Skip to main content

Estelle Anna Lewis handwritten letter to M. Laird Simons

 Collection — Box: 1 [31151030118933]
Identifier: MS-0731
Estelle Anna Blanche Robinson Lewis (1824-1880) was an American poet and dramatist. Lewis was born near Baltimore, Maryland, the daughter of John Robinson, a wealthy planter from Cuba of English and Spanish descent. Her best dramatic work was Sappho of Lesbos, a tragedy (London, 1868). She permanently moved to England in 1865, where her last work was a series of sonnets in defence of Edgar Allan Poe. She died in London, England. The item is a 4-page letter (folded from one sheet of paper) written by Lewis to M. Laird Simons, a Philadelphia journalist and editor, during Lewis' time abroad in England. The letter was written on October 7, 1873.

Dates

  • 1873 October 7

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Extent

0.167 Cubic Feet (1 letter size folder)

Biographical / Historical

Estelle Anna Blanche Robinson Lewis (1824-1880) was an American poet and dramatist. Lewis was born near Baltimore, Maryland, the daughter of John Robinson, a wealthy planter from Cuba of English and Spanish descent. While a school girl at Emma Willard's seminary in Troy, New York, she translated the Aeneid into English verse, composed a ballad called The Forsaken, which Edgar A. Poe praised extravagantly, and published Records of the Heart, which contains some of her best minor verses (New York, 1844).

In 1841, she married Sidney D. Lewis, of Brooklyn, New York, and she moved to his home. They hosted salons and were noted figures in the New York literary scene. They were divorced in 1858, and afterward she resided mostly abroad, principally in England.

While in Italy, in 1863, she wrote her tragedy of Helémah, or the Fall of Montezuma, which was published on her return to the United States the next year (New York, 1864). The success of this work encouraged her to write Sappho of Lesbos, a tragedy, her best dramatic work (London, 1868). This reached a seventh edition, and was translated into modern Greek and played at Athens.

She returned to England in 1865, and her last work was a series of sonnets in defence of Edgar Allan Poe. She died in London, England.

Her other works are The Child of the Sea and other Poems (New York, 1848), The Myths of the Minstrel (1852), Poems (London, 1866) and The King's Stratagem, a tragedy (1869).

M. (Michael) Laird Simons (1843-1880) was a noted journalist, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After graduating high school in Philadelphia, he entered journalism in the employ of The Philadelphia Inquirer, subsequently engaging with the Philadelphia Evening Telegraph, and contributing to various literary journals. He edited Stodart's Review, condensed D'Aubigne's History of the Reformation (1870), published Half-Hours with the Best Preachers (1871), and continued Duyckinck's Cyclopedia of American Literature, adding about one hundred new names, down to 1878. His last work, an extensive History of the World, is still unpublished. He passed away in 1880 in the city of his birth.

Scope and Contents

The item is a 4-page letter (folded from one sheet of paper) written by Lewis to Simons during Lewis' time abroad in England, specifically London, according to the correspondence. The first sentence reads: I returned from a six week's tour of Germany...

The correspondence appears to be regarding Lewis' manuscript on her life and writings, which she had sent to Simons, presumably for editing or suggestions. In addition, Lewis mentions shortly describes some of her works. The letter was written on October 7, 1873.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This item was purchased in 2009 from Waiting for Godot Books.

Processing Information

This collection was processed in October 2015 by Annie Tang.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Contact:
The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA