Bishop, Mabel

The Bishop Family collection is best represented by the letters of Mabel Bishop.

Wellesley College, 2014

A note on Mabel Bishop…

Mabel Bishop lived in Avon during the turn of the century. She attended Wellesley College in Massachusetts. In addition to her college letters, the History Room has letters from her Grand Tour of Europe, and her letters from a cross country trip to California.

If you would like to the original material from this collection, please contact the Reference Department, who will connect you with a History Room Volunteer. Phone: 860-673-9712, or email: avonref@avonctlibrary.info.

Special thanks to Wellesley College Archives for sharing access to their materials. Credit is given for all materials they allowed us access to.

April 10, 1899

April [10], 1899

Dear Mamma,
It is now after nine and I have only time to write a few lines before taking a bath and retiring for the night. As you doubtless have inferred I arrived safely and soundly on schedule time. Continue reading

April 16, 1899

April 16, 1899

Dear Mamma,
I do hope Kate is with you now and you are all enjoying the vacation you need so much.
My great week is now over so that I can settle down not to regular work until some other extra work comes up. Had Agora meeting last night at which we initiated Leila Eaton and at which I gave a paper on “Army Reorganization.” I had worked on it all my odd moments during the week and felt repaid for my labor when so many of the girls told me how much they liked it. Continue reading

April 20, 1899

April 20, 1899

Dear Mamma,
Did you ever hear of having such beautiful weather this time of year? Where have been our April showers? I hope that it doesn’t mean that it will rain all Commencement week. Had such a glorious time all last week. Going over to Haughton & Mifflin’s was so interesting. Saw them make books even from setting up the type to putting gold leaf on binding & gilding the leaves. Continue reading

April 23, 1899

April 23, 1899

Dear Mamma,
I was so disappointed when I heard that Kate hat left you in the lurch. You poor people! You won’t take things easy & I am afraid you will be in no condition to stand all the festivities here in June. Please do just as little as you possibly can & think of the future.
Went in and sat for my pictures again yesterday morning. Continue reading

April 25, 1897

April 25, 1897
My Dear Mamma,
O I had such a delightful time when I went to Somerville. Of course it rained Saturday so I had to hide my new finery under a mackintosh,* shelter my head with an umbrella and protect my feet with rubbers.* I rode in the barge to the depot so I didn’t get wet at this end. When I reached Boston I had to walk to the Hollis St. Theatre and this was rather awkward as I had to hold my umbrella, carry my bag and prevent my two new skirts from the damp. Each thing required a whole hand to see it and so I had a rather hard time. Continue reading

December 1, 1895

Dec. 1, 1895

Dear Mamma –
Had a fine time at Somerville as you can imagine but will begin at beginning. Maud Burroughs was going home then and I was going along with her so as to be sure of getting everything all right but she went at 12:19 and I couldn’t go until 1:49 because I had a class which lasted until 12:30. When I got to the depot it was crowded, certainly about 300 girls were there and what a rush there was for the train. Continue reading

December 11, 1898

Sunday
Dec. 11, 1898

Dear Mamma,
Farewell to cherished and economical plan of giving Senior pictures for Christmas gifts! Agatha and I went to town last Thursday and posed and although Agatha’s are good, mine are utterly worthless. Such looking things I never saw! Continue reading

December 13, 1896

Wellesley
December 13, 1896

Dear Mama,
Am sorry to tell you news not quite so pleasing this time. Have got a cold, I think. I have been fortunate not to have had one before this year and hoped that I shouldn’t have one before I came home, at least. But it has come. Nothing alarming to be sure but rather disappointing. I feel much better today than I did yesterday so don’t worry. Continue reading

December 4, 1898

December 4, 1898

Dear Mamma,
Lots of things to consult you about and first of all about my coming home. I have a recitation Wednesday afternoon Dec. 14 the day College closes and so I could not possibly get home that night. I had suggested going and staying with ILA that night and then meeting you in Hartford the next day. But I now have another scheme. Continue reading

February 12, 1899

Monday,
February, 12-1899

Dear Mamma,
Haven’t had such a good time this week as I expected to. Thought I would have time to do lots of lovely things since I had only one paper and one exam on my hands. But I had to work all the time. I never had such a time writing a paper. Continue reading

February 13, 1898

Feb 13 – [18] ‘98

Dear Mamma,
Will make comments on your letters before I forget it. I do not want Elsie to bring Quo Vadis as there is about eight copies in the house already. I should like to have you send me the debate of H.O.H.S. if it is printed in the papers. It might give me pointers for the forensic which is not due till last of March. Oh that dreadful old brief. Of course I must manage to get it done before Friday but I think it doubtful if I can. If I don’t I shall have to come back to Wellesley & work on it Monday & Tuesday leaving Elsie to come out with Amy the next day. To be sure Amy is going to a big dance Monday evening but I guess that won’t make any difference though if it does, she can come back to Wellesley with me.
But I have been working ahead on my regular lessons for this week so that with the exception of the time taken out for recitations, a great big slice, and the studying of a few lessons I shall have rest of the week to work on my brief. But I am getting so worked up over it. For instance, I have been using reciprocity in the sense of Free Trade but last night I found this statement by McKinley, “In no sense is reciprocity a free trade measure but a natural application of the central principle of protection which is to encourage home production.” If Papa can explain that I wish he would do so and send off the answer Tuesday morning. I am awfully obliged to him for sending me what he did, but really I don’t know which side of the question I shall take. Most every article I have read is in favor of reciprocity so that I can get more arguments for that side & can more easily refute the opposition. But if I could only find more on the other side I should take the negative I think. I am going to spend tomorrow morning in the Boston Library and that will finish up my reading & the real labor will begin. Wish me joy!
Thank goodness all my examinations are over and we are beginning anew in almost everything. I wish the non-credit notes would hurry up and come out. I am most positive though that I passed with credit in Chemistry & Bible, think I probably did in Literature & Philosophy, but am more doubtful about German & English (forensics).
Now about Elsie’s visit. She can check her bag from Westfield to Wellesley – whose bag has she got? Bring her long white sleeves as we shall probably not wear gloves. Has she some nice black slippers*? They would be so much easier – save trouble of changing to white ones – and the girls here wear either. Here are some things she must bring me. Soap. Three or four cakes you know & one bar of star soap of whatever it is you use for washing. Quinine pills, as I told you. I owed the girls some and a wash rag. I have worn a hole right through the middle of one of mine I have washed my face so much. Don’t forget those things.
I think it would be too much to take in both an opera & theatre Saturday afternoon & evening. She wouldn’t enjoy either so much. Then besides I have an extra appointment Saturday afternoon so I should have to cut it in order to go. So instead I think we will not go in until 2:30, then go to Public Library & into some of the stores, then out to Amy’s to dinner & then back to the theatre to see Julia Marlowe*. I am so glad she is to be here so you can see her. Lillian Russell* was in town last week but is gone now. Then as I said before, I am not sure what we will do Monday & Tues. It will all depend upon that pesky brief of course. But Tuesday evening will of course be the Glee Club Concert. Then Wednesday morning we will do something, I don’t just know what, and in A.M. Agatha, Amy, you & I will go in town to hear the German opera I guess. Now I have a change of plans and you are to write me
indicating if you are in favor so that I can make arrangements. These are they! Instead of coming back to Wellesley Wednesday afternoon go with Amy. She will escort you to Union Depot – on the way to Somerville and see you safely en route for Beverly. Then if Anna is notified & is willing will meet you at the station and take you to her home to spend the night. You can visit Marnie, the children & have a nice time till Thursday night or Friday morning when you will take the electrics for Essex and stay there till Saturday morning. To save me the trouble supposing you write to Anna & also to Callie to see if she is at home. Better address it to Mrs. Story telling her to read the enclosed note directed to Callie in case Callie isn’t there, then she will write immediately & let you know what you want instead of forwarding it to Callie in N.Y. Amy has invited you to spend last of week with her so if you do not spend Monday & Tuesday with her, if Callie is not at home and if Beverly people don’t want you, you can go to Amy’s till Saturday noon. I will then meet you in Boston & we will go to the theatre for the third & last time. Then you will come to Wellesley, go to Agora open meeting Saturday eve, spend Sunday at college & go home Monday or Tuesday.
How is that for a scheme? Of course we can make detailed arrangements later but this gives you a general outline of the plans. If you do this, write immediately to Anna, Callie & me. I enclose slips of probable expenses. Also time tables, picture of myself while taking Agatha’s dresses, etc.
Last Wednesday night 26 of us Agora people went on one long delayed sleighride. Went to West Newton & Mary Barbour’s home where we were welcomed by a large American flag draped over the door & treated to chocolate & cake. An awfully good time had we all.
This morning we did have such a swell breakfast in Agnes Ketcham’s room. Just harken ye to a recital of its sumptuous menu!
Two tables were put together and covered with a sheet which was covered with pretty doileys* etc. Table set for seven without counting our maid who was attired in lace cap & white apron, who deftly cleared the table between courses & removed the crumbs. This maid by the way was one of the guests who was relieved by another of the guests after the 3rd course. Then the hostess staid behind the screens and directed matters. At each place where carefully laid out three spoons, a fork & a knife comme it fait*. First we had delicious oranges & white grapes. Next came shredded wheat with lots of real cream. Third course was creamed oysters on saltines. Next came chicken salad, veal loaf, bread sandwiches with & without chopped nuts & mayonnaise dressing. With this course also came the jelly, olives, pickles & delicious chocolate with whipped cream. Fifth course delicious wine jelly with oranges, bananas, grapes & nuts served frozen in bowls of orange peel with whipped cream. Salted nuts & chocolate & white peppermints tied up with gay colored ribbons completed the repast. I got my camera & took a picture of the table & guests. Oh twas such a swell affair and lasted an hour & a half. She had been planning this feast for some time & had sent to her mother’s for most everything. Then went to church and heard Francis E. Clarke, Father Endeavor Clarke, you know. Au revoir till Friday at 2:30. Wait in the station, Sis, if I’m not there though I seem to get there on time. Farewell.

