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Black like?: The strange case of Emma Dunham Kelley-Hawkins.

"The question of who is or is not black, while usually easy to decide, sometimes becomes a problem."--William P. French, bibliophile

The recuperation of previously "lost" or "forgotten" texts has long been a necessary component of African American literary studies; it is crucial to the project of constructing a canon of African American literature. This recuperation is particularly requisite in the instance of black women's literature. Diverse female authors now accepted as canonical, including Zora Neale Hurston and Harriet Jacobs, have been republished, circulated, and incorporated on the basis of the recuperative scholarship regarding them and their work. Interestingly, as time passes and these rediscoveries become less frequent, with each new act of recovery we now see an increasing amount of authenticating scholarship about the work and the individual author--not without a certain irony, given the history of the publication of antebellum African American writing with accompanying authenticating documents by established white citizens. In the contemporary context the authoritative white citizen has been reconfigured as the authoritative academic, yet with the same purpose: to prove the veracity of a subject who requires confirmation. In the case of Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written By Herself, scholar Jean Fagan Yellin unearthed sufficient evidence to counter the belief that Jacobs's narrative was a fiction authored by abolitionist writer Lydia Maria Childs. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., assembled an array of facts to prove that Harriet Wilson's Our Nig was the product of an African American author, rather than a white writer sympathetic to the inequalities African Americans faced in the North. Likewise, the previously unpublished manuscript The Bondwoman's Narrative, by Hannah Crafts, was scrupulously authenticated, emerging as it did on the heels of the well-publicized revelation that recently recovered diaries, purported to belong to Jack the Ripper and Adolf Hitler, were in fact fraudulent. Whatever the reason, each newly recuperated text presented to the public since the 1980s has been accompanied by substantial historical research, or at least a narrative of the search for such research, whether it was successful or not.

This emphasis upon historical documentation has turned many literary critics into literary detectives, combing for the first time the historical records which might reveal more about their subjects, trading or enhancing the language of critical theory with that of historians and bibliographers. However, given the specificity of African American literary studies, it is not enough to suggest that such scholarship is fuelled by a renewed interest in the history of the book. Rather, what this turn to substantial secondary source material suggests is a waxing in enthusiasm for potentially hasty acts of recuperation, and an increased interest and investment in the business of African Americana more broadly. For instance, following observations by Wyatt Houston Day--a noted appraiser of African Americana--that the authorship of Our Nig deserved further scrutiny, Gates produced additional research that more solidly supported his claims. (1) Yellin's edition of Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl--seemingly thorough in its first incarnation--has also been expanded and reprinted, followed in 2003 by Yellin's biography of the author. Nor are texts with a longer history of inclusion in the African American canon immune from the turn to more extensive archival research. Even as suspicions still exist about the intertextualities of the narratives of Olaudah Equiano and Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, and the possibility of the former's editorial interventions in the latter's text, Vincent Carretta has posed questions about Equiano's previously uncontested veracity. On the basis of a Royal Navy entry and a baptismal certificate that states Equiano was born in South Carolina, Carretta posits that Equiano in all likelihood never visited Africa, challenging how we might think about his representation of the Middle Passage and his acclimatization to New World slavery and economics. These projects and the insights they provide suggest that there remains significant historical research still to be done on texts that we take for granted as established, the same texts upon which scholars base assumptions about periods and genres, and toward which they gesture in support of any number of academic arguments.

The Case of Kelley-Hawkins

In this paper, I return to Emma Dunham Kelley-Hawkins, identified as an African American novelist of the late nineteenth century, about whom, until recently, nothing was known except her name and her authorship of two novels: Megda (1891) and Four Girls at Cottage City (1898). Key to Kelley-Hawkins's scarce biography was the assumption that she was a light-skinned mulatto. However, as I independently undertook a bibliographic search for clues to the author's racial identification, Holly Jackson, then a doctoral student at Brandeis University, revisited the genealogical archives harboring the same suspicions. The Boston Globe published her research in February 2005: she demonstrated that Kelley-Hawkins, her parents, and grandparents were all identified as white in contemporary census records. While this does not preclude that at least one or more of them "passed" for white, a common practice among light-skinned blacks of the time to secure additional economic and social security--and a possibility that Jackson notes--it does call into question her literary identification in the late-twentieth century as African American. (2) For 50 years now, Emma Dunham Kelley-Hawkins has been commonly included in encyclopedias of African American writers where entries generally follow the script of "we know nothing, we extrapolate much"--but always the assumption has been that she is unquestionably African American. (3) For a brief moment, Kelley-Hawkins even occupied the status of the first female African American novelist, until displaced by the discovery of Our Nig by Harriet E. Wilson (1859), who was in turn displaced by Hannah Crafts and The Bondwoman's Narrative (circa 1850s). For contemporary scholars, Kelley-Hawkins's status within the 19th-century African American canon was secured with her republication in "The Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers" series, edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (4)

I first read Kelley-Hawkins as part of a project on African American female authors of the turn of the century and was struck by what Dickson D. Bruce describes as her way of "avoiding racial questions altogether" (15) as well as her use of seemingly white characters in her novels of Christian salvation. I returned to Kelley-Hawkins to write an encyclopedia entry for Writing African American Women: An Encyclopedia of Literature by and about Women of Color, edited by Elizabeth Beaulieu. Despite her proliferation of names, Kelley-Hawkins proved absolutely elusive in the black community: she was absent from the records of the black women's club movement consulted and the period listings of "Negro women of note." Kelley-Hawkins does not appear in studies of Black Boston, including those by Adelaide Cromwell, John Daniels, and James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton. (5) Book reviews proved almost impossible to locate, with the exception of one appearing in the Religious Telescope, which nevertheless revealed nothing of the author's racial identification. (6) Working from the assumption that Kelley-Hawkins was from the Boston area, based on her choice of publisher and setting, the search turned to Boston's black press of the period. Issues of the Boston Advance and the Boston Courant released before 1900 have not survived, while the Women's Era, produced by the Women's Era Club of Boston, existed from 1894-1897, too late to review Megda and too early for Four Girls. The most obvious possible place remaining was--because of Kelley-Hawkins's Christian associations--the AME Church Review. As of yet, no trace of her has been found in this publication.

Kelley-Hawkins's racial slipperiness is fascinating in and of itself. Her books and name, after all, circulated in the public realm. Yet, unlike other African American writers of the time who had authored two or more books, she is absent from early bibliographies of African American literature and those produced within living memory of the publication of her works. She is also absent from accounts of notable African American women of the period. She does not appear in Lawson Andrew Scrugg's Women of Distinction: Remarkable in Works and Invincible in Character (1893) or Gertrude Bustill Mossell's The Work of the Afro-American Woman (1894), both catalogues of African American women who have contributed to the public realm in some way. When librarian Daniel A. P. Murray asked colleagues to add to his bibliography of African American authors and publications, no one appears to have suggested Kelley-Hawkins, as she is absent from the list he submitted to the Paris Exposition of 1900. Monroe N. Work does not include her in his 1924 compendium Bibliography of the Negro, nor does noted bibliophile Arthur A. Schomburg in his 1925 listing, or Hallie Q. Brown in her 1926 Homespun Heroines. She is likewise absent from the 1940 Hampton Catalogue. (7) Indeed, Kelley-Hawkins's first appearance in any bibliography of African American writing is in Maxwell Whiteman's A Century of Fiction by American Negroes (1955). Other scholars did not necessarily follow suit. Notably, she was omitted in successive compilations produced by Robert A. Bone (1965), Darwin T. Turner (1970), and Janheinz Jahn's exhaustive 1965 study. (8) It appears to be on the basis of Whiteman's inclusion that she finds her way into listings compiled by Robert A. Corrigan (1970), Robert Whitlow (1973), and Carole McAlpine Watson (1985), and eventually into contemporary encyclopedias, scholarship, and studies.

These early exclusions are not as inconsequential as they might initially seem: those late-19th-century African Americans who were invested in advancing the race were quick to recognize and celebrate individuals who provided positive examples of accomplishment. Kelley-Hawkins, as a published author of novels that advanced personal uplift and spiritual salvation, would certainly have qualified as a figure worthy of celebration. Instead, she is unacknowledged by those who would have had the most at stake in recognizing and claiming her: contemporary chroniclers of African American achievements. These notable absences, when considered in light of her use of seemingly white characters and acknowledged lack of racial concerns, are striking. At some point the question that Jackson raises must be addressed in terms of her literary record: what if Kelley-Hawkins was not black? (9) What if her lack of concern with racial themes and choice of white characters was not a matter of her being anomalous in the African American canon, but rather her being normal within the tradition of evangelical Christian fiction of the period, a genre in which white writers prevailed?

A number of considerations are crucial in trying to address the question of Kelley-Hawkins's racial identification: namely, just what we know about her and what can we extrapolate; what textual evidence exists for reading her characters as light-skinned "passers," and if it is valid; what might the record of her publication tell us; and how we might regard her incorporation into the African American literary canon. Ultimately, it is less interesting to consider how Kelley-Hawkins might have identified herself, and more interesting to consider how she comes to be racially identified by scholars--including the possibility that certain historical and literary concessions are necessary in generating such a reading. These concessions draw attention to what was once at stake in matters of recuperation for African American literature--namely, the need or desire to assert historical belonging and continuity. Now that the project of recuperation has been successfully undertaken, we might consider what is currently at stake in maintaining Kelley-Hawkins uncritically within the African American canon. Historically, she has been valued by such scholars as Carla Peterson for her association of Christianity and progress with African Americans, for representing her subjects as members of the US bourgeoisie. This status presents possibilities in terms of broadening literary representations to include a variety of African Americans not commonly seen in white literature at the time, particularly those freed from racial considerations to focus on issues of personal salvation. As Claudia Tate demonstrates, there are other African American authors who foreground salvation. Moreover, they do so in a rubric that disrupts the association of white skin with purity--a rupturing of physical and metaphorical whiteness that is, at best, questionable in Kelley-Hawkins's novels.

The Facts About Kelley-Hawkins

In 1891 Emma Dunham Kelley published her first known novel, Megda, with James H. Earle Publishers of Boston under the pseudonym "Forget-Me-Not." The following year Megda was reprinted by Earle with the recognition of "Emma Dunham Kelley" as its author (see Fig. 1). In 1895, Four Girls at Cottage City was copyrighted, printed by the Continental Printing Company, and reappeared in 1898 by Earle. This time the author was cited as "Emma Dunham Kelley-Hawkins," indicating the occurrence of her marriage to Benjamin A. Hawkins in 1893 (cf. Jackson). (10) However, Kelley-Hawkins obviously did not imagine marriage as limiting her prospects as a career author; in the latter book her protagonists discuss their appreciation of Megda:

"Is there a sequel to Megda," asked Allie.

"Not yet, but there is going to be."

"An phwere did yez get the news, Vera?" asked Jessie.

"I advise you to stop practicing that dialect, Jess," said Garnet. (114)

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Garnet's comments move the conversation in another direction, ironically reproducing the evasion and elision that characterizes what we still don't know about Kelley-Hawkins. However, this brief exchange does add to our knowledge of her, indicating that she believed in her ability as an author and creator; that she had no doubts about securing publication of future work; and that she had already begun to map out future possible projects. This savvy and playful insertion also suggests that Kelley-Hawkins understood the value of self-advertising as a means of creating and maintaining an audience who would remain loyal to her work. As most authors of the time were well aware, a secured faithful audience had the potential to transform their very names into commodities that could ensure future financial success. It is for this reason that Kelley-Hawkins's choices to include her name in the second edition of Megda, and to retain her maiden names while appending her married name in Four Girls, are so significant: they signal her intention to function as a public figure and--perhaps more importantly--a professional author, namely a wage-earner.

There are sufficient indications in the textual material surrounding Megda and Four Girls that Kelley-Hawkins had good reason to establish herself in a career. Her dedication of Megda to her "widowed mother" for her "patient love and unwearied devotion during years of hard struggle and self-sacrifice" demonstrates her knowledge that male providers can and do die, leaving women to struggle for survival financially and emotionally. Marriage, then, need not end her writing; indeed the households of many a 19th-century female author were dependent on her financial contributions, whether to assist in making ends meet or as the primary wage-earner. (11) In Kelley-Hawkins's case, she clearly had the example of a mother who in some way worked to support her daughter and ensure her education, an education evident in the level of literacy demonstrated in her two known novels. Also evident is that this struggle was not accomplished in isolation: Four Girls thanks "Aunt Lottie whom I have often and truly called my 'Second Mother,'" suggesting shared parental responsibilities and a close-knit community of women who supported and sustained each other. This sustenance most definitely has spiritual resonances, as Kelley-Hawkins thanks her Aunt Lottie (after whom she appears to have named her protagonist Charlotte) by affirming that the praise of God in Heaven ("Well done, thou good and faithful servant") will one day be hers.

It is within this narrative of uplift that we might read as autobiographical the struggle of Kelley-Hawkins's characters in both novels to overcome class prejudices and recognize the spiritual piety and example provided by their poorer brethren; they represent Kelley-Hawkins's own Christian commitment in less-than-financially-ideal circumstances. After all, Kelley-Hawkins transmits in her writing this affirmation of the need for and desirability of religious salvation as the most obvious aspect of her world. At least in her novels, she supports temperance, opposes theatre-going, and preaches salvation. Nothing in either work undermines these stances as facile. Indeed, her novels so earnestly represent spiritual concerns that their didactic tenor far surpasses their contemporary entertainment value.

Kelley-Hawkins's novels differ from those of such African American women contemporaries as Frances E. W. Harper and Pauline Hopkins in their emphasis on religion that in no way ties to a project of racial uplift. As Meryl F. Schwartz notes, "Kelley's novels are exceptional among the work of African American women publishing in the 1890s. Rather, they are typical of writing by white women in the 'girl's fiction' subgenre of the sentimental novel" (416). This discourse of exceptionality recurs in criticism of Kelley-Hawkins, marking her contribution as an anomaly in African American literature, expressing discomfort with her use of seemingly white characters and avoidance of racial concerns. (12) Critics have attempted to explain Kelley-Hawkins's white characters as indicative of her desire for a broader audience, or representative of the ambivalence of turn-of-the-century "mulatto" populations, or as a cover for a discussion of social justice that necessarily would be extended to racial justice. Still, there remains a residual ambivalence about the alignment of whiteness with purity in her novels. Just as this ambivalence has not been read as a site of exploration, so too critics have traditionally refrained from extending a discussion of the racial identification of her characters to that of Kelley-Hawkins herself.

Kelley-Hawkins's primary identification as African American rests upon the photograph portrait that appears in the frontispiece of both the first and second editions of Megda (1891, 1892). The photograph depicts a young woman with undeniably wavy hair upswept in the fashion of the times. Her face is oval and her bottom lip full. The clothes she wears are appropriate to the time: a jacket over a darker blouse with just a hint of lace trim that covers part of her neck. Interestingly, this photograph, one of the few extant pieces of evidence of Kelley-Hawkins--one on which we pin the hope of definitive answers--has in fact been subject to multiple interpretations. Julie L. Williams reads the photo as showing "a young woman of ambiguous race" (311), while Molly Hite contends that the photo "clearly depicts an Afro American woman" (xxvii). In turn, Tate opposes Hite's reading to assert that the photo would confirm Kelley-Hawkins as a light-skinned "mulatta" by people already aware of her racial identity, and as white by those who did not (258n41). That both Williams and Tate foreground the possibility of ambiguity in their readings of Kelley-Hawkins's image indicates not only the possibility of contradictory readings, but the reality of contradictory possibilities. Kelley-Hawkins is "mulatto" and therefore African American, or she is white, or she is both simultaneously, according to the US (il)logic of race and the conditions of racial passing. Few would contest that she can be both phenotypically "white" and "racially mixed"; rather, what Hite and Tate disagree about--on the basis of a single image--is whether or not she is immediately identifiable as such.

This variety of racial readings of this portrait by contemporary critics might in part be explained by the quality of the reproduction of the image itself. The scanned photograph that accompanies the reprint of Megda in the Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers series differs from the original. (13) The difference between the two photographs is significant enough to provoke the ultimately reductive and ridiculous practice of racial scrutiny. But given the paucity of information about Kelley-Hawkins before Jackson published her research, this absurd practice were what scholars have found themselves engaging in, first in relation to Kelley-Hawkins, and then in relation to her characters. While readers initially judge Kelley-Hawkins's characters as white, Kelley-Hawkins's image as encountered by readers of the Schomburg reprint suggests otherwise: Kelley-Hawkins's racial designation as "mulatto" seems more obvious in the reprint than in the original. Her skin appears darker and her features fuller, common indexes in the game of specular racial identification. In contrast, the original image supports the readings of Tate and Williams. In the black and white portrait, Kelley-Hawkins's skin tone seems to realize the heroines of Four Girls depicted with "rich complexions and dark eyes" and "rosy" cheeks and mouths (52, 10, 13, 17). Notably, her name suggests Irish ancestry. Of course, given that her dedication to her mother indicates a pattern of economic hardship, we might also extrapolate that Kelley-Hawkins's original photo was not of the best quality. Ultimately, though, whether it was overexposed or underexposed--or even perfectly exposed--what Tate's observation unwittingly compels is the need for supporting evidence or insider knowledge to verify Kelley-Hawkins's racial identity. But that evidence remains contested. We still don't know: could her family have been passing? (14)

Textual Evidence

Just as Kelley-Hawkins's own racial appearance is open to multiple interpretations, so is that of her characters in Megda and Four Girls. No one, however, disputes that her heroines are represented as visually white. Carol McAlpine Watson identifies Kelley-Hawkins's heroines as " 'white' mulattoes" (142) while Deborah E. McDowell reads the heroines of Four Girls as "physically indistinguishable from white women" (xxix). Hite describes the school girls in Megda as: "[n]ot only white, but very white. The narrative is so insistent on this point that whiteness emerges as the most overused element of characterization. For example, Megda's three best friends are all blondes, and in some of the descriptive passages they seem almost to be competing for the honor of being--literally--the fairest" (xxix). Despite the consensus that these characters are white m appearance, Schwartz writes that there exists: "disagreement regarding the precise racial identification of Kelley's characters. The confusion is compounded by the iconography of Megda in which fair skin is almost correlated with virtue, the exception being one very poor, devout young woman described as having skin significantly darker than that of her wealthier peers. Even here, coloring may be an indicator of class status rather than racial virtue" (416).

