Friday, September 2, 2011

Tell Her Not to Give Up Until She Has a Good Education

I have been enchanted with this letter from my Grandpa's Uncle Dow (his dad's brother, who was born in 1858, and was 18 years older than Grandpa's dad - another topic for another day there).  He mentions Liz, one of his sisters who was eight years younger than Dow, and Newt (full name: Isaac Newton - yet another next topic) and Joe are two of his brothers, 12 and 18 years younger, respectively.  Dow would have been 36, Liz 28, Newt 24 and Joe 18.  Phew.  Adding calculators to the long list of modern conveniences they didn't have then.

In the letter Dow mentions "Young Peoples Papers" as being something Liz should be reading.  I'm trying to figure out what those are, and google is telling me I'm going to have to dig deeper than a few pages of results, so I'll get back on that.  In the meantime, dear reader, do you happen to know?

The thing I love most about this letter, which I will put below with only this further ado, is his encouragement of Liz's education as well as the boys.  My gut tells me that it might be a bit less common for a woman to be urged to study, and less common for all of them as they were in rural Illinois on the farm, I believe.  I also don't know whether the book Dow mentions is the same thing as the Young Peoples Papers, or if they're different, and I really hope I can find out.  He mentions a book in another letter and urges his reader to read the book several times, so I wonder if he had one book that he tried to encourage everyone to read, or whether he just generally encouraged everyone to read books.

What do you think?

If you'd like my transcription, just take the jump.  Anything I'm uncertain of or my own comments at the end I put in [ ] or use a [?], so feel free to suggest what you think might be missing.

Griggsville, Ill.
                        July 21: 94
Dear Father and Mother:
I received your letter to-
day.  I am all right.
Daisy and the children
have not reached here
yet.  They expected to start
last Tuesday, so that
I expect them most
any time.
Tell Liz to read the book
I sent her study it
carefully read it through
two or three times
at least.  Read the Young
Peoples Papers I sent
and write some every
day.  Tell her not to give
[next page]

up until she has a
good education.
Any body can get a good
education in a few years
if they will try.
I will send her all
the books and paper she
needs.  As soon as she gets
through with the book I
sent her will send
her an other one.
I send Pa some more
papers by this mail.
I wrote to the
Professor of Agriculture
in the State University
at Champagne Ill, to
arrange a course of read-
ing for the boys that
they could do at home.
The books and the Form
Paper will cost about
[next page]

six dollars.  Tell Newt
and Jo to rustle up the
money and send me and
I will send them the
books.  I will furnish
books and papers for Liz
[We?] will send [??]
church papers to Pa; but
the boys must pay for
their own.
The course of reading ar-
ranged by the Professor
includes, United States His-
tory, our government
explained, Politics, Farm-
ing etc.
I will write you soon
as Daisy and the children
get here.
            Write soon,

[There are letters and penny etchings on the blank page of this letter.  They do not appear to be Dow’s writing.]

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