Finding-Aid for the Sherwood Bonner (Katherine S. McDowell Collection) (MUM00037)
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McDowell, Katherine S.
Sherwood Bonner (Katherine S. McDowell Collection).
Collection consists of transcribed correspondence, manuscripts, documents and ephemera related to the life of Katherine S. McDowell written from 1863-1882.
Sherwood Bonner (Katherine S. McDowell Collection) (MUM00037). The Department of Archives and Special Collections, J.D. Williams Library, The University of Mississippi.
Collection consists of transcribed correspondence, manuscripts, documents and ephemera related to the life of Katherine S. McDowell written from 1863-1882.
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ALS. January 26, 1863. “Kate Bonner” at Hammer Hall to “My dear friend.”
“At last I have reached that long desired haven Montgomery — at last my mind is at rest upon that all important subject an education. I now have every advantage, and it will be my own fault, if I do not improve my mind. But you may easily imagine, I am not at all disposed to slight this opportunity for receiving a good education, but study with all possible diligence. You can hardly credit this can you Carie that Kate should study so very well? But it is even so. Kate is transformed, and is determined not to disappoint parents and friends when I return. I wish you were here Carie to help praise Mississippi, if for nothing else. We have only three ‘Mississippi girls’ to honor Hammer Hall with their presence, and Eliza and I aided by Miss Jessie Perkin from Jackson have to fight the battles of our native state as best we may against five times our number. But I think we succeed very well, & we really deserve ‘the laurel wreath of the brave.’ How I wish you all at home were enjoying this beautiful, beautiful weather! If it were not for the desolate appearance of the forest trees I could fancy it was the spring, so balmy is the atmosphere, and so pleasant the winds. I ____ in the middle of the day a merino dress is uncomfortably ____ and we only have a fire early in the morning and at night. The contrast between these ‘Italian like’ winters and our ‘Northern’ atmosphere is very great I can assure you. The hyacinths are in full bloom. Don’t you think you would like a home in the ‘Sunny South?’ How I wish I could see you again. I expect however that I have been surrounded so long by other faces, that your would seem unfamiliar to me. But sometimes I can shut my eyes and almost imagine myself back in Miss Leucilla’s ‘Beauregard Institute,’ and can almost fancy I hear the familiar voices of some of my old school companions. I have ____ a great many of the Montgomery girls, for the Holly Springs girls, and the resemblance in some cases is perfect. I have found a second Carie in the person of Miss Lizzie Marks, a very sweet girl with many loveable traits, and the best girl I ever knew. Miss Bettie Hull and Miss Sallie Carson are very much alike in some particulars. But I have not time to dwell any upon her traits, as it is badly ‘come if ___, to write too long a letter. I can only charge you as my parting request to be sure to write soon to your loving friend. Love to all. Elize sends her love. Give my love to Miss Leucilla. K Bonner.”
Copy ALS. February 27, 1876. “H.W.L.” [Henry Wadsworth Longfellow] to “Aurora” [Katherine McDowell].
“Dear Aurora — Today is my birthday. As perhaps you may remember. But I shall not tell you whether I am sixty-nine or ninety-six. I sit here surrounded by beautiful flowers, sent by sympathizing friends. I wish I could send some of them to you in Rome, but as Rome is the land of flowers, it would be sending ‘___ to Athens’ which is Greek for ‘coals to Newcastle.’ But among all these flowers, none are half so sweet as your dear delicious, rambling letter from Paris, the place to which the ‘good Bostonians go when they die.’ It came this morning with the other bouquets and made me very happy. It reminds me of Gray’s description of Lady Cobhams house at Stoke___ having rich windows that exclude the light and passages that lead to nothing.’ Nothing, I mean, but what is charming to read, and pleasant to remember. Write always in this way, and fear no criticism from me; and write as often as you can, not for a moment think it can be too often. I rejoice in your happiness and am thankful that all has gone so well with you. I only wish I could be your Cicerone in Rome. Nine months of my youth I lived there in a house fronting on the Piazza Madamara, with its back windows looking in the Piazza Navona. Do not fail to tell me where you have found lodging. It is always a great pleasure to know where one’s friends are, and imagine what they first see when they go out of doors, and what always see when they look out their windows. The Poems of Places in which you have aided me so much, and will aid me still more, I hope, on your return, ‘drags its slow length along.’ I never could or would have believed it such an endless task. Luckily it is a pleasure to live with poets. And now, Dear Aurora, I hear the Bells of Flanders singing, and they say, ‘With dear affection and recollection’ Yours always, H.W.L.
