Queries: Unrecorded Howells manuscript?

howells4From a comment posted at https://howellssociety.wordpress.com/queries/. If you have suggestions, post them in the comments here or on howells-l. Thanks!



I am representing a client who has what may be an unrecorded William Dean Howells manuscript and I am looking for assistance in possibly identifying it. (I also am not an expert in Howells’s handwriting, so it is, of course, very possible that it is not the work of Howells.)

The manuscript seems to be the first three chapters (totaling 109 manuscript pages and three manuscript slips) of a novel, written across the pages of a salesman’s dummy of Grant’s Memoirs.

The handwriting is easy to read: the story begins in the middle of the subscription list (about two-thirds of the way into the salesman’s dummy) with possible epigraphs and a character list with the characters’ ages preceding the text. It then continues at the beginning of the book until re-connecting with the opening lines.

I’ve read the story (and enjoyed it!). It involves an aspiring writer, Ralph Estabrook who falls in love with a poor young girl (Nancy “Nan” Valcour, who is fifteen when they meet), but then marries an older heiress, Miss Charlotte Thursby.

Ten years pass, Estabrook (who is now successful as a speaker and writer) and his wife have been separated for five years; Nan Valcour has come into an unexpected inheritance and become a famous singer. The two meet again, they declare their love for each other, but Valcour will not marry Estabrook because he is, although separated from his wife, still married. Even if he can get a divorce, she will not accept him because he will still be married “in God’s eyes”.

The setting is a small coastal village, with the Valcour’s house situated on an island (“Clam Island”). There are resemblances to Cape Cod, with even a reference to Cape Cod at one point.

Does this sound at all familiar to anyone?

If it is Howells, my guess is that he picked up a used salesman’s dummy (the subscriptions seem to have been filled) lying around at Charles Webster’s and just began writing.

If there are any Howells handwriting experts who could help (I have images of all the pages I could forward) – or if this story sounds familiar to anyone – I would love to hear from you.

Michael DiRuggiero
Owner, The Manhattan Rare Book Company

Howells Queries: “Eighty Years and After” and “On a Bright Winter’s Day”

This is a Query: I was rereading the book “The Last Harvest” by John Burroughs (1922). In his last essays, there is mentioned of Howell’s “Eighty Years and After” and a poem “On a Bright Winter’s Day.” I am looking for what publication or website may have these works available to read. Thank you for any assistance.

Sincerely, Peter Laurent / Vallejo, California

Howells Bibliography Updates 2013-16

The following items have been added under New Books and Articles.


Bush, Harold K. Continuing Bonds with the Dead: Parental Grief and Nineteenth-Century American Authors. American Literary Realism and Naturalism Series (American Literary Realism and Naturalism Series). Tuscaloosa, AL: U of Alabama P, 2016. Print.

Klevay, Robert. “Indian Summer’s Critique and Celebration of the Epistolary Novel.” American Literary Realism 48.2 (2016): 112-27. Print.

Monteiro, George. “Bartley Hubbard’s Sunday Work.” American Literary Realism 48.2 (2016): 183-86. Print.

Weaver, James. “Hairy Paws and Bald Heads: Anxiety and Authority in W. D. Howells’ an Imperative Duty.” American Literary Realism 48.2 (2016): 95-111. Print.


Bernstein, Samantha. “The Joys of the Elevated: William Dean Howells and the Urban Picturesque.” Canadian Review of American Studies/Revue Canadienne d’Etudes Americaines 45.3 (2015): 278-99. Print.

Bitney, Joseph. “W. D. Howells: Two New Documents.” American Literary Realism 47.2 (2015): 169-75. Print.

Dawson, Melanie. Emotional Reinventions: Realist-Era Representations Beyond Sympathy. Ann Arbor, MI: U of Michigan P, 2015. Print.

Dobson, James E. The Awkward Age of Autobiography: Modernization, Temporality, and American Self-Representation, 1865-1915. 2015. Print.

Machor, James L. “Reading for Humor or Realism: W. D. Howells and Mark Twain’s Early Reception in the U. S. Public Sphere.” American Literary Realism 47.2 (2015): 136-50. Print.

Pearson, Deborah. “Unsustainable Acts of Love and Resistance: The Politics of Value and Cost in One-on-One Performances.” Canadian Theatre Review 162 (2015): 2, 63-67. Print.

Quinn, Patrick J. Patriarchy in Eclipse: The Femme Fatale and the New Woman in American Literature and Culture 1870-1920. Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars, 2015. Print.


Alders, Maximilian. “‘Mind-Telling’ in Silas Lapham.” Journal of Narrative Theory 44.2 (2014): 212-43. Print.

Ash, Scott. “A Taste for the Public: Uncle Stevie’s Work for Entertainment Weekly.” Stephen King’s Modern Macabre: Essays on the Later Works. Eds. McAleer, Patrick and Michael A. Perry. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2014. ix, 209 pp. Print.

