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The Selected Letters of Elizabeth Stoddard

Jennifer Putzi

Publication Year: 2012

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. 

Published by: University of Iowa Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. xi-xii

For recovering Elizabeth Stoddard and creating a culture in which she could be recognized as a writer who deserves this kind of scholarly attention, we would like to offer our deepest thanks to James Matlack, Lawrence Buell, and Sandra Zagarell. Other scholars who have provided...

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pp. xiii-xxxix

In October 1871, Elizabeth Stoddard published “A Literary Whim” in Appleton’s Journal, “protesting,” she later explained to her friend Elizabeth Akers Allen, “against the frantic fear that authors profess to feel lest they get into print.” While these authors eagerly offered their “intellectual wares” to the public, they noisily...

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Editorial Note

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pp. xli-xliv

Our intent throughout this volume is to present Stoddard’s text as accurately as possible, while also creating a readable volume. As editors, we sought to intrude only when necessary, and in terms of overall practice, we retained Stoddard’s text, including unusual punctuation, misspelled words, and evidently...


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pp. xlv-xlviii

Biographical Notes

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pp. xlix-lxv

The Selected Letters of Elizabeth Stoddard

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Letter 1. To Margaret Sweat, November 13, [1851]

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pp. 1-2

While he was in Europe he remained faithful to a young girl— his affianced—he came home to find her dying of consumption. A fortnight before her death he married her—in order he said to call her his “wife in heaven.” Now if this is not astonishing in these prosaic days what can be? If he were here not on his way to Egypt...

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Letter 2. To Margaret Sweat, June 4, [1852]

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pp. 3-6

Yet how plainly it shows! Somehow when I write you I feel more moved I feel so sincere. I cannot write you as I would & do many, lightly & of the world. It seems that back of all our belongings we both realize that we have a terrible self & that this is a terrible life...

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Letter 3. To Margaret Sweat, December 23, [1852]

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pp. 7-10

Now such exterior quiet is about me! You have one friend, the friend of friends with you. Nothing here to go with me into the depths of myself. The sterile landscape, the wintry wind these gray wailing waters benumb me, or rouse me to deep melancholy. I have so many bitter and unfortunate associations...

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Letter 4. To Margaret Sweat, January 13, 1853

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pp. 11-14

The air is thick and white with snow, the wind howls and the sea heaves grey & misty. I am full of pain. It seems only to leave my hands and arms free. I feel fastened in this chair. Do you have many feminine pains. I have read Dr. [Holenck’s?] book lately he says it cannot be denied that “Nature in the female...

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Letter 5. To Margaret Sweat [February 1853]

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pp. 15-16

My position remains the same for the present, we do not live together—I feel nervous just now, hurried & somewhat excited. I have no time to be in love, see very little of my husband. You know my world of friends is here, and Stoddard is so well known too. It is not known here except by one or two...

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Letter 6. To Margaret Sweat, November 8, 1853

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pp. 17-19

For six weeks I have re-lived a trouble of many years growth and endurance. It has broke into dreadful publicity (to me). My Father has married lately a girl who has lived many years in our family as a servant. A struggle silent to the world has been fought between us. My power and strength centering...

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Letter 7. To Margaret Sweat, March 20, [1854]

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pp. 20-21

My intellectual life is at variance with my other life, and my body is not a rock for the troubled waters of my soul to dash against. The desire for mental occupation only worries me, my physical capacity is not enough for continuous effort. I really think I shall wear out for I have some hidden disease that preys...

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Letter 8. To Rufus Wilmot Griswold, January 4, 1856

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pp. 22-

I saw to day for the first time a volume of your “Poets and Poetry of America.” I discovered there my maiden name in print and, underneath it a kind notice, which I thank you for. It is something nowadays to be “predicted” about, for a woman I mean. The Literary Female is abroad, and the souls of...

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Letter 9. “From Our Lady Correspondent” Daily Alta California, July 7, 1856

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pp. 23-29

I have just arrived in New York by the propeller Petanisks. I paid twenty shillings for as many hours passage: the agony was cheap. I took the propeller just as a man sometimes prefers to have a country doctor pull a tooth, dragging him some minutes by the forceps, all for twenty-five cents, instead of paying...

