Amy Heard: Letters from the Gilded Age

5 August 2009

This site provides the current version of the book Amy Heard: Letters from the Gilded Age . The book is also available in an Adobe portable document format (PDF) version.

Some additional related material will also be made available as I acquire it.

In 2004 a photo album was found in a Baltimore junkyard. Finding Amy Heard and Max Heard named on the back of some photos, the finders tracked me down through the internet. These 1870s-1880s photos, which include pictures of Amy, Max, and Jane Heard along with several unidentified people are viewable at Some of the photographs are by the most famous photographers of the time, including Mathew Brady. I suspect the unidentified photos are relatives of Jane Leaps deConinck's mother, Amailia Williams Taylor of Baltimore.

The book consists primarily of letters written to Amy Heard during the last quarter of the nineteenth century, especially from her friend Victoria Sackville-West, the mother of writer Vita Sackville-West, and her sisters. Extensive commentary places the letters in context and describes many of the people mentioned.

During summer 2005 I finally began adding the original French versions of the letters, and in the process have corrected many translation errors.

Max & Max

Transcriptions and translations of letters from Amy's Heard's sister Max and her parents from Seoul, Korea, to Amy during the period 1891-1893 during which Amy's father, Augustine Heard, was the U.S. Minister to Korea. The main story in the letters is the romance between Max and Max von Brandt, the German minister to Peking. A second story is the difficult adjustment of an American family to life in Seoul. The letters are being included in both the original French and in translation. I am slowly adding commentary and footnotes on the people mentioned in the letters and on Korea of that period. A pdf is also available, but the photo quality is not good as my scanning talents are inadequate.

Jean Brown has kindly provided three items relating to Mrs. Greathouse, who is mentioned in Max & Max. These are A newspaper article describing Mrs. Greathouse's adventures in Korea following her return, a short biography of Clarence Greathouse from the Dictionary of American Biography, and Chapter X on Greathouse from the Fantastic City San Francisco historical Website.

The 1857 Hong Kong Poisoning

Memoirs by Albert Farley Heard and Augustine Heard

Poisoning by Wholesale: A Reminiscence of China Life A manuscript by Albert Farley Heard written during the 1880s regarding the panic in China in 1857.

The Poisoning in HongKong --- An Episode of Life in China, Forty Years Another memoir of the Hong Kong poisoning incident, this time by Augustine Heard, Albert Farley Heard's brother. Written about 1894,

Permission is hereby given to freely print and circulate copies of these items so long as it is left intact, proper acknowledgement is given, and the material is not reproduced for commercial purposes. The author would welcome all reports of typos and comments.


If you are renting an apartment in Paris, you might consider this warning based on our unfortunate experience and financial loss at the hands of a rental agency.