Susan Fenimore Cooper, “The Lumley Autograph,” and James Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Legacy

Allan M. Axelrad (California State University at Fullerton)

Presented at the 12ᵗʰ Cooper Seminar, James Fenimore Cooper: His Country and His Art at the State University of New York College at Oneonta, July, 1999.

Originally published in James Fenimore Cooper: His Country and His Art, Papers from the 1999 Cooper Seminar (No. 12), The State University of New York College at Oneonta. Oneonta, New York. Hugh C. MacDougall, editor. (pp. 7-13).

Copyright © 2000, James Fenimore Cooper Society and the College at Oneonta.

[May be reproduced for instructional use by individuals or institutions; commercial use prohibited.]

{7} Susan Fenimore Cooper’s “The Lumley Autograph” appeared in Graham’s Magazine in January and February 1851. 1 The story is narrated by Colonel Jonathan Howard of Trenton, New Jersey, and details the eventful history of an autograph letter over several centuries, while emphasizing the concluding episode in London society in 1845.

The story begins on a “cheerless and dark” November day in late seventeenth-century London. An “opaque canopy of fog” hung over the city. The “spirits of chill and damp” reached everywhere. A “shabbily clad” figure is observed “dragging his steps wearily along, his pallid countenance bearing an expression” of uncommon “misery.” We follow him home and learn that he is “a man of genius,” but his “garret” contains “no food, no fuel, no light,” and he is “suffering from cold, hunger, and wretchedness.” In desperation he pens a note to his patron:

“Nov. 20ᵗʰ 16 — .

“My Lord — I have no light, and cannot see to write — no fire and my fingers are stiff with cold — I have not tasted food for eight and forty hours, and I am faint. Three times, my lord, I have been at your door to day, but could not obtain admittance. This note may yet reach you in time to save a fellow-creature from starvation. I have not a farthing left, and the publishers refused my last poem. Unless relieved within a few hours I must perish.

“Your lordship’s most humble, “Most obedient, most grateful servant,------ ------.”

The poet’s fate remains a mystery. But “the note written at that painful moment” has “a brilliant career” (31).

The letter first comes to light in 1745, discovered by the Reverend John Lumley, who happened to be writing about the life of the seventeenth-century poet and playwright Thomas Otway. He enthusiastically identifies it as the work of his subject, though it “was so illegible that it required some imagination to see in it, the name of Otway.” After the Reverend’s death, the letter disappears from public view. It ends up pasted in a young soldier’s trunk — “besieged in Boston” and “made part of the besieging baggage at Charleston,” later spending twenty-five years in Bengal, before returning to England, its owner a highly decorated colonel. By this time “the date and signature had ... been half eaten out by the white ants of Bengal.” Yet the “time had come,” we learn, “when the Lumley autograph was about to emerge forever from obscurity, and receive the full homage of collectors” (34).

The colonel gives the battered letter to his future father-in- law, Sir John Blank, “a noted follower” of “that arch-gatherer, Horace Walpole, who gave such an impulse to the collecting mania.” Although the signature is now completely indecipherable, “Sir John ingeniously pursuaded [sic] himself that what remained had clearly belonged to the signature of the great satirist,” Samuel Butler, whose poverty was well known. A few years later a gentleman, who has just read Lumley’s manuscript on the life of Otway, chances to glance through Sir John’s autograph album, and “the first sparks of controversy between the Otwaysians and the Butlerites were struck in Sir John’s library.” The controversy now rages throughout the collecting world and the value of the letter increases astronomically. When Sir John dies the letter passes to his daughter, the colonel’s widow. She trades it to Lady Holberton; in return, the widow’s son obtains a cornetcy in his father’s old regiment (33-35).

