Monday, July 12, 2010

My Darling Wife - A Letter from 1912

When you find these wonderful pieces of antiquity, don't you wish you had pictures and knew the whole story?   Reading a letter is like reading a snippet of a novel - just enough to get you interested with no way of knowing how the story turns out.  I found this letter in a box of ephemera at the flea market many years ago.  Here it is verbatim (commas and run on sentences galore).  Enjoy!

Feb'y 9, 1912

My darling wife:

Your dear letter received this morning at 7:30 a.m. & I was pleased to hear from you so soon.  As I am alone tonight will spend my time writing letters.  Barry has gone up on N. 14th St. to see some one - don't know who - but rather think it is a woman. 

Dear Lillian, Barry & I went to the new Multinomah hotel last night to see the place, & it is certainly a swell place.  Wish I could have paraded in with you on my arm - just as I see the swells do last night.  The women nearly all had real low necked dresses - showing their busts - while the men were all dressed in black dress suits, with white vests.  The dinner cost $2.50 per plate - so Barry & I did not stay for it.  There were flowers galore, & music in 2 or 3 different places in the lobby.  Tis the swellest hotel I was ever in - or ever saw in my life.  Honey, it made me feel blue to see other men there with their wives & sweet-hearts - when mine was so far away - so I & Barry left there at 7:30 P.M.

You sweet little woman.  I would give a month's salary now - if you were here, so I could hug & kiss you as of yore.  Hope sister will come out with you & then we will have a good time.  Bring the Graphaphone, etc. with you - I love to hear them play.

Well, darling, you remember about my scrap with Mrs. Brown - well Lou Smith gave her the bounce last night - he told me her work was something awful - so you see I am vindicated at last.  He realizes now that I was in the right.  I am getting along nicely with the boys & keep the work all cleaned up.  My little stenographer, Miss Leahy, has been sick for about a week - but she was at work again today, although she should have been at home.  She is the only one for me.  Mr. Lou Smith hired another dried up old maid - who has been with the Title & Trust people for about 20 years, & told me if I had any typewriting to do - to have her do it.  I hate the sight of the old b--- - so told him I had no work for her to do - then sat down at the machine & did it myself.  I won't work with her if I can get out of it.  She is a lemon & they will find it out.

I received a letter from Walter & folks today.  Walter will probably locate in Minnesota as one of the large Minneapolis jewelery houses has promised to set him up in a live town & furnish him with a complete stock - even though he now owes them a bill.  They seem to have great confidence in him.  I don't want to leave here as I have a position which will develop a much larger salary in the next year, & I like to be my own boss & I am practically that now.  Mother is failing fast so father writes, & could not write.  He is terribly discouraged - has been out of work over 6 weeks now & says they will be in debt by the time spring opens up.  I must try & pay them what I owe to them just as soon as possible - but cannot do so until I am through with my case & have sent money for your return.

Darling, may be you can get your father to give you a hand-out - if you tell him you want to go west where you will have a chance to do something for yourself, try it & see how he comes across.  I can then pay part of what I owe my folks, a little sooner & help them out that way.

My "Lilly" I bought another bottle of Palmer's Toilet water tonight - the chamber maid swiped what I had - but left the bottle.  Will take a fall out of her if I catch her in my room - gee won't she squeal.  Boy, darling, that picture which was in your letter is a good one, will keep it near my heart.  As for the card enclosed "Hustling for business" - will say that it truly represents one of the male genii in pursuit of something which every male loves.  I had some fun with that card - showing it to the boys at the Court house.  Lou Smith said he never once thought that I was inclined that way - so I told him to try me with some pretty, plump maiden, & see if she would not develop a watermelon.  Dear Sister thinks - no doubt - that I am a bad pill & that is the reason you are so thin - but you know best.  My Queen, 'twill be 4 weeks tomorrow night that you left me - when I kissed you last - when I stood at the depot smiling at you as you sat in the car, but with my heart drowned in tears.  I will never forget that night - & may we never be compelled to go through such a strain again.  Many sad, lonesome nights have I spent since the 13th of January & will have to spend quite a few more, dear heart, unless you can get your father to help you - as I can not send you enough to return until some time in March - at the earliest.  Oh, dear, why can't you fly?  Could have you with me then in a day or two.  Get those papers & then see if you can make a touch for $100 - or if he would only give you $50 - you could come at once.  I would be glad if he would even give you the $20 - he soaked my father for releasing my trunk.  Make the most of the case & if he seems to act right, you can tell him a story to suite yourself about our relations - but don't tell him where I am - lead him to believe I am in Minneapolis & have not been away from there since last year when I went up there - to the best of your knowledge.  Carrie will help you, I know, because she wants us to be together & be happy.  Dear sweetness, enclosed find a few Valentine postals which express my feelings very well.

I hope that you are all well & will try & be happy until we are together again - indulging in "bare hugs" & the like.  Sister had better take a few lessons in wrestling before she comes out here - so she can hold me (down?) up.   Yes, honey, I am sure able to walk straight - never felt better physically in all my life - so beware & prepare for the battle.  Will expect to see a rosy - plump - brown haired lassie step off the train some Sunday - because I want you to be sure & start from there so that you will arrive here about noon, and I can then meet you & take you to a hotel - or some rooms which I may have rented.  You can easily find out just when to start so you will arrive here on Sunday at about noon - I will be Johnny on the spot - dear Lillian.

Barry has come back & was in my room for 1 1/2 hours, & I will now finish my letter.  Will write you again Sunday, darling, & hope you will write every other day - it cheers me up wonderfully when I receive your loving letters.  Hope you will have lots of nice things for our home, dear heart - but don't work too hard - for if you do you won't get plump.  Give my love to Carrie & Boo.  Will write sister again when she writes me.

Will say "Good night" now darling Lillian, take good care of your dear self, and until we meet again, I am, with love & kisses,

Your own Hubby

Untie a ribbon in your life – you might find an adventure!


  1. Wow, what a find. I really enjoyed reading that, thanks for sharing it with us. :)Bea

  2. Ohhh that is so cool! It does make one wonder about the lives they lead...the whole story.

    happy day.

  3. I believe there are enough details, and references in that letter to have an entire tv series.
    Very interesting and enjoyable and leaves one wondering.

  4. I was just thinking...My mom would have been around 6 years old at this time....loved reading this! He had a good way with words!

  5. I loved reading this, thanks so much for sharing! My Mom would have been 4 years old at that time and my Dad about 11 years old. Such interesting lives and stories to be told. I so love things like tis, a great find to be sure! Especially in a day and age where everything is email and we don't send many hand written letters, future generation won't have anything to read, it will all be in cyber space, how sad!! Lets all go write a letter!! lol

  6. What a treasure you found. No history book could bring the past to life better than this letter.
    Thank you for dropping in on my blog. I hope you'll come back soon. xx

  7. How wonderful!
    I never come across interesting ephemera like that. Just lovely. :-)

    Have a great Wednesday!

  8. Thank you for visiting Thistle Cove Farm and leading me here; I'm now a happy follower. Loved reading the letter, o for a time when we still sent hand written letters!

  9. How fun that you posted this, even though I'm reading it almost a month late. It really does allow your imagination to run wild with what exactly is going on with these two lovebirds, and the sister as well!