(Babb – Conant Family Correspondence)
Correspondence of Wellesley College graduate Persis Loring Conant, of Portland, Maine, and her fiancé, later husband, Law Professor Hugh Webster Babb, of Boston University, along with letters of their parents, siblings, children, Wellesley College friends, and associates, including art collector Edward Perry “Ned” Warren, author of “A Defence of Uranian Love,” 1884-1964

Large archive of 1507 letters, 6631 manuscript pp., dated 31 October 1884 to 19 May 1964; plus over 300 pieces of ephemera, including two photograph albums, related to the Babb and Conant families. Note: A complete inventory of the collection, and biographical sketches of its main correspondents, can be emailed upon request.

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Persis Loring Conant (1887-1964) and Hugh Webster Babb (1887-1971)

Persis Loring Conant was born on 29 May 1887. She was the daughter of merchant Frederick “Pardi” Odell Conant (1857-1928) and his wife Eva “Mardi” Merrill (1852-1936) of Portland, Maine. Persis’ father prepared for college in the public schools of Portland and under private instructors, and entered Bowdoin College, where he received the degree of Bachelor of Science in 1880 and Master of Arts in 1883.  A distant cousin of the Conant family was James Bryant Conant (1893-1978) an American chemist, a transformative President of Harvard University, and the first U.S. Ambassador to West Germany.

Earlier, in 1874, Frederick went to California, by way of Panama, stopping in Kingston, Jamaica, and various Mexican and Central American ports, and returning overland from San Francisco. In 1879 he went to Cuba, visited the important cities, and returned home by way of Key West, Cedar Keys, Jacksonville, Florida, Savannah, Georgia, Charleston, South Carolina and Washington, D.C.

In 1880, Frederick entered his father’s store as a clerk and engaged in business in his native city; and became a partner in 1882. He became president of the wholesale portion their grocery firm of Conant, Patrick & Company, as well as the president of the Conant Corporation, the Atlantic Shore Railroad, York Utilities Company, vice president of the Fidelity Trust Company, and a director of the Bath & Brunswick Light & Power Company. Mr. Conant had been a member of the Portland Common Council and Board of Aldermen and was also a director of the Maine General Hospital and a trustee of the Portland Public Library and the North Yarmouth (Me.) Academy; he also served as a member of the Board of Overseers of Bowdoin College from 1909 to 1928.

Persis’ paternal grandparents were merchant Richard Odell Conant (1828-1894) and Emma Loring (1829-1904) of Portland, Maine, her maternal grandparents were Capt. Reuben Merrill (1818-1875) and Hannah Elizabeth Blanchard (1822-1876) of Yarmouth, Maine.

Persis was one of at least four children, the others were: Elizabeth “Bess” Merrill Conant (1886-1973); Richard Odell Conant (1888-1950), a graduate of Bowdoin College (1912); and Reginald Odell Conant (1889-1965) who married Marion Drew.

Persis and her elder sister Elizbeth attended Wellesley College. Elizabeth attended from 1905-1909, graduating with a B.A. and was the president (1915-1917) of the Western Maine Wellesley Club. Persis attended Wellesley from 1906-1910 and graduated with a B.A. A roommate of Persis at Wellesley and a correspondent in this collection was Eva Marguerite Miller, of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Miller attended Wellesley from 1906 to 1910, graduating with a B.A. She was a member of the Scranton College Club.

Before Persis married, she vacationed at Cumberland, Maine, in the summer, when not at school. Her family lived in Portland.

Persis married Hugh W. Babb on 19 June 1915, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Persis’ correspondence with Babb begins in the summer of 1912. Hugh Webster Babb was born on 3 March 1887 in Yarmouth, Maine, the son of Howard Seldon Babb (1849-1909) and his wife Margaret Loring (1852-1932), of Westbrook, Cumberland County, Maine. A second son Paul died as an infant. Hugh’s father was a farmer and also worked at a paper mill, and later insurance agent. Hugh’s mother was born in Yarmouth, Maine. She and her elder sister were both employed in the paper mill of S.D. Warren, father of the famed art collector James P. Warren.

