Letter from Grace Greenwood to James Fields, Dec 2, 1848

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Letter from Grace Greenwood to James Fields, Dec 2, 1848


Lippincott, Sara Jane (pseudonym: Grace Greenwood), 1832-1904
Social Critique
United States--Philadelphia
Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882
Saturday Evening Post
Fields, James Thomas, 1817-1881


Greenwood is pained to hear that Fields is "mad with a headache." She muses that the headache should "keep clear of the poets' head and heart" and rather seek out somebody where it will not be disturbed "by the outgoing of the responsive thoughts of wit and genius."
Greenwood thanks Fields for the books he has sent her. She admires both Bolens and Whittier, the latter who she perceives as one of America's glories. She intends to turns the volume into the subject of one of the letters she is currently writing for the Philadelphia Post [Saturday Evening Post?].
Greenwood notes that she is in perfect health, passing her time with reading and writing. She expresses her disdain for the people in Philadelphia who have "no regard for the gospel" as they celebrate Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie, something she imagines Fields would express outrage over. She looks forward to Fields' future work and praises his intellect. 
Greenwood remarks jestingly that she cannot help but bestow the utmost care onto her letters as writing brief and careless letters would be an exertion.


Huntington Library, James Thomas Fields Papers and Addenda


Lippincott, Sara Jane (pseudonym: Grace Greenwood), 1832-1904


Huntington, JTFP, Box 40, FI 1749





Letter Item Type Metadata


[page 1] My dear friend.
I was pleased to receive a letter from you, but pained to hear that you were ill, and additionally pained that you should write at such a time. - You should know better than to do so - indeed you should. You wrote that you were "mad with a headache". Well, I am mad at it for tormenting you. Oh presuming head-ache! couldst thou not seek out some vulgar and unpoetical
noddle [?], with comfortable rooms to let- quiet lodegings [sic], when thou wouldst not be annoyed by the coming in of the rough and grotesque ideas of wild authoresses [?]. to laugh and rattle and fling themselves about; not by the outgoing of the responsive thoughts of wit and genius. Why didst thou blunder into that +++ attic [?], like the animal with two ears, which said, over ascended to the upper story of a far-famed seat of learning [?].- Henceforth +++ aches! keep clear of the poets' head and heart. for there shall countless forms and sounds jostle and annoy you and there shall ye find no rest! yesterday, arrived those books – what shall I say 

[page 2] grates. Je vous remercie. le doy las gracias. I'm very much obliged to you, for I never before had a realigning sense of what good people were. but you are one of them - you are! - You are clever, both in the English and Yankee sense. You "do good, to all men", women, and +++ .- Seriously now, I thank you with all my heart for those delightful books. – Bolens [?] has always been one of my enthusiasms. he must be a glorious fellow. - Whittier I consider one of our country's glories - a magnificent development of American soul. I like him. +++ costume [?] and all. he is brimful of genius. I am writing letters for the Philadelphia S. E. Post and will make these two volumes the subject of one. will send you a copy. you ask how I am, and what I am "doin". Well, I am in perfect health nowadays. and am reading, writing, dancing a little, laughing a great deal and getting most unpractically [?]. fat. I was going to say, but that is a piggish word – acquiring embonpoint.– I have the roundest arm, the plumpest cheeks, and the doublest chin ever seen on a feminine favorite of the nine, inspected of having been +++ in first. love of being inclined to consumption and religion, and known to be

[page 3] a little in years. - Next, you ask if the sun shines here, and if the people are clever and keep Thanksgiving. I cant [sic] say our sun is quite equal to the one in your direction, which has the honor of pouring its rays on Bunker Hill, and Lexington, and other farmers Fields. I might mention; ours is not much, ordinarily, but manages to cut a shine on Sundays. - Neither can I say much for the cleverness of the people. they have no high appreciation of genius. My dog and I can walk out in the open day, without having our way blocked up by the "frenzied multitude"!! They keep Thanksgiving, after a sort. but the "+++ barbarians" have "no knowledge of the gospel" as regards Pumpkin Pie. I think I hear you exclaim "Thanksgiving without Pumpkin Pie. Oh Lord!" You did not send me your own little volume. How could you treat me so! - I have read the notices of your late poem with +++ little pleasure +++, and am hungry to see +++ the performance itself. - I think your modesty must do injustice to your deserts when you express so great a surprise at the success of this effort. I have no doubt that you are "wise (and clever,) above what is written "(by the editors,) and that same

[page 4] will be pretty well slowed [?] before +++ your praises are all sounded. I think I shall take your advice respecting my publication. Meanwhile assure your porters [?] that they will not lose largely by the job. assure them that my popularity is a solemn reality. A steam. boat on the Mississippi, was long time named after you, and lately a rare. horse in Kentucky. I think Jones [?] told you that knowing you was the habit of disposing of the autograph letters of distinguished people, I should take extra pains [?] with mine to you. Remark how carefully I crop my is, and dot my ts! and then the sentiments and the language! of these it were scarce becoming for me to speaking full. but I am confident you will pronounce them to be as Mr. +++ would say "+++ +++ ". I have been told that I waste ammunition in bestowing such care and +++ on my private letters. But the habit is on me. To write a brief and careless letter were an exertion to which I feel myself unequal. they must ever be in my most unimportant epistolary communications, a certain finish and picturesqueness. I can do no otherwise. Heaven help me, as Luther said at the +++ of +++. I have written somewhat jestingly, perhaps, but in sad, sober earnest, believe me.
Yours decidedly,
Grace Greenwood.

[page 1 added vertically] My kind remembrances to Mr. Whipple.

[page 4 added vertically] P.S. [?] If your +++ very letter is as +++ +++ +++, I shall expect a +++ +++ +++ in +++!


Lippincott, Sara Jane (pseudonym: Grace Greenwood), 1832-1904


Fields, James Thomas, 1817-1881


New Brighton, PA, US

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Lippincott, Sara Jane (pseudonym: Grace Greenwood), 1832-1904, “Letter from Grace Greenwood to James Fields, Dec 2, 1848,” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed February 21, 2024, https://www.archivalgossip.com/collection/items/show/784.

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