August 8, 2011

Dana: too young to value it now

On August 8, 1856, Richard Henry Dana, Jr. wrote to his 5-year old son Richard Henry Dana III during his visit to Stratford-Upon-Avon. His letter is dated from "Shakespeare's House":

My Dear Little Richard, —

You are too young to value it now; but, if God spares your precious life, you may, one of these days, look back with pleasure upon a letter addressed to you, by your father, from the very house in which the great Shakespeare was born.

Your affectionate father,
Richd H. Dana, Jr.

"Dear Little Richard" was less literary than his father the novelist or his poet/critic/novelist grandfather Richard Henry Dana, Sr (who, it is worth noting, controversially advocated that Shakespeare was a better writer than Alexander Pope). RHD III did, however, append a chapter to his father's most famous work, the novel Two Years Before the Mast, titled "Seventy-Six Years After." He also became the husband of Edith Longfellow, third daughter of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The three generations of Richard Henry Danas posed together for this portrait circa 1875:

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