Transcript of Letter from Emma Stebbins to Sidney Lanier, July 8, 1876

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Transcript of Letter from Emma Stebbins to Sidney Lanier, July 8, 1876


Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882
Lanier, Sidney, 1842-1881
Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876
Cushman, Edwin "Ned" Charles, 1838-1909
Intimacy--As topic
Manners / Etiquette


Emma Stebbins ponders the publishing arrangement with Mr. Osgood. Stebbins wants to annul or postpone it, as she is disagreeing with Lanier on his behavior towards Mr. Cushman and about leaving out the England period which Stebbins deems crucial for the biography to cover. Her health troubles her and she is asking for more material.
Stebbins emphasizes Ned Cushman's role as trustee and values his opinion in the memoir issue. She reprimands Lanier for not reading her letters and instructions closely. Stebbins instructs Lanier to refrain from acting independently or from handing out false information to Ned Cushman.

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 have just received your lettr [sic] of the 6th
with enclosure – and hasten to say that I will with your prmission [sic] defer forwarding the one to Mr. Cushman – for the following reasons. —  In the first place I fear the tone of it would give annoyance, which it is well to avoid. As Trustee — he is justified in what he says, and his intentions are always good. — I have already  told you that he cannot be disconnected morally from equal interest with me in the book — neither would I write [Lorenz unsure here] so to disconnect him – In the mattr [sic] of my having had an understanding with him to leave the mattr [sic] entirely in my hands, it referred entirely to action on his part independent of me & of you —   without first consultingt us, but was not intended to leave  him out otherwise – I should not like him to receive such an impression – and I fewr and lettr conveys it —  2dly– I do not remember having said anything in any of my letters to you which placed the conclusion of the mattr [sic] with Osgood or any other publisher entirely in your hands I have the drafts of all my letters, and/ do not find anything to this effect - whatever I may have said — was meant to refer to the condition of my health, which might throw all the labour & care in writing the book upon you – I refer to this – because you stated it for the second time in your lettr [sic] to Mr. C. 3dly with regard to materials – I have endeavoured to be very clear & explicit in my statements about them – that they were very desultory and uncertain – that we had nothing from England - and that the book could not well be written, leaving  out that importanty period – You will recall that in our first conversation, you suggested the idea of going out yourself to England to  hunt them up – I also told Mr. Osgood these difficulties — and urged them as my reason for desiring delay - I have deprecated haste from to beginning and felt most anxious to have possibilities at  least clear before I committed myself. - But circumstances have urged in the mattr [sic] – and I felt myself forced to yield – hoping at  we all have done that things would shape themselves in times I make this statement again to lift from my shoulders the responsibility of having promised more than I can perform! I send you back Mr. C's lettr [sic] as you request but will retain yours 

[page 2] until I hear from you Now in view of all the uncertainties and difficulties which beset us —  and must especially with refence to the condition of my health —  which does not improve & gives me much uneasiness, and which is entirely unfit to contend with worries and anxieties – indeed I think it capable of breaking down into uttr [sic] incapacity at  any moment - and also in view of to fact that I could not consent to allow any of these materials to pass through other hands – before they have gone thorugh mine – I seems to me I am justified in asking you to annul – or if possible to postpone our agreement with Mr. Osgood – until I can see  what time brings in to way of health & additional  materials — & before we are finally committed to what might  prove a failure. I am more grieved than I can tell you to have to say this,  +++ as I do - how great the disappointment will/ be to you as well as to myself — but you may trust me in believing  that I would not do it if it could be helped– and that I will do whatever in me lies in averting any consequences of retrieving any harm which may have come to you through it I have written in some haste — and pray you to pardon any oversights, or anything in fact which might not come from the most faithful of your friends - which I pray you believe me 
Yours ever


Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882


Lanier, Sidney, 1842-1881


Lenox, MA, US

Geocode (Latitude)


Geocode (Longitude)



Lorenz repeatedly annotated her own notes

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Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882, “Transcript of Letter from Emma Stebbins to Sidney Lanier, July 8, 1876,” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed September 28, 2023,

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