The assertion that Kelley-Hawkins's characters are African American can only be based on the reading of Kelley-Hawkins as such, as textual evidence in isolation does not support such a reading. While some characters are in possession of darker eyes, unfortunately dark eyes or even brown skin are not reliable as codes of racial identification in 19th-century American literature. For instance, in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, a book Kelley-Hawkins evidently admired (naming characters in her first book Meg, Laurie, and May), Jo is described as "very tall, thin and brown" with "sharp grey eyes" (Alcott 13; cf. McCaskill). Furthermore, as Schwartz alludes, the representation of working-class women as darker-skinned than their wealthier counterparts is in keeping with conventional representational practices of the time, whereby their symbolic brownness enhances the middle and upper class fragility of the female heroine--less suited for a life of toil or suffering on the basis of the equation of whiteness with femininity and fragility. In many ways this hierarchy of coloration serves the same purpose as male suitors with brown complexions, which highlight the heroine's femininity and emphasize the attractive contrast with a figured "darker" masculinity. In this configuration, whiteness and femininity are intertwined, and, in books valuing spiritual progress, feminized whiteness is further linked to a state of salvation. In this vein, Hite observes of Kelley-Hawkins's works, "The frequent association of whiteness with virtue seems to support a traditional Western--and of course racist--iconography" (xxix).

Additional elements imply that Kelley-Hawkins's primary characters are indeed intended to be read as white. Namely, black vernacular dialect succinctly establishes the racial identities of overtly African American characters in Megda (262, 285); conversely, Kelley-Hawkins uses no racial terms to mark the identities of the protagonists, a rhetorical feature that ties her more to US white authors of her day than to black. (15) Notably, African American novelist Amelia E. H. Johnson constructed characters without any markers of racial identification. In Johnson's case one might mistake her characters for white not on the basis of description, but on the assumption of whiteness as normative. However, Johnson's racial identification was well-known, as was her association with both matters of spiritual and racial uplift. In this context of African American literary conventions, Kelley-Hawkins's use of white characters seems incongruous. Moreover, it appears slightly odd in the context of the political moment, particularly in her second novel: Four Girls was copyrighted in 1895, the same year that Victoria Earle Matthews addressed the First Congress of Colored Women in Boston on the subject of "The Value of Race Literature" and the need to represent blacks positively. Matthews's speech was a refined articulation of ideas that had been circulating among African American readers for some time, as demonstrated in Elizabeth McHenry's excellent study of African American literary societies (198). (16) If Kelley-Hawkins is from Massachusetts--as she is assumed to be, given her publisher's location, her description of her characters as being vacationers from the city of "B-- --,"her choice of setting, and her identification in census records--she must have been aware of educated blacks' faith that positive representations of black characters would assist in the elevation of black peoples. If racial uplift was a matter of concern to African American authors invested in matters of spiritual or secular uplift more generally, then Kelley-Hawkins's choice of white characters--though economically pragmatic--and obscuring of any African American antecedents she might possess is an idiosyncratic one. (17)

If the physical descriptions of the characters do not definitively situate them racially, then perhaps the supporting textual evidence does. Setting is certainly one of the most important factors in this instance. For example, the Wesley Hotel, where the male characters of Four Girls have made reservations (23), was at the time of the novel's composition an exclusively white establishment, and remained so until the height of the 20th-century civil rights movement (Graham 155; Wesley interview). This detail does not foreclose the possibility of the characters' passing as white to secure suitable lodgings. However, it is more troublesome to read Kelley-Hawkins's setting of "Cottage City" on Martha's Vineyard as proof that her characters are light-skinned African Americans, as has been done. Hite recounts that "Henry Louis Gates, Jr., has noted that the town of Cottage City, where Megda, Dell, and Laurie spend their vacation, is modelled on Oak Bluffs, a summer resort of the black bourgeoisie since the late nineteenth century" (xxx).

As Gates's observation suggests, the history of what is now Oak Bluffs, on Martha's Vineyard, has been important in thinking about Kelley-Hawkins. During the time in which she was writing, it was well established as a place of secular and spiritual respite. Religious camp meetings had brought mass numbers of people to the island as early as the 1830s. By 1858 as many as 12,000 might arrive for a special meeting (Stoddard 38). In the 1860s permanent cottages arose on the campgrounds. By the 1890s, Oak Bluffs was a location for leisure at least as often as a location for revivals. But the area had not been established as an African American vacation spot at the time that Kelley-Hawkins began writing, and to read it as such is anachronistic. According to Jacqueline Holland, in 1889 there still existed opposition to African Americans lodging in the area (10). While oral history does hold that the first boarding house for black vacationers opened shortly before the turn of the century (Stoddard 102-03; Cromwell "The History of Oak Bluffs" 52), Shearer Cottage, famously recognized as one of--if not the--earliest boarding houses for black vacationers, did not begin operations as such until sometime between 1912 and 1915. It is important to note that even at this later date "blacks were not welcome as guests at inns on the island" ("Shearers Cottage"; Holland 19). Supporting this later date for the arrival of black vacationers, Arthur R. Railton observes that while the region was christened Cottage City in 1880, and renamed Oak Bluffs in 1908, it was only "a decade or so later that Blacks began to vacation" there (vi; italics added). In 1950, according to the reminiscences of one man, Shearer Cottage still remained "the only place for blacks to stay" if they did not own residences on the Vineyard (Graham 155).

Nonetheless, African Americans were present in Oak Bluffs in the 1880s and 1890s, as Holland chronicles in "African Americans on Martha's Vineyard" for a special issue of The Dukes County Intelligencer (1-6; 11-16). Certainly, African Americans came as visitors to the island: as early as 1835 "with the start of Methodist camp meetings in what is now Oak Bluffs, Negro ministers occasionally came to gatherings," generally to raise funds for abolitionist or racial uplift enterprises (Holland 7). Likewise, African Americans also arrived as employees of vacationing white families, and by the 1890s at least one such woman, Phoebe Ballou, was in possession of her own home (Holland 16-18). As her great-grandson observes,
 My family and the family of Dorothy
 West were the first to own homes and
 host black summer visitors, since the
 white inns had a whites-only policy.
 ... Since this is the liberal Northeast,
 people are often surprised to hear that
 the segregated hotel rule was actually
 in place on the Vineyard. But when I
 was summering there as a child in the
 1930s and 1940s, that was the rule all
 over the island. (Graham 154) (18)


According to Adelaide M. Cromwell, only recently have African Americans been welcome on the campgrounds proper. It is therefore not surprising that in 1890 the black population of the entire island numbered only 132 (Cromwell, "The History of Oak Bluffs" 50). All available evidence, then, points to the fact that while Cottage City developed as an African American vacation spot around 1900 or in the decade following, it had not done so in a way that would support a story of African American women vacationing there unencumbered by racial considerations in 1891 (the date Megda was published). Nor does it seem likely that in 1895 (the date of Four Girls" copyright) black vacationers would feel secure enough to arrive without reservations and be assured a significant choice of lodgings--or even any choice of lodgings--or feel confident in their ability to check into the most prestigious hotel the Wesley.

