Sarah Orne Jewett Text Project

In the course of doing some research on Bessie Greene, I ran across the excellent Sarah Orne Jewett Text Project. The archive contains a large number of Jewett’s texts, from Country of the Pointed Firs to much more obscure articles, as well as some works by Annie Adams Fields and Celia Thaxter. If you search down through the text of Celia Thaxter’s letters, you’ll find the following:

To Annie Fields. Shoals, May 20, 1874.

I am full of sadness and of sympathy over this terrible disaster. Hardly can I think of anything else, and those two dear people haunt my little room, the sunny piazza, the little garden; I see and hear them everywhere. How gentle they were, how sweet and good and noble. How can we spare them, and fools and knaves are cumbering the earth! I have such a letter of sorrow from S. C., who grew so attached to them here: “That dear, splendid little doctor! To think of the cruelty of her tender body being beaten on the rocks!” Ah, I wish the sea would stop its roar, so soft and far from rim to rim of this great horizon! It makes me shudder when I think of them and how it sounded in their ears! How brave Mrs. Greene is, sure that all that is must be best! glad for them that they could go in the midst of the joy of life, with all their enthusiasm, spared all life’s disappointments, safe from any suffering like hers! She is a marvel. Yes, dear, she sent me the little paper, writing my name on it and hers with her own hand. And I must write to her, but hardly dare to speak.

This is almost certainly a (misdated) reference to the loss of Susan Dimock, the “splendid little doctor” of the New England Hospital for Women and Children, and her friend and companion Bessie Greene, in which case Thaxter is referring to Anna Blake Shaw Greene. Annie Fields knew the Greenes, and mentions both William Batchelder Greene and his mother, Susan Batchelder Greene, in her account of John Greenleaf Whittier in Friends and Authors.

Anyway, check out this fine archive, and if you can contribute, please do. Guidelines are posted on the site.

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2703 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.