Main Contents & Search
A Native of Winby
Jim's Little Woman


Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields in St. Augustine, Florida

According to their biographers, Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields stayed at the Ponce de Leon hotel in St. Augustine, Florida at least three times, in the springs of 1888, 1890, and 1896.  After their second stay, Jewett published two pieces set in St. Augustine:  "Jim's Little Woman" (December 1890) and "A Lonely Worker" (April 1893).  Furthermore, the 1888 trip, which included a visit with Laura Towne and Ellen Murray at the Penn School on St. Helena Island, near Beaufort, SC, led directly to another story, "The Mistress of Sydenham Plantation" (1888).  The 1896 stay was to rest after an arduous six-week Caribbean cruise, during which Fields kept a journal.  The Caribbean cruise also provided source material for Jewett's "The Foreigner" (1900). The repeated visits and the quantity of resulting writing suggest that travel in the South, especially the stays in St. Augustine, became important stimulation for the two women.   This is a collection of documents, notes and commentary on these three sojourns, focusing mainly on St. Augustine.

Notes on Presentation of Manuscript Materials

^  ^ :  The author has inserted text.
abc :  The author has deleted text.
[  ]  :  Editorial comments and descriptions.
{ }  :  Editorial insertions in pursuit of clarity.

Annie Fields often uses an equal sign ( = ) in place of a hyphen.  To make reading easier, I have transcribed these as hyphens.
It is possible that some punctuation and other marks have been entered into the texts by other hands.  Where I suspect this, I so indicate.

I am grateful to the several archives for permission to reprint here transcriptions of the manuscript materials.  A number of items are transcriptions from the following collections.

Sarah Orne Jewett to Mary Rice Jewett


Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909. 94 letters to Mary Rice Jewett; 1888-1900 & [n.d.] (Nos. 92-94 incomplete). Sarah Orne Jewett additional correspondence, 1868-1930. MS Am 1743.1 (121). Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.  Jewett numbered each of her sheets; I have added a number in brackets for each page.

Sarah Orne Jewett to Lilian and Thomas Bailey Aldrich


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

  Items from other archives are identified individually.


From Rita K. Gollin, Annie Adams Fields: Woman of Letters.  Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2002, p. 239.

    The roles of patient and caregiver were reversed in the winter of 1888, when Annie was so prostrated by pneumonia and convalesced so slowly that (under doctor's orders) she and Sarah traveled south.  When they reached St. Augustine, Florida, they took rooms at the Ponce de Leon, the palatial new Spanish Renaissance hotel that Henry Flagler had built to accommodate passengers on his new Florida East Coast Railway, a hotel whose many splendors included companiles, domes, arcades, fountains, Roman baths, lush gardens, stained glass windows, and interiors designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.  "A singular fortune has befallen this little half decayed Spanish town," Annie told one of her Boston friends.  "One of the richest oil kings of this wonderful country of ours has taken a fancy to the place and has built a palace here for a hotel as huge and glorious as the Spanish palaces of old."  One of her pleasures was conversing with the oil king.

From Paula Blanchard, Sarah Orne Jewett: Her World and her Work.  New York: Addison-Wesley, 1994.

    Blanchard reports that in January 1888, Annie Fields fell seriously ill with pneumonia and Sarah Orne Jewett assisted with nursing her.  When she was recovered enough near the end of February, her doctor recommended that she spend the rest of the winter in the south, and Jewett decided to accompany her.  Presumably, St. Augustine was chosen because of the heavily advertized newly opened tourist hotels, particularly Henry Flagler's Hotel Ponce de Leon, where the pair eventually determined to stay. 
    Blanchard says that during their leisurely journey southward, they made stops at Aiken, SC and at St. Helena in the Sea Islands.  However, this order is contradicted and complicated by the documents, as shown in the following chronology.
    Their visit to Beaufort was motivated by a wish to see Fields's old friend, Laura Towne, a noted abolitionist and, for many years, a leader with Ellen Murray of the Penn School establishment, which provided education, medical and other services to freed slaves, to whom the island farms had been given after Union forces occupied St. Helena early in the Civil War.
    Of Towne, Blanchard says: "By 1888, her work was largely done and the community served as a model for others throughout the islands.... 'The result of her work lay like a map before us,' Annie wrote .... 'Every step spoke to us of the sacrifice and suffering of humanity and of its endurance in the present time'" (193-4).