For all that, Kelley-Hawkins may be writing about characters who are passing for white. But if they are passing to secure accommodations in the Wesley and as a means of choosing between suitable lodgings, then we can assume they are "principled passers," according to Jennifer DeVere Brody's formulation. In this instance they are not passing for fun, "playful[ly] passing," or challenging a hierarchy of whiteness, but rather passing to assume rights they are denied (1058). On the one hand, "principled passing" seems inconsistent in this instance, as one of the lessons that both novels represent the girls learning is that they must overcome their investment in harmful distinctions, figured through class difference. On the other hand, if these characters do illustrate principled passing, then the reference in Four Girls to "nigger heaven" provides what has been offered as incontrovertible evidence of their racial identification--and Kelley-Hawkins's own--as African American. In a discussion of the potentially corrupting influence of the theatre, the following exchange occurs:

"Hear Net," said Jessie. "Anybody would think we were female Caesars."

"Well, we go to the theatre on an average of once a month," retorted Garnet, "whether we are female Caesars--or male Caesars," she added, rather lam

"Yes, you bet we do," said Jessie, "if we do have to get seats in 'nigger heaven.'"

Garnet looked most indignant. "The idea!" she exclaimed. "I wouldn't say such a thing even in jest, if I were you, Jessie."

"An' sure, I'm not saying it in joke. I'm in deadly earnest, be jabbers. But you do not answer me Vera. Have you changed your mind about going to the theatre?" (81)

The conventional reading of this passage holds that Jessie has just spoken the truth about an uncomfortable social reality, based on the segregating of African Americans in balconies in public theatres. Abiding by this reading, Garnet is offended by Jessie's frank admission of their race and the according indignities to which they must submit. Still, if we accept the premise that the characters are "'white' mulattoes," as well as the historical evidence that Cottage City was not yet an African American vacation spot and that the young men must pass for white to enter the Wesley Hotel while the young women are passing to secure lodgings, then we must wonder: why do they not exercise the ability to pass when attending the theatre at home in the city, assumed to be Boston? One could argue that they might be recognized and exposed in Boston, but the reality exists that Boston's white population did vacation in the region, and exposure was just as possible on Martha's Vineyard as in a Boston theatre.

A second, alternative, reading of this passage depends on the characters' identification as white and their proclivity for snobbery, as well as on the theatre's ill repute as an undesirable exposure site of circulation of the female body both on stage and in the audience. Garnet's characterization of the women as "female Caesars," exercising significant bravery in entering the public realm, is met by Jessie's bravado in characterizing the theatre more generally as the taboo space of "nigger heaven," and suggesting they might even dare to sit in seats reserved for African Americans. Following this interpretation, Jessie's comments suggest that to go to the theatre is to sit among the common and uncouth masses, and to be tainted by their symbolic or even literal blackness. This reading can be supported by other textual evidence. Jessie has, shortly before this incident, demonstrated that she takes pleasure in using objectionable, forbidden words and phrases like the irreverent "nigger heaven" (80). But this violation of verbal taboos is not initially matched by a desire to transgress established social hierarchy. For a dozen pages later, the girls recoil in horror at the revelation that a woman in whom they have taken interest is not of their class:

"Oh, do hurry," cried Jessie impatiently. "Who is she?"

"She is a laundress."

If he had said: "She is a murderess," the effect would have been scarcely more startling. The girls opened their eyes, in surprise.

"A laundress?" repeated Vera, faintly, and Jessie exclaimed: "Well, I never!" while Fred, I am sorry to say, gave vent to the elegant expression "The divil!" and then begged the ladies' pardon in the next breath. (93)

The clear offense with which Jessie treats this revelation begs the question: why would such a clearly "discriminating" young woman, if black subject herself to sitting in the segregated section of a theatre, generally substandard in furnishing and no doubt populated by some of the working classes whom she so clearly derides? This offence constitutes either a slip by Kelley-Hawkins in character development, or an accusation against the rude operations of the theatre, highlighted through the outspoken Jessie's racially derisive phrase. It is clear, after all, that Garnet believes that Jessie is "in jest" in this moment, albeit inappropriately so. Still, what matters most is at whose expense we read that jest--whether it is a self-mocking of one's own racial reality, or a racist characterization of the popular public as undesirable and uncouth.

It is undeniable, after all, that Kelley-Hawkins opposes the theatre as an acceptable form of entertainment for young women in several chapters in Four Girls, and affirms the ideology that women belong in the private sphere not the public, directing their energies appropriately. To underscore the corrupting influence of drama, Kelley-Hawkins cites extracts from a sermon by Reverend Madison C. Peters, a white turn-of-the-century Pedobaptist preacher of New York (Baptist Principles Reset). Peters's sermon represents the theatre as a popular form of the masses that draws energies away from the church. Peters condemns as "positive evils" theatre's "shameful postures, the female attire, or rather the lack of it, the compromising attitudes, the silly things accepted, the commonplace persons admired and commended" (102). And, as Kelley-Hawkins's novels demonstrate, respectable Christian woman must avoid corrupting influences. Instead, Kelley-Hawkins celebrates the woman who relinquishes public aspirations and public circulation for the private protection afforded by marriage. Characterizing the theatre as an undesirable public space for the delicate women affirms the reading of Garnet's claim that Jessie is "jest[ing]" about actually sitting in a segregated balcony.

Circulation of the Texts

As the title of Mary Kelley's Private Woman, Public Stage: Literary Domesticity in Nineteenth-Century America suggests, Kelley-Hawkins's condemnation of those women who circulate publicly--either on stage or in the theatre--is not irreconcilable with her declaring of herself as a public author. Indeed, the longstanding mystery surrounding the facts of Kelley-Hawkins's life attests to her success in evading the kinds of exposure she counseled female readers to avoid. Nevertheless, her published works, accompanied by her photo, did circulate, and while the means by which they did so may not tell us more about her definitively, they do provide insight on how she has come to be identified.