Most Affectionately,
Mabel

* comme it fait – being in accord with accepted standards or conventions.
* Julia Marlowe – was a stage actress (Aug 17, 1865 – Nov2, 1950).
*doily – a small decorative mat made of lace.
*Lillian Russell – was an American singer and actress (Dec4, 1860 – June6, 1922).
*slippers – a woman’s dancing or evening shoe.

Letters were made available courtesy of Wellesley College Archives.
Transcribed and footnotes added by Heddy Panik.

February 20, 1899

[Feb 20, 1899, postmark]

Dear Papa,
Many happy returns of the yesterday to you!! And now today I’m “of age”. I just do wish that time did not skim along so fast.
I celebrated my birthday and astonished the natives by getting down to breakfast on time this morning. Not that I’m going to turn over a new leaf and make it the rule of my life to always go down early. Oh, no. What’s the advantage? Continue reading

February 21, 1897

February 21, 1897
My Dear Mamma,
My box was lovely. It arrived at half past nine Friday morning just when I expected it. Such fun opening it! That picture of the river is simply lovely and looks quite natural and homelike hanging on my wall. But I don’t just know where it is. Continue reading

February 22, 1899

Feb. 22, 1899

Dear Mamma,
I don’t see why you felt disappointed about the box. It was just grand and I was by no means the only one who thought so. The cake was particularly good both cake & filling being done just right. Elsie must have been dreaming when she spoke about a hard crust. And the candies the girls couldn’t believe that they were home made. Continue reading

February 26, 1899

Feb. 26-[18]99

Dear Mamma,
Was delightfully surprised at receiving another letter from you last week. It is a good idea about inviting ILA but I just don’t know whether I will or not. I was planning to have someone visit me the 10th but was going to ask Anna. She has expressed a great desire to see Julia Marlowe* so I told her I would meet her in town & go with her to see her. Continue reading

February 8, 1896

Saturday
Feb. 8 – [18]96

Dear Mama –
Midyears are such fun! I wish they came oftener (before and after taking). I passed in French, German, and Geometry and haven’t heard from English or Bible yet, but I know I passed in Bible, but am rather doubtful about the English. However, I shall know Monday. Continue reading

