PAMELA SMITH | 15 autograph letters signed, with related manuscripts, 1891-1900
1,500 - 2,000 GBP
SMITH, PAMELA COLMAN
A group of 15 autograph letters signed, to her childhood pen-friend Beatrice Weaver,
the early letters describing her adolescent life in Jamaica with lively descriptions of its culture from carnival to duppy stories, their shared literary enthusiasm (especially as members of a Howard Pyle fan club), and her early writing ("...I sent last week to Harpers Young People: what they call here 'Annancy Stories' they are the fairy tales of Jamaica with a picture 6 x 8 inches that I spent an awful long time on: of an old colored woman telling 8 girls, a boy, and a 'pickn'ey', an Annancy Story...", 16 April 1893), later letters describing her artistic training in Brooklyn and her involvement with the theatre ("...next week ... I sail for London with Miss Ellen Terry - to stay all summer with her - I did a Souvenier [sic] for Sir Henry Irving and Miss Terry - and got to know her so well - she is delightful!...", 11 May 1900), some letters with pen and ink sketches, 74 pages, various sizes, Jamaica, Brooklyn, and Sheffield, 8 February 1891 to 5 December 1900, one letter incomplete, two letters torn with loss
[with:] An autograph manuscript entitled "Annancy and Tiger", 6 pages; "Morning in Spring", initialled, dated (March 1896), and with an accompanying ink and wash drawing, 1 page; and two poems in the hand of her mother
AN EXTENSIVE SERIES OF LETTERS DESCRIBING THE PRECOCIOUS CAREER OF PAMELA COLMAN SMITH (1878-1951). Her book Annancy Stories was published in 1899, by which time she was working as an illustrator. She went to England as a costume and stage designer for Ellen Terry and Henry Irving, and also continued to illustrate books for writers including W.B. Yeats. She became involved in the occult and in 1909 drew the designs for the enduringly popular Waite-Smith tarot deck.
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