Autograph Letter, signed (“HW Beecher”). Henry Ward Beecher.
Autograph Letter, signed (“HW Beecher”)

Reverend Beecher to Chloe Beach

Autograph Letter, signed (“HW Beecher”).

[New York?]: n.d.

2 pp., on two panels (plus postscript) of a folded quarto lettersheet, in ink. 8vo. Reverend Beecher to Chloe Beach. Old folds, with mends to tears along center fold and horizontal folds in blank panel (not affecting text), but near very good, in linen folding cloth slipcase. Item #247341

An amusing letter from the highly popular and controversial minister, novelist and reformer, to his good friend — or, as recent scholarship would have it, his very intimate friend — Chloe Beach, wife of Moses Beach, owner of the NEW YORK SUN. Beecher writes in such a fashion as to imply clearly that he is soliciting a dinner invitation: "My Dear Mrs. Beach — Our larder is given out: — our tea used up — milk gone, bread scanty, sweetmeats passed away, and all of us are facing the probability of starvation tonight. Do you know of any place where we could get a loan of cold victuals? — or borrow some crackers, or even get a chance to come and eat a little? I would not trouble you but, you have the reputation of being charitable; and really, we are reduced to that condition of suffering that if you do not take us in, — why — we will go somewhere else. I am your friend bowed down with trouble. H.W. Beecher … P.S. We are willing to pay.”
It was through the Beach family, in 1867, that Beecher first connected with his ardent supporter, Samuel Clemens, and a case has been put forward (see Applegate, THE MOST FAMOUS MAN IN AMERICA: THE BIOGRAPHY OF HENRY WARD BEECHER, pp. 371-2) that in January of the same year Chloe Beach gave birth to a daughter by Henry W. Beecher.
Accompanied by a carte de visite of Beecher, captioned in ink and pencil on recto and verso, and trimmed at the top corners.
While ordinary Beecher letters are not uncommon, the present letter enjoys an out of the ordinary context.

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