Letter from Frances Anne Kemble to Reverend Orville Dewey
Kemble, Frances Anne
ink –paper –wax
The British actress Frances Anne “Fanny” Kemble (1809-1893) left the stage in 1834 to marry a wealthy American plantation owner, Pierce Butler (1806-1867). Uncomfortable with the slavery she saw on her husband’s plantations in Georgia, she spills her thoughts on the subject to the Reverend Orville Dewey (1794-1862), a New York Unitarian minister. “Where evil is there must be remedy… I could literally & in fact free all these slaves… I could do what I speak of tomorrow–I would do it tomorrow were the property mine.” Kemble divorced her husband in 1849, but kept quiet about her abolitionist feelings until 1863. That year she published Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation 1838-1839 in England and New York.
Promised Gift of Thomas A. Gray in honor of Elle Shushan