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Louise Imogen Guiney Letter

Identifier: MSS 0180

Scope and Contents

The letter in this collection was written from Auburndale, Massachusetts to Paul Lemperly, presumably soon after the publication of Monsieur Henri in 1892, and is dated August 20. Guiney tells him: "I am afraid that the 'Monsieur Henri' books, ordinary 12 mo. but bound in Chollet plaid, are by now, absolutely unobtainable. There were but fifty of them". Guiney is apparently describing a privately printed run of the book; the Harper and Brothers trade edition (DC218.2 G9) is bound in dark green cloth with a gilt coat of arms on the front cover and two gilt fleur-de-lis on the spine, lettered in gilt.


  • 1892


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

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Biographical or Historical Information

Poet and scholar Louise Imogen Guiney was born in Boston, Massachusetts January 7, 1861, the daughter of Patrick Robert Guiney, a lawyer and Union brigadier general in the Civil War, and Janet M. Doyle. She studied at the Jesuit Elmhurst Convent of the Sacred Heart in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1877, two years before she graduated, her father died from an old war wound; the martial and chivalric strains in her poetry have been attributed to his influence.

Guiney settled on a literary career while still in adolescence; her early poems were published in the Roman Catholic periodical Boston Pilot. In the 1880s she published two books of poetry and a book of fairy tales, and had won the friendship of such Boston literary figures as Annie Fields, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Alice Brown. She associated herself with Boston's artistic bohemia, among them photographer and publisher Fred Holland Day, and sometimes preferred to wear men's clothing; it has been speculated that she was romantically involved with either Brown or Day, or both.

Guiney's career as a poet slowed as her financial resources dwindled, and she was forced to work. During the 1890s, she held the job as postmaster at Auburndale, Massachusetts and continued to write and publish. Monsieur Henri, a romantic biography of a French counterrevolutionary, was published in 1892, followed by A Little English Gallery in 1894 and Lovers' Saint Ruth's and Three Other Tales in 1895. Although she resigned from the post office after a serious illness in 1897, she later accepted an appointment as a cataloger at the Boston Public Library and worked there for nearly two years.

In 1901 Guiney moved to England and made Oxford her home for the rest of her life, but she never gave up her American citizenship. In 1917 she suffered a stroke, which curtailed her work, and she died at the Cotswolds village of Chipping Camden on November 2, 1920.


0.01 Linear Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



Louise Imogen Guiney (1861-1920) was a poet and scholar from Boston, Massachusetts. The letter in this collection was written to Paul Lemperly, in regards to the availability of a privately printed run of her book Monsieur Henri (published 1892).

Method of Acquisition

Removed from a library book (volume not identified), date unknown.

Related Materials

More Louise Imogen Guiney collections are available at Vassar College, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Virginia. The letters of Louise Imogen Guiney are available at University of Notre Dame.

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Repository Details

Part of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Repository

P.O. Box 26170
320 College Ave.
Greensboro NC 27402-6170 US