19th Century American writers : letters, manuscripts, & correspondence

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Letter from William Dean Howells to Edmund Clarence Stedman

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[underline]sure[/underline] of [surviving?]. Those later sonnets! - I don't dispute your estimation, and your criticism has a reverent beauty that I should not know how to praise [aright?]

You remember, you dear, good fellow, that I too was once a poet! That is very good of you - very friendly and sweet! I [made?][every?] wish to see you and thank you.

I hope you are well.

Yours sincerely

W. D. Howells

Last edit almost 2 years ago by MaryV
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4 Louisburg Square, Boston, Sept.24, 188[0?]

My dear Stedman:

I have been reading your paper on [Longfellows?] work a curious [?][Sch?], for I lived over the whole course of my liking for the [verse?] and the man as I read. I believe I should on the whole rate him higher than you do; with all his simplicity (and even superficiality as regards passion) he was such a [underline]great[/underline] artist. I think that whoever [else?] of our day shall live to after times he is

Last edit almost 2 years ago by MaryV

Letter from William James to Eliot Norton

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[in pencil, right corner] "distinguished New Yorker"

[vertically to the left:] Cambridge, May 21.

As many thanks as there are [trees?], for the gorgeous volume with which you so generously endow me, and light up my lonesomeness. I think it any extremely interesting thing from the an[?topical], and physiognomical point of view. Thanks again. Wm James

Last edit about 1 month ago by augustrinian

Letter from James Kay Jr. to John Sullivan Dwight

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Philad., 14 March 1845.

My Dear Friend,

Your letter and communication by Mr Alvord came to my hands on the 5th init., and were read as speedily as possible You know, I presume, that I had supposed it necessary to return the copy of the constitution which had been sent to me; and hence, to my great regret, it was not in my power to determine whether a portion of that document might be erased or lifted out to make room for you, or not; and I was obliged to rely on a memory which is but frail for refernce, to it. Mr List aided me in the perusal and criticism of both projects. He has promised me to write to write to you about it; but whether he do or not, I know his thought.

It is not easy to express an opinion on the subject you have so kindly placed before me which shall lead to any action. I cannot say that your view should prevail, to the exclusion of the one reported by the Committee; not only for want of means of comparison, and of counsel, but because I feel a conviction that the cooption of the reported Constitution (in all respects substantially as it stands) is only one of a series of progressive reforms which will thereby be rendered both necessary & attainable. The fundamental law of your Phalanx cannot remain stationary; it need move onward, in even pace with the advancing science & experience of the body. I fear not that the present opportunity is the only one which will ever or for a long period of time offer for the presentiment of your proposition; and therefore I do not feel very anxious that it should win the victory now.

I cannot easily express my admiration of the beautiful structure which you have erected. If it were simply a literary exercise, with no practical object, it would win universal applause for its author. I have examined it as carefully as has been in my power in my isolated state; and my conclusion is, that you have not affirmed more than you prove, when you say, that your government would

Last edit almost 2 years ago by catslover
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be one of spontaneous providential growth, and that every office under it would be strictly functional. I doubted for some time whether the Heads of the 3 Councils would not be of arbitary constitution; but the doubt, I think, has subsided. Your division of functions in the department of Finance I do not well understand; and I presume that we may acknowledge nearly equal ignorance on the details of this branch of knowledge: but the subject could be made clear enough by the aid of one or two friends of financial experience. My opinion generally is, that the great thought which stands embodied in your paper (irrespective of details) is the one to which Brook Farm Phalanx and all other Phalanxes must come at last; and that its parent, like Fourier, may well submit to wait, not until men are willing to acccept it, but until men & circumstances have grown up to it. How I should like to give a month to the fullest & free-est, and most deliberate & thorough discussion of it and its practical tendencies; and I believe that the occasion will yet present itself. I hope meanwhile that you wil labour to perfect your conception, and continue to preserve your faith in it. I am glad to believe, from what you say, that there is not much doubt of the adoption of the new constitution, with or without your amendments. I had feared that its advocates might be defeated; and with that defeat lose hope for the Association. Its success is the herald of the acceptance, at no distant day, of your scheme of government by all; and is perhaps the necessary precedent step. And what a magnificent step it is. Our associate Theophilus thinks that you have producd about the finest state paper in the Annals (?) of Association; and I have not denied myself the pleasure of lending it to your friend Lowell & his lady, whose admiration has likewise been elicited.

It is with profound regret that I state my inability to be with you at this time. Little as is the interest I feel in my business, and the attention which I bestow on it, a desire to extricate myself from it & to prepare for Association leaves me no alternative but to remain here at present. And this, notwithstanding the reference from Brook Farm of matters to my judgment which probably I ought not to have attempted to determine except in person & viva voce. As it was, what could I do? It was impossible that I should sanction, by indifference even, the adoption of

Last edit almost 2 years ago by catslover
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measures, whose faulire would destroy the Association, whilst their success was almost beyond the bounds of possibility. Besides, where are the men who are to carry these projecst into execution? They do not, they can not, [underline]come[/underline] to you; they must belong to you; in your own words, they are of "providential growth." In no other way can you have them. My future for Brook Farm is development - slow, even imperceptibly slow - a quiet, silent, unobtrusive, enduring, waiting on God. Thus will the process of crystallization complete itself. I give five years to this work. And then the movement will widen and deepen in a manner which shall astonish those who at once lead and are [borne?] on it. If I possibly can, I will endeavour to be with you in the course of a month; but again, I am opposed, as I write the words, by the importunate claim of the hydropathic treatment not less for the soul's than the body's weal. I should commence at once, & give myself to it for four months. Well, we shall see. I write with great haste; as I hope to send this sheet tomorrow by Mr. Robert Owen, who will probably deliver it to you in person. I commend the venerable & gentle enthusiast to your love and good offices. He looks on Association with no evil eye.

With best memories of your mother & sister (all of whom are talked of with affection by my Hannah & Mary), and regards for your father, and most especially for Frank, I am, as ever,

Your affectionate friend and servant,

James Kay, Jr.

I am so glad to hear of any progress which Ally makes. I hope that your patience will be equal to his wilfulness. Phrenology prophesies a change (which must be favourable) in him in the lapse of the years. At least so Fowler said.

Last edit almost 2 years ago by catslover
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[?] Mr. Robrt Dale Owen

John S. Dwight, Esquire Brook Farms West Roxbury near Boston Masachusetts

James Kay fr. March 14 1845. (3.)

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Letter from James Kay Jr. to John Sullivan Dwight, May 10, 1846

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Phila., 10 May 1846 My Dear Friend, Your favour of the 24th ult. has lain by me so long, from a dire necessity, owing to the water cure, I have so little time & so little power of concentrating my thoughts even on favourite subjects, and moreover I have so much to do, that I feel as if it were unavailing to make an attempt to get it out of the way. Is it not singular moreover that, after staying away so long from Brook Farm on account primarily of variolosis, I should have returned to Philadelphia & the water cure, to be plunged into the midst of it. Our water doctor, & every one in his family, except myself & the only two other patients, are or have been sufferers from it. But enough! My health has much improved. In fact I felt better in two days after I treated myself hydropathically. I have still some trouble in my throat & lungs, although less; but the horrid nervous trouble is nearly gone. Cold water would have relieved you of your biliousness also; but labour, if equally effective, was probably the shorter course. I assume Mr Channing's disease to be nervous - and both spiritual & bodily. If our Doctor was continuing here for 2 months longer, & if it were March & not in May, I should certainly invite him to try hydropathy. It would soon restore him; for the water cure produces, in my experience, still higher spiritual than even physical restoration. If there was only a fitting work for him, when he was restored! The information conveyed in your letter of your movements at B. F. is certainly very hopeful. You have accomplished much - more than I thought you could. Perhaps there is no hope that a lady will change her opinions; but, as it seems, abundant hope that she will change her measures. I feel as if Mrs Ripley had saved her life by accepting assistance in the school. To accomplish this end was