January 10, 1899

Jan – 10 – [18] ‘99

Dear Mamma,
I suppose you will be relieved to hear that I left Hartford safely at 12:05 and am now on the way between Springfield and Worchester where I must change.
Did all my errands successfully and got through in good season. Matched my black waist* all right and got the trimmings and sent them direct to Miss Clark. My hat looks very stylish and becoming. Got one for $.50 as I expected. Went down to Miss Pierson’s to spend a little while with ILA but she was not there. Didn’t Elsie understand her to say that she was going back the first of January? But probably she received word that she needn’t come back there as business was dull. There wasn’t a soul there when I went in. Have you ever been in there? It is awfully stylish place.
Wonder how Phoebe is? I hope she is not a nuisance and that she has either managed to get home or is all well again. I understood her to say that she hadn’t a cold so it couldn’t be grippe.

Wellesley:
Arrived here in due season at 4:30 but my trunk has not got here yet. The girls seem so glad to see me back and it seems good to get here.
But wasn’t it cold this morning! I nearly froze several times but trust that I did not catch cold. I shall be very careful of myself though, so you needn’t worry. Met Miss Whitely – one of the sophomores at our table – in Worchester and so had company the rest of the way. She too was just coming back, having been detained by the grippe. Most of the 40 are back now I guess. I must go & take a bath now & then go to bed so farewell. Don’t worry – and don’t you be a cause of worry to me. Remember you promised to take things easy for a day or two, so please let things slide & rest – rest – rest. Best of love to all.

Sincerely,
Mabel

Ivy slips!

*waist – is a common 19th century term used throughout the Edwardian and Victorian period to describe the bodice of a dress, a blouse or a woman’s shirt. It was exquisitely designed and usually worn with a fairly plain long skirt.

Letters were made available courtesy of Wellesley College Archives.
Transcribed and footnotes added by Heddy Panik.

January 15, 1899

Jan. 15 – [18]‘99

Dear Mamma,
How are all you getting along now that the person who made you so much trouble is out of the way? I hope Phoebe is all right and that no one has been taken sick, so you can put in some of the rest you need so much. Continue reading

January 16, 1898

Jan 16, [18]‘98

Yes, dear sister, you are a good girl to write to me but why didn’t you tell me some things I wanted to know? Your letter was extremely good as far as it went but that was the trouble, it didn’t go far enough. For instance, Mamma said in her Sunday letter “Elsie went sleigh riding with Louise (she will tell you the circumstances).” Naturally I was curious to know the circumstances but I am still painfully ignorant. Enlighten me at once. Then after asking many times if the cats had been killed yet, I finally got the answer. “The kittens have disappeared.” Which ones? Who disappeared them and how? You people say “Mamma has told it all so I will not today” when you might just as well elaborate upon her statements. For example, why didn’t you go into more detail concerning your visit to the Sem[inary] & Miss Learoyd. All you said was “Miss L. is same as ever.” Another thing you said “Debate last night.” Who debated, who got it & was it interesting? Not that I’m finding fault. Oh no. I am simply suggesting lines of improvement.
You will probably have great sport at the whist* party. How I should like to attend it. I miss whist. You will probably stay to some of the dances, don’t you suppose? The letters on my seal are Sigillum collegii Wellesleiani 1875 and in the corner circle, our motto “Non ministrari sed ministraire.” You know I have a white cord with which to finish the edge. I think it’s in the closet. I am glad Papa is of the right opinion concerning the beginning to the new century. Did he meet any opposition in the family? I saw the statement in a paper the other day and was at first rather astonished but was soon set aright by my common sense. I expect to find a goodly no. of stamps in my next letter for I am already four or five in debt. I am going to write lots of letters today as I owe twelve.
Have you had much skating lately? We had some pretty good Monday & Tuesday and we had a fine time. We have had our last recitation in Eng. III. Not that we have finished with English III (forensics*). By no means. Only that we have no more class appointments to be instructed in the art of writing forensics. We know all we can about writing them, the only thing left to do is to put our knowledge into practice by writing the four remaining briefs and forensics. The last one is due on May 11. Won’t the class have a jubilee!
I went to the board of Chemistry the other day & out of 32 formulas I put on the board only one was wrong. How’s that? Oh I do like Chemistry better than anything I ever took in college & what is better still, I do well in it.
I am intending to go to town tomorrow to read up a special topic “Spenser’s debt to Chaucer” in the Boston Library. Tomorrow night Wood Cottage is to present an opera the proceeds of which – 10 cents admission – will be used for keeping the ice clear for skating.
Now this is addressed to Mamma. I recently received an invitation to Grace Leonard’s wedding to be held in Omaha, Feb. 2. Do you remember her, she was the pretty quiet girl who roomed with Maud Burroughs & who sat next to you at the table. Now what shall I send the lady? Advise me & get it for me if you can – or else send me some money & tell me what to get. Remember wedding Feb. 2. I hope to begin “Quo Vadis” today if I ever get some of my letters written. 1st one is finished. Let the good work continue.

