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English Language and Literature Commons

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American poetry

Social and Behavioral Sciences

2007

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“Send Me A Nice Little Letter All To Myself”: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’S Fan Mail And Antebellum Poetic Culture, Jill E. Anderson Jan 2007

“Send Me A Nice Little Letter All To Myself”: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’S Fan Mail And Antebellum Poetic Culture, Jill E. Anderson

University Library Faculty Publications

This paper examines fan mail written to poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow during the 1840s and 1850s, as he made the transition from emerging poet to being one of the best-known and most influential American poets of his time. Longfellow’s admirers wrote him letters praising his poetry, but also making requests for tokens of his presence and esteem: handwritten lines of his poetry, pencils, portraits, locks of hair, and in one case, his daughter’s hand in marriage. Claiming to “know” Longfellow through his poetry, admirers often also identified themselves as being in “debt” to Longfellow for his beautiful poetry ...