Babb attended Westbrook, Maine public schools until his last two years of high school when he transferred to Highgate School in England. It was the support of Edward Perry Warren that allowed Babb to study and live in England. While in England he appears to have been baptized at the Parish of St. Thomas, Oxford in 1906. While in England, Babb’s father died. His mother had been living in England with Babb. After earning a B.A. degree at Oxford in 1911, he spent two years at Cambridge and later took law degrees from Cambridge and Harvard (1916). He joined the firm of Brandeis, Dunbar and Nutter for two years. This firm was founded by Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis and his partner Samuel D. Warren in 1879. Brandeis left the firm, then known as Brandeis, Dunbar & Nutter, to take his seat on the United States Supreme Court in 1916, just before Babb joined the firm, or perhaps the reason the firm took on Babb due to Brandeis’ departure. On his 1917 WWI registration card he was listed as an attorney living at Boston and working for Dunbar, Nutter, & McClennen. Paving the way for equality and diversity in the industry, the firm welcomes its first three women attorneys to practice law in 1918. After a couple of years with Brandeis, Dunbar and Nutter, Babb became a partner in Perrin, Babb, and Heavens.

In 1920, Babb joined the faculty of Boston University, he taught law at Boston University for 37. He became the chairman of the law department of its College of Business Administration. He left the university in 1958 and taught for five years at the University of Maine law school.

Fluent in Russian, Babb translated both “The Law of the Soviet State” (Andrey Yanuaryevich Vyshinsky) and “Soviet Legal Philosophy” (V.I. Lenin & others). He also authored five commercial law textbooks.

Persis died on 19 April 1964. Prof. Hugh W. Babb died on 1 January 1971 at Portland, Maine. He was 83 years old and was buried with his wife at the Riverside Cemetery, Yarmouth, Cumberland County, Maine.

      Persis and her husband had four sons:

Richard “Dicko” Conant Babb (1918-1943) attended Harvard University where he had plans to become a writer. He was active in track and cross country. On the outbreak of World War Two he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. He died in flying accident in England while serving as a flight sergeant (pilot). One of Dicko’s letters mention that he was waiting in England to be transferred to the U.S. Air Force. While in England, Dicko met a British woman by the name of Priscilla Barrett. They became close. After Richard’s death, and after the war, Pricilla wrote to Richard’s mother. These letters are included in the collection.

Prof. Warren Babb (1916-1987) of the School of Music, University of Seattle, Washington; he was involved in the founding of the International Webern Society, of which he served as treasurer in its early years. The society promoted the study of Anton Webern (1883-1945). The International Webern Society was founded in 1962. The purpose of the organization was to encourage study and performance of the music of Anton Webern, an Austrian composer and conductor. Along with his mentor Arnold Schoenberg and his colleague Alban Berg, Webern was in the core of those in the circle of the Second Viennese School, including Ernst Krenek and Theodor W. Adorno. Webern’s music was among the most radical of its milieu, both in its concision and in its rigorous and resolute apprehension of twelve-tone technique. He is likely named for Edward Perry Warren, a family friend (see below).

Hugh W. Babb, Jr. (1919-1988), of Cumberland, Maine. He attended the College of Business Administration at Boston University, where he was active in crew and tennis. He graduated in 1941 in Business Management. He married Janet Bornhofft and raised a family in Cumberland.

Prof. Howard Babb (1924-1978). He was Professor of English, of the University of California, at Irvine chair of the Department of English and Comparative Literature, and charter member of the UCI faculty. One of the generation whose education was interrupted by the second World War, Howard attended Bard College and Cornell University (in the V-12 Program) before going on active service as a naval officer. He took his B.A. at Kenyon College in 1948, and earned his M.A. (1949) and Ph.D. (1955) at Harvard University. Before coming to UCI, he taught at Kenyon and The Ohio State University where he progressed from assistant instructor to associate professor and vice-chair of the English department. He published articles on such different figures as Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Sherwood Anderson. However, his main concern was with the novel, and especially with style in the novel, a topic he also published on.

One of the collection’s notable correspondents is:

