Brown, Abbie Farwell, d. 1927. Papers, 1859-1927: A Finding AidArthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
© 1958 Radcliffe College
Call No.: A-12
Repository: Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
Creator: Abbie Farwell Brown, 1871-1927
Title: Papers, 1859-1927
Quantity: 3+1/2 file boxes, incl. 14v., 1 folio-sized v., 1 folio+ folder
Abstract: Correspondence, diaries, manuscripts, etc., of Abbie Farrell Brown, children's book
By: Doreen Potter Hanna
Accession numbers: 53-50, 54-8
This collection of papers was presented to the Women's Archives of Radcliffe College
in 1953, and in 1954, by Miss Emily Steinbach (41 West Cedar Street, Boston, Massachusetts) who was the executrix of Miss Brown's
Abbie Farwell Brown Papers, 1859-1927; item description, dates. A-12, folder #. Schlesinger
Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
Such biographical material as is found with the papers is unorganized, and for the
most part must be gathered from newspaper articles. These sketches published in the
Sunday issues of the Boston Post, December 14, 1902, and Boston Herald, January 10,
1904, give appraisals and pictures of such contemporary writers as Katherine Lee Bates,
Margaret Deland, Alice Brown, and others. Abby Farwell Brown was born in Boston,
August 21, 1871, in the family home on Beacon Hill, one of the two daughters of Benjamin
and Clara (Neal) Brown. Her entire life was spent in this home, the season's interspersed
with holidays in the nearby countryside, or with travelling in Europe. She was surrounded
from childhood with a family tradition that was New England to the core.
Of her school associations the papers show she was valedictorian at Bowdoin School
in 1886. This was followed by attendance at the Latin School in Boston. Here she
was co-organizer and editor of a school paper, "The Jabberwock", to which she made
frequent contributions until graduation in 1891. During the years 1891-1892 and 1893-1894
Abby Brown was enrolled at Radcliffe College, and took a leading part in all the literary
and dramatic activities on campus.
Miss Brown had a reputation in literary circles before leaving college. She had published
in magazines many of her poems and short stories. In 1898 and 1899 a series of articles
under the heading of "Girl Gossip" were published in the St. Louis Globe Democrat,
and signed with the pseudonym, Jean Neal. The first trip to Europe in 1899 provides
the stimulus and inspiration for her first, published, children's book, "The Book
of Saints and Friendly Beasts", in 1900. Although this was followed by many other
books none appears to have been so successful.
Frequently Miss Brown was asked to lecture. Usually her talks were about the writing
of books for children, a subject upon which she held decided views. Her club memberships
included the Saturday Morning Club, Folk Lore Society, Author's League, Poetry Club
of America, and the New England Poetry Club of which she was president at one time.
Two outstanding friendships are apparent from these papers; one with Josephine Preston
Peabody (Mrs. Lionel Marks), the performance of whose prize play Miss Brown attended
in Stratford-on-Avon in 1910. The second was with Caroline Ticknor. Both of these
women had interests and backgrounds which paralleled her own. Included with these
papers is a tribute to Abby Farwell Brown which Miss Ticknor wrote, and published
in the Boston Transcript, March 23, 1927, following her death earlier in the month.
Lacking in the collection is the correspondence which would have revealed more intimately
the person, her charm and character. Only a few letters are included. Among them
are notes from Robert Hillyer, Grace Hazard Conkling, Senator Lodge, Katherine Lee
Bates, Jessie Rittenhouse, and Gamaliel Bradford. Included are four notes of sympathy
sent to Ethel Brown after her sister's death in March, 1927.
Abby Farwell Brown was a prolific writer. There is here a very complete chronological
collection of her stories, poems, and plays, beginning with her contributions to the
"Catkin" in 1879, and continuing to the end of her life. Many of her poems were set
to music and appear in collections of songs for school use. Most of her stories were
written for children and it was in the field of children's books, perhaps, that she
achieved her greatest success.