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Letter 10. “From Our Lady Correspondent”, Daily Alta California, August 3, 1856

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pp. 30-35

Colonel Fremont is treated by his party as a grandmother treats her darling grandson. With her it is what John did when he was a boy; what John’s mother thought, and how John’s wife felt; and how nobly he appeared on this occasion, and on that, when everybody else would have failed. The field of...

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Letter 11. “From Our Lady Correspondent”, Daily Alta California, September 21, 1856

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pp. 36-41

You have heard the anecdote of the ballet dancer, who was asked at rehearsal how her husband was, and who replied balancing first on one leg and then on the other, as earnest in her dancing as she was sincere in her grief: “He died this morning.” I feel something as she felt, as I sit down to write this letter...

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Letter 12. To Annie Taylor (Carey), July 21, 1857

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pp. 42-43

Your letter I received today. We are sweltering in the heat. I am writing you in as few clothes as the law allows, and I have on a pair of stockings with large holes in them to keep up the ventilation as much as possible. If I did what I wanted to do, which I never do exactly, I should march off with Willy to Kennett...

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Letter 13. To Manton Marble, September 19, [1857]

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pp. 44-

I am glad to hear you are coming to New York to live. It is the place for literary vagabonds. I too am a Bohemian and I love my fellow tinkers, and I hope I shall be able to include you in my list. I am out of friends just now. I need a new stock and will you allow me to ask you to make a beginning for...

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Letter 14. To Manton Marble [1858?]

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pp. 45-

I missed you. Do come one as soon as you can, and lie on the sofa and have a headache, and take a Seidlitz powder, and tell me I am like Charlotte Bronte or Margaret Fuller or some other abominably ugly woman. Do come and make me laugh. You shall never have to go home late at night again. We have already...

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Letter 15. To Richard Henry Stoddard [May 26, 1859]

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pp. 46-48

I waited to hear from you before writing again—I sent mother a letter this week. I have been sick since Monday—the tension of my nerves gave at once. I had a sore throat, continued menstruation, back ache & cold in the bowels. I have been in bed all the day nearly, but I feel much better tonight. I am sick...

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Letter 16. To Richard Henry Stoddard, July 3, [1859]

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pp. 49-50

The baby is failing fast. I had not seen him since Friday Eve until this afternoon and I was shocked at the change in him. The nurse says he has been in this way since yesterday. All his restlessness has gone, he seems to suffer no pain—his eyes grow larger and more intelligent—his looks haunt me. His food...

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Letter 17. To James Russell Lowell, January 12, [1860]

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pp. 51-

Mr Stoddard received a line from you several weeks since respecting a story which I sent to you hoping it might go to the Atlantic. He answered it, but has heard nothing from you. Will you oblige me by sending said narrative back with your opinion of what I should do with it—as you suggested in your note. It is a...

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Letter 18. To James Russell Lowell, May 5, 1860

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pp. 52-53

I brought your note with me to the country wishing to answer it. Your warning strikes me seriously—am I indeed all wrong, and are you all right about “going too near the edge” business? Must I create from whose, or what standard? What am I to do with some twenty years now past, but whose result ferments...

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Letter 19. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, May 21, [1860]

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pp. 54-56

What a good letter you have sent me! I fully agree with you in what you say about my writing. You mentioned, “Wuthering Heights,” that book made more impression upon me than any book I ever read perhaps. Its directness, truth & isolation & individuality are wonderful. You have noticed what I have...

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Letter 20. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, August 25, [1860]

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pp. 57-58

Your notice created quite a commotion last night among us, especially as you made the mistake of putting in Mrs. Taylor. For my part I am pleased being fond of publicity, as you know. Your paper is creditable I think, but it is a miserable mistake in the not having amusements noticed...

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Letter 21. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, August 17, 1861

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pp. 59-60

I thought I should see you before this, or I might have written you in answer your letter to me. Word of mouth is much better than word of pen. I think you said, you were not able to be found fault with. That’s a woman’s excuse. I have found fault with you and I must. You knew perfectly well, that I never...

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Letter 22. To Richard Henry Stoddard [Late November 1861]

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pp. 61-62

I think the lines you sent me very good indeed, there is to me a tone of deep feeling in your delineation of the King. I think he reminds me of you. You are my dear sweet poet and are far above me. I would not have it any different. My talent is palpable—he who runs may reach it—not so with yours. I work as hard...

