1898 Letters

May 31, 1898 letter to Nancy Brown from Bess Brown

May 31, 1898
To: Nancy Brown, Kalamazoo, MI
From: Bess Brown, Chicago, IL

Writes about various friends and how she spends her leisure time. Art Crandall, her “fellow from Kalamazoo,” came unexpectedly and she expects she’ll “have some fun” because she and Albert are going to a social. Writes about the photography business, some pictures she has taken and some that she plans to take. Mr. Lucase came in and told them about Mr. Packard’s suicide.

1898-05-31 Bess Brown to Nancy Brown

Chicago, Ill.
May 31 – ‘98

Dear Mama:-

It seems as though it had been about a month since I have written a letter home, but we have been so busy through the day and evenings I never feel like staying in the house and writing.

Albert Neab, Charlie Anderson and Carrie and I play ball nearly every night with a foot ball and after working all day it seems good to do something like that.

Aunt Lizzie[1] is going to get a croquet set this week and then we will have fun.

This morning while I was cutting pictures who should walk in but Art Crandall. I almost fell through myself. He stayed all the morning and is coming over this evening. Expect I’ll have some fun now for Albert and I were going to a social. Don’t know how I’ll make it. Katie Hauschild was kind enough this noon to tell Albert that my fellow from Kal-[2] had come to visit me. Art came yesterday morning and he tried to find the gallery all day but couldn’t. It would have been real nice if he had for Albert, Charlie, Carrie and I made our plans for yesterday Sunday.

In the morning we went to Garfield Park to see the road race. Got back at 12.30 and left at 1 P.M. for Dunning. We went to the asylum, poor house and cemetery out there. I took two pictures of the asylum. Then we took a car and went to Avondale to see a friend of Carries. We stayed there until 5.30. They were generous and served coffee and rolls while we were there and it was very nice the way they fixed up for it. From there we walked over to Logan square and took the Elevated home. Got home at 6.45. About 7.30 the boys came back to Aunt Lizzies and we all played ______ until eleven o’clock. Uncle Will[3] didn’t play all the time but Lizzie did. Sunday and Monday papa[4] took in between 70 and 80 dollars about 550 pictures. It means fun for we girls as well as the rest.

Mary, Uncle Jim’s[5] hired girl will commence work here tomorrow. Mr Lucase hasn’t come back yet. Papa has been nearly wild to day. If Lucase don’t come tonight papa will get another man.

Uncle Jim’s folks leave to night. Will get there before my letter probably.

This morning papa said he had $115. to put in the bank. It seems as though we ought to do get along pretty well I should think now.

Say if you have time I wish you would fix my corset cover Lela[6] got me Xmas and send by Claude[7] or as soon as you can but I don’t believe I will would have time to make it and I would like it awfully well.

I will send some kodak pictures as soon as I have time to make some.

Did Essie have her party if so who was there and what did they feed them on?

Did Lela get good pictures at Shelbyville. Send some when you can.

I took a picture of the Gallery there were a lot of people out in front. I know them all too.

To night Ray[8] is going to get a lot of the real dirty children about Ruth’s[9] size that live near Lizzie’s and I am going to take their pictures. I think it will beat every thing in the way of pictures.

Mr Lucase just came in and the first thing he told us was that Packard[10] shot himself this morning. He didn’t know any more than that. Send papers as soon as possible. I feel as weak as a rag from it.

I have forgotten every thing I wanted to say and haven’t time to do any thinking.

Will write again in a few days.

With lots of love



[1] Elizabeth (Ogden) Brown

[2] Kalamazoo, Michigan

[3] Willis Brown, Lizzie’s husband

[4] Henry “Hank” Brown

[5] James Keith

[6] Her sister, Lela Brown

[7] Her brother, Claude Brown

[8] Ray Brown, Will & Lizzie’s son

[9] Ruth Brown, Will & Lizzie’s daughter, who was 5 years old

[10] Cullin Channing Packard. He apparently worked with Henry in some capacity in the photography business. Nancy’s diary entry of May 31, 1898 relates that he shot himself

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