Letters of Josephine Preston Peabody, 1917-1921
Letters of poet and playwright Josephine Preston Peabody to poet Grace Hazard Conkling.
Language of Materials
Materials in English.
Access. Collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright. The letters created by Josephine Preston Peabody are in the public domain.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
The collection consists of handwritten letters from Josephine Preston Peabody to poet Grace Hazard Conkling. Topics include Peabody's desire for Conkling to visit her; advice regarding topic, style, and requested fee for a commencement address Conkling was scheduled to give at a girls' school; Peabody's poor health, "domestic trials," and need for rest, and and how these all affect her ability to write; plans for Conkling to speak at a poetry club meeting to be held at Peabody's house; detailed instructions for the journey from Boston South Station to Peabody's home on Brattle Street in Cambridge; Peabody's admiration for Conkling's work; and her own admission that she herself is "still struggling out of the inarticulate stage." She also apologizes for addressing a letter to Conkling incorrectly and notes the confusion people often have with her own name.
Poet and playwright Josephine Preston Peabody was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1874, the daughter of Charles Kilham Peabody and Susan Josephine Morell Peabody. She had two sisters, Marion and Florence. (Her parents had another daughter, Maud, who died before Peabody was born.) After the death of her father in 1882, the family moved to Dorchester, Massachusetts. She attended Girls' Latin School in Boston, Massachusetts, and was a special student at Radcliffe College from 1894 to 1896. From 1901 to 1903 she was an instructor in English at Wellesley College. In 1906, she married Lionel Simeon Marks, a British engineer and professor at Harvard University; they had two children, Alison and Lionel. In 1909 she won the Stratford Prize Competition for her verse play The Piper: A Play in Four Acts, based on the pied piper legend. The play was performed at Stratford-upon-Avon's Memorial Theatre in 1910 as part of its Shakespeare Summer Season and was also produced in London in 1910 and at the New Theatre in New York City, in 1911. Her other works include The Wayfarers: A Book of Verse (1898); Fortune and Men's Eyes: New Poems, with a Play (1900); In the Silence (1900); Marlowe: A Drama in Five Acts (1901); The Singing Leaves; a Book of Songs and Spells (1903); The Wings (1905); The Book of the Little Past (1908); The Singing Man (1911); The Wolf of Gubbio (1913); New Poems (1915); and Portrait of Mrs. W.: A Play in Three Acts (1922), a play about Mary Wollstonecraft. Peabody was a pacifist and feminist and much of her work addressed issues affecting women, children, and working people. Peabody joined the British socialist organization the Fabian Society in 1909. She died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1922.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Accession number: 1251
The letters of Josephine Preston Peabody were acquired by the Schlesinger Library from Benjamin Autographs in 1967.
By: Schlesinger Library staff
Updated and additional description added: March 2022
By: Susan Earle with the assistance of Paula Aloisio
The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit. Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Language of description
- Processing of this collection was made possible by Carl & Lily Pforzheimer Fund, Pforzheimer Fund for the Schlesinger Library, Sybil Shainwald Fund at the Schlesinger Library, and Class of 1955 Manuscript Processing Fund.
- EAD ID
Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository
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