Edward Perry Warren (1860-1928), known as Ned Warren, was an American art collector and the author of works proposing an idealized view of homosexual relationships. (He wrote 9 letters in this collection, 5 to Hugh W. Babb and 4 to Babb’s mother). The letters to Mrs. Babb concern an illness Hugh was suffering from when he was attending Oxford, Warren was caring for him. The letters Warren wrote to Hugh concern the state of the Classics at Oxford and proposals to change them being mandatory. Warren is now best known as the former owner of the “Warren Cup” in the British Museum. Warren was born in Waltham, Massachusetts, one of five children born into a wealthy Boston, Massachusetts family. He was the son of Samuel Denis Warren (1817-1888), who founded the Cumberland Paper Mills in Maine, and Susan Cornelia Clarke (1825-1901), the daughter of Dorus Clarke. He had four siblings: Samuel Dennis Warren II (1852-1910), lawyer and businessman; Henry Clarke Warren (1854-1899), scholar of Sanskrit and Pali; Cornelia Lyman Warren (1857-1921), philanthropist; Fredrick Fiske Warren (1862-1938), political radical and utopist. Warren graduated Harvard with a B.A. in 1883. At Oxford he met archeologist John Marshall (1860–1928), with whom he formed a close and long-lasting relationship, though Marshall married in 1907, much to Warren’s dismay. Beginning in 1888, Warren made England his primary home. He and Marshall lived together at Lewes House, a large residence in Lewes, East Sussex, where they became the center of a circle of like-minded men interested in art and antiquities who ate together in a dining room overlooked by Lucas Cranach’s Adam and Eve—a gift of Harold W. Parsons – now in the Courtauld Institute of Art. One account said that “Warren’s attempts to produce a supposedly Greek and virile way of living into his Sussex home” produced “a comic mixture of apparently monastic severity (no tea or soft chairs allowed) and lavish living. Warren spent much of his time in Continental Europe collecting art works, many of which he donated to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, assembling for that institution the “largest collection of erotic Greek vase paintings “in the U.S. He has been described as having “a taste for pornography” and was a “pioneer” in collecting it. His published works include A Defence of Uranian Love in three volumes, which proposes a type of same-sex relationship similar to that prevalent in Classical Greece, in which an older man would act as guide and lover to a younger man. Warren’s oldest brother, Samuel D. Warren had left law to work managing the family’s paper mills. He managed the family trust established in May 1889 with the legal assistance of Louis D. Brandeis to benefit his father’s widow and five children. Edward Warren challenged the family trust in 1906, claiming that Brandeis had structured it to benefit his law partner Samuel to the detriment of the other family members. The dispute ended with Samuel’s suicide in 1910. The Warren Trust case became a point of contention during the 1916 Senate hearings on the confirmation of Brandeis to the Supreme Court and it remains important for its explication of legal ethics and professional responsibility. In a printed piece of ephemera, published at the death of Margaret Loring Babb, Hugh W. Babb’s mother, she is shown working at the Warren Paper Mill with her sister. It’s probable that Hugh’s father also worked there as well, census records state he worked in a paper mill. This same piece of ephemera states that Hugh W. Babb was able to attend school in England due to the benefit of Edward Perry Warren.

Warren’s family business was the S.D. Warren Paper Mill (Cumberland Paper Mills), a paper mill on the Presumpscot River in Westbrook, Maine. It is now owned by SAPPI Limited, a South African paper concern. It is one of Westbrook’s major employers. A paper mill was established on this site in the 1730s, when it was a rural and fairly unpopulated area. In 1854, that small paper mill, in the soon-to-be established town of Westbrook, was purchased for $28,000 by Samuel Dennis Warren, known as S.D. Warren. The mill was named Grant, Warren and Company. In that year, the mill was only running two paper machines and had a production output of about 3,000 pounds of paper per day. Nine years later in 1863, an additional machine was added to the mill, and the production increased to 11,000 pounds per day. In 1854, paper was made by beating down rags and using the pulp from the rags. In 1867, after the mill changed its name to S.D. Warren Paper Mill Company, Warren decided to add wood fibers with rags fibers for paper. It was the first mill in the United States to do so. The mill became the largest in the world. By 1880, the mill produced 35,000 pounds of paper per day. Warren died in 1888 and was succeeded by his son, also Samuel Dennis Warren, who managed the business until his death in 1910. The mill continued to grow through the 20th century, employing close to 3,000 Westbrook residents.

    The majority of the correspondence in this collection is either written by, or to, Persis Loring Conant Babb, her husband Hugh Webster Babb, Persis’ parents Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Odell Conant, Persis’ sister Elizabeth “Bess” Conant, as well as Persis and Hugh’s children (Howard, Hugh Jr., Richard & Warren), and Hugh W. Babb’s parents Mr. and Mrs. Howard S. Babb.

