1863-11-early, Annie Adams Fields

Dublin Core


1863-11-early, Annie Adams Fields


[Early November, 1863], Philadelphia

Dear Annie,

Why would you think I would be disappointed that you had found utterances for yourself in print? I always expected it, you know. There was so much that your life—with all its full and varied tone—would not express—and I am glad with all my heart that it has found this voice and that this mode of expression satisfies and rests you, as I judge from your note it does. The Ode[1] itself is—‘you’—did you know? and you in your most earnest mood—so you need not ask me to read it tenderly for your sake—we couldn’t help but do that. I never read anything more imbued with the spirit of the author than it is. After this I cannot be more particular, you know or say why and when I especially like it. One thing I am sorry for, Annie, that you did not elaborate the idea more. It is so fine—when carried into detail—or would have been—that of making the organ the voice and exponent of not only the nation’s victory but its trial—pain—prophesy— I wish you had not been afraid of holding the public ear too long and had done yourself more justice.

Mr. Davis meant to write last night but visitors prevented him—so I did not wait for him any longer. He will ask this evening. Now wont you write and be more confidential? I want to know how it came about—the whole history of the Inauguration from you – Oh if we could but have been there! Even reading the newspaper account made my heart glow and fill with yours— Tell me all about the evening—please—and if any of the musicians satisfied you. I can imagine ‘Jamie’s’ face when—Miss Cushman[2] appeared.

Good-bye. I meant to write a long gossiping letter, but I want this to go at once just to say I am glad, and proud. Let me hear from you soon. I have been shut up indoors for several weeks and letters are more than ever breaths of fresh air to me

Clarke sends his love and warmest congratulations—he will write tonight—did I say?

Yours always,

I hope this story[3] was in time—and all right.


1. Annie Adams Fields’ first book publication, Ode Recited by Miss Charlotte Cushman, at the Inauguration of the Great Organ in Boston (1863).

2. Charlotte Cushman (1816-1876), an American actress whose vocal talents allowed her to play both male and female roles.

3. Probably “Stephen Yarrow.”


S. M. Harris


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



S. M. Harris, “1863-11-early, Annie Adams Fields,” Rebecca Harding Davis: Complete Works, accessed July 22, 2019, http://rebeccahardingdaviscompleteworks.com/items/show/163.