Randolph, NY: 1890-1893. 8vo. 88 leaves, on the rectos (and some verso) are pasted newspaper cuttings, texts, portraits, MS notes, and some drawings; at end three newspaper cuttings loosely inserted. Contemporary leather covers stitched with cord in the Japanese style (see below). In excellent condition. Very good. Item #3301
This album -- compiled by the author herself -- represents the most comprehensive collection of early ephemeral Grace Adele Pierce texts extant. Without it, no study of her life and work could be attempted. The volume contains more than 100 newspaper cuttings of her poetry, addresses, lectures, announcements, reviews, and one complete story, all dating from ca. 1890-1893 while Pierce was still living at home with her parents in Randolph, NY. In general, the album documents the nascent career of a poet / woman of letters who must have travelled relentlessly from one speaking engagement to another, in small towns and even smaller literary salons across the northeast. In particular, the album is a unique collection of texts by and about Pierce that would have other likely evaporated.
Some of the texts bear corrections in the author's hand; a few autographs are pasted in, as are two portraits of Pierce (one a drawing by Helen A. Winsoe, the other from a published source). There is a MS list of the "Best [books] in my Judgment" in the hand of the poet Margaret Elizabeth Sangster (1838-1912) which includes "Vanity Fair," "Tale of Two Cities" and "David Copperfield," Charles Read's "Peg Woffington" and "Hard Cash," and George Eliot's "Romola" and "Middlemarch." Pierce saved a letter from the "Home-Maker" magazine announcing that one of her poems was "in hand" and that it will not be published before the "season of showers" (i.e. Spring; the poem was published under the title "Clear Shining After Rain" -- in the present volume she has made a correction in ink). There is one song with words by Pierce: "A Christmas Carol" with music by Oscar A. Knipe. Also included are several programs featuring Pierce as a speaker, and finally one actual ticket to such an event.
There is a closely related Pierce scrapbook at Duke's Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture (ex-Lisa Baskin Collection) which is likewise in a "Japanese side-stitch" album. The Duke example documents a much later stage of Pierce's literary career, namely 1913-1916 while in California, at which time she was a scenario writer for early motion pictures.
MUST BE SEEN TO BE FULLY APPRECIATED.