1899 Letters

July 1899 letter from Henry Brown

July 1899[1]

 From: Henry Brown

Hasn’t heard from Bess and since there is a newspaper strike and they can’t get news of any kind, they are a little worried that it’s possible the boat went down. 

1899-07 From Henry Brown

… any way before we will need her and perhaps it will be so dull that we can let Mary go when she comes back. It looks now as though the schools have a big influence on business and I would not be supprised if business was very slow until school opened again and then I expect a good bussiness any way. I may decide to stay here until the schools open again and if I do shall let Reen go and I can get along alone with one girl. Claude[2] just came back from office and no letter from Bess.[3] She said she would write so we are a little worried about her as we dont know but the boat went down. We cant get any news of any kind here now as all the city papers went out on strike Friday night.[4] You probally know all about it, but it is an awful thing for people here as they can get no war news[5] nor any thing else and so far as we know everything outside of Chicago might go up and in fact most of Chicago could do the same and we would know nothing of it. “We never miss the water till the well runs dry.” And now we have no daily paper we realize their worth to a great extent. I do not worry about Bess but think it strange she did not write. Well since begining this have finshed one plate so have made 12 negatives as I started a new plate this am. It is now 1205 and will finish this to-night.

650 pm. Has been a poor day only made 128 negs and probally will take about the same tomorrow. Hope to any way. I will send you a check Tuesday or Wednesday but cant say how much as I want to have this week go out with an even 200 in bank. Will[6] & I go looking location to night so I must close as he is waiting for me. About Dr McKinneys[7] bill it is too much and then there is an ofset of photos for the three or four years. I will look it up in a day or two and will write again.

Love to all

H A Brown


[1] The first two pages were missing, but it is assumed that the letter was sent to Henry’s wife, Nancy, and because of the mention of both a newspaper strike and “war news” it would appear that the letter was written sometime during the latter half of July 1899

[2] Their son, Claude Brown

[3] Their daughter, Bess Brown

[4] At the turn of the century, newsboys were essential to newspaper distribution. While morning editions of the paper were often delivered directly to subscribers, the afternoon editions relied almost exclusively on newsboys to sell. Most of the newsboys came from poor immigrant families and sold papers in the afternoons and evenings, after their school finished. In 1898, with the Spanish–American War increasing newspaper sales, several publishers raised the cost of a newsboy’s bundle of 100 newspapers from 50¢ to 60¢, a price increase that at the time was offset by the increased sales. The newsboys’ strike of 1899 was a U.S. youth-led campaign to force change in the way that Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst’s newspapers compensated their force of newsboys or newspaper hawkers. The strike lasted two weeks (July 18 to August 2)

[5] The Philippine-American War, war between the United States and Filipino revolutionaries from 1899 to 1902, was an insurrection that may be seen as a continuation of the Spanish-American War. The Treaty of Paris (1898) had transferred Philippine sovereignty from Spain to the United States but was not recognized by Filipino leaders, whose troops were in actual control of the entire archipelago except the capital city of Manila. Although an end to the insurrection was declared in 1902, sporadic fighting continued for several years thereafter

[6] His brother, Willis Brown

[7] Dr. Martin VanBuren McKinney

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