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James Fenimore Cooper   By: (1857-1945)

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[Illustration: LEATHERSTOCKING.]

New York: John Lane Company London: John Lane: The Bodley Head Toronto: Bell and Cockburn MCMXIII

Copyright, 1912

By Mary E. Phillips

The University Press, Cambridge, U.S.A.

Dedicated To The Young Of All Ages From The Years Of Ten To Ten Times Ten


The intention of this simply told personal life of James Fenimore Cooper, the creator of American romance, is to have all material authentic . The pictures of men, women, places and things are, as nearly as possible, of Cooper's association with them to reproduce a background of his time and to make the man not the author its central foreground figure. From every available source since the earliest mention of the author's name, both in print and out, material for these pages has been collected. In this wide gleaning in the field of letters a rich harvest from able and brilliant pens the gleaner hereby expresses grateful appreciation of these transplanted values. Much, precious in worth and attractive in interest, comes into these pages from the generous and good among the relatives, friends, and admirers of Fenimore Cooper. And more than all others, the author's grand nephew, the late Mr. George Pomeroy Keese, of Cooperstown, New York, has paid rich and rare tribute to the memory of his uncle, with whom when a boy he came in living touch. Appeals to Cooper's grandson, James Fenimore Cooper, Esq., of Albany, New York, and also to his publishers have been met in a spirit so gracious and their giving has been so generous as to command the grateful service of the writer.

For rare values, in service and material, special credits are due to Mr. George Pomeroy Keese, Cooperstown, N.Y.; James Fenimore Cooper, Esq., Albany, N.Y.; Mr. Francis Whiting Halsey, New York City; Mr. Edwin Tenney Stiger, Watertown, Mass.; General James Grant Wilson, New York City; Mr. Horace G. Wadlin, Librarian, Messrs. Otto Fleischner, Assistant Librarian, O.A. Bierstadt, F.C. Blaisdell, and others, of the Boston Public Library; Miss Alice Bailey Keese, Cooperstown, N.Y.; Mrs. T. Henry Dewey, Paris, France; Mrs. Edward Emerson Waters, New York City; and Miss Mary C. Sheridan, Boston, Mass.

Mary E. Phillips.


A life of Cooper, written with some particular reference to the picturesque village among the Otsego hills, where he so long lived and in whose soil he, for some sixty years or more, has slept, has long been needed. That such a book should have become a labor of love in the hands of Miss Phillips is not more interesting than it is fortunate that the task should have been accomplished so conspicuously well. Miss Phillips has borne testimony to the resourcefulness and rare devotion with which the late Mr. Keese assisted her in researches extending over many years. None knew so well as he the personal side of Cooper's whole life story; none so assiduously and so lovingly, during a long life spent in Cooperstown, gathered and tried to preserve in their integrity every significant and interesting detail of it.

The turning point in Cooper's life was reached when he went to Cooperstown, although he was little more than a child in arms. Most curious is it that his going should have resulted from the foreclosure of a mortgage. This mortgage had been given in the late Colonial period by George Croghan, and covered a vast tract of native forest lands in Otsego. In these lands, through the foreclosure, Cooper's father, soon after the Revolution, acquired a large interest, which led him to abandon his home of ease and refinement in Burlington, New Jersey, and found a new, and, as it proved to be, a permanent one in the unpeopled wilderness at the foot of Otsego Lake... Continue reading book >>

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