News Link to News Story

Hi All!

I know some of you were having problems finding the news story relating to this blog.  I have included it here for you.  I think they did a great job and added even more life into this story. Great job News Channel 8!  I will have more information for you all as well in upcoming posts.  I know I said I’d get a new letter up, so I’m sorry I haven’t been able to yet.  I’m shooting for tomorrow.  Have a good night!  Please share this story and get the word out.

Blogger Note: Story on the News!

Hi Everyone!  I am back from across the seas.  I’ll be updating with another letter tonight, but in the meantime, WGAL News 8 from Lancaster, PA found the blog and started doing some amazing research on the couple behind the letters and uncovered some pretty amazing things!  It will be on tonight at 6pm EST on the news.  For those of us (me included) who are out of range, you can watch the story on the WGAL News 8 app.

Special thanks to Katelyn who found this blog and put this story together!

December 6, 1907

Blogger Note:  And the final letter before I depart across the seas!  Happy reading!

Dear Graffins,

I am afraid you must have been very naughty or why would you think Santa is going to forget you. I hope he does not. I think I shall have to send him a note. To eat Christmas dinner in a restaurant and no gifts besides! That is too terrible. I feel sure you deserve much better treatment than that. I received four gifts already. My mother gave me a beautiful blue coat suit and a white plume which I had put on a blue velvet hat. I don’t wear it very often. I feel too gay and dressed up in it.

I do not think you are a spendthrift. One cannot get along without some recreation and pleasure. I think you were sensible in getting them. It will pay in the end. My naughty brothers thought the Thanksgiving dinner was alright. I do not know whether they are good judges. I know I was busy all morning preparing it. With the exception of preparing that dinner, I did not do one thing I planned to do. Thanksgiving afternoon Mother and father took me for a short drive. We came home about four o’clock then I played a few of mother’s favorite pieces. As I was playing the bell rang and we found three of my little cousins crying. Their father had been hurt and taken to the hospital. Their mother died about five years ago. they came here and are yet. The father, too, came today.

You cannot know how busy I have been. to make matters worse, our girl got sick and went to bed and we had her to wait on all week. Each morning this week, I had to do almost a day’s work before going to school. It is almost too much to be rushing around from five A.M. until eight doing house work and then hurry off to a long hard day of school work and then top off with some more house work and sewing in the evening.

Poor mamma, too, is worn out. Tomorrow we have a teacher’s meeting and I feel tempted to play the truant. Yesterday coming home from school I saw a very prettily illustrated copy of “Lorna Doora.” I have always wanted to own a copy since I read it while visiting at your home. I could not resist the temptation. So I shall call that a Christmas gift to myself.

Have you had many opportunities to skate and do you like your new ones? I have been sleighing yesterday. Mother took me to school and came for me. I enjoyed it very much, but it was so cold. I wish you could have gone too. We have not had any skating yet. You asked what somebody else’s brothers were doing. Probably the same as my brothers only i do not know with whose sisters.

It is good of you to say you get some good from my letters. But I do not see how you can for there never is anything in them worth reading. if you are afraid your letters are dull reading stop being afraid fro I assure you I do not find them so. I told you I enjoy reading them and I really mean what I say.

the lecture on Ben Hur was very good. I must read it again. I know you would have enjoyed it. Have you read the book? I have not read a thing excepting the daily paper and Sunday School lesson and daily texts since I wrote last. I wish I could read tonight but after I eat supper I have a stack of sewing so cannot. I wish supper were soon ready. I had nothing to eat since breakfast at six thirty this morning.

I too cannot realize that this year is so near its close. How time flies! Each year seems shorter. I cannot help but feel that I let many golden opportunities to help pass by. and I suppose I wast some time but —

Is this not pretty?

Kind hearts are the gardens

Kind thoughts the roots.

Kind words the flowers.

And kind deeds the fruits.

I tried to teach it to the children. They seem to like it very much. I wish I had lots and lots of memory gems.  Last year I started to learn one each day but did not keep it up long.  In 1908, I am going to try it again.  They help me so much. Beautiful thoughts, beautifully expressed have consoled and made me happy many, many times.

Too bad you must miss the lecture. what days do you work? I am not taking the Star Course at the Y.M.C.A. here this year. I expect to hear only such things I am specially interested in.

I wish you were near a library since you have some time to enjoy the good books.  You must not expect to find “When Knighthood Was in Flower” an exceptionally good book it is nothing but a good novel with a little history but I found it very fascinating.

