Two Autograph Letters Signed by Susan Coolidge, i.e. Sarah Chauncey Woolsey, Author.
Two Autograph Letters Signed by Susan Coolidge, i.e. Sarah Chauncey Woolsey, Author.

Two Autograph Letters Signed by Susan Coolidge, i.e. Sarah Chauncey Woolsey, Author.

Known by her pen name Susan Coolidge, author of What Katy Did


Sarah Chauncey Woolsey (1835–1905), author, well known by her pen name “Susan Coolidge” under which she wrote the classic children’s book, What Katy Did, and the subsequent books in the series.

In an undated 2½-page letter from Newport, Rhode Island, Woolsey enquires about visiting “My dear Bottanie” on her way back from Baltimore: “What should you say if I were to appear next Sunday morning and spend that day and Monday? Should you like it?”

Woolsey’s 1901 letter to “Dr. Abbot” is likely addressed to Lyman Abbott (1835–1922), Congregational clergyman and editor of Outlook magazine. At the end of her life, Woolsey was a contributor to Outlook and she was memorialized in its pages after her death. Woolsey writes to Dr. Abbott concerning a new book by Elizabeth von Arnim (1866–1941) that she would like to review:

I see that a new book by the author of Elizabeth & Her German Garden is announced for tomorrow by John Lane & Co.—“The Visit of Elizabeth” is, I think the title. If you have no other plans for it I should like to write the notice.

Sarah Chauncey Woolsey, “...author also known by the pseudonym ‘Susan Coolidge,’ was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the daughter of John Mumford Woolsey, a land agent, and Jane Andrews. ... In 1852 her father retired and in 1855 moved the family to New Haven, Connecticut, where her uncle Theodore Dwight Woolsey was president of Yale. Woolsey befriended author Helen Hunt Jackson shortly after moving to New Haven. ... After the death of her father and a trip abroad, in 1870 Woolsey and Jackson traveled to the mountain town of Bethlehem, New Hampshire, where Woolsey collected ferns and flowers to sketch or paint, composed poetry, and outlined her first book for children. The New-Year’s Bargain is a collection of twelve stories, one for each month, redeeming a promise made to a little boy. Thomas Niles, the editor of Roberts Brothers of Boston who discovered Louisa May Alcott, published the book in the spring of 1871. The book received positive reviews in America and England, particularly from writer Jean Ingelow and poet Christina Rossetti. Furthermore, in Woolsey the publisher found a future editor and reader. ‘[Woolsey] had a good deal of discretion and skill as an editor, and her knowledge of books and her sense of literature constituted no small part of the capital of Roberts Brothers at the time when the imprint of that firm meant a certain individuality and distinction’ (Outlook, 15 Apr. 1905, p. 924). With their publication earnings, in 1872 Woolsey and Jackson left New York by train for San Francisco via Salt Lake City. Though Woolsey is never mentioned by name, Jackson writes of their experience in Bits of Travel at Home. Woolsey meanwhile established herself as a talented children’s story writer, choosing the pseudonym ‘Susan Coolidge,’ because her younger sister Jane Woolsey Yardley had written under the pen name ‘Margaret Coolidge.’ ... Woolsey published with Roberts Brothers until 1898, then with its successor, Little, Brown and Company. Her later work consists mainly of poetry and historical and travel sketches that appeared in Outlook, Scribner’s, and Woman’s Home Companion.” (ANB)

Two autograph letters signed from the famed author of the classic and beloved What Katy Did book and series.


Description: Two Autograph Letters Signed by Susan Coolidge, i.e. Sarah Chauncey Woolsey, Author.

Newport, [Rhode Island]. January 28, [no year]. [2½]pp. + 93 Rhode Island Avenue, [Newport, Rhode Island]. [1½]pp. Both 8vo. bifoliums. Transmittal folds; near fine.

[3726078]

N.B. ANB indexes Woolsey’s name as “Sarah Chauncy [sic] Woolsey.”


Price: $250.00