Darda, Joseph. “The Sacrificial Enterprise: Negotiating Mutilation in W. D. Howells’ a Hazard of New Fortunes.” American Literary Realism 46.3 (2014): 210-29. Print.

Howells, Coral Ann. “From Rowanwood to Downtown: The Torontonians and Girls Fall Down.” Routledge Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature (Routledge Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature). Ed. Fraile-Marcos, Ana Maria. New York, NY: Routledge, 2014. xii, 195 pp. Print.

Knewitz, Simone. “‘Try My Tivoli’: Conspicuous Consumption in William Dean Howells’s a Modern Instance.” Anglistik und Englischunterricht 82 (2014): 133-52. Print.

Kohler, Michelle. “Some Glittering Nondescript Vertebrate: The Provocative Style of Realism in Howells’ a Hazard of New Fortunes.” American Literary Realism 46.3 (2014): 189-209. Print.

—. Miles of Stare: Transcendentalism and the Problem of Literary Vision in Nineteenth-Century America. Tuscaloosa, AL: U of Alabama P, 2014. Print.

Korobkin, Laura H. “William Dean Howells’s Deserted Wife: E. D. E. N. Southworth, a Modern Instance, and Sentimental Divorce Narration.” American Literature: A Journal of Literary History, Criticism, and Bibliography 86.2 (2014): 333-60. Print.

Parker, Melissa Pluta. ‘The Hollow Men’: Divorce and Manhood in the Novels of Howells, James, and Wharton. 2014. Print.

Schmidt, Michael. The Novel: A Biography. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Harvard UP, 2014. Print.

Storey, Mark. “Spectacular Distractions: P. T. Barnum and American Modernism.” Modernism/Modernity 21.1 (2014): 107-23. Print.

Taghizadeh, Ali. “A Theory of Literary Realism.” Theory and Practice in Language Studies 4.8 (2014): 1628-35. Print.

Walsh, Fintan. “Touching, Flirting, Whispering: Performing Intimacy in Public.” TDR: The Drama Review: A Journal of Performance Studies 58.4 [T224] (2014): 56-67. Print.


Beckman, John. “The Church of Fact: Genre Hybridity in Huckleberry Finn and Silas Lapham.” Arizona Quarterly: A Journal of American Literature, Culture, and Theory 69.3 (2013): 23-47. Print.

Daniels, Melissa Asher. Black Literary Realism and the Romance of Race. 2013. Print.

Gundry, Jenifer L. Print Culture in Utopia: A Study of Five Fin De Siecle Anglo-American Literary Utopias. 2013. Print.

Hardwig, Bill. Upon Provincialism: Southern Literature and National Periodical Culture, 1870-1900. American Literatures Initiative (American Literatures Initiative). Charlottesville, VA: U of Virginia P, 2013. Print.

Howells, Coral Ann. “Tellers and Listeners: The Narrative Imagination of Carol Shields.” Form and Feeling in Modern Literature: Essays in Honour of Barbara Hardy. Eds. Baker, William and Isobel Armstrong. London, England: Legenda, 2013. xiii, 211 pp. Print.

Jamil, S. Selina. “Transcending Masculinity and Femininity in Editha.” Explicator 71.4 (2013): 284-91. Print.

McGehee, Michael. “Religion, Family, and National Belonging in W. D. Howells’ the Undiscovered Country.” American Literary Realism 45.2 (2013): 118-32. Print.

Paek, Joongul. “[the Cultural Politics of Excess: Mass Culture and Realism in The Rise of Silas Lapham].” Journal of English Language and Literature/Yongo Yongmunhak 59.5 (2013): 667-88. Print.

Pizer, Donald. “W. D. Howells’ A Hazard of New Fortunes: A Mostly Formalist Reading.American Literary Realism 46.1 (2013): 1-11. Print.

Wortham, Thomas. “William Dean Howells’s Spiritual Quest(Ioning) in a ‘World Come of Age’.” Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature 65.3 (2013): 206-24. Print.

Howells in the News: Portrait at the Library of Congress

[William Dean Howells, bust portrait]

[ digital file from b&w film copy neg. ]

Full online access to this resource is only available at the Library of Congress.

About this Item

[William Dean Howells, bust portrait]
Created / Published
–  Copyright by Harper and Brothers.
–  This record contains unverified, old data from caption card.
–  Engraving in Literature, April 27, 1898.
1 print : engraving.
Call Number/Physical Location
BIOG FILE [item] [P&P]
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Digital Id
cph 3a37092 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3a37092
Library of Congress Catalog Number
Reproduction Number
LC-USZ62-36693 (b&w film copy neg.)
Rights Advisory
Rights status not evaluated. For general information see “Copyright and Other Restrictions …,”http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/195_copr.html
Library of Congress Catalog Number Record
Online Public Access Catalog Record
Additional Metadata Formats
MODS Record
Dublin Core Record