1815.065: Open Letter of Adelaide Brent.

Published: 1815

Full Title: To the Public. …

Author: Brent, Adelaide (1786-1825).

Place Issued: Virginia

Issuing Press: Uncertain

Description: 34 pgs.; (8vo).


Brent was the daughter of the recently deceased Daniel Carroll Brent (1760–1815), formerly the U.S. marshal for the District of Columbia, and niece of the late U.S. senator Richard Brent (1757-1814); shortly after her father's death, a runaway servant named Polly Fagan began passing herself off as Brent, first in Fredericksburg then in Lynchburg, and displaying socially unacceptable behavior; as Brent was resident in Winchester, she attempted to publish this extended refutation and warning in the Fredericksburg and Winchester papers, as well as in the National Intelligencer, but was rebuffed in her efforts, with John Heiskell (Winchester Gazette) claiming that he lacked the space in his paper, with Jonathon Foster (Republican Constellation) and William F. Gray (Virginia Herald) asking for a large payment as advertising, and with Joseph Gales (Intelligencer) claiming his paper did not engage in promoting private controversies; thus Brent was compelled to print her letter and supporting certificates as a pamphlet in order to counter charges that her complaints were unfounded, the result of her laudanum induced insanity – apparently a case of character assassination by her family's political enemies, published mostly in Republican journals. Item bears caption title and lacks colophon or imprint; while this letter is dated November 1815 at Winchester, Brent's censures of Heiskell and Foster, the only printers there, certainly eliminates them as the source of this imprint; internal evidence suggests that that either the printer desired anonymity or Brent offered same, as she was critical of other printers as well; as Brent's sister Eleanor was about to marry John D. Simms, recently the partner of Samuel Snowden in the Alexandria Gazette, it seems most likely that this title issued from that press; however, such an attribution is purely circumstantial, so the indeterminacy reported here. Only known copy is held in the Rare Books collection at the Boston Public Library.

Printer-Friendly PDF

Go back to Index of Imprint Records