Key Collecting Areas: Collecting Margaret Fuller

64.  Evelina Metcalf [one of Fuller's students]. “School Journal” kept from April 23 to May 16, 1838, in Providence, Rhode Island.

Evelina Metcalf's journal
Page 42 of journal

Ink on paper.  Special Collections, University of South Carolina.

Eighteen-year-old Evelina Metcalf was a student at the Green Street Academy in Providence when Fuller taught there.  Metcalf reveals not only how Fuller taught by providing examples of lessons but also how she related to her students.  At one point Metcalf and other girls “wrote her a note of thanks to which we all signed our names to show her that we were not entirely unmindful of all her kind love and treatment to us.  I often think that she thinks that we are the most ungrateful beings in the world for we appear so cold and dead.”  Five days later, Fuller told the girls that when she first arrived at the school “she was disappointed when she saw the great ignorance of all the girls that were placed under her care.  She said she despaired at first of teaching them anything and did little else but show them their ignorance the first few weeks.  She thought their improvement had been more rapid than she could have anticipated and they had made wonderful progress in many things.”  The complete journal was prepared by Daniel Shealy for publication in Studies in the American Renaissance 1996 (edited by Joel Myerson).

Myerson obtained this journal for the University of South Carolina despite that institution’s initial indifference to it.  He writes: “Although not in my collection, I did purchase it for the university in the early 1970s.  Then, the price of $250 was much too large for my wallet (which was rapidly being depleted by beginning my Emerson collection), so I ordered it for the library.  But they declined, because the ‘curator’ of rare books opined that manuscripts were just too hard to take care of.  So, I merely resubmitted the order as ‘School Journal,’ a book by Metcalf, published in Providence in 1838.  That order went through.  My colleague Matt Bruccoli always felt that most librarians hated books—he was obviously thinking of this one.”

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