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According to scholars of book history, print did not replace the production of manuscript writing during the early modern period. On the contrary, it encouraged an increase in writing by hand.1 The manuscript books of Philadelphia poet Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson contain ample evidence of how print inspired the continuous production of handwritten material. The remaining six manuscript copy books that Fergusson composed from the early 1770s to the late 1790s have a miscellaneous content. They include Fergusson's poetic compositions, those of other poets, personal letters, as well as newspaper articles and extracts from printed books.2 The volumes that Fergusson designed and revised during the last three decades of her life provide evidence of her perception of her audience, her purpose in writing and selecting materials, and her idea of publicity. Fergusson's books reveal her active engagement with eighteenth-century cultural and intellectual life among Philadelphia's literary and social elites. Although poetry constitutes the bulk of her work, her letters and other writings reveal the span of her interests. Her correspondence with the Philadelphia physician Benjamin Rush, for example, shows her interest in and knowledge of philosophy, education, and medicine. Her poetic correspondence with Francis Hopkinson lasted many years and culminated in the production of a long mock-epic [End Page 75] poem that Fergusson dedicated to him. One of her copy books is addressed to Annis Boudinot Stockton, Fergusson's lifelong friend and fellow poet. For many years, she also corresponded with the English Juliana Penn and John Fothergill and dedicated poems to both. Each of her connections was a member of intersecting networks of readers that formed the literary culture of eighteenth-century Anglo-America. Her books are hybrid compositions that cross over from the commonplace book to the miscellany to the copy book.3 Each manuscript book was designed and revised according to the specific recipient, and if a poem was reproduced, one notices adjustments reflecting shifts in audience, place, time, and culture. In this essay, my analysis of some materials in two of Fergusson's extant manuscript books shows how her selections and marginalia are evidence of how her writing, and especially re-writing, reflect and reproduce various aspects of the salon manuscript literary culture that had formed her as a writer. Fergusson's authorial identity emerges in the conversations that the writing in the page of the book establishes with the past, other authors and their work, and her prospective audiences.


Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson belonged to a prominent Philadelphia family. Her mother was the stepdaughter of Pennsylvania governor William Keith, and her father an influential figure in Philadelphia social and political life. In her late teens, Elizabeth met William Franklin and began a long engagement that ended when Franklin left her for another woman.4 During the years before the war of independence began, Fergusson and her family ran a well-known salon that, in a commemorative essay, Benjamin Rush described as being "for the entertainment not only of strangers, but of such of her friends of both sexes as were considered the most suitable company for them. These evenings were, properly speaking, of the Attic type."5 When the war began, however, Fergusson's life collapsed. Her loyalist husband, Henry Fergusson, whom she had secretly married a few months before the death of her father in 1771, almost caused Elizabeth to lose the ownership of Graeme Park, the family ancestral residence. As he was trying to leave for England in order to escape prosecution, Fergusson was caught and detained. And when he was eventually released and able to leave Pennsylvania, his wife refused to join him. She never saw him again. Instead, she spent many years fending off the government's attempts to confiscate the family property and the accusations of treason. Elizabeth Fergusson never recovered from the loss of her reputation among her friends and acquaintances and spent the rest of her life in a self-imposed exile from public life.6 [End Page 76]

Despite this retirement from the public life she had led before the war, Fergusson continued to write poetry, transcribe it in her books with other writings, and circulate them among members of her social circles. A largely self-educated poet and scholar, Fergusson had been reading, writing, and translating poetry since her teens. In the mid 1760s, she produced a manuscript two-volume didactic translation of François Fénelon's The Adventures of Telemachus, Son of Ulysses and a two-volume adaptation of the Psalms. She also submitted and published a substantial number of poems in local periodicals such as The Pennsylvania Magazine. But her preferred form of publication remained the manuscript copy book that consisted of three or four separate smaller handwritten notebooks tied together and professionally bound.

