spring House in Poland, ME more than once, but these two letters share the observation that Jewett feels herself among strangers from the West and the South during this particular stay.

German grand-mas:  In Ancestors and Immigrants (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1956) Barbara Miller Solomon reads this reference as employing a negative stereotype of German immigrants to the United States (157-8, 253).  Solomon details the degree to which the hurtful stereotyping of German Americans simmered after the Civil War and then boiled over during the Great War.  Presumably, Jewett is drawing upon the post-Civil War stereotype that "the present German American was too concerned with the material advantages of life in the United States" (157).  Probably, Solomon is right to suspect that Jewett depends upon such a stereotype of Germans; otherwise the comment would seem to lack meaning. 
    Jewett's sketch of the resort women she sees as not quite comfortable with their newly acquired wealth presents an interesting mixture of alienation from "the mass" and sympathy for the "individual."  She reveals an awareness of the unfairness of applying stereotypes, such as "German" and "newly rich," noting her impression of them as a "pack of images," lacking in subjectivity.  This urge to "other" them arises when viewing them "in the mass," but when she attends to an individual, she finds her as humanly interesting as her other acquaintances.  In this way, perhaps, she exemplifies that line between innocent amusement and wicked boredom.  Jewett's "An Every-Day Girl" 1892, for example, illustrates her admiration for women with the talents for managing a hotel. 
    As Jewett observes the vastly wealthy fellow Americans at her hotel, she comes to feel alien herself.  The backs of ladies' heads seem to tempt her to socialize freely, but their fronts make her feel inferior, as if she does not belong in the new "rich country" where she finds herself when on vacation.
    As for the seriousness of Jewett's prejudice toward Germans, her use of a stereotype in a private, first-draft letter probably should be qualified by other biographical facts, such as her close friendship with Louisa Dresel, whose father immigrated from Germany, and who had a pair of German grand-mas.

Mount Washington ... Ossipee: Ossipee is a town on Lake Ossipee in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Nearby Mount Washington is the highest peak in the region.

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 William Dean Howells

South Berwick, Maine,
Friday. [November 1905]

Dear Mr. Howells

    Mrs. Fields* is here for some days to come;  all next week I hope, and longer!  --  and it would be delightful if you felt like "taking the trolley" again.  I shall not say that I have written to you so that if you are busy or do not feel like an autumn journey to Berwick you can be quite free, and she will not be looking for you and be disappointed.  I wish that I could see Mrs. Howells and Pilla.*

    We have early dinner at one and an early supper before seven  --  late breakfast, and tea at any moment.  Indeed I meant to go to see you but I was away  (at Manchester and Poland Spring and Intervale)   almost all the late summer.  I have wished to 'talk over' that dear day when you and Mr. James were here*  --  that misty day which left the clearest and brightest memories.  It will not be half so nice for you to come to Berwick again without him  --  and in a closed car, but you will find a double welcome.

Yours most affectionately,    
S.  O.  Jewett     


November 1905: The letter refers to the June 1905 visit of Howells and Henry James to South Berwick, ME, and is written after Jewett's return from the fall 1905 travels she mentions, to Poland, ME and Intervale, NH in the White Mountains.

Mrs. Fields:  Annie Adams Fields.  See Correspondents.

Mrs. Howells and Pilla:  See William Dean Howells in Correspondents.

when you and Mr. James were here:  Howells and James visited Jewett in South Berwick, ME in June 1905.

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

SOJ to Sarah Cabot Wheelwright

Monday Morning [December 1905?]*
South Berwick Maine

My dear Sarah

I was very sorry not to see you again before I came away; last Thursday, but after my sister came to Charles Street we had a good many things to do together and I began to get a little too tired before I got through -- Only that last Day [so transcribed]  I thought that I had saved the last end of the morning to see you as I came back to luncheon and then I was delayed after all, and got disappointed! I now begin to wish that you could come to Berwick again!! However, I shall be in town again within a fort-night,  I am grieved when I think that it may be one of your brothers who has died* -- do tell me dear, for I don't quite know or cannot quite remember -- but at any rate he was one of your near kindred -- sometimes it seems very strange that one can feel so close to one's friends and yet things that they feel close to can be so far away or even unknown, I was thinking lately about a very old friend of mine who has an only brother whom I never knew -- who never seemed to step inside our circle of friendship -- in fact I almost believed that I must belong to her much more than he did -- which was probably not at all the case. It is so different when one has been brought up in town and not away from it, like me -- But you know now I am sure, that anything that touches you deeply can't fail to touch me too for your sake. I keep thinking as I write about dear Mrs. Aggassiz [so transcribed]* --  I was dreaming and dreaming of her last night and now I am feeling as if I had been so foolish to let other things keep me from going to see her when I was in Cambridge -- I wish that you and I could drive out there together some day. will you? = Miss Amy Murray* [so transcribed] has been here harp and all Since Friday = [so transcribed] on Saturday she sang for the Club (Womens Club)* better than I ever heard her. Mrs. Fields* asked her to come today for a few days -- but I can't find that she has any engagements or plans.  I am trying to help her to make a new programme of old fashioned songs or later date war songs &  S. Foster* etc. etc. just for a variety for those who don't want the Gaelic again. She has such a pleasant voice for such things.