Most affectionately,
Mabel

Please send Phil’s address before next Sunday. Don’t forget baby pictures. Send Anna’s letter back. Florence Converse, Wellesley ’92, is taking P.G. course here now. Anna met her on vacation. Should like to meet the author of “Diana Pistent.”

*forensics – the study or art of formal debate and/or argument.
*whist – a card game

Letters were made available courtesy of Wellesley College Archives.
Transcribed and footnotes added by Heddy Panik.
Keywords

January 16, 1899

1-16-[18]99

Dear Mamma,
If you are just worrying yourself sick over my condition which is by no means serious, you had better stop it right off, or I shall not report any other of my weaknesses. Continue reading

January 18, 1897

Jan. 18, 1897, [postmark]

Dear Family,
Our Mother Goose party was last night and such fun as we had! I found a black silk quilted skirt at the last minute. One of the girls happened to be in my room just before I began to dress and when I mentioned the fact that I wanted a skirt to complete my toilette she said that she had such an article. To my great delight she produced the same and ‘twas just the thing. Then I made myself a tall hat. Continue reading

January 18, 1899

[Jan] 18-1899

My dear Mamma,
The appearance of the eruption which I mentioned to you has solved the mystery of my disease. Dr. Bancroft said today that it was “shingles” that I had. This is as you doubtless know a skin disease closely connected with the sensory nerves. He gave me some medicine – something to apply externally and also something to take internally. Continue reading

January 20, 1899

Jan 20- [18]99

Dear Mama,
Received your letter tonight, but had rather expected one from you before. Thought you would worry so, you would write straight off to learn more particulars etc. though no more were necessary. But you can stop your worrying immediately as I am feeling much better. Continue reading

January 23, 1899

1-23-[18]99

Dear Mamma,
Were you disappointed not to get a letter from me yesterday? But I just didn’t have a minute’s time so I thought I would wait and write after seeing your letter tonight. You see I didn’t get up until almost dinner time as I was rather tired & thought I would get in a little rest when I could. Continue reading

