ALICE MORSE EARLE - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 09/10/1893 - HFSID 296201
ALICE MORSE EARLE
Content-rich 6-page ALS describing her own literary plans and candidly assessing other authors
Autograph Letter signed: "Alice Morse Earle", 6 pages (front and verso), 5¾x9. Worcester, Massachusetts, 1893 September 10. To "My dear Miss Baker", in full: "I send to you by today's mail, a copy of my 'Early Prose' - 'a poor thing, but mine own'. I did an immense amount of work for the Exposition - wrote histories of clubs - helped prepare folios - collected names of authors and lists of their work - and with my committee collected over four hundred books in Brooklyn - written by Kings County women - and all to what end? I spent a vast amount of time over this little book, I seemed to have nothing to build with, and really feel proud that I did so well. I have been correcting proof this summer for my book 'Customs and Fashions in Old New England' which will be issued in a few weeks by Scribner's, uniform with 'The Sabbath in Puritan New England'. I only hope it will prove equally successful. And now having filled a page with Is let me speak of you and your year. I deeply sympathize with you in the loss of your friend - it must indeed make you lonely - and sad. Such things are hard to bear. I grieve more and more for my loving child - and long more and more to see him again. He was my dear companion and friend and the loss of wanted companionship, of congenial companionship, is a constant soreness. That you must feel through the loss of your friend. I am glad Miss Coleman could be with you - please if she is still in Deerfield give her my kind regards. Mr. Sheldon sent me his most memorable paper on Negro Slavery, which had I read sooner I would have quoted in my book where I have a chapter on Domestic Service. I cannot tell you how I mourn that his history of Deerfield (that I read by smoky midnight oil at the Deerfield hostelry) has never been printed. With regard to your old love letters - I beg you to edit them - everyone loves to read old time letters. I see a volume of 'Old Puritan Love Letters' by Rev. Joseph Truehill advertised by Dodd and Mead this fall. I have had a most delightful correspondence since publishing my 'Boston School Girl in 1771' with a kinsman of Anna's - and they (the family) wish me to edit the whole diary, with notes etc. I may do so. I have a copy of her miniature, her picture and other things for illustration. Are there any cut-paper pictures in the Deerfield Memorial Hall? Anna speaks in her diary of them. I had a delightful letter from Mr. Sheldon. I thought of coming for a week to Deerfield, and asked about a boarding plan. He writes me that Augusta Larned - a slight acquaintance of mine - has been there. I think very highly of her Village Photographs. Have you read the Pratt Portraits? The author Miss Fullis has given me a copy. Some are very good. They have had a great sale. I met last winter Miss Wilkins. We lunched together. We spoke of Deerfield. I do not feel that I saw her under very favorable conditions. We were at the house of the very overpowering Mrs. Moore (author of Ryles Open Gate) - and sister of F. Hopkinson Smith - and I felt a sense of disappointment in her (Mrs. W.) that I was very willing to attribute to the surroundings. I do find her work to be so truly inspired [?], that I expected to find her looking like one who sees with clear vision far above most of our heads - but she did not so appear. I say this very frankly to you for I know you like her. Now with regard to china. My sister who is the best authority on Swiss etc. says a perfect [?] will sell for $18 or $20. She bought a whole collection in Chicago. Is it not funny to get it there? Of course it was gathered in the East. I have always felt that you ought to write a book on old-time household industries, weaving, spinning, candle-making, soap making, dyeing, on the travelling boot and shoe makers & tailors & all that. I would love to do it myself but do not know enough to. You have everything for illustration in Deerfield. You ought to make it historical and give précis etc. Quilt making would be a delightful chapter (but is that Fanny Burgess' half-acre?) Have you read her paper on nibbling and browsing in September Atlantic? I like it. I shall be in Worc. through September and am sincerely yours [signature] I have a sort of feeling that I have answered your letter and written all this to you before. Is it a dream?" Alice Morse Earle (1851-1911) was an historian of early American social customs, especially of New England life in earlier times. When she wrote this letter, she had already published several books, including Curious Punishments of Bygone Days (1896) and Customs and Fashions of Old New England (1893). The books she anticipates in this letter were soon published: Old Time Gardens (1901) and The Sun Dials and Roses of Yesterday (2002). Toned. Corners lightly worn. Fold through center. Otherwise, fine condition.
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