Works of Annie Fields

Annie Fields

Diary of 1905, 1908

1. Notes of Conversations at the "Home Club," 1905
2. Visit from Mrs Humphry Ward and Dorothy and their maid, April 24th 1908

Editor's Introduction

The manuscript of this diary is held by the Massachusetts Historical Society in Annie Fields papers, 1847-1912, MS. N-1221. This transcription is from a microfilm, available courtesy of the University of Kansas Libraries, Lawrence Kansas:  Annie Adams Fields Papers 1852-1912. Folio PS 1669.F5 Z462 1986, Reel 2.

Observing only the microfilm copy indicates that it was photographed from a small format spiral-bound notebook.  The opening two pages contain a few notes apparently about the personal library of Annie Fields.  This transcription begins with page 3 of the photographs of the notebook, with her notes on meetings of the Home Club. Hence the numbering sequence begins there; Fields did not number her pages.

Editorial Choices

In this diary, Fields

- often does not indent where she appears to begin a new paragraph.  I have added indentation where it seems clear she intended a new paragraph.
- rarely uses apostrophes in possessives.  I have presented her possessives as she does.
- often uses = for hyphen.  I've regularized all of these.
- seems sometimes to use "a" for "and" or "&."  I am not always sure exactly what she has done, but I have used "&" for these.
- often writes "Mifs" for "Miss." I have regularized that spelling.
- often gives dates such as 29th  and French titles such as Mme with the underlined letters in superscript. Likewise, when she abbreviates a month, such as January / Jany, she puts the "y" in superscript, sometimes underlined. I have retained her underlining when she uses it, but not the superscript.
- uses "x x x" of varying numbers to indicate ellipses.  I have changed these to currently standard ellipses.

{ } = editorial clarifications.

[ ] = editorial information and commentary.

Members of the Home Club

Fields records these people as attending one or more of the gatherings.

Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1836 - March 19, 1907) and Lilian Woodman Aldrich  (d. 1927).  Aldrich was an American writer and editor, serving notably as editor of The Atlantic (1881-1890).  Mrs. Aldrich is the author of Crowding Memories (1920), a memoir of her married life. The Aldriches' twin sons, Talbot and Charles, were born in 1868. See also "Thomas Bailey Aldrich and the Immigration Restriction League."

Helen Olcott (Choate) Bell (1830-1918). Daughter of the prominent Boston lawyer and orator, Rufus Choate, Mrs. Bell was a literary intellectual, known for her conversation and her sharp wit.  Her husband was Joseph Mills Bell (1824-1868), a Boston lawyer, abolitionist and politician, who served in the Massachusetts Senate.  Bell was law partner to her father, Rufus Choate (1799-1859).  According to Famous Families of Massachusetts (1870), "Mrs. Bell was liberally endowed with the Choate wit and her penetrating bon mots were the delight of all her friends" (pp. 280-1).

Dr. Robert Collyer (1823 - 1912). Collyer was an English-born Unitarian clergyman working in New York City.  He wrote extensively on theological subjects, as well as verse and biographies of Hawthorne, Whittier, Thoreau, Lamb, and Burns. He had a long correspondence with Jewett, and came annually for a stay at Annie Fields's Gambrel Cottage.  He was a popular author of sermon collections, including Nature and Life (1867) and The Life That Now Is (1871). He also wrote biographies of popular ministers of the period.  Cary says: Collyer spoke familiarly of dropping in at "148" in his letters to Jewett: occasionally called her "Lassie" in salutation; once signed himself "Brother or Father or Grandpa Collyer." 

Rev. Paul Revere Frothingham (1864 - 1926) and Anna C. Clapp (1849 - 1939).  There were a number of prominent Frothinghams in and around Boston in 1905, but this seems the most likely couple to be guests at the Home Club.  Rev. Frothingham in 1905 was pastor at the Arlington Street Church (Unitarian) in Boston, had recently served as Preacher to Harvard University, and was currently an Overseer at the university.  He is the author of several books, including published sermons and a biography of Massachusetts pastor and politician, Edward Everett (1794 - 1865).
    Anna Clapp Frothingham was active in social welfare and women's labor organizations, and, for this reason, likely to have worked with Annie Fields.

Judge Robert Grant (1852 - 1940) and Amy Gordon Galt Grant (1858 - 1936.  Mr. Grant was an author and jurist, producing several novels and serving as a probate judge and as an overseer of Harvard University. His "Find a Grave" page notes that he was a close friend of American novelist, Edith Wharton (1862 - 1937).

Henry James (1843 - 1916) was an American writer of fiction, prose and drama, who lived much of his adult life in England. One of the key figures of 19th-century literary realism, his works include The Portrait of a Lady (1881) and The Wings of the Dove (1902), the latter drawing upon the social circle that included Jewett and Annie Fields.

Julia Ward Howe (1819 - 1910) was an American abolitionist, social activist and poet, best remembered, perhaps, for "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." 

Mark Antony De Wolfe Howe
  (1864 - 1960) "was an American editor and author.... He served as associate editor of the Youth's Companion from 1888 to 1893 and again from 1899 to 1913, as assistant editor of the Atlantic Monthly in 1893-1895, and as editor of the Harvard Alumni Bulletin until 1913."   He published Memories of a Hostess (1922), a selection from the diaries of Annie Fields. 
    "He married Fanny Huntington Quincy (1870 - 1933), also an essayist and author, who was a sister to Josiah Quincy (1859 - 1919) and the daughter of Helen Fanny Huntington (1831 - 1903) and Josiah Phillips Quincy, poet, writer, and publicist."  They had three children, including their author daughter, Helen Huntington Howe (11 January 1905 - 1975).

Sarah Orne Jewett (3 September 1849 - 24 June 1909) published fiction, essays and poetry.  She is best remembered for her short novel, The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896) and her story, "The White Heron."

Mr. & Mrs Muirhead.  This couple has not been identified. It is at least remotely possible that Professor John Henry Muirhead (1855 - 1940) and his wife, Annie Cairns Muirhead (1872 - 1950), were visiting from London, UK. Annie C.Muirhead was a music educator and author of musical criticism, with Boston connections. She may have written a piece on Jewett, Mary E. Wilkins, Anna Fuller, and Eliza White, "Habits of Authors: How Some New England Story Writers Work," that appeared in Boston Evening Transcript 1899, p.15.  Information about these people has so far proven sketchy, so it is not certain that the Annie Muirhead who wrote "Habits of Authors" is the same person as the one who was a music educator.

Henry Greenleaf Pearson (1870 - 1939) was an author and professor of English at Massachusetts Institute of Technology  He was married in 1898 to Elizabeth Ware Winsor (1870 - 1960).  It is likely but not certain that these are the Pearsons who attended the Home Club meetings. When he died, Pearson had retired as head of the MIT English Department. He was the author of a composition textbook and a number of biographies. Elizabeth Pearson was co-founder of the Eliot-Pearson School at Tufts University. The couple had three sons who survived to adulthood.

Bliss Perry (1860 - 1954), essayist, professor of English literature successively at Princeton and Harvard universities, was editor of the Atlantic Monthly from 1899 to 1909 (Richard Cary). He married Annie Louise Bliss (1864 - 1948) in 1888; they had two daughters and one son. See also Williams College Special Collections and My Heritage.

Arthur Stanwood Pier (1874 - 1966), an American author of fiction, notably the St. Timothy's boarding school series, which was appearing at the time he attended the Home Club.

James Ford Rhodes (1848 - 1927), an American historian and industrialist.  After making a fortune in coal and steel industries, Rhodes retired from business and devoted his life to the study of history. He settled in Boston, for access to materials and published a number of volumes of American history. He married Ann Card (1850? - ), and they had one son.  See also Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.

Thomas Russell Sullivan (1849 - 1916), novelist and playwright, is best remembered for his dramatization of Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which premiered in Boston in 1887.  He married Lucy Goodwin Wadsworth (b. 1869) in 1899.  His father was Thomas Russell Sullivan (1799 - 1862); his grandfather was John Langdon Sullivan (1777 - 1865); and his great-grandfather was James Sullivan (1744 - 1808), 6th governor of Massachusetts.  His great-great grandfather was John Sullivan (1692 - 1796), the "Master Sullivan," who is a main character in Sarah Orne Jewett's The Tory Lover (1901). See also Boston Athenaeum

[ Page 3 ]

First meeting of the Home Club  Jany 4{,} 1905

Present Mr. & Mrs Aldrich
Judge & Mrs. Grant, De Wolfe Howe
& Mr. & Mrs. T. R. Sullivan.

A bleak night after a day of much snow. Aldrich was the life of the table -- told some very amusing stories but was immensely amusing (turn this book to the other end)*

[ Page 4 ]

but the sparkling of his own wit was the best of all.  He said for a man who was immensely witty in print, he was the most solemn person to talk with, possible to imagine. He was a tall pillar of silence -- not that he was very tall, but very silent. He passed a week Lillian A. said in their house and never raised a smile once by anything he said.

[ Page 5 ]

Aldrich said, speaking of Henry James,* that he knew of someone who had read him in the original!

    Judge Grant thought Mrs. Wharton* had been one of his translators -- hopeful she had given that up now.  Judge G. carried Mrs W to the Boston Author's Club.* Well, you are a brave man said A. I couldn't have done that. Were there any authors there

[ Page 6 ]

I meekly inquired? at which there was a laugh. Judge G. said yes there was one, Mrs Howe* who was choking when they went in but was recovered and was very agreeable.

    Aldrich told of a guest staying with a family who were great Wagnerites* and rejoiced in taking him to a concert of W.s music. What did you think of it they asked after it was over.  A said "The guest trying to make himself agreeable, Wagner is not as bad as he sounds!!

[ Page 7 ]

    By the way -- at the Authors Club Mrs Wharton was seated by the side of a man who said to her that his Black Cat seemed to be reviving now he was happy to say. She looked at him as if her were bad but he proved to be the editor of a small journal called the Black Cat* -- While we were laughing at this

[ Page 8 ]

Lizzie the maid said ^whispered to me^ that Mr. Gillett [ so spelled ] Burgess* was up stairs. O I exclaimed as well as I could for laughing The Purple Cow is now up stairs -- a convulsion of laughter went round the table and we soon adjourned after that for coffee and cigars.

    A book called John Gilley was discussed{;} it appears to have been written by President Eliot* -- a biographical brief of a [ Maine old ? ] man he had known.

[ Page 9 ]

Queer rough fellows some of those men said Aldrich. I knew of one who had a small inn with the sign "entertainment for man & beast -- a would be guest strode in demanding dinner etc = The landlord looked a little doubtful "look here said the other{;} you say Entertainment for man & beast" {"}That's all right said the Landlord, "The beasts are all right but where's the man"!

[ Page 10 ]

There was no great champion for Henry James' work -- on the contrary A. quoted Mrs Bell* saying of "The Wings of a Dove" as it had neither head nor tail{,} the wings were all that was left.

    They had Mrs Grant had found the Masquerader interesting. Aldrich said he once read a tale on the ^[ same ? ] subject

[ Page 11 ]

where men who looked alike were confounded and one of them shot the other fellow who proved to be himself --* Such stories mixed him up so, he [deleted letters ] could make nothing of them -- As they were leaving I heard [ Lillian ? ] say to Judge G. that she was delighted to have this second evening with him in succession. We must leave early tonight{;}  last night it was

[ Page 12 ]

half past one. They were leaving the room then together. I said to A. what is Lily saying to Judge G. It sounds rather bad; he turned and followed and found she had been reading "Undercurrent" the previous evening.  Like Wagner{,} said Aldrich{,} not so bad as it sounds!

    They all went off very [ pleasantly ? ]

[ Page 13 ]

Mr. & Mrs Pearson came in the evening and Burgess stayed a half hour nearly after the rest.

 In spite of which the house was closed at eleven o'clock{.}


the other end:  The microfilm copy does not reveal what this means.

Henry James: See membership list.

Mrs. Wharton: The American novelist, Edith Wharton (1862 - 1937) was a close friend of Henry James.

Boston Author's Club: Founded in 1899, in part by Thomas Bailey Aldrich, with Julia Ward Howe as a founding member, the Boston Author's Club also included Sarah Orne Jewett in its membership.  For Howe, see membership list .
Wagnerites:  Wilhelm Richard Wagner (1813 - 1883) was a German composer, director and conductor, best remembered for his epic operas, including The Ring of the Nibelung, consisting of four parts with a total playing time of roughly 15 hours.  Wagnerites, of course, are those who enjoy and promote his work.

Black Cat: Wikipedia says: "The Black Cat (1895 - 1922) was an American literary magazine published in Boston, Massachusetts. It specialized in short stories of an 'unusual' nature.... The magazine's first editor was Herman Umbstaetter (1851–1913).

Mr. Gillett Burgess: Gelett Burgess (1866 - 1951) was an artist, poet, author and humorist. He is notorious for his nonsense poem, "The Purple Cow," which begins, "I never saw a purple cow."

President EliotCharles William Eliot (1834 - 1926) was a president of Harvard University and editor of the Harvard Classics. He was the author of  John Gilley, Maine Farmer and Fisherman, (Boston, American Unitarian association, c. 1889), which appeared originally in Century Magazine.

Mrs Bell:  Helen Olcott (Choate) Bell (1830 - 1918).  See membership list.

Masquerader ... proved to be himself:  The transcription is uncertain, but it seems likely Mrs. Grant has been reading The Masquerader (1904), a novel by Irish novelist Katherine Cecil Thurston (1875 - 1911), a current best-seller in which "A leading British politician chooses to swap places with his cousin, a journalist who is his doppelganger. This leads to a dilemma for his wife who falls in love with the double."
    The story of the man who, in shooting his double shoots himself is very similar to American author Edgar Allan Poe's (1809 - 1849) short story, "William Wilson" (1839).

"Undercurrent":  Judge Robert Grant's novel The Undercurrent appeared in 1904.  The novel explores the problems of a deserted wife's decision to divorce and remarry.

[ Page 13 continued ]

Second Meeting


Jany. 18th 7.30: great punctuality! Mr. & Mrs Bliss Perry editor of the Atlantic

[ Page 14 ]

Monthly & Miss Jewett were added to the number at the 1st dinner -- [Pearsons ? ] ill. M. DeW. Howe came after dinner.  Aldrich was still sparkling and sweet but he & his wife both seemed very sad* under much friendliness & gayety. Talk was renewed [ about ? ] H. James {"}in the original". B. P. said he had once rejected a story of his. He had committed one or two bits of sentences as if to sustain his decision{.} I said that was hardly ground

[ Page 15 ]

on which to condemn a really great author. Some allusion was made to the late lecture in Phila. on Balzac "Father of us All{.}"* Talk not quite so general as the last time because Miss Jewett engaged her end of the table delightfully{.} Aldrich spoke of a terrible play called "Beyond"* which he had been induced by the advertisements to pay $3.00 to see. There was Sappho (why Sappho he said)

[ Page 16 ]

weighing [ deleted word ] ^[ 350 ? ] pounds! and such a queer [ medley ? ] that he wished to be preserved from that [ unrecognized word ]. There were about six people beside in the house just such fools as they who had paid their good dollars, -- the rest of the 35 who made the audience were dead-heads -- S.O.J. talked with B.P. about Miss McCracken,* a new and able young writer. DeW. Howe was received with acclaim. T. R. Sullivan

[ Page 17 ]

seizing him by the hands and wishing "Many happy returns" ---- a new baby* having arrived since the last meeting.  Mrs Grant was ill but the Judge was very pleasant & talked of the Metcalfe case* an able New York [ Theatrical ? ] Critic who has made himself so obnoxious as to be excluded from the N.Y. theaters -- practically [ all ? ] --I do not see on what ground said the Judge this can be legally done.

[ Page 18 ]

The Judge and Mrs Aldrich talked long together about Mrs Piper whom ^ [questions of the nature ? ]^ she wants much to see.


seemed very sad: It is possible that Fields detects or suspects the Aldrich couple anticipating the anniversary of the death of one of their twin sons, Charles Aldrich, who succumbed to tuberculosis on 6 March 1904 at the age of 34.

H. James: Henry James.  See membership list.

Balzac ... "Father of us All":  Speaking of contemporary fiction writers, Henry James described the French novelist, Honoré de Balzac (1799 - 1850), as "the father of us all" in "The Lesson of Balzac," which was published in The Question of Our Speech; The Lesson of Balzac: Two Lectures (1905).
    In 1904-5, James delivered lectures across the United States. See his letter of 18 February 1905 from St. Augustine, FL to Edmund Gosse in Letters of Henry James. v. 2.

a terrible play called "Beyond": This play has not been identified.  Assistance is welcome.

Miss McCracken: Elizabeth McCracken (1876 - 1964) was the author of The Women of America (1904), Love Stories of Some Eminent Women (1906), and The American Child (1913).

new baby: The Howes' daughter, Helen Huntington, was born on 11 January 1905.

Metcalfe case: The New York Times of 19 January 1905 reports that James Stetson Metcalfe (1858 - 1927), dramatic critic from Life Magazine, had been barred from theaters controlled by the members of the New York Theater Managers Association "because of his published criticisms of certain members of the association." According to Mark Hodin, Metcalfe had blamed "the commercialization of theater on a group of Jewish theatre owners."  See Hodin, "The Disavowal of Ethnicity: Legitimate Theatre and the Social Construction of Literary Value in Turn-of-the-Century America," Theatre Journal 52 (May 2000) pp. 211-226.

Mrs. Piper: Wikipedia says that Leonora Piper (1857 - 1950) "was a famous American trance medium.... Piper was the subject of intense interest and investigation by American and British psychic research associations during the early 20th century, most notably William James and the Society for Psychical Research." Her work included making contact with spirits of the dead.  Perhaps this revelation by Mrs. Aldrich contributes to Fields's observation that the Aldriches seem sad as the anniversary of their son's death approaches.

[ Page 18 continued ]

Feby. 3d Third Club dinner

Present Aldriches 2{,} Frothinghams 2, Helen Bell{,} Mark Howe, Self -- ) to dine Mr. & Mrs Muirhead and Sullivans later. 

    After dinner Sullivan read a brief paper describing Salvini's house and farm at Dievole -- Umbria.* There was much interesting talk about books and men -- Mrs Bell described J. F. Clarke* as the narrowest good man she ever knew of and said she heard him say in the pulpit there never was and never could be a good lawyer -- Then I remembered

[ Page 19 ]

hearing that Mr. Clarke had attacked Choate* quite fiercely{,} Unhappily by some chance she was present. I was interested to hear the slight version of an occasion which made a great sensation at the time in a narrow circle which she was willing to give. She talked more with Mr. [Muirhead ? ] than with Mr. F. and told me before she left how much she liked him --


Salvini ... DievoleTommaso Salvini (1829 - 1915) was an Italian actor, who performed throughout Europe and the United States, speaking in Italian rather than in English.  His most famous role was as Shakespeare's Othello. He retired in 1890 to his farm, Devole, near Florence.  Fields appears to have written "Dievole."

J. F. Clarke ... Choate:  Helen Bell's father was the prominent Boston lawyer and orator, Rufus Choate (1799 - 1859).  James Freeman Clarke (1810 - 1888) was an American theologian and author and a noted abolitionist.

[ Page 20 ]

Feby. 18 - Saturday Fourth Club dinner

Present Mr & Mrs Perry
    "  " Sullivan
    "  " Rhodes
    "  " Pearson
        Self --

A very pleasant dinner and as good talk as we have had at all. Mr. Rhodes, the historian{,} is a natural and delightful talker, though with a heavy voice{.} He and his wife are modest enough and he talks uncommonly well -- The night was bitterly cold but we knew nothing of it inside{.}

[ Page 21 ]

The books and mss. were looked over and seemed to give real pleasure -- They stayed until eleven as if they really enjoyed it.  Mr. Rhodes talked of Sir G. Trevelyan's* excellent historical work and of the dramatic value of a story above and beyond old subjects -- this came in the discussion of Judge Grant's novel* which we all agree in finding a little dull because of the legal aspect of it and the questions of divorce --

    Unfortunately I was rather [ apparently deleted word, possibly dull) tired and unequal to the little strain{.}

[ Page 22 ]

  He puts Mrs Ward very high but was surprised to think that both Mrs Perry & I were reading the Marriage of William Ashe in nos.*  She seems to be almost the only living writer of stories one can read in that way. It is a tribute to her excellence.


