Bailey, Vesta I., and Ruth Margaret
Correspondence of sisters, Vesta I. and Ruth Margaret Bailey, both clerks, and stenographers, of Middlebury, Vermont and West Somerville, Massachusetts, and family, 1875 – 1957

369 letters, 1489 pp., dated 18 January 1875 to 31 December 1957; bulk from the 1900s-1910s; mostly handwritten, several typed; mostly incoming letters to sisters Vesta I and Ruth Margaret Bailey, with various correspondents including friends and family, or with each other; also included are approximately 300 pieces of ephemera, mostly used and addressed envelopes.

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152 letters, 749 pp., dated 24 June 1905 to 22 October 1949; incoming letters written to Ruth Bailey, when she was either at home in West Somerville, Massachusetts, or in Port Arthur, New York, where she worked at one point; the letters are written by her sister Vesta I. Bailey, who wrote 17 letters to Ruth when Ruth moved to Port Henry; other letters are from cousins, Dorothea, Mabel, and Mildred, who live in Port Arthur, or in different locales in Vermont; her friend Bernice Avery, of Ferrisburgh, Vermont, wrote a number of letters, as do others, in particular an aunt from Johnson, Vermont; the bulk of the letters are from the 1900-1910s period, (with 37 of these letters undated); her cousins and aunts live in Port Henry, New York and Johnson, Vermont, as well as other locations around New England. Ruth’s nickname appears to be “Robbie.” There are a number of letters in 1915 related to her attempts to find work as a stenographer at a hotel in the Adirondacks in upstate New York.

114 letters, 386 pp., dated 28 December 1894 to 18 July 1935; incoming letters written to Vesta I. Bailey from friends and family; the bulk date from the 1910s; 26 of these letters are not dated; her correspondents were family and friends, in and her sister Ruth Bailey wrote her 28 letters; an Aunt Gus, Hyde Park, Vermont wrote several, as did a a friend Alice, in Salem, Massachusetts; she also received a number of letters from a woman named Gertrude, who calls Vesta “Betty,” she may possibly be a cousin from Canaan, Maine; Vesta was generally living at home, at 50 rear, College Ave, West Somerville, Massachusetts, when people wrote to her. When her sister Ruth wrote  her, Ruth was living and working at Port Arthur, New York, or while in Burlington and Ferrisburgh, Vermont.

32 letters, 129 pp., dated 15 May 1903 to 11 May 1927; written to various members of the Bailey family, generally from family members; including letters to Robert M. Bailey (6), his wife Ida S. Smith Bailey (7), their son Morris Bailey (2), and to Ida and Morris (1); to Stanton C. Bailey (2); to “Miss Bailey” (5); three of the letters written to Ida are from her husband Robert M. Bailey; 3 letters are likely written by Robert M. Bailey to his daughters Vesta and Ruth, but they are not named, simply “to girls” and signed “Papa,” ; one letter written by Vesta to her father; two letters written by Ruth to her father; two letters written to Robert by his sister; five letters written simply to “Miss Bailey,” which is likely either Ruth or Vesta; six letters are not dated and are addressed to “Girls” or “Cousin,” and appear to be written to the Bailey sisters from family members.

12 letters, 53 pp., dated 18 January 1875 to 23 February 1892; incoming letters and Ruth and Vesta Bailey's mother, written by friends, or family. A couple of the letters are addressed to both Edna and her sister Ida.

28 letters, 70 pp.,  dated 28 January 1907 to 31 December 1957;incoming letters, written to Jennie E. Moore, East Boston, Massachusetts, written by either friends, or members of her deceased husband, Edwin H. Moore; one letter written to Edwin H. Moore from a friend in Visalia, California; seventeen of the letters were written in the 1950s when Moore went to live in a nursing home; friends write wishing her luck, asking about her, health and welfare; of these letters two are not dated.

31 letters, 102 pp., dated 7 March 1876 to 19 January 1955; miscellaneous letters, from various individuals, some may be Bailey family members, further research needs to be done; of these 31 letters 14 are not dated and eight appear to be incomplete.

Vesta I. Bailey (1881-1974) and Ruth Margaret Bailey (1891-1957)

Vesta I. Bailey was born on 22 October 1881 and her sister Ruth Bailey was born on 20 April 1891. They were the daughters of printer Robert M. Bailey (1849-) and his wife Ida S. Smith (1853-1907).  Ida S. Smith was the daughter of George M. Smith and his wife Sarah, of Middlebury, Vermont.  Ida had a sister, Edna S.L. Smith (1852-1899), who died in Somerville. There are several letters in this collection written to Edna. Edna never married. It does not appear that Vesta or Ruth ever married either. There are also several letters written by Robert M. Bailey to his wife Ida, as well as a couple of other letters written to, or by Ida, some letters are written to the Bailey’s other children Morris and Stanton.

Robert Bailey married Ida on 14 June 1876 in Middlebury, Vermont. Robert appears to have been from the Bakersfield, Franklin Co., Vermont area and had moved to the Middlebury, Vermont by 1870.  Besides Vesta and Ruth, the Baileys also had at least three other children: Harris, Stanton, and Morris.

Robert Bailey moved to Somerville, Massachusetts, from Middlebury sometime between 1881 and 1886, as his daughter Vesta (born 1881) was born in Vermont, but his son Stanton (born 1886) was born in Massachusetts. In 1900, the Bailey family lived in Somerville when the census was taken.  By the 1910 Census, Mrs. Bailey had died, the father continued to work in the printing trade and both Vesta and Ruth were at home, not working. Their brother Stanton was living at home, working as a rodman for a civil engineering firm.

Around 1913, Ruth appears to have secured a job in Port Arthur, New York, as a stenographer. She graduated in June of 1913 from the Somerville High School. She also hunted for a job at a hotel in the Adirondacks for the summer and much of the correspondence between the sisters was during this period. Other than this time, the two sisters appear to have lived together most of their lives in the family home in West Somerville, Massachusetts, as neither ever appears to have married. The Bailey’s had family in Port Arthur, the family of C.A. Chapman, whose daughters and son write to Ruth and Vesta. Ruth appears to have possibly lived with the Chapman family when she worked at Port Arthur.

The 1920 Census finds the sisters living with their father, their mother had died. Their brother Morris and Stanton are living with them, as is Morris’ wife. Vesta, being older, appears to be keeping house for her father and brothers, while Ruth is working as a stenographer at a leather goods factory.

Vesta, in the 1930 Census, is listed living at 50-R College Ave, Somerville, Massachusetts, (an address that shows up on much of the correspondence). She was listed as owning the home, and  her sister Ruth Margaret Bailey, lived with her. It appears to be the family home that the sisters took over as they got older. Also, in the house in 1930, was the sisters’ brother, Morris J. Bailey and his wife Abbie. Morris appears to have followed in his father’s footsteps and worked as a pressman in the printing trade.

In the 1940 Census, the sisters were found still living at the family home on College Avenue in West Somerville. Both of the women were listed as working as clerks. Vesta worked in the State House, and Ruth worked at the “Un. Comp. Comm” (Unemployment Compensation Commission). Their brother Morris was living with them, still working in the printing trade.

Vesta I. Bailey never married and died at Somerville in 1974. Ruth Margaret Bailey died in 1957.