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Letter 23. To Richard Henry Stoddard [Late November 1861]

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pp. 63-64

I did not send you a letter this morning because we were away yesterday all day until 10 O’Clock at night, and the night before not hearing from you—I put it off. I got a note from George B. saying he would see me going through Phila—. He said he heard from you—but if you had not wanted something you would...

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Letter 24. To James Lorimer and Josephine Graham, January 28, 1862

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pp. 65-67

You have heard! Give us your pity for we are struck through the heart. Were it not for the six years of happiness that I have had from Willy’s beautiful life, I should say to you, “be thankful that you are childless for you are spared the anguish we suffer.” I cannot write you much about the circumstances of his death...

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Letter 25. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, March 20, 1862

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pp. 68-70

You must blame Stoddard for the delay in not answering your letter, written so many weeks ago to us. As I see no indication that he will ever write you, I will wait no longer. I have read all your late war letters with pleasure, they are very good, written with ease and spirit—I like the tone of the World in...

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Letter 26. To Bayard and Marie Taylor, April 1, 1862

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pp. 71-72

My props are knocked away! I am glad you are going, for your sakes, for it seems to be a good scheme—though I do not think that Lincoln’s nod is proof that you will be minister, but the travel and the new book will be the same. I am grieved to lose you you are so much to us—you are always making beginnings and...

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Letter 27. “Gossip From Gotham”, San Francisco Bulletin, May 12, 1862

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pp. 73-81

On account of the Palmetto, the palmy days of the ordinary newspaper correspondent are over for the present; he cannot expect to hold his own in the face of the War Correspondent, who advances in the columns of his paper red-handed, and who makes his readers to smell the battle afar off as if it were near...

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Letter 28. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, June 22, 1862

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pp. 82-83

I am confined to my bed & cannot write you much. I am now under the influence of brandy and Assafoedity & have sat up “in end” to send you a word. Do you know how I have suffered in the last six months? This time I have been ill five weeks. Nervous prostration the Dr calls it. I call it Life, it is too much for...

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Letter 29. To James Lorimer Graham, September 14, 1862

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pp. 84-86

Stoddard is drawing towards being ready to write you, and I have a word to say, which I will say now. I send you a copy of the medallion head, the dearest thing I can send. I do not think it is like Willy, it lacks his delicacy of face. The more I look at his photograph, and at this, the less it is like his sweet noble face...

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Letter 30. “Gossip From Gotham”, San Francisco Bulletin, December 13, 1862

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pp. 87-93

The exigency of my mind demands from my pen what it is unable to perform—to wit: an essay on the aspect of the country. Had I the power of that too-ready writer, the author of the Essay Concerning Veal, I might be able to do justice to the thoughts which trouble me, by expression. The present estimate at the...

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Letter 31. “Gossip From Boston”, San Francisco Bulletin, January 10, 1863

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pp. 94-99

A lady who edits a Western newspaper says that the popularity of her journal is due to the fact that people are always expecting she will say something she ought not to. It seems to me that I have a like provocation to make these epistles more piquant, especially this present one, which I am able to date from...

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Letter 32. To James Lorimer Graham, March 6, 1863

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pp. 100-104

The day I received your letter of Dec 24th from Florence, I talked over with Stoddard the happiness we enjoyed in our friends. Back then everything appeared so fair—You had given us the hand and heart of friendship. Bayard and Marie were thinking of us in Russia & Edwin and Mary were identified with our daily...

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Letter 33. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, July 12, 1863

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pp. 105-107

Whatever you are my dear and whatever you do, I always take the same pleasure in your clear and beautiful intellect and I lament that we cannot be together more. I could talk with now with more satisfaction than ever. I know more than I did when I last saw you, the hairs of Destiny’s head are not numbered are...

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Letter 34. To Wilson Barstow Jr., [April] 16, [1865]

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pp. 108-109

I expected so anxiously to hear something respecting the astounding fact of Lincoln’s assassination, and his assassin John Booth: I never was more overwhelmed by any outside matter than by this. We get telegrams all the time & hear the news as soon as you. I can hardly keep away from N.Y., for I am half...

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Letter 35. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, April 18, 1865

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pp. 110-112

Stoddard writes me that you are not well, that you suffer. From the fact I infer that you are as much, and more alone than I am, for nothing so invests a person with solitude, as sickness—the true Robinson Crusoe is Pain. I feel it acutely whenever I know that you are ill, I myself dread and hate physical suffering...

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Letter 36. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, [May 1865]

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pp. 113-115

You need not answer this, I know what a burden letter writing must be to you, when everything is a burden. Don’t be discouraged. You will rally, it has seemed to me sometimes, ever since Abby died, that you have suffered from a nervous shock. I know what that is remember. I wish the climate here might suit...

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Letter 37. To Wilson Barstow Jr., June 21, 1865

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pp. 116-118

The only noise I have noticed here is the buzzing of the flies in the pane—and a slight noise from the harbor. The stillness of the grave prevails in and out of doors most of the time. The air is sweet however with new hay—think ye of clover blossoms in unholy Bleecker street! It is cool and comfortable and I should find...

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Letter 38. To Richard Henry Stoddard, June 23, 1865

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pp. 119-120

Did you, as I did forget that last Monday was Willy’s 10th birthday? What an infirm thing the soul is. I know that somewhere in my being that child’s being is intense—that I love him, mourn for him, shall never get over the loss of him, and yet I forget the day of his birth. I went today into the old wood where...

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Letter 39. To William Dean Howells, [Late November/Early December 1865]

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pp. 121-123

Did you ever see yourself in big letters before? I shall be the cause of celebrity in my friends, and I expect gratitude, for a week at least. Have you seen the Tribune’s review? It scared me, but it is dreadful just—the truest review yet I guess. I write things as I see and feel them, and the things are like surgical specimens...

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Letter 40. To Louise Chandler Moulton, December 16, [1865]

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pp. 124-125

I expected to hear from you before this concerning “Two Men.” It may be all you think it is, but the “particulars not in the book” are not yet discovered. I am surprised at the profound impression the book makes—it cannot be resisted even by those who condemn. I failed in my conception of an important character...

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Letter 41. To William Dean Howells, August 31, [1866]

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pp. 126-127

The harvest is ended, the summer is past, and you are not saved. I am however much obliged to you for your note. I am satisfied to believe that I deserved it. It is a shameful thing, wasted feeling. I was rather enthusiastic towards you, and wholly sincere. Now let us sit upon the ground and tell good stories...

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Letter 42. To Jervis and Gertrude McEntee, October 14, [1867]

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pp. 128-130

Thanks be to the energy, courage, and enterprize of Mrs. Vaux! This summer I resolved to remain passive in order to test my friends—the consequence was I heard from nobody! I shall for the future blow that conch shell instead of playing the role of a hermit crab. I have had an absorbing summer from...

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Letter 43. To Caroline Healey Dall, December 27, 1867

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pp. 131-132

Your letter saddens me, because like some other readers, you are led to my personality. This I think wrong for a critical starting point. Instead of feeling about the mind to learn what I am not, why not be contended with what I am, so far as my poor power goes? The literary history of Byron and Voltaire, the most...

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Letter 44. To Caroline Healey Dall, February 11, 1868

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pp. 133-135

I was this very hour about to write you that I had received your book, and your letter has just come to disturb the peaceful monotony of my intended thanks. I have had no time to read your book so far. Mr Stedman looked into it, and from what he says of your chapter on Prostitution I think I should, if I could...

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Letter 45. To Helen Hunt (Jackson), April 7, 1870

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pp. 136-138

I had seen the report, but it did not fasten either eye or thought, for I am not such stuff as dreams are made of. I read Weiss again however to please you. There are two points I much hang on, or pivot rather, and on the two I’ll have to swing like a poor old imprisoned parrot. The spring of my life has twice...

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Letter 46. To Whitelaw Reid, May 9, 1870

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pp. 139-140

Oh my friend, what a world of ignorance that speech revealed to me! It is an excellent general text, but I have no time to preach a sermon out. If you live long enough you will give me the affection I ask for, which will be a help to you—for when a man loves a woman in the shady side of life, one who...

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Letter 47. To Helen Hunt (Jackson), September 21, 1870

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pp. 141-144

That ever you should make a fuss over the Dinks business, when you have had a book of mine unread by you for months! I shant forget you, we are something alike, that is, we have as decided opinions, and as forcibly express them. I do not know my match as a contradiction except yourself. I hope you wont...