Sir G. Trevelyan's:  British statesman and author,  Sir George Otto Trevelyan (1838 - 1928), wrote several historical works, on topics such as the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and biographical work on Lord Macaulay and Charles James Fox.  Between 1899 and 1905, he published a three volume History of the American Revolution.

Judge Grant's novel: Robert Grant's novel The Undercurrent appeared in 1904.  The novel explores the problems of a deserted wife's decision to divorce and remarry.  See The Dial 38 (1905) p. 15

Mrs Ward ... the Marriage of William Ashe in nos.:  British novelist Mary Augusta Arnold Ward (1851 - 1920) wrote under her married name, Mrs Humphry Ward. Her novel The Marriage of William Ashe first appeared serially in Harper's Magazine, June 1904 through May 1905. 

[ Page 22 continued ]

Monday Feby 27th  Fifth Longfellow's birthday -- *

Mrs. J. W. Howe{,} Henry James, Judge and Mrs Grant{,} Mr. & Mrs Sullivan & I ^Mark Howe^ made the company. It is wonderful what a good number eight is -- so easy to carry! However such a company as last nights carried itself.

[ Page 23 ]

Mr. James was witty & friendly and altogether delightful -- most helpful too in drawing out Mrs. Howe who is now too deaf to make it easy to keep her "au courant." Mr James however returned to the charge so bravely that it was a great success.  Mrs Howe is really so fully and so graceful & gracious that it was not difficult when the cue was once fully understood by Mr. James -- He persuaded her to talk of Longfellow & his wife and Mrs Kemble* and finally

[ Page 24 ]

when I saw it was wanted I rose and went to her and asked her to repeat her Army Hymn* -- so at the last she rose and did so very gracefully & impressively too -- Then we went to the library and Mr. James & I had a good talk together. All the small company were happy I think in being here{.} Beside the eight at table were the Muirheads -- Pearsons & Arthur Pier,* Speaking of  Ruskin's Letters on the table & how beautifully C. E. W. had edited them{.}

[ Page 25 ]

^H. J. said^ How amusing, how inconceivable to hear him writing "Dearest Charley{.}" [H. revised from He] J. fell into a flood of laughter at the melting of this queer persnickity genius by so mild a fire as C. E. W. kindled for him -- However it is all in C. E. W. and it was all for Ruskin -- There is only one more dinner and so will end a series which has given me much pleasure --


Longfellow's birthday: The word "Fifth" is underlined twice. 
    American poet and friend of Annie Fields, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882) was born on 27 February. Longfellow was married twice, to Mary Potter, who died in 1835 after a miscarriage, and to Frances Appleton, who died in 1861 from burns in an accidental fire.

Mrs. Kemble: Frances Anne "Fanny" Kemble (1809 - 1893) was a British actress and author, who -- through her marriage to the American, Pierce Mease Butler -- found herself living on a Georgia plantation and becoming an unwilling manager of slaves. As a result, she became an abolitionist and left her husband, who divorced her. Her abolitionist writings and activities brought her into contact with Julia Ward Howe.

Army Hymn: Howe's poem now known as "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

Ruskin's Letters ...  C. E. W.:Wikipedia says: John Ruskin (1819 - 1900) "was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, as well as an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on subjects as varied as geology, architecture, myth, ornithology, literature, education, botany and political economy."
    Fields seems clearly to have written C. E. W. several times as the "editor" of Ruskin's letters, but it also seems clear that she meant C. & W, Sir Edward Tyas Cook (1857 - 1919) and Alexander Wedderburn, who produced the first definitive edition of the works of John Ruskin in 39 volumes.
I assume that she meant her "E" to be read as "&," though this is not characteristic of her hand-writing.
    In his published letters, Ruskin often addressed friends as "dearest."   Among those so addressed was Charles Eliot Norton (1827 - 1908), an American author, social critic, and professor of art. He and his family were close friends of Fields and Jewett.  Norton, in Ruskin's letters, was "Dearest Charles," not "Dearest Charley." Norton became Ruskin's literary executor.

[ Page 26 ]

March 30th Last club dinner.

