1863-05-06, Annie Adams Fields

Dublin Core


1863-05-06, Annie Adams Fields


May 6, [1863], Philadelphia

My dear Annie

I hoped to have a letter from you for the last three or four days. I hardly know why unless because I haven’t been very well and after Mr Davis went down street in the morning have fallen into the foolish trick of listening for the carrier’s ring—to know who was thinking of me. These days of incessant rain can try one so if you are not well—

But I’m going to write you a business note this morning—that ought to have gone to Mr Fields I suppose but it seemed more natural to write to you. Did you ever see a Presbyterian Quarterly published here? The editor a Mr. Wallace died lately leaving his family penniless—the widow is a Western woman—energetic, common sensible with a considerable talent for writing or acting.[1] But she is old—with three children dependent on her—help of any sort she won’t accept— Her plan is to go to New Brighton a village in Western Pennsylvania and open a circulating library with the books she already has and what additions she may be able to make. Her reason for going there is characteristic enough. In Philadelphia her children would be ranked by their money or want of it—in New Brighton they would be George Cochran’s grandchildren. Clans are realities out west, you know—she asked me to write to Mr Fields to know if he ever appointed agents or the sale of T&F publications. I mean, have them sold on commission. You know what I mean, don’t you? And if he did would he give her the agency for that place? I told Mr Davis and he said he was pretty sure such firms as yours never did business in that way—but I thought perhaps they did—and anyhow I thought I’d ask for I do want to help Mrs Wallace in any way I can— Won’t you answer as soon as you can, dear? She leaves next week.

I have no news to give you, it has rained unceasingly for two or three days and before that we ‘made garden’ so vigorously that I got all the dampness in the yard into my throat and breast and have been worth nothing consequently. I just got up from bed to write this. Of course I have not been able to hear Miss Dickinson[2]—she spoke at the Academy of Music on Monday, I believe.

Write soon and tell me all about yourself—Oh Annie will you ask Mr Fields not to forget to send the proof or the third part of ‘Paul Blecker?’ [3] I want to look it over—if he is willing. Carrie[4] sends her kindest regards—She is not very well—is worn out and nervous with so much nursing—as soon as the summer comes I will start her and the children off to Wheeling—to recruit strength and spirits. By the by, Mrs Wallace is not the clergyman’s widow you saw here. She and her family are going to housekeeping this week I believe—Mr Davis would have a message if he knew I was writing, I know. He always feels one. We talk so often of your bit of a visit and if you had heard him describe you to a gentleman the other night you wouldn’t have blamed me if I had been jealous—a little— Good-bye—remember me to Mr Fields—

Yours faithfully.
R. H. Davis.What do you think of Mr Wasson[5] as a poet? He sends me the Commonwealth now. It gives him pleasure to do those things I suppose—but I cannot help but think it is a pity

Dear Annie[6]

I tore open the envelope to ask you something. Will you ask Mr Fields to send me whatever is due on Paul Blecker—as soon as it is published. You know he very kindly advanced $250 on it. I do not know how many pages the whole will amount to—they’ll know. Don’t think I’m covetous, Annie. I’ll tell you why I ask this. It is very near a certain anniversary which Clarke and I remember and I’ve set my heart on getting him a certain thing. Of course I feel as if I’d rather get it with money he did not give me—you understand Annie? I don’t care to ask you this—I am so sure of your going with me in all such fancies. I don’t want Clarke to know anything about it until the day comes. He says what are you writing about? So I must stop

Yours lovingly


1. Sarah Cochran Wallace was the widow of Rev. Benjamin J. Wallace, editor of the Presbyterian Quarterly.

2. Anna Dickinson (1842-1932), US lecturer and activist for abolition and women’s rights.

3. RHD’s serial, running at the time in the Atlantic.

4. Carrie Davis Cooper, RHD’s sister-in-law.

5. David Atwood Wasson (1823-1887), Unitarian minister and Transcendentalist poet and essayist.

6. This addendum is undated, but appears to be from this time period.


S. M. Harris


Richard Harding Davis Papers, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia