Letter from 1876

A Trip to Chicago

This week has me transcribing and recording a letter from 1876. It’s from a young woman — a recent Vassar College graduate — who is in Chicago for the summer and writing home to her family about her adventures. Her letter is pages and pages long. She decided to write one big, long letter to share after her trip was complete.

The letter is in beautiful script, but quite faded. I am scanning the letter to preserve it as-is. However, I am also carefully transcribing it, as well as reading it aloud so there is an audio file that may be listened to as well.

She wrote of her enjoyment of carriage rides through the parks and the grand Chicago boulevards; of presenting her calling card when visiting friends and relatives; and, of visiting the enormous Field, Leiter & Co. Dry Goods Store, which was the predecessor of Marshall Fields. She visited the Palmer House and said it was the finest hotel she had ever seen. She stayed at the home of a friend on Chicago’s South Side, which was two blocks from the shore of Lake Michigan. Her days were spent embroidering or seeing the sights, Every evening brought an array of callers, with singing or playing the card game, Pedro. An interesting observation she commented, “Western people don’t think it wrong to ride on Sunday”. Apparently they were riding on Sunday!

What a treasure this letter is! It is prudent to wear cotton gloves while handling such delicate materials, as well as to store them in acid free paper in a cool location away from sunlight.

If you have such treasures, I encourage you to capture and preserve for future generations to enjoy. They do deteriorate over time, just as as this priceless letter is fading. If you need assistance, Uniquely YourStory is here to help.

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