In this Book

The Selected Letters of Elizabeth Stoddard
summary
In response to the resurgence of interest in American novelist, poet, short-story writer, and newspaper correspondent Elizabeth Stoddard (1823–1902), whose best-known work is The Morgesons (1862), Jennifer Putzi and Elizabeth Stockton spent years locating, reading, and sorting through more than 700 letters scattered across eighteen different archives, finally choosing eighty-four letters to annotate and include in this collection. By presenting complete, annotated transcripts, The Selected Letters provides a fascinating introduction to this compelling writer, while at the same time complicating earlier representations of her as either a literary handmaiden to her at-the-time more famous husband, the poet Richard Henry Stoddard, or worse, as the “Pythoness” whose difficult personality made her a fickle and unreasonable friend.
 
The Stoddards belonged to New York's vibrant, close-knit literary and artistic circles. Among their correspondents were both family members and friends including writers and editors such as Julia Caroline Ripley Dorr, Rufus Griswold, James Russell Lowell, Caroline Healey Dall, Julian Hawthorne, William Dean Howells, Helen Hunt Jackson, Edmund Clarence Stedman, and Margaret Sweat.
 
An innovative and unique writer, Stoddard eschewed the popular sentimentality of her time even while exploring the emotional territory of relations between the sexes. Her writing—in both her published fiction and her personal letters—is surprisingly modern and psychologically dense. The letters are highly readable, lively, and revealing, even to readers who know little of her literary output or her life.
 

As scholars of epistolarity have recently argued, letters provide more than just a biographical narrative; they also should be understood as aesthetic performances themselves. The correspondence provides a sense of Stoddard as someone who understood letter writing as a distinct and important literary genre, making this collection particularly well suited for new conceptualizations of the epistolary genre. 