Papers include diaries of 2 trips abroad in 1899 and 1906; a charming drawing book;
7v. poems in MS.; MS of "The Boy Mozart"; unpublished; MS of the May Queen," with
music in ms by Helen A. Clarke; letters from eminent poets'; material by and about
her mother, Clara Neal Brown.
Also much published material.
These papers are contained in four file boxes and an oversize package, the latter
being the libretto for the children's opera, "The May Queen", written by Abby Farwell
Brown, and the accompanying music composed by Helen A. Clarke. Chronologically arranged
the papers cover the years from 1859 to 1927. There are included around six hundred
loose items such as family photographs, letters, newspaper clippings, and school mementos,
as well as poems and short stories. Ten notebooks containing drawings and poetry
by Miss Brown are among the papers, also two diaries, two scrapbooks of book reviews,
and a record book of royalties received.
The earliest papers in the collection are those of Clara Neal, the mother of Abby
Farwell Brown, when she was a school girl at Hampton Academy in New Hampshire. These
and the copies of the literary magazine, The Catkin, which she produced cooperatively
with her children, furnish an insight into the source of those inherant artistic and
literary inclinations found in her daughters. Nothing in the collection indicates
what were the influences of Abby's father in her development.
- Box 1: 1-28
- Box 2: 29-42
- Box 3: 43-62
- Box 4: volumes 1-12
- 1. Brown, Clara Neal (Mrs. Benjamin F. Brown) (Mother of Abbie Farwell Brown): (i) Photograph
of Mrs. Brown; (ii) 2 postcards of Hampton Academy, Hampton, N.H. where Clara Neal
was educated; (iii) 6 compositions by Clara M. Neal, Hampton Academy (1859-1860):
Comp. no.1 nd. The Violet. 2p.; Comp. no.2. Hampton, Sept. 24, 1859. A sunset.
2p.; Comp. no.4. Hampton, Oct. 19, 1859. The future. 2p.; Comp. no.1. Hampton
Academy, February 28, 1860 Memories. 2p.; Comp. no.2 March 21, 1860. Speak kindly.
2p.; Comp. no.9 nd. The Shower. 3p. (iv) Book of poems: Love and change (2p.
in pencil and dated October 1862, bound in contemporary yellow and blue wallpaper.
Includes 4 drawings); (v) The Evening star, a journal of literature and wit, Hampton
Academy Lyceum. Vol.III, No.1, Nov. 20, 1867. 4p. pencilled Ms.; (vi) Children's
sayings. 4p. Ms.; Fleur-de-lis. 14p. MS (story); (vii) The flight of Betty Whelk.
4p. Ts. (story); (viii) I give my love to Jamie. 1p. Ms in red ink. (poem); (ix)
John Gilpin. 2p. in pencil. (poem); (x) Quotations 7p. Ms.; (xi) The spider and
the fly. 5p. Ms (story); (xii) Sweet clover. magazine clipping; (xiii) 2 acceptances
for articles for the Youth's Companion. Dated, Feb. 18, 1911 and April 20, 1917.
- 2. THE CATKIN, edited and published by Christopher 4 v. MS; v. 4 incomplete.
- 3. Biographical material re A.F.B. 
Diploma in Folio+ Box 1.
