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Charles W. Chesnutt to the Editor of Family Fiction, 15 May 1890

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  Editor Family Fiction,

Washington, D.C.
Dera[sic] Sir:-

Your note with enclosed clipping, calling my attention to the story of Mr Edwards in the Century, "How Sal Came Through" was duly received. I had noticed the resemblance of Mr Edwards' story to my story, "How Dasdy Came Through", published in Family Fiction, February 12, 1887. I have since investigated the matter and do not wish to make the charge of plagiarism against Mr Edwards, who has accounted for his story in a manner which I must accept as satisfactory.1 Thanking you for your interest in the matter, I remain,

Yours very truly, CHAS. W. CHESNUTT. (Copy).

1. In February 1890, The Century published a short story by Harry Edwards entitled "How Sal Came Through." Chesnutt noted the story's similarity to his story "How Dasdy Came Through," which had appeared three years earlier in Family Fiction. Chesnutt noted this possible plagiarism in a February 5, 1890, letter to George Washington Cable. Cable wrote to The Century editor Richard Watson Gilder about the matter. In April, the editor of Family Fiction also noted the similarity, writing to Chesnutt about the "close resemblance" (April 28, 1890). Edwards, in a reply to Gilder, denied any knowledge of Chesnutt's story. On May 9, Cable forwarded this reply to Chesnutt, and on May 15 Chesnutt sent this letter to the Family Fiction editor.[back]