As I suggested earlier, after the loss of her public social standing and her inner circle of friends composed of both loyalists and patriots was disrupted, Fergusson's reproduction of poetry in the books becomes the replacement for the social and literary exchanges of her earlier life.7 Many of the notes that appear in the margins of the books are visibly directed to the addressee, but they also establish conversations between time periods and between different cultural environments that relate to their contents. These books reflect the participatory structure that Margaret Ezell has identified as the principal feature of manuscript literary culture.8 This culture depended on a dynamic network of writer and reader who participated in the making and remaking of the books they exchanged. The material form of Fergusson's manuscript books is an essential component of her work. Fergusson's methods of producing the books, including her composition, revision, copying, arrangement, and presentation to specific audiences reveal the multiple technical operations that are involved in the production of her work. Fergusson's books show how the materiality of the text and the textuality of the material form are bound together.9 Her notations and commentaries to the various versions of her poems and to her responses to printed material are functions of the manuscript nature of the book and the culture it represents and fosters. In this respect, Fergusson's authorial interventions produce a paratext that also exemplifies the fluid relationship that manuscript book publication of this kind had with traditional notions of "private" and "public." The social function of Fergusson's books, in fact, is written on and in the pages bound together according to her choice of theme and audience, and it is this particular medium that allows the author to re-establish the connection with the world of letters and the sociability from which she had been separated.10 Her commonplace books, as texts that circulated, reveal public moments of readership and reflect that public back into the private realm when they are copied back again into a new book. [End Page 77] Fergusson's own authorial interventions also reveal those of her readers, both in a direct or indirect form.

The public voice which the salon had given Fergusson and the social interactions it permitted are reproduced in the pages of the books that she composes. In a letter in which Fergusson writes about a plan to compose a book for the young daughters of her friend Ann Ridgeley, Fergusson's words reveal her ideas about what her writing is for and what she expects in an audience:

You are very obliging in pointing out a Method to get the manuscripts, which at least my share of them I fear would not repay you for the pains of developing a bad Hand: But I Will not act the Hypocrite: I declare when by peculiar Circumstances I am as it were a Link Cut off from the Chain of that Society both by Birth and Education which I once was taught to expect, and devote my Hours to Retirement and my Pen, I feel a Latent Wish that those whose tasks are congenial to my own, might with the Eye of not Candor But Partiality see my turn of thought and mode of Life. But you told me "that your Children are fond of Poetry," of Consequence they have read a great deal and under such a monitress as their mother have read the Best, and as they must be devested of that partiality which perhaps you might have, I fear it will be dull work, But my promise is made, and what is still more cogent my Will is on the side of performing it: Tho It may be a considerable time before I put it in Execution, for among the Portions of time I find most tedious where I live, is the long long Winter Evenings Once the Joy of my heart when surrounded by a Groupe of Dear Conextions all gone to the Silent abodes of Death. Those Winter evenings I mean in part to devote to sorting; or Copying out such of my little Things; that I think may have a Chance of meeting your and the young Ladies approbation; Therefore rest assured if I live, have my Eyes, Limbs, and faculties between this and the month of May a volume shall make its appearance.11

Fergusson's awareness of the obstacle that the "peculiar Circumstances" of her economic and social decline create is evident in the opening words of this letter. These impediments and the death of close family members and relations are making literary production and distribution difficult. Yet, Fergusson's words also show her eagerness to overcome those obstacles by composing new books and sending her work out. Ridgeley's children, who are educated by a mother whose cultural and social rules Fergusson shares, will become her new audience. By means of the literary activity that her "Pen" engages with, the world that has been lost can be turned back into life [End Page 78] during the "Hours of Retirement" when she will complete the new manuscript book. This activity produces the space for her work to re-emerge from its forced exile and to acquire the power to counteract the circumstances behind Fergusson's life away from the society she used to be part of.

Although Fergusson is clearly mourning in the passage just quoted, it is impossible not to notice her eagerness to discuss her own literary abilities and the possibilities that a new and young audience might afford her. Fergusson's words about presenting her work to her prospective readers is also worth noticing. While Ann Ridgeley is characterized as partial, her daughters are "devested" of any bias. Their impartiality to the book's author might make for a "dull" reading experience, but the young women become Fergusson's chosen audience: "But my promise is made, and what is still more cogent my Will is on the side of performing it." Fergusson's wording stresses the power that the idea of a larger public and publicity have for the book's writer. And, by the end of her letter, she promises a volume that she thinks "might have the Chance of meeting your and the young Ladies approbation." What Fergusson says about the production of a new manuscript for the young women reflects an exchange that involves both parties. In the offer to prepare the book for mother and daughters is also implicit the possibility that the expanding audience may alter its contents. The reading experience might produce new material to write about and exchanging the book might produce a new network of readers and possible writers. The culture that emerges from Fergusson's allusions to her readership's responsive reading is based on a social network that exchanged verse and books in the context of literary gatherings such as the salons that Fergusson used to host. The cut off link from the chain of such a society that Fergusson describes in the letter is then tied back when the manuscript book is circulated again.12

