My Dear Miss Dickinson

"My dear Miss Dickinson" 

A letter from Annie Fellows Johnston to a Miss Dickinson, sent from Boerne Texas, January 11, 1910 along with a copy of "The Jester's Sword".  This letter discusses translations of works into Italian, Spanish, Japanese and Braille, and points up some of the dissatisfaction Mrs. Johnston was known to have had with her publishers.

Boerne, Kendall Co. Texas
January 11, 1910

My dear Miss Dickinson.

            I wish it were possible for me to express to you my gratitude for your lovely letter of the 12th. ult. which came a few moments ago.  It gave me untold pleasure, and I thank you most heartily for all the kind things you say in it.

             Nothing would give me more genuine satisfaction and delight --- nothing in regard to my stories --- than to know one of them had found a way to the Japanese public through your magazine.

Unfortunately I have no voice in the matter, as I simply furnish my publishers the manuscripts on the royalty plan, and they copyright them.  We have had several requests from expert translators of French, German, Spanish and Italian to be allowed to translate them into those tongues.  The publishers have always answered that if the translator knew any good publishing house in his country, willing to publish the books there, they would take up the matter with them.

They of course reserve a certain royalty for themselves in such cases.

        So far, little has been done, as the publishers seem to care for only the monetary return, and place no value on the fact that it would be

a good advertisement for their books, or that they might do some good.

    I have been told that the copyright does not include the Latin countries and some others, and I hope that Japan is also exempt.  I know that when I was in Rome some years ago I discovered that my "Joel - A boy of Galillee" had been translated into Italian and was running serially in one of the Methodist Mission papers.

And lately I was told that The Desert of Waiting had been translated into Spanish for use in a Presbyterian Mission School in Mexico.

     I shall make inquiries at once about the Japanese copyright, as I should be only too happy to have you free to use anything you wanted of mine.  In case the publishers here have any Japanese rights

they might be willing to make an exception to their usual rule.

I shall say nothing about it to them in this instance, as what is done is done now, and cannot be changed.

      By this mail I am sending you another one of my little books, called "The Jester's Sword": My friends like it better than any of the others, and if you think it might hold any little grain of comfort for your friend, if you will send me her address I shall gladly mail her a copy.  I am so glad that she found the desert story worth copying in Braille.  It will be a novelty to see anything of mine in Japanese print, so I am looking forward eagerly tot he arrival of the magazine.

    With many, many thanks and sincere appreciation,

          Very sincerely yours,

Annie Fellows Johnston









[With many thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Mark Critchfield of Columbia, MO for sharing this letter with us! For those interested in seeing the original handwriting enlarged and in higher resolution, click on each respective image]












[Cover of "The Jester's Sword, 1st Edition, Annie Fellows Johnson]







Miss Dickinson
   With sincerest regards

      Annie Fellows Johnston

Boerne, Texas  U.S.A.
January 11, 1910