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MSS.010
Katherine Tenney letters

Scan of a letter from the collection

Table of Contents

Summary Information
Biographical Note
Scope and Contents note
Administrative Information
Collection Inventory

Summary Information

Repository
St. Mary's College of Maryland Archives
Title
Katherine Tenney letters
ID
MSS.010
Date
1934-1937
Extent
0.25 Linear feet 1 box
Language
English
Abstract
Large collection of letters from Katherine Tenney, a student at St. Mary's Female Seminary-Junior College, to her family, written between 1934 and 1937. She wrote several times a week, sometimes twice a day.

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Biographical Note

Katherine “Kay” Tenney attended the St. Mary’s Seminary Junior College between the years 1934 and 1937. Following the footsteps of her older sister, the celebrated archery champion Jean Tenney, Katherine opted to spend her final year of high school at the seminary. In 1935 she graduated high school, and spent the following two years studying in the St. Mary’s Seminary Junior College. Her goal was to obtain a scholarship to study at Drexel University, although she ended up studying at Johns Hopkins University and West Chester University. She earned a master's degree and was employed as a teacher and guidance counselor for 25 years in the Coatesville, Pennsylvania Area School District, retiring in 1980.

In her time at the Seminary, she wrote home frequently. Her letters reveal that she was an exemplary pupil, and often placed in the first honor roll. She was also quite involved in campus activities; her positions ranged from President of the Dramatics Club, the Biology Club, and the Archery Club, to President of the College Club. She was also an active member in the Glee and Home Economics clubs on campus. Her schedule was always busy, and made even more so by dances at Charlotte Hall Military Academy and weekend trips to Baltimore and Washington, DC. During her time at St. Mary’s Katherine contributed actively to the culture of the community. She also witnessed landmark moments in St. Mary’s history, including the unveiling of the Freedom of Conscience monument and the college’s Tercentenary celebration.

Katherine hailed from Clearspring, Maryland, the daughter of Clarence Arthur and Olive (Smith) Tenney. She was preceded in death by her husband, Otis D. Hanna, in 1999. She passed in 2005 at the age of 87.

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Scope and Contents note

The Katherine Tenney correspondence collection consists of 131 letters sent from St. Mary’s to her parents, Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney, between the years 1934 and 1937. The content of these letters includes descriptions of Katherine’s daily social and academic life at the Seminary; requests for permission to travel outside of St. Mary’s; and accounts of frequent trips to Baltimore and Washington, D.C. The collection also includes several inserts, such as a copy of an arsenic receipt, a number of letters written by Katherine’s friends and addressed to Katherine’s mother, and a letter from M. Adele France. The letters make frequent mention of archery champion and sister Jean Tenney, as well as Kay Aldridge, who would later gain fame as a model and actress.

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Administrative Information

Collection Processed by

Rosie Hammack, 2015

Publication Information

St. Mary's College of Maryland Archives

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder

E-mail from donor 2007 June 6 

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Letters 1934 September 13 - 1934 December 13 

Scope and Contents note

September 13, 1934
– Addressed to Mr. + Mrs. C. A. Tenney
- Tenney excited to be a member of a sorority on campus & not have to pay sorority dues.
- Underscores significance of sorority on campus
- Discusses scarlet fever quarantine (and how the school addressed contagious illnesses at the time)
- Sometimes addresses someone named “Jean” (older sister).

October 8, 1934
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Tenney
- Discusses the conditions under 3-week scarlet fever quarantine; wants to go home for Halloween, but probably won’t be able to
- Also mentions Duckett, who has been trying to get Katherine to join the sorority. (likely an earlier letter than previous entry)
- Discusses the family’s money troubles; fashion; approaching marriages
- Talks about archery and piano lessons
- Mentions a man who was stuck at the seminary due to the quarantine and was taught to dance

October 1, 1934
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Went to a dance at Charlotte hall the previous night  “I really had a right nice time, probably because I expected it to be so dumb and it wasn’t as bad as I expected”
- Went on a blind date with a man named Bob Goerder; “he tickled me”
- Plans to go to a party hosted by the Delta Phi Epsilons, but does not plan to join due to exorbitant dues ($20 a year!)
- A girl named Alma might have T.B.; Katherine discusses this situation in depth.
- Katherine = president of the dramatic club.
- Kay Aldridge is engaged to Jack Cahill.
- Discusses her busy schedule
– has dropped short hand in favor of phys. ed.
- “I think St. Mary’s will do me so much good in the developing of personality and that sort of thing that the H. S. can’t give that it is well worth the difference. Credits are no good without something to go with them and I feel St. Mary’s is precisely the place to give it.”
- The pianos Tenney’s been practicing on are in bad shape. Apparently the piano teacher (Mrs. Woodall) wants to give Tenney lessons – possibly even for free; Tenney says, “I guess that’s so she could save her reputation”.

September 28, 1934
– Addressed to Mrs. C. A. Tenney (Katherine’s mother)
- “Cake, candy, and sweets” can only be delivered on the weekends
– this letter includes directions for her mother to send a cake clandestinely.

September 24, 1934
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Includes a letter written to Senator Byron, thanking him for his aid (which allowed her to attend the school)
- Discusses the cost of laundry

Letter not dated.
– “Dear ‘fambly’”
- Will have a second year of Home Ec class; discusses the importance of Home Ec at St. Mary’s (and the rest of her schedule).
- Discusses the archery club – which was apparently sizeable, with 20 members at the time. Worries over the cost of membership. Suggests that her sister, Jean, founded the club when she was on campus.
- Goes into a discussion of local politics (and talks about congratulating someone named Mr. Jess for winning Chair of Dem. Central Comm.)
- Likes living alone. Wants to rent a piano for the semester.
- “Hester Laster asked me if sometime when she took a weekend if I’d go with her; from what I’ve seen of her I don’t think I’d especially want to”
- Speaks highly of the bishop Freeman
- Katherine is president of the Biology club: “Oh yes, I’m pres. Of the Biology club but that doesn’t mean so much.”
- Got hand-me-down napkins from Jean on the down-low.
- Plans to go to the Tercentenary Pageant, but is “not so enthused.”
- “Haven’t had any fried chicken – only stewed etc. How I envy you all.”
- Requests a collection of insects (for extra credit in Biology); “Remember that collection of insects in the drawer of the green desk, that Jean made a long time ago. I wish you could bring them when you come, It would give me extra credit in Biology. I’ll let her think I did it down here.”

September 17, 1934
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Had a dress up party last night with some friends; she dressed up as a Katzenjammer kid.
- “We have ten in our class, only three new girls: myself, Anne Blackistone, and Jane Anderson from Baltimore”
– lists all the other students too
- Asks for notebook paper again, talks about cutting excess expenses in school; decides to drop short hand class.

September 13, 1934
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Requests two Hoover aprons (“as cheap ones as you can”)
- Signed, “Katy”

October 12, 1934
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- “Well, here I is. So far I like it a lot and haven’t felt the least bit homesick or lonely.”
- Debates taking the short hand course, teaching herself typing, and taking a business course (the extra cost would be $10 a semester).

October 15, 1934
– addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Tenney”
- “they will give you fruit only during week”
- The quarantine is coming to an end; “it looks like they’ll be able to get that long weekend over Hallow’een”
- The previous night the girls staged a wedding in “music hall” (St. Mary’s Hall)

October 22, 1934
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Katherine received her report card, was first in her class, and “was tickled pink”
- She got an “A” in “attitude and deportment” along with As in Biology, Math, and English
- “I’d give anything to see someone from home but I’m not homesick”
- “If I soon don’t get some apples I’ll pass out
– you have no idea how I miss fruit here”
- Talks about arranging visits from various friends
- Also talks up someone named “Charlie” to Jean

No envelop/date
– (The 26th Friday of October, 1934)
- A girl named Alma asked Katherine to go home with her if they could get a ride, but Katherine is not particularly enthused about spending that much time with Alma (a Freshman).
- The remainder of this letter is Katherine attempting to come up with excuses not to go home with Alma.

October 23, 1934
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Katherine plans to go home for the weekend (this letter includes all of the logistical planning for transportation, etc)
- She has a ride with Helen Pinkstone – “this solves the Alma problem”
- Signed “Hurriedly, K.T. Answer immediately.”

October 24, 1934
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- “the quarantine broke yesterday – once more we’re free white folk” (?)
- Again, this letter deals with the logistical planning for the free Halloween weekend.

November 5, 1934
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Katherine was dropped off in Hyattsville and spent three hours there by herself before Dottie came to pick her up.
- Got back to school; prepared a D.A.R luncheon for 40 people. Describes the feast in depth.
- They put on a play (I think) and Katherine was Fatima, Bluebeard’s wife. “It was really cute.”
- “The prom is this Sat. and I guess I’ll take Bob Goerder from Char. Hall. I wrote to Jean for her dress and shoes.”
- Someone stole some of Katherine’s sheet music; “I’m going to find it if I’ve gotta burn the school down”
- “Pinky stayed home an extra day – she of course has to pay $1 for every class she missed.”

November 12, 1934
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Tenney
- “Dear Fambly, Well, well, I have a roommate and I’ve had to move, darn it.”
- “I don’t think she’s the kind of girl I’d pick if I had my choice of a room-mate….What I mean is she hasn’t much personality and is rather slow in catching on to things.”
- “Well, we had the Prom last nite and I had a grand time, the orchestra was grand, of course I got a few dumb dances, but on the whole I had a grand time.”
- Katherine was “furious” because she broke the heel of her preferred sandals before Prom.
- Plans to go to Macbeth on Saturday night. Also plans to go to an informal at Charlotte Hall.
- Katherine wants more apples.
- There was a dance at the hall, sponsored by the athletic club, and decorated with various sports equipment
- “Some kids were caught having a feast in the John the other night, so they’re confiscating all flashlights, candles, etc.”
- “Dr. and Mrs. Dixon just came and Georgie is going home for good because scarlet fever left her eyes too weak to continue, isn’t that awful.”
- The remainder of the letter is dedicated to arranging visits from cousins (Emery and Lucille).

Not dated
- This letter advises Katherine’s parents to wait to give permission to Miss France until Katherine knows when Lucille will visit.

November 19, 1934
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- “Dear Fambly, Well we can’t go to Macbeth because it’s on the same day as Junior Play”
- Katherine decides that she would rather have her cousin Emery come after Christmas, in the Spring.
- Apparently Katherine was planning to attend a wedding soon.
- “Jean, the other day in H.E. we served a breakfast and I had to get supplies so I looked behind the refrigerator for that piece of steak you left on the water bottle but it’s gone. Ha! ha.”
- Wants to bring up grades in Phys. Ed. and Housekeeping.
- Wants parents to make cookies for upcoming sorority potluck.
- “Had dumbest letter from Mrs. Angle – now I‘ve gotta write her another.”
- Asks parents for permission to go for a ride with Lucille that Sunday.

November 26, 1934
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Thanks parents for cookies they made and for mended arrows.
- The plays are over.
- She didn’t get on honor roll that month because her “numerical average was just below it;” asks her parents to sign her report card.
- Mentions that she met a Mrs. Chealy the previous night (at the play)

December 1, 1934
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- “Dear Fambly”
- Discusses the upcoming dance, which was to be held in Baltimore at the Emerson Hotel.
- Letter dedicated to making arrangements for Jean to attend the dance with a man named John (or driven by a man named John).
- Lost an arrow and is very upset about it.
- Is officially a member of the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority (as of Thanksgiving).
- Discusses weight. (Weighs 3 pounds more than in September!)
- Lucille can’t come visit.
- Describes all the food served at the Thanksgiving banquet.

December 3, 1934
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Katherine wants to begin charging girls for doing their hair
– “I’ve been setting loads of kids’ hair and everyone wants me to take something for it, so I think I’ll start.”
- Plans to go home at 2:30 on the 15th for Christmas break.

December 4, 1934
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- “I hate dreadfully to have to write and ask for this, it seems like every time I turn around I’m writing for you to send me something.”
- Asks for marshmallows.

December 8, 1934
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Katherine decides not to go to the dance because she can’t think of anyone to bring.
- Travel arrangements for Christmas break.
- Apologizes again for asking for candy.
- Hopes her grandmother is better.

December 8, 1934
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Discovered she’d sent a letter to a Mrs. Zeigler at the wrong address
- Asks for her mother’s recipe for marshmallows

December 13, 1934
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Once again goes over travel arrangements for Christmas break.
- “I’m tickled to death, I’m on the basket ball squad; that is, 1 of the 23 she kept and didn’t discard”
- “It just breaks my heart not to go to the dance, but as it stands I don’t see how I can without a man.”

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Letters 1935 January 4 - 1935 June 6 

Scope and Contents note

January 4, 1935
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Left clothes at home, requests them to be sent to her

January 7, 1935
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Thanks parents for fruits
- Sends Jean shower shoes
- “Well, I ain’t sweet 16, them days is gone forever”

January 14, 1935
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- “Dear Folkses, Honesty Mrs. Woodall is one person I really could get great joy out of taking something and knocking her flat.”
- Mrs. Woodall wouldn’t let Katherine play a piece she wanted to play (“The Butterfly”) in a piano recital. (And instead gave that piece to another, less experienced pianist).
- “It just about gripes her to death that she can’t give me lessons and get the glory.”
- Went to an informal at Charlotte Hall with Bob Goerder the previous night.
- Charlotte Hall just got a vitaphone and used it for the first time last night. The picture was, “It Happened One Night.”
– “The film broke a few times and one film got wound up backwards and they had to take time out to rewind it but outside of that it was very good”
- Unseasonable hot temperatures in January.
- Plans to go to a sorority weekend in Washington with her friend, Tony Duckett
- Another girl (Roselyn Hershberger) has scarlet fever.
- Katherine’s father is a veteran/goes to veterans meetings in Hagerstown.
- Wants wildroot to set girls’ hair

January 16, 1935
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Ended up playing the “Butterfly” piece at the recital (because she stood up to Mrs. Woodall).
- Got a surprise package of candy from her parents
- Plans to go home with Duckett and three other senior class sorority girls

January 21, 1935
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Gives Jean the phone number and address of Dot Moore.
- Received a closet pole in the mail; “Did Miss Carr laugh when she gave it to me
– ‘Of all things to get thru the mail is a broom handle,’ she said”
- Requests permission to go home with Margaret Duckett
- Attended (but did not play in) a basketball game the previous night with St. Mary’s Academy at Leonardtown – it was a tie.
- Exams start next Saturday
- Mrs. Hick’s school is now accredited. (Sacred Heart in Washington).

January 28, 1935
– Addressed to Mr. + Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Exams began this day.
- Describes the winter weather on campus
– “It looked like my idea of a fairy land, I’ve really never seen anything so pretty.”
- The authorities that be will allow skating on the pond very soon.
– “Every day they say we can go skating tomorrow, and it’s still tomorrow. It makes me furious, for 2 days we’ve had to stand by and watch the county folks skating.”
- Describes a power outage that occurred earlier that week; “We at by candle light and put candles in study hall and danced.”
- They couldn’t shower for several days due to a frozen water pump.
- Mentions an upcoming senior party near St. Patrick’s Day.
- Advises mother to visit various friends in Hagerstown.
- Weather would not permit a dance at Charlotte Hall.
- Was forced to go to school despite not having exams.
- Asks about Cousin Emery.

February 1, 1935
– Addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Card written while Katherine waited for Mr. Duckett to pick her up.

February 11, 1935
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Letter written on a card to save postage
- Hasn’t heard from Jean in “weeks and weeks”
- Sending films to be developed
- Went to an informal at Charlotte Hall the previous night (“Bob invited me, but in the meantime his grandfather died and he had to go home for a week end so his roommate and cousin [Ross Powell from Cumberland] took his place”)
- “Hope you can read this without a magnifying glass”
- Does not plan to go to the game (presumably basketball) at Hyattsville tomorrow

On a quarter sheet of paper: “Yesterday we had a snow battle between the senior and junior classes…. Polly Chinly got knocked out someway or other, tho and stayed out for ¾ hr. She’s not very strong that’s why.”

February 18, 1935
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Talks fashion to Jean
- Katherine got a role in a play (“Pinafore”) and doesn’t know if that role is the lead; “anyway it’s an important part.”
- Complains about Mrs. Woodall’s teaching style.
- A girl lost $5 and Mrs. France interrogated students one by one in the study hall. (Apparently this was an ongoing issue; “all the stealing has gone on on the second floor”)
- Won a basketball game between the school and the college 18-15 the day prior. Blames her bad basketball playing on her heavy shoes.
- Discusses Billy Newman, a straight-A student who will go to Washington College.
- Mentions that the college here isn’t accredited.
- “So many of the kids have company today. It seems like everybody’s company always comes the same day.”
- Discusses the pronunciation of the word, “applique.”

