1864-05-17, Annie Adams Fields

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1864-05-17, Annie Adams Fields


May 17 [1864], Philadelphia

Dear Annie

I have commenced two or three letters to you & never was able to finish one— Clarke received the pamphlet for which he will send his own reply but I want some more audible and visible sign from you. I felt as if I had been in some foreign country and could not be enough welcomed home again. We have had a sad enough time—my mother[1] was almost worn out when she came to us and became very ill soon after the baby was born—[2] Mrs. Cooper was sick upstairs, so poor Clarke had enough to do for heart and hands but we had good nurses and are all well again. I left my room yesterday for the first time.

Baby is asleep on his pillow beside me. I don’t want you to see him until he has a chance to learn how to grow fat and to look better pleased with the new world he has found. Just now he is the smallest tiredest little thing, and homely too, only with big dark eyes—but never mind only give him a year or two—and I won’t be ashamed of our boy. If we can only make him have good flesh in his body and be glad to be alive in God’s good world during the next few years it will be all the education he will need to start with. ‘Baby’ already, you see—but forgive me. I have little else to think of. I am too weak yet to trust myself even with the particulars of the war news— Faint rumors of the Fair[1] excitement come into our rooms, but I know little about their chances of success with it. In fact I only wrote to provoke an answer— I want to hear something of yourselves. Where do you go this summer? We are looking for some place by the sea shore quiet & cheap where we can both grow stronger for a month or two— outside of these rooms the house is in a miserable confusion of dust and moving— The family are going tomorrow to the country to live. Have I tired you enough with me & mine? For I must stop now— Clarke & Ma send love to you and regards to Mr. F.— Write us soon as you can—to

Your sincere friend,


1. Rachel Leet Wilson Harding (1808-1884). Rachel’s husband and RHD’s father, Richard W. Harding, had died only weeks earlier.

2. The Davises’ first child, Richard Harding Davis, was born April 18, 1864.

3. Called the Sanitary Fair or the Great Central Fair, it was a wartime fundraiser for the U.S. Sanitary Commission. Clarke Davis was involved in its planning, and the fair opened in June 1864.


S. M. Harris


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


S. M. Harris, “1864-05-17, Annie Adams Fields,” Rebecca Harding Davis: Complete Works, accessed September 29, 2023, http://rebeccahardingdaviscompleteworks.com/items/show/188.

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