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Biography in miniature

The series of pocket volumes, "The Beacon Biographies" (Small, Maynard & Co.), continues to bear out the promises made by its earliest representatives. The latest additions to the series include the volume on Hawthorne, by Mrs. Annie Fields; on Burr, by Mr. Henry Childs Merwin; and on Frederick Douglass by C. W. Chestnutt. All of them are very readable, and the volume on Douglass is a capital illustration of the method of producing a clear biographical picture. Mrs. Fields's volume on Hawthorne is characteristically reminiscent, although very largely dependent upon the well known volume of her husband. Mr. Merwin's treatment of Burr impresses one with the feeling that the author began the study with the intention of not painting his character quite as black as he is usually painted, but found himself compelled to give up the struggle before his work was completed. Taken altogether, the three volumes are capital illustrations of how to write a small book, and the editor again is to be congratulated upon bringing so much uniformity into a series which deals with such different subjects.


Review of Frederick Douglass. In: "Biography in miniature." The Dial. 28 (Feb. 1, 1900): 92.