Aphorisms by Anna Fitch Ferguson

Jim Finnegan, proprietor of the ursprache blog, has done it again. He’s found yet another obscure yet fascinating aphorist, as he explains here:

“At a church book sale, I found a lovely little book—Bits of Philosophy: From The Letters and Journal of Anna Firth Ferguson (Concord, Mass.,1933)—written by a woman who lived much like Thoreau at Walden Pond; simply, close to nature, and with a similar urge to compose aphoristic and philosophic writings. From three short accounts of her life and ways, written by her friends in what looks to be a posthumously and privately printed book, I’m given to understand that Anna Fitch studied art in Boston, but early on left both Boston and the formal study of art. She had a cottage built near Concord, Mass, and there she gardened, raised vegetables and wrote. In 1902, she was married to Edwin Ferguson, a man of ‘delicate health’. Mr. Ferguson was a cleric, and after marrying they lived for a time in Washington state where he served a parish. However, after a short period in what was rugged country at the time, Edwin and Anna were forced by reason of his health to move to Colorado. There she bore a son. But in only the fourth year of their marriage, Edwin passed away, and Anna returned to Concord to live with her son in her cottage. In that cottage, which came to be called “Peace Cottage,” she spent the remainder of her life. A selection of the aphorisms:”

We give by being. One cannot give much until he becomes much.

One cannot take mental pictures of another without giving us a view of himself.

A condition for interchange is inter-need.

It is more difficult to live poetry than to write it.

We cannot find peace by building a floor over unanswered questions and living upon it.

A good moment appreciated comes again.

Better than a teacher is a desire to learn.

The first step towards knowing a thing is not knowing it.

We have left much rubbish at the door of truth, but none has got inside.