Home | Quotations | Newspaper Articles | Special Features | Links | Search

The New York Times, January 30, 1907

Miss Robson Sends Money and Will Give a Benefit.

Funds to provide comfort for Mrs. Jessamy Steele, daughter of Bret Harte, who is in the almshouse at Portland, Me., were sent from this city yesterday by Miss Eleanor Robson. The actress also made plans for a testimonial benefit for Mrs. Steele, to be given at the Liberty Theatre in the week of Feb. 11.

Miss Robson is personating one of Bret Harte's characters in "Salomy Jane," and when she read yesterday of the straits of Mrs. Steele she immediately took measures for relief. She telegraphed the Mayor of Portland, asking about the woman and received this reply:

"Mrs. Steele is in Portland almshouse. She is without money and unbalanced mentally. Her case a most pitiful one."

Miss Robson in reply asked what money would be needed and said she would give the benefit. She had meanwhile communicated with Mark Twain, Edward J. Ganney, President of the California Society in New York, and the publishers of Bret Harte's works. All promised cooperation. Mark Twain wrote:

I feel that the American people owe a debt of gratitude to Bret Harte, for not only did he paint such pictures of California as delighted the heart, but there was such an infinite tenderness, such sympathy, such strength, and such merit in his work that he commanded the attention of the world to our country, and his daughter is surely deserving of our sympathy.

It was learned yesterday that the publishers of Bret Harte's works have in their possession and in their own right, all the copyrights to the Harte works and that Mr. Harte never at any time had an agreement with them upon a royalty basis. He got $10,000 a year, and never would listen to a royalty arrangement.

Mrs. Jessamy Steele was married to Frederick Dorr Steele in 1900, but they have not lived together in some time. Mr. Steele is a well-known illustrator in this city.

See: Related article from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Return to The New York Times index

Quotations | Newspaper Articles | Special Features | Links | Search