Note of August 14, 2015: See the comment section where a reader has forwarded information on the Perkins Hotel and several of the people mentioned in the letter; he found that there were people of that name living at Lyme, New Hampshire, which also had a Perkins Hotel.
Circa 1860 letter to "Hat" from "P. M.", presumably a woman, away from home teaching piano. One sheet, folded into four panes, with every inch covered in handwriting, margins and top included. Thanks to a reader who found that the Perkins Hotel was likely the one at Lyme, New Hampshire, and considering the age of Emma Perkins, then age ten, it appears that the letter was written about 1860 or 1861.
P. M.'s comments about the quality of the piano at the Perkins Hotel and the "scraping" and "screeching" of two visiting violinists are especially amusing.
Sadly, there's no accompanying envelope, and no place names were included, though I believe that it might have been a rural place, perhaps a vacation spot. She wrote the letter from Perkins Hotel, but that might have meant a boarding house or even a private home that took her in, at first temporarily, but perhaps permanently.
[Note: Thanks to a reader's research, it appears that this was likely the Perkins Hotel at Lyme, New Hampshire]
See images of the panes and a transcription at the end of this post. If you have a theory as to the letter writer's identity or corrections and/or additions to the transcript, please leave a comment or contact me directly.
Below, names mentioned:
- Hat - letter recipient, possibly a sister or dear friend
- P. M. - letter author
- Lang - someone apparently known to both Hat and P. M.
- Mrs. Gilbert - operates a boarding house, where P. M. was originally to have boarded - there was a Gilbert family at Lyme, New Hampshire
- Mr. Starks or Stirks or Stirk - not sure of name; presumably the School Agent
- Lora - perhaps Lora Perkins or someone staying at Mrs. Perkins'
- Lo - presumably Lora
- Mrs. Perkins - P. M. is temporarily boarding with her at $2 a week and is thinking about staying there permanently, rather than at the home of Mrs. Gilbert, with whom she had initially intended to board; Mrs. Perkins may be also be P.M.'s piano student. Mrs. Perkins was presumably of the Perkins family who operated the Perkins Hotel at Lyme, New Hampshire.
- Miss Grant - P. M.'s piano student
- Mrs. Tenney
- Mr. Tenney
- Mrs. Pushee - there was a Pushee family living at Lyme, New Hampshire.
- Two men named Pushee who played violin [Thanks to a reader comment, we know that a Francis Pushee, "Frank", was a violinist from Lyme, New Hampshire.]
- Briggs - he was one of six gentleman callers, two of whom were the Pushee violinists.
- Clary Pushee - not sure of given name; "beautiful alto singer" [Thanks to a reader comment, we know that there was a Clara Pushee, a sister of Francis Pushee, "Frank", who grew up in Lyme, New Hampshire.]
- Emma Perkins - ten years old; P. M.'s piano student [Thanks to a reader's comment, we know that an Emma Perkins grew up in Lyme, New Hampshire. Assuming she was the daughter of the hotel keeper, she would have been born about 1850 or 1851.]
- Olive - possibly a sister to P. M. and/or Hat
- Ed - possibly a brother to P. N. and/or Hat
- Ella Gilbert - a potential piano student, but probably not, if P. M. does not board with Mrs. Gilbert [Thanks to a reader, we know that an Ella Gilbert grew up in Lyme, New Hampshire]
- Mrs. McIntyre - "a lady from the city boarding here" at Mrs. Perkins'
- Lue or Sue - but the word might be "Love", as in a closing greeting.