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
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  1. Acknowledgements
  2. pp. xi-xii
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. xiii-xxxix
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  1. Editorial Note
  2. pp. xli-xliv
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  1. Timeline
  2. pp. xlv-xlviii
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  1. Biographical Notes
  2. pp. xlix-lxv
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  1. The Selected Letters of Elizabeth Stoddard
  1. Letter 1. To Margaret Sweat, November 13, [1851]
  2. pp. 1-2
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  1. Letter 2. To Margaret Sweat, June 4, [1852]
  2. pp. 3-6
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  1. Letter 3. To Margaret Sweat, December 23, [1852]
  2. pp. 7-10
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  1. Letter 4. To Margaret Sweat, January 13, 1853
  2. pp. 11-14
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  1. Letter 5. To Margaret Sweat [February 1853]
  2. pp. 15-16
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  1. Letter 6. To Margaret Sweat, November 8, 1853
  2. pp. 17-19
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  1. Letter 7. To Margaret Sweat, March 20, [1854]
  2. pp. 20-21
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  1. Letter 8. To Rufus Wilmot Griswold, January 4, 1856
  2. p. 22
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  1. Letter 9. “From Our Lady Correspondent” Daily Alta California, July 7, 1856
  2. pp. 23-29
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  1. Letter 10. “From Our Lady Correspondent”, Daily Alta California, August 3, 1856
  2. pp. 30-35
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  1. Letter 11. “From Our Lady Correspondent”, Daily Alta California, September 21, 1856
  2. pp. 36-41
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  1. Letter 12. To Annie Taylor (Carey), July 21, 1857
  2. pp. 42-43
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  1. Letter 13. To Manton Marble, September 19, [1857]
  2. p. 44
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  1. Letter 14. To Manton Marble [1858?]
  2. p. 45
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  1. Letter 15. To Richard Henry Stoddard [May 26, 1859]
  2. pp. 46-48
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  1. Letter 16. To Richard Henry Stoddard, July 3, [1859]
  2. pp. 49-50
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  1. Letter 17. To James Russell Lowell, January 12, [1860]
  2. p. 51
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  1. Letter 18. To James Russell Lowell, May 5, 1860
  2. pp. 52-53
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  1. Letter 19. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, May 21, [1860]
  2. pp. 54-56
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  1. Letter 20. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, August 25, [1860]
  2. pp. 57-58
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  1. Letter 21. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, August 17, 1861
  2. pp. 59-60
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  1. Letter 22. To Richard Henry Stoddard [Late November 1861]
  2. pp. 61-62
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  1. Letter 23. To Richard Henry Stoddard [Late November 1861]
  2. pp. 63-64
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  1. Letter 24. To James Lorimer and Josephine Graham, January 28, 1862
  2. pp. 65-67
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  1. Letter 25. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, March 20, 1862
  2. pp. 68-70
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  1. Letter 26. To Bayard and Marie Taylor, April 1, 1862
  2. pp. 71-72
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  1. Letter 27. “Gossip From Gotham”, San Francisco Bulletin, May 12, 1862
  2. pp. 73-81
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  1. Letter 28. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, June 22, 1862
  2. pp. 82-83
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  1. Letter 29. To James Lorimer Graham, September 14, 1862
  2. pp. 84-86
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  1. Letter 30. “Gossip From Gotham”, San Francisco Bulletin, December 13, 1862
  2. pp. 87-93
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  1. Letter 31. “Gossip From Boston”, San Francisco Bulletin, January 10, 1863
  2. pp. 94-99
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  1. Letter 32. To James Lorimer Graham, March 6, 1863
  2. pp. 100-104
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  1. Letter 33. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, July 12, 1863
  2. pp. 105-107
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  1. Letter 34. To Wilson Barstow Jr., [April] 16, [1865]
  2. pp. 108-109
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  1. Letter 35. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, April 18, 1865
  2. pp. 110-112
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  1. Letter 36. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, [May 1865]
  2. pp. 113-115
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  1. Letter 37. To Wilson Barstow Jr., June 21, 1865
  2. pp. 116-118
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  1. Letter 38. To Richard Henry Stoddard, June 23, 1865
  2. pp. 119-120
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  1. Letter 39. To William Dean Howells, [Late November/Early December 1865]
  2. pp. 121-123
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  1. Letter 40. To Louise Chandler Moulton, December 16, [1865]
  2. pp. 124-125
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  1. Letter 41. To William Dean Howells, August 31, [1866]
  2. pp. 126-127
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  1. Letter 42. To Jervis and Gertrude McEntee, October 14, [1867]
  2. pp. 128-130
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  1. Letter 43. To Caroline Healey Dall, December 27, 1867
  2. pp. 131-132
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  1. Letter 44. To Caroline Healey Dall, February 11, 1868
  2. pp. 133-135
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  1. Letter 45. To Helen Hunt (Jackson), April 7, 1870
  2. pp. 136-138
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  1. Letter 46. To Whitelaw Reid, May 9, 1870
  2. pp. 139-140
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  1. Letter 47. To Helen Hunt (Jackson), September 21, 1870
  2. pp. 141-144
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  1. Letter 48. To Helen Hunt (Jackson), November 11, [1870]
  2. pp. 145-147
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  1. Letter 49. To Whitelaw Reid, March 10, [1871]
  2. pp. 148-150
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  1. Letter 50. To Whitelaw Reid, June 7, 1871
  2. pp. 151-152
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  1. Letter 51. To Whitelaw Reid, July 21, [1871]
  2. pp. 153-155
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  1. Letter 52. To Whitelaw Reid, August 23, 1871
  2. pp. 156-158
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  1. Letter 53. To Elizabeth Akers Allen, June 7, [1872]
  2. pp. 159-162
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  1. Letter 54. To Elizabeth Akers Allen, March 28, [1873]
  2. pp. 163-165
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  1. Letter 55. To Elizabeth Akers Allen, [Fall/Winter 1873?]
  2. pp. 166-167
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  1. Letter 56. To Elizabeth Akers Allen, December 27, [1873?]
  2. pp. 168-169
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  1. Letter 57. To William Winter, [November 16, 1874]
  2. pp. 170-171
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  1. Letter 58. To Edmund Clarence Stedman,[October 1874]
  2. pp. 172-173
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  1. Letter 59, To Elizabeth Akers Allen, February 12, [1876]
  2. pp. 174-175
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  1. Letter 60. To Emma Taylor Lamborn, December 24, [1878]
  2. pp. 176-178
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  1. Letter 61. To Julia Ripley Dorr, March 31, [1879]
  2. pp. 179-182
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  1. Letter 62. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, [Early December 1879]
  2. pp. 183-185
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  1. Letter 63. To Julian Hawthorne, November 12, [1883]
  2. pp. 186-188
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  1. Letter 64. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, July 19, [1885]
  2. pp. 189-190
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  1. Letter 65. To Laura Stedman, July 12, [1887]
  2. pp. 191-192
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  1. Letter 66. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, November 18, [1887]
  2. pp. 193-198
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  1. Letter 67. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, May 15, [1888]
  2. pp. 199-201
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  1. Letter 68. To Lilian Whiting, June 25, [1888]
  2. pp. 202-204
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  1. Letter 69. To Julia Ripley Dorr, October 5, [1888]
  2. pp. 205-207
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  1. Letter 70. To Lilian Whiting, June 20, [1889]
  2. pp. 208-210
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  1. Letter 71. To John Eliot Bowen, November 27, [1889]
  2. pp. 211-212
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  1. Letter 72. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, February 3, [1890]
  2. pp. 213-214
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  1. Letter 73. To Andrew Varick Stout Anthony, May 7, 1890
  2. pp. 215-216
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  1. Letter 74. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, August 21, 1891
  2. pp. 217-219
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  1. Letter 75. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, October 22, 1891
  2. pp. 220-221
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  1. Letter 76. To William Dean Howells, November 24, [1895]
  2. pp. 222-224
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  1. Letter 77. To Julia Ripley Dorr, January 15, 1896
  2. pp. 225-226
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  1. Letter 78. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, April 1, 1897
  2. pp. 227-229
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  1. Letter 79. To Laura Stedman, November 29, 1897
  2. pp. 230-231
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  1. Letter 80. To Lilian Whiting, [July 1901]
  2. pp. 232-233
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  1. Letter 81. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, August 29, [1901]
  2. pp. 234-235
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  1. Letter 82. To Lilian Whiting, November 18, [1901]
  2. pp. 236-237
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  1. Letter 83. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, June 30, 1902
  2. pp. 238-239
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  1. Letter 84. To [Constance Lodge Gardner?], July 2, [1902]
  2. pp. 240-241
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  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 243-245
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 247-259
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