A Letter from Charles Dickens

The letters of Charles Dickens (1812–1870) are exceptionally brilliant and entertaining and, alongside his literary manuscripts, provide great insight into his craftsmanship and imagination. Using a goose quill pen, he generally wrote from nine o'clock each morning until two in the afternoon. He favored black ink, now faded to brown, but in the late 1840s switched to blue paper and blue ink. Though Dickens would have preferred that his correspondence remain private, many recipients treasured and retained the letters he sent them, and some 15,000 have survived. The twenty featured here, selected from the Morgan's collection of over 1500 (the richest in the United States), track not only his work as a novelist but also his visits to the United States, his philanthropic pursuits, and his lesser-known experiments with an early form of hypnotism.