Document Type



Fall 1989


Syracuse University Special Collections, James Fenimore Cooper, William Mather, Cooperstown, Jacksonian Democrats




American Studies | History


A reminiscence of James Fenimore Cooper, written in 1889, lies among the papers of William Mather (1802-1890) in the George Arents Research Library at Syracuse University. It is written in pencil on two sheets of paper, one of which is the blank back of a Herkimer County newspaper supplement of 1889. Each sheet is folded to form a sort of booklet. Mather's text, as it stands, is disjointed and marred by occasionally confused syntax, illegible words, and repetitions. A series of false starts, of beginnings not decided upon, occurs before something of a narrative coherence is achieved. Material obviously intended for incorporation in a previous section ends the draft. Overall, the account struggles along, fitfully served by the memory of the eighty-seven-year-old Mather in his return to an event that had occurred forty-five years before. Nevertheless, once repetitive and extraneous material is deleted, what emerges is a late-nineteenth-century portrait of Cooper: a forceful and uneasy impression of both the man and the author.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.