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Letter 48. To Helen Hunt (Jackson), November 11, [1870]

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pp. 145-147

I was torn with remorse at your reminder of my debt. I believe it is the first time I was ever so guilty, but I must have depended on Stoddard’s remembrance of it—and he has nothing to say for himself. We both rushed out within five minutes of the arrival of your letter and traced the wretched Gradot to her...

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Letter 49. To Whitelaw Reid, March 10, [1871]

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pp. 148-150

Stoddard is an industrious being, at present is whispering over an article on Leigh Hunt. There seems to be a small God in Israel now-a-days. Marble wrote him yesterday there had been no papers like his Homer and The Grail anywhere—and Stoddard was told at the World Office the other day of a thing that...

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Letter 50. To Whitelaw Reid, June 7, 1871

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pp. 151-152

I choose to trust you here, have asked you not to read the first irrelevant page of L’s note. It will prove no betrayal for our friend will tell the same to all her friends if not just now, with any opportunity. I wish that she could be propped up enough to have more self-sustaining power, that she might leave...

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Letter 51. To Whitelaw Reid, July 21, [1871]

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pp. 153-155

Mrs Taylor and I are hugely pleased with the idomatic article concerning Free Love. Excellent expressions in it—“if the race were like cherubs” “translating these words out of ecstasy into English”. I wish I had will enough to go into a contest properly— able to do justice to my own mind & to the...

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Letter 52. To Whitelaw Reid, August 23, 1871

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pp. 156-158

We have returned to town, and are ready for any sort of fray. I wish you, through the columns of the Tribune, to propose me for the State Attornoyship. I feel within me that pure womanliness, and spirit of self-sacrifice which eminently qualifies me for the position. To prove this, I am willing to refuse all fees or...

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Letter 53. To Elizabeth Akers Allen, June 7, [1872]

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pp. 159-162

I hope old Saco blows on you this arid pm. You dear soul, why have you hid away in Portland? I hate my memory of that place. There is a bad man there Lorenzo Sweat, and a pedantic vain prig his wife Margaret Sweat. They asked us in NY, years ago, to visit them— circumstances took us there, and we went...

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Letter 54. To Elizabeth Akers Allen, March 28, [1873]

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pp. 163-165

I have been very remiss in delaying to answer your letter, but I meant to return you something in kind and so waited. I am not well. As I get aged, letter writing is more difficult especially when I am wading over paper for print. My conscience compels me to enclose you my last screed, for I think you will...

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Letter 55. To Elizabeth Akers Allen, [Fall/Winter 1873?]

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pp. 166-167

Is it not borne in upon us all—that life is a waste—or, a vegetating platform for us all. My life is so welded a mass of black and white that I cannot separate it. No hour has been without its alloy—but a few even pleasant wholly. I perceive that you are like me, men love us more than women, because we are stronger...

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Letter 56. To Elizabeth Akers Allen, December 27, [1873?]

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pp. 168-169

Your hearing may be good but your eyesight as Lorry says must be awful. I wrote you that if it was pleasant we would visit you on Friday. As I do not rise early, Stoddard hopped out of bed that morning to see if the weather was good. “No Mrs Allen today” he said. About 1 am, looking out of Mrs Bradley’s window...

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Letter 57. To William Winter, [November 16, 1874]

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pp. 170-171

Stoddard and I are delighted with your Field, it is so kind, quite just, and inexorable. I am happy that I did not stand in those satin boots before your judgment. I was irritated all through the performance by Stedman’s attempt to shove her afloat, greasing the ways with flowers and clappings...

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Letter 58. To Edmund Clarence Stedman,[October 1874]

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pp. 172-173

Stoddard is in bed, and the band in the street is playing a kind of dead march thing which sinks my heart into a lower hole. What is coming? It seems to me at times that Stoddard’s shadow grows longer so surely, so steadily, that I see it touching his grave. And what have I to call upon...

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Letter 59, To Elizabeth Akers Allen, February 12, [1876]

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pp. 174-175

What a wry world this is—If I did not know our own experience I could not possibly understand how a woman of your ability could be so situated as you appear to be. Did you ever think that our results may be owing to ourselves our idiosyncrasies, faults, that our misfortunes are not wholly due to circumstances...

