Tag: Wellesley

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

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

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,

* 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 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

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.

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.


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 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 23, 1899


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 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

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 23, 1896

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 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 5, 1899


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 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