An attempt to locate the surviving records of Kelley-Hawkins's first and primary publisher, James H. Earle, has proved futile. Using available library and archival resources, however, I have begun a crude reconstruction of Earle's life and a bibliography of texts his company published between 1862 and 1915. (19) James Harvey Earle (1839-?), was the son of famed evangelist, Reverend Absalom Backus Earle (1812-1895). (20) According to the Christian Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, Rev. Earle enjoyed an enormously productive career: "He held 39,330 services, traveled 370,000 miles, led 160,000 souls to Christ, and earned a total of $65,520 for his 64 years of ministry" ("Absalom Backus Earle"). Where father converted with the spoken word, son converted with the printed one, through the production of Christian works asserting the need for spiritual salvation and the means of attaining it. James H. Earle's publishing company appears to have been formed along the same ideological lines as his father's profession; he apparently utilized all of the contacts his father's calling afforded. The earliest Earle publications located are Edward Payson Hammond's Little Ones in the Fold (1862), and P. C. Headley's The Harvest Work of the Holy Spirit (1862). These were soon joined by the numerous publications of Rev. Earle himself. In the late 1870s Earle's focus grew beyond religious autobiographies, sermons, and biblical sketches to include educational titles like Mary Pruyn's Grandmamma's letters from Japan (1877) and E. Small's The Human Body and Health (1878). The 1880s were Earle's most productive decade as a publisher, as he expanded his catalogue again to include political biographies, poetry, and fiction. In this way, Earle surpassed in scope--though not in numbers--the output of non-profit and subsidized religious publishing companies like the American Tract Society and the Methodist Book Concern. (21) Despite the more profitable expansion into less overtly didactic genres, throughout Earle's career the evangelical emphasis of his catalogue remained consistent; the reform fiction he produced was conventional rather than sensational or subversive. (22)

What an analysis of Earle's reconstructed--albeit inevitably incomplete--catalogue yields is a publisher whose primary business concern is printing and distributing works that promote evangelical Christianity. Even the "Log Cabin to White House" series is educative and indicative of Christian values. In contrast, there are few extant works that reveal a concern with issues of secular reform, excepting 1882's History of the Women's Temperance Crusade, though the temperance movement was, of course, often linked to religious reform. Actual matters of African American uplift are fundamentally absent from Earle's corpus, and authors whom we might immediately recognize as non-white are insignificant numerically. In addition to the presence of Kelley-Hawkins there are two other recognizably non-white authored works in Earle's catalogue. Namely, there is Reverend Peter Randolph's From Slave Cabin to the Pulpit: The Autobiography of Rev. Peter Randolph: The Southern Question Illustrated and Sketches of Slave Life (1893), in which he details, through the lens of religion, his experience of slavery and time in the North. (23) While Randolph may be unfamiliar to most contemporary scholars, the second author is not: Frances Ellen Watkins Harper's novel Iola Leroy, or Shadows Uplifted (1892) was published simultaneously by James H. Earle in Boston and by Garrigues Brothers, a Philadelphia firm.

Within three years, then, we have the publication of the only texts identified as African American produced by Earle: Megda, Randolph's work, and Iola Leroy. The possibility exists that this group demonstrates a sudden interest by Earle or a colleague in African American concerns, which we might then read in relation to Kelley-Hawkins--after all, most of James H. Earle's publications remain unstudied and unavailable, and who knows what other black authors may still await rediscovery? However, it is just as possible that these works are anomalies. After all, Randolph's autobiography is in keeping with other religious monographs published by the firm, while Harper's status in late-19th-century America was special, in that African Americans regarded her as exemplary, and white Christians widely accepted and respected her. As Frances Smith Foster writes:
 Her reputation was so great and she
 was so admired that women from
 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to St. Louis,
 Missouri, and St. Paul, Minnesota[,]
 formed F. E. W. Harper Leagues.
 Although a Unitarian herself, she was
 listed in The Heroines of African
 Methodism and cited by the African
 Methodist Episcopal Church Review as a
 "Woman of Our Race Worthy of
 Imitation." Named in Phebe A.
 Hanaford's Daughters of America as
 "one of the colored women of whom
 white women may be proud," Harper
 was also the only African American
 woman to be awarded a day on the
 Red Letter Calendar of the Women's
 Christian Temperance Union. (xiv)


Harper seems, then, an uncontroversial choice in African American authors and a guaranteed financial success for any Christian publisher. But after Iola Leroy--and the success that warranted its reprinting, though it remained her only work published by Earle--no other works by known African American authors appear among the Earle titles identified to date. Allowing for some error, the fact remains: we must be cautious about reading Kelley-Hawkins's having published with the same press as Harper as definitive proof of the former's racial identification. Indeed, given the "exceptional status" assigned Harper by white Christian women, she might be the only African American woman whom Earle published. Of course, by the same token, it remains possible that Kelley-Hawkins was an African American woman from a family who passed for white, a black woman who wrote novels with white characters and published them with a white press, even as her contemporary, Harper, chose a different course.

Still, the question remains of how, given Kelley-Hawkins's lack of explicit or even implicit and verifiable African American content and connections, she came to be identified as an African American author. Whiteman's inclusion of her in his 1955 bibliography appears to have been the definitive moment. Yet in his discussion of his own bibliographic methodology, Corrigan notes that Whiteman's bibliography on occasion misidentifies authors as black (115). French, in recounting his experiences as a bibliophile in the 1960s, points out that the process by which given authors come to be recognized as "black" is not as simple or uncontested as one might think. Discussing the misidentifications of various authors, he observes dryly: "The question of who is or is not black, while usually easy to decide, sometimes becomes a problem" (737). That the first known listing of Kelley-Hawkins as African American occurs in a bibliography in which other misidentifications have been uncovered highlights the ongoing relevance of Corrigan's 1970 comment that "We simply have not yet done all of the necessary scholarly research which will enable us to put together a definitive bibliography on an aspect of Afro-American culture" (115). Indeed, it has been estimated that only 10 percent of 19th-century African American literary production has been unearthed (Lockard 417-18). As these observations suggest, just as there remain black-authored works to be uncovered, so too must we not take for granted "information" previously circulated about "black" texts and authors. There was a time, after all, when cataloguing "black firsts" might have taken precedence over researching them. Ultimately, we risk conducting studies based on past authorities bedazzled by the enthusiasm of recuperation. In short, the project of recuperation cannot be completed without more historical research on authors about whom (we think) we already know.

Conclusions

Certainly researching the racial identification of a woman who has been a minor figure in the African American canon might be considered of little consequence. But even as a minor figure, Kelley-Hawkins has figured in dissertation and book projects, including Tate's Domestic Allegories of Political Desire and Gwen A. Tarbox's The Clubwomen's Daughters: Collectivist Impulses in Progressive-era Girls' Fiction. (24) In these instances she is read as an African American author and her works the bases from which are extrapolated pronouncements about African American women's literature of the turn into the twentieth century. Never is her anomalous status itself the cause for further scrutiny.

Part of this willingness to accept the irreconcilabilities, elisions, and oddities that have traditionally been noted in discussions of Kelley-Hawkins as an African American author ensues, of course, from the very way that we read African American literature as always playing with, signifyin(g) on such matters, and the way they are complicated by the elisions that white society demands of the designated racial other. Slidings across the color line, in particular, create such slippages and gaps, often exuding an inherent tricksterism that taunts our desire to know and our cultural need to declare--especially where race is concerned. Furthermore, such playfulness points to our desire for authentic theoretical frameworks, particularly within African American literature. After all, academics, like puzzles, are often predisposed towards texts that subvert, and we generally prefer readings that assert that authors are also invested in such enterprises. This theory of literary criticism redoubles the link between author and knowledgeable critic, imagined as engaging in the same game. In this way, the successful critic imagines him- or herself as a kind of ideal reader, cracking the codes an author has constructed; certainly the historical conditions of production of African American literature have led to a canon that relies on code breaking (to say nothing of code switching). The recuperation of imaginative texts has become crucial to this scholarly enterprise, as it provides new codes, new puzzle pieces, and therefore new (ways of) reading. Reading Kelley-Hawkins as a harbinger of African American modernity who subverts white literary codes as a means of covertly advancing Black causes, as Peterson does, is far more interesting than reading her as a conventional racist white author who enforces hierarchies of whiteness.

I have to admit that I find the narrative of Kelley-Hawkins's racial slipperiness incredibly, impishly, compelling. So in that spirit, I offer one more reading, one in which we temporarily set aside any hypothesis about racial misidentification and instead take Kelley-Hawkins's mixed-race status for granted, accepting the possibility that one or more of her grandparents may have been passing for white. Here is the alternate scenario: in the late 1880s or early 1890s Emma Dunham Kelley, a devout light-skinned woman, submitted a manuscript to a Boston religious publisher. Young, eager, influenced by the dominant literary conventions of the religious press, and wanting to reach the broadest possible readership, she reproduced in Megda the alignment of spiritual elevation with whiteness and wrote of phenotypically white characters. Not that she was ashamed of her racial background or attempting to obscure it, as she chose to include a portrait of herself in the volume. She initially published under a pseudonym because her name was less important than the racial and spiritual example that she could provide for readers. As a light-skinned African American woman she would have known that her photograph might be both read and misread, according to the predilections, orientations, and experiences of the reader. And she would know that such an image would function as a deliberate nod to those with the insider knowledge to read it (cf. Tate). Perhaps those readers who were aware of her racial background, or who suspected it, enjoyed such a nod, and eagerly awaited her next novel to see how she might develop the theme of race or embed more coded messages for an African American readership.

Kelley-Hawkins's success, as evidenced by the second printings of her two novels, might have been crucial in her publisher's decision to acquire more manuscripts by African American authors, including Harper and Randolph. In this way, we can read her choice to write about devout white characters as groundbreaking, in that it opened the door for other African American authors who wished to publish with James Earle, authors who wrote openly about (openly) black men and women. Likewise, in proving herself as a Christian author first, Kelley-Hawkins was also opening up the opportunity to prove herself as an African American author later. Given that publishers well into the twentieth century often questioned the salability of novels of African American life, Kelley-Hawkins's choice to establish her name before establishing her race proves her savvy in evaluating the marketplace. Certainly Kelley-Hawkins's financial success led to Earle's decision to reprint her second novel. We now know that Four Girls was published in 1895, before Matthews's speech on the value of race literature, and thus we cannot expect the novelist to address the orator's concerns. Its delay in publication, in all likelihood, was due not to the author, but rather to the death of the publisher s father that year. (25) Armed with the success of Harper and Randolph, who had published with Earle in the years between her first and second novels, Kelley-Hawkins becomes bolder in asserting her racial identity in this second novel. Embedded within Four Girls is a subtle racial "coming out" with increasing references to dark-eyed heroines, brown skin, and--ultimately--" nigger heaven."

We can only guess at the contents of Kelley-Hawkins's third novel--unpublished, unwritten, or lost, but obviously planned as she indicated in 1895. However, given the trajectory from photo portrait to "nigger heaven" in her first two books, if we still accept her status as African American, it is clear that the third may have completed a racial revelation, moving both Kelley-Hawkins and her subject along the continuum from "white" to "black." By extension, such a movement would also have the potential to relocate her readers' sympathy and possibly their understanding of race. Those who had identified with the spirituality of her subjects in the published novels first and foremost as Christians might be forced to revisit them to see whether a shift in racial status also changed the readers' identifications or, if as Kelley-Hawkins no doubt intended, race was rendered inconsequential in the face of Christian bonds. Thus, religion effaces what legislation cannot. Nevertheless, while some contemporary readers might have required a third novel with a third clue to complete the cycle from "white" to "black," those who possessed certain insider knowledge did not. This knowledge, passed on through some unknown bibliographer or librarian or collector is what led to her preservation for contemporary readers in Whiteman's bibliography. After all, racial origins, obscured at the time for particular reasons, often resurface after years of elision--witness the famous case of Anatole Broyard and, more recently and oddly, Carol Channing.

I end my alternate reading with a question: is this reading of Kelley-Hawkins as an author of African American ancestry, however slight, who passes for white, as sustainable as one that questions Kelley-Hawkins's racial status--particularly in consideration of the evidence presented by Jackson on the racial identification of Kelley-Hawkins's family in census records? As an alternate reading, is it compelling enough to counter the history of Cottage City/Oak Bluffs in 1891? My reading of Kelley-Hawkins as black, granted supported by supposition and extrapolation, urges an accommodation of her seemingly white protagonists and lack of explicit racial content. It also continues the scholarly project of literary recuperation while asserting the primacy of inclusion. And it does so with the assistance of bibliographical evidence and the knowledge of racial strictures facing late-19th-century black women authors, as well as the knowledge of the coded and multiple ways that African Americans have historically engaged in practices of racial uplift, particularly racial passing. Frankly, I prefer it; but unfortunately, I cannot sustain it. The racial coding that scholars have previously unveiled in Kelley-Hawkins's novels--or, more properly, read embedded in the specular text of Emma Dunham Kelley-Hawkins herself--and their assumptions about the historical record have resituated her identification as African American in the sphere of American romance--what Hawthorne famously identifies as possible, but not necessarily probable.