An Approximate Chronology of the 1888 Trip

In Jewett's first letter to Mary from St. Augustine, she says, "I am so sorry to miss a letter to you but I was out gadding all the early part of the day until the ^last^ mail was gone."  This and other passages in these letters imply that, during this period, they wrote to each other virtually every day.  It also is clear from this sequence that there were letters that were not saved or have not yet been accessed.

February 23 -- Jewett writes to to Willis Boyd Allen at The Cottage Hearth from 148 Charles St., Boston, indicating that she has not yet departed.  See Scott Frederick Stoddart, Selected Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett: A Critical Edition with Commentary. University of Illinois Dissertation. Dissertation Abstracts International 49.9 (Mar. 1989): p2661A.

February 26 or March 4 (Monday) -- Jewett writes to Mary, having just arrived with Annie Fields in St. Augustine. FL. 
    Jewett reports a short stay in Jacksonville before coming on to St. Augustine.
    Blanchard suggests their arrival would be near the beginning of March.

March 4 or 11 (Monday) -- Jewett writes to Mary, having just changed hotels to the Ponce de Leon. 

March 11-14 (Sunday - Wednesday).   The Great Blizzard of 1888 buries New England, including New York City, in snow.

March 22 (Thursday).  Jewett writes to Mary from Aiken, SC, complaining about the slowness of the mail since the storm.
    It is possible this letter was written on March 15.

March 23 (Friday). Jewett writes to Mary from Aiken, SC. 
    She is happy with how quickly letters now are traveling, reporting that a letter mailed on Wednesday arrived today.

March 31 (Saturday).  Jewett writes to Mary from the Sea Island Hotel in Beaufort, SC.
    She dates this letter Saturday 31 April, an impossible date that also does not fit the rest of the chronology.
    She reports that she has just been to Charleston, SC.

April 1 (Easter Sunday).  Jewett writes a letter to Mary dated Sunday from St. Helena, SC.

    It is likely that during the next ten days, Jewett and Fields sailed with Katharine Loring and her father through the Georgia Sea Islands and back to St. Augustine.

April 10 (Tuesday).    Jewett writes to Mr. Garrison at Houghton Mifflin from Florida.  She announces an intention to arrive in Washington, DC by April 16.

April 18 (Wednesday).  Jewett writes a letter to Lilian Aldrich from the Ponce de Leon in St. Augustine


St. Augustine

Dear O. P.*

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

[ Page 2 ]

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

 [ Page 3 ]

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

 [ Page 4 ]

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

 [ Page 5 ]

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

 [ Page 6 ]

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

 [ Up the left side of p. 6 ]

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

[ Up the left side of p. 1 ]

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




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

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

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

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


ponce de leon


 Drawing of the Ponce de Leon Hotel from .
This view is from the southeast corner of the hotel.
The main entrance to the courtyard is at the center of the loggia on the left/south side.

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



Katharine Loring in front, Alice James behind.

This image is from Serendip Studio, where it is presented without attribution.
Attempts to locate the holder for reprinting permission failed to gain results.

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

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

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

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




Charlotte Street. St. Augustine,
with protruding balconies.
Reynolds, The Standard Guide, St. Augustine, (1890) p. 11.

Florence Cushing:  Florence Cushing (1853-1927).  This biographical note appears with the description of her papers at the Vassar College libraries:

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


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

Fort Marion


Castillo San Marcos



Ponce de Leon,
St. Augustine -- Monday

 Dear O. P.

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

[ Page 2 ]

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

[Page 3]



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

[ Page 4 ]

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

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

[ Page5 ]

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

Ever so much love from



Young's Hotel (1860–1927) in Boston, MA would have been familiar to the Jewett sisters. Wikipedia says:

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

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

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

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

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



Bronson's History  presents this Library of Congress photo of Joyce's band, playing in the loggia of the Ponce de Leon in 1889.

The room Jewett describes occupying during this stay apparently faces the loggia on the right, so she can see out through it into the street on the left.  The main entrance to the courtyard is just beyond the band; in the drawing of the hotel above, this loggia and entrance are on the left (south) side of the hotel.




Aiken, Thursday

 Dear O. P.