Good by dear -- do send me a little word someday when you feel just likit like it and give my love to Mary and your dear Man*

Yours always
S. O. J.

Mary* had such a nice walk & talk with you & Kim [so transcribed]*


December 1905?:  This guess at a date should be close, as there are documented Boston performances of Amy Murray (see notes below) in 1902 and 1905. And as the notes below indicate, Mrs. Wheelwright lost three of her brothers during this period.  While Jewett could have written this letter in 1903, following the death of James Elliot Cabot, it seems more likely to have been written early in 1905, a few months after the death of Walter Channing Cabot, or even more likely at the end of 1905, soon after the November death of Stephen Cabot and the November performance by Amy Murray.
     In 1903, Jewett was still quite weak after her August 1902 carriage accident and, probably, not up to the quantity of activity she reports in this letter.

one of your brothers
: Sarah Cabot Wheelwright's brothers were:
Thomas Handasyd Cabot (born 1814)
Samuel Cabot, III  (born September 20, 1815)
Edward Clarke Cabot (1819-1901)
James Elliot Cabot (June 18, 1821 - January 16, 1903)
Stephen Cabot (December 9, 1826 - November 23, 1905)
Walter Channing Cabot (April 28, 1829 - May 8, 1904)
Louis Cabot (born  1837)

dear Mrs. Aggassiz:  Elizabeth Cabot Agassiz (December 5, 1822 - June 27, 1907) was a granddaughter of Thomas Handasyd Perkins, a contributor to Perkins School for the Blind, in Watertown, Massachusetts, which was named to honor him.  She may have been related to Sarah Perkins Cabot Wheelwright.  The importance of visiting her may relate to her ill health and approaching death.

Miss Amy Murray: Amy Murray (1865-1947) was an author, musician and folklore collector of Gaelic music who performed across the United States and the United Kingdom near the turn of the twentieth century.  One of her better-known books is Father Allan's Island (1920).  The Boston Daily Globe reported on performances of Murray in Boston in December 1903 and November 1905, though in 1905, the article specifies that Murray stayed with Mrs. Ole Bull for at least part of her stay.
    The Boston Evening Transcript of 24 May 1905 has her performing at a reception of the Boston Authors Club to honor Julia Ward Howe on her 86th birthday.  However, the reception did not occur on a Saturday.
    A 1902 photo of Amy Murray with her harp.

for the Club (Womens Club):  It is unclear whether Jewett is specifying the "Women's Club," or if this is an insertion by the transcriber.  It is possible Jewett is referring to the reception for Julia Ward Howe, mentioned in the Amy Murray note above.

Mrs. Fields:  Annie Fields. See Correspondents.

FosterStephen Foster (1826-1864), American composer of popular songs.

Mary and your dear Man:  Wheelwright's daughter, and her husband, Andrew C. Wheelwright.

Mary:  Probably Mary Rice Jewett.  See Correspondents.

Kim:  The Wheelwright's pet dachshund.

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.

December 1905 through January 12, 1906

Theophilus Ernest Martin Boll in Miss May Sinclair (1973) p. 77 writes:

Two days after the exciting dinner to Mark Twain,* May Sinclair* wrote from Miss Holt's* home in New York to make certain that Mrs. Fields* would expect her. The anxiously viewed visit to Boston took place from the eighth to the eleventh of December.  On Christmas Eve, back at 44 East 78th Street in New York City, May Sinclair wrote to Mrs. Fields, regretting that her "little Christmas cards (Katherine Tynan's 'Poems' and 'The Grey World' [by Evelyn Underhill]* will not arrive in time to greet you and dear Miss Jewett. Meanwhile, I send you both my love and all possible good wishes for Christmas and the New Year. -- It is now settled that I am going home after the middle of January, so my next visit to Boston must be put off a little longer." On January 1, 1906, May Sinclair wrote again from Miss Holt's residence, hoping that "Miss Jewett will like the 'Grey World' as much as I do."


dinner for Mark Twain: A dinner to celebrate the 70th birthday of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) took place at Delmonico's in New York City on 5 December 1905.

May Sinclair:  Mary Amelia St. Clair. See Correspondents.

Miss Holt: The publisher and author, Henry Holt (1840-1926), was May Sinclair's American publisher. His daughter, Winifred Holt (1870-1945), was an American sculptor and co-founder, with her sister Edith, of the New York Association for the Blind, which became Lighthouse International.  While she would likely have been the Miss Holt with whom Sinclair stayed while in New York, there was another sister, Sylvia Holt, possibly living at the same address in 1905-6.

Mrs. Fields:  Annie Adams Fields.  See Correspondents.

Katherine Tynan's 'Poems' and 'The Grey World' [by Evelyn Underhill]:  The prolific Irish novelist poet, Katharine Tynan (1859 - 1931); her new poetry in 1905 would have been Innocencies.
   Wikipedia says Evelyn Underhill (1875 - 1941) "was an English Anglo-Catholic writer and pacifist known for her numerous works on religion and spiritual practice, in particular Christian mysticism." The Grey World (1904) was her first novel, in which "the hero's mystical journey begins with death, and then moves through reincarnation, beyond the grey world, and into the choice of a simple life devoted to beauty."

Edited by Terry Heller, Coe College.

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