Robert Collyer, Mr. & Mrs Rhodes, Mr. & Mrs Bliss Perry{,} Mr. & Mrs Muirhead & self. 8 in all. In the evening came all the Clubites for a farewell who were not otherwise engaged, Mr. & Mrs Pearson, Mr & Mrs De Wolfe Howe & Mr. Pier --

    On the whole I think "The Club" has been a marked success. Charles Warren Stoddard* could not get here -- the only one of the originally mentioned I believe ----
[ Page 27 ]

The talk at table was rather especially bookish yet lively enough with R. Collyer to tell his delightful tales and give illustrations.  John Morley was somewhat discussed and described by Mr. [ Rhodes corrected ], whose guest he was while in Boston. He found J. M. inclined to be amiably interested in everything he saw in Boston. There were few if any unkindly criticisms. Mr. [ Rhodes corrected ] spoke of some friend

[ Page 28 ]

perhaps Morley but unfortunately I am not sure of this{,} who found Troilus and Cressida,* the best of all Shakespeare's plays{.} Mr. R. says he is not a reader of many new books but he does know his Shakespeare nevertheless with this [high corrected ] commendation on Morley's part [ he corrected ] reread it twice to ponder over one

[ Page 29 ]

[ week ? ] especially [ four unrecognized words ] by Morley of all of S's work.

    It is the third scene in the first act -- Robert Collyer is so full of accurate reading helped by such an [ admirable corrected ] memory that he kept the table interested after the first half hour. I was afraid it was not going well for neither Mr. Muirhead nor Mrs Rhodes who were strangers

[ Page 30 ]

to him knew how to set him going ^and they sat on either side^ but thanks to the good voices of Mr Rhodes and his [ unrecognized word ] and  the clear enunciation of Mr. Perry the talk went pleasantly.  This is a poor report of what was a fairly successful dinner and evening as such things go and being the last, the feeling of what [ was thought corrected ] to be a really good ^time^ coming to an end made some women [ unrecognized word exhausted or expressive ? ]

[ Page 31 ]

of sentiment.  The Pearsons were very full of real feeling and indeed there was no pretence [ so spelled ] anywhere.

    I was truly pleased with the success and glad that dear S.O.J.* could come for they all sincerely wished to see her.

    So concluded the small House Club of 1905.


Charles Warren Stoddard: Wikipedia says that Charles Warren Stoddard (1843-1909) was an American author, a friend of Henry James, best remembered for his travel writing. That Fields mentions him is somewhat puzzling, as he is not mentioned earlier in her notes.  He would have to be visiting from his home in California in 1905.

John Morley:  Presumably, this is John Morley, 1st Viscount Morley of Blackburn (1838 - 1923).  Wikipedia says he was a British statesman, author and journalist.  The opinions attributed to him about Shakespeare have not been confirmed.

Troilus and Cressida: The view that this 1602 play is William Shakespeare's best would have been as controversial then as it is now.  It is not popular, nor is it frequently performed.

S. O. J.: Sarah Orne Jewett.  See membership list.. This is somewhat puzzling because Jewett is not listed as attending this final meeting.  Perhaps Fields is referring to the second meeting, which Jewett definitely attended, or perhaps, though she listed herself as attending, she considered it obvious that Jewett was at this final meeting.  As she reports nothing Jewett participating in the evening's discussion, perhaps she came late in the evening.

[ Page 32 ]

Visit from Mrs Humphry Ward and Dorothy* and their maid, April 24th 1908 Friday.
The two ladies arrived at luncheon time and we met them in the Reception Room{:} [unrecognized marks, apparently initials ]* because Mrs J. W. Howe was coming too as she was unable now a days to go up & down stairs (her 89th birthday is [unrecognized word nigh ? ]!  Emerson's son Edward also came. He arrived first and we talked of Concord etc: for a [ few minutes ? ] he spoke of his sister Edith as much occupied in small cares in her large house, spending much time in educating [ unrecognized word untrained ?]

[ Page 33 ]

servants etc.  Mrs Ward [ came in ? ] a few moments quite fresh in spite of constant engagements{.}  She said no time had been appointed for going to Concord and she really must see it. However it was not too late so she is to stay over one day longer in Boston and a friend will take her [ & me too ? ]{.} Mrs Howe arrived looking just like a Fairy Godmother. She was greeted like a queen by the ladies while we laid aside her [ hood ? ] and [ many clothes ? ]

[ Page 34 ]

There were but six at table so she could hear what was said.* Mrs Ward talked with [ her somewhat ? ] of early New York but she avoided the question of suffrage about which Ward really knows nothing but it was dangerous ground* she [felt ? ]{.} I was sorry -- it would have been very interesting to hear the dear old woman talking of her faith and its causes. Dr. Howe and his work, Byron & Greece* were referred to, but there was not much talk of importance -- soon the hour

[ Page 35 ]

was over.  Mrs Howe was called for by a pretty [ chauffeur ? ] Rosalind Richards* and all was over. The ladies went to their rooms to prepare for their next engagements and Dr. Emerson settled down with me to talk of his fathers journal* of which he has brought us a second installment to read.