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Letter 60. To Emma Taylor Lamborn, December 24, [1878]

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pp. 176-178

When we heard at Stedman’s that Reid that very evening had heard almost fatal news of Bayard’s condition I wanted to write to some of you. I thought at least I might write to Charly, but I was told that it was best to keep anything concerning Bayard’s condition to ourselves. I see by your letter however...

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Letter 61. To Julia Ripley Dorr, March 31, [1879]

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pp. 179-182

The Papyrus dinner was a success, a novel pleasure to me. All the lady writers present except one EDBS were complimented in the toast given by our guests. You may imagine how gratifying it was to me to be so ignored and before women who were not my superiors. Mrs. Burnett amazed me. She was all...

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Letter 62. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, [Early December 1879]

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pp. 183-185

If the agent and other creditors should close on us—where could we go, what do. I have had a letter from my father lately reproaching me for not paying the remnant of our summer’s board due him. That avenue is closed. All that I can do it appears is to go about looking respectable in...

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Letter 63. To Julian Hawthorne, November 12, [1883]

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pp. 186-188

You are right, and very good to write me so—Stoddard fears to write long letters, lest some idea might escape him which he could sell. “Little of that still harmony and blending softness of union which is the last perfection of strength” is in my mind and work. In Temple House I wished to prove that...

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Letter 64. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, July 19, [1885]

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pp. 189-190

I thank you for placing my name with Dicks in the vol you sent here. But of course thinking of Stoddard as a poet as I do, you must know that I do not like what you have said of him or why you should have given him so inferior a place. I am thankful as I grow older that I have learned to realize his worth far...

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Letter 65. To Laura Stedman, July 12, [1887]

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pp. 191-192

Don’t worry about answering my letter, only drop me a line to keep me advised about your condition. We understand each other very well in some ways, and sympathize with each other, for here is this fact in our lives, there is a place unfilled, we lack something to suit us—in one way we are as much alone as if we...

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Letter 66. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, November 18, [1887]

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pp. 193-198

Houghton Mifflin & Co are mistaken about Two Men being fairly before the public. Stoddard says that really Bunce & Huntingdon never existed as a house. Old Huntington, a music publisher wished to set his son up, gave him the money, and supposing Bunce to be a business man, took him for a partner—Bunce...

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Letter 67. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, May 15, [1888]

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pp. 199-201

I have a letter from Mary Bradley today. She was greatly disappointed not to see you. I wish she had. She has gained so much in looks, manner and ease. She does not live with her husband [beast?] who has a place here, given him by Manton Marble. She lives with her daughter and sister in Washington,...

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Letter 68. To Lilian Whiting, June 25, [1888]

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pp. 202-204

You could not have made the paragraph about spouse neater—it is just the thing, & I hope it will be copied. The question is if you should suddenly withdraw from the Traveller, what would become of it? Your review is excellent. I see that you as well as the Tribune (Mr Parsons) avoid the Lang episode. In the...

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Letter 69. To Julia Ripley Dorr, October 5, [1888]

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pp. 205-207

I found your note on my return this morning from Croton Falls. I think I might strew ashes on my head and wait to hear of more evil tidings for no step I have taken since the 1st of July that I have not, either on arriving at our destination, or on coming home, heard of the death of a friend or relative, the first...

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Letter 70. To Lilian Whiting, June 20, [1889]

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pp. 208-210

You builded better than you knew with your last paragraph for me. Stoddard took it to Mr Dunham, (Cassells) who was pleased with it, and will make use of it in his advertizements. By Lorry’s advice we are going to “push” The Morgesons, in the way of advertizements do you believe in them...

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Letter 71. To John Eliot Bowen, November 27, [1889]

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pp. 211-212

I have read my story with smiles of wonder. It seems to me that the individuality of it is left out. I had not the least idea of its length or finish. I never wrote a story for a newspaper, nor anything to order. I never wrote on small pages of paper before. No wonder you were amazed when you received the stack...

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Letter 72. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, February 3, [1890]

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pp. 213-214

Forty centuries are swept away, and I am back in the old house with drifts of snow piled round it; the roads are blocked up, and that beautiful snow silence is everywhere. My father and Dick are smoking by the fire, touching on this topic, and that, and I must say, that father knows a great deal more of political...

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Letter 73. To Andrew Varick Stout Anthony, May 7, 1890

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pp. 215-216

I know you meant well, but your kind note made me percieve how futile my attempts are to cover up my birthdays; they wont “blow over.” When I was home last, I gave my opinion of the inaccuracy of family annals, especially in dates, but in vain, “figures dont lie”—I was told. Age is relative, but to ourselves...

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Letter 74. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, August 21, 1891

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pp. 217-219

I know you love bonne booches and I send you one. The failure of my novels to sell is always the “black drop,” when they are praised and it chokes me into silence. The other day I was accosted in the street by a woman who introduced herself as Mrs Col Crawford of Georgia. She had heard we were here, and knowing my...

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Letter 75. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, October 22, 1891

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pp. 220-221

Your note has come back to me this morning, I have been wrapped in the unreality of life and death, these past days. I saw again the struggle, and the fight are with life, not death. We were not expecting the end when it came. What appeared to ail Father was a constant exhausting cough. I was in the next room...

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Letter 76. To William Dean Howells, November 24, [1895]

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pp. 222-224

At last I am noticed, and I have dropped a tear of pure pleasure over what you have written of me, it is lovely. I remember you then, as being very young and handsome. I hope no body will “down” you for what you have said, unless it is Stoddard, he dont believe in that word “abhorrant.” Will you let me...

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Letter 77. To Julia Ripley Dorr, January 15, 1896

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pp. 225-226

It is a great pleasure to have your letter, you are so much more an artist, “trained” than I am, that I should not have been surprised at a degree of indifference to some of my verse. You must have felt “Unreturning”—the life of my heart—the loss which still gives me such a pang, that both, Stoddard and I shut..

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Letter 78. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, April 1, 1897

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pp. 227-229

We are happy in concluding since we have heard from you, that you did not get cold Thursday night, as Judge Daly, and Mr Whiting did. More than once Dick has said that it would have made him miserable if you had taken a chill, and the grip—When Lorry got home that night, he said it was the happiest...

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Letter 79. To Laura Stedman, November 29, 1897

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pp. 230-231

What a good nice visit we had, I wish I was there now. I could soon settle into my own ways, with books, work writing, and come up even with yours. I do wish you could have a congenial companion with you—one like what Mary Bradley is to me—where you would be at home with each other, and no...

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Letter 80. To Lilian Whiting, [July 1901]

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pp. 232-233

I should have answered something concerning your article about us, but I have been, and am so absorbed in Lorimers illness, that I cannot feel much interested in anything besides. There seems to be a Stoddard epidemic, yours was the second or third paper, two or three days after, there was one on...

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Letter 81. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, August 29, [1901]

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pp. 234-235

The last nails of Lorrys coffin is first being driven into his wasted body, today he cannot speak, or whisper but a word to me, the end is near. I am much troubled about Dick, he is not himself, and is very strange. At Liberty he could do his work and had tolerably good spirits, he could not & did not give up...

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Letter 82. To Lilian Whiting, November 18, [1901]

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pp. 236-237

Reading lately that Mrs Piper had made a confession, that she did not now believe that she had communicated with spirits of the dead, it occurred to me to write you, if you knew and believed in her. Do you still have a relation with Kate Field, who was a woman as different to me as she was to you, that...

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Letter 83. To Edmund Clarence Stedman, June 30, 1902

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pp. 238-239

This morning when I was waiting for the day to begin I was thinking that if you left me, what should I do? And more I have the happy news of your getting better fast—only take care. I seem to be running behind, attack upon attack strikes me, then of course like the frog in the well I go back three steps...

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Letter 84. To [Constance Lodge Gardner?], July 2, [1902]

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pp. 240-241

It is a year ago that we started for the Loomis happy in expecting Lorry was going to get well. In a few minutes the blow struck, and the arrow is still in me. On April 22nd I was suddenly seized with double pneumonia, and was near to death as the Dr’s and all, thought, but the lungs cleared, leaving all...

Works Cited

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pp. 243-245


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pp. 247-259

E-ISBN-13: 9781609381455
Print-ISBN-13: 9781609381226

Page Count: 300
Publication Year: 2012

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Subject Headings

  • Stoddard, Elizabeth, 1823-1902 -- Correspondence.
  • Women authors, American -- 19th century -- Correspondence.
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