Textual Reflections

The writing on the inside of the cover and the first page of the earliest of Fergusson's books, Poemata Juvenilia, is an example of how the book's author engages in a conversation with her audience that transcends space and time and that invites readers to participate in the composition and interpretation of her art. As the Latin title suggests, the volume contains many poems composed during Fergusson's adolescence and early adulthood. A note written above the bookplate marks the composition of the majority of the poems and broadly describes the book's contents: "The Greatest part of the Poems written between the year 1752 and 1772 before my Mariage [sic]. Not above two or three since. Short little things" (fig. 1). The nice leather binding of the volume attests to Fergusson's pre-revolutionary wealth. [End Page 79]

Figure 1. Poemata Juvenilia book plate with the author's notes about dates of composition. Courtesy of The Library Company of Philadelphia.
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Figure 1.

Poemata Juvenilia book plate with the author's notes about dates of composition. Courtesy of The Library Company of Philadelphia.

Marginal comments and additional poems tell us the story of the book during the years that followed its original manuscript publication up to the early 1790s. Below the bookplate on the same page, a note dated 1793 addresses potential criticism: "The Critick must not glance an Eye/Upon these Artless Lays!/For Wit a thousand Faults will Spy/And Blast my vernal Rays." And on the opposite page, two poems dated 1789 and entitled "The Interrogation" and "A Reply to the Same" complete the additional textual material.

The two poems are written as a series meant to be read together, and, as the titles suggest, the first poem asks a set of questions that the second poem answers. Their formal structure produces a model of reading and responding to poetry that invites the audience to actively participate as both readers and writers. The poems represent the past and the present facing each other. Rhetorical questions asked in the first poem, such as "Oh why does man forever Mourn/ The absent Good, the present Woe?/ From Instant Comfort always torn:/ And Best in Prospect Bliss to know?" are answered in the second: "Tis Heaven the Answer this Returns,/ This Shame from Latent Sources flow,/ Tis to point out our Pilgrim State;/ That no abiding place is here:/ That Short and Fleeting is the Date,/ Of Days and Hours alloted Here." From the distance created by time and experience, the voice speaking in the second poem placates the fears the first poem raises and addresses the futility [End Page 80] of her worries in the face of our transient state on earth. The various notes and the two formulaic poems are a reflection of how the poetic collection that they introduce is organized and how it works. The poems, structured as a dialogue, mimic for the audience the reading experience that they present in the rest of the book. The dialogue between the two poems reflects the dialogue between book and readers and reproduces the poetic exchanges and the conversations that characterized the salon evenings with which Fergusson was familiar.13

Fergusson's retrospective notes precede the book's table of contents and its opening pages and form a new introduction. The additional text that now introduces the book provides a frame that highlights the writer's engagement with the processes of thinking about and responding to texts. It also signals the author's intention to re-publish the book with a new public in mind. Throughout the pages of the book, we find erasures, additions, and rewritings that perform the same task. The epistolary form that Fergusson also often employs for writing her poems participates in the exchange among author and reader or author and author that the book encourages. Epistolary poems or poems written in response to other texts similarly contribute to strengthening the interdependence between the volume's contents and its material form as a book designed to be circulated and reproduce the dynamics of conversation and social interactions. The two poems in the volume that immediately follow the table of contents further exemplify this mechanism. "A Dream," the first of the two poems opening the collection, is dated 1752 and recounts Elizabeth's entrance in society and her first experience of love. "A Dream" begins with the poet falling asleep and seeing "a Nymph arise;/ Friendship her Name of Social Virtues Queen!" Friendship takes her hand and leads her to a secluded bower in which she introduces the girl to her "favorite Strephon." The nymph tells Strephon that Elizabeth's name is Truth and leaves her with him without explaining what she should do. Despite her lack of experience and fear of the unknown, the poet tells us that she "found it hard my Strephon to forsake:/I feared some danger if I made delay,/Tho' my Heart Pleaded for a longer Stay." The arrival of the day saves her from making the feared decision and as the "Eastern Light" advances, Strephon leaves her with the shades of the night. In this poem, the fifteen-year-old Graeme conflates the discovery of sociability and friendship with her first sentimental involvement. Friendship leads the young woman to the bower and introduces her to love. The features of this process are rewritten in the response composed almost fifty years after the composition of the first poem.

