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Online Introduction to:

My Lady Pokahontas,

A True Relation Of Virginia.

Writ by Anas Todkill, Puritan and Pilgrim,

[in 1618]

With Notes by John Esten Cooke

[Original Introduction, summer — 2007. See later addendum]

This is a remarkable book. It summons memories of grade school enchantment with that romantic episode in colonial America when Pocahontas saved Captain John Smith.

As a primary source account by an observer and close friend to both of those famous people, it is totally fulfilling as the "rest of the story."

One thing, though. Some critics say it is a hoax. A fiction passed off on a gullible public by John Esten Cooke. At this point, I can't confirm or deny this from the scanty accounts online. It is remarkable how modern historians have dementia on the topic of the works of their peers of the last century or so.

Plans are in the works to add some corroborating and disproving sorts of period sources.

Despite this furor, the book is great, charming, and intriguing.


In October, 2007, John Mark Ockerbloom, Research Wizard and Libararian par excellence at the University of Pennsylvania, has kindly enlightened me. He is also the founder of the Online Books Page

At the time the above page was written, the online edition of The Dial in 1885 had the only review available online of this book by their disgruntled and outraged critic. Houghton Mifflin Editors had not bothered to answer an e-mail on the subject, either.

This is what John Mark said:

"There's been some more contemporary content put online, and it's fairly clear that it was promoted by its own publisher as fiction, and that's how contemporary reviewers understood it as well. In the Feb. 7, 1885 issue of The Literary World, Houghton Mifflin's "New Books" advertising column promotes the book as follows:

" 'In the person of "Anas Todkill, Puritan and Pilgrim," Mr. Cooke tells the romantic story of Pokahontas, and the author's intimate knowledge of early Virginian history fits him especially for this pleasant task. The paper, type and general antique appearance of the book befit this quaint chronicle of the Old Dominion.' "

Interesting, too: The Dial in a much later edition, 1907, says that the book is charming and notes that it is fiction.

That solves that!

Get going HERE.


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