Fanny Kemble letter

Fanny Kemble letter

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Creator: Kemble, Fanny, 1809-1893
Title: Fanny Kemble letter
Dates: probably 1852
Quantity: 0.1 Linear feet (1 portfolio)
Abstract:The collection consists of one signed letter from Fanny Kemble to Charles [Sedgwick?] regarding Kemble's rebuttal letter to the London Times for their unsigned review of Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe charging that the book exaggerated the evils of slavery. Before sending her rebuttal letter, as she explains in this letter, she contacted John T. Delane, editor of the Times, to inquire if the review was his.
Coll. Number: ms2240

Biographical/Historical Note

Frances Anne (Fanny) Kemble, 1809-1893, was an English actress and author. She married Pierce Butler of Philadelphia, who inherited a Georgia plantation. Kemble witnessed slavery first-hand while living on her husband's plantation. She had previously refused to speak out publicly against slavery. Her letter to the Times was eventually published in 1863 as an appendix to her Journal of a residence on a Georgian plantation.

For more information, see the article "Fanny Kemble (1809-1893)" in the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

"On the 15 December 1791, Charles Sedgwick was born in Stockbridge Massachusetts, the youngest son and tenth child of Federalist Judge Theodore Sedgwick (1746-1813) and Pamela Dwight (1753-1807). In 1820, he moved to Lenox and educated himself for the bar, as had his three brothers. He eventually attained the position of clerk of the courts in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. On 30 September 1819 he married Elizabeth Buckminster Dwight, a teacher, and over the next thirteen years had five children: Katharine Maria, Charles, Elizabeth Dwight, William Dwight and Grace Ashburner. Ill health eventually forced him to resign in 1856, the year in which he later died." -- "Charles Sedgwick Papers 1813-1908" from the Massachusetts Historical Society web site, (Accessed May 12, 2009)

"John Thaddeus Delane [was] born October 11, 1817, London, England, died November 22, 1879, Ascot, Berkshire, editor of The Times of London for 36 years. Delane, the second son of a distinguished barrister and author, was reared in Easthampstead, Berkshire, where his family was neighbour to John Walter II, owner of The Times. Walter knew young Delane and marked the boy as a likely prospect for a newspaper career. After studying for two years at King's College, London, Delane attended the University of Oxford, from which he graduated in 1839. He had, in his college days, written several newspaper articles, and he went to work for The Times. His father had become the paper's financial manager, but John's bent was editorial. Hardly had he started working there when the editor, Thomas Barnes, died, and Walter made young Delane editor at age 23." -- "John Thaddeus Delane" from Encyclopaedia Britannica, (Accessed May 12, 2009)

"Stowe, Harriet Beecher (14 June 1811-1 July 1896), author, was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, the daughter of Lyman Beecher, a clergyman, and Roxana Foote. Her father, one of the most popular evangelical preachers of the pre-Civil War era, was determined to have a role in shaping the culture of the new nation. Her mother, from a cosmopolitan, novel-reading, Episcopalian family, studied painting and executed portraits on ivory. (...) In 1843, moved by the millennial spirit of the times and by the suicide of her brother George, Stowe experienced a deepening of her faith, a "second birth" more meaningful than her first conversion experience at age fourteen. Her profound identification with Christ as a man of sorrows and lover of the lowly helped her through years of poverty, ill health, and domestic difficulty and informed her most famous fiction. In 1849 their eighteen-month-old son, Samuel Charles, died in a cholera epidemic that swept Cincinnati. "It was at his dying bed and at his grave," Stowe wrote of Charley, "that I learnt what a poor slave mother may feel when her child is torn away from her." When the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law the following year implicated the North in just such family separations, Stowe began writing Uncle Tom's Cabin. Serialized in the National Era between 5 June 1851 and 1 April 1852, the story had a huge following and sold more than 300,000 copies in the United States during the first year after it was published in book form by J. P. Jewett in 1852. Drawing on the familiar genre of the slave narrative but casting it in a fiction bristling with regional types and racy slang, Stowe wrote what was recognized at the time as a great American novel." -- "Stowe, Harriet Beecher" from American National Biography (Accessed May 12, 2009)

Index Terms

Authors, English--19th century--Correspondence.
Authors, English--Massachusetts--Correspondence.
Delane, John Thaddeus, 1817-1879
Editorials--England--London--History--19th century--Sources.
Kemble, Fanny, 1809-1893 -- Correspondence
Newspaper editors--England--London--History--19th century--Sources.
Sedgwick, Charles, 1791-1856 -- Correspondence
Slavery--England--History--19th century--Sources.
Slavery--United States--History--19th century--Sources.
Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 1811-1896 -- Uncle Tom's cabin
Times (London, England)
Women authors, English--19th century--Correspondence.
Women authors, English--Massachusetts--Correspondence.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Fanny Kemble letter, 1852? MS 2240. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

1Letter, 1852?