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Lafcadio Hearn Correspondence

Lafcadio Hearn Correspondence

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Lafcadio Hearn Correspondence

J. Edgar and Louis S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans,


Profile Description

Creation: Finding aid encoded by Stacie Delcambre, January 2008

Overview of the Collection

Repository: Loyola University (New Orleans, La)
Monroe Library
6363 St. Charles Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70118
Phone: 504-864-7111
Creator: Hearn, Lafcadio, 1850-1904 Baker, Page M., d. 1910.McClure, S. S. (Samuel Sidney), 1857-1949.
Title: Lafcadio Hearn Correspondence
Inclusive Dates: 1884-1936
Quantity: 0.5 linear ft.
Abstract: This collection consists almost entirely of fifty-nine letters, most of which are written by Hearn to Page Bakerm editor of the Times-Democrat.
Collection No.Collection 5

System of Arrangement

Items in this collection are arranged chronologically within the folder.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

This collection consists almost entirely of fifty-nine letters. Most of these are intact, but several are missing one or more pages. In addition, roughly half the letters are either undated or have only approximate dates; it seems likely, however, that with one or two exceptions they were all written between 1883 and 1905.

Of the fifty-nine letters, forty-five were written by Hearn to Page Baker. Baker was the editor of the Times-Democrat when Hearn worked for that newspaper; he was also a steadfast champion of Hearn's literary ambitions. Hearn wrote Baker from various places -- New Orleans, Grand Isle in Louisiana, New York, the West Indies, and Japan. In these letters, which ranged from one paragraph to ten pages, Hearn touched on many subjects. Perhaps the most revealing passages concerned his work at the Times-Democrat, his literary efforts, his travels, and in several letters from Grand Isled, his dislike for Jews. Nine of the remaining letters or telegrams constitute correspondence between Baler and S. S. McClure of McClure's Magazine; written in 1896 and 1896, this correspondence discussed publication and syndication of pieces written by Hearn about Japan. Also of note, there is an apparent draft of a letter in which Baker related to Elizabeth Bisland-Wetmore -- an early biographer of Hearn -- his thoughts about Hean.

The final four folders of this collection contain various types of material. One folder contains twenty-five envelopes, most of which were addressed to Baker by Hearn. Another conatins a poem written in Hearn's hand. Another contains a five-page typed reminiscence about Hearn that is undated and unsigned. And the final folder contains two typescript duplicates of Hearn's letters to Baker.

Administrative/Biographical History

Lafcadio Hearn was a writer during the closing decades of the nineteenth century and the opening years of the twentieth. His writings -- fiction and nonfiction alike -- typically drew on his firsthand observations of life in what were then considered exotic places: New Orleans, the West Indies, and Japan.

Hearn was born on June 27, 1850 on the Greek island of Leucadia. His father, an Irishman, was a surgeon in the British army; his mother was Greek. In 1852 Hearn was taken to Ireland to live with his father's family. When his parents divorced several years later, he remained in Ireland under the care of a great-aunt. He was educated at Catholic boarding schools in France and England.

In 1869 at the age of nineteen, Hearn moved to the United States. He eventually settled in Cincinnati, where he worked as a journalist, first for the Enquirer and then for the Commercial. In 1877 he moved to New Orleans where he continued working for newspapers -- first joining the staff of the Item and then in 1881 becoming literary editor of the Times-Democrat. As a journalist and as author of several books -- notably, Gombo Zhebes, La Cuisine Creole, and Chita -- Hearn wrote perceptively and with flair about the Creole culture of New Orleans and southern Louisisana.

In 1887 Hearn left the Crescent City, but his desire to live in and write about exotic places endured for the rest of his life. After a brief stay in New York, he traveled to the West Indies and took up residence in Martinique. His observations of the local Creole culture found expression in journalism and in two books, Youma and Two Years in the French West Indies. In 1889 he left the Caribbean and returned to the northeastern United States. Roughly a year later, in the srping of 1890, he departed for Japan. There he immersed himself in Japanese culture -- marrying a Japanese women, taking Japanese citizenship, and teaching at a Japanese university. And there he enjoyed his most prolific literary period. Spurred on by his keen interest in his adopted country, he wrote numerous books and articles. This output established his reputation as a major interpreter of Japan to the West. Hearn died in Japan on Spetember 26, 1904.

Index Terms

Baker, Page M., d. 1910.
Hearn, Lafcadio, 1850-1904
McClure, S. S. (Samuel Sidney), 1857-1949.


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission must be obtained from Special Collections & Archives and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Item], Lafcadio Hearn Correspondence, Collection 5, Special Collections & Archives, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University, New Orleans.

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