Guide to the Album of Elizabeth Dodge 1824-1837 MG 296
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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The New Jersey Historical Society, Publisher
Inventory prepared by Laura Ruttum as part of the “Farm to City” project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Finding aid encoded by Danielle Kovacs. February 2004. Production of the EAD 2002 version of this finding aid was made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Finding aid written in English.
Elizabeth Dodge (1810-1889) was born in New York City to Sarah Cleveland and David Low Dodge, of Cedar Brook, New Jersey. On her father’s side she was descended from William Dodge, a settler at Salem, Massachusetts in 1629. Her maternal grandfather was Reverend Aaron Cleveland, and her maternal cousin the future U.S. President Grover Cleveland.
Elizabeth was a writer and poet of some renown, publishing Felicita, a metrical romance; a volume of poems; Bianco Capello, a tragedy in blank verse; and various other magazine publications. Elizabeth-who had moved to Italy with her husband William B. Kinney in 1850-became an important player in the literary circle of the American and English colony in that country. Her five-installment article Mrs. Kinney’s Italian Reminiscences, published in Neale’s Monthly, described her experiences living in Florence, and her friendship there with Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning. In that publication, she included various diary entries from the period, as well as discussion of the fashions of the Italian court, (to which her husband was a chargé d’affaires) discussion of the Brownings (she remarked that Elizabeth was frail and homely, addicted to opium, but fiercely devoted to her husband) and the Trollopes, and recounted a caper in which she, Elizabeth Browning and another woman dressed as young male students, in order to accompany their husbands-dressed as professors-about town.
Elizabeth Dodge first married Major Edward Burke Stedman of Hartford, Connecticut, in 1830 and had a son-Edward Clarence Stedman-who went on to become a writer himself, three years later. In 1835 Major Stedman died at sea, leaving Elizabeth a rather young widow. She married William Burke Kinney in 1841, whom had sought her out after he had read poems of hers in various publications. William had been an editor of the New Jersey Eagle, and went on to become editor and principal shareholder of the Newark Daily Advertiser, the sole New Jersey daily newspaper at that time. In 1850, Zachary Taylor appointed Mr. Kinney as a minister to the Court of Sardinia, and Elizabeth joined him there. After his tour in Sardinia was complete, the Kinneys moved to Florence, where they actively participated in the literary and artistic circles in that city. Together, William and Elizabeth had two daughters, Elizabeth Clementine and Mary Burnet.
Elizabeth Clementine Dodge Stedman Kinney died at the home of one of her daughters, in Summit, New Jersey, in 1889.
This collection consists of a bound volume that appears to have served as a personal album (such as those in vogue with young girls of the period) for a young Elizabeth Dodge. Contained within the album are poems–some apparently original, some copied from well-known poets–as well as scripture, religious sermons or essays, and personal letters and dedications. The album contains entries from more than fifty individuals, the majority of whom signed their message, including the date and location of execution.
The volume itself appears to have been a present to Miss Dodge from her parents, both of whom inscribed personal messages on the first two pages of the album. Elizabeth’s father, D.L. Dodge, introduced the album with a compilation of the “Signs of Gracious Affections,” among which were included the advice that: “tenderness of conscience generally flows from a broken and contrite heart”; “the most favorable sign is consistency of character”; and the warning to maintain “watchfulness over thoughts, words and actions.” He signed this entry, “These hints are from your affectionate Father, D.L. Dodge.” Elizabeth’s mother, Sarah Dodge, likewise included advice for maintaining a pious and upstanding life, stressing the existence of God as the source for all happiness.
Of the many of the entries from friends and acquaintances, one entry beautifully illustrates the spirit of personal albums: This precious book has wandered o’er,
There are no access restrictions on this collection.
Photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied without permission from library staff.
Researchers wishing to publish, reproduce, or reprint materials from this collection must obtain permission.
The New Jersey Historical Society complies with the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code), which governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions and protects unpublished materials as well as published materials.
For related materials in print on Elizabeth Dodge, see:
Colles, Julia. (1893). Authors and Writers Associated with Morristown. Morristown: Vogt Brothers.
Kinney, Elizabeth C. (March 1871). “Victor Emmanuel’s Queen,” in Scribner’s Monthly, an Illustrated Magazine for the People. Vol I, Issue 5. New York: Scribner & Son, p. 524-529.
Kinney, Elizabeth C. (April 1871). “Florida Roses,” in Scribner’s Monthly, an Illustrated Magazine for the People, Vol. I, Issue 6. New York: Scribner & Son, p. 646.
Kinney, Elizabeth C. (September 1877). “The Mirage of the Desert,” in Scribner’s Monthly, an Illustrated Magazine for the People, Vol. XIX, Issue 5. New York: Scribner & Son, p. 699-700.
Kinney, Elizabeth C. (ca. 1900). “Mrs. Kinney’s Italian Reminiscences,” in Neale’s Monthly, Laura Stedman and George M. Gould, eds.
For related collections on Elizabeth Dodge at the New Jersey Historical Society, see:
Vertical Files (Family): Kinney Family
Vertical Files (Biography): Kinney, Elizabeth C.
For related collections on Elizabeth Dodge at other institutions, see:
Manuscript Collection WTU00013, William Keeney Bixby Papers, Washington University in St. Louis
The source of this collection is unknown.
This collection should be cited as: Manuscript Group 296, Elizabeth Dodge Album, The New Jersey Historical Society.