Dinner at 8 P.M. Helen Bell and Mrs Parkman* joined us. It was an unusually delightful two hours. [ Helen's ? ] exquisite wit playing over

[ Page 36 ]

everything -- She told of her pranks at school{,} how much more interesting life was than her studies and told a tale wh. put Mrs Ward into a noble burst of laughter delightful to share -- of pretending to translate a line of Vergil* beginning "Forsino" [ empty space for about 1/4 of a line ] "far as I know." Helen also recalled many things of Matthew Arnold* which are lovely to hear.  It was a very happy [ little ? ] occasion --

[ Page 37 ]

Saturday 25th

Mrs Ward in her room until 10.30 with a little breakfast and a great many letters, books and a few arrangements with Dorothy -- I am rather ill still with cold and weakness so I stay in bed until nearly luncheon --

    They go to concert with S. O. J. and dear Rose Lamb* at night{.} (Dorothy however decides to dine at Judge Grant's* and go with them.) Higginson* kindest of hosts to concert.  They were

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to have dined there and gone together but the Chelsea fire* has changed everything. this week as should be (Money for Chelsea has reached May 2d $350.000, of which one half is spent feeding 9000 persons a day and for necessities){.} Mrs Ward told us a dear story of the two brothers Matt. Arnold & her father Tom --

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Matthew wrote as follows to his brother after his conversion to the Roman Church*

    "My Popish Duck! O my Popish Duck! Come down and stay over Christmas with us -- There is now a House of [ several unrecognized words Reunion lost  ___ ? ]."

    They found the little note among his papers after his death.

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Sunday --

Dorothy [ kept at home with ___ ____ ? ] . Her mother and S. O. J. went to Kings Chapel and heard a queer old sermon from some Mr. [ Wolf ? ]* --[  but M . A W ? ] was deeply interested in seeing the old church and its service.  At luncheon came Alice Longfellow* and [ Mrs Wirt Dexter ? ]  The talk turned for a moment or two upon Trevelyan's Garibaldi book.* M.A.W. says he is now walking over Sicily in the

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same way that he walked over Italy in Garibaldi's footsteps{.}  She liked A. L. and her talk was pleasant. At 2.40 Mrs D's motor came and they went to Mrs Gardner's* --

    When they returned we had a little reception of about 50 persons. They were belated and lost Mr & Mrs Higginson who came early returning from her brother Alex's in Cambridge* just home from Africa --

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M.A.W. asked me if the lecture she read Saturday P.M. was not too classic in the beginning -- opening as it does with an idyl of Theocritus* -- but I could tell her that everybody I saw had expressed pleasure in it. Indeed if she could read it loud enough -- it would give sincerest pleasure throughout --

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But her throat will not serve her and she can't be heard.

    She talked much about her new story "The Testing of Diana Mallory" which we think one of her very best.  She has published about half and brought the whole with her printed and allowed us to read it though it

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is not finished.  She says she has two weeks more of hard work bringing the book into shape but the general trend is laid out. She has "lost the scale" a little and must throw some things into the back ground. Few things are more interesting than to

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watch the careful processes of an author (who is so frank & so determined){.}

Monday 27th

They moved to the Somerset* -- went over [ schools ? ] & out to dine{.} And of our most happy visit{.} They are most loving friends and have made themselves a part of our life of the spirit henceforth{.}


Mrs Humphry Ward and Dorothy: British novelist Mary Augusta Arnold Ward (1851 - 1920).    Her daughter, Dorothy Ward (1874-1964), "helped with the work of the Passmore Edwards Settlement (now Mary Ward House) which her mother founded, and with children's play centres and a school for invalid children. She accompanied her mother to visit war zones in France during the First World War."  Elizabeth Silverthorne in Sarah Orne Jewett (1993), says that Dorothy Ward paid a long visit to Jewett and Fields in the early spring of 1902 (p. 194).  Ward Family Papers: University College London.  Mrs. Ward's uncle was the British author, Matthew Arnold and her father was the scholar and professor, Thomas Arnold (1823-1900).
    While visiting the United States and Canada in 1908, Humphry Ward several times presented her lecture, "The Peasant in Literature" in aid of her children's play centers (see Chapter 11 of  The Life of Mrs. Humphry Ward by her daughter Janet Penrose Trevelyan (1923). For an account of the lecture see the New York Times of 4 April 1908, p. 2.

initials:  Fields seems to have written: S. O J. O J.  If this is correct, then she seems to be referring to Sarah Orne Jewett (see Home Club membership list).  Perhaps Jewett suggested the reception room to accommodate Julia Ward Howe (see Home Club membership list). Jewett, however, is not mentioned as being present on 24 April.

was said: Probably, Fields is referring to Mrs. Howe, who in 1908 was quite deaf.

Edward ... Edith: Edward Emerson (1844-1930) and Edith Emerson Forbes (1841-1929), both children of American author, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) and Lydian Jackson (1802-1892). Edward was the first editor, with his nephew Walder Emerson Forbes, of his father's journals (1909).

ground:  It seems likely the talk of early New York concerned the Seneca Fall, NY women's rights convention of 1848.  Presumably, Fields believes Mrs. Humphry Ward knows nothing about suffrage because she was in 1908 the president of Britain's Anti-Suffrange League (See Mrs Humphry Ward.)  Because Julia Ward Howe had been a leader in the American woman suffrage movement, of which Fields was a supporter, it may well have been polite for Humphry Ward to avoid this topic.

