I recognize that the point of Amanuensis Monday is to transcribe a document showing the original and providing the transcription

without much extra. In this case though, I couldn‟t post this without a bit of an explanation…and warning. The explanation first: I found several letters along with a „date book‟ in among some boxes my Mom had left behind after they moved in May 2011. I‟d never seen them (the boxes or the letters) before, and so I started to carefully go through them. The one that caught my eye first was an envelope with a distinct black band around the edge; I immediately recognized it as mourning stationary. Two other letters had regular envelopes and this written in pencil as the return address “Mrs Jefferson Davis.” As it turns out they‟re letters sent from Varina Howell Davis to an F. S. White. I do not know their provenance; I spoke with my Mom, but she had no recollection of them (as an aside, she has Alzheimer‟s, so there‟s no way to know for certain how accurate her memory is). Here is the entire group of material:

I‟ve wanted to share these letters, but just wasn‟t sure about the content. So, please keep in mind that these are written by the wife of the President of the Confederacy. I, myself, find some of the content extremely distasteful, but her language is part of our cultural heritage, like it or not. I would like very much to know what you think…

Beauvoir Mipi. 25th Dec 1886 My dear Mr White. This morning your exquisite “x mas greeting” was delivered while I was bustling around to get our servants presents dispatched and had not thought that an offering would be sent to me _ It really is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen of the kind _ but the thing which gave me the greatest pleasure was your photograph _ you certainly look stronger and more fleshy which gives promise of steady improvement in your health _ I had not heard from you for so long that but for having forgotten your new address I should have written to make inquiries

2 We are a lonesome old pair this xmas _ only Mr Davis and I are left here _ Mrs Hayes has gone to Colorado and my Daughter Varina is in Syra _cuse New York _ Mr Davis is unusually well this winter and has paid his duty visit to Brierfield Plantation, so it is hoped he will remain so, a visit there always leaves him more or less ill for the nouse _ Genl Davis and his family spent two months in your cottage and they only came in when Mrs Hayes and her children left after being eight months with us, so you see that cottage is in request. there is little change here since you left, not even a new carpet everything is is was when you were with us.

3 we had a family from central Mipi who came down to camp out for their health, but the wife was very ill and we invited them to come to the Pavillion _ they spent the most of their summer with us and made themselves very agreeable and com panionable _ Little Varina has grown a good deal and the best child in the world could not be better _ Lucy is very sweet and good too so well as beautiful but all things pale before “Jefferson Addison” _ he is the hightest and loveliest little man you can imagine with that nameless charm of manner which his grandfather possesses even to a greater degree than he _ he has a negro nurse and upon her getting annoyed with a man for calling out “hello old Jeff there is no room for you out here” he turned to her and said “my nigger he‟s just fooling you he‟s a friend of mine, he‟s joking” _ so you see he is getting on in years and wit.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful