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Letters to (Theodora) Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909)

Description

Subseries G, Letters to (Theodora) Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909), 1882-1909, undated (#13.7-13.59), contains correspondence received by (Theodora) Sarah Orne Jewett and includes, fan mail, invitations, letters, postcards, financial statements, and clippings, from family, friends, and acquaintances, which focus on such topics as social events, daily life, general welfare of family and friends, financial matters, health issues, travel, invitations, thank you notes, etc. The subseries is arranged alphabetically by surname of the author/sender of the letter(s), followed by unidentified authors/senders, and thereunder chronologically; when applicable, women are identified by married name.

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Details

Collection Name
Jewett family papers
Collection Code
MS014
Date Notes
1882-1909, undated
Date of Acquisition
1931
Physical Description
Personal correspondence (1 file box)
Collection Type
Manuscripts
Description Level
Sub-series
Credit Line
Bequest of Theodore Jewett Eastman, 1931
GUSN
171851
Reference Code
MS014.01.06

Historical/Biographical Note

Captain Theodore Furber Jewett (1787-1860), grandfather of Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909), was a prosperous sea captain, merchant, and ship builder who traded in the West Indies. In the 1820s, Captain Jewett moved his family from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to South Berwick, Maine. He rented the John Haggens House, a Georgian-style dwelling, on Portland Street and purchased it in 1939. Dr. Theodore Herman Jewett (1815-1878), son of Theodore Furber Jewett and Sarah (Orne) Jewett (ca.1791-1819), moved his wife, Caroline Frances (Perry) Jewett (1820-1891), and infant daughter, Mary Rice Jewett (1847-1930), into the house with Captain Jewett in 1848. On September 3, 1849, Sarah Orne Jewett (named Theodora Sarah Orne Jewett) was born. In 1854, Dr. Jewett's family moved into a new Greek Revival-style house next door, where Sarah's younger sister, Caroline Augusta (Jewett) Eastman (1855-1897), was born. Sarah, her older sister Mary, and their widowed mother, lived in the Greek Revival home until 1887, when they moved back into Captain Jewett's house; youngest sister, Caroline, and her husband, Edwin Calvin Eastman (1849-1892), became owners of the Greek Revival house next door. In 1897, Caroline suffered a heart attack and died; Sarah's sister Mary became guardian of Caroline's son, Theodore Jewett Eastman (1879-1931). Mary and Sarah lived in their grandfather's house until the end of their lives.

As a child, Sarah attended a private school run by Miss Olive Raynes in South Berwick, Maine. In 1865, she graduated from the South Berwick college preparatory school, Berwick Academy. Following graduation, Jewett spent time travelling. Her travels took her to New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Chicago, South Carolina, and Florida, but she was always drawn back to South Berwick. During her childhood in South Berwick, she often accompanied her father on his medical rounds and observed the people and her surroundings. Jewett suffered early on from rheumatoid arthritis; as therapeutic treatment, she went for walks through the Maine countryside and developed a love of nature. Owing to her travels and her childhood memories, Jewett began her writing career. In 1868, under the pseudonym of Alice C. Eliot, Jewett published her first story, "Jenny Garrow's Lovers," which was followed in 1869 by, "Mr. Bruce." Following the popularity of "Mr. Bruce," which was published in the Atlantic Monthly, the Independent, Our Young Folks, and the Riverside, Jewett began writing under her own name. Continuing to focus on New England and its people, her first book, Deephaven, was published by James R. Osgood and Company in 1877; Country of the Pointed Firs, was published in 1896. During her lifetime, Jewett published twenty books, which included short story collections and compilations of serialized work in novel form. In 1901, she published her last novel, the Tory Lover, and became the first woman to receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.

Jewett's travels in Boston acquainted her with many of the leading literary figures of the day. She became associated with James Thomas Fields (1817-1881), publisher of the Atlantic Monthly, who helped launch her career. Jewett also befriended his wife, Annie (Adams) Fields (1834-1915). The pair traveled together to Europe for the first time in 1882, a year after the death of James Fields. They made three additional European tours in 1892, 1898, and 1900; hosted intellectual and literary greats; attended social events; and cultivated a lasting friendship. Until Jewett's death in 1909, Jewett and Annie Fields spent their winters at the Fields residence, located at 148 Charles Street, in Boston, Massachusetts, and their summers in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts; Jewett continued to spend her springs and autumns at the Jewett homestead in South Berwick, Maine. On September 3, 1902, Jewett fell from a carriage and suffered a spinal injury; she remained bedridden until 1908. Jewett died on June 24, 1909, following a cerebral hemorrhage.

Record details

Originator
Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909
Other People
Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909
Descriptive Terms
personal correspondence
Material Type
personal correspondence
Places
South Berwick (York county, Maine)
Places (Buildings)
Sarah Orne Jewett House (South Berwick, Me.)
Location Note
HGO-02-105-A-E-203

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