- 5. My amateur theatricals
- 6. A.F.B. 2 letters to father, Benjamin F. Brown, 1876; A.F.B. 2 letters to grandmother,
Mrs. Harriet P. Neal, Andover (1876)
- 7. Letters to A.F.B. 1892-1927: (i) Conkling, Grace Hazard postcard, nd.; (ii) Rollins,
Leighton. 4p. nd.; (iii)St. Nicholas Magazine. Oct. 25, 1892. First acceptance
of articles "Short and sweet"; (iv) Morgan, Forrest. Aug. 15, 1985 1 p.; (v) Swett,
Sophie. April 17th 3p.; (vi) Swett, Sophie. Dec. 10, 1898 card; (vii) Aubrey-Walker,
E. Edith July 17, 1901 4p. "To the Author of 'Saints and Friendly Beasts. 8"; (viii)
Lodge, H.C. Jan. 2, 1904 1 p.; (ix) Tetlow, John. Girls' Latin School, Jan. 27,
1908. Re AFB's statement and appeal to the School Committee. 2p.; (x) Coburn, Eleanor
Hallowell Abbott. Wilton, N.H., Sept. 16, 1915. Re Authors Club. 3p.; (xi) McConathy,
Osbourne M. Evansville, Ill., April 17, 1918 Re use of her AFB's songs, especially
"Peace with a sword." 1p.; (xii) Bly, Jo. Field Hospital...7th Div., April 28, 1919.
Re reading material and his appreciation of AFB'S story "A song in passing." 1p.;
(xiii) Bates, Katharine Lee. Wellesley, Mass., June 19, 1919. Re requiem that AFB
wrote "for Radcliffe's three daughters who wear the golden star;" also note re Miss
Hazard and Nancy Byrd. 4p.; (xiv) Rittenhouse, Jessie B. New York, June 11, 1920.
Re "The pirate treasure" 1p.; (xv) Skilton, Charles S. Glenburnie...Aug. 31, 1920.
Re "The rock of liberty" and his own work. 4p. (xvi) Bradford, Gamaliel. Wellesley
Hills, Dec. 27, 1921. 1p. (xvii) Chadwick, Geo. W. Boston, Feb. 12, 1923. 1p.;
(xviii) Hillyer, Robert Cambridge (Pomfret), Dec. 17, 1924. 2p. ALS enclosing 2p
poem. "Saint Sylvius" (for A.F.B) MS. )xix) Jackson, Minnie Ward. Boston, Nov. 23,
1925. 2p. ts. Re Josephine Preston Peabody Marks; (xx) Bates, Katharine Lee. Wellesley,
Jan. 25, 1926. 4p. Personal note written when AFB's mother was ill; (xxi) Bates,
Katharine Lee. Wellesley, Feb. 13, 1927. 2p ts. Re help in working on Josephine
Preston Peabody's Collected poems. Letters to Ether C. Brown, following A.F.B.'s
death: (i) Bates, Katharine Lee Wellesley, March 17, 1927. 1p. encl. clipping of
poem by AFB "To a gloomy poet"; (ii) Sear, Clara Endicott. card: note of sympathy.
nd.; (iii) Scaife, Roger. Boston, March 14, 1927. Note of sympathy; (iv) Scudder,
Vida D. Wellesley, Lent I. 2p.
- Early Writings:
- 12. Early School Papers 1861-1867
- 13. "I didn't think and the Princess Wisdom" (4p. ms.), 1886
- 14. "Valedictory"-Class of 1886. Bowdoin School (8p. ms. incl. pressed bouquet 1886)
- 15. "A Midnight Tragedy, or Romance of Castle Montmorenci" (10p. ms., Dec. 1887)
- 16. "The Artful Dodgers" (12p. ts. bd. 1890s)
- 17. "Blots from the pen of Abbie Farwell Brown", 1887-1888 ms. vol (24p)
- 18. "Contributions from Abbie F. Brown, Editor '87-91 to the Jabberwock 1888-1892 ms.
- 19. Clippings from the "Jabberwock": A.F.B.'s an editor 1889-
- 20. "To the 'S.E.C.' First Annual Banquet" (6p. ms.), Feb. 27th, 1891
- 21. "Ode Ill of Horace" by Athenaeum, n.d., (4p. ms.)
- 22. Articles by Jean Neal (pseudonym of Abbie Farwell Brown) published in the St. Louis
Globe-Democrat Jan 23, 1898-Dec 3, 1899 newspaper clippings: (i) "Girl gossip" Jan.
23, 1898 Burning old letters...; Jan. 30, 1898 A defense of the tea habit...; (ii)
Feb. 13, 1898 The old and the new valentine: How I would make love...; (iii) Feb.
20, 1898. Women's clubs: Jean Neal discusses their good influences and their faults;
(iv) April 3, 1898. Calls and callers. Some things which an unsophisticated savage
might find difficult to understand; (v) April 11, 1898. The modern girl and athletics.
How we have improved upon our grandmothers...; (vi) May 22, 1898. A defense of the
diary. A real help toward adequate oral expression...; (vii) May 29, 1898. The minions
of fashion. Some reflections upon the chains which bind us all, man and women alike;
(viii) July 3, 1898. From sandal to shoe. The story of the evolution of the article
of apparel which women love most; (ix) July 10, 1898. Women and the war. Men have
deserted their idols...; (x) July 31 ? The summer man. The figure he cuts in the
eyes of the summer girl; (xi) Oct. 2, 1898. Picnics and picnics. Whether they are
bores or...; (xii) Jan. 29, 1899. A sure cure for the blues. Possibilities of a
trip abroad...; (xiii) March 5, 1899. Anniversaries that thrill. A novel way of
extracting daily entertainment from the calendar; (xiv) April 30, 1899. May Day.
Decline and decay of a charming festival; (xv) May 7, 1899. The brotherless girl.
Her advantages and disadvantages...; (xvi) June 11, 1899. Jean Neal of the "Engagements
of One's Gentlemen Friends"; (xvii) July 30, 1899. Bachelor girls in Scotland; (xviii)
Sept. 10, 1899. Ribbon-rewards-of-France. The land of canals and windmills. Four
American girl's adventure...; (xix) Oct. 8, 1899. In the land of storks and beer.
...Bachelor girls in Kaiser William's country; (xx) Oct. 22, 1899. Bachelor girls
in the Alps. They discover the chamois is a sham...; (xxi) Nov. 5, 1899. Bachelor
girls in Paris; (xxii) Nov. 19, 1899 Bachelor girls in London. Joys of English undefield...;
(xxiii) Dec. 3, 1899. Bachelor girls at Windsor Castle.
- 23. "Dog Days" (16p. ms.)
- 24. "The Fountain" an interlude (16p. ts.)
- 25. "The Guardian Angel, A Carolina Legend" by A.F.B....for music by Charles Sanford Skilton
- 26. "The Holiday" Cantata for children with borrowed music (16 and 2p.ts.)
- 27. "The Lantern" a play for children in two acts (22p. ts. mimeo)
- 28. "The Little Shadows"-A Christmas playlet (9p. ts.)
- 29. "The May Queen" Libretto ob A.F.B.-for a comic operetta in one act 30p. ts. Signed;
Music by Helen A. Clark; Music in MS; Program and press clippings 1908; Program and
press clippings 1910
- 30. "Old Saint Nick" (First unrevised Scenario) in three scenes
- 31. "Quits" a farce-comedy in two acts. March 6, 1891 22p. ms also 1,11p 9p. ts.; "Quits"
a comedy in one act Pub. ed. in Rad. Arch., Boston, Walter H. Baker and Co. 1896
- 32. "Rhoecus-a Masque" (19p. ts. with corrections c.p. 1909)
- 33. "The Summit" a cantata (5p. ts.)
- 34. "The Rock of Liberty-a Pilgrim Ode-1620-1920" Libretto by A.F.B. 1921
- 35. "Swapping Day" play in one act (18p. ts.)
- 36. "The Tree" by "Jean Neal" (pseudonym) a masque in two divisions (1p. 20p. ts.)
- 37. "Jessica Jane": Jessica Jane in the South Seas 3p. ts.; Jessica Jane at the North
Pole (3p. ts.); Jessica Jane the Life Preserver (3p. ts.)
