Annie Adams Fields

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Annie Adams Fields



July 10, [1862], Baltimore


Dear Annie and Annie’s vis-a-vis at the breakfast table—for I hope you are there—that I may say good morning. I hope the sun is glinting on the ivy trailed over the vase—and that the sea & [winds?] smell as savory as they used, and that there is no ‘draught on Annie’s back’ and that the seat near the fireplace is miserably vacant. Call it mine—won’t you?

I hardly know why I write today—I have work, letters to attend to—but it rains—in a pleasant pattering way, and I want to say—“Thou”—in the good old German fashion—that is all.  I am in the midst of Southern sultriness & secessionism—now I have fallen into the old habits of sleeping all afternoon—and making my dinners in water-ice and bananas and I wish from the innermost soul of me for a Boston east wind— 

I am trying to collect here some facts about blind Tom[1]—for he was blind and will write it out as soon as I go home. If I do I will send you also his photograph— I had a sweet letter from Mrs. Hawthorne[2] (which I will answer from Wheeling) the other day.  I never shall cease being glad that I knew her well. Thank you Annie for telling me of Miss Kate Fields.[3] When I think of Boston her face with its true beauty comes up surely among the first— I have a fancy she and I are to be fellow pilgrims on the good road somewhere again—and my presentiments are always true. I want to ask for everybody—Dr. Holmes& Miss Peabody, and that dear cheery Mrs. Thaxter—[4]

Where is that wretched proofreader?   Couldn’t a situation be got him to guard bridges down here? He and—we—inaccurate essay-ists would be safe then.

Annie you forgot to give me your other carte de visite & Mr. Fields—will you send them here? And I wish you would ask Mrs. Thaxter for hers for me. Have you seen my brother[5] yet? You are too kind about him. I have missed his letters somehow but I am sure if he goes to Boston he will call—   My letters from New York went wrong too—until today, when I heard. The General[6] was better. When he came home I feared he would have the fever so common with us—but I concluded his headaches were from want of rest and food of proper kind. Mrs. Fremont is well—as usual—they are still keeping house. The children being in the country for a week or two—I gave in my allegiance to Gen. Fremont’s face—when I saw it—I told you about the photograph, you know.   

What a miserable hurry I am in! My friends are waiting for me but I mean to have a good gossip with you soon—Do write—tell me every thing you have done or thought or said—all the news—new ideas—spirits—books—people—scandal—who and what will be in the next Atlantic?  If anybody speaks of me—water their memory—dip under it, keep it alive. I want to be remembered by somebody in Boston. For Ilove Boston. I don’t often say that of anything—you know. Write both of you, here[7]—to the same address only add for safety 297 Lexington St. 

Yours in or out of the Union


If Mr. Dicey[8] ‘does’ Boston in anything, won’t you send it to me?


[1] “Blind Tom” will be published in the Atlantic Monthly in November 1862.

[2] Sophia Hawthorne (1809-1871), an artist and spouse of the author Nathaniel Hawthorne.

[3] Kate Field (1838-1896),  journalist and later publisher of the political journal Kate Field’s Washington.

[4] Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1884), physician and author; Elizabeth Palmer Peabody (1804-1894), Sophia Hawthorne’s sister, was a progressive educator; Celia Thaxter (1835-1894), author and poet.

[5] Hugh Wilson Harding.

[6] General John C. Fremont; RHD stayed with him and his wife, Jesse Benton Fremont, while in New York.

[7] She was staying with Rev. Cyrus Dickson’s family.

[8] Probably British author and journalist Edward Dicey (1832-1911), who spent several months in the northern US  in 1862.


S. M. Harris


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


S. M. Harris, “1862-07-10
Annie Adams Fields,” Rebecca Harding Davis: Complete Works, accessed December 1, 2022, http://rebeccahardingdaviscompleteworks.com/items/show/86.

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