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Letter from Gertrude Weil to her family, September 26, 1897

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12 Bedford Terrace,
Sept. 26, '97

My dearest Papa, Mamma, & Leslie,

I know that this will reach you later than I wished it to, but I have tried my best to write before and couldn't. Your letter, dear Mamma, and one from Grandmamma, have already reached me, and I cannot express what I thought and felt as I read them. I don't know what I can do or say in return for all your blessings and good wishes. I can only hope and pray that to you, who have always given me so much and been so good, may be given all blessings from above all your lives long – I hope the day may be a pleasant one for

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all. This is one time when, I believe, we think of home most and yearn to be there. But I will be content in only thinking of you, which can fill up a lot of space.

I learned from Miss Cable that there will be service for the holidays at two places, orthodox and reform. I shall try the latter first and see how I like it. Mrs. Fitts told me that some Jewish girls here go to the Unitarian church – I suppose I shall try that, too, in due time. Pres. Seelye requires everyone to attend some service, and last June I saw some printed cards with a blank space left for the number of times you have missed church. I'll know more as to what I'll do after I've been once

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or twice. I have one Latin recitation on Saturday and a lecture. The lecture doesn't amount to much – it is on The College and we don't have to take notes. I'm going to see if I can't get the Latin changed to Wednesday or Thursday.

Last night I went to the Frolic with Edith Monson. Maybe you remember her, Papa – we met her last spring and she was very nice. Everything that is connected with Smith College is dark and quiet at ten o'clock. Even the dances close promptly. The Frolic is a very informal affair. The girls wear shirtwaists and white shirts or anything else light and simple. (I wore that common green summer dress) The sophs come around for the freshmen at 6:45 and the fun begins at 7 sharp. The gym is much too small for the crowd

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but it is the only place they have and the crowd was a jam. All the classes were there, the sophs & freshmen being most important, however. Every girl has her name and class written on a card and pinned on her – but as I try to remember now whom I met, I can't mention one girl's name, and can remember but a few definitely. There were so many. There were only a few men – perhaps ten or fifteen, and only three who dared dance on the floor. As you looked down on the hundreds of girls in light dresses from the running track above, it was a beautiful sight. There were a few places where you could see the floor. I believe there were six dances – but dancing was a thing almost impossible in such a crowd.

I saw there for the first time the Miss Weil, whom so many girls told me of, when I spelt my name. I didn't meet her – only saw her, and she doesn't look very attractive, and I am glad I decided

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upon Weil for mine.

As yet I can't judge of what my work will be, as I haven't attended all my classes. I enclose my program as nearly as I can tell now what it will be. You see I haven't put down but thirteen hours (three hours of the arts counts for three one regular hour), but I'm sure I shall have to make up some conditions during this semester and I have decided not to "dig." As to books – I shall have to have a Latin dictionary. There is one at home, which is quite large. So if you think I had better rent one, as I did my Livy (I think Herman must have taken the one at home) I can easily do that. The Livy costs me 35 cents a semester, and I think the lexicon is the same. If I want anything else in the way of books I shall write.

Yes, Mamma, Helen Alcott is here at Smith, but she lives a good way off, and I haven't seen her so very much. Lucy

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Ellsworth is at the Hatfield, learning to know her new roommate. If the latter talks as much all the time as she did while I was there (which L. says she does) it won't take very long to become acquainted. There are so many girls every where you turn – it is something like a fair or circus where it is almost a wild goose-chase to look for anyone.

I don't believe there is any thing else that I want particularly to say. I won't close the envelope until I mail it, in case I should think of anything. Again with loving New Year wishes, I am

Yours always,


I hope you will like the pictures.

Date / time
September 26, 1897

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Letter from Gertrude Weil to her family, September 26, 1897." (Viewed on January 18, 2018) <>.


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