- 38. "Mother's Own Book" Page proofs of poems published as the "Silver Stair" c.1926
- 39. "Peace With a Sword" a musical interpretation of America in War
- 40. Poems, written on her Mother's birthday, Sept. 3, 1923; also c.1894
- 41. "The Swallow Song Poems set to music in Normal Music Course" c. 1884
- 42. "A Leaf is Softly Falling"
- Stories, and other articles - MSS:
- 43. "The Book of Saints and Friendly Beast" 1900
- 43a. "Reviews of Saints and Beasts" [scrapbook] 1900
- 44. "The Boy Mozart" Illus. by Ethel C. Brown 1910; Also: A.L.B. to M.A.B. Parker, Baker
and Taylor Pub. Co.; Boston Sept 24, 1910; A.L.S. to Miss Brown from Osbourne McConatty.
Chelsea, Dec. 6, 1910
- 45. Children's Books-notes for four talks 1921; Also: "We need poetry" notes for talk
at Stuart Club, Nov. 3, 1921
- 46. "A Garden Meditation" 1, (2p. ts. corrected, signed)
- 47. "Joe: Private Detective" (6p. ts. signed)
- 48. "New England and the Undertaker" (6p. ts.) Later than 1905? 1914
- 49. "Pose and Prosetry" (4p. ts.)
- 50. "Saint Nicholas Day and the Bay Bishop" Dec. 6 14p. ms. Signed; Also: notes-Salisbury
and Boy Bishop
- 51. "A Star for Cadic" 11p.; printed copy mounted. 1914 $500 prize story-Associated Sunday
Magazines: July 12, 1914
- 52. "William Lougespes of Salisbury" -notes- 18p.
- 53. "The Yankee Balloon" (9p. ts.)
- 54. Unused material-Indian Legends-collected by Miss Mary A. Johnson; Also: A.L.S. to
A.F.B. from Mary A. Johnson And Philippine Folklore
- 55. Stories for Children: 1. "The Cheerful Winters-A Christmas Story"-in the Congregationalist and Christian World. Dec. 1903; 2. "Thankful Cats"- in the Churchman. Nov. 23, 1907; 3. "The Little Cassandra Turkey"- in the Interior, Nov. 21, 1901; 4. "The Dog Who Kept His Eyes Open"-in the Congregationalist; 5. "To the Rescue"- in the Congregationalist Nov. 28, 1908; 6. "His Wonderful Arrow"-in Kindergarden and Congregationalist magazine, March 1926; 7. "His Adopted Friend"-in Woman's House Companion, (1897); 8. "Button, Button"-in the Companion, Feb. 5, 1914; 9. "The Educated Cat,"- in Good Housekeeping. Sept 1906; 10. "The Sewing Circle"- in the Churchman, July 22, 1916
- 56. Stories for older girls: 1. "Where the Arrow Pointed"-in Sunday School Advocate, v. 75, no. 46-52, Nov. 13-15, 1915; 2. "The Prize Winner"- in the Churchman, Jan 11-Feb 15, 1908; 3. "The Goldfish Globe"-in the Classmate, v.23, no.3, Jan 15, 1916; 4. "A Sisterly Office"- in the Household, v.33, no.8, Aug 1899; 5. "Winged Boots"- in the Young Churchman, n.d.
- 57. Love Stories for Girls: 1. "A Christmas Gift"- in the Woman's House Companion, Dec 1897; 2. "The Barn Stormers"- in the Ladies' World, v.21, no.7, July 1900; 3. "The Inconsistent Romance"-in New England Magazine, Feb 1908; 4. "In the Fog"-in the Housewife, Sept. 1897; 5. "The Dissolving of a Partnership" in the Ladies' World v. 23, no. 9 1902; 6. "The Tour of the Four"- in the Ladies' World, June 1898; 7. "The Burying of the Hatchet" - New England Magazine, July 1894; 8. "The Crab Tree"- in Munsey's Magazine. April 1900; 9. "The Way of Ruth"- in New England Magazine. March 1909; 10. "Sawdust Doll"-?
