January 17, 1899
By this time I hope you have seen Willie. Have had some breakfast and am feeling no worse than when you left home. Seemed a long day to me yesterday. I would keep watching the clock and wondering about where you were at that time. No callers save two girls the one Mrs. Nelson sent is coming this morning. She is a bright, nice-looking girl and will be as satisfactory as anyone. Will do washing, baking and everything ...
Papa says he feels a hundred percent better this A.M. Mr. Andrews told him yesterday to go home and inhale sulphur fumes (put coals on the shovel, sprinkle the sulphur on and get the benefit of the smoke.) He thinks it did him great good.
... The snow has
ceased falling, looks as if we are going to have another fine day.
Saturday afternoon 1/2 past 4
I have a new pen and bottle of ink. You will rejoice with me, I know. Your letter received this noon. Was glad to hear you were safely through but fear you are not feeling well as you went to bed without supper and did not care for breakfast. Now how is it? Are you still coughing and feeling badly?...Papa has been quite grippy all week but is better, and I am much better, my cough is nearly gone. Was glad to hear Willie was so much better....
...Did I tell you we had a girl for nearly two days? She recommends herself very highly. Her brother came for her and said her mother was very sick, and three brothers down with measles. She is a little bit of a thing, and I feel sure not the one we want, and must have $3 per week. I shall keep my eye open for a good one about the time we move....Be sure and tell us how you are feeling.
January 25, 1899
I felt it in my bones you were sick and have thought about you all the time. Papa brought your letter when he came home, and never before received a letter from you in such short time - mailed on the 23rd, received on the 24th. The old saying bad news travels faster than good must be true. One thing sure, you will never leave home again until you are well....I am feeling tip-top and you may be sure am taking good - extra good, care of myself. Papa is still a little grippy, think he will soon be all right again. Now, Nellie, if you are not improving, better come right home....Don't wear your robe without something round your neck - it is so low you will surely catch cold, and be very careful in every respect. I shall anxiously await your next letter.
January 30, 1899
Your good long letter yesterday gave us much satisfaction. Am glad you are better, and hope you will take the very best care of yourself. I thought it a little risky your going out after night, but hope it did you no harm.
The sample is lovely, but rather high-priced, and yet it may be so wide, would not take a great deal for a skirt, but isn't it too heavy for summer wear? The samples from National Cloak Company will surely go out on Monday....You speak of white wool waists and suits. They are pretty. I remember well when white wool suits were much worn....Are the new skirts the girls are wearing all cut, or are they just plain? ...
Mr. Boyle is still sick. Ashton has his commission and expects to be sent to Cuba....
Papa and I are both writing while the coffee boils. Yesterday
so cold not many out to church, and there seems to be Grippe in every
February 2, 1899
I am wondering how you are feeling by this time, and how you got along with examinations.... We have had a very cold week....Am thankful I am so well and have just stayed in the house....Mr. Knolls have bought the house the Sutherlands are in and, of course, they will move....It seems we are going to have a changed neighborhood before long ...
your Sabbath letter on Tuesday. I saw in the Hub the Northwestern
had started on a five-hour run from Chicago to Omaha. The N.W., B
& M, and Rock Island are all running fast trains, competing for the
mail route. Do not know if they will keep up this rate of speed
not. Isn't it wonderful, the short time they make now to the
February 10, 1899
Are you feeling all right - now tell me just how you are....We have not had much snow, but fearfully cold weather. Tonight Hub says the worst is to come. That makes me think of a "story." A lady said she did not know what she could make of her son, he never could get anything straight. Her friend said, "Make a weather prophet of him," and so say I - they seldom get anything straight....
My pretty green and gold vase sets (or stands) on your musical cabinet and I think looks quite pretty. No, did not have a cake on my birthday. Had boiled eggs, toast, hermit cakes, plums, crackers and tea. Do not believe have made a cake since you were home, but must soon....
Yes, I am glad
waists will be worn over the skirt and that dresses are worn
Have you sent for any more samples? Snow coming down in fine
February 17, 1899
...Somehow time just flies - I cannot realize tomorrow is Saturday. Papa and I went over to Mr. Boyles this afternoon to look around a little. Were only admitted to the downstairs. Surely the house is in very bad repair - every room would need new paper and the whole thing looks shabby and sort of old. Papa can hardly make up his mind to keep it. Oh, so many windows - five in the parlor bedroom, and a stove in the hall looks odd but makes them quite comfortable....
....I am sorry
your physical director is going to leave. I fear you do not get
exercise. Never mind your growing fleshy, you'll get thin enough
when you get back to Nebraska....It is now after eight and I want to
Willie. Good night.
February 21, 1899
Your Sabbath letter received this afternoon....Aunt Jennie and I were out calling today, called on Mrs. Chittenden, Russell, Rogers, C. N. Brown and Mrs. Calkins. Aunt Jennie is on the warpath again for a luncheon or reception. She wants me to go in with her. What will I wear? Think perhaps the best will be to have my black silk sleeves fixed and a new higher collar - think that would be better than my silk waist. Wish you were here to help.
asked Papa today if his rent was guaranteed would he rent him the house
for one year! Papa said No, he did not buy it to rent. I will be
so glad when they leave the house....Such a time as Kearney people have
had with the grippe. We all feel the worst is over, and we have
such lovely weather, we surely won't get sick again this winter.
February 25, 1899
Wednesday was a cold, stormy day here, snowed quite a little. Yesterday Missionary Society met here - Mrs. Niblock, Mrs. McKean and Irene, Mrs. Tucker and Aunt Jennie, Mrs. Miller and McIntyre, Mrs. Packard and myself. Our ingathering - or Thank Offering - comes next month. Have not been able to "meet" with Aunt Jennie to arrange for our fandango yet.
Mrs. Hostetler entertained an afternoon tea party yesterday afternoon - will enclose account of it. (Clipping from Hub enclosed as follows:)
Mrs. B. 0. Hostetler entertained a number of her lady friends at tea Thursday afternoon at four o'clock. The luncheon was elaborate, a delicious chicken pie being the cornerstone thereof. A feature of the entertainment was the requirement that every lady tell a comical story or joke, and the experiment proved to be a great hit. The stories were told in the merriest vein, the jokes were brought strictly up to date, and the collection would grace an album of wit and humor.
March 7, 1899
Papa is just in from church....Mrs. Dildine came to invite us to supper Friday evening. When she learned we were having meetings, concluded to postpone her tea until next week....
We had a lovely time at Mr. Niblocks last Saturday evening - Dr. Packards, Mr. and Mrs. McKean, Uncle Jim and Aunt Jennie, Mrs. Tucker and us. Mrs. Packard took her in the morning a dozen lovely pink and white carnations. We had veal loaf, escalloped potatoes, bread and butter (Rose's bread); lobster salad (not good), jelly and pickles. After clearing the table, fruit salad, jam cake, coffee....Next day was very stormy and only Papa, of all her guests, got to church.
braid will be best for your skirt - would need good width to make it
enough. Perhaps you would like two rows - but you have probably seen
and will know what you like. How are your waists holding out? Do
you think they will last till shirtwaist time? Am sure you need a
skirt. I will see Mrs. Webb and write again.
March 10, 1899
Papa is reading a darky story in the Century. While he reads I will write. We have had fine weather for a few days....My first tramp for breakfast yesterday morning so I conclude spring is here.
will go over and see Mrs. Webb, then write you what she says....Aunt
still puts off the company affair - I wish it was over....Are you still
growing fleshy? What is your weight now?
March 21, 1899
....Last week was such a full week. I had invited Uncle Jim's on Sabbath for tea on Tuesday evening. It dawned cold and cloudy, soon raining, and about three o'clock the snow began falling. I did not know if they would be able to come, but I set the table with all the best fixins. Menu - stewed chicken with mushrooms smothered in gravy, cream potatoes, lettuce garnished with egg, current jelly, bread and butter. After that was through with and removed, fruit salad with whipped cream, angel food cake, roasted peanuts and coffee. They seemed to enjoy it very much. By this time you will understand they came, all but Uncle Jim; he has not been well but is better....They helped me wash all the dishes before going home. After supper Papa went to the Buffalo Club - just think of it! Coming home fell on the ice and bruised his arm and sprained his wrist - was badly shaken up but thankful it was no worse. He hears it on every side, about falling down coming home from the Club!
Next day thought I would have time to write before getting ready for Thank Offering service, but Mrs. McKean came, then Mrs. Niblock, and just after she left, Maud Marston. Thursday was cold and disagreeable, but got ready to go to Mrs. Dildines for supper, bundled up and got along nicely. The invited were Mr. and Mrs. Niblock, Miss Stewart, Aunt Jennie, Mrs. Tucker and Daisy (Uncle Jim not able to go), Papa and I. Of course, we had a nice supper. First oysters on half shell and celery. Second, baked trout garnished with lettuce and deviled eggs, mangoes, pickled peaches, rolls and butter. Third, the loveliest fruit salad I ever saw, large, beautiful mold brought on the table, angel food, and some kind of a jam cake she called her Oregon cake, and coffee. Her table looked quite pretty, the supper was nicely served and we all had a happy time....
Now as to your
dresses, I do not know about the brown - if you would like it fixed at
the bottom, you would better see a dressmaker about it. As to your
if can do with it as it is, could all be fixed over when you come
You will want a white pique skirt, I suppose, and with a pretty white
could you not get along? I will see Mrs. Webb and engage a place
for you middle of June....
April 15, 1899
....At last we are having spring weather - anyway people are raking their yards. We do not expect to rake ours as we expect to move the first of May....Mr. Boyle assures Papa (they) will be out the first of May....they expect to get the Aspenwall house....Did I tell you Editor Brown bought the place north of Hostetlers and will fix it up for a home....
Now as to your coming by the river - I do not know what to say. You would not have opportunity to do any shopping in Chicago, but perhaps could elsewhere. How many would there be in the party, and how long would it take you? And would you leave the boat at St. Louis?
Since Monday Anna Olson has been with us. She is sister to Mrs. Norton's girl - is young and does not know much how to do work, but a good disposition and much better than no one. We will go right along getting things in shape for moving. Next week Aunt Jennie gives her luncheon - Uncle Jim being sick, had to put it off so long - then my grippe hanging on, we thought much better to let Aunt Jennie go it alone....Dr. Bell told me yesterday morning if I would take my tonic, stay indoors for two weeks, I would be well and all right again...
I counted this A.M., you would be home in seven weeks - am I right? Have you gotten a skirt yet? Am so anxious for Papa to come with your letter - we always get one on Friday.
ConclusionHelen Adair returned to Kearney after one year at Western College. Her mother, Martha Adair, died in July of 1901; her father, Wm. R. Adair, died in August of 1913. Maintained her residence in Kearney at the home at 20 West 27th Street, into which the family moved in May 1899. She pursued her education at the University of Nebraska and Nebraska State Normal School in Kearney where she graduated in 1909. She obtained an A.B. degree from Barnard College in New York in 1915, an A.M. degree from Columbia University in 1916, and was completing her studies toward a Ph.D. degree in Economics and Politics at the time of her death on August 21, 1921.
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