Historian And Publisher


Life without Priscilla must have been hard for Sam, and the day after Christmas, 1973, he wrote me, “It was very pleasant to hear from you at Christmas time, and I enclose a copy of the little message I am sending to friends this year in lieu of a Christmas card.” It read:

If love could call her back, She would be with me now; Alas, it cannot be. Before God’s will I bow.

On this my first Christmas without her in twenty-four years, it is consoling to learn from many messages how widely and deeply Priscilla was loved. Her bright spirit continues to shine on me through the gloom of loneliness.

On October 15, 1974, Oxford University Press gave a luncheon in Sam’s honor at the Plaza Hotel to celebrate the publication of The Southern Voyages . I think about fifty people were there, many of them elderly Bostonian ladies who were Sam’s close friends and admirers. He was in character, for in his response to the toasts drunk to him he made no bones about not appreciating the California red that had been served, and, with a twinkle in my direction, added that had the lunch been given by Alfred Knopf the wine would have been much superior. In a note I wrote to him two days later I said, “It was a very great privilege as well as a very great pleasure for Helen and me to be with you last Tuesday. You seem to me to be in very good form indeed.”

We continued to correspond, and I continued to hope that I would see him in Boston. But I never saw him again.