story time


kept a souvenir?

What could be better than listening to Charles Dickens on the Third Day of Christmas?

From Village Life in America 1852-1872 by Caroline Cowles Richards (208-209):


July 27.—Col. James M. Bull was buried from the home of Mr. Alexander Howell to-day, as none of his family reside here now.

November 13.—Our brother John and wife and baby Pearl have gone to London, England, to live.

December 28.—A large party of Canandaiguans went over to Rochester last evening to hear Charles Dickens’ lecture, and enjoyed it more than I can possibly express. He was quite hoarse and had small bills distributed through the Opera House with the announcement:


Begs indulgence for a Severe Cold, but hopes its effects may not be very perceptible after a few minutes’ Reading.
Friday, December 27th, 1867.
Charles Dickens (1867; LOC:

throat problems in America

We brought these notices home with us for souvenirs. He looks exactly like his pictures. It was worth a great deal just to look upon the man who wrote Little Dorrit, David Copperfield and all the other books, which have delighted us so much. We hope that he will live to write a great many more. He spoke very appreciatively of his enthusiastic reception in this country and almost apologized for some of the opinions that he had expressed in his “American Notes,” which he published, after his first visit here, twenty-five years ago. He evidently thinks that the United States of America are quite worth while.

That might not have happened, at least not on the date recorded. According to Dickens in America Charles Dickens read at the Steinway Hall, New York City on December 27, 1867. The author did appear at the Corinthian Hall in Rochester, New York on March 10 and 16, 1868 during his five month tour. He was definitely not feeling well. According to Wikipedia, he suffered from what he called “true American catarrh.” A catarrh is an inflammation that often affects the throat.

Charles Dickens as he appears when reading / sketched by C.A. Barry.( Illus. in: Harper's weekly, v. 11, no. 571 (1867 December 7), p. 777. ; LOC:

reading in Boston

Buying tickets for the Dickens readings at Steinway Hall ( Illus. in: Harper's weekly, v. 11, no. 574 (1867 December 28), p. 829. ; LOC:

buying tickets at the Steinway

Mr. Charles Dickens and his former American acquaintances - "not at home" / drawn by C.G. Bush. ( Illus. in: Harper's weekly, v. 11, no. 573 (1867 December 21), p. 812. ; LOC:

ghosts of visit past?

We’ve had Caroline Cowles Richards on before, especially during the war (example) so I wanted to mention that she might have had a faulty memory, although how is a dated souvenir a memory?
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