May and June 1972: Emma Writes her mother and father from Albany

Albany May 19, 1872

My Dear Mother

Another rainy Sunday! It has been raining all day and I haven’t been out of the house since yesterday afternoon when were went up State Street and through the grounds of the Capitol for a walk. The grass is so green, the trees are all leafed out and the flowers in blossom and it is very pleasant here so much nicer than N Y. I thank fate every day that I am here instead of there. I never was away from home when time passed more pleasantly or quickly than it does now. Only six more weeks and I shall be with you all again. I am so glad I can hardly wait for the 3rd of July. O, mother, I want to see you so much.

Libbie Koffinagle, one of the girls here was taken sick last week. She caught a very heavy cold and I think she is consumptive, though it makes her angry to say so to her. She has been studying very hard and is  half tired to death and way.

The Faculty of the school held a consultation over it Friday and Prof. Husted came yesterday and told her she must go home. She was getting along so well in school it seems almost too bad. Miss Daly was  in to see her today. Carrie said she wanted to know where the “little Miss Austin” was. She always calls me little and I’m used to it. There are plenty home smaller than I am and she herself is not much larger.

We met Miss Miss Kirtland on the stairs Friday. Carrie asked her standing and she said it was very good, then turned to me and said, “And Miss Austin’s is all right.” Carrie said afterward, “Miss Kirtland meant both of us when she said the standing was alright. She did not mean that yours is better than mine.” I did not suppose that she did. I do not doubt that Carrie is as good, probably better than mine and I should not have thought anything of her saying so if Carrie had not mentioned it.

Sunday 26th

I commenced this last Sunday. I will try and finish it today. We were up to the cemetery yesterday and went through the hot houses with Miss Gordon? I never saw so many flowers before. I wish we had some of them home…

[she talks about paying $1.50 for a room]

“I wish you could get my money of Mr. Myres unless? he has paid it you, and send it to me. I owe Mrs. Wright some for board room. I paid her five dollars of the money Father sent me last. He gave me 4 dollars when I was in NY, but I spent some there. I think Mr. Myers ought to pay me now.

I received a letter from Mary Darling last week. She thinks [first I thought it said Maria, but it may says something closer to Maina] Tassaskmass? ought to take the village school and board at Sergeants. I wonder if Joe would not have liked it just as well if she would have kept the Beaver Brook School and boarded there. She says Joe is sick.

I shall have to stop. Please give the enclosed letter to Emma Kelso, and tell Eldred I will write soon to him. With love to all, and especially my mother, I am as ever

E E A [Edith Emogene Austin]


Albany Monday June 11, 1872

My Dear Father,

Your letter was received last Tuesday. It was the first that I had had in two weeks and you may be sure it was welcome. That afternoon I received one from Mother and Lonny. Mother said she had been sick. Ida forgot to write the cousins. She had been so busy she did not have time to write. I am quite anxious to hear from Mother again. I hope she is better. I was sorry to hear that Addie was so sick. I hope that she will go up with you…

I wish you were going the 3rd instead of the first. If Dr. Alden will let me, I will not stay for the closing exercises, but will go the first that is if you will meet me at Newburgh and go home that way.

Annie Collins said she always went that way and that it costs less than to go right through from NY. I am very much obliged for the money. I shall owe Mrs. Wright nearly $30 yet when school is out. I have paid her $60 and my washing has cost some. She does the most of it without charging extra. I am sorry it costs so much.

I wish I could teach as soon as I go home. I would just as leave as not if I could only get a school. If Bee would only give up hers for a little time.

I asked Miss Daly my standing this morning and she said it was good in all my classes, and excellent in arithmetic. I know it is good in algebra as Mr. Jones let me see it and I had only one 8, two E’s and the rest were 10s. He gives me three tens in one day sometimes. We were examined in Physiology Firday and changed it for Physical Geography this morning.

I went with Carrie yesterday morning to hear Budgeman preach. He is called the Beecher of Albany; the sermon was very good, but I should prefer to hear one from Henry Ward. They raised 26,000 dollars to finish paying for the church. It cost 152,000. And this much had not been paid. Gov. Hoffman as some one called him was there. I am sure it was him because he looked so much like the picture that  we saw of him in the Bureau of Military Statistics.

I must stop writing and learn my lesson. I am obliged to ask you to excuse the writing again and have only the old excuse as poor pen, which you must be tired of hearing and I ashamed to give.

Tell Addie I spent yesterday afternoon or a part of it writing verses to Ida. I commenced some to her, but took pity on her and stopped before I finished them. Give my love to her. I wish I could see her.

Father, if you have not the money to spare now, I guess Mrs. Wright would be willing to wait a little while for it. I am sorry I owe her so much. Please write to me soon and oblige.

Your affec. daughter


note: Addie is an Austin cousin. Emma’s father Henry Austin (my great grandfather) worked in New York City and it seems must have lived with or near the Austin nieces and Nephews. I’m not sure how often Henry returned home to Eldred.


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