1898 College Letters

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 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 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.

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 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

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