Guide to the Sarah Orne Jewett letters, 1877 June 15-circa 1890s


The Sarah Orne Jewett letters consist of two pieces of correspondence written by the author to an editor, Mr. Sawyer, and to Lucy Coffin. Sarah Orne Jewett was a well-known 19th century author whose fiction is set in her native rural Maine. In the first letter, Jewett declines to send Mr. Sawyer anything to print in the first issue of his magazine, as she has been ill and busy, and doesn't want to write something in a hurry, although she wishes him well with his new publication. The second is a condolence letter to Lucy Coffin of Newbury, Massachusetts on the loss of her father. The Coffins were a prominent Massachusetts family.

Collection Details

Collection Number
Sarah Orne Jewett letters
1877 June 15-circa 1890s
0.1 Linear Feet, 2 items
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Materials in English

Collection Overview

Collection consists of two autograph manuscript letters written by Sarah Orne Jewett. The first is addressed to a Mr. Sawyer, the editor of a new journal, declining to send him anything to print in his first issue, as she has been ill and doesn't wish to write something in a hurry. She sends him "hearty good wishes for the success of his magazine," asks him to send her a prospectus, and "suppose[s] that, like all editors, you have more verses than you wish to print." The letter is on a single sheet of folded paper with writing on three pages dated 1877 June 15 and written from South Berwick, [Maine]. The second letter is a sympathy note written on mourning stationery and addressed to Miss [Lucy] Coffin dated 26 December, but lacking a year. A Boston address appears at the top. Jewett expresses sympathy for the loss of Miss Coffin's father from both her and her companion Mrs. Field, and reminisces about a day they had spent together in Newburyport. Jewett references John Greenleaf Whittier, who was a student of Lucy's cousin Joseph while at Dartmouth College. The Coffin Family was prominent in New England and lived in Newbury, Massachusetts for many generations.

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How to Cite

[Identification of item], Sarah Orne Jewett letters, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Folder 1

Historical Note

Sarah Orne Jewett was a 19th century American writer who published novels, short stories, and poetry. Her writing chronicled life in her native rural Maine and featured strong female characters. Beginning in 1881, Jewett lived with her friend and companion Annie Adams Fields, the widow of James Thomas Fields, who had been the editor of the Atlantic Monthly. Jewett's best-known work is her short story collection "The Country of the Pointed Firs," (1896) which has been cited as an influence on Elizabeth Strout's Pulizer prize-winning "Olive Kitteridge."

Related Material

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The Sarah Orne Jewett letters were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2015.

Processing Information

Processed by Megan E. Lewis, March, 2017

Accessions described in this collection guide: 2015-0050-LUBMSS267-268