[postscript added: “Copy of letter from Longfellow to my friend and classmate, K.McDowell (Sherwood Bonner). She gave it to me, and I sold it to Adill, Antique Collector, for 25.00 and I put the money into the chair I placed in the High School Library, in memory of my husband. W.A. Anderson — Helen Anderson.”
Copy ALS. June 24, 1882. Kate [Bonner] in Boston, MA to Mrs. Fannie Addison Craft in Holly Springs, MS. Envelope.
“Dearest Mrs. Fannie, You will think me a faithless wretch not to have written sooner about that charming place I was to find for you; but thinking you did not mean to leave home until rather late in the summer, I did not hurry about the matter — that is about informing you of the result of my enquiries. I have been talking it over with various friends ever since coming here. Now with astonishment I realize that the first of July is almost upon us and your plans may already be decided! I ____ to your place in your special interest — a place called ‘Great Head’ opposite Nahant. It is at the very edge of the sea. There is surf, bathing, and good board can be obtained at a cottage — with rooms of course for $1.00 a week. But the rooms are so frightfully ____ that I fear you couldn’t be happy in them. But Mrs. Stone and Mrs. Blaney whose addresses I send have lodgings of a much more ‘swell’ nature (I use your favorite word) and, are not dear in prices — from eight dollars to ten — and their places are lovely and on the sea. Then there is Kennebuc Port — up on the Maine coast — also cheap, and very attractive, but rather further away perhaps than you want to go. These other places are within an hour of Boston. A little later in the season I am going to Ipswich with the Selmes. That is a cool and beautiful inn where one can board for seven dollars. Plum Island is very near and people go over there for 5 or 10 cts for bathing etc. Ah! There are so many nice places. Why don’t you come direct to Boston. You can get good board here now and in this house of ‘summer’ prices — and then make excursions to these different places and so decide where you will ___ yourselves for the summer. Do say you will do this — and write to me at once that I may engage rooms. And you will bring Lilian with you! You know it would really be better that you should be away from H.S. in Sept. than any other of the war months. I am longing to know just what you will do, and I know if there is not a chance of my summer being made happy by a sight of you and of making you and the dear dear friends at this end of the pole ____ and love each other. My darling I was not unmindful of what you said about sending a dispatch, and if there had been anything definite or even especialy comforting, said, I should have done so — but the little lump in my lovely breast (!) seems to have puzzled all the learned ____ who survey it until they do talk such random foolishness as _____ their profession. They contradict themselves and each other. They contract their eyebrows and shake their heads and say ‘the most exceptional case we have ever known.’ One, the most learned and famed and run-after of all the high and mighty ones in Boston — declared at last — it might be a cancer — because it didn’t seem to be anything else! After I had digested this burst of logical wisdom, he added thoughtfully — ‘Neither does it seem to be a cancer!’ whereon I shook the dirt from my feet and departed. I spoke my mind to another young apostle on the subject of the imbecility of medical men of Boston. Whereon he blazed out — ‘that there were forty eleven hundred different things to learn about on a woman’s breast’ — and I could but smile with a certain degree of pleasure at our ‘infinite variety.’ Who knows? Instead of leaving a great book to immortalize me, I may have the glory of originating a new kind of tumour — whether to name it after me of these physicians who have so enjoyed speculating about it, and so airily proposed that should submit to certain experiments to determine the nature of it — such as chipping out a bit as boys play a watermelon — and putting it under the microscope — whether to call it the ‘Cheer__ tumour’ or the begelow boil — or the Wyman abscese — or the Whittemore glands — or the Russel Lump — or the Crescent City Cancer — or simly the Sherwood Bonner Bump — these are the questions that prey on me. Perhaps after all the ‘Flower bund’ sould be best as the advisor I have finally decided on bears the fragrant name of Flowers. He is eclectic — magnetic — spiritualistic — nearer ___ what? No end of a quack the allopaths would say! He calls the place with truthfulness not to be questioned — a hard spot — and he promises to get me rid of it without once breaking the skin! He says if I yield to the knife — I shall surely die. I suppose it is so deep in there is danger of hemorrhage. Well! So here am I! Devoting myself to the care of my perishing ___ with visits occasionaly from M. Osgood and others — a garden party now and then, a matinee, a new novel, and little runs to the country with gay parties of friends to refresh my soul. Other moments I give to another patient of Dr. Flowers also in the house, a Miss Conly. Poor soul! She had not walked for nine years! Is all ruined with ____ calomel — and twisted up with rheumatism — and a horrible great tumour that she did not know she had — somewhere inside of her. And withal the cheerfulest brightest creature with a faith in Dr. Flowers that is pathetic beyond words. He is superhuman, she says trying to lift her poor maimed hands. She has his picture hanging over her bed and knows he is going to cure her. She has been a teacher, is now poor, and he will take no money from her. He says he cant cure her. If you could only cure that tumour, said I, that is the worst thing — ‘No said he — that is the best thing — for it will probably end her life suddenly.’ And then I go to her and see her smile and talk so confidently and gaily. She says everytime he touches her she feels that she can rise and walk and she knows that she shall leave this house walking. I read to her and try to make her a little less lonely and have just given her my ___ — for the ‘treatment’ of one of Dr. F’s magnetizers who comes over every day. He had given me the choice hour of the day and one that suits my convenience exactly — But I could with help give it up to that poor creature. Dr. F too gives me a treatment himself which he can do to very few of his patients. I can give you no idea of how he is over run. It seems as if all the world is diseased. He calls me his un-patient and is pretty nice to me — comes here instead of making me dance attendance on him and stays two or three hours sometimes talking and making himself generally interesting until I think we both rather forget that I am the victim of a fell disease! Well! He is a wonderful fellow who seems to cure his patients in the most miraculous way. People are wild about him and he isn’t more than thirty! If ____ is still in delicate health — why not take her to see him? I am not allowed ___ more than two or three hours and today have exceeded my allowance so I must stop. Do do write me. My best love to Miss Mary and Helen both of them might write without waiting for me. Tell Miss M. I shall spend next winter here and rely on her joining me. Tell Helen my steady died — in the way of reading is Marcus Aurelius delightful old stoic. I have learned a great many philosophic lessons from him —how to die with decency and courage — and to live without fair delusions and impossible hopes among them. I read choice extracts to my Doctor occasionally — and so the days glide along. Love to all your people — to the remotest branch especially Mrs. S___ and Mrs. ___ and tell Mr. Add. I did go away forgetting that ten dollar insurance but he can deduct it from the large cotton crop that he is to gather in for me! And I wish he could make some money for me from these railway people. To be ill and hard up too does crowd things too much. Marcus Aurelius never had such troubles as mine! And in his most vexatious times he could console himself by burning a few Christians. However, I ___ complain. For after all the wind has been a good deal tempered. Most lovingly and devotedly yours — Kate.
ALS. No date. “Kate S. Bonner” to “‘Ma Chere amie.'”
“Will you be so kind as to give Sam. that terrible ‘Davis Legenre’ you promised to lend me? I commence the delightful (?) science of geometry upon Monday. I return two magazines with many thanks. Have you finished the ‘Frank Leslie’ I was looking at the last time I swas at your house? Please lend it to me if you have. With much love, Your very sincere friend, Kate S. Bonner.”
AM. “The day was dark and gloomy the rain pattering on the roof…” 1 sheet.
Copy of a page entitled “Marriages by Rev. J.T. Pickett” with a listing for a January 2, 1878 marriage at Christ Church between David McDowell and Ruth Bonner on May 23d 1877. Source listed as Christ Church Register.
Copy of Last Will and Testament of Katherine S. McDowell filed July 25, 1883 as well as property appraisal and first annual account of executors last dated January 24, 1885. 5 pages.
Copy of a newspaper clipping of Catherine [sic] Sherwood McDowell’s obituary. Source listed as Kate Freeman Clark Museum.
Copy of a newspaper clipping about Harper Weekly’s review of Sherwood Bonner’s work. Source listed as Hubert McAlexander.
Copy of The Youth’s Companion (July 29, 1875) with “Gran’mamy’s Last Gift” by Sherwood Bonner. Source: Chesley Smith.
Copy of clipping of “The Yellow Plague of ’78: A Record of Horror and Heroism” by Sherwood Bonner [from The Youth’s Companion (April 3, 1879) pp. 117-119]. Copied from a scrapbook owned by Helen Craft Anderson.
Copy TM. “The Young Women of Tippah. Published in the ATLANTIC MONTHLY by Lilian Kirk Hammond.” 8 pages. Source: The Crafts.
Copy Sherwood Bonner: Her Life and Place in the Literature of the South by Alexander L. Bondurant (reprint from the Publication of the Mississippi Historical Society for 1899). Source: The Crafts.
Copy TM. “Sherwood Bonner — 1849-1883 — Holly Springs. This article was written by Dr. Bondurant.” 1 page. 3 copies.
Harper’s New Monthly Magazine (June 1880) with Sherwood Bonner’s “Hieronymus Pop and the Baby” on page 20. Gift of Dr. Anne Gowdy & Dr. Joan W. Hall.
See also: Sherwood Bonner, Dialect Tales (New York: Harper & Bros, 1883). Call Number: PS2357 D5 c.2. This volume contains an attached TLS. August 30, 1917. James R. McDowell (Bonner’s nephew) to Judge Stone Deavours. Re: difficulty obtaining published books by Bonner.