In 1886, Arlo Bates published Old Salem, containing five charming stories written by his mother, Harriet Leonora Vose Bates (AKA Eleanor Putnam). I learned of this small, quaint book in a post at The Streets of Salem about Mary Mason Brooks (1860-1915), who republished the book with colorful illustrations.Old Salem by Eleanor Ptnam

Mr. Bates’ introduction to his mother’s work begins as follows:

It is with unspeakable tenderness and pain that I attempt to gather up the broken threads of this unfinished web. The first paper in the brief collection, “Old Salem Shops,” was written for the Contributors’ Club of the “Atlantic Monthly,” a fact which accounts for its brevity. The editor gave it a place in the body of the magazine, and its reception was sufficiently kind to encourage the writing of other papers in the same vein. It was the writer’s intention to publish a series of sketches which should afterward be put together under the title which this volume bears, and she had noted down the subjects of several which were destined never to be written. A Salem Dame-School” and “Salem Cupboards” followed in the “Atlantic. “Two Salem Institutions” was written for “The Spinnet,” a paper published at a Salem fair; while “My Cousin, the Captain” was left a fragment at her death.

Read the five stories in “Old Salem” below:

One thought on ““Old Salem,” by Eleanor Putnam

  1. It’s understandable that you misinterpreted the dedication at the beginning of this collection, but the “son” who is too young is Arlo and Harriet’s (or Eleanor’s) child, whose name was Oric. If you read the intro again you’ll find that Harriet was born in 1866, making her obviously too young to be Arlo’s mother. Thank you, however, for posting this.

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