     There are also letters by friends of Persis, including her college roommate Eva M. Miller, a friend Ethelynde Sylvester Smith, the well-known singer, other friends, and relatives. There are many letters during the time when Persis and her sister and girlfriends were all attending Wellesley College, and soon after graduating. There are letters of Hugh W. Babb when he was in college, And letters by Robert Hale, another suitor of Persis when he was in college. There are also letters of Hugh and Persis’ son Richard, written when he was serving in the Canadian Air Force during World War Two.

Sample Quotations:

“Sunday Oct 1, ‘05

My dear Persis,

‘Sadie’ Sally, we are going to call her, is in here writing on our one table, so I am sitting on my couch.

Hattie went off to call with her mother on some one in Cambridge right after chapel this morning, so I have been alone…

I went to chapel this morning or rather the regular Sunday Service with two girls at our table. One is from Somerville, Mass., another 120 miles west of Chicago. The choir composed of about 30 girls marched in the first thing singing sort of Episcopal like, just like choir boys and marched out after it. A Mr. hall preached the sermon ‘God is Love.’ Today is Flower Sunday. Always the 1st Sun is…

The chapel was jammed, all the college girls and some Dana hall, and parents. I saw Jennie Milliken when I was coming out of church. She is in Dana Hall.

Last night was Christian Association reception and of course we all went. Mabel Waldron took me. Hattie, Louise, & myself went up to Stone for our girls. I met Mabel’s roommate Clara Williams, the leader of the Glee Club…

…Then I was introduced to Gertrude Owen and I think she is about the most beautiful girl I ever saw. I noticed it at once and afterwards Hattie said she was considered the prettiest girl in college. She is in the choir walks with Miss Williams…

After we had been introduced to about a thousand people, I was introduced to Pres. Hazard and she asked if I was any relation of Miss Conant at Walnut Hill School. I said I supposed we were descended from the same ancestor and then she said she was much loved here. I also met three people in the Christian Ass. Or something, secretary, & pres. Or somebody like that, who were standing in line with her. Then we had punch and then Pres. Hazard addressed everybody from the stairs in the hall then the man who preached today, most of the girls though he made them feel homesick. Then the Pres. Of Christian Ass. & Pres of student government and then the girls sang and gave the Wellesley cheer and cheered the Pres. And all those who spoke. It sounded great. They did it all together so well. The singing of ‘Where oh, where are the grand old seniors’ etc. in a slow sort of way made me feel sort of weepy, in fact all the singing, but I didn’t. Hat wept a few tears after she got home and her mother was here too. Then we came home…

Well I must say good night…Love to all of you…Bess”


“[2 Oct 1905] 629 Washington St. Sunday


My dearest Schwester,

I thought I would write you today and tell you my doings the past week, or what I didn’t tell in my last letter.

Thursday, Friday, and Sat. morning there was cheering in College Hall after chapel. We all hustled up to the third floor as fast as we could go and waited our turn to cheer. Thurs. it was the Senior Officers, Fri the Junior Officers, and Sat. Sophomore Officers, which had been elected the afternoon before. Gladys Doton is Vice Pres of the Junior Class. Isn’t that fine? Each class gives its own cheer and then says what they are cheering for 3 times as ‘Senior Class Officers’ or the girl’s name.

Friday afternoon Miss Hill gave all the Freshmen a talk in the barn on the gymnastics and sports. It was great fun to hear her talk. There are so many things I want to do and you can only do one.

Yesterday was a pretty busy day. I went to chapel at 8:30 A.M. and then hustled up to College Hall and up on the 3rd floor and cheered. At nine o’clock I had a recitation in Math (on the 3rd floor). Then my class work was done for the morning. I came home with Hattie made my bed and fixed up my things and then plugged German out of Sarah’s book. Lunch was at 12:30 then I hustled back with Alice Gager who had a class at 1:30 and I bought a German book, or rather 3, two for myself and one for Hattie. It was the last time the place was to be open from 1 – 1:30 so we could buy books. I had to climb to the 4th floor to go to the German Office. I went over to Katherine’s room & asked them to supper. Then I went out under the trees facing the lake and sat on a bench and studied my German some more till 2:15 and then I went back and went to my German class up one flight. Then Hattie & I went down to the bookstore just below the German room and I bought a little blue note book…

…Mae Lowdon and myself went back up to College Hall to an ‘At Home” to meet Miss Dudley who was something to do with the College Settlement Work in Boston. It was from 4 to 6 but we didn’t get there till 4:30 probably…

Just as the bell rang for dinner, Katherine and Fuzzy came and we hustled over to dinner. They had been to a tea and so couldn’t get here any sooner. They and Hattie sat at my table. One of the girls there, Julia Pease, also had an upper-class girl, so it was quite jolly. Betsy Eskay had her Senior to supper also, a Miss Frickel, who seemed very nice. I met her after supper. She did not sit at my table.

We sat over there in the parlors for a while and talked and then I had to come home and get dressed. At eight we went down to the Wellesley Inn. Some of the girls live there and they had asked all the Freshmen from A to M to a dance from 8 to 9:30. We had a great time. The Inn dinning room and waiting room are finished off very prettily. The tables were cleared away and we dance in there…I met the girl Amy Brown, who Mrs. Smith wanted me to meet this summer…I had a dance with Miss Finlay, a girl at my table, and she took me up and introduced me to her. She seems real nice…

You know one of the girls here in the house is from Louisville, Kentucky. Do you remember the name of that girl on the steamer who was from Louisville, the real pretty girl who wore her hair parted and rolled at the sides and looked so very pretty? I wanted to tell Aph her name and see if she knew her. Aph is the dearest thing. She isn’t at all pretty, but so nice and warm hearted. She said the people at first seemed dreadful to her (we are so cold and abrupt in our manners I suppose to her), but now she liked them. This morning at breakfast she was the last one to finish and we waited for her and she said in time she would make us all true Southerners. Sunday morning breakfast and noons other days we can sit any where we like, that is we fill up the tables as we come in. A dear friend of Aph’s, Martha Cecil, from Louisville, also, is a perfect dear. She is very pretty and attractive and has lots of life. I think I’d fall in love with her if I was a boy. I have met her but I don’t know her well at all yet. Aph has an awfully dear room, at least she has everything to fix it up0. Probably she is rich…

With much love, Bessie”

“629 Washington Street, Wellesley, Mass., Dec 10, 1905


Dearest sister,


Guess it is time for me to be answering my own sister’s letter, don’t you? I was just reading over yours and your account of the A.D.S. dance. In it you call him (Bobby, of course) Mr. Hale. Is that what you call him? It sounded funny someway. You also said Dr. Bolton had gone. Guess I will go to Dr. Race now, as long as I know him and I would like him to have the trade.


Mardi said you were having a red voile dress made. I am glad of it. You will need all the dresses you can get up here next year. Dresses to wear over to dinner, medium dresses like my violet muslin and pongee are what you need the most. You will have your white silk and your graduating dresses for best and that white dotted muslin and your others for second best. Another thing if you buy any white waists, get pretty thin ones, embroidered or with lace insertion and have white slips to wear underneath. A pretty white waist and skirt looks dressed up and if you have a slip you can wear thin ones and be warm enough and also cover up your under flannels. We might embroider a waist for ourselves next summer. Slips are much worn by the girls, red, green, pink, blue, yellow and every color. I like white ones as well as any for myself…


I thought of trying for Tree Day Dancing when I heard they needed more girls, but I asked my gym teacher about it and she said that and corrective gym were too much. It wasn’t wise to do both, so I shall not try for it. I like Miss Louis ever so much. The things we have to do are good for us. I shall show them to you when I get home. They are hard work all right. I am so tired when I come out from the class I can hardly walk home. It tires your muscles, at least if you do it right it does. I guess I do it right for my muscles are surely tired enough.


Last night we all went to the Vaudeville Performance at the barn. It was great fun and well done by the girls. Nina and Fuzzy were in one of the numbers. Nina was the animal trainer, had a fierce black mustache, white jacket and white baggy trousers with black shiny gaiters and she carried a black whip like the circus ring masters. There were three elephants and two monkeys. Fuzzy was one of the monkeys. She had on a red jacket and pants and little cap and the other girl had on green just like the suits the monkeys have on, that the hand organ men carry around. They hopped around and danced together and then climbed up on stools and sat during the rest of the performance…


Lyman Abbott spoke at church this morning, but I didn’t go. I decided to stay home…


I must close…With heaps of love to you all, Bess”


“[6 Nov 1906]

Dear Teddy

Your long looked for letter came this morning. I knew you were with Mrs. Curtis, so supposed that was why you did not write.

You asked about foot-ball. There haven’t been but 3 games, I think and something has happened every time so I couldn’t go, but I did want to go when Malden came…

Last Thursday at 4 P.M. was the first ‘Rossini Club’ program. It was splendid. Miss Hawes sang beautifully.

…Last night, Dad and I went to hear Ossip Gabrilowitsch, the greatest Russian pianist at City Hall. I never heard anything like it, not even Paderewski. I never dreamt that such music could be brought from a piano. He was a whole orchestra in himself. Such different shades of color, nimbleness of fingers, and marvelous technique! A musical friend of ours, who has heard all the greatest pianists, including Rubenstein, says none of them can equal Gabrilowitsch. He is to be in Boston on Sat Nov 17th. Do go if possibly can. You will always be glad you had heard him for he has a great reputation already and can’t possibly be over 25 yrs. Old. He played ‘Theme and Variations’ one of his own compositions for the first time in America. It is wonderful and certainly ranked well up with the Bach, Chopin, etc. that he performed. When I say that the audience recalled him five times for an encore and got it, and at the end of 1 ¾ hours of playing they recalled him twice and insisted on an encore at the end of the program, you may know that calm Portland went fairly crazy over him, for they generally cannot get on their hats and out of the door quickly enough after a concert. Do go and hear him. Then the French Saint-Saens, the greatest living composer is to be in Boston soon also…

Mama sends her love…Yours lovingly, Ethelynde”


“[14 Dec 1906] Thursday night


Dearest Teddy

I was awfully glad to hear that you are int eh Mandolin Club. Congratulations!

Last Friday I took my last German lesson until after the holidays. I simply could not keep up on it with all my extra work. I’ve been doing quite a little Christmas shopping, for you see I won’t have those last few days before Xmas in which to shop…

This afternoon I went to the Rossini Club. It was the best program yet. Mrs. Whitchouse was the only one I didn’t care for. The quality of her voice was different on about every note she sang and she slid around from one note to another terribly, instead of hitting them fairly and squarely.

Tuesday noon we entertained Gypsy Smith the evangelist, his wife and daughter, Zillah, 22 yrs. Old at lunch. They are all charming to know. His daughter is as handsome as a picture, looks very much like a gypsy. She has black hair and eyes, beautiful teeth and does her hair in a coronation braid. Her mother is very English, but lovely and I never met such a lovable man as Mr. Smith. They are all very highly culture. To say that of him would seem impossible when I tell you that he didn’t know one letter from another until he was 17 yrs. Old and is now but 46. They have one son married and another in Cambridge University, England. Never heard anybody like him in the pulpit. The hall is packed jam full every night and Sunday night there were 2700 people there the biggest crowd that ever came inside the doors…

Lovingly, Ethelynde”

“Psi Upsilon, Brunswick, May 9, 1907


Dear Persis,


The spring fever possesses every one up here. Tennis, baseball, track work, and long walks into the country consume the time and even my athletic ability is great enough for the last. The country here abouts is wild and heavily wooded with great old pine trees and though the flat plains extend for many miles on all sides, the scenery is to me fascinating.


The air now begins to be fragrant with spring odors and when the wind blows from off the sea down through the plains, and the pine trees, it has a wonderful quality, stimulating and at the same time restful. So, you can hardly wonder that our daily walks mean much and that disinclination to study affects us all alike.


Lately too I have been trying to learn to play tennis, but I do not know enough about the game to enjoy it as yet.


Last night we celebrated in a wild sort of a way the victory over Colby. We found some old fireworks and ransacked the neighborhood for fences and wood piles. Being fairly successful we soon had a good fire going in front of the chapel. As the clapper had fallen out of the bell, Paul Blanchard, one of our seniors and Rodney Ross in my delegation, went hand over hand up the bell rope a hundred feet, got through the trap door at the top and finally put it in again. After the returning victors were escorted from the train to the campus, excitement subsided. Saturday, we play Maine and we will & hope beat them…


I feel sorry that you cannot come here for the [Psi Upsilon] house party and the Ivy Day celebration. Ivy Day is the great day of the year here & certainly hope that in you Sophomore year you will attain to such perfect independence that you can come.


How did your friend enjoy her visit to Portland? I wish that you could have stayed longer and that my new sailing machine had been in use. Had such been the case, I believe that even the delights of study here would not have kept me away from my native town. But still study here is a necessity even it if is what old Horace calls a ‘dirus necessitas,’ … Sincerely yours Robert Hale”



“Monday, March 9, 1908

Oxburgh Rectory

Stoke Ferry


My dear Mrs. Babb,


After all I did get as far as London on the day when I wrote to you, and it turned out that nothing had been lost by my delay, such as it was. On Sunday morning I hauled a specialist out of bed and arranged with him to come to Stoke Ferry with me in the afternoon. We got here about even. There was a consultation with the local doctor and all was so clear that the London doctor left at ten P.M. I am staying merely because Hugh will be ready by Thursday or so to come with me to Lewes, and it is not worth while to go there and back in the meantime.