            Such a howling windy day and everybody groaning over the cold but the thermometer ^is^ at 42 above which isnt so very bad.  I suppose it is the effect of all the storms about us.*  We had a good [ deleted word  drive ?] ^walk^ this morning but didnt try to drive as we were out all day yesterday and ^today^ you ^would^ feel the wind so much in a gig!  Yesterday afternoon we went over westward about half a dozen miles to a big cotton mill and went all over it.  I havent been in one since I was small and it carried me back to the days of Joanna Buckley.*  The

[ Page 2 ]

people interested me very much.  They were all "poor whites" as they call them here – and or would have been without this steady work.  I saw the "doffers and spoolers"* poor little snips and a slow little boy about as big as Theodore up in a kind of big cage on the wall making bands – or big twisted cotton cords on a machine.*  He looked as if he ought to be out playing instead of making bands at twenty cents a day.  And they work twelve long hours.  It was a beautiful bright day and we had pleasant hours of it and there are lots of flowers in bloom.*        I would like to know what has become of my

[ Page 3 ]


letters.  I didn't have half I ought after [after written over a word] the big storm, and now I didn't get one today.  The Southern trains take their time it seems to me.  Next week Thursday we mean to start from here and go to Charleston and perhaps to Beaufort but it all depends upon our getting north.  The train's [meaning trains] north are crammed full now and we hardly know what plans to make as we want to stop here and there and the cars are all taken up by through passengers from Florida.*  The Edmunds* want us to make them a little visit in Washington but that will depend upon our being longer [82 circled in the margin, in another hand] on the train than we had planned

[ Page 4 ]

for they dont leave until after we do, and of course dont want us until they have been at home a day or two.  The snow storms make us shy about going North too soon, but we both want to stop in Washington for a couple nights or so.      I send you two or three photographs* of the people here and be sure to show them to John and Hannah and Annie.*  John will laugh at the stylish team.  In one cotton field picture you can see just how the cotton looks growing, and in the other an occasion of pickers.  Mrs. Fields sends particular love and affection and wishes you could share our pleasure.  I wish I had more interesting facts, but there isnt much a-happening!

           Love to all from Sister.



storms all about us The Great Blizzard of  March 11-14, 1888 dropped up to 5 feet of snow in New England, leaving drifts as high as 50 feet, causing many deaths, halting trains and confining people to their homes, in some cases for as long as a week.


cotton mill ... Joanna Buckley: It is likely that Jewett visited William Gregg's Graniteville cotton mill, about 6 miles west of Aiken.  Jewett was familiar with textile mills as a result of living in South Berwick, within easy walking distance of the mills across the Salmon Falls River in Rollinsford, NH.
    No certain information about Joanna Buckley has been located.  United States census records identify a Joanna Buckley working in a cotton mill in Lewiston, ME in 1880.  It is possible that a Joanna Buckley worked for the Jewett family at an earlier date.


"doffers and spoolers":  A doffer removes full spindles of thread from a spinning machine, replacing them with empty ones.  A spooler is responsible for a machine that winds spun thread onto the spindles.



Image of a doffer from the Library of Congress

in a kind of big cage on the wall making bands:  Twisting bands often was done by young boys in 19th-century cotton mills, either by hand or by machine.  I have not been able through internet research to understand exactly how this task fits into the process of producing threads and yarns.  Assistance is welcome.


    Theodore, son of Carrie and Edwin (Ned) Eastman, was born August 4, 1879.  At the writing of this letter, he would be 8 years old.


band boy

Image of a band boy from Wikimedia Commons


flowers in bloom:  In this letter, Jewett appears to divide some paragraphs with long spaces between sentences.  I have rendered these spaces to approximate hers, though it is not easy to be sure when she intends this.

through passengers from Florida:  It appears that as early as March of 1888,  the number of people wintering in Florida was large enough to fill the returning trains for several weeks.

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

 two or three photographs:  Below are images of the photos Jewett sent to Mary.  The steer cart may be of special interest, because Jewett includes such a cart, with some comic effect, in "The Mistress of Sydenham Plantation."

John and Hannah and Annie: These are Jewett family employees in South Berwick.  John Tucker, who appears often in Jewett's nonfiction, was in charge of their stable and grounds (see Blanchard, pp. 37-8).  Annie probably is Annie Collins.  See note below.


Images Jewett included in this letter




Aiken Friday 23 March

Dear Peg,

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

[page 2]

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

[ page 3]


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

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

[page 4]

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

[page 5]


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

[page 6]

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

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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            Aiken, SC, near Augusta, GA, was a popular winter resort for New Englanders in the 19th century.  It is remembered as the Aiken Winter Colony.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the old coloured man at his potter's wheel:  The Aiken area was part of what became known as the Edgefield district for making pottery.  An important local enslaved African-American potter, Dave Drake (ca. 1800-1860s) predates Jewett's visit.  Information about which potter Jewett may have visited would be welcome.

Will Collins tell Annie:    Annie Collins, who is mentioned in other letters, appears to be a Jewett family employee.  It is possible also that Will Collins has worked for the family.  It is reasonably likely that Annie and Will Collins are brother and sister. provides this census information.
    Annie Collins (1860 until after 1930), of Irish parents, resident of South Berwick, Maine in 1930.
    William Collins (1864 until after 1930), brother to Annie, born in Maine, resident of South Berwick, Maine in 1930.
    Neither was married in 1930.

Further information is welcome.




Sea Island Hotel*  Beaufort, Saturday 31 April [Probably March 31, 1888 ]*

Dear O. P.

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

[ Up the left side of page 1]

There is a monkey show* under the window! 

[ Added sideways in the top margin of page 1]

Sister is now seen how rice grows!*

[ Page 2 ]

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

[ Page 3 ]

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

[ Page 4 ]

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

[ Page 5 ]

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

[ Page 6 ]

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

[ Up the left side of page 5]

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



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

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

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

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

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

tell the plan:  Though documentation so far is sparse, it appears that Jewett and Fields accepted the Lorings's invitation, for Jewett writes to Lilian Aldrich from St. Augustine on 18 April (see below).

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

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

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

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



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

Dear O. P.

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

[ Page 2 ]

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

[ Page 3 ]

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

[ Page 4 ]

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

Love to all from Sarah


seven miles:  This map from Letters and Diary of Laura M. Towne (1895). indicates the route from Beaufort to Penn School.
    The road from the ferry landing across from the town of Beaufort to Penn School (center of map near the final A in HELENA) is drawn in.



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


Live oak grove at Penn Center, 2014


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

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

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

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


10 April -- Florida

Dear Mr. Garrison

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


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


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


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

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


Mr. Garrison:  Francis Jackson Garrison (1848-1916), son of the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, served as "confidential clerk" to H. O. Houghton and, after his death in 1895, continued in the same capacity to George H. Mifflin. Garrison's main responsibility was the import-export business, but he also set rates to be paid authors and supervised manufacturing orders. He became secretary of the firm when it was incorporated in 1908. (Richard Cary)

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

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

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

Senator Edmunds: see notes above.

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



Hotel Ponce de Leon  St. Augustine

18 April 1888

Dear Lilian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

likely looking star:  According to Richard Cary in Sarah Orne Jewett Letters, "Sara Jewett (1847-1899) was the leading lady of Augustin Daly's Union Square Theatre company. Miss Jewett of South Berwick recounts drolly that upon several occasions during her travels she was mistaken for Miss Jewett of New York, then considered one of the most beautiful women in America. In an ironic extension of the parallel, illness and enforced retirement became the lot of both thespian and literary Jewett. Sara Jewett's last appearance as an actress took place in the spring of 1883."  See her obituary in Boston Evening Transcript.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



Annie Fields to a member of the Loring Family

                        148 Charles St. June 18th  '88               

My dear friend,

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


Good bye
Yours most lovingly
Annie Fields

    My affectionate remembrance to you all.   



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laura Towne:  See notes for letters above.


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


 My Dear Lilian,

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

[ page 2]

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

[ page 3 ]

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

            We heard of a delightful

[ page 4 ]

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

            Yours affectionately "Sadie"


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

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

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


vedder museum

The Vedder Museum
The Vedder illustrations are available courtesy of "Vedder Museum & Menagerie" at Rootsweb
This web page provides links to a number of documents and illustrations related to John Vedder.

     After Vedder's death, the museum was purchased by the St. Augustine Historical Society, but the building and the collection were lost in a fire in 1914.



Dr. Vedder standing in front of his museum
Courtesy of Vedder Museum Web Page

Vedder ad

Vedder's Curiosity Store ad from Reynolds's Standard Guide to St. Augustine, 1896 edition.

nephew Vedder came honestly by his strange fancies:  It is probable Jewett refers to Elihu Vedder, 1836-1893, a prominent contemporary painter, illustrator and author, known for his use of fantasy.  Elihu was a member of the Vedder family of Schenectady.  Jewett was familiar with Elihu Vedder's work, mentioning him in an 1886 book review.   Andrew Waber, author of the Vedder Rootsweb page cited above and a Vedder descendant, points out that Elihu was not a nephew, but a first cousin of Dr. Vedder.