What immediately follows "A Dream" is an additional short poem dated 1789, the same year of composition as the set of poems that introduces the collection. The poem is again a visible companion to the earlier one. The [End Page 81] correlation between the two poems as well as the thematic revision that Fergusson made are evident in the title of the second one "On the Preference of Friendship to Love:"

Let Girlish Nymphs and Boyish SwainsTheir Amorous Ditties Chant!Make vocal Echoing Hills and Plains;And Loves frail Passion paint,But Friendship's Shady Flame as far;Out shines that transient BlazeAs Midday Sun is a glimmering StarWhich faintest Beam display.

The thematic units of the earlier poem—friendship, sociability, and love—reappear in the later one in a new order and with new connotations. The "Shady Flame" of friendship is given the brilliant power of a "Midday Sun" and made to outshine the "transient Blaze of Love." If love and its voices exist within the "Echoing Hills and Plains" and are made larger by refraction, friendship has acquired a new overarching strength as well. It now allows Fergusson, the poet, and her readers to see where each item in the grouping she had done when she was fifteen could be displaced. Now friendship is not a nymph anymore. Her power and importance are pitted against those of the girlish nymphs who are lost in their chanting and their "Amorous Ditties." Now friendship observes and assesses the poet's and love's doings. When Fergusson returns to the book years after its first composition, the manuscript additions reshape the laws of sociability in order to invert the relationship between love and friendship. Friendship becomes the leading force that determines how the parties involved in the exchange communicate and relate to each other, and the old can learn from the new and vice versa.

We do not know if Fergusson shared Poemata Juvenilia and who saw it in between the time of its first composition and that of the additions. The notes at the beginning of the volume and "The Preference of Friendship to Love," among other inclusions, tell us that Fergusson returned to it at least two times, in 1789 and in 1793. We also know that some of the poems from this book were copied by members of her writing circles in their own books. "The Invitation," for example, a poem that in Poemata Juvenilia is dated 1753 appears in Milcah Martha Moore's copy book, which the latter composed towards the end of the 1770s. Moore's book also contains extracts from a journal that Fergusson kept while visiting England in 1764. As the editors of Moore's book notice, both authors belonged to the circle of middle-Atlantic women writers that formed the center of the active literary culture of this period.14 As I have already observed, writers like Fergusson and her peers [End Page 82] formed this culture by exchanging manuscript prose and poetry. The poems and the notes inserted at the beginning of the book and those in its pages attest to Fergusson's engagement with that world and her employment of its mechanisms of expression and communication. The acts of writing, rewriting, and circulating the manuscript work both in book form and as single texts to show the persistence of this culture in Fergusson's practice. They recreate the patterns in which ideas were formed, circulated, and changed throughout time.

The last of the textual examples that I analyze here is one in which the author engages in a dialogue among several texts that evolves in the pages of one of Fergusson's later books. The poem reflects the dynamics of the manuscript culture in which it originated. This volume was prepared in 1789 for Fergusson's long-time friend Annis Boudinot Stockton. In contrast to Poemata Juvenilia, the book for Stockton is filled with writings that date from the 1770s to the time of its composition. Poetry is central to the book, which is introduced by a long quotation from Addison and Steele's The Tatler about the power of the imagination to create poetry and foster virtue: "I have always been of opinion that virtue sinks deepest into the heart of man when it comes recommended by the powerful charms of poetry. The most active principle in our mind is the imagination: to it a good poet makes his court perpetually, and by this faculty takes care to gain it first."15 Poetry and poetic conversations in the form of occasional poems and poems inspired by other texts form the bulk of the book's contents. And, as the quote from The Tatler placed as an epigraph to the book suggests, writing and reading poetry are leading themes in the works copied in the manuscript book.16

Fergusson's occasional poem is inspired by another one extracted from an English magazine. With its structure as a response to the words of another author, Fergusson's composition also incorporates the publicity of a printed and well known text, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's 1774 epistolary novel The Sorrows of Young Werther. The combination of these sources becomes the occasion for furthering the larger conversation the book develops with its addressee Annis Stockton. In the book, the poem copied from the magazine is numbered 42. Number 43 is Fergusson's composition. The following note introduces the English poem: "Lines Spoken Extempore by a young Lady on Seeing a Drawing of Charlotte over the Tomb of Werter. The Lady speaks in the Character of Werter. Taken from an English Magazine."17 The poem from the British magazine begins the dialogue. It is spoken in the voice of Werther, the main character in Goethe's novel. At the end of the novel, Werther, who has fallen in love with Charlotte, a young woman already engaged to another man named Albert, commits suicide. The novel ends with the implication that Werther's death has broken Charlotte's heart [End Page 83] and that she too may commit suicide. Werther's words in the poem aim at consoling the grieving Charlotte, yet, by the last line, he also reminds her that no other man could ever love her as he did. The two poems are both paraphrases and literary commentaries on the implicit writers' experiences of reading The Sorrows of Young Werther and seeing a representation of the final scenes of the story when Werther's sorrow is now Charlotte's own. The four-line poem from the magazine reads as follows:

