Cage 215

Louise Deming and Aretta Stevens

Project papers: the letters of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne

Circa 1960s-1971

Acquisition And Processing Information

In 1971, a photocopy of Louise Deming's unpublished manuscript "The Letters of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne" was donated to the WSU Libraries, probably by Aretta J. Stevens, a member of the WSU English Department faculty. A note included with the manuscript indicates that the original was returned to Mrs. Deming. The balance of the material was transferred to the WSU Libraries in 2007 from the University of Alaska at Anchorage (MS 2007-16); it had been donated to the University of Alaska in 1971 by Aretta Stevens (McClure).

Extent/Quantity Information

Number of Containers: 4

Linear Feet of Shelf Space: 1.75

Biography

Sophia Peabody Hawthorne (1809-1871), the youngest of Dr. Nathaniel Peabody and Elizabeth Palmer Peabody's three daughters, was the wife of novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Hawthornes had three children: Una, Julian, and Rose. Sophia was a prolific correspondent, writing frequently and at length to members of her family and to her friends. Many well-known figures from American literature and history are among her correspondents and are mentioned in her letters, particularly individuals from her own circle of associates in Massachusetts, including members of the Transcendentalist movement.

Project History

Louise Bennett Macpherson Deming (d. 1976) transcribed and edited the letters of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne, planning to publish them. She did not complete the project, and passed her work in progress to Aretta J. Stevens, a member of the WSU English Department faculty. Dr. Stevens continued developing the project for publication until approximately 1971, after she married and moved to Alaska.

When she deposited her project papers at the University of Alaska in 1971, Dr. Stevens wrote the following explanatory note:

"Mrs. Louise Deming had given me permission to bring out an edition of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne's letters. My marriage and move to Alaska terminated my efforts, and I encouraged Mrs. Deming to continue her own work (which was of considerable proportions) on the letters. Included in this box and envelope are all my copies so far. Louise Deming is the wife of ambassador Olcott Deming who is actually the descendant, through his mother, of Hawthorne. You may contact Mrs. Deming at the following address..."

If there was subsequent work on the project, it is not represented in this collection, and there is no evidence that it was ever published.

Collection Description

This collection consists of materials related to a major editorial project, the planned publication of the letters of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne. It includes research files (primarily transcriptions and related editorial notes produced by Louise Deming and Aretta Stevens), and Louise Deming's manuscript "The Letters of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne." The manuscript encompasses the period from 1822 to 1865, including hundreds of letters, totaling approximately 2150 pages.

Collection Arrangement

The collection is arranged in two series:

Series 1: "The Letters of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne" (typescript, photocopy), edited by Louise Deming, undated.

Series 2: Transcribed excerpts from Sophia Peabody letters, notes, and supporting documentation, circa 1960s-1971.

Subjects

Hawthorne, Sophia Peabody, 1809-1871 -- Correspondence
Peabody family
Hawthorne family

Access

This collection is open and available for research use. Copyright restrictions apply.

Sources Used

These sources were consulted during collection processing:

Pennell, Melissa McFarland, "Hawthorne, Sophia Peabody," in American National Biography Online.

Miller, Edwin Haviland, "A Calendar of the Letters of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne," Studies in the American Renaissance (1986): 199-281.

Preferred Citation

The suggested citation for the collection is:

[Item Description]
Louise Deming and Aretta Stevens project papers: the letters of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Washington State University Libraries
Pullman, WA

Related Materials

With few exceptions, the originals of the letters in this project, formerly in a private family collection, are now in the Sophia Peabody Hawthorne Collection of Papers at the Berg Collection, New York Public Library.

Languages

Materials are in English.

Container List:

Box Folder Description
Series 1: Louise Deming, editor, "The Letters of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne" (typescript, photocopy), undated
1 1 Chapter 1, Lancaster, 1822
  2 Chapter 2, Salem, 1823-1824
  3 Chapter 3, Salem, 1825-1827
  4 Chapter 4, Salem and Boston, 1828-1829
  5 Chapter 5, Boston, 1830
  6 Chapter 6, Dedham and Boston, 1830-1832
  7 Chapter 7, Salem, 1833
  8 Chapter 8, Cuba and Salem, 1834-1836
  9 Chapter 9, Salem and Nahant, 1837-1838
  10 Chapter 10, Boston, 1839-1841
  11 Chapter 11, Concord (Old Manse), 1842-1845
2 12 Chapter 11 (continued)
  13-14 Chapter 12, Salem, 1845-1850
  15-16 Chapter 13, Lenox, 1850-1851
  17-18 Chapter 14, West Newton and Concord, 1851-1853
  19-21 Chapter 15, Europe, 1853-1860
3 22-23 Chapter 16, Concord, 1860-1864
Series 2: Transcribed excerpts from Sophia Peabody letters, notes, and supporting documentation, circa 1960s-1971
    Excerpts and notes from Sophia Peabody letters: Deming?
  24 1822
  25 1827
    Excerpts and notes from Sophia Peabody letters: Stevens
  26 1828
  27 1833
  28 1842
  29 1843
  30 1844
  31-32 1852
  33-34 1853 January-August
  35-36 1853 September-December
4 37 1854
  38 1862
  39 1865
  40 Notes about letter dates and locales, undated
  41 Research correspondence (Stevens), 1971
  42 Processing file (administrative information about collection)