    Waber adds: "Dr. Elihu Vedder, Sr., the artist's father, also was a resident of St. Augustine during the last twenty years of his life. Elihu Sr. was a longtime dentist in Matanzas, Cuba and he had another son, Alexander Vedder, who was the personal physician to the emperor of Japan.  The Elihu Vedder Collection in the Smithsonian Art Archives is available online."

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


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


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


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



From Rita K. Gollin, Annie Adams Fields: Woman of Letters.  Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2002, p. 239.

    When they returned to Florida in the winter of 1890, a writer for a New York weekly devoted to literature and the arts breezily informed his readers that "Mrs. James T. Fields and Miss Sarah O. Jewett are, I was about to say, summering at Saint Augustine, Fla., not simply because the weather there suggests the butterfly season, but because wherever those close literary friends are they diffuse a genial social warmth."  As he then explained, "Miss Jewett, whose home is in South Berwick, Me,. amid the scenes which she has invested with such picturesque interest, is in the habit of visiting Mrs. Fields during the winter in Boston, and they enjoy taking trips together wherever their fancy leads them."  But it was Sarah's arthritic pains rather than fancy that had again brought them to the Ponce de Leon.

  Hotel Ponce de Leon
     St. Augustine, Florida
     February 3, 1890

Dear Mr. Wingate:

     I am afraid that the necessary delay in my receiving your note of the 28th January will make the enclosed opinion of no use to you but I take pleasure in sending it. I should be glad to send fresh readers to Mr. Lowell's fine essay (1), at any rate, and I think in this case he has the final word.
     I hope that what I have written will serve your purpose. If I have written too much, I think you had better begin with the second paragraph, but I hope that you can find space for the whole question. (2) I should like very much to see the result of your work when it comes in print. Mrs. Fields and I are not having the paper sent regularly.
     Yours very truly,
     S. O. Jewett



This transcription is from Richard Cary, Sarah Orne Jewett Letters (1967), Letter 37.

Cary's Notes

     1 A check of morning and evening editions of the Boston Journal and of the Critic for this period reveals no word about Lowell by Miss Jewett, so her communication probably did arrive too late to be utilized. Reference may be to Lowell's address to the Modern Language Association, published in PMLA, V (January 1890), 5-22, and collected in his Latest Literary Essays and Addresses (Boston, 1892), 131-159, as "The Study of Modern Languages." Here Lowell applauds the growth of modern language teaching and refutes the attitude that masterpieces could only be written in the classical languages.
     2 An item from the Critic, n.s. XIII (February 22, 1890), 96, conveys the flavor of the Jewett-Fields relationship: "Mrs. James T. Fields and Miss Sarah O. Jewett are, I was about to say, summering at Saint Augustine, Fla., not simply because the weather there suggests the butterfly season, but because wherever these close literary friends are they diffuse a genial social warmth. Miss Jewett, whose home is in South Berwick, Me., amid the scenes which she has invested with such picturesque interest, is in the habit of visiting Mrs. Fields during the winter in Boston, and they enjoy taking trips together wherever their fancy leads them."



On January 7, 1896, Annie Fields and Sarah Orne Jewett departed from Boston, traveling by train to Brunswick, GA, where they made a brief stay before boarding the steam yacht, Hermione.  Along with its owner Henry L. Pierce (1825-1896) Thomas Bailey (1836-1911) and Lilian Aldrich, their servant, Bridget, and the crew, they attempted an itinerary that would take them to the Windward Islands.  However, the winter seas were so rough that sailing between islands was nearly always harrowing and everyone became seasick.  Though Annie and Sarah were game despite their suffering, Lilian Aldrich was less hardy, and they had to give up much of their plan.  Weather and other circumstances also delayed their return to the continent.  Still, they enjoyed the nearer tropical islands, for them a novel experience of climate, flora, and what they saw as exotic peoples.  Blanchard reports that by the time they returned to Florida at the beginning of March, Jewett had lost nearly ten pounds, and an extended recuperation was essential.  The pair remained in St. Augustine for some time.  Fields's last journal entry is dated March 10; Jewett's last letter home is dated March 16 from the departing train.