January 29, 1899

Monday, January 29 – [18]99

Dear Mamma,
Shingles don’t bother me any more now. My skin is rather tender and my back aches if I get tired but in other respects I am all well and ready for the “next”.
I’m really going to have quite a vacation during the Midyear season. Exams begin Wednesday the first and last until Saturday the 11 – which is to be a holiday. Now I have a laboratory test in Chemistry IV the first morning and then nothing until Economics the last Friday morning! To be sure I have that Chemistry paper to make up but that won’t take all my time. So I have got lots of little old jobs planned: going to write class letter, shampoo, shine up my tea kettle, do some mending, make the front to my silk waist*, read and have a very nice time generally. It is the Season of the Grand Opera and I am crazy to go at least once. I want to go to hear “Siegfried” next Wednesday but am not sure whether I shall or not. I haven’t been to see or hear anything for over two months now and think it will be a good chance to go when I haven’t any work on hand. Mansfield is coming to play “Cyrano” next week and Julia Arthur is there now but she only plays “Lady of Quality” as matinee and I don’t care specially about that.
You know I expected to have a final paper in Chemistry 8 but we are not to have one and we don’t know what we are to have. Dr. Roberts is so original. She always has a new way of conducting a class. Now she tells us that she wants a biographical review of all the principle men concerned in Theoretical Chemistry and she wants it as an informal discussion, not as a written examination. So she has told us all to come to her room next Tuesday evening – the night before the Chemistry exam. We don’t know just what to expect but I don’t think she will question us more than an hour or so and then serve tea or something. One of the girls suggested that she might place some man’s name in our books and let us find out whom we represented. That game is lots of fun I think and I wish she would do that. I know we shall have a lovely time if we only know about all the men – and there are 75 of them or less. I have got that to study for tomorrow as well as a review in Chemistry 4 covering all the ground we have gone over this year. So Tuesday I shall have this review in Chem 4 – besides Logic, Mathematics & Economics – the biographical social in evening – laboratory exam – working with a grand unknown Wednesday morning and then a little holiday.
My black waist* has come at last – came last Tuesday – and it is very pretty but alas, it doesn’t fit at all!!! The yoke sets horribly, sleeves are too big etc. But the yoke is the worst. Collar must be taken off – shoulder seams ripped etc, & whole thing cut out. The back blouses just the way I hate to have it do. Tell me of the bill she sent you. I just must give up trying to make ivy grow in my room this winter. That was a lovely slip you sent but it died within a week. You see the sudden change in temperature is too much for them as the room is cold all night and hot all day.
Have been reading “Penelope’s Progress” & “Jungle Book” today. Alice left Sunday morning. She gave me a lovely bunch of violets as a parting gift. Goodbye – best of love to you all & don’t work too hard.

Lovingly
Mabel L. Bishop

*waist – is a common 19th century term used throughout the Edwardian and Victorian period to describe the bodice of a dress, a blouse or a woman’s shirt. It was exquisitely designed and usually worn with a fairly plain long skirt.

Letters were made available courtesy of Wellesley College Archives.
Transcribed and footnotes added by Heddy Panik.

January 31, 1897

Sunday
January 31, [1897]

Dear Elsie,
To begin with, Callie’s address is 165 Lafayette St. Brooklyn N.Y. At least that was what it was the last time I heard from her. It is now the middle of the examination season but I have not had any yet. Mine come so very badly and I have seven to take. My first one Literature doesn’t come until Tuesday afternoon. Continue reading

January 31, 1898

Jan. 31, [18] ‘98

Dear Mamma,
Before I got your letter I had thought of finishing the doily* and had begun to work on it. I am glad you’re of the same opinion. You poor Mamma! I hope you liked the present I gave you. Christmas – not counting this doily of course. I will try to make you another one but do not want to make rash promises. Continue reading

June 12, 1898

Saturday
[June 12, 1898]

Dear Mamma,
We have at last had our Line Day and a fine time we did have though of course not so much fun as we had our freshmen year. I took ten pictures but they were not very good as the light was very bad. Still some of them may print well. Continue reading

June 1896

Saturday
June 1896, [postmark]

Dear Elsie,
Line day is over and oh such fun. I send you a paper with a busy account of it but please be sure not to lose it as I want to put it in my memory book. We all wore white waists* with full skirts of cheesecloth, pink, yellow, green and a pretty shade of purple. They were about 20 yards around but were gored* so that each breadth at the top was only about four or five inches wide. Continue reading

June 1899 (from Mamma)

June 1899

Dear Home people –
It is a lovely day, or so promises to be, for the events of the day seem to call for pleasant weather. Anna and Amy are coming out at noon. Yesterday we went to hear the Baccalaureate sermon by a Dr. Richards of New Jersey. The seniors all marched and dressed in white, a pretty sight. Continue reading

June 22, 1899 (from Mamma)

June 22, 1899

My dear husband,
I am in Mabel’s room, the children have started off sight-seeing. Phil and Mildred will go to Beverly, and our children to Boston & Bunker Hill and to Somerville to lunch. It is a perfect day and everything is lovely here. Continue reading

June 26, 1899 (from Elsie)

June 26, 1899, [postmark]

