Letters from the Past

Note: Each letter is copied exactly as it was written, including all spelling and punctuation errors. Blanks indicate where a part of the letter was unreadable.

This letter is written from a S.E. Leland, who was a teacher at the time. It was sent to a friend - Miss Durin - who evidently either lost a post as a teacher, or was turned down for a position as director of a school. The last sentence in the letter requested that Miss Durin destroy this letter after reading it!!

Newton L.F.
July 7, 1873

Dear Miss Durin

I wished very much to have an interview with you before you left in relation to school matters

This priviledge was not mine and I have concluded to do the next best thing, address you a friendly note, hoping that it will be received in the same spirit in which it was written.

It became evident to me that your situation in the Primary School was very uncertain, as you are aware I have no doubt that the Supt and comittee on your grade were not at all satisfied with your work, but I know they entertain the highest respect for yourself as a good kind, Christian lady, but wanting in those elements of character which would enable you to sucessfully conduct a primary school.........as ours is: knowing these facts and wishing very much to retain you in my school not only for my own sake but for Miss Gifford's also. I took the liberty to suggest this change that was made, hoping that with my assistance in that room, you might make your work appreciated, and thus retain your situation. I made my plans known to Miss Gifford and found they fully meet her approval and that she was very desirous to have you try the work up stairs.

You may ask why did not you let me know about it before. My reason is, that I did not feel at liberty to speak to you in relation to this matter as my own appointment was not made. I have another reason and that is I could not bear the thought of making you unhappy at the close of your school.

I tried to get Miss Gifford to talk with you about it but she could not make up her mind to do it. We talked the matter over between ourselves at considerable length and finally left it just as it is. I do not know whether you have accepted the position or not. If you have, I shall take the liberty to make some suggestions to you which I hope may not be unheeded; but, if you have not, I shall have nothing to say.

I wish when you return home you would come out here and spend a day or part of one and then I can tell you all I wish, but if you cannot, I will write you as nearly as I can what I wish.

I have been quite busy and am enjoying vacation as well as usual. Mrs. Leland is some better. I expect you are on the mount of exaltation, visiting friends and living over old times.

We all send much love to you hence to our mutual friend, Miss Gifford. I wish I could see you both and see if change of base has brought health and joy to you.

Samuel entered Harvard without conditions and with two of the three honors.

I have written my letter differently from what I wrote Miss Gifford. I would, as I do not know whether you intend to return or not. Tell Miss Gifford to write me soon. I shall expect to hear from you by return mail

We go........tomorrow.....brother......a family gathering. Believe me to by your friend truely.

S.E. LeLand

Matter in heart for I must make hay while the sun shines.

Please destroy this letter after you and Miss G. have read it.

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