Longfellow's Readers

Frances Kemble. Letter to HWL, 16 June 1851.


Letters to Longfellow MS Am 1340.2 (3140). Houghton Library.

Still reeling from her divorce, the famous British actress Fanny Kemble (1809-93) had turned to Longfellow's poetry for relief:

"My dear Sir-some little while ago I took up a volume of your poems and a load of most miserable suffering that had literally hardened my heart appeared to me to relax its pressure while I read it-for the first time for many months the iron grasp of sorrow seemed to relax and I experienced a moral relief which is indescribable but for which I blessed you most earnestly..."