From this time forth the story takes place in contemporary London, with Colonel Howard, the storyteller, present. The colonel is a dinner guest of Lady Holberton’s the day she obtains the letter. Having “triumphed in a negotiation of two years standing,” exclaims Lady Holberton, the “Lumley Autograph is mine, Mr. Howard! The letter of poor Otway, actually written in the first stages of starvation — only conceive its value!” (36) He notes “the fine contrast between” the letter’s “poverty-stricken air, torn, worn, and soiled, and the rich, embossed, unsullied leaf on which it reposed, like some dark Rembrandt within its gilded frame,” adding that one “could not have wished it a more elegant shrine than the precious pages of the Holberton Album,” a “volume encased in velvet, secured with jeweled clasps” (32).

{8} One of the dinner guests, Theodosia Rowley, “also a collecting celebrity” (36), asks Howard to help her fill in holes in her autograph collection. She hands him a list of “a hundred or two” that is “headed by Black Hawk.” He points out that Black Hawk cannot write, but volunteers a letter from a Cherokee friend. She also asks him if he knows “some rowdies” and if he would “oblige” her “with a rowdy letter?” He indignantly replies that his acquaintances are respectable. Most important of all, she asks for the autograph of Uncle Sam, and also Confucius, if he has “any Chinese connections” (97-98).

That evening the Lumley autograph is stolen. Three months later a girl finds an old letter lying on the road where it had been carelessly dropped. It is the Lumley autograph. Her reward is “a handful of guineas” — a stroke of great fortune for the girl and her needy family — and “a sum by the bye just double in amount what the poor poet had received for his best poem” (p. 99). Lady Holberton gives a grand party to celebrate the autograph’s return. When questions are raised about the theft, Miss Rowley declares, “the deed was mine.” Mr. T------, who was then examining the Album, looks up and responds to Miss Rowley’s audacious announcement with “a glance of intense admiration.” Forgetting all else, he “touched the flame of a wax-light on the table,” the album catches fire and the Lumley autograph burns to ashes (100). The loss of the autograph ends the engagement between Lady Holberton and Mr. T------. He instead weds the thief, Miss Rowley, whose daring deed he so admired, thus uniting them “in the bonds of matrimony and collectorship.” Lady Holberton is “inconsolable” (p. 101) — we suspect because of the loss of the autograph, not the loss of her fiancé.

“The Lumley Autograph” is a light-hearted satire, poking fun at overzealous autograph collecting in the Old World and the New, for we are told that there are autograph collectors in America as well, even if their “albums” are imported from “Paris and London” (p. 36). Susan Fenimore Cooper correctly associates the eighteenth-century English Romantic writer, Horace Walpole, with the emerging popularity of autograph collecting, thus linking autograph collecting and Romanticism. 2 The expansion of the practice in the nineteenth century provided substance for her satire. In England at the time her characters fought over the Lumley autograph, autograph collecting had become, in the words of A. N. L. Munby, “a cult of staggering dimensions.” 3 In a letter in 1814, Emily Eden commented on the developing “fashion” of autograph collecting, stating that “it was quite ridiculous to see Lady Jersey and Lady Cowper and Lady E. Feilding and two or three others coming down of an evening at Middleton with their great books in satchells [sic], like so many little schoolboys, and showing each other their ‘little treasures.’” “Afterwards,” she explained, “the books are all locked up again,” and each woman “wore the key of her manuscript book at her side, in case the others should get it by fair means or foul.” 4

The early decades of the nineteenth century saw an explosion in the demand for autographs in England. Authors frequently were beleaguered by collectors. 5 Thomas Frognall Dibdin dubbed these “fiddle-faddling, indefatigable collectors” the “Album-ites.” 6 Alexander Chalmers complained that his “autographs had been woefully pillaged by seducing ladies.” 7 One woman reportedly accosted poets regularly, autograph book in hand, crying out “Write, Sir write!” 8 In 1831 in Album Verses, Charles Lamb published a collection of poems written for autograph albums, providing a small sample, according to Munby, of “the thousands” his contemporaries “were cajoled or blackmailed into providing.” 9 In England autograph collecting had become fashionable. Its most zealous practitioners came from upwardly mobile mercantile families. By the 1830s their albums became objects of conspicuous consumption, bound in sumptuous morocco, the letters inlaid in decorated mounts along with engraved portraits of the authors. Overzealousness led to misattributions, such as the wishful thinking that colored the identification of the fictive Lumley autograph. Less innocent were the forgeries and thefts. 10

