I doggedly pursue Howard Pyle’s correspondence because even seemingly slight or unimportant letters can shed light on his life. Sometimes, too, they can create a snowball effect: a passing reference to a name or an event can open up vast new lines of research.
A little over fifteen years ago I came across a cache of seven letters by Pyle, written when he was 22 and 23 years old. Deciphering his quirky handwriting and occasional misspellings and then following up on the people and places and goings-on mentioned kept me busy for weeks - months, in fact - and I still find myself filling in persistent gaps now and then.
I’ll touch on all of these curious epistles in future posts, but here’s one, written on this day in 1876. See if you can figure out what it says. I’ll present my transcription and more details about it soon...
And here is Part Two.