Tuesday, June 24, 2008

June 1919

For much of the summer of 1919, Uncle Teddy was away from home. He had gone to Atlanta to paint a portrait, traveled to Florida to visit his sister, and went to Cleveland for the NAACP's 10th annual conference.

Tantie, as would become their pattern, remained in Charleston. Her letters were filled with news from home. In this one, she write about programs she attended at they school they both had attended, Avery Institute, and their church, Plymouth Congregational.

She wanted to get married in September, before going to photography school in New York, but it would be another year before they would wed.

Chas’n, S.C.
June 16, [19]19

My dear Edwin,
I shall not close my eyes this night until I at least write that I have received both letter and card and altho I have not hastened to let you know, I have wanted to long before this. (I am really not trying to write poetry.)

I have just come in from a very nice program at Avery under the auspices of the City Federation. There were some good numbers on the program among them Mrs. A.E. Baker who recited Enoch Arden, Miss Maud Smith, piano selection and of course the selection of the Aurorean [Orchestra].

Not a large number attended Monday evening and lots of other affairs. There were two affairs for Plymouth last week. I attended one. Went to a ballgame one afternoon. Had some work at home and generally kept busy, quite busy.

Two days of last week were spent in an attempt to make a trip to Snake Island. On last Tuesday a party of thirty started out and got nearly there when the engine balked. We floundered and drifted for several hours when a boat came along going to town and towed us home. We landed at Chisolm’s Mill and spent the rest of the afternoon playing games and eating ice cream.

We are going again however. ...

The moon is gorgeous! Sunday night I sat on my back porch and just wished.

There is a mosquito in my net and I shall kill him as soon as ever I am through this letter. O yes, I’m writing in bed, only way I could, the mosquitoes are so bad.

Say Ted, may I get ready for “a trip to the moon” in September? Say the latter part, eh?

Or don’t you want to send me to that school of Photography any more yet again? Or would you rather buy me [an] auto? haha. While I think of it why not bring me one from -- (where does Mr. Ford live?). ...

Rev. Burroughs was buried last Friday. Was dead a week, paralysis.

Paul Winds says I must tell you he beat my ring -- he & Euphrasia Lewis were married very quietly last Wednesday evening -- no cards.

Ethel C. Has gone to Columbia [location of the state mental hospital] -- no she isn’t insane -- went to rest up before assuming the burdens of matrimony -- help!!!

I’m going after that mosquito. All join in love to you.

Your very own

As president, Teddy Harleston represented the Charleston branch of the