Dear People –
We are having the grandest time imaginable. Something going on all the time – but you can’t think what a bother it is not to have a watch or clock. We never have the remotest idea what time it is. Continue reading

March 1, 1897

Mar 1, 1897, [postmark]
Dear Thomas,
How is school? And the cats? I suppose you had a fine time with Monday as a holiday. But alas we need days of rest more than you little kids do and all the holidays this year come either on Sunday or Monday, so we don’t get any of them. Continue reading

March 12, 1899

Mar. 12, 1899

Dear Mamma,
Your last letter was a particularly nice one. It was quite a surprise to find that you had invited Ila. I wrote right off of course for her to come next Sunday, that seeming a particularly good time. I have not yet heard from her. Continue reading

March 19, 1897

Mar 19, 1897, [postmark]

Dear Mamma,
I find that I forgot to tell you about our breakfast last Sunday morning. We laid in provisions the day before and the next morning we had an elegant repast. We had got tired of the baked beans and brown bread Sunday morning breakfasts and so decided to have a change. Continue reading

March 23, 1896

Sunday
March 23, 1896, [postmark]

Dear Mama –
I was so surprised when I received your last letter. Of course I wrote to Fannie immediately. What an awful blow it must be for them all though I fancy Uncle Ed feels it the deepest? Continue reading

March 25, 1899

Mar 25, 1899

Dear Mamma,
Agatha has decided to spend her vacation in New York. So I was obliged to decline an invitation from Fannie asking us down there for a day or two. Continue reading

March 26, 1899

March 26, 1899

Dear Mamma,
I suppose you are having just such a snow storm as we are having. Did you ever see such blizzards as we have been having this year? I hope it will not storm tomorrow so as to prevent Jess’ going home at noon. Not that I don’t want her to stay any longer but I just can’t spare the time. I am just rushed. Have just in the 2 remaining days two written lessons for which I must do lots of work, lots of laboratory work, then regular lessons and a paper to do. To be sure the paper isn’t due this term but as it is due April 11 at 9 A.M., the first thing after we come back, it behooves me to finish it before I go. Ila came Friday afternoon in due season, looking as pretty as ever. We went to a lecture that evening given to the Art Department by Mr. C. Howard Walker. Then Saturday we went to town. Started at 8:10 and got back at 6:12 so you see we had a day of it. Ila was delighted with everything. We went to see the grand new Union Station, to Public Library, into Madam Celeste’s, a milliner of whom Ila had heard and wanted to see, then into lots of grand stores, to Hylers for hot chocolate, to Adams House for dinner through the Subway, etc. etc. and finally to see Julia Marlowe* in “As You Like it”. Got back to Wellesley for dinner and went right down to the Barn to see the Faculty perform. What do you think they gave? That Handel toy orchestra or whatever you call it which was given up at the Sem. several years ago. Oh I thought we would die with laughing. You see them all dressed up as children with hair over their shoulders & dresses up to their knees. We just couldn’t recognize some of them, and we would just howl when some of them came in. It was positively perfectly killing and you know what the music was though of course it was more of a burlesque than when you saw it. Fraulein Weinhabish was Handel the “director” & she took of Signor Ratski just grandly, brandished her arms etc. The cuckoo was so very funny and the little fifes. Dr. Roberts was of the birds and was so funny. But Miss Balch topped the climax. She was the dancer & was arrayed in kilt & Scotch plaid and at our request came out and danced a Highland fling*. We never laughed so much.
The Junior Play comes tomorrow & I hope to take some fine pictures. Had some beautiful results from the Senior Emigrant Party last Monday. I have got so many orders to fill that I shall be kept busy in vacation. Carl mustn’t forget to bring home his frames & I’ll set him at work.
You know that dance which Ila wants me to come to West Hartford for Wednesday after Easter? What shall I wear? I’m afraid white is not good enough, it’s so simplsy. She says they have sent out 80 invitations – not so very large tis true but I’m afraid it is to be awfully swell. Men coming from New York, Philadelphia etc. Do you suppose my new dress could be finished for me to wear? Though I don’t know as I should exactly like to wear it first there. I have something to suggest for my graduating dress. Several of the girls have them & think they are grand. Irish Swiss Muslin* I think it is. It is a fine & nice organdie* and washes beautifully. Costs about $.60 I think. Are you planning to meet me in Hartford Thursday? I’m afraid I can’t get there until 12:30 as Ila hasn’t said anything about my coming the night before & spending the night with her. But you could get my white dress etc. without me and be looking around etc. and if we waited until the last train I guess we would have time enough to do all we wanted to.
Ila has got a grand new dress to wear at her dance. She gave me a lovely picture frame, and a dear little powder box* for my bureau*. She is having a grand time I am sure. The storm has stopped & sun is shining. Many thanks for the money.
Well good night all. You will see me soon.

