'The Shirley Letters': A Critical Analysis
5 Pages Posted: 21 Jan 2012 Last revised: 2 Mar 2012
Date Written: January 20, 2012
“The Shirley Letters” are a collection of 24 epistles written by Dame Shirley to her sister Molly in New England between September 1851 and November 1852. Based on the contents of each letter, it appears that Dame Shirley (Louise A.K.S. Clappe), hereafter referred to as Louise Clappe, has laboriously attempted to convey a clear picture of her experience in California during its early Gold Rush beginnings and Statehood. Thus, it can be said that the circumstances that primarily contributed to the inception of these letters was the California Gold Rush, which resulted in the relocation of thousands of settlers from cities within and outside the United States, one of which was Louise Clappe. Given this backdrop, this essay will examine those events, described in Louise Clappe’s letters that adequately demonstrate the historical significance these collections of epistles represent.
Keywords: history, gold rush, California, Letters, Epistles, Dame Shirley, New England
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