Why does my Charlotte mourn our Werters GravePleased Should she be that Death has found her slaveBe Blest in Albert, as hes [sic] blest in Thou!But Surely He Can never Love like Me.Juliana

In her response poem, Fergusson speaks to both the story that the poem tells and to its author, who signed it as Juliana. Fergusson simultaneously establishes a dialogue with the poem she has read about the novel and with the Werther speaking in the poem:

Mistaken Youth, thy love to Frenzy wroughtSpurnd Calm Reflection and each Sober thoughtA Little time had Showd that Charlots CharmsWould [have] Died and Faded in A Werter's armsFor Guilt and Meanness ne'er Could Dwell with TheeAnd Virtuous Friendship would have Set Thou Free.

Various acts of reading lay behind the process of writing the two poems. An anonymous reader, inspired by Goethe's story, has drawn a picture; the picture has then inspired Juliana to write the lines published in the magazine. With her answer, Fergusson performs a meta-reading of both texts, and her poem becomes the space that houses comments on friendship as well. If Werther had chosen friendship over love, his and Charlotte's fate would have been quite different. Fergusson's words to Werther/Juliana, who is addressed as "thee," but also de-personified as the subject of an illicit embrace, become the occasion for Fergusson to write about passion and friendship at the end of her poem, which is one of the leading themes in the entire book dedicated to Stockton.

Fergusson's poetic voice is part of a network that involves the magazine where the poem is first found, its author, Goethe's novel, and the addressee of the book, Annis Stockton. The structure and content of Fergusson's compositions reproduce the model that defines the culture of manuscript production and circulation that I have argued characterized Fergusson literary work. The features of the manuscript book as an object that circulates, [End Page 84] but which is in continual transformation, are reflected in the poetics that Fergusson's compositions develop. In responding to the magazine's representation of the final scene of the novel, Fergusson is actively engaging with other readers at the same time that she is preparing the book for her own friend. Fergusson's ultimate achievement is that the manner in which her manuscripts were constantly evolving allowed her to continually modify and renew the content and style of her poetry and thus to contribute to the transformative and participatory manuscript literary culture of her time.

Chiara Cillerai

Chiara Cillerai is associate professor at The Institute for Core Studies at St. John's University, NY. Her research and writing focus on eighteenth-century literary culture in America. Her recently published book, Voices of Cosmopolitanism in Early American Writings and Culture (2017) examines how a number of American writers of the late colonial period employed the language of cosmopolitanism to engage in discussions of nationhood. She has also recently contributed an essay entitled "Cosmopolitan Correspondences: The American Republic of Letters and the Circulation of Enlightenment Thought" to Volume I: Origins to 1820 of the Blackwell Companion to American Literature (forthcoming). She is co-editing a paper and digital edition of Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson's manuscript poems and other writings. She has published articles on Thomas Jefferson, the Italian immigrant Philip Mazzei, and Toni Morrison's novel A Mercy.


1. Peter Stallybrass, "Printing and the Manuscript Revolution," in Explorations in Communication and History, ed. Barbie Zelizer (New York: Routledge, 2008), 111–18.

2. While Fergusson's letters refer to a large number of books addressed to different groups of readers, only a small number of them remain. The leather binding and original content of the earliest of these books show that it was probably prepared for publication in the early 1770s, while additions and annotations have dates that span from the 1780s through 1790s. The title, Poemata Juvenilia, is printed in gold letters on the book's spine. The Library Company of Philadelphia has this volume and a later manuscript entitled Laura to a Friend. The latter book seems to have been composed in the mid-1780s. A third manuscript entitled A Willing Sisters Book is kept at Graeme Park, the family estate, now a museum, in Horsham, Pennsylvania. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania houses two shorter books, probably composed in the early 1790s. One other book, dedicated to Fergusson's lifelong friend Annis Boudinot Stockton, is at Dickinson College. Works extant in manuscript include a didactic translation from the French of Fenelon's The Adventures of Telemachus, Son of Ulysses (two volumes), a verse adaptation of the Psalms (two volumes), and decades of letters and poems exchanged with Benjamin Rush and other correspondents fill volume 40 of The Rush Family Papers of The Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

3. Useful sources for understanding differences and similarities among forms of manuscript collections of writings are David Allan, Commonplace Books and Reading in Georgian England (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2010); George L. Justice and Nathan Tinker, eds. Women's Writing and the Circulation of Ideas: Manuscript Publication in England, 1550–1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2002); Arthur F. Marotti, Manuscript, Print, and the English Renaissance (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1995); and, David S. Shields, "British-American Belle Lettres," in Sacvan Bercovitch, ed., The Cambridge History of American Literature (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1994), 307–43.