Last edit about 2 years ago by acmwitz
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was my primary object in urging the measure; but I soon saw that additional good would grow out of it, by the union in cooperation of several competent persons, whilst the relief thus obtained by Mrs Ripley (without the sacrifice of the laudable purpose which she had in view - the restoration of the success & reputation of the school) could be availed of by her to operate in its favour by occasional incursions into civilization. I have myself more confidence in the worth of the education now - a confidence not at all diminished by the pleasure which you feel in meeting your class. I am truly grateful for what you say with respect to Ally. I cannot convey to any one the strength of the sense which I have [inserted]of[/inserted] responsibility to him for his progress; but I may say, how rejoiced I shall be to find that my love of Association is compatible with the retention of Alfred within its influence. He writes to me in a spirit of determination and devotion which has never manifested itself before. I shall prize exceedingly the instruction he may receive from you in music; it will be so far above & beyond any thing that can be done for him by any one else. I have only to add respecting the school, that it seems to me indispensible that some improvements & purchases should be made in its behalf. I cannot subscribe to the idea that all other interests are to be preferred in your expenditures. My opinion is precisely the reverse. At all hazards the school should be provided with suitable apparatus & instruments of instruction. It should be made to present an attractive exterior alike to pupils, members & visitors. I do not know how much money will be required for this purpose; but a beginning should be made. I have not [inserted]had[/inserted] time to attempt any small collections in your behalf as yet here; although I have two or three promises: but I feel free to offer my subscription of $100 to be devoted to this object & to be expended by or under the express direction of the school group, not for current expenses, but for the purchase or manufacture of such apparatus & instruments as may be needed. This sum I will send when I shall be able to collect something to add to it; or if you want it at once, you can draw for it at one day's sight. It will be convenient to part

Last edit almost 2 years ago by catslover
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passage to New York, by talking with him on the subject of enlarging the printing operations at B. F. I wonder if he would incur some little ink by the by in helping you to a portion of what few additional printing materials you may need from time to time. He is well disposed to Association. [close square brackets] With regard to the abandonment of rating by hour, I am glad of it in part, & doubtful also somewhat. If rating by labour has been [illegible] stituted as far as practicable, you have done well; and you have done better, if meas- ures have been instituted for discovering modes of rating by labour applicable to [employments?] which seem not now to admit of it. There are some kinds of course which will not permit of it at any time. But rating by hour should be retained, I think, wherever rating by labour is inpracticable - as in the school; if we except the labour of your literary department. I hope that you have not destroyed too much in the change. In effect to the payments on account of the stipends, certainly and at once they should be respect to the payments on account of the stipends, certainly and at once they should be in money, and if I understand your arrangements, equally to each person in amount & time. I wonder exceedingly that the non-observance of this obvious rule has not [illegible] a tremendous convulsion in the Association. But, as you remark, all these questions deplorably difficult of solution. Nowhere, but in Association could they be [illegible] but to be [crossed out] rejected.

I anticipate much, when I shall be able to be with you [illegible] from Mendelsohn's "Songs without Words." And with this hope I must be content. [illegible] I recollect the exalted enjoyment I received from your lectures, & then endeavour to think who here could understand even a sentence of their profoundest & best [illegible] I cannot muster even one. What is to be done? Your lectures, as they now stand, are entirely too good for our region of country. I shall hope to talk with you on the matter.

But I must close a communication which has been frequently interrupted?. I hope it will be thought worthy your perusal. I must beg to be commended to all my friends at Brook Farm - Mr J M Ripley, Mr & Mrs [Dana?], Miss Fanny Macdaniel

Last edit almost 2 years ago by catslover
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