Letters of Mary Adeline in Holliston to Lovina Emerson, 1848-1849
1848-1849. Two letters from Mary in Holliston, MA to her friend, Lovina Emerson, in Southboro [sic], MA. The letters detail the life of Mary and her close relationship with Lovina. The letters are almost two years apart and show the changing lifestyles between the two. Mary is teaching while Lovina is starting a family. They have mutual friends that are discussed along with the happenings in their hometown. Feb. 29, 1848; Holliston; addressed Southboro, Mass - A letter, from Mary, to update her friend. Mary has not written and cannot believe how much time has gone by since she came from Southboro. She asks about Lovinas mothers health and the school that Mr. Alden is teaching in. She discusses her students and how some are almost twenty years old and some not quite four years old. The total number of students is 62, twenty-five of them under the age of eight. Mary mentions the dramatic change in Holliston and how it is not easy to recognize, the Railroad, the Depots & several new buildings nearby, make the place look quite differently from what it used to. She wishes the people were only growing better and explains the evil one is hard at work and has succeeded in setting up a dancing school. Mary comments that her cousin Charles envies Mr. Emersons happiness in getting such a wife. She talks of Miss Lydia Walker and how her gentleman did not wait upon her home once and questions if she will avail of the 1848 Leap Year (presumably referring to the folk lore that women can propose to men on leap day). Their friend Almira passed away and Mary is concerned that so many of their friends have passed, their turn will come soon. She asks to be remembered to Lovinas mother, husband, and daughter. A short note on back mentions running into mutual friends and another begs her to please destroy this letter and the next one.Dec. 10, 1849; Holliston; embossed cover addressed to Ireland Depot, Springfield, Mass - This letter, almost two years later, explains the changes in Lovinas life. It opens with the happiness at Lovinas reception. Lovina is excused for not writing under present circumstances and Mary then mentions how Lovina requests a boys name for her new son. Mary suggests George and Charles as her favorites but teases that Mr. Emerson would prefer names like Cassivelaunus [sic], Huniades, or Orophernes. Mary discusses mutual friends and how she is considering going to the far west, to train the young ideas that shoot a little this side of sundown. She then laments of the problems of teaching; some of the students are only three and they are so restless and noisy that I hardly know how to endure and the thought of the amount of responsibility that rests upon the teacher is almost overwhelming. She goes on to discuss how a parents responsibility is so much more and wishes Lovina good thoughts on raising her son. Mary states that Lovina must be looking forward to the time when if his life is spared he will be an actor in the busy scenes of life and may strength from above be given you for the fulfillment of your arduous though pleasant task. She is shocked by the news of Dr. Parkmans murder and the implication of Proff. W. (referring to the Parkman-Webster murder case-John Webster was indicted for the murder of George Parkman in January 1850 after Parkman disappeared in November 1849 and remains were found under Websters furnace). Looks to be remembered to her teacher, Mrs. F, and Mary (possibly Lovinas daughter).Names briefly mentioned in the letters-Elizabeth Chamberlain, Lydia Walker, Moses and Adeline Rockwood, Almira Woodward, Maria Whitney, Miss Newton, Mr. Buller, John Batchelder.
(Inventory #: 26000145)
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