4. Anne M. Ousterhout, The Most Learned Woman in America: A Life of Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson, intro. Susan M. Stabile (University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State Univ. Press, 2003), 33–35.

5. The evening gatherings to which Rush refers were held at Graeme Fergusson's house in Philadelphia and at her country estate in Horsham, PA, nineteen miles west of the city. These gatherings began after she returned from an extended period spent in England during the winter of 1765 and continued until 1775, when she found her property in danger of being confiscated due to the loyalism of her English husband, Henry Hugh Fergusson (Ousterhout, The Most Learned Woman, 122–24). Benjamin Rush, "An Account of the Life and Character of Mrs. Elizabeth Ferguson," Portfolio n.s. 1 (June 1809): 520–27, 522.

6. Ousterhout, 163–213.

7. If, as Susan Stabile has argued, Fergusson's commonplace books are a textual analogue of the literary salon, a place in which private and public coexist and embody the mixed social sphere of early America, then the commonplace book is also a site where individuals develop memories to be shared, divided, and continually transformed; see Stabile, "Introduction," in Ousterhout, The Most Learned Woman in America, 4–5.

8. Margaret J. M. Ezell, Social Authorship and the Advent of Print (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1999), 21–44.

9. Roger Chartier, and Peter Stallybrass, "What is a Book?" in Neil Fraistat and Julia Flanders, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Textual Scholarship (London: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2010). Margreta De Grazia and Peter Stallybrass, "The Materiality of the Shakespearian Text," Shakespeare Quarterly 44, no. 3 (1993): 255–83.

10. Ezell, Social Authorship, 38.

11. From a letter to Ann Ridgeley (neé Moore), 14 September 1797. Simon Gratz, "Some Materials for a Biography of Mrs. Elizabeth Fergusson, neé Graeme," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 39 (1915): 406.

12. Margaret Ezell's analysis of the dynamics of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century manuscript culture in England provides a useful description of how these networks worked and the role they had in fostering writing, in particular for women. See Ezell, 21–44. Susan Stabile also discusses the ways that social and literary networks developed in eighteenth-century Anglo-America with a focus on the book as both keepsake and literary product; see Susan M. Stabile, Memory Daughters: The Material Culture of Remembrance in Eighteenth-Century America (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 2004), 1–16.

13. See David S. Shields, Civil Tongues and Polite Letters in British America (Chapel Hill, NC: North Carolina Univ. Press, 1997).

14. For the connection between Milcah Martha Moore and Fergusson, see Karin A. Wulf and Catherine La Courreye Blecki's introductory essays in Milcah Martha Moore's Book: A Commonplace Book from Revolutionary America (University Park: The Pennsylvania State Univ. Press, 1997).

15. George A. Aitken ed., The Tatler, no. 98 (24 Nov 1709), vol. 2 (New York: Hadley & Mathews 1899) (The Gutenberg Project Kindle Locations 4900–4902).

16. In a dedicatory note to Stockton, Fergusson wrote about the book as a gift to remember her poetry and the significance it had for her and her friend: "Remember my dear Friend, that you often ask'd me for my little pieces; And I Have comply'd with your Request. It is time you Said, that if I Surviv'd you you wishd to have them. But I know that you have a Sensibility of Friendship which would make you Sigh at Reading them when this writer of them was no More, But alas when I copy them I find it makes past Ideas very feverishly in my mind: And do what I will the Sigh and the tear obtrudes its Self But I show Patience more than my Genius in these Works of your Obligd Friend, Laura."

17. The Sorrows of Young Werther was first published in 1774. A French translation was published in 1777, and the first English translation was 1779. In 1787, Goethe reissued the novel with significant changes to the original version. Fergusson was probably familiar with the novel and might have read either the French or English translation; see Orie W. Long, "English Translations of Goethe's Werther," The Journal of German Philology 14 (1915): 169–203.

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