Letter from Eleanor Blair, Wellesley, Massachusetts , to Mr. D.C. Blair, Montour Falls, New York, 1914 January 26
Letter home describing efforts by herself and other students to bring an atheist student into Christianity, her possible interest in becoming a missionary, attending many teas, and learning to ski. —Keywords: Atheism; Christianity; Missionaries; Afternoon teas; Skis and skiing; Eliot House; College Hall; Fiske House; Pomeroy Hall —Tags: Personal Relationships; Religion and Spirituality; Student Life; Athletics and Physical Education
9 pages + 1 envelope
[written on back of envelope] My goodness, I forgot to thank you for the cookies. It wasn't because of lack of appreciation either for they have been thoroughly enjoyed. E.B. 22 Cottage Street Wellesley, Mass. 26 January, 1914. Dearest Papa & Mamma, For some time I've been trying to get time to have a little chat with you. There's something I have wanted to tell you about, but didn't want to begin until I had plenty of time for it. You see it's just this way - I've run up against the biggest problem I ever bumped into. To put the whole thing in a nutshell - Florence is an atheist and we (Mildred & I) are trying to help the girl to something better. I say "Mildred & I" - at first it [page 2] was just us two, but now Dot knows about it and also Pauline Curran, our village Senior. Helen knows a little about her and succeeds in getting her to go to vespers with her. The early part of the year Brownie wouldn't even go to C.A. Wed. evenings & now she goes nearly every week with me. I had a long talk with Pauline one evening & we decided that there was no use in arguing with her, but that the best thing to do was to live a Christian life & let her see the difference Christianity can make in a persons [mis-spelling: person's] life. It's been a kind of tough place to be in, for I've felt all the time that I must live up to my religion & set a good example. Besides that I've tried to get Brownie among the girls more. She just hung off by [page 3] herself at first, but now, I am glad to say, she mixes in a lot more easily than before. During the last week or so things have become quite exciting. A week ago last night the Kansas City delegates gave a report of the convention and it was wonderful, - the meeting I mean. Charlotte Conover, a Senior who offered herself as a Student volunteer while out there, spoke so earnestly that you couldn't help but be impressed. Then Wed. evening Ida Appenzeller led C.A., and I can honestly say that I was never before so impressed by any talk as I was by hers that night. She just put [page 4] herself into every word she said, and since leaving her I do not wonder in the least that she is C.A. president, and I can also see why she too has offered herself as a missionary. Well, after hearing that girl talk as she did, I decided that she was the one to help Florence out. I looked up her office hours & last Fri. P.M. I went down & had a long talk with her. She is certainly one of the truest, Christian characters I ever knew. Now we are working together and it's a lot easier now that I have her to go to talk things over with. I had a little talk with her today up in the library & tomorrow night I'm going to meet her up there & have a good long talk. Last night I had a long talk with Florence, and such ideas as that girl has! It kind of upset me but guess I'll feel [page 5] better after I've thrashed things out with Ida. The way we conspire against Florence is the limit. Ida didn't know F. so we tried to plan up some way for them to meet. Finally we decided that Ida should go over to dinner with Mary Day & then stop in at Eliot to walk up to choir rehearsal with me. In the meanwhile I was to ask Florene to go up with me so I would have company. Of course they would then have to meet each other & all three of us could walk up to the chapel together. It was a risky plan but everything turned out beautifully. After midyears Ida is coming down to dinner [page 6] with me and of course she will see F. down here in the evening. We have to work carefully & slowly for [deletion: of] if F. suspected anything, why it would be all up. We're going to keep at it though until we accomplish something - that's one thing sure. Last night we had our class prayermeeting & Dorothy Rhodes & Harriet Bullard gave five talks on the convention - both of them went. Also a girl in our class who is a student volunteer told her reasons for wishing to become a missionary. There is just one volunteer in the class now, but I tell you, the way I've been feeling lately, it looks as though there might be another before long. What do you people have to say about it? In my own mind, it's just a question of where I can do the most good - here at home among young girls, or away in the [page 7] foreign field. Maybe I haven't been wrought up these past few weeks! In fact I am yet. I just found out the other day that Dot's great desire is to take a course in nursing & go as a medical missionary. But she has her young brother to help thru college first, and as her people don't want her to go, it's pretty uncertain. I'm afraid this epistle has been rather incoherent so far, but somehow it's awfully hard to put my feelings in words. I'll proceed with the news now. I got a lot of beautiful leather goods today & right on top was a [page 8] little package all done up in tissue paper and having a little card tied on which said "a little gift for Miss Blair from Mrs. Freyd. Inside was the dearest card case of grey leather with light blue silk under it. Wasn't it dear of her to send it to me? I think so. You know, I'm fairly swamped with invitations to teas. I go to an after-hygiene tea at Dot's tomorrow, and besides that I have invitations to five after-math teas. The difficulty is that they all come the same afternoon, but that doesn't matter out here - the proper stunt is to accept them all & make a sort of tour. I have mine all mapped out & only hope I don't get another dozen "invites" to spoil my plans. I'm going to the three in College Hall right after the exam, then up to Pomeroy & finally to Fiske. [page 9] I imagine I will feel like a young swimming tank by the time I get through with five cups of tea. I'm not worrying so much about exams as I was a while ago. Dot has helped me with Latin & I've been reviewing it some by myself. If I pass, alright; if I don't why it can't be helped. We've been having the most beautiful snowstorms. Oh yes. I have a beautiful new pair of skiis. Got them with $3.00 of Aunt Mi's money. I imagine I'll break my neck learning, but never mind a small matter like that. I'm enclosing some stamps for [page 10] that young brother of mine. Kate says she has some & she is going to ask some girls she knows who correspond with people in other countries. Look here, young brother of mine, you better write to me. Dot has had three letters from her nine-year old brother, and I want one from mine. See!!!! I told you people I was sending something in the laundry for you to look at, but I forgot it. Will send it next time. Was awfully thankful to get those [illegible: h'dks?] & clean clothes as I was absolutely destitute. Must ring off now, so goodbye for now. Oceans of love to all of you, Eleanor.