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William Canton's letters to Miss L, 1913-1916
1 box (3 linear inches)
Collection number: MS 285

Abstract:
William Canton wrote letters to Miss L (Alice Lachmund) between 1913-1916 in response to her letters; there are also letters from Annie (Canton's wife) and Guy Desmond (their son). Also included with these letters are photographs of William Canton and his family and of Miss L. and her sister D.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The collection is open to research according to the regulations of the Mortimer Rare Book Room.

Restrictions on use:

The William Canton letters to Miss L are the physical property of the Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors of the works or their legal representatives.

Mortimer Rare Book Room
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Historical Note

William Canton was an English poet and journalist born October 17, 1825, on the island of Chushan, China where his father was in the British colonial civil service. His parents were Thomas Canton and Mary Thomas. After his father's death in Jamaica William was educated in France and briefly studied for the Catholic priesthood at the Benedictine College in Douai; his family were Catholics. Subsequent to the studies at the Benedictine College he left the Catholic Church and became a Protestant.

Settling in London in 1867 Canton taught and worked as a journalist. In 1874 he married Emma Moore. Their daughter, who died in 1877, was commemorated in a prose work The Invisible Playmate (1894) and was the first prose work to bring him recognition. Emma died in 1880.

Canton moved to Glasgow in 1876 and worked as an editor in various capacities. He married Annie Elizabeth Taylor in 1882. A daughter, Winifred Vida, was born in 1890 and a son, Guy Desmond, in 1896. In 1891 Canton returned to London as the general manager to the publishers Isbister & Co. and over time became editors of various magazines.

In 1901 Winifred died. That same year he began the writing of the History of the British and Foreign Bible Society, a work that took him nine years. He also wrote many popular books for the Bible Society as well as published poems and stories in various publications. He died May 2, 1926 at Hendon, London, where he has lived since 1912.

Miss L (Alice Lachmund) had initiated a correspondence with William Canton apparently in response to his writings. The letters she received from William Canton, as well as a letter from Mrs. Canton and Guy, were written between 1913 and 1916. Before giving the letters of William Canton's to Smith College Miss Lachmund had blackened out her name leaving only "Miss L." The letters were given as an anonymous gift.

Alice Lachmund (February 10, 1877-January 10, 1973) was born in St. Louis, Missouri to Charles and Fanny L. Lachmund. She was initially a member of the Class of 1899 of Smith College however she did not graduate from Smith. She did receive a Ph.B. from the University of Chicago and apparently taught home economics in the St. Louis school system. Lachmund did author an unpublished work entitled, The Naffz Family History (1960?).

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The William Canton Letters to Miss L consists of the following:

Series I. William Canton's letters to Miss L: Canton's letters to Miss L were written between 1913 and 1916.

Series II. Photographs: There are photographs of William and Annie Canton and of their daughter Winifred. Also included are photographs of Alice Lachmund (Miss L) and her sister, identified only as D.

Series III. Miscellaneous items: The miscellaneous items include some postcards, a map of London, and the obituary of William Canton.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The collection is open to research according to the regulations of the Mortimer Rare Book Room.

Restrictions on use:

The William Canton letters to Miss L are the physical property of the Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors of the works or their legal representatives.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

The William Canton letters to Miss L, Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts.

History of the Collection

The William Canton letters to Miss L were an anonymous gift to Smith College Mortimer Rare Book Room in June 1953. The Miss L of the letters and the gift donor was Alice Lachmund. Prior to the letters coming to Smith College, Lachmund had blacked out her name on the letters and envelopes leaving only "Miss L."

Processing Information

Processed by Melvin Carlson, Jr., 2007


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email: specialcollections@smith.edu
URL: https://www.smith.edu/libraries/special-collections
Language
English

Contents List
SERIES I. William Canton's letters to Miss L



Letter, 9 Audley Road, Hendon, London N.W. to Miss L in Paris

Canton writes to thanks Miss L for a letter she had written him about his daughter Winifred. He drew a simple map to identify Winifred's grave at Highgate Cemetery, as Miss L apparently wanted to visit the grave

1913 Jul. 19, 11
4 p., map and envelope
Box 1: folder 1
Letter, 119 Audley Rd., Hendon, N.W., from Guy D. Canton with added lines from William Canton to Miss L in St. Louis, Mo.

Guy D., the son of William Canton, writes to thank Miss L for a "charming Easter card." His father then pens additional lines in the letter to Miss L

1914 Apr. 14
4 p. and envelope.
Box 1: folder 2
Letter, 19 Audley Rd., Hendon, N.W., from Annie Canton to Miss L in St. Louis, Mo.

Miss L and her sister and a friend had sent flowers to the Cantons on what would have been Winifred's birthday. Mrs. Canton writes to thank Miss L for this and to describe the flowers some of which had been placed on Winifred's grave

1914 May 81
4 p. and envelope
Box 1: folder 3
Letter, 19 Audley Road, Hendron, London, N.W. from William Canton to Miss L
1914 Jun. 51
1 p. and envelope
Box 1: folder 4
Letter, 19 Audley Road, Hendron, London, N.W. from William Canton to "Right Loyalist."

The letter is annotated in pencil by Miss L: "M. had signed her letter to him 'Right loyally." An n additional note on a separate piece of paper in Miss L's hand reads: "The 'Right Loyalist' had already passed on 5 days before this letter was written." Likely this letter is to a sister of Miss L's, as Canton says in the letter: "I have to write now to your dear sister, and I must keep something to say to her." Canton wrote a letter on July 2nd, addressed to Miss L (letter in folder 6)

1915 Jul 21
4 p
Box 1: folder 5
Letter, 19 Audley Road, Hendron, London, N.W. from William Canton to Miss L.

picture of Winifred Canton and Mr. Canton and some rosemary from Mr. Canton's garden and a note by Miss L. Canton sent Miss L a picture of Winifred (Oct. 1900) and of himself (extremely small). He also writes of Peggy. In a note by Miss L she identifies Peggy as a girl who was at the Canton's when Miss L had visited the Canton's in August 1913

1915 Jul. 21
4 p., envelope
Box 1: folder 6
Letter, 119 Audley Road, Hendron, London, N.W. from William Canton to Miss L

Canton writes to thank Miss L for her Christmas gifts. He writes that guy is now serving as an officer in France

1916 Jan. 16
4 p
Box 1: folder 7
Letter, 119 Audley Road, Hendron, London, N.W. from William Canton to Miss L

With note by Miss L. Canton discusses his work "The Bible Story" and sends his regards to Miss L and her two sisters

1916 Mar. 20
4 p. and envelope
Box 1: folder 8
Letter, 9 Audley Road, Hendron, London, N.W. from William Canton to Miss L.

Canton writes of Guy's promotion in the Army and tells of "Phyllis' Phyllis" (who is 4 years old) who has just visited. Note by Miss L indicates that the elder Phyllis was a cousin and schoolmate of Winifred's in Kent

1916 Jun. 1911
4 p., envelope
Box 1: folder 9
SERIES II. Photographs



Winifred Vida Canton.Photograph identified in William Canton's hand on the verso and dated
Oct. 1900

Box 1: folder 10
William Canton, by F. A. SwainePhotograph of Canton in a folder. On the back of the folder Canton has signed and dated it,
1914 Jun. 1

Box 1: folder 11
William Canton

One is a small one (4 x 3 cm.) and an enlargement of it according to a note of Miss L's in folder 6. She identifies the small photograph as a "bantam" photograph. These are the same photograph as number 11.


2 photographs.
Box 1: folder 12
Annie Canton.

A photograph of Annie Canton in an outdoor setting. On the verso of the photograph it says she is "on a vacation."

n.d.

Box 1: folder 13
D.Photograph of Miss L's sister, dated

D is in an outdoor setting in a dance pose

May 1915

Box 1: folder 14
Miss L. Photograph of Miss L in rather formal attire in an outdoor setting, dated
June 1915

Box 1: folder 15
SERIES III. Miscellaneous items



The Bible in the World," by William Canton. Article from an unknown magazine

In the article Canton tells relates the death of a child (his daughter) and a father reading to the child from Isaiah 40

May 1917

Box 1: folder 16
Map of London and vicinity,

With note by Miss L and underlining as to Hendron (the residence of the Canton's) and Highgate where the grave of Winifred is located

n.d.

Box 1: folder 17
Postcards of the Main Entrance to the British Museum and the Mausoleum Room. Also a note in Miss L's hand on a British Museum envelope


Box 1: folder 18
Postcards from Kensington Gardens: the Round Pond and Kensington Palace


Box 1: folder 19
Obituary of William Canton. Clipping from The Times (London), Monday,
1926 May 3

Box 1: folder 20

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Canton, William, 1845-1926
  • Lachmund, Alice, 1877-

Contributors
  • Canton, Annie
  • Canton, Guy Desmond, 1896-
  • Canton, William, 1845-1926
  • Lachmund, Alice, 1877-


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