February 28, 1935
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Discusses photographs from the developed film, and names the people in the photographs
- “They’ve put that operetta off until after Easter”—“It certainly is dumb”
- Someone named Kit Shaw is engaged to be married.
- Pinky plans to move to Hagerstown
- Thanks sister for perfume.
- Went to a tea party for Miss France’s birthday.
- Plans to welcome new sorority members in a few days.
- Went to the formal at Charlotte Hall with Bob the previous night; describes her attire.
- “There’s some dumb sophomore here who has a crush on Tony and follows her everywhere and nearly sets her nuts…. Tony tried every method to get her (the soph) to go home and finally had someone say a teacher was looking for her. At this, Gloria (the soph) sits in the middle of the floor and howls, consequently, Mrs. Woodall heard her and found them. None of these girls could go to the dance…. It’s bad enuf for Tony to have to tolerate Gloria much less miss a dance for her.”
- Describes the schedule of a girl named Ann Mears.

March 4, 1935
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Katherine “realized that my choice of words is very commonplace”….”The day before I received your letter I had begun keeping a list of every good word I hear and then referring to it often”
- Laments how little she reads and mentions Kay Aldridge’s vocabulary; “I wish you would do that which Jean said Kay Aldridge’s mother did. Every once in a while in a letter I wish you’d give us a new, good word and then use it as much in the letter as possible.”
- “The letters you receive are by far the worst examples of my writing”
- Goes on to discuss Ann’s (presumably Ann Mears’) letter-writing style.
- Lauds the benefits of constructive criticism.
- A man from Baltimore who had spent 14 years in Russia came to speak at the junior college, and Katherine gave up study hall to listen to him talk for 3 hours. According to Katherine, “one of their outstanding doctrines is atheism.”—tells an anecdote about how the government instills atheism in starving orphans by telling them to pray for food and then telling them to ask the government for food and seeing which works." “Stalin has people shot whenever he feels like it. The people are like dumb driven cattle…. They worship machinery”
- Beat the Hyattsville team 16-10 on Wednesday.
- “I certainly wish this nice spring weather would arouse the gypsy spirit in Cousin Emery.”
- Complains about academic schedule.
- Instead of an oratorical contest, the school will be hosting a contest of one act plays
– as the president of the dramatic club, Katherine = student representative at meeting in Leonardtown.
- Can’t be valedictorian because she’s only been at the junior college for one year.
- Describes Charlotte Hall school formals. How C.H. boys ask St. Mary’s girls.
- Bob invited her; “he seems to be very nice but conceited, oh!....All those boys are impardonably conceited, they make me so mad.”

March 19, 1935
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Watched a basketball game at Glen Burnie
– St. Mary’s won 16-9.
- Describes dinner at Peachy’s family’s farm after the game.
- Wednesday had game with Indian Head, won 50-11.
- Had senior party last night; she took Bob.
- Pinky dropped out of St. Mary’s.
- Discusses controversy over an unnamed award.
- Discussion of the honor roll.
- Plans to go to Indian Head the following day.
- Attached is a letter addressed to Mrs. Zeigler, written on a quarter page:

* “It is so unfortunate, that it seems almost impossible, that fate could be so cruel as to necessitate my coming to St. Mary’s.”

* Thanks Mrs. Zeigler for the award she’s been bestowed.

March 11, 1935
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Tenney
- Has enjoyed having pledges and being doted on and called “Miss” Tenney.
- In her report card, was called “Gracious and busy” – this was high praise; most students came back from their meeting crying.
- Recommends an article on Green Pastures in the March 9th Literary Digest
- “I like the word ‘prolixity’ very much. It’s so interesting to wonder which word you’ll give next.”
- Plans to go to Glen Burnie tomorrow for basketball, and is very excited.
- Kit Shaw is engaged and her picture was in the March 3 “Sun”
- Previous night went to informal at Charlotte Hall with Bob; had a very good time.
- Jean goes to the College of William and Mary.

March 25, 1935
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
– Mrs. Woodall requests a copy of Every Woman.
- Requests finger tabs for archery
- “We have a new radio!!! I’m sitting by it in study hall writing this. It’s perfectly wonderful, a huge Philco. The tone is so mellow.”
- Discusses travel logistics for Easter
– “I’m wondering if on account of our old car it wouldn’t be better to take the bus?”
- Mentions inter class basketball games
– the seniors beat the juniors and tomorrow will play the freshmen.
– “We stuffed a pair of white ducks and a shirt and made it look like a stiff. We then carried it in on a stretcher and named them, ‘The Juniors.’”
- Alumnae lodge to be repurposed as Home Ec department. “Then next year, the home ec students will live there a certain amount of time and keep house, cook etc.”
- Mentions construction to be done on the library
- Plans underway to eliminate the freshmen and sophomore programs at the school in the next two years; “then it will be a standard junior college”
- Jean met Eva Le Gallienne

April 1, 1935
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- “Well we had our first shooting the other day, it is so lovely now.”
- “Kay Aldridge fell off a horse and is now in the hospital in a cast with a fractured pelvis…. They say she’s suffering terribly but is so noble about it”
- Prom scheduled for April 13
- Saw “David Copperfield” in Leonardtown last night. “It was wonderful. I could see it 6 times more… I’m just crazy about it.”
- Attended a birthday party for a friend yesterday.
- Complains about Mrs. Woodall’s teaching style again.
- Has to write a 3000 word paper on Charles I
- Tries to use the word “matutinal” in a sentence.
- Lists the words she’s “collected” so far.

April 8, 1935
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Thanks parents for sending new bow.
- A scarlet fever quarantine at Charlotte Hall precluded prom – and also affects Katherine’s ability to get home for Easter.
- Jean plans to visit Katherine with someone named Miss Massey.
- Cousin Emery probably won’t visit.
- Katherine doesn’t know what a telephone extension is.
- Cryptic: “Imagine what you did escape by not going with the McLaughlins. Gosh! but one does feel grateful for such things.”

April 10, 1935
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- “It seems my plans for coming home are going sadly amiss.”
- “Miss France is sending the seminary bus which holds only about 12 with baggage. She is on the rampage because no one is sure of what they are going to do.”
- “In assembly this morning Miss France said that all plans emphatically must be made for going on the bus after mail Thurs.”

April 29, 1935
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- “Well, here I am, back at the seminary, and I had such a good time at home.”
- “Tomorrow is the extravaganza. The principals didn’t have to go to church today.”
- Requests a tube of white shoe polish.
- Describes the lovely weather.
- Jean couldn’t come home for Easter
- “You needn’t be afraid of my going out with anybody who isn’t a good driver. In fact I don’t suppose I’ll be going out at all. I realize the whole danger, you may be sure.”

May 6, 1935
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
– “I must write just a note for our essays are due at 6 P.M. today and I haven’t even started to revise it, and when I’m finished, it takes me at least 5 hours to copy it.”
- Happily accepted $5 from parents.
- Katherine attended another informal at Charlotte Hall with Bob the night before.
- Apparently Jean was well known on the William and Mary campus.
- Katherine was asked to take a comprehensive test because she was “leading the H.S.”
- Someone named Elise married someone named Richard on the eve of Easter.

May 10, 1935
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Went to see the nearly finished lodge
– “It is just perfectly adorable, just like a modern little bungalow.”
- “It seems like an utter impossibility that Jean and I are in school when we have absolutely nothing, anyone else would think it insane to try…. But, Mother dear, we have bright days coming, don’t we?”
- Hopes Jean will be able to attend her commencement.
- Considers playing the lottery (or joining a “chain prosperity letter”). (Addendum: this is illegal in Maryland and Katherine will not participate)
- Only H.S. student on the 1st honor roll.

May 13, 1935
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Asks about Miss Massey and informs family of Pinky’s academic status.
- Wonders who she should invite to commencement
- Wants a bathing cap that “buttons under the chin” Plans to go to Charlotte Hall’s June Ball on June 1 and St. Mary’s H.S. commencement on June 10.

