Transcript of Letter from Emma Stebbins to Sidney Lanier, June 29, 1876

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Transcript of Letter from Emma Stebbins to Sidney Lanier, June 29, 1876


Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882
Lanier, Sidney, 1842-1881
Mercer, Sallie
Cushman, Edwin "Ned" Charles, 1838-1909
Cushman, Emma Crow, 1839-1920
Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876
Social Events--Travels
Intimacy--As topic


Emma Stebbins explicitly expains to Lanier that she has to talk to Ned and Emma Cushman before deciding anything in terms of the memoir because they are involved in the matter as well. She laments that they have still not heard back from England, which Stebbins considers to be the "most important phase" of Cushman's career. She also wants to refrain from making any commitments to publisher Osgood too soon.
Eventually, Stebbins and Lanier's collaborative work on the memoir escalates into an argument.

Transcripts by Jennie Lorenz


Library of Congress, Charlotte Cushman Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.


Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882


LoC, JLP 2





Letter Item Type Metadata


[page 1] My Dear Lanier
I lose not moment in acknowledging your Letter (just received) though I find it a very difficult thing to answer it with as prompt a decision as you seem to expect. & think possible. I do not feel that I can settle so momentous a qestion, without at least consulting Mr. & Mrs. Cushman, who are greatly interested in it, morally as we are. Although I know they would be influenced my our conclusions I must at least ask them before decidig [sic] — I shall therefore send your lettr [sic] over to them by Sallie, who goes tomorrow, with an urgent request for an immediate response, and as soon as I receive it/  will Telegraph you — yes or no. I wrote you to West Chestr [sic] — which lettr [sic] I suppose you have missed by your movement to Boston — in it I told you how I am feeling — how little — (nothing as yet) I have had it in my powr[?, sic] to do — how very little my health is to be depended upon — and +++ the for a larger period of refuse & entire recuperation of mind and body – before I could undertake anything so important as I feel this to be – but this feelig [sic] is absolutely with reference to the producing of a worthy book, and not a thought regarding the money part of it, about which (except for your +++) I am perfectly indifferent — Therefore it is not on that score & should hesitate, If the look is what it ought to be — and might be with time and core — it would pay even on Mr. Osgood's hard terms, for I do think he hedges himself well but — considr [sic] well, my dear fellow - before we commit ourselves inevitably, the desultory nature of your materials, the failure of any response as yet from England – the most important phase of hr [sic] career, — and my ignorance whethr [sic] what materials we have of othr [sic] periods, +++ yield what we require./ —

[page 2] You do seem to feel disturbed about this, and perhaps you may be more right than I am — the result of a +++ of art comes in the doing of it, and you may have it clear/ enough in your own mind to feel no misgivings — but I cannot understand anyone not foreseeing difficulties — I am hedged about with them, and so have dreaded and do dread any precipitations — I grieve to have to be a drag upon the wings of your inspiration! — if this noble task inspires you as I hope it does. If you can see your way clear to a good true result — written ofhHer & of yourself, and are willing to run the chances coincident to a very lame and weak coadjutor — if Mr [Taylor? Payler?[?] Bayler?[?]] [Lorenz unsure here] thinks the bargain as good a one as we could male & if Emma & Ned are satisfied (pardon all these troublesome ifs) — Why — all I can say is — I will aid you all I can — the spirit is willing — but flesh is weak — However of we once put our shoulders to the wheel, we will not look back — I write in haste — sorry that I cannot be more decided, but I think you will see that I could not be otherwise —
Yours ever faithfully

If it is not inconvenient for you to remain in NY. +++ send me a postal card — & I will send you a Telegram wherever you may be — or perhaps I had bettr +++ ask Ned to send you one from Newport without the delay communicating with me — I will write to him myself about it.
[Hr [sic] constitutional(?) undecision
a contract to C.C. — made it easy for hr [sic] to follow C.C.'s decisions.]
[address on envelope]—
Sidney Lanier Esq. 
Westminstr Hotel  JL.—
New York
Sidney Lanier
+++ of  Westchestr Pa.


Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882


Lanier, Sidney, 1842-1881


Lenox, MA, US

Geocode (Latitude)


Geocode (Longitude)


Location (Recipient)

Westchester, PA

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Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882, “Transcript of Letter from Emma Stebbins to Sidney Lanier, June 29, 1876,” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed July 18, 2024,

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