Mr. Coombe in my opinion should have written you and should not have wired. He would not, if he had known my address, but would have left the question of wiring to me. He could have got my address from Lewes.


I mention this not for the sake of criticizing him, but that you may clearly understand all sides of the case.


Hugh had been worrying himself about his examinations, had been working too hard, and had been sleepless in spite of some sleeping doses. The doctor at Oxford advised him to go away. He did not like to write to Lewes, wherein he was wrong and he came here, without getting much good. He had fainted at Oxford; and, when he got to the Stoke Ferry Station, to go up for his examinations he fainted again, and struck his head. He had to be brought back to Mr. Coombes, was put to bed wandering in mind. His fall was on Wednesday. I got the news Saturday morning, and am writing on Monday. He is, to all appearance, perfectly well. He is dressed and has been downstairs to play on the piano, and remarked ‘Fancy my being thought ill.’ The appearance will not be deceitful for the London doctor assured me that in such cases recovery is speedy and complete. It wasn’t, indeed necessary for me to come or to bring a physician. But I couldn’t divine from Mr. Coombe’s letters, which were not supplemented by a letter form the doctor, what was the matter. I had to provide against the unknown. The only result of my doings is that Hugh is got out of bed at once and given as much to eat as he wants. The only result at Oxford is that he misses honour mods, which loss, as I have written to you. Does not preclude his final success. My idea that he would come home with out returning to Oxford for the summer term is subject to revision. It may be better in every way for him to go back to Oxford. We will see how he gets on at Lewes during the vacation, which begins almost on the day when he reaches Lewes. He is allowed to ride and to lay games – indeed ‘that would be the best thing for him.’ He may read, but is not to take up hard reading at once. He shows no sign whatever of depression. It is all over.


If you have a clever son, he will lead you a dance, and you must pay the piper. Yours faithfully, E.P. Warren”



“[27 Feb 1917]

Royal Societies Club

St. James’s Street, S.W.


My dear Hugh,


You have been good not to remind me – too good: it would have been better to remind me. I did not put the pipes down on my list, the list of things to do which I keep to as not to trust to memory, but so I have fallen into the mistake of trusting to the list. I remembered this morning, but had not your letter. You may have said something about shapes. I bought those which seemed to suit your size or age, but not with the biggest bowls such as my brother used to like. I had to hunt for bowls for him. Either I know nothing of wood or else it is ‘topping’ (& the price also). There is no amber: I conjectured pocket use. So, these things are to go, though books may not. There seems to be an article in the Round Table on Education (I will get it & tear it out for you). The notion I believe is: for the pass schools English history & literature, one other language ancient or modern, science or mathematics and civics (=political philosophy?). I do not understand that Oxford is to change its name.

I am here & Marshall is to be here for the Deepdene sale, three or four good statues, which I have seen and vases which I have not seen. I wanted to buy a statue fairly complete for Boston when my brother & I were in Rome. It was cheap; but the museum wasn’t buying and we couldn’t. At present the museum is not buying; and the second statue which I could recommend turns up. I shall try to waken the body; and may succeed; but here is the case in general. Lane saw the futility of a certain policy. I was to come home; and he and I were to start another policy; but he died. I enquired what the post Lane policy was to be and found that it was to be the old futile policy. The great thing, my dear, is to be respectable, and not believe in anything but business and, of course, women. They should say what is to be done, & we should do it.


Yours E.P. Warren


July 17, 1917

I have examined the Deepden statues since I wrote and find that there is not one which I wish the Museum to try to buy.”


“1663 Fourth Street

San Diego, California

July 21, 1910


Dear Old Persis,


Home two days and not a letter off to you. If I were not so busy visiting with mother, I should accuse myself of being very neglectful of you, but you will understand Persis dear, and forgive me, won’t you?


…By the way, speaking of college, did you hear that Pres. Hazard has resigned? I wonder who will be president of Wellesley. I certainly hope Dean Pendleton will not. Isn’t it too bad for Pres. Hazard – ill health was the cause. I think myself that it will be many a day before they get a woman for the head of the college that will come up to our President.