I hear the boys and girls laughing. They seem to be having a jolly good time. I love coasting better than sleighing. I love to get on a big sled and just fly down a hill. But I guess I am getting too old for such fun. I did do it once last year.

My brother promised to mail this letter and here he sits impatient to go so I must finish. Do not work too hard and have lots of fun on your skates.

With best wishes and hoping to hear from you soon.


Daisy Holzwarth

Blogger Note:  I know there are a couple grammar issues, but that is how she wrote some of her sentences.  I also had to look up a couple words so thought I would share in case others out there were curious.  For Christmas, Daisy receives a “plume” which is defined as a “long, soft feather or arrangement of feathers for display on a person.”  A “spendthrift” is “someone who spends money in an extravagant way.”  And “coasting” is another way of saying “sledding.”  

P.S.  Anyone enjoy her excerpt on “how time flies?”  She never knew that we would be reading this over 100 years later!

P.S.S.  I want to do some more research into these lectures she keeps attending.  I wonder if the Y.M.C.A keeps good records?

November 3, 1907

Blogger Note: As promised, the second letter before I depart. It’s the longest letter I’ve come across so far.  Enjoy!

Dear Graffins,

I am sitting in my room above which is a tin roof. It is raining just as hard as possible and I am having a delightful time listening to the patter of the rain on the roof. I love to hear it. I wonder whether it is raining way up where you are.

Well, at last you have received about all the mail I sent you. Our last letters must have passed. I received yours Monday and sent mine before Saturday. I have had quite a time this week. From Tuesday until Friday I had constant pain from neurologia. I thought I should go mad. Several times I wished I had no head. But I managed to go to school all week excepting half a day. I think it was caused more from nervous condition than a cold. I am well now only a little tired.

today we had our third Installment of Institute. It was good but not quite so good as the last time. Miss Jones, Principal of one of the schools of the East side district of New York talked to us about how to manage bad and truant boys.

Prof. Sheid (of our college) talked to us about the difference in American and German schools. He said “we cling to text books too much and do not have enough personality in our work, while in Germany the teachers’ personality is emphasized too strongly and scarcely no text books are used; most teaching must be done by the lecture method. Conditions seem just reversed. Germany is striving to be more American, that is, working for more text books, while we are striving for more personality and not so much text books. He also begged us to talk more about things and less about persons.

Prof. Martin gave us a talk on Nature Study. I only wish I could live in the country and nearer to nature. How I love it!

I am so glad Nora is improving. I sincerely hope she will soon be well and strong. I wrote to the girls last week. I am sorry your mother does not like Omaha. but I hope she is not in earnest about living alone in N. Dakota. It certainly would not be safe.

I am sorry you are so far away but then it may be better for you, for if I had you here I am afraid you would be sorry. that was wicked of you to accuse me of giving a “fellow” a spell of gout. More often (as a friend who has it says) it is caused by poorly cooked and too greasy foods. If that’s what you meant you can be glad you are a safe distance. Aren’t you?

You must drink lots of milk if you want to gain in weight. yes, I have been gaining but lost most of it last week. on the 12th of this month, I expect to hear a recital of Macbeth by John Howard of Boston. I suppose it will be good.

You asked me in your last letter what I think about your going to Seattle. I suppose you want the truth. Well, I do not want you to go. It is too bad you do not get home for Christmas. I always like to be home then. I should consider myself ill treated if I had to each my Christmas dinner at a restaurant. I am afraid. I do wish you could spend this Christmas with us this year. It might be a trifle better than a restaurant.

How did your examination turn out? I hope well, I know it did. My pupils and I are turning out to be famous artists. This week we painted landscapes and on Friday we mounted the best one each child did. Most of the children were very proud of their work and took it home with much pleasure. this coming week we are going to paint tomatoes.

I have not done any reading this week, have you? I do not expect to do much this coming week because I must make some calls. One of my dearest friends was married a month ago and I have not called on her yet. I am ashamed of myself and if I do not want to be disgraced I must go. I want to read “Bleak House” by Dickens just as soon as I find time. Have you read it?

You said you thought you would look around for something else to do. Have you any idea what you will take up? You said it had such a narrow future. that is the case with so many things. There is so much grind connected with so many kinds of work which afford no broadening or room for mental growth and for living a broader, fuller life.

Don’t you love to get out and be alone with nature? The feeling of rest, calmness and peace that takes possession of me then cannot be equaled elsewhere.

I had intended writing three other letters tonight but is half nine and I must stop. Are you not sorry I did not write some of the others instead of tiring you?

With best wishes and hoping to hear from you soon, I remain,


Daisy Holzwarth

P.S. You Goose, of course your letter did not tire me. Daisy.

Blogger Note:  The first couple of sentences really got me.  I could just visualize her….sitting and listening to the rain hit the tin and give this twang sound.  When was the last time we sat on our porches or anywhere in our house and just listened to the rain?

October 26, 1907

Blogger Note:  Happy Independence Day U.S.A!   And for others outside of the country, hope this day is a happy one for you as well!  I’ve already been to one parade this morning and will be with family this afternoon and then the fireworks and campfire.  The weather is again beautiful today, so a great day to put up another letter.  Thank you to all the readers and followers who continue to read this blog from around the world.  It means so much to me and gives me the motivation to continue this story.  Again, more great things to follow in July so stay tuned!

A couple more notes before we get to the letter.  One, Rhonda will be sending me the additional letters she found so that I can incorporate them into the blog!  I’m so grateful to her for her generosity and willingness to keep the letters together.  She was so wonderful to talk to via phone as she has read her letters and was able to provide even more to Daisy’s story.  Rhonda, if you are reading – a big THANK YOU!!  On another note, I will be out of the country for the next two weeks, so I will be pushing to post 3 (yes 3!) letters before I go to tide you over until I return.  I’m heading to London and Ireland – two places on the bucket list!  I’m so excited!  I do have some readers from both places, so if you are from either place, send me some suggestions on where to go!  Who knows what random pub I’ll end up at.  Okay, enough with the long blogger note. 

Happy Reading!

October 26, 1907

Dear Graffins,

Well finally we received each others’ letters. Yes, I received your postal of the Y.M.C.A. I suppose you heard enough of me this week a postal and two letters. Well, just do not read them. I did not know that you had been given the name Jack in Nebraska. But I do like John. I do not know why and yet in a vague way, i do. About ten years ago, I read the book “John Halifax Gentleman” and I was so impressed with his strong personality, purity and goodness that John has always since been a favorite name.

Mamma took me driving after school today and we were almost killed. I do not see how we escaped. We were going west and the train was going south, both at full speed. It was only the horse sense of our Pet that saved us. My mother is one of the best drivers I know and on that account she gets reckless that is she is so daring. Every time I go with her I expect to get killed (I suppose that is a little exaggerated). But she makes some very narrow escapes. I do not go to any more circuses. One is enough for a long long time.

Do you like living at the Y.M.C.A?  I hope you do not need it to make you be good. It must be quite nice to work only every other day but no doubt you must work very hard when you do work. You will have some time now for reading. I like to read and I like to read best in the morning. How long are you going to make me wait for that scolding? Not that I like scolding so well that I want them but since I can remember whenever I know I was going to get one I wanted it right at once. If you save it too long it might spoil. What is it? I am sorry for Winnifred. It must be terrible to be disappointed in any person. Does she really care? It seems to me that the majority of men are like Roy Porter. I sincerely hope not all.

I certainly would like to see St. Paul and would enjoy seeing it with you but when I will ever get so far north and west I cannot tell. I expect to go to Niagra Falls this summer but that is not near St. Paul. See what the summer brings.

Institute last Saturday was fine. Prof. Monroe talked to us about Russia. The condition of those poor people must be terrible. Mr. Stetson of Maine talked to us on fads and isms. He too was good. He told so many jokes. He said “you know Boston is not a place at all. It is simply a state of mind.”

Friday evening – Well tomorrow is Saturday and I think a very busy one. I am tempted to work only in the morning and call on one of my friends in the afternoon.  I just finished reading “With Juliet in England” in the Ladies Home Journal. The home life as described in that story is ideal.

Since it takes my letters so long to reach you I thought I had better answer at once. I wrote to Nora. When she gets strong enough to read it will help a little to make her forget her condition, I hope.

I am anxious to get that scolding.

With best wishes I remain.


Daisy Holzwarth

Blogger Note: I have been trying to research on why Daisy would use John’s middle name as a greeting.  If that was a way for letters to be less informal?  I have not found much on the subject yet, so if anyone out there knows any more, please enlighten us. 

I thought the reference to Ladies Home Journal was great.  It is an American magazine that was first published in 1883 and became a leading magazine.  It is still published today, but as a quarterly magazine instead of monthly.