I do find your website difficult to follow but in the hopes that I am in the right place, is it possible to post a query about a portrait of Howells by John White Alexander (1856-1915). I am preparing the catalogue raisonee and would like to locate the actual portrait.
I was wondering if someone could answer a question for me; I’m assisting a faculty member at Northern Kentucky University. We are interested in a poem W.D. Howells wrote about Margaret Garner (but the poem may not contain her name). We think it could have been published in either The Ohio State Journal or perhaps the Ashtabula Sentinel, around 1856 (neighborhood). Are you aware of any poem that fits this description? Can you offer any citation information so that we may attempt to find it?
Thank you for your time and assistance,
Northern Kentucky University
From Paul Petrie:
Dear Dr. Petrie: I am contacting you in your role as editor of the Howellsian.
Two colleagues and I are researching the book covers of a late 19th-century artist, and have reason to believe that a series of William Dean Howells novels, published ca. 1890-1895, in paperback in the Franklin Square Library Series, by Harper & Bros., were done by the same artist. However, these paperback editions are rare and we have only located images of a few of them.
Perhaps you would be so kind as to inquire of the members of the William Dean Howells Society if any of them might own a copy in this series. If so, and if the person would be willing to send a scan of the cover, I would be very grateful to be contacted directly.
Thank you very much for your assistance.
Mary L. Kwas
University of Arkansas System (retired)
From 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.
Owner, The Manhattan Rare Book Company
*** Update 10/28/16
Thanks to Gary Culbert, who suggests here https://howellssociety.wordpress.com/queries/ that this is likely not Howells’s handwriting.
I’d have to agree. Here’s a sample of Howells’s handwriting for comparison:
Thanks for the query and the reply! –Donna Campbell
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
I am frantically looking for the name of the article, story, book that WD Howells wrote on bureauracracy that WD Howells wrote. It was about a coach or stagecoach on which people kept climbing on and falling off and everyone was trying to get to the top of the coach. This influenced my conceptions strongly and I would like to pass it on to others but have forgotten the name.
Margaret Nadey RN,RCNP,CON,CNM,CLNC,SSANE,VNI
I am thinking of donating this wonderful display of the innovative W. D. Howells. There are attached iPhone picts. I would appreciate the WDHS’s opinion of the uniqueness this authentic original picture and 1889 letter. I would like to know what the letter is saying, as I cannot read many of the words. –Kevin Reach
Dear William Dean Howells Society:
I am writing about John Greenleaf Whittier’s 70th birthday party, at which Mr. Howells was the toastmaster, and at which Samuel Clemens gave his controversial speech.
In Mr. Howells’ account of that speech, he says that the silence “…deepened from moment to moment, and was broken only by the hysterical and blood-curdling laughter of a single guest, whose name shall not be handed down to infamy.”
My question is, is it known, now, who that guest was? I’m wondering if it showed up in any of his correspondence or personal notes.
[leave suggestions in the comments]
I am researching an 1890s political scandal in which Madeline Pollard sued a congressman for breach of promise. She claims a close friendship with Howells, which I am attempting to document. She claimed to have visited Howells in Boston and Cambridge ca. 1887 – 1892 and received written literary advice from him. The Breach of Promise suit [Pollard v. Breckinridge] was tried in 1893-1894 and I am curious as to if he made any comments regarding it to his associates. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Can anyone point me to archives/collections with material in the relevant time frame [1887 – 1894]?
Dr. Elizabeth De Wolfe
Professor of History, University of New England
In the 1880s and 18890s — and beyond? — Howells read and commented on the Russians that were getting translated into English. Can you give me data in general — and Howells’ references to Dostoyevsky in particular?
Thanks. Dorothy Richardson