1898 Letters

October 8, 1898 letter to Nancy Brown from Lela Brown

October 8, 1898

To: Nancy Brown

From: Lela Brown, Chicago, IL

They went to the museum last night and saw the hoochie-coochie; she wouldn’t have gone if she knew what it was. Writes about different things she bought. Bess and Lillie are making candy.

1898-10-08 Lela Brown to Nancy Brown

Chicago Ill Oct 8

Dear Mamma:

It is now about 3 oclock and we are at the gallery. Went to the museum last night and saw the coochee coochee.[1] I wouldnt have gone if I had known what they were going to spring.

We a went down town this morning and blew ourselves. Bess[2] got a silk waist[3] $1.25 per yd (4 yds for 3.19). It is very pretty and I got you a black satin waist paid 3.59 for four yards. Also got “Quo Vadis” for you. I paid for Bess’s waist and she is going to pay me $2.00 and I am going to make her a present of the rest. I went down to the store by the gallery just now and bought two thimbles and five spools of silk thread paid 2 cents a spool, and there is supposed to be 100 yds on a spool. Papa[4] said I got cheated so I counted the yds and found only 50 yd but it is worth 2 cents.

We are going over to Wills[5] to night to supper. Ina[6] is coming over in the morning and stay to dinner, and I look for ____ in the afternoon. Must close and go and do something to plague Bess and Lillie. They are upstairs making candy. They strung ropes around for Mary and I stumbled on.

With Love


P.S. Have Claude[7] bring my black skirt too and surely my waist.


[1] The hoochie coochie is a catch-all term to describe several sexually provocative belly dance-like dances from the mid-to late 1800s

[2] Her sister, Bess Brown

[3] A blouse

[4] Henry Brown

[5] Her uncle, Willis Brown

[6] Her first cousin, Ina (Skinner) Holmes, the daughter of Adelbert & Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner

[7] Her brother, Claude Brown

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