May 20, 1935
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- “News! News! Never have I been so excited. Today at dinner Miss France announced that Miss Carr is getting married!!”
- Went to prom last night at St. Mary’s
– describes the festivities and the preparations
- Describes the boys that her friends took to Prom (she took Bob)
- “Yesterday they unveiled the Freedom of Conscience monument that they erected on the point of the triangle (Jean you know where it is) just at the bottom of the hill which leads to the seminary. Ritchie and Nice were there and gave speeches. We sang and Charlotte Hall marched. Since the C.H. boys had to be here for that, they stayed for supper and then the dance. The school served lunch to the gov. and 50 other celebrities. Ritchie certainly received more applause than Nice and when Ritchie gave his speech he didn’t even recognize Nice. He recognized the chairman and others but not Nice. Ritchie certainly is good looking but that’s all.”
- Requests the poem, A Woman’s Question, by Eliz. B. Browning
- “You know they say Kay Aldridge might never be able to walk or else limp. Isn’t that awful.”
- Asks for $10 for graduation expenses
- Mentions a mounted policeman who attended the unveiling of the Freedom of Conscience monument.
- Plans to go to June Ball with Bob on June 1.
- “If I keep on gaining, I’ll be as broad as I am long.” Apparently students could only weigh themselves on Friday nights.
- Plans to give her friends photographs as graduation presents (and worries about the cost)

May 28, 1935
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- They held a strawberry festival on Saturday.
- On Sunday took a boat to a classmate’s house and had dinner there. Describes dinner.
- Came back to St. Mary’s and worked on Trustees dinner for two days.
- Went on another boat trip to a party for the seniors, thrown by the freshmen and sophomores
- Very busy; “I’m absolutely breathless and just about dead”
- Will write a speech for commencement.
- “Kay Aldridge is walking and will almost surely in the course of time not even limp”

May 29, 1935
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Discusses invitations for commencement

June 6, 1935
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Discusses upcoming commencement plans

1 3

Letters 1935 September 16 - 1935 December 16 

Scope and Contents note

September 16, 1935
– Addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Mentions an accident in passing
- Asks for a metronome
- Discusses new mail system and her new course load/class schedule

September 16, 1935
– Addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Unsure about whether she can take Science
– asks about Drexel catalogue
- “Now for the teachers
– the business teacher Mrs. Shellrick is inexcusable, terrible. She looks awful and I’d die if I had classes from her.”
- Transitions into discussion of teachers.
- Discussion of differences between high school and college.
- Suggests that she and her family got into a bad car accident recently
- Gets along well with her new roommate, but misses her old friends.
- Begs her mother to get a telephone (suggests that her father died or left recently)
- Considers taking a music theory course
- Handwriting is difficult to read because her finger was hurt in the accident
- Includes tentative course schedules for freshman, sophomore, and junior years. (Apparently “Senior year is mostly H.E.” [Home Ec?])
- “Here’s my schedule. English – Speech – Chemistry – Home Ec. (Planning a house etc) – French – History (Survey Course of European History) – How to Study >– Art Appreciation + Phys Ed + Piano”

September 16, 1935
– Addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Katherine has started working in the laundry to pay for piano lessons
- Is missing her copy of Browning’s “A Woman’s Question”
- Katherine really likes her new roommate, Lucille
- “Things are so different here this year and putting all and all together, I’m sort of down in the dumps tonite”

September 17, 1935
– Addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
– Shoes came in the mail and were too small.
- The music class is free and she will try to work it into her schedule.

September 19, 1935
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Reassures her mother that her finger injury is innocuous
- Plans to live in “cottage” next year

September 23, 1935
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Another girl was elected president and Katherine is upset about it; “I did get vice pres. But that’s no consolation.”
- Taking 32 semester hours
- Plans to drop music theory
- Is very fond of the new dramatic teacher, Miss Cottrell
- Wants to leave early for Jean’s commencement
- Someone named John is sick
- Wants cousin Emery to come and bring her quilt and some apples
- Someone might lose their job because of the accident
- The school is paying for Jean’s expenses
- Doesn’t plan to take another science course
- Went to a picnic the previous night

September 30, 1935
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Congratulates Jean on her archery tournament; asks for more bows for archery club.
- Home ec. course will decorate the lodge. (Alumnae lodge.)
- Will probably perform “The Importance of Being Ernest” on November 23 for Junior play (combined effort of Junior classes in both college and high school).
- Katherine is president of dramatic club
- Didn’t go to the dance at C.H. last night because Fred Powell invited Peachy instead; “I guess I feel hurt. Ha! ha! There is certainly nothing to go to Char. Hall for this year, I was quite pleased to stay here. The boys there now are so pitifully young and dumb.”
- Bob now attends Penn State; sent her a letter.
- More discussion of Jane’s presidential election
- A girl named Shirley Lowe is president of College Club

October 7, 1935
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Went to hear Bishop Finley’s service on Sunday. Last night, went to picnic on the beach with Bishop Finley and others. He “was Uncle Sam’s type there”
- Bought a new dictionary for $2.75
- Played piano in the assembly on Wednesday; her music teacher said Katherine was her best pupil.
- Will not perform “The Importance of Being Earnest” because “Miss France is afraid it won’t appeal to the audience we’ll have. Phooey!”
- Tony is throwing a dance on an approaching weekend and Katherine plans to go home with Tony and Anne Blackistone, but has trouble with travel arrangements.
- Once again goes over her course schedule
- Charging students and teachers to set their hair:
15c for students, 25c for teachers.
- Wants to go to several concerts in DC but season tickets are pricey
- $2.75 to $10. The performers she wants to see: Lawrence Tibbet, Vienna Boy’s Choir, Lily Pons, Nelson Eddy and Grace Moore.

October 14, 1935
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Plans to go to Tony’s; asks parents for permission. Would like to meet family on the polo fields on the 25th but is unsure if this is possible.
- Tony’s party will be a masquerade; Katherine doesn’t know what to wear.
- Wanted to dance with Ross Powell at Char. Hall but didn’t have the opportunity.
- Another friend has gotten engaged.
- Talks about her busy schedule/academic anxiety.
- Mentions “joint account with Pop Smith” and bank checks.

October 21, 1935
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Pinky is no longer attending school, is being tutored instead
- Requests “cute Hallow’een skits, poems, dialogues or anything for an assembly program.” Also requests more finger tabs for archery.
- A $700,000 yacht was docked at the wharf the other day.
- College got a new grand piano, but Katherine’s not allowed to play it.
- “It’s uncanny how everyone is spraining their ankles around here, about eight people in two days. Every time you turned around someone else was limping around.”
- Katherine made first honor role.
- There was a D.A.R. [Daughters of the American Revolution] luncheon the day before.
- “I don’t think Amer. will go in the war. They’re no reason for it and pres. Roosevelt announced that he’d keep Amer. neutral.”
- Asks for song called “Goblins’ll get you”

October 31, 1935
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Katherine’s happy about apples.
- Received a letter from someone named Lawson
- Someone named Johnnie Farra died playing football

October 22, 1935
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Attempts to ascertain whether or not she will meet her mother and Jean in Washington.

October 22, 1935
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Asks when she should go to the polo field in Washington
- “It just about slays me to think of all the apples at home and here I sit dying for some.” No date
– Taking 18 credit semester hours
- Parents appear to be worried about Katherine stretching herself too thin; Miss France held a meeting with Katherine to talk about overworking

November 4, 1935
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Went to an alumnae luncheon in Baltimore and “had a marvelous time”
- Lists the alumnae in attendance (includes Kay Aldridge)
- Saw “Annapolis Farewell” at the movies and enjoyed it.
- Prom next Saturday. Asks Jean to send her a dress.
- Next Sunday, plans to go to a Lawrence Tibbit concert.
- Glee club sang at St. George’s Island.
- Auditions for Jr. Sr. play are ongoing.
- Doesn’t plan to accompany friends to Midsummer Nights’ Dream because of cost.
- Can’t decide who she wants to go with to Prom.

November 9, 1935
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Katherine’s mother wanted to visit Katherine and get a ride with Pinky, but it appears Pinky has been unofficially blacklisted from campus
– “Maybe it’s for the best tho’, knowing how Pinky drives”

November 13, 1935
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Katherine reiterates that she doesn’t think her mother should come with Pinky.
- On the 18th will go to Baltimore with her Home Ec class to shop for furniture.
- Play will be on either the 31st or Dec. 2

November 11, 1935
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Just returned from concert.
- Lists the encore songs that Lawrence Tibbit sang. Is excited to see Lily Pons
- Recounts an anecdote in which she mistook a random woman in the audience for Lucille
- “Right now I’m dead
– for we had the prom last nite and were dead before we started.” Took a boy named Tom Bond and had a “grand time”.
- Didn’t get the part she wanted in the play, which she attributes to her small stature. The play was “Bringing up Mother” by Charles George.
- Had an incident with her lamp (it “put out a fire”) and she needs a new one.
- Discusses academic stress
– “our whole class almost lost their minds”
- Mentions Jean’s tonsils

November 19, 1935
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Reassures parents that she is not working herself too hard.
- Compares county boy vs. Char. Hall boy (she prefers the former, though she doubts she’ll see him again).
- Writing letter while at play practice
- Discusses various letters she has received from Charles, Lawson and Eddie.
- “See, my old lamp was all falling apart and was loose and wore through its cord, cause I was using it when it wobbled and snapped and put all the lights out while everyone was studying for a hist. test”
- Plans to go to Mrs. Grien’s concert tomorrow
- Doesn’t like to shop and is not looking forward to appraising furniture on Monday.
- Enjoyed Mrs. Grien’s concert.