California is wonderfully cool – ideally so, but dreadfully dusty and dirty. The trees are all gray with the sand, and the hills are sore and brown – anything but an attractive place now. I am afraid that I have lived too long in the east to ever be very contended with San Diego. It is so stupid and dead here that I almost go to sleep on a street corner when I walk down to do a little shopping. I expect to sit home on the porch and do a little reading and little sewing. Mother says it is the greatest relief of her life not to have to get us ready to start back to college again…


I hear Marie Biddle is getting a divorce. Is that true, and what is the difficulty?


Have your books etc. arrived some yet? I want mine so badly for without my Cambridge I really feel lost. You have gotten far ahead of me in reading…I have so many books to read…


Write me soon…As always Bernice”


“[23 July 1910]

1663 Fourth Street

San Diego, California

My dear, dear Persis,


The postman has just come with your adorable pictures. I love them so and shall always be so glad that I have them…


I just received a letter from Katherine with on from Miss Fisher. She said they had been making many new plans for the Geology Department among which was converting the Fifth floor Library into a geology laboratory and work room, and the old gym into a geology lecture room. You see already they are beginning to change the old place, and I dare say that in a year’s time we shall find the place much altered. Miss Fisher has been ill with the heat and the work which she has had to do, and so has given up all plans for her summer work at College, and has gone to the mountains. So, she really must be a very delicate little woman – hardly able to stand, I should think the strenuous work of a Wellesley professorship.


There is absolutely nothing to write you of here – San Diego is deader than it ever was, and I hate the place more every day. Please write me soon. Give my love to your family, but keep most of it for yourself…Lovingly, Bernice”


“Ansbach EES Depot

APO 231

C/O U.S. Army



Dear Mrs. Babb,


I was delighted to get your letter this morning, and was very interested to hear all the news. I too, have been very lax about writing to you, I enjoy it so much too, but Ansbach seems to have had a dulling effect on both my physical and mental processes…


I am very sorry to hear that you have to move again. I know what an ordeal it is, Mother has done it so many times, and now she tells me she has sold the farm & is going to live in ‘Oakthorpe’ a house we have near Newbury. In sheer desperation she sold hundreds of my books. They are so heavy to pack and carry. I know when I get back there is going to be much weeping & wailing on my behalf, when I suddenly want something I haven’t needed for years – that has just been sold. Luckily, since I’ve been over here, I have almost lost the terrible habit I had of hoarding. So many things of value have been stolen, & it is so difficult to be constantly packing up what most people would consider rubbish that I just do not worry any more.


I hope there will only be a few more letters, and then I will be with you. I’m getting to be an old lady, and have been out here long enough. I want more to think about. I realize the average girl of my age is busy with husband and children, and I’m not stupid, in that I carry a torch for Richard, I’ve tried with other people, but I’m just not interested. I think Richard had everything I wanted, when I look back and remember those completely happy evenings, when all he and I had for entertainment was a long walk over the hills, or a still longer bicycle ride to the movies, I wonder why I’ve never met anyone since that could be happy with so little. Over here it is not considered having a good time unless one gets drunk or has hectic entertainment all the time. So down here I’ve had a lonely but quite pleasant time all on my own. My boss wanted me to renew my contract and offered me a very tempting raise in grade & pay, but I turned it down and am definitely going home in September. Ansbach is beautiful, rolling hills, and miles of pine forests, all the boys on the depot are staying over for one thing – fräulein. The place is full of them. Florence, an American girl & myself are the only two allied women here and perhaps you can get a rough idea of the situation when I tell you that neither of us have had a date for three months. Luckily, I am used to the country and am becoming an ardent photographer (with terrible results) but Florence hails from New York and is beginning to get a violent inferiority complex. She amuses me greatly. She’s really funny, gazes at herself in the evenings, sends for new revolutionary make-ups, and all to no avail. She can’t understand what she lacks that the fräuleins have, but from what I can make out, the fundamental reason is that there are a great many obstacles to overcome before marrying a fräulein – dozens of papers to fill in, etc. and I suppose the boys feel that what is difficult to obtain will be more worthwhile. I think I am right don’t you…


The sun is shining and I feel very happy. I am working with nice people & the Germans are very fond of me. I shall be sorry to leave them. My love and best wishes to you, Pricilla.”