Friday, March 11, 2022

76 letters, 1902-1925, to Emma A. (Page) Whittier (1857-1934) of Readfield Depot, Readfield, Maine + Clippings, Mementos, Photographs

Collection of 76 letters addressed to Mrs. Emma A. (Page) Whittier (1857-1934) at Readfield Depot in Readfield, Maine, plus clippings, cards, mementos, photographs, etc.  

Emma was the wife of Henry Dudley Whittier (1855-1913), who died before the majority of letters were written.

57 of the letters were from Emma's son George Albert Whittier (1883-1957), "Bert", whose name was sometimes seen as George B. Whittier, using Bert as his middle name rather than Albert. His California death record gives his name as Bert G. Whittier. Bert's letters in the collection date from 1902 to 1925.

Upon the death of Emma's husband, Henry Dudley Whittier (1855-1913)

Other correspondents:
  • Julia (Neischner) Hackenberg (1872-1948), who boarded George at times, in Boston, Massachusetts; San Francisco, California; and, possibly, Providence, Rhode Island.  12 letters 1921-1924.  One of her 1922 letters contained photographs of Julia's nephew Billy on the porch of a home and an unnamed man in a park two streets from Julia's home.
  • Lucy B. (Parks) Peavey (1857-1925) in San Francisco, California, widow of William Albert Peavey, a Maine native. One letter dated 1923, which mentions Emma's mother coming for a visit. Research shows that Emma's mother, Elizabeth (Merrill) Page, died in 1898, after her husband Ezekiel who died in 1894. I'm not sure who "Mother" was.
  • Union Trust Company of San Francisco, California, to "Bert G. Whittier" - George Albert Whitter - on the opening of a new savings account. One letter, dated 1923
  • E. Frances (Cunningham) Tillinghast (1855-1933), a Maine native, writing from California in March 1924; her stationery bears the address RFD 11, Box 112B, Glendale, California, but that is crossed out, with a handwritten update of "La Crescenta".  She also mentions a picnic with 15 Maine people, including former Frederick W. Plaisted and wife Frances (Gulifer) Plaisted.
  • Fanny, spending the Winter in Winter Park, Florida. One letter, 1924. Mentions leaving soon for Hanover, perhaps Hanover, New Hampshire, or Hanover, Maine. Perhaps the E. Frances (Cunningham) Tillinghast (1855-1933) mentioned above.
  • Georgie in Pasadena, California. One letter, 1924. Georgia presumably lived near Emma at one time and asked Emma to give regards to all the old friends; she mentions a few names of people in California that Emma would know.
  • Clifton in Portland, Maine. One letter, 1924
  • Ella M. Flanders, vacationing at the Canaan Inn in Canaan, New Hampshire. One letter, 1924.  

Bert went through a rough patch in the early 1920s and spent a time in prison in Charlestown, Massachusetts, at least some of his stay, if not all, in the prison hospital.  When he was released, he went to San Francisco, California, and stayed with Julia Hackenberg, who had moved there earlier. 

Throughout this whole ordeal, from New England to California, Julia was a great friend in that she lent Bert money and moral support and kept Emma updated on what was happening, even she had never met Emma in person, at least not by Julia's last letter in the collection, dated January 31, 1924.

A sampling of the items tucked in [although most were loose by the time they came into my care]:

If you can guess the identity of any of correspondents Fanny, Georgie, Clifton and Ella M. Flanders, or have other information to share, please leave a comment for the benefit of other researchers.

I'm not publishing the letters online or showing images as they are from a later era than I usually feature, and some of the people referenced may be deceased or recently deceased.

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