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Notes

The author wishes to thank Daniel De Simone, curator of the Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection, Library of Congress, for providing the "Advertisement from James H. Earle's Catalogue" (Fig. 1).

(1.) After reviewing Gates's supplementary research, Day has said that he no longer doubts the historical existence of Harriet Wilson, but that he retains suspicions about her solo authorship. Pointing to the extensive use of obscure quotes drawn from rare books, and the conditions of Wilson's life as she describes them, which would permit very little leisure time for such reading, Day says he believes in an unnamed collaborator (personal interview). Other theories do exist, however, including that articulated by Ja'net Daniels in "Re-Altering Literary History: Investigating Authenticity in H. E. Wilson's Our Nig," where she convincingly identifies holes in Gates's ongoing research. Daniels posits the text was a satiric production by a white woman.

(2.) Jackson has located Kelley's birth and death records, as well as those of her parents, and has also identified her husband and daughter. See "Mistaken Identity," Boston Globe 20 Feb. 2005.

(3.) Kelley is listed in The Oxford Companion to African American Literature; African American Authors, 1745-1945; Afro-American Women Writers, 1746-1933; and Beaulieu's Writing African American Women: An Encyclopedia of Literature, and Macey and Ostrom's The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature.

(4.) This series, which provides an excellent critical introduction to each text, does not provide substantial new research. Rather the series is designed to facilitate access to out-of-print texts as a means inspiring such further investigations.

(5.) Daniels's study includes a breakdown of occupation by race in Boston in 1900, citing 19 African American printers (all male), and no African American journalists or writers (343-45). However, given the ways in which African Americans have historically been elided or obscured in census records, these statistics do leave room for interpretation. We must also consider that many who wrote for the black press might have had other primary occupations.

(6.) I would like to thank Donna Hayward, of the University of Michigan's Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, for her assistance in locating this reference.

(7.) I am indebted to the generosity of Wyatt Houston Day, who freely gave me his time and suggestions during a telephone conversation on January 23, 2004. Mr. Day manages the annual auction of African Americana at Swann Galleries, New York, which made both Our Nig and The Bondwoman's Narrative available to Gates, who then arranged for their research and republication. During our conversation, Mr. Day was kind enough to consult a rare copy of a catalogue compiled at Hampton in 1940.

(8.) As French notes of Jahn's study, "This astonishing tour de force listed, in considerable detail, 3,566 titles in more than 50 languages."

(9.) The exposure of white authors who are passing as black dates to the mid-nineteenth century and "slave narratives" produced by Richard Hildreth and Mattie Griffiths. In the twentieth century writers M. P. Shiel and Anatole Broyard both obscured their African American heritage to pass as white. Exposing authors who are passing for members of another racial group is often treated as simply "straightening" out the record. But to posit that an author widely accepted as African American may not be black without any additional biographical evidence is inevitably suspect in a nation that has persistently tried to erase or deny the contributions of African Americans.

(10.) Jackson importantly includes a narrative of the discovery of this first edition in her article, citing its discovery by a rare books librarian at Brown University.

(11.) Many biographies of 19th-century female authors clearly illustrate this point. For extended overviews, see Baym and Mary Kelley.

(12.) See Jarrett's instructive and provocative introduction to his anthology of "alternative" fiction by African American authors.

(13.) See the Digital Schomburg website: http://digilib.nypl.org/dynaweb/digs/wwm9714/@Generic_BookTextView/70. The opening page of the collection features a photograph portrait of Kelley (February 2004).

(14.) While this essay was at press, Flynn published extensive genealogical and historical research suggesting that it is highly unlikely that Kelley or her family were passing.

(15.) When dialect does appear, in Four Girls, it is clear that the speaker, Betsy Ann, is not African American (235-40). The phrase "where be my" suggests she is British, or more particularly, Scottish, "oh lud" being a common representation of Scottish dialect. Indeed, the respected librarian Dorothy Porter Wesley joins Day and Gates in citing unmarked blackness and marked whiteness as internal signifiers that the Crafts novel was indeed written by an African American woman (Gates xix-xx).

(16.) McCaskill also makes this point.

(17.) Novelist Charles Chesnutt did not reveal his black identity when he first began publishing, notably in the prestigious Atlantic Monthly. But Chesnutt's writings did reveal an investment in racial matters, as his dialect tales often dealt with racial injustices.

(18.) That the Wests owned a home in 1909 is established by the records that it and the attached Ballou home (they formed a duplex) were that year destroyed by fire (Graham 154). It is, however, likely that the family's property ownership dated closer to 1900, as West's grandfather, Benjamin Benson, bought the family's first property on the island, after following his three daughters north. According to the recollections of his other famous granddaughter, poet Helene Johnson, Benson was a carpenter there for a time, his return to the South precipitated by his dislike for the treatment he received in the community (Bryan 587).

(19.) Earle was an infrequent contributor to the Publishers' Trade List Annual, and did not contribute in either of the years when Kelley published a novel. Although he cites Megda in his 1892 catalogue, he includes no background information about Kelley herself.

(20.) US census records of 1880 list James H. Earle as a publisher residing in Middlesex, Massachusetts, born in New York. Genealogical records support the link between the generations.

(21.) According to Cook, "By the mid-nineteenth-century the American Tract Society produced more volumes annually than any trade publisher" (224). To date, studies of the 19th-century religious press have tended to focus on these church-affiliated organizations rather than on such independent publishers as Earle. Neither Cathy Gunther Brown nor Nord is mentioned by the Earles.

(22.) The distinction is Reynolds's (7-9).

(23.) Randolph's account can be accessed at: http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/ randolph/menu.html. Randolph includes a long listing of friends, but no combination of Kelley's names appears.

(24.) For early dissertations on Kelley-Hawkins, see Boots and Mapel-Bloomberg.

(25.) Absalom Backus Earle died in March of 1895. See fiche 458129, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: St. George Temple.

Jennifer Harris is Assistant Professor of English at Mount Allison University, Canada. Her essays have appeared in the Canadian Review of American Studies, English Language Notes, and American Transcendental Quarterly.
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Author:Harris, Jennifer
Publication:African American Review
Date:Sep 22, 2006
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