Dr. Howe ... Byron:  Julia Ward Howe was married to Samuel Gridley Howe (1801 - 1876) an American physician and reformer.  In his youth, he idolized the British Romantic poet, George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788 - 1824), who died while serving in the Greek rebellion against Turkish rule. Howe went to Greece in 1824 and also served in the cause of Greek independence.

Rosalind Richards: Rosalind Richards (1874 - 1964) was Julia Ward Howe's grand-daughter, the daughter of American author Laura Elizabeth Howe Richards (1850 - 1943)

Helen Bell and Mrs Parkman: For Helen Choate Bell, see the Home Club membership list
    Mary Frances Parker Parkman (1855 - 1942)  was the daughter of Cortlandt Parker and Elizabeth Wolcott Stites of Essex, NJ.  She married Henry Parkman (1850 - 1924) "a Boston lawyer, banker, and a Representative to the Mass. State Legislature in 1888." 

Vergil:  Vergil or Virgil is Publius Vergilius Maro, the ancient Roman poet (70 - 19 BC), author of the epic poem, The Aeneid.

Matthew Arnold:  Britsh poet and critic, Matthew Arnold (1822 - 1888) was Mrs. Humphry Ward's paternal uncle.

Rose Lamb:  Rose Lamb (1843 - 1927) was a Boston portrait painter and art teacher.  She was a student of William Morris Hunt and Helen Knowlton, and she also studied in Europe. She specialized in portraits of children, at which she was successful. She was an active member of Boston society, a philanthropist and traveler, with many friendships among artists and writers. Smithsonian Archives of American Art.

Judge Grant's:  Judge Robert Grant (1852 - 1940).  See the Home Club membership list

Higginson:  Almost certainly this is Henry Lee Higginson (1834 - 1919), founder-patron of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Miss Jewett enjoyed the hospitality of the Higginsons at their summer home, Sunset Hill, in West Manchester, Massachusetts, and often sailed with them off Cape Ann. (Richard Cary)
    The Boston Symphony Orchestra program for Saturday 25 April 1908, directed by Karl Muck, featured  
    Mendelssohn, Felix: Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, Opus 27
    Schubert, Franz: Symphony No. 5
    Indy, Vincent: A Summer Day on the Mountain, Opus 61.
Higginson married Ida Agassiz (1837 - 1935), daughter of the famous Harvard naturalist, Jean Louis Agassiz (1807 - 1873). Her brother, mentioned later in this diary, was Alexander Emmanuel Rodolphe Agassiz (1835 - 1910), an American scientist and engineer.

Chelsea fireWikipedia says: "The Great Chelsea fire of 1908 ... occurred on 12 April 1908, in Chelsea, Massachusetts. Nineteen people were killed, fifteen thousand people were left homeless, and 350 acres ... were burned...."
    Note that while Fields dates this entry 25 April, she reports on the fire collection total by 2 May, indicating that she composed this entry at least a week after the events she recounts.

Roman Church: Tom Arnold, Mrs. Humphry Ward's father, converted to Catholicism while living in Tasmania in the 1850s.

Mr. Wolf: This transcription is very uncertain, and this person has not been identified.

Alice Longfellow ... Mrs Wirt Dexter:  Alice Mary Longfellow (1850 - 1928) "was a philanthropist, preservationist, and the eldest surviving daughter of the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807- 24 March 1882). She is best known as "grave Alice" from her father's poem "The Children's Hour." According to Wikipedia, in the 1920s, Longfellow met the Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini (1883-1945), and became attracted to Fascism.
    Though Fields's handwriting is nearly unreadable at this point, she appears to have written "Mrs Wirt Dexter," and this is a person she may have known.  According to Morris Carter, in Isabella Stewart Gardner and Fenway Court (p. 146), Mrs. Dexter was a friend of Gardner.  Josephine Anna Moore (1846-1937) was the second wife of Chicago lawyer Wirt Dexter (1832-1890). She returned to her Boston home after her husband's death, where she died, though she was buried with him in Chicago.

Trevelyan's Garibaldi book: Wikipedia says that George Macaulay Trevelyan (1876 -  1962), was a British historian. One of his major works was a trilogy on the Italian patriot Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807 - 1882): Garibaldi's Defense of the Roman Republic (1907). Garibaldi and the Thousand (1909), Garibaldi and the Making of Italy (1911).
    Trevelyan married Mrs. Humphry Ward's daughter and biographer, Janet Penrose Ward (1879 - 1956).

Mrs. Gardner's: Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840 - 1924) was "a leading American art collector, philanthropist, and patron of the arts." She and her husband, John (Jack) Lowell Gardner II, founded the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.  Wikipedia

idyl of TheocritusWikipedia says that Theocritus (third century B.C.) was the ancient Greek creator of bucolic or pastoral poetry.  The New York Times account of Ward's lecture, "The Peasant in Literature," notes that she mentions Theocritus and Virgil as early poets of rural life and the peasant farmer.

Malory: Ward's Diana Mallory was published in 1908 in the United States under the title, The Testing of Diana Mallory. 

Somerset: The Somerset was a major Boston hotel.

Transcribed and edited by Terry Heller, Coe College.
Works of Annie Fields