Henry L. Pierce
from the Library of Congress


From Annie Fields, "Diary of a Caribbean Trip, 1896."*

Tuesday morning {March 3}. 

After a rest from the ship, more delightful than words can express.  We now start for St. Augustine.

Wednesday morning March 4th 

Reached St. Augustine in the evening after a long dusty ride of eight hours in the train.*  It was not excessively warm because on one side was the sea nearly the whole time with sometimes acres of pineapple bushes and sometimes palmettos and sometimes only the white beach with its rolling waves between us and the deep sea.

It was cool when we came into the station and the air fragrant with blossoms.  The little place was very quiet but beautiful under that stars [with a fine architecture ?] dimly seen in the half light.  We found a few letters and  [unreadable line part of which may read: went to [bed ?] in comfortable beds not over our picturesque ­­­­____{.}

Up early -- The air being cool and inspiring.

Thursday, March 5th 

Lovely weather.  Yesterday they were taking up from the gardens flowers  or ^and^ plants [unreadable words] have probably been killed by the frosts{.}  There have been three severe "freezes" as they  [two unreadable lines that seem to include these words: … this winter.  The rose gardens here….]

 In the afternoon a carriage was put at our disposal and we drove across the new bridge where we used to take the little ferry.*  Roads have been made over on Anastasia Island and the whole place is being tamed.  When I think of the dead wild-cat ^ just shot^ that ^we found^ we in our [the superimposed over our] path once over there less than ten years ago I feel as if everything except the vast wild sea would soon be brought into subjection.  It is still beautiful but [deleted word] has surely lost something of the old picturesqueness.  There was a fire in the old part of the town a few years ago which has swept away some of the old coquina houses.*  But birds are in the hotel gardens now and the architecture has grown rather than lost in beauty ---------- and it is quiet.  We like it very much.

Friday March 6th 

Left with our friends for Jacksonville.  Drove at once to the yacht packed up such clothing as we were likely to need, took a last luncheon together, "Sadie" wrote up and signed "the Log" -- then bidding our companions farewell we were rowed ashore.  Kind Mr. Pierce went with us, bought our return tickets to St. Augustine where we are to rest a few days, and said goodbye only after seeing us safely into the train.  It was very warm but he returned again just before to [we was intended?] started to see if he could get better places for us --  From first to last{.}  Here ends the journal of our voyage to the westmost Indies{.}

March 7th & to 9th  10th 

at the Ponce de Leon.  In the afternoon of the 10th we drove into the woods and through Moccasin Swamp with Mr. Pell, Mrs. Smith and a [Miss ?] Samson  [Penciled in at the end:  Sampson?]  found Princulas* in bloom –



The original of this diary is in the collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Annie Adams Fields Papers 1852-1912, Folio PS 1669.F5 Z462 1986.  A microfilm of the Diaries of Annie Fields, Reel 2 is available courtesy of the University of Kansas Libraries, Lawrence, Kansas.  Link to a transcription of Diary of a West Indian Island Tour.

in the train:  By 1896, Henry Flagler had completed a direct rail line from New York to St. Augustine and further south.

the new bridge where we used to take the little ferry:  In America's First City: St. Augustine's Historical Neighborhoods, Karen Harvey  reports that the first bridge to Anastasia Island was built in 1895, replacing the earlier ferry service.

a fire in the old part of the town ... has swept away some of the old coquina houses:  In 1895, a major fire in the area north of the Plaza de la Constitucion destroyed many dwellings and businesses.  Coquina is a form of limestone containing broken fragments of fossil shellfish.    Many major projects in St. Augustine through the nineteenth century were built of coquina, including the sea wall, the "old gates" and Fort Marion.

Sadie:   Sadie is one of Jewett's nicknames.  Apparently she wrote some account of at least part of their journey in the yacht's log. This text has not been located.

Princula: Though Fields's handwriting at this point in the diary is quite difficult to make out, she does appear to have written "Princula."  However, she may have written Primula.  I have found no clear evidence of the existence of a Princula flower, but the genus primula includes a number of common flowers that Fields might have observed, such as the primrose.



Sarah Orne Jewett fragment

Monday morning

                    [ Probably hotel stationary ]
                    Hotel Ponce de Leon
                    Gillis and Murray, Managers
                    St. Augustine, Fla.

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




The original of this transcription is at the University of New England,  Maine Women Writers Collection #75  Letters from SOJ, Undated,     unidentified sources.  The location of the letter is unknown at present; we have only the transcription of a fragment.  The likely addressee is Mary Rice Jewett.

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

WHITRIDGE, Frederick Wallingford,
Lawyer, Railroad President.

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

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


Kate Foot:  This almost certainly is Kate Foote Coe (1840-1923).  A relative of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Foote was sister to Harriet Foote Hawley (1831-1886), who was well known as a Civil War nurse and journalist, and as the wife of Joseph Hawley -- journalist, Civil War general, congressman, and governor of Connecticut.  A full biographical sketch appears in An Historic Record and Pictorial Description of the Town of Meriden, Connecticut (pp.. 320-22).  During the Civil War, Kate Foote taught freedmen in Beaufort, SC, and after the war, she continued teaching the disadvantaged in Florida.  Following in her sister's footsteps, she was an advocate for American Indians.  She became President of the Washington Auxiliary of the Women’s National Indian Association (1886-1895), replacing her sister after Harriet's deathShe married Judge Andrew Jackson Coe (1834-1897) in 1895.  She published fiction and journalism in leading magazines, and for 15 years, she was the Washington correspondent for The Independent.  She also was active in the Daughters of the American Revolution.


Teachers at the Mission House in Beaufort

Miner, Harris, Armstrong, Cahoun, Colburn, H.C. Bullard, Mitchell, Jenners, King
and [Kate] Foote  Courtesy of Bronson, The Port Royal Experiment.


Photo courtesy of "Find a Grave"
Kate Foote Coe.

Foote is the co-author, with Maria Huntingon, of:
Harriet Ward Foote Hawley

Her story, "Wagon-Tire Camp" appears in the collection In City and In Camp (1886).


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

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

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

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


Sarah Orne Jewett to Mary Rice Jewett

[Hotel stationary]

[Not in Jewett's hand] 16 March 1896?

[Jewett's hand begins and appears unsteady on the train.] Monday morning in the train


Dear Mary,

Here we are all started out so pleased to be going home -- though it is so very pleasant to stay at our palace of the Ponce de Leon.  Who do you think saw us to the train, but Mr. & Mrs. Edmunds!*  who came up from the south where he had been fishing -- with such a sunburnt nose and great friendliness.  They [came ?] Saturday night but we didnt see them until yesterday morning since when we have played together pretty steadily.  They were so sorry we were coming away for they mean to stay until Saturday {.} and your sister is decked with violets presented by old Mr. Whitridge* who was delightful to the last & hopes to come to S. Berwick -- some time -- He had seen the Berwick paper in the New England* & couldn't say enough about it -- I really enjoyed him very much -- I dare say we shall find it cold on getting home but we dont much care & mean to be careful.  We shall not stay long in New York.  I am afraid from what you say that I am not likely to find you there but we can "play something self" -- A. F. interpolates a grateful message about the bonnet which she appreciates all over again ^it^ having been laid aside in the warm season for Madame Howard's hat --
--- As we go along all the pear trees and cherry trees look so pretty in full bloom.  I wonder how far the Hermione has got through the big seas. 
    I am going to post this at Jacksonville.  We hope to reach the Albemarle tomorrow afternoon{.}*  The train gets in between three & four.

    With ever so much love


Mr. Whitridge was so pleased with the picture you sent -- of the house.  Perhaps you could [written up the left margin and through the top margin of page 1] come up to 148 to meet us.  A. F. just came out with the same wish.  It would give you [deleted letters] a little change. "prepared to stay a few days" A. F. says!!




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

Mr. & Mrs. Edmunds:  George Franklin Edmunds (1828 - 1919) and his wife, Susan (1831-1916).  See notes above.

Mr. Whitridge:  See notes above for the "Monday Morning" letter.  Presumably his interest in Jewett's "Berwick paper" stems from his own family roots in South Berwick.

Berwick paper:  Jewett's "The Old Town of Berwick" appeared in New England Magazine (16 [new series 10]: 585-609) in July 1894.

Albemarle:  One of the grand New York hotels, on Washington Square, at the end of the 19th century.


Compiled, manuscripts edited, and annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College, 2015

Main Contents & Search
A Native of Winby
Jim's Little Woman