Mabel L. Bishop

*bureau – a chest of drawers with a mirror.
*Highland Fling – a Scottish dance. It is performed in one spot in 44 time and consists of a series of intricate steps requiring delicate balance and precision. Characteristically it is a step in which the dancer hops on one foot while the other foot moves in front of and in back of the calf.
*Irish Swill Muslin – a sheer crisp muslin fabric with raised dots or figures. It is also known as dotted swiss fabric.
*Julia Marlowe – was a an English born American stage actress (Aug 17, 1865 – Nov2, 1950)
*organdie – fine thin cotton with a durable crisp finish: often used to make blouses.
*powder box – decorative container used to hold face powder.

Letters were made available courtesy of Wellesley College Archives.
Transcribed and footnotes added by Heddy Panik.

March 29, 1899

March 29, 1899

Dear Mamma,
Will meet you at 12:35 Thursday in waiting room at Brown Thompson’s*. We are to meet Ila at 1:15 in front of Ballenstein’s. Do not get my white dress until I see you. We are to wear caps & gowns for Commencement. Continue reading

March 5, 1899

3-5-[18]99

Dear Mamma,
You didn’t write as I asked you to advising me who to invite for next Sunday. Although I shall not write until I hear from you Monday, I think I shall send the following scheme to Anna. Continue reading

March 7, 1897

March 7, 1897
Lexington, Mass.

Dear Sister,
I suppose you are thinking of me as in Lexington today, as there I am. It is such a pretty town and must be lovely in the summer. Grace has a fine new house – moved in since Christmas. We would consider the house large for a private family with library, sewing room, bathroom, five rooms on third floor, etc. but it is none too large for the family. Continue reading

May 10, 1897

May 10, 1897, [postmark]

Dear Sister,
Many thanks for the “pome.”* It is quite a piece of work. I hope your essay is in so near a state of completion. How is it getting along? And how is the valedictory: Let me offer my hearty congratulations to my smart sister. Continue reading

May 14, 1899

May 14, 1899

Dear Mamma,
Have just come from church where Rev. Henry Van Dyke preached a grand sermon. The chapel was filled – not only girls but loads of strangers were there to hear the famous man. Continue reading

May 21, 1899

May 21, 1899

Dear Mamma,
Did you ever see such weather? No sun for three days! Now I like a rainy day except when I want to print pictures. That’s the trouble just now. All the pictures I took Field Day have been waiting three days to be printed and I am crazy to see what they are going to look like. Continue reading

May 23, 1897

May 23, 1897, [postmark]

Dear Mamma,
Amy is here with me at last. She came yesterday noon. ’98 gave a reception dance to ’99 in the afternoon so she went to that with me. We had an awfully nice time and I introduced her [to] some of the nicest girls in college. Continue reading

May 29, 1898

May 29, 1898

Dear Mamma,
I am sorry to begin talking about money but I haven’t got a cent – am in fact 90 cents in debt and have got to buy material for the Line Day gown tomorrow. Thank goodness ‘twill cost only 50 cents I am going to be a butterfly. You know Line Day is a Senior and freshmen affair as Sophomores & Juniors have only to dress in fancy costumes. Continue reading

May 7, 1899

May 7, 1899

Dear Mamma,
I now send you all my proofs for you to tell which ones you would like finished up as I shall not sit again. I think the last ones are much better than the others and I am glad I went through the ordeal of sitting again. Continue reading