Date Published: 
Binding: No binding
7 x 9 inches flat, folded to 7 x 4-1/2 inches. Light purple paper with FAK (Frances Anne Kemble purple printed logo masthead on page 1. Autograph letter signed. Two pages. Dated Queens Anne's Mansions Tuesday 30th [circa 1880] to the well-connected literary lady, amateur actress Mary Boyle (1810-90). The letter reads: "My dear Mary Boyle, I am at home almost every afternoon of my life from three to six o'clock - except on Saturdays - and if you do not dread being lifted up six pair of stairs should be delighted to see you and grateful for you for coming. Remembering always/ Affectionately yours/ Fanny Kemble"
Mary Boyle moved in social circle of the titled and the literary. Mary met Dickens in 1849; thereafter she was a very good friend of his. Dickens described her as 'she is the very best actress I ever saw off the stage, and immeasurably better than a great many I have seen on it.'
Fanny Kemble, well-known English actress, was married to Pierce Butler, a Philadelphia resident and Georgia slave-owner and visited with him his plantation in the Sea Islands in 1838 and 1839. Of strong anti-slavery sentiment, she did not learn of Butler's "dreadful possessions" until after her marriage in 1834. Her visit to his wealthy plantation made her more firm in her views and she presents a remarkably detailed portrait of the daily cruelty of slave life on the plantation, one of the best and strongest of such descriptions written. It was first published in London in May 1863 in order to counter English sympathy for the Confederacy, and was followed by this edition in July. Fanny Kemble (1809-1893) was a member of an old London theatrical family. She made her stage debut at nineteen, and was for years a very successful Shakespearean actress. In 1833 she accompanied her father, Charles to America, and in 1834 she married Pierce Butler, a Southern planter, whom she divorced in 1848. She is the author of numerous diaries and memoirs, but is best known for her Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation (1863), in which she was strongly critical of the practice of slavery. She published this work at the height of the Civil War to counteract the pro-Southern outlook of the English aristocracy.
Kemble's name became permanently linked to the issue of slavery when, in 1863, she published her most famous volume, Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation. "I think I should die if I had to live here," Kemble confessed after a season on the Butler lands, and her journal of those days hauntingly records the "simple horror and misery" she saw as the plight of the slaves. The raw power of her words made for a powerful antislavery tract, which influenced European sentiment toward the Union cause. Passages were read aloud on the floor of the House of Commons and to cotton workers in Manchester, and the book was embraced by Northern critics as "a permanent and most valuable chapter in our history" (Atlantic Monthly).