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SAMPLES OF ISA CRAIG'S CORRESPONDENCE

 

Dear Mr Ludlow
                    Will you have the goodness to sign this requisition, & obtain for it the signature of your friend Mr Hughes?  Your returning the half-sheet with your names would greatly oblige

                                Yours very truly
                                           Isa Craig

 

Considering the business-like character of this letter ― and also its signature, 'Craig' rather than the 'Craig Knox' that Isa adopted following her marriage to her cousin, John Knox (17th May, 1866) ― it most likely dates from the period 1858-66 during which Isa worked as assistant to G. W. Hastings, Secretary of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science.   'Mr. Ludlow' is possibly the Christian Socialist, 'J. M. Ludlow', in which case 'Mr. Hughes' might well be the 'Rev. Thomas Hughes', author of "Tom Brown's Schooldays."


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3 Waterloo Place
Pall Mall
S.W.

Sir
        I would willingly have complied with your request, but I find  that at present I cannot undertake any addition to my work, which for the last six months has been very arduous, & fearing the failure of my health I am about to visit Scotland for a month's rest as soon as the bulky volume I am assisting to edit is out of my hands.
                  Yours faithfully
                         I Craig
E. Walford Esq

Another undated letter which, in common with the previous example, was probably also written prior to Isa's marriage (17 May, 1866).  Much more formal in tone than the earlier letter to Ludlow rather suggests that Isa and Walford were not acquainted.  One can only speculate on the identities of the addressee and of the "bulky volume" to which she refers; the latter was probably an edition of papers of the "National Association for the Promotion of Social Science" (NAPSS), which Isa edited when serving as their Assistant Secretary during the period 1858-66.  'E. Walford' might have been Edward Walford (18231897), a writer and compiler of reference works, and an author of magazine articles.


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New Cross          
S. E.               
May 21st

Dear Mrs Clay
           It would have given me much pleasure to see you here, but I know well how difficult it is for Mr Clay to spare an afternoon, and what a serious undertaking a visit to this remote region is to any one.
          Many thanks for your kind invitation for the 26th.  We should have availed ourselves of it with much pleasure, but are under the obligation of a visit which I have had to put off from week to week & can delay no longer.  We are only going to St. John's Wood & to our cousin's; but they are almost strangers & will probably be away for months in another week.  I am going to try & take advantage of the first part of your invitation & enjoy the treat of hearing Mr. Kingsley preach by carrying them all to Christchurch, where I know there is room & to spare; then, if I am able, I will call on you on Monday on my way home.
                 I hope Mr Clay is not overworking at the Assn.  With kind regards.
                              Yours truly
                                             Isa Craig Knox

 

From the days before the telephone and e-mail superseded the domestic letter, this example probably dates from the latter part of the period 1865-75, by which time Mrs Craig Knox had removed to S.E. London.  Isa's reference to "hearing Mr Kingsley preach" could refer to the Christian Socialist, Charles Kingsley, who died in 1875.

Isa's reference to the "Assn." in the final sentence is probably to the "National Association for the Promotion of Social Science", where Isa was employed before her marriage as assistant to the Secretary;  if so,  'Mr Clay' might have been her replacement.


――――♦――――

 

 
"Beautiful Snow"

A song, with words by Isa Craig and music by John Blockley (ca. 1870).

7 pages .pdf format, 3MB.
To download, right click this link, then 'Save Target As.'


John Blockley (1800-82) was one of a number of composer publishers who set the best poems (Tennyson, Longfellow, Norton, etc.) to their music and in so doing made a huge amount of money.  His work was initially published from the 1820's and, by 1856, he had set up his own publishing business.  On his death in 1882, his son John Thomas took over and continued the family firm until it was bought by Ascherberg, Hopwood & Crew.  The front cover is by the noted lithograph artist, Alexander Laby (1814-99) who also had a small reputation as a minor religious painter.  Laby worked extensively for Blockley.

 



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