November 15, 1908

Blogger Note:  In two days (or 1 day depending on where in the world you currently are, it will be 108 years since this letter was written!).  And no, you shouldn’t read into it as another conspiracy with the Cubs World Series win).  But it’s still nice to think about.  Go Cubs!!!

P.S.  This letter is a LONG one.  Happy reading!

November 15, 1908

My dearest John,

Oh this is the most glorious day we have had for a long time. Yesterday it snowed all day and today the white blanket everywhere glistens and sparkles in the bright sun shine. The trees look especially beautiful. Don’t you like to see the flakes fluttering in the air? I do not think this snow will last long. It is getting warm.

We had a very interesting program yesterday. Dr. Gillan talked to us upon How to conduct a recitation and he was in favor of the questioning method, the one used by Socrates. He called Socrates a “loafer” because he did most of his teaching standing around corners. Dr. Carson was the best speaker. He talked about the natural characteristics of a teacher which of course are found in the born teacher. But every teacher could acquire them, love for the work, scholarship, patience and always to have perfect control of the temper. The pessimist should never enter a school room to teach. His definition for a pessimist is a pessimist is an egotist who thinks the sun sets every time he shuts his eyes.  He paid some glowing tributes to General Grant.

Dr. Banks who has been excavating some ruins in the far East gave a very interesting account of the trouble one has to get permission to excavate. Most of the ancient ruins are controlled by Turkey. He described some of the ancient places as he found them or saw them (for he saw some that he did not help to unearth) buried. One place that was uncovered is larger than any palace used today. It was or is or found to be one hundred eighty feel high and covering about sixteen acres.

I wonder what my sweetheart is doing today. I hope he does not have any more of that cold in his head and not working too hard. I wonder if you are working today. I am resting this morning. I had a full day yesterday. Joe had a friend from Marietta visiting him and I had my friends. I did have a busy time trying to get to Institute by nine o’clock. I could not get them to breakfast until half past eight and when I finally started to go at a few minutes of nine Mother’s cousin came that kept me. If I had not cleaned my room and gotten ready before before breakfast I never should have succeeded in getting there. Mother did not go to Reading on account of the weather so she prepared most of the dinner and I got the supper.

After supper I had a German lesson to give and then sewed until after eleven o’clock. Wasn’t that a full day? I was a little tired but I feel very well and I am not doing anything today scarcely but attend Sunday school.

You said in your last letter you did not know what you were going to do about going north. Well, Sweetheart you must do what you think best. But if the people for whom you are working now give you a fairly good position and treat you well I think it would be best to stay. You will know what you have but if you go North and fail to get a position you will just have more expense and the time is lost.

If you should homestead you will surely need some money and then when the long winter sets in you will have to find another employment. Then think of the struggle and work! As I said before the hardest part will fall on you and you know you are not so strong that you can enduring anymore hardships and trials but what are absolutely necessary. Then why should you aim to acquire lots of money and in the struggle forfeit so much that is worth living for.

You know if you are worn out with hard work and constant struggle you have no time or patience to enjoy the better things. I feel that it is far more beautiful and important to be happy and get along with less of the things that money can buy and enjoy the better things.

If you have a run that pays fairly well we can get along by being economical and save something beside. You know John, so very much depends upon whether we want to be satisfied. The reason I am so against your trying to do so much (that is in acquiring money) is because I have seen so many couples and families whose happiness has been ruined by this struggle. And which is more important to be a well to do and important man in a community or less influential and have happy home life? It isn’t very often you have both especially where there is the struggle.

But Sweetheart do what you think best. You know I shall help you all I can always because I love you more than I can tell you. Take good care of yourself please. Give my love and best wishes to your mother and the girls.

Forever your loving,


Blogger Note:  Snow and Socrates!!  That is how you start a letter…….can you just paint the picture of the winter scene she is seeing?   

The part about teaching – about being able to acquire the skills and passion to be a teacher – is something many leadership courses still teach today.  That it is more than innate talent but a passion and will to consistently acquire those skills that make teachers great.  108 years go by and still it is true.  And the power and need for a positive energy in the classroom (and by extension, into any workplace).  And I love, love, love the definition of her pessimist.  

Anyone else want to know who Dr. Banks is?  What a life – exploring ruins back in the early 1900s – so much still to find.   I am extremely curious to dig into the ruin she is trying to describe above……hmmm……more research on that one.  

And wow!!  I think for the first time since I started these letters, this one really spoke to how Daisy feels.  In past letters, she has skated around this issue of moving and what to do but in this letter, she is laying all her feelings out in the open for John to contemplate.  It took her a few letters to get to this point but she did so with still a lot of love and care.  No swearing, threats, more than one exclamation point.  There is trust and solidarity here.  A lot of wisdom and a lot to think about.  And I have no idea where this story is heading…….but isn’t that half the fun?  Until next time!

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10 thoughts on “November 15, 1908

  1. I adore these letters so much. Thank you for posting them!

    I may have found your Dr. Banks. The timeline and story matches. He was “foiled by the Ottoman administration, who would not permit digs at Babylon or Tell Ibrahim, or other prominent sites. In 1903 it was decided that his excavations were to be at Bismya, the site of ancient Adab, in Iraq. His 1912 publication about his excavations at Bismya/Bismaya (Adab), the Sumerian city now in Iraq, contains some lively accounts of his struggles with the Ottoman bureaucracy.” He was also considered to be “an original” for Indiana Jones.


    • Wow!!!! How awesome is this??! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have some reading to do tonight. Thank you for taking the time and finding out more information about our “Mr. Banks.”


  2. I’m not sure if my comment posted, but I’m 95% certain I found your Dr. Banks!

    On Sun, Nov 13, 2016 at 8:25 PM, 109loveletters wrote:

    > SKnudson posted: “Blogger Note: In two days (or 1 day depending on where > in the world you currently are, it will be 108 years since this letter was > written!). And no, you shouldn’t read into it as another conspiracy with > the Cubs World Series win). But it’s still nice t” >


  3. I think she must be talking about Dr. Edgar James Banks who was seeking the “Secrets of Abraham”, according an article in the Chi -Trib on October 20, 1900. Interesting and readily available on the internet. Usually these people went in and did more harm that good. Plundered the sites for their own benefit. Not saying that Banks did this, but many others did.


  4. So happy to hear from Daisy again. I wonder if they ever saw each others between letters? It doesn’t sound like it to me. Daisy seems to be maturing and getting a handle on life as a soon to be wife.


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