November 25, 1935
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Katherine’s letters have been taking 3 days to arrive
- Called Lawson on Monday.
- Excited for Thanksgiving
- Mrs. Dutton sent Katherine a $1 white ivory lamp to use.
- Enjoyed trip to Baltimore to look at furniture; called the experience “invaluable” o “I learned enuf to know I’d be scared to buy furniture”
- “We’re selling Xmas cards to get money for a gym. 21 for a dollar. Do you want a box?”

December 2, 1935
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney.
- “Monday nite is the fatal nite” (meaning, the performance)
- Describes thanksgiving dinner, and regrets not being able to spend it with her family
- Has to read a book a week for How to Study class
- Recommends “Lust for Life” by Irving Stone (a biography of Vincent Van Gogh).
- Advises her parents not to donate to the alumnae agency; “St. Mary’s surely is improving.”
- Went to a classical concert Sunday
– Harold Bauer (pianist) and Arthur Spalding (violinist). Enjoyed it.
- Wants to furnish her house back home.
- Talks about arranging transportation home (probably for Christmas break)

December 9, 1935
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- “Well, I went to the C.H. formal last nite and had a very nice time, as good as could be expected. That fool was dumb enuf to invite me.”
- Bob’s going to West Point.
- Received high praise on the play.
- “Another book I think you’d like is Porgy. It’s a negro story and has been made into an opera
– ‘Porgy and Bess’ and has been the center of critics’ attention. It’s very, very much talked about.”
- Complements the contacts Jean’s made at William and Mary
- Has a ride home.

December 16, 1935
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Went to dinner with roommate (Lucille) and her family.
- Received a nice letter from Miss Carr
- Plans to go home in 5 days (the 20th)
- “Miss France has a new car – it’s grand looking.”
- Plans to go to dinner at Jubby Cullisan’s with Anne Blackistone, Jane Anderson, and Eugenia. Describes the dinner later in this letter.
- Mentions someone named Louella who may be coming to Washington

1 4

Letters 1936 January 13 - 1936 June 3 

Scope and Contents note

January 13, 1936
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Discusses cost of school bill and personal financial status
- Is planning a surprise birthday party for Anne Blackistone
- Two girls did Katherine’s laundry for her
- Katherine has to come back a day early on Easter break to do laundry
- Louella came and had a little accident.
- The water pipe burst over Christmas break
- Basketball game last night between Sophomores and Juniors in High School
- Katherine has been asked to write an essay for a contest; “I guess I will”
- Has tentative plans to go to Baltimore with some friends over a long weekend later in January. Relays these plans in step-by-step detail. Asks if it would be prohibitively expensive to take a bus.

January 20, 1936
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Someone named Kipling died
- Asks for permission to be granted to travel with Mary Lee Pollit to Baltimore.
- Students in the college petitioned to be able to sleep in to a quarter of 8
- Asks Jean about her commencement

January 22, 1936
– Addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Has secured rides both to and from Baltimore for the weekend
- Exams begin Saturday
- A woman named Mrs. Chesley had appendicitis and was sent to Hagerstown Hospital. Katherine asks Mrs. Tenney to go see her.

January 24, 1936
– Addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Finished the booklet she was making; “It’s the most exalting feeling I’ve ever had”

January 27, 1936
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Next week is exam week; refused a bid to a dance at C.H. to study for Chemistry
- Plans to go to the Vienna Boy’s Choir tomorrow
- “We skated today for the first time, that’s why I’m so tired. If I write my letter tonite perhaps I can get some skating in tomorrow before we go to Wash. for I’m afraid the ice might not last long.”
- Discusses anxieties over exams. (Mentions the difference between major and minor exams)
- For athletics (probably basketball): “We have to keep training rules over the weekend. That’s terrible. Not even one little piece of candy or anything between meals. We have to sign saying we kept it, too.”
- Plans to stay overnight at Blue Ridge
- Plans to go to Baltimore with classmates and will invite Elise, Tony, and Clare (but is anxious that the other girls will not want to entertain Tony and Clare). Discusses travel arrangements.
- A high school girl named Alma won’t return to SMS next semester
- Discusses transportation for Easter
- Considers “Patterns in the Jade of Wu Ming Fu” by Stanwood Cobb to be “the best thing I’ve ever read…. It’s the sort of thing you want to read every day”
- “At Sears and Roebuck I can order enough yarn to knit a 2 piece suit for $1.29”
- “The kids all say I’m crazy for not looking up Charles when we got to the Academy. They say girls have boys paged there if they hardly know them.”
- The Vienna Boys Choir “was superb”

January 30, 1936
– Addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Jean just turned 22; Katherine wishes her a happy birthday
- Katherine’s opinion of Miss Cottrell has changed for the worse.
- Went skating earlier that day
- Plans to go to the Academy in Annapolis have been dropped
- Ordering socks from Sears and Roebuck
- Sears and Roebuck won’t send yarn samples

February 4, 1936
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- “Dear Mother, just this minute arrived back safely
– what weather
– will write the epistle later. Love K.T.”

February 6, 1936
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Currently 3rd in her class. “I’d rather be 3rd tho, than a book-worm.”
- Spent the weekend at Clare’s house with Lawson and some others. Had lunch at Jane Anderson’s house.
- Went to Annapolis and drove around but didn’t take a tour.
- Had tea at Rosemary Sands’ (outside of Annapolis)
- Had dinner in Baltimore and went to see the movie “Collegiate” starring Joe Penner.
- Next night, saw Bing Crosby in “Anything Goes” with Lawson, who also paid for the ride home in a taxi (Katherine considers this opulent)
- “For heavens sake don’t read this letter to Doris. He actually put his arm around me
– he’ll learn. Of course I got tickled then but I did manage to keep from giggling.”
- On Monday, the group went to see a movie in Washington
– “Exquisite Story.” They stayed in Washington a night longer than originally planned.
- “4 of us slept (tried to sleep) in 1 bed. We laughed like fools for the first half of the night and couldn’t sleep that crowded – Well – the result is that now I’m so sleepy I’m in a daze – it’s terrible.”
- Was a little worried Miss France would punish them for returning late, so drove back in the ice – “we had to drive 10 miles an hr. the whole way.”
- “We came back without any mishap at all, but those roads were just glass
– we saw loads of people going down the highway on ice skates”
- Grammar course is over and another teacher, Mrs. Swindle, (?) compensated with increasing English material
- Wanted to see Tale of Two Cities in DC but wasn’t able to.
- Requests knitting needles and discusses knitting supplies.

February 10, 1936
– Addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney (torn)
- Blizzard on Thursday
– “so much snow we couldn’t even get to the music hall”
- “Last nite we all went out in it. WE had a sled hooked to the back of the truck and Mr. Wood pulled us. It was grand.”
- Enclosed samples of yarn (bought it for ½ price)
- Requests more knitting needles
– her friend sat on her pair and broke it.
- Weather would not permit basketball game or Charlotte Hall formal; team plans to go to Hyattsville tomorrow.
- “We’re getting a new marking system this semester, if Miss France doesn’t explain it when she sends you my report I’ll explain it then.”

February 17, 1936
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney (second page torn)
- Went to Schnabel concert despite lack of interest. “I wish I hadn’t, he was indeed wonderful tho’ – too wonderful for me – I couldn’t understand it and I don’t feel I’ve gained a lot by going except a most miserable ride. But – I’ve heard Schnabel.”
- Dramatic Club hosted informal dance the previous night. Went with Stanton Haylen from Leonardtown.
- Enjoyed apples and Jean’s and father’s valentines.
- Wrote to Lawson and hasn’t heard back.
- Describes Louella’s minor car accident
- Addresses mother when discussing courseload; does not want to drop a class. Katherine’s striving to win the Best All Around award to she can get a Drexel scholarship.
- Describes music time commitment
– but does not want to drop music lessons.
- New grading system: “I won’t know if I’m first or not, we’re marked on the basis of failure, unsatisfactory, satisfactory, merit and honor in regard to our own ability.”
- Father sent her $5 for Valentine’s Day
- Katherine has a cold

February 24, 1936
– Addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Went to see Lily Pons perform.
- Will attend game in Bethesda later today
– “If we win they’re taking us into Washington to see Rose Marie”
- Katherine no longer has a cold.

February 26, 1936
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Letter begins on Sunday.
- Mentions the difference in weather between St. Mary’s and Clearspring. Asks how much city water would cost in Clearspring
- Gives parents Lloyd’s address and phone number
- Is excited to hear Lily Pons perform later today; pauses letter to go to concert.
- Letter resumes on Tuesday. That weekend she served at an alumnae luncheon/card party for ~150 guests.
- Later that day, played in a home basketball game against Annapolis and won 26-12.
- Attended a guest lecture held by Dr. Truit from UMD about the blue crab.
- Morning after Lily Pons, went to Glee Club and then to Bethesda for game. Won game 22-19.
- Went to Washington to see Rose-Marie; back at St. Mary’s by 11:30pm.
- A Venetian Glass Blower will come Wednesday night.
- Will have 2 or 3 basketball games a week for 2 or 3 weeks; is on the 1st team now and has been playing every game.
- Describes Lily Pons and Rose-Marie concerts. (Seems more enthusiastic about Rose-Marie).
- The Charlotte Hall formal has been postponed.
- Requests a new hat elastic.
- Wants someone named Margeurite to come visit
- Received a letter from Lawson
- Will play Blue Ridge College on March 14 and asks if family can come visit.
- Includes letters addressed to Mrs. Tenney sent from classmates
* From Lucille: Mentions the concept, calls Katherine “Kay.” Adds, “I think Kay is garnd and the best roommate anyone could have”
* From Louella: Mentions exams and an impending blizzard: “We are in the midst of exams, and are we enjoying them, yes indeed”
* From Sarah Kerbin: says she has heard nice things about Mrs. Tenney
* From Anne Blackistone: “I just took an English exam and so this note won’t be very cheerful.”
* From Jane Anderson: mentions weather and ice skating
* From Ethel K.: asks that Mrs. Tenney will let Katherine come home with her this weekend
* From Eugie: “I hope you are enjoying good health and that it doesn’t get too cold up there in them thar’ mountains”… “While I have the chance Mrs. T., I want to say that I think Kay is tops and a darn good job! Excuse the profanity, please.”
* From Bessett Fraser: “We are really not responsible for what we do or say this week, for exams are here in all its splendor.”
* From Patsy Fowler: mentions weather and ice skating and exams. “Kay is in here wagging her tongue off with the rest, but we all think a lot of her even if she is dumb.”
* From Lorena Burch: talks highly of Katherine
* From Rosemary Sands: “This is quite the custom down here – we do it all the time” (meaning, write to other students’ mothers) * From Imogene: discusses the weather. “Did you hear about the girl whose legs were frozen near there [Hagerstown]? I read it in the paper.” Relieved to have finished her booklet. * From Mary Lee Pollit: “I suppose you know all about our new ‘Seminary custom’ of writing notes to everyone’s mother. I just hope the mothers enjoy it as much as we do.” Speaks highly of Katherine.

March 2, 1936
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- “The Apple Blossom Princess has been selected. She’s in 2nd yr. College
– Gloria Reed. She’s the girl with the red hair
– very attractive
– she’ll be very good, I think.”
- Found the glass blower “very interesting”
- Won a home game against Bethesda 31-25.
- Will play an away game with Annapolis on Monday and will go to a tea dance after
- Discusses the pros and cons of buying vs. making various garments
- The concerts are over. (“Lily Pons was our last.”)
- Requests a spool of white thread

March 5, 1936
– Addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- “Would you have time to please ask Pop Smith why he likes Borah and to give me some points about him
– good bad or indifferent” (William Borah, Senator and progressive Republican presidential candidate in 1936). “I’d like something I could use in the form of a stump speech for him.”

March 9, 1936
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Sunday. Begs parents to come to Blue Ridge game.
- Lucille (roommate) went home with friend this weekend
- Recommends Rose-Marie
- If buttons are too expensive, does not want them
- Insists she is not homesick, but would really like to see someone from home.
- “Everyone is sort of getting down in the dumps from having been here since Xmas.”
- Won home game against Blue Ridge 30-17—and “they were certainly poor sports”
- Describes trip to Annapolis, Annapolis basketball game, and dance that followed
– “The boys weren’t very attractive but were good dancers.”
- On Wednesday won home game against Hyattsville 28-16.
- Only lost 1 game this season (another against Hyattsville).
- Miss Carr’s husband was smitten with Jean
- Katherine feels lonely with her roommate gone (but her friend Imogene is not allowed to sleep over)
- Monday morning. Received letter from Elise. Plans to spend the night of Blue Ridge game at Elise’s house.
- Thanks parents for information about Borah.

March 10, 1936
– Addressed to Mr. C.A. Tenney from St. Mary’s Female Seminary
- Typed report signed W. Adele France.
- Reveals that the Seminary is “changing our grading from a competitive to an individual basis”

March 21, 1936
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Mentions radio reports about floods in Cumberland; threatening to flood in St. Mary’s too.
- “No water and no light”
– unclear to what this is referring
- Received letter from Betty
- “Only 2 more weeks”
- “The floods have certainly been terrible – especially in N.E.”

March 23, 1936
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- On Sunday, went to Western Md. and met up with Pat + Lee, Georgie + Helen Brighton
- “The new dorm is lovely
– they have all new maple furniture and beauty rest mattresses and box springs”
- Visited Hood College and had dinner with Macy; “Hood is more like a real college.”
- Mentions a house fire, likely in St. Mary’s county.
- Watched a trial in Leonardtown
- Will have Easter break April 4-April 14.
- Louella plans to stop at their house in Clearspring for a night
- Wants to mail suitcase home
- Requests powder for hair setting
- Mentions “terrible” floods again

March 30, 1936
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Louella and Katherine plan to eat lunch at Louella’s sister’s house in Washington
- Wants to give Louella and her sister wine and cookies.
- Miss France “received notice from the express company” and “was very pleased with it”
- Wants Margeurite to come the weekend of the Spring play (after Easter)
- Auditioned for the spring play (“The Hermit’s House”) but did not get a part because Miss Cottrell thought she’d be too busy
- Lost arrows and quotes “The Arrow and the Song” by Longfellow
- Took a chemistry test
- About student morale: “The kids are getting so restless, dissatisfied or something here that Miss France had an open assembly with the students, without faculty.”
- Miss France gave Katherine permission to go to Jean’s commencement

May 8, 1936
– Addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- “Twelfth Nite is May 13 and 14. I’m so glad you’re going.”
- Discusses attire for June Ball at Charlotte Hall
- On Monday will visit Baltimore for art trip

April 20, 1936
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Describes trip back to seminary
- “all the kids are in here jabbering so I don’t know what I’m writing”
- Sends along praise for Jean from Mrs. Wallace and Swindler
- Asks about Merle
- Wanted to see Walter Hampden but couldn’t get tickets
- “It was so funny this morning – really a 2nd Easter parade”
- Will have an exam in music.
- Watched Rose of the Rancho last night. “It was right good – nothing excellent”
- On back of letter, joke letter from Anne Blackistone to Katherine’s parents, addressed “Hello Folks.” Mocks Katherine’s tennis abilities.

April 27, 1936
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- The 5 St. Mary’s high school alumnae went to an alumnae meeting in Leonardtown the previous day.
- On Monday, moved into the Home Ec practice house—“it is really adorable”
- Refused a bid to the Charlotte Hall formal.
- Last Monday, went with art class to a collection at Leonardtown. (Aloysius King?)
- Discusses pocketbooks.
- Miss Cottrell placed Katherine on the stage committee for play without consulting her. Katherine worries about the workload because the play will require effects. Will also play “Alice Blue Gown” between acts.
- Apple Blossom Festival will be April 30th, but Katherine does not plan to go.
- For the weekend of May 25, plans to go to Baltimore and stay with Mary Fraser’s family.
- Junior-Senior Prom is May 16
- Bought a dress from a friend for 75c for the dramatic club informal.
- Laments about a man named Peter who “was so sweet.”
- This Saturday, will have an informal college club dance
- Discussion of blinds/curtains.
- Mrs. Hoke brought Katherine snacks
- Lucille will probably come on the 8th to take Katherine to William and Mary. Discusses travel plans.

May 4, 1936
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Attended College Club informal the previous night with the “same boy I took before”
- Katherine’s exhausted; she has been at play practice until 11pm every night the past week
- Requests soap and shoe-cleaner. And Jean’s dress.
- A St. Mary’s alum attending William and Mary had the lead in the Lying Valet.
- Took “Cooperative Tests”
- The president of the board of trustees (George C.) died the previous day.

May 11, 1936
– Addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Mothers’ Day Card

May 11, 1936
– Addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney (includes 2 letters)
- Addressed to “Folks”: “The play came off very successfully Mon. nite.”
- On Tuesday, went to Judge Camalier’s funeral.
- Art trip to Baltimore tomorrow, will take a box lunch for a picnic in the park. “Fiddlesticks. Jane Anderson will be 3 blocks from her mother and Miss France won’t let her see her – not even telephone. She said this is an art trip and she wanted no meeting of families and no telephoning, I think that’s inhuman.”
- Miss Bateman visited Katherine’s speech class, “and what did Miss Cottrell do but all of a sudden tell me to give a speech—impromptu. Well, I could have died—whew. I just started talking, I don’t know what I said.”
- Informal at Charlotte Hall previous night. Didn’t get a bid. Doesn’t think she’ll go to June Ball.
- Bowstring broke. Requests new string and glue.
- Mother sent Katherine cream she didn’t need; Katherine contemplates selling or returning it. (Possibly due to financial problems).
- Home Ec club had a tea the previous day
- Lloyd’s wife surprised Katherine with a visit yesterday.
- Ricey’s (Lucille’s) family surprised her with a visit, and took the girls out to dinner. When they came back, Tony was there (surprise!).
- Katherine plans to bring her roommate home
- Plans for weekend with Lucille and Louella are not concrete due to tentative travel arrangements.
- Asks father if he could possibly give girls a ride home (but doubts his ability to drive).
- Addressed “Dearest Mother”: a mother’s day letter.
- Attended a “Mother’s Day King’s Daughter’s Program in the garden”
- “There isn’t a day that goes past that I don’t think of you and realize that everything I have or will have or anything I may have obtained I can attribute to Mother”
- Sent mother candy

May 18, 1936
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Went on trip to Baltimore and visited the Baltimore Museum of Arts, Walters Art Gallery, and Pratt Library; had a free ½ hour to explore.
- Ate dinner with Lawson at the Oreole. Went to a dress shop and 5 girls bought $2 dresses on a whim.
- The Junior Senior dance was last night. Took same boy as before.
- Plans to catch 5:30 bus from Leonardtown to go to William and Mary on June 6. Asks about Emery. Travel plans are sketchy. Asks about connections from Washington to Frederick.
- Asks for permission to go to Baltimore with George Carpenter to stay with Mary Fraser that weekend (May 23
-25).
- Discusses arrangements for mailing and storing possessions at St. Mary’s and home.
- Apologizes for misremembering the date of Mother’s Day
- “I forget what I said about Miss Cottrell now for her to deserve poisoning”

May 22, 1936
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney (torn in half)
- Received arrows and string
- Mr. Casson came with Katherine’s photo – it cost $1 instead of $2.50
- Visited old homes on Monday
- Plans to come home in 3 weeks
- Discusses her and (roommate) Lucille’s travel plans to get to William and Mary
- Hopes someone named Mr. Richard will “pull thru”
- Lucille has plans to stay with other friends at William and Mary
- Lawson is done with school, will stay the night and come to Fraser’s on Saturday
- Plans to meet Emery on the ferry & spend the day in Waldorf

May 23, 1936
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- May change plans to meet Emery in Washington rather than Waldorf
- A ticket from Leonardtown to DC = $1.90
- Wonders if Emery would want to stay the night

May 27, 1936
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Might meet Emery at 4PM at Lincoln memorial on June 6 or take ferry to Wm & Mary
- Lucille unsure if she can leave early enough to catch 5:30 ferry
- Exams start Friday
- “Did you hear about the eskimo who was sitting on a block of ice telling a story and when he was finished he got up and said
– “My ‘tail’ is ‘told.””
- Miss gill, Raymond and Rosy, and Ann Beauchany are all sick
– “Miss France is worried”
- “Lord I hope it isn’t diphtheria and we’re quarantined, and I can’t go to Wm & Mary.”
- Bought new pajamas in Baltimore
- Three diagnosed with diphtheria, but no quarantine until more are diagnosed.
- “So don’t worry, it is not at all serious. And don’t tell anybody.”

June 1, 1936
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- This letter was written Friday night. Quarantined for 48 hours beginning Wednesday.
- Everyone on campus had cultures taken (including servants and teachers). “We couldn’t even send mail out”
- The cultures came back
– one was positive, so the quarantine was extended to next Wednesday.
- Will take cultures again Monday; quarantine will continue extending for as long as there are positive cases.
- “If I can’t go to Wm + Mary!!! Lord
– it might keep up on into the summer.”
- This is also exams week; took Phys Ed exam and Chemistry Cooperative.

June 1, 1936
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Katherine is elected president of college club; Imogene is class president for next year.
- “I just remembered I made you feel that our diphtheria was a deep dark secret. That was just for before we were quarantined, for you know how people would talk if they knew there was diphtheria here”
- “Everything they have done has been sanctioned or ordered by the board of health”
- Attended sorority boat ride previous day. Describes meal.
- Requests trunk strap
- Took English, art and chemistry exams.
- Again goes over uncertain travel plans
- Brings up possibility of Jean teaching at St. Mary’s (and then remembers that she has to get her MA to do that)
- Was sworn in as pres. of college club

June 2, 1936
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Tells her mother to send permission to Miss France

June 3, 1936
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Written Wednesday. The quarantine ends
- St. Mary’s postpones alumnae recital to Saturday (Katherine cannot play in it)
- Plans to leave on bus and meet family in DC
- Lucille not sure if she can go to Wm and Mary

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Letters 1936 September 21 - 1936 December 14 

Scope and Contents note

September 21, 1936
– Addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Describes Betty’s “very pretty” roommate, Gladys Mertz, daughter of pres. of Bureau of standards; “She is charming, refined + cultured. She went around with the better class in Balt. + Wash. – that type;” she is engaged to be married in June
- Discusses course schedule; unsure whether Home Ec course will count for credit at Drexel.
- Encloses arsenic receipt
- Health + physiology course is mandatory
- Plans to buy furniture for college club room
- Katherine is invited to go home with Ricey (Lucille) for long weekend in October
- Someone named David came to visit in a new chevy
– “smooth looking”
- “We went on a hike and picnic last nite
– the whole school. It was the best we’ve ever had. Everyone had a grand time. We had hot dogs, rolls, potato salad, coffee, apples, bananas + cookies; sat around the fire + sang.”
- Plans to order monogramed paper
- Katherine can’t decide between 2 concert series. The series costs $2.75
- Received letter from boy named Bill Rowe
- Discusses college club duties
- Jean knows Ricey’s sisters
- Includes sketch of Junior College Club logo.

September 28, 1936
– Addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Begins with discussion of course schedule
- Considering dropping either piano or French.
- Will take foods and Nutrition and Psychology.
- Signed up for concert series

September 24, 1936
– Addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Includes arsenic receipt
- “I’m the only one taking Home Ec (advanced clothing) so there won’t be any such course offered”
- Discusses difficulties getting credit for home ec classes at St. Mary’s
- Considering dropping home ec course in favor of Masterpieces of World Literature
- Sang for Methodist home-coming in Leonardtown the previous day
- The freshmen are homesick

October 6, 1936
– Addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Written Sunday.
- “Refuses” to write to Jean until Jean writes to her.
- Describes Betty, treasurer of her class, and contrasts her with Betty’s roommate, whose “interests are in getting married + she is one of those baby doll types + thinks of clothes etc”
- Mary Lee Pollitt is leaving to take a secretarial job in DC. Discusses her pay.
- Monday Afternoon: girl named Bissett considering rooming with Betty.
- Mentions plans to see concert series
- Jean lost something (probably the tournament) and Katherine told her friends against her parents’ orders
- Got a “darling little pin” at the athletic awards
- Has had eye pain recently
- Drexel said Katherine could get credit for the home
-making course
- A lot of interest for archery at the school but not enough equipment. Club has $11-15 in treasury. Goes into specifics about necessary equipment.

