In their wish to express sincere appreciation to the many institutions and individuals who have aided in the preparation of this first general collection of the letters of William Cullen Bryant, its editors face a formidable task.
Facsimiles of manuscript letters written by Bryant, and others written to or about him, have been acquired from more than 135 institutional and private collections, in this country and abroad. Several of these are very large: five libraries hold an average of one hundred letters each, and Bryant's descendants, direct or collateral, possess many hundreds more which have been in the family since his death nearly a century ago. The wide dispersal of even a larger number is made evident in forty-seven collections containing five or more letters each. The following institutions own an average of more than forty Bryant letters: Amherst College; the Boston Public Library; Brown University; The Bryant Library at Roslyn, New York; the Bureau County Historical Society, Princeton, Illinois; the Chicago Historical Society; Columbia University; Duke University; Harvard University; the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery; Johns Hopkins University; The Library of Congress; The Longfellow House, Cambridge, Massachusetts; the Massachusetts Historical Society; The New-York Historical Society; The New York Public Library; The New York State Library; New York University; The Historical Society of Pennsylvania; The Pierpont Morgan Library; Princeton University; Queens Borough Public Library, New York City; The University of Texas at Austin; the University of Virginia; Williams College; and Yale University. These institutions and all others providing the editors with letter facsimiles have kindly agreed to permit their publication in this edition. Acknowledgment has been made, immediately following the text of each letter printed in the present volume, of its ownership, and similar acknowledgments will be made in each succeeding volume. The editors hope that the responsible officers of each institution named will understand the gratitude implicit in such acknowledgment.
There are many persons now, or lately, associated with these institutions for whose services we should like to express our thanks. Because of the passage of time and the mobility of professional careers, we do not try to identify by title and affiliation those who gave their time to answer our questions, and shared with us their specialized knowledge. We simply list their names in appreciation. They are Robert Balay, Roy P. Basler, Kathleen Boyd, Dorothy W. Bridgewater, Adele Capps, Winifred V. Collins, Florence Connolly, Elizabeth Daly, Pat Drechsler, Elizabeth S. Duvall, Janet M. Edwards, Lynne Easter, Nicholas Falco, Gerritt E. Fielstra, Anne Freudenberg, Mary Isabel Fry, Donald Gallup, John D. Gordan, J. Owen Grundy, Mihai H. Handrea, Jacquelin K. Haring, Elinor S. Hearn, James J. Heslin, Edith G. Henderson, James W. Henderson, Robert W. Hill, Alan Jutzi, Dorothy King, Sharon E. Knapp, Mildred M. Ledden, Kenneth A. Lohf, Kathleen Luhrs, Glenise A. Matheson, Charles W. Mixer, James E. Mooney, Mrs. Richard Mudge, Robert G. Newman, Joseph M. O'Donnell, William A. Pease, Cynthia D. Perlis, Julia C. Peters, Polly Pierce, John E. Powers, John E. Pomfret, Paul Rugin, J. Thomas Russell, Patricia J. Sarro, Jean Saunders, J. C. Sharp, Barbara Shepherd, Lee Stanton, Lola L. Szladits, H. S. Tallamy, Joshua C. Taylor, W. A. Taylor, Maude C. Trimble, Thomas H. de Valcourt, Egon Weiss, Earle Whitmore, Lawrence E. Wikander, and Wyllis H. Wright.
Between the accumulation of Bryant's letters and their assembly in a coherent whole, there have been many occasions when the editors have, of necessity, asked the help of scholarly friends and acquaintances. Their assistance, freely accorded, has taken many forms--advice, information, guidance, correction, admonition, and, above all, interest and encouragement. We are indebted particularly, for their many unselfish