[Letter] 1908 January 7 [to] Mr. Markham

Dublin Core


[Letter] 1908 January 7 [to] Mr. Markham


Philadelphia (Pa.)


Abbott is forwarding a letter from Mrs. Henry S[?]. Markham's presence is requested in Philadelphia at a reception that would involve many different types of people. Abbott stresses that Markham does not have to attend if he does not feel like it but if he were to attend Abbott would go with him.


Abbott, Leonard Dalton, 1878-1953


Edwin Markham Archive, Horrmann Library




Wagner College, Staten Island, NY


Please contact the Horrmann Library at Wagner College for rights to use this digital image.









Document Item Type Metadata


Jan. 7/08
Dear Mr. Markham,
I am sending you under separate cover a letter from Mrs. Henry S_____, of Philadelphia. She is a Russian-Jewish lady – a great heart in a little lady.
They want to give you a hint of reception over there. There will be high and low, people gifted and people ungifted, artists, musicians, literary folk, Socialists – a glorious assemblage! I hope you can go some time, and I would come with you if you go. I can guarantee that it will be worth while. Most affectionately yours,
Leonard Abbott

[Side Note] Don’t let this worry you. I want you to go when you feel like it, or not at all if you don’t feel like it

This whole sheet is edited by Alex. Harvey, of the “C.L.” staff for our weekly editors’ lunch club.

The Bang
No.23 New York, Sept 16, 1907 Five Cents
I dissent in the most decided way from the principles professed by our Leonard Dalton Abbott in the contribution from him which appears on another page.
The subject matter has afforded material for a great newspaper sensation within the past week or two.
I am profoundly shocked at the attitude which Leonard Dalton Abbott has deemed it proper to take up.
I think it the wrong attitude – wrong in morals, deficient in intelligence, subversive of all things good in its tendency.
That much said by way of explanation, I feel called upon next to avow my warm personal esteem for Leonard Dalton Abbott personally.
He is one of the noblest and most chivalrous of men.
He lives the life of a recluse in many ways. He has the temperament of the ascetic.
For sake of an ideal or a principle, Leonard Dalton Abbott would leave the palace of a Scheherezade, and make his abode with the gnu, the hartebeest and the boa constrictor.
Nothing has impressed me more during the discussion of a recent remarkable case in which the name of our beloved vagabond was involved, than the expression of esteem, respect and personal affection of which Leonard Dalton Abbott was the object.
Leonard Dalton Abbott was born in Liverpool, England, on May 20, 1878.
His father is an American of Americans, as is his mother.
Our Leonard Dalton Abbott is the direct descendant of George Abbott of Rowley, who came over in the Mayflower. Abbott is thus of Puritan stock.
Leonard Dalton Abbott was sent to be educated to Uppingham, one of the great English public schools. He was seventeen years old when he passed from it to what would have been a university career, had he been willing. One of his brothers was an Oxford man. Another is a Columbia man.
However, our brother Vagabond went into his father’s office in Liverpool. Mr. Abbott, the elder, has business interests on both sides of the Atlantic. His son Leonard was sent, in due time, to the American office to learn the intricacies of metals from the standpoint of commercial utilization and investment.
But Leonard Dalton Abbott preferred after a while to work on the staff of a weekly Socialist paper called The Commonwealth.
The paper suspended publication. (That happened after Abbott left it.)
When he was about twenty-one he went on the editorial staff of The Literary Digest, remaining four years with that weekly. He was then offered a position on the editorial staff of Current Literature, which he still holds.
Leonard Dalton Abbott neither drinks nor smokes. He was brought up a Presbyterian. His father is an early riser, and he expects his sons to rise early, too. Hence our dear Abbott, who sometimes sits up until nearly two o’clock in the morning writing articles on ethics and religion, art and life, suffers a little occasionally from inadequacy of slumber. For whether he retires to bed at ten or at two, he must be up, dressed and down to breakfast by, I believe, seven thirty.
Ferdinand Earle has the heart of a child. His nature is like that of Shelley, the poet. If he had been a libertine, or a man of the world, he would have escaped all this scandal. Everything might have been arranged sub rosa. Instead, he has chosen to be absolutely candid, and to take the whole world into his confidence.
This is likely to become a historic case. In the long stretch of the centuries the marriage institution is constantly in process of modification. It is evolving toward something higher. Upon certain individuals the brunt of this evolutionary process falls. They become, by sheer force of temperament and circumstances, the scapegoats who have to carry the disgrace and odium attaching to new moral standards, imperfectly understood. Ferdinand Earle is such a one.
If constancy and self-sacrifice are the highest virtues, as Christianity teaches, then Earle’s conduct must be condemned. If, on the other hand, self expression is our highest duty, as Nietszche and Ibsen have taught, then he is absolutely right. A lesser man would have allowed himself to be deflected from his purpose by a sense of pity and chivalry.
Let us never forget that all the hubbub in this now famous case has come from the newspapers, the public and from outraged moral sentiment. The three parties immediately concerned are friends, and are acting in mutual agreement. All three believe that marriage may rightfully be dissolved when the two parties to the marriage-contract so decide. They feel that it is immoral to perpetuate the husk of a relation, when its essence is gone. I think that the future will vindicate this position.
Goethe, Shelley, Byron, Richard Wagner, all trampled on conventional moral codes much more defiantly than Earle has done. The world has justified them. I venture to prophecy that, in years to come, it will justify Earle.
Leonard Dalton Abbott
The letter written by Mrs. Ferdinand Pinney Earle, avowing her willingness to separate from her husband and setting forth her approval of the plans for the future agreed upon between Mr. Earle and another, was addressed to Leonard Dalton Abbott.

Date Digital


Digitization Specifications

IBM ThinkCentre Intel Pentium 4 3.06GHz running Windows XP Professional Version 2 Service Pack 2; Epson Expression 10000XL scanner; Master Scanner Settings: 24-bit RGB, 400 dpi resolution; File Format: TIFF; Compression: none; Reference Images resized and converted with Adobe Photoshop CS2 version 9.0.2: 8-bit RGB; 400 ppi resolution; Compressed jpeg.


Abbott, Leonard Dalton, 1878-1953, “[Letter] 1908 January 7 [to] Mr. Markham,” Wagner College Digital Collections, accessed December 3, 2021, https://wagnercollections.omeka.net/items/show/5008.