October 7, 1936
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Has secured ride to and from Frederick for long weekend. Can’t decide whether to go home or to go with Ricey to Rudville.
- Received letter from Jean; will write next week

October 12, 1936
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Describes letter mix-up/confusion
- Someone named Elise “has a little boy”
- Mary Lee Pollit got a secretarial job with the Washington Light Co. and will not be returning to St. Mary’s. “Lordee but we miss her. When she left it was so funny, everyone in her room, + we’d all start to cry + then laugh at each other for crying.”
- Staff members Raymond and Rosa got married in the summer
- Jean moved in with Jane, a friend of Ricey’s sisters.
- Over long weekend (Oct 30), plans for eye appointment. Considering going to Rudville with Ricey.
- Discusses clothing and requests dresses
- Asks when to send Drexel scholarship application
- Mary Lee came to visit; “that girl is certainly lucky”

October 19, 1936
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Planning to come home to Clearspring with Ricey. “We’re looking for rides etc
– everything has so many ‘maybes’”
- Received letter from Lawson
- Discussion of furniture and mahogany
- Family got a telephone: “I’m tickled pink about the telephone
– beyond words. Is our # still 4-3-1-3?”
- Talks about maids; “she knows, I think, that we don’t keep one regularly”
- Describes today’s outfit
- Surprised to receive letter from Charles Cassel
- Received archery equipment from father
- Bought 50 christmas cards for $1
- Jane Anderson’s mother had an operation
- Bought a new dress for $1 (includes little drawing)
- Ordered new end table

October 24, 1936
– Addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Requests that mother sends Miss France permission to go to Frederick with friends
- D.A.R banquet today

October 26, 1934
– Addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney (written on monogramed stationary)
- Discusses transportation to Frederick (it is secure)
- Mentions turkey dinner
- Received archery tabs
- Discusses transportation in more detail (specific buses etc)
- “We had the DAR luncheon yesterday + I’ve never been so tired in my life. We worked Fri. nite ‘till late – all Sat. morning
– served at 2, + washed dishes till dinner time (6 P.M.). We didn’t even stop for lunch + when it came time to eat
– we couldn’t. I ached all over.”
- Sorority rush feast was last Sunday night
- Went swimming Oct. 23
- “Few minutes later”: will go to Frederick with Maralee Moore.
- Later: “Just came back from going out riding with Lorena Burch’s brother + Rice with another guy.”
- “Still later”: surprise visit from Mary Lee November 4, 1936
– Addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney (Tuesday)
- Responding to something apparently negative in a card from Mrs. Tenney: “It just doesn’t make sense to me, I feel like I’m just up in air all the time. I’ll be thinking about you all the time
– I know what you’re going thru with.”
- Katherine sends mother $2 for flowers.
- Asks how father is, and asks to pass on her “love + sympathy” November 6, 1936
– Addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Would like to call mother, but writes letter instead; Katherine debates this for much of this letter. “I’m afraid you have no one with you to-nite”
- Has set 4 people’s hair and needs to study
- “It’s at times like these that the realization of the Truth is such a wonderful comfort”
– unclear as to what this refers, but it seems something terrible has happened to her mother.
- Asks for info on Md. customs

November 9, 1936
– Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Monday night
- Just got back to St. Mary’s
- Mrs. Wallace is fixing Katherine’s dress
- Tuesday
– plans to have fashion show on Thursday
- Sunday night
– “Jean was home for the funeral”
– someone passed away (explains previous letters)
- Inserted message from Imogene: “Mrs. Tenney
– K.T. is sitting here thinking or gazing into space (mostly the letter), so I’m taking my first chance to send you my regards (since she forgot to do it long weekend).”
- Sending Jean a dress.
- There was a dance last night; Katherine took Fox Burch and enjoyed herself.
- Went out riding with Fox, Ricey, Kerbin and 2 other boys
- Asks for ribbon and a bow

November 12, 1936
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Asks for 2 ½ yds ribbon
- Received dress + customs
- Plans to see Cath. Cornell in Washington Nov 18

November 16, 1936
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Wants to get her picture taken in Cumberland on Dec. 19
- Planned to see Katharine Cornell in Wingless Victory for $1.65 but price was upped to $2.15; Katherine’s not going.
- Received dollar table, hassock, pin, dress, and bow string.
- Fox wants Katherine to go home with Lorena for the weekend and then plans to take her to Charlotte Hall formal. Requests permission to spend weekend of 21st w/ Lorena Burch.
- Bill for first semester was $121 (equivalent to roughly $2000 now).
- Family cannot come down to St. Mary’s for Thanksgiving.
- Asks for copy of Mr. Hoffman’s talk

November 20, 1936
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Won’t be able to write a letter Sunday, so is writing Thurs.
- Asks Jean to come down on Sunday with Al.
- Explains why she can’t go to see Katharine Cornell in more detail.
- Asks Jean to bring apples if she comes.
- Discusses fashion
- Received arrows from father
- Discusses furniture
- Jean considering taking a job in Hagerstown
- Reopens discussion of Katharine Cornell performance
– discusses possible travel arrangements. Cannot find ride to DC. Wishes Fox would bring them. “Oh I guess it’s all just a pipe dream but it would be grand.”

November 26, 1936
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Wed. night: Mother told her not to go to Washington, so the plans are off. (Mrs. Tenney had told Katherine that if Fox took her, she should go. This confused Katherine.)
- Katherine really wants to go see Katharine Cornell
– “It seems a grand opportunity thrown to the winds.” She will not go.
- Miss Carr is pregnant
– “don’t say anything to her about it tho!”
- Requests new toothbrush.
- Went to Lorena’s and Charlotte Hall dance. Got home at 2:30 (probably pm)
- Went riding in the morning with Fox
- Lorena returned with Anne Blackistone; Katherine returned with Fox, who stayed to watch the Junior play
- Ricey not allowed to leave school due to report card.
- If mother and Jean decide they want Katherine to go to Washington for Katharine Cornell, Katherine will go.

November 30, 1936
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Saturday: Amy Jester sent a box of snacks.
- Katherine did not end up going to DC for Katharine Cornell; asks how much this cost family.
- Describes Thanksgiving banquet.
- “Basket-ball started yesterday”
- Mentions the annual Christmas Southern Md. Society Ball will be held at Kennedy Warren in DC on Wed. the 23rd
- “Well – at the DAR luncheon, George Calvert (the last of the Calvert line) was here and he gave an invitation to everyone in the 2 senior classes + to anyone else that would come”
- Plans to get a ride to ball with Imogene.
- Katherine offers Jean a ticket and mentions that she’d like Al to come too. Discusses travel arrangements and possible house party.
- Sunday: received candy.
- Discusses sewing and fashion
- A girl from Hagerstown named Helen Harp goes to Eastman Conservatory
- Wrote letters to and received letters from Lawson and Charles
- Talked to Miss France 1 ½ hours about college club
- “Isn’t it terrible about Schuman-Heink passing on?”

December 2, 1936
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Has begun tutoring two girls for 25c/hour (subjects: general, fundamentals, and French).
- Wonders who she should take to the Kennedy Warren dance and discusses travel arrangements.
- Gives reasons for wanting to take Fox to dance, but feels “obliged to take Lawson”
- Gave Mrs. Wallace toffee

December 7, 1936
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Sunday: Wrote to Lawson and invited him to ball.
- Wonders if she should get a wing chair
- Will go to see Russian Male Chorus later today
- Jean is sick
- Is expecting to see Fox next Sunday (13th)
- Ricey’s not coming to the ball.
- Describes tutoring schedule
- Writes again after the concert: “It was wonderful, I’ve never heard such.”
- Informs family that Fox has a tux.
- Ordered Jean’s Christmas cards
- Discusses travel arrangements for Christmas break
- Asks parents not to buy her anything for Christmas and instead put the money toward a new coat.

December 14, 1936
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- “Well, next Sunday I’ll be home
– it looks as if I won’t get to that dance.”
- “Too—Bill is such an awful dancer—I couldn’t see dancing a whole evening with him—I really am not anxious to ask him.”
- Discusses travel arrangements to get home (plans to go home on bus)
- Asks Jean if she will go to dance if Katherine does not
- Bazaar was last night
– “thank goodness it’s over. We served every minute – it was a big success – everyone is nearly dead + I’ve so much to do next week.”
- Sun night: Imogene and Katherine went out with Fox and Stanton Hayden—“I wish he could come to that dance darn it”
- If Imogene finds Katherine a date to the dance, Katherine will go.

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Letters 1937 January 8
- 1937 January 11 

Scope and Contents note

January 5, 1937
– addressed to Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Got home safely
- Mentions price of travel

January 11, 1937
– addressed to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney
- Sunday: Betty says hello
- Did not go to the movies with her friends
- “Miss France sent the H.S. to bed at 9 + us at 10 the other nite
– She said we were all worn out from Xmas + too there is the epidemic going around etc.” “Nothing serious.”
- Making up a day of school tomorrow (Monday)/will have a six
-day week
- Plans to go to Bessits for mid-winter break
- Requests necklace
- Miss Carr had her baby
– Katherine wants to get her a present.
- “Do you remember that awful boy I met at Larry’s last long week-end (last year). Lo + behold, he came to see me today
– I could have died. If he ever comes again I don’t know what I’ll do
– I could have killed him.”
- Includes copy of letter she sent to Drexel inquiring about scholarships.

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Photocopies of Letters 1934 

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Photocopies of Letters 1935 

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Photocopies of Letters 1936 - 1937 

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Report Cards, one Music Program for recital of Jeanette Roelke and Katherine Tenney 1935-1936 

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