By the second quarter of the nineteenth century, collecting had become a widely popular middle class pursuit in America as well. 11 Authors were not necessarily flattered by such interest in their work. Washington Irving labeled collectors “musquitoes [sic] of literature.” 12 Ik Marvel called the hobby “that dreadful fever.” 13 James Russell Lowell thought that autograph albums were “an instrument of torture unknown even to the Inquisition.” 14 Collectors who besieged American writers were sometimes known as “autograph harpies,” 15 the epithet suggesting that they were predatory females like the Englishwomen, Lady Holberton and Theodosia Rowley, in Susan’s story.

At the time Susan wrote “The Lumley Autograph,” collecting was a popular hobby and, no doubt, anecdotes abounded, especially in literary circles. The epigraph to “The Lumley Autograph” contains an anecdote about “a German correspondent” who asked “an American author” for ” ‘ a few Autographs’ — the number of names applied for amounting to more than a hundred” (31). The anecdote may be fictitious, but the “American author” she had in mind most likely was her father, James Fenimore Cooper. Susan grew to womanhood in Europe in the years 1826-1833 at the height of “the {9} cult of the autograph letter.” After returning, she lived with her father the rest of his life, enjoying a close personal and literary relationship. Though they lived in relative seclusion in the upstate New York village of Cooperstown, he continually received letters requesting autographs. While his daughter would have had numerous opportunities to hear humorous autograph tales told by her father and other writers, at home and abroad, these letters provided further fodder for her wit. Some asked for multiple autographs for themselves and their friends and for other autographs he had, including his father’s and daughter’s. 16 One man asked for a replacement for a “stolen“ Cooper autograph, adding that he hoped others “were more honest than some of my friends have proved” to be. 17 Another requested his autograph for a collection of “eminent and distinguished American Authors, Statesmen, & Military Commanders” plus letters from “foreign Authors” with whom he corresponded. 18 Still another asked James for his autograph and those of “other eminent literary men that you can spare.” 19 One even asked his “permission” to retrieve from “the files of the Assembly of the year 1826 your petition for the authorized insertion of Fenimore as a middle name.” 21

Susan’s close relationship with her father gave her an insider’s view of a little considered but routine aspect of literary fame. Autograph requests were part of their everyday life. 21 In this respect, their shared household was constantly subjected to uninvited intrusions. Victorian American gentlewomen were expected to behave politely, show restraint, and remain within the private sphere. The household was their domain. Susan was what Mary Kelley called a literary domestic. 22 Working at home and armed with a pen, she protected her home and her father, striking back at these intrusions, her unfeminine aggression cloaked in “The Lumley Autograph” under the acceptable guise of humor. Her father’s experiences with autograph collectors provided Susan background and motivation for writing “The Lumley Autograph.” He was connected with the story in another way, for he served as his daughter’s literary agent. Obviously delighted with the story, he spent a lot of time and effort getting it published. In 1845, at his request, George R. Graham agreed to read “The Lumley Autograph” for his magazine. 23 There is no record of what happened. In 1848, however, James shipped the manuscript to his English publisher, Richard Bentley, hoping to have it published in Bentley’s Miscellany. “Depend on it it is clever,” he told Bentley, “and will do your magazine credit.” 24 After repeated inquiries in 1849 and 1850, the rejected manuscript was finally returned from London, and James placed it in Graham’s Magazine after all. 25 “I shall put Sue up a few notches. ... As I go down, she will go up,” the proud father wrote his wife, gloating over the fifty dollars she received for the story, plus exceedingly positive responses to Rural Hours. 26

“The Lumley Autograph” was published in early 1851. James died September 14, 1851, at home in Cooperstown, his daughter close at hand. Susan became his literary executor and the caretaker of his literary legacy. She was very devoted to her father in life and also in death, faithfully striving to protect his accomplishments and values. 27 Over the years she received numerous requests involving her father’s literary estate. Sometimes she responded favorably and sometimes not. She oversaw the posthumous publication of some remaining manuscripts. She edited Pages and Pictures, From the Writings of James Fenimore Cooper, a beautifully illustrated book containing excerpts from his writings along with her very warm and personal commentary. Similarly, she provided affectionate and informative introductions to fifteen of the volumes included in the Household Edition of his works. She also fielded many requests for her father’s autograph.

It does not seem surprising that the author of “The Lumley Autograph” turned down requests from autograph collectors for her father’s signature or handwriting. In January 1857, for example, she told one collector: “We have received so many applications for my Father’s autograph during the last few years, that we have been compelled to make it a general rule to decline them all.” 28 She was not being forthright, however. She denied this request, not out of necessity but out of choice, for she did not choose to give this person her father’s autograph.

Susan was very generous with others, however, so much so that in 1864 she told one collector that she had “long since parted with all the signatures in” her “Father’s handwriting” that she could “yield.” Instead she sent a manuscript page “taken from the Water-Witch“ for this collector’s “Album.” 29 In the 1880s she was still honoring some requests for her father’s handwriting. But instead of complete manuscript pages, she now sent “a scrap” or “a fragment” of a page from novels such as “The Bravo” or “the Headsman” or “the ‘Water Witch.’” 31

On the face of it, this behavior on the part of the author of “The Lumley Autograph” is quite surprising. Most of the secondary literature on autograph collecting is by collectors or dealers. They justify collecting by arguing that it has played an important role in the preservation of manuscripts that otherwise might have been lost to posterity. But they are not blind to destructive practices such as dispersing individual letters and individual manuscript pages, and, worst of all, in Munby’s words, “mutilation” in the form of the “horrifying dismemberment” of “the autograph manuscript” into “separate fragments for distribution to collectors.” 31 Such practices have had unfortunate consequences for James {10} Fenimore Cooper’s literary legacy. With individual manuscript pages dispersed and cut into fragments, it is now impossible to reassemble the manuscripts and establish definitive texts for these novels. We might fault Susan for her behavior. However, the author of “The Lumley Autograph” did not behave hypocritically; she was true to her own values, and she did not violate her father’s trust in her as his literary executor.

During his lifetime, James had been very obliging to those who sought his autograph. “An autograph is so small a matter that I give them away almost daily to perfect strangers,” he wrote a woman friend, “and surely I cannot hesitate about giving you a dozen.” 32 He also wrote poetry in autograph albums. The final two stanzas of one such poem, “To the Key to this Album,” written in Paris in 1832, are flirtatious and flattering:

The book reflects a lady’s polished mind, The lock’s an emblem of her modesty, And nearer viewed, repentant now I find A gentle coyness in the tiny key.

These qualities may best adorn the fair This sweet reserve becomes the loveliest face, As hidden coquetry improves the air, And female mystery imparts a grace. 33

Years later, “in complying with” Laura Jewett’s “request” for an autograph, James may have identified the woman for whom he wrote the poem. “I formerly knew at Paris a Princess of Salm-Dy[c]k,” he wrote. “She claimed to be the inventor of albums, and I had the honour of writing half a page in that father, — or mother — of all albums. Since that time I have done a good deal of work in that way, my female correspondents, in particular, being as numerous as, I dare say, they are handsome and agreeable.” 34 Cooper clearly was agreeable to autograph collectors, and particularly responsive to female collectors, the primary target of “The Lumley Autograph.” Moreover, he never showed any desire to preserve manuscripts intact. One autograph he furnished, in this regard, is especially noteworthy. James provided an intermediary for Princess Victoria with an autographed manuscript page from The Bravo, two years before she became Queen of England. 35 Whether requests came from royalty or ordinary people, the famous author was genial and obliging. Moreover, he authorized the insertion of manuscript pages from The Oak Openings in copies of the Author’s Revised Edition published by Putnam in the years 1849-1851. 36 The lessons Susan Fenimore Cooper would have learned from her father support her generosity and actual practices in accommodating collectors; they do not explain why she sometimes refused requests.

Actually many of the autographs she provided did not go directly to private collectors; they were given to “Sanitary Fairs” to raise money “for the sick and wounded” during the Civil War. 37 By spring 1864, she had “sent about two hundred” manuscript “pages” from her father’s novels “to the different Fairs throughout the country.” 38 That spring she published her father’s unfinished manuscript “New York” in Spirit of the Fair, the magazine of the New York City sanitary fair. That fair also had a large number of autographs for sale, some of them quite extraordinary. From the Old World were numerous “kings, queens, dukes, nobles,” “a splendid collection of the Bonaparte family,” “a love letter of Lafayette,” and an abundance of famous European authors. 39 Among the New World offerings were “’the Star Spangled Banner,’ in the handwriting of Key,” “the manuscript of the address of the President at Gettysburg,” and “selections from ninety distinguished American authors.” 41 The ninety authors are not named, but we can be certain that manuscript pages from Cooper’s novels were included among the offerings.

Running through three issues of Spirit of the Fair was an article by Dr. J. G. Cogswell on “Autographs and Autograph Collections,” giving historical background, providing a rationale for — and giving us insight into — the nineteenth-century vogue of autograph collecting. 41 His appraisal of the significance of the individual autograph is steeped in the Romantic origination of the widely popular practice of collecting. Autographs, he wrote, are the author’s “living self, the spiritual essence of his mind.” Compared to a painted “portrait,” which “at best is a delineation of” the individual “only,” he added, the “autograph is more or less a transcript of” the “mind” — in some “instances” also containing the “moral force” of someone’s “character.” 42 Romantics celebrated human uniqueness, which could be divulged in the handwriting of especially talented individuals. Even more than an expression of admiration, collecting provided a spiritual engagement with genius and originality. 43

Susan did not write the “The Lumley Autograph” out of any blanket disrespect for autograph collecting. She wrote it because the popular passion for collecting had commodified autographs, devaluing the creativity of the author and ignoring the real value of his or her handwriting, violating her Romantic respect for the mystical potential of the autograph to transport the collector to a higher relationship with the individual genius of the author. She sent autographs {11} to collectors who appreciated her father and valued his work, 44 refusing others that showed no genuine interest. Such requests lacked sincerity.

Susan deeply believed in the sentimental value of sincerity. New money was producing rising classes, resulting in social flux that threatened the rock of sincerity upon which the good — the moral — republican society was founded. As a result, sincerity was giving way to hypocrisy and genuineness to artificiality. 45 “The Lumley Autograph” is a satire of the insincere appropriation of autographs. The Lady Holbertons, Theodosia Rowleys, and Mr. T------s of the world are not genuinely interested in the author or the work. When Miss Rowley asks Mr. Howard if he could get her an autograph from Uncle Sam, he tries to explain who Uncle Sam is, but she cuts him off: “Only procure me one line from him, Mr. Howard, and I shall be indebted to you for life. It will be time enough to find out all about him when I once have his name” (p. 98). She is no more interested in Uncle Sam than she is in Black Hawk or Confucius. Such collectors do not sincerely value the autographs that they collect, because they do not value the personal accomplishments and qualities of the individuals that made their autographs desirable.

The value of the Lumley autograph is artificial. It is, in fact, inversely related to the value of Thomas Otway’s work. The autograph is valuable because no one would buy the poet’s work. Lack of remuneration and ensuing poverty resulted in starvation for the poet and the inflated value of his desperate letter. Even the poor girl who found the missing autograph received more in the way of a reward than the poet had received for any poem. In this system, Susan is telling us, the producer of the product is denied the true value of the work. For these collectors, the value of the autograph is artificially determined by the marketplace and the status it bestows. The quest for ownership was an exhilarating form of competition, mirroring the economic system that had produced the rising fortunes of the new collecting class. It is an amoral system that rewards indifference to human suffering, cutthroat aggression, and theft.

Although the tale takes places in England, Susan makes it clear that the moral points to both sides of the Atlantic. When the Lumley autograph was stolen, Mr. Howard had announced, “with a glow of national pride,” that “in America we are much above pilfering autographs; when we do steal, it is by the volume — we seize all an author’s stock in trade at one swoop” (98). The “author’s stock in trade” that Susan was most concerned about was her father’s: his extraordinary literary production and creative genius, and the ideas, values, and vision of the good society that his written words contained. For Romantic autograph collectors, handwriting afforded a special relationship with an author’s mental and written universe. Susan believed in the Romantic value of an author’s autograph. In “The Lumley Autograph” she attacked collectors who cared nothing for the author or the work, satirizing their insincerity and artificial values. Later, when she became her father’s literary executor, she gave away hundreds of manuscript pages at first and later scraps and fragments. We may regret her actions, but she did not violate her father’s trust in her. He had shown no interest in preserving his manuscripts intact. As a dutiful daughter, she nurtured her father’s literary legacy with loving memories in her edited work and introductions and provided autographs for charitable causes and to collectors who cared about the writer and what he had to say.


1 Susan Fenimore Cooper, “The Lumley Autograph,” Graham’s Magazine, XXXVIII (Jan. 1851), 31-36; Graham’s Magazine, XXXVIII (Feb. 1851), 97-101. Quotes from “The Lumley Autograph” are noted in parentheses in the text.

2 A. N. L. Munby, The Cult of the Autograph Letter in England (London: Athlone Press, 1962), 6.

3 Ibid., 1.

4 Quoted in Christopher Fletcher, “Lord Byron — Unrecorded Autograph Poems,” Notes and Queries, 43 (Dec. 1996), 426.

5 Munby, op. cit., 8, 81.

6 Quoted in Munby, op. cit., 8.

7 Quoted in Munby, op. cit., 9.

8 Quoted in Fletcher, “Lord Byron,” 426.

9 Munby, op. cit., 9.

10 Charles Hamilton, Scribblers & Scoundrels (New York: Paul S. Eriksson, 1968), 94-104, 164-173; Adrian Hoffman Joline, The Book Collector and Other Papers (Greenwich, Conn.: Literary Collector Press, 1904), 49, 50, 62, 63; Munby, op. cit., 10, 83.

11 Tamara Plakins Thornton, Handwriting in America: A Cultural History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996), 86.

12 Quoted in Thornton, op. cit., 86.

13 Quoted in Adrian H. Joline, Meditations of an Autograph Collector (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1902), v.

14 Quoted in Mary A. Benjamin, Autographs: A Key To Collecting (1944; New York: Walter R. Benjamin Autographs, 1963), 17.

15 Quoted in Thornton, op. cit., 87.

16 See, for example, Robert B. Hariland to James Fenimore Cooper (JFC), 17 Dec. 1842, A. M. Harrison to JFC, 20 Jan. 1848, Lewis J. Cist to JFC, 15 Jan. 1843, Geo. J. Gardner to JFC, ? July 1851, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University Library (Yale).

17 The Rev. William Ware, 3ʳᵈ to JFC, 1 Feb. 1842, Yale.

18 Joseph B. Boyd to JFC, 20 Dec. 1850, Yale.

19 H. B. Whipple to JFC, 4 Sept. 1846, Yale.

20 D. B. Prindle to JFC, 29 March 1847, Yale.

21 JFC to Mrs. Hamilton Fish, 1 Aug. 1850, in James Franklin Beard, ed., The Letters and Journals of James Fenimore Cooper, 6 vols. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1960-68), VI, 210.

22 See Mary Kelley, Private Woman, Public Stage: Literary Domesticity in Nineteenth-Century America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984); Karen Lystra, Searching the Heart: Women, Men, and Romantic Love in Nineteenth-Century America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 37-38, 107-108, 125-127.

23 JFC to Mrs. Susan Augusta De Lancey Cooper, 30 Nov. 1845, Letters and Journals, V, 102. See also JFC to Mrs. Cooper, 26 Nov. 1845, Letters and Journals, V, 99.

24 JFC to Richard Bentley, 15 Nov. 1848, Letters and Journals, V, 390.

25 See JFC to Bentley, 7 July 1849, Letters and Journals, VI, 53; JFC to Bentley, 18 May 1850, Letters and Journals, VI, 177; JFC to George R. Graham, 14 Sept. 1850, Letters and Journals, VI, 214-215.

26 JFC to Mrs. Cooper, 30 Sept. 1850, Letters and Journals, VI, 224. Also see JFC to Mrs. Cooper, 22 Sept. 1850, Letters and Journals, VI, 222; JFC to Mrs. Cooper, 14 Sept. 1850, Letters and Journals, VI, 213; JFC to Mrs. Cooper, 19 Sept. 1850, Letters and Journals, VI, 218-219.

27 Lucy B. Maddox, “Susan Fenimore Cooper and the Plain Daughters of America,” American Quarterly, 40 (June 1988), 131-149.

28 Susan Fenimore Cooper (SFC) to Sir, 26 Jan. 1857, James Fenimore Cooper Collection (#5245), Clifton Waller Barrett Library, Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library (Virginia). For another example see SFC to Sir, 2 June 1869, Virginia.

29 SFC to Dear Madam, 2 April 1864, private collection.

30 SFC to My young Friend, 21 Feb. 1884, American Antiquarian Society; SFC to My young friend, 17 Feb. 1885, Virginia; SFC to ?, 29 Nov. 1886, private collection; manuscript fragment from The Headsman, identified in Susan Fenimore Cooper’s handwriting, private collection.

31 Munby, op. cit., 11.

32 JFC to Mrs. Hamilton Fish, 1 Aug. 1850, Letters and Journals, VI, 210.

33 James Fenimore Cooper, “To the Key to this Album,” 2 June 1832, private collection.

34 JFC to Laura Jewett, 5 Jan. 1850, Letters and Journals, VI, 106-107. In a footnote James Franklin Beard provides the princess’ full name: Constance Marie (de Théis), Princess de Salm-Reifferscheid-Dyck, Letters and Journals, VI, 107.

35 JFC to Aaron Vail, 12 April 1835, Letters and Journals, III, 144-145.

36 Lance Schachterle, “Cooper’s Revisions for His First Major Novel, The Spy,” paper presented at the James and Susan Fenimore Cooper Conference, Oneonta, New York, July 12, 1999.

37 Spirit of the Fair, 1 (April 5, 1864), 4.

38 SFC to Dear Madam, 2 April 1864, private collection.

39 Spirit of the Fair, 9 (April 14, 1864), 99.

40 Ibid., 7 (April 12, 1864), 76.

41 J. G. Cogswell, “Autographs and Autograph Collections,” Spirit of the Fair, 13-15 (April 19-21, 1864).

42 Cogswell, Spirit of the Fair, 13 (April 19, 1864), 150.

43 Thornton, op. cit., 78-85, 87.

44 For example, see SFC to My young friend, 17 Feb. 1885, Virginia; SFC to My young Friend, 21 Feb. 1884, American Antiquarian Society.

45 Karen Halttunen, Confidence Men and Painted Women: A Study of Middle-Class Culture in America: 1830-1870 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982).