- 58. "When Churchyards Yawn" short story winning Post award? date
- 59. Children Stories; 1. "The Dark Room"-in the Churchman, March 18, 1905; 2. "The Faun Boys"-in the Churchman Jan 20, 1906; 3. "The Mermaid's Necklace"-in the Churchman Feb 4 and 11, 1905; 4.
"Mr. Bear's Party"-Kindergarten Review, Oct 1910; 5. "The Neighbor's Baby"-in American Baby, Feb 190?
- 60. Stories: 1. "A Star for Cadic"-in the Associated Sunday Magazine, July 12, 1914; 2. "The Neighbor's Baby" - see Children's Stories; 3. "A Righteous
Revolt"-; 4. "Sister Aimee"; 5. "The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus" in the Churchman, July 28, 1900; 6. "Song in Passing"; 7. "An Inherited Tradition"-in the Sunday Magazine, Dec 14, 1913; 8. "The Jankee Balloon"-in the Churchman, July 1, 1905; 9. "A Kind Reader";; 10. "A Dish of Tea"-in Peterson's Magazine, Aug. 1895; 11. "The Man Who Played the Cymbals"-in the Interior, March 9, 1899; 12. "Salaun, the Witless"-in the Churchman, Nov 1, 1902; 13. "As Luck Would Have It" - in the Housewife, June 1896; 14. "When the Churchyards Yawn"-In the Boston Post, Sept 15, 1896; 15. "At the Opera" incomplete; 16. "The Memory of Deacon Poole"?
- 61. Miscellaneous Published Items: "A Clover"-in the Harvard Advocate, v.53, no.6, May 18, 1892; "At the Opera"-Oct 1895; "A New Evening's Entertainment"-in
the Ladies' Home Journal, Jan 1895; "For an Evening Party"-signed Boston Girl-in the Ladies' Home Companion, April 15, 1895; "A Ghost Party"-in Ladies' Home Companion, Oct 1, 1896; "A Valentine Party"-in Woman's Home Companion, Feb 1897; "A Topsy Turvy" in Woman's Home Companion Sep 1897; "His Freshman Romance" in Woman's Home Companion, Jan 1898; "A Home Run" in Vogue, march 17, 1898; "A Painted Conscience"- in St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat, May 1, 1898; "The Children's Crusade, A.D. 1212"-in the Radcliffe Magazine, v.3, no. 1, Dec. 1900; "Neighbors" in Lippincott, Nov 1902; "The Square Fairies"-in
Sunday Magazine of the Sunday Post, July 30, 191??; "Writing for Children'-in the Writer, v. 23, no. 9, Sept 1911; "The Adventures of Jim, and John and Jane" - pub. by Denison
Manufacturing Co. c. 1912 (unsigned); "Mystery of the Enchanted Oval"-in Boston Post,
Jan 25, 1914
- 62. Catalogs etc. re books by A.F.B. 1902-1911: Published by Houghton Mifflin; Published
by Button 1921
- 63. Reviews and Notices of "The Lucky Stone"
- 64f. Music Ms for The May Queen
- v.1. Diary, June-Sept, 1899-trip to England
- v.2. Diary, April-July 1906-trip to Italy
- v.3. Drawing Book, 1887-1890
- v.6. Poems, v.1, 1901-1905
- v.7. Poems, v.2, 1905-1909
- v.8. Poems, v.3, 1909-1914
- v.9. Poems, v.4, 1914-1917
- v.11. Extracts, 1894-1916
- v.12. Record, royalties on books and poems, 1919-1944
Bates, Katharine Lee
Brown, Clara Neal
Brown, Ethel C.
Clarke, Helen A.
Neal, Jean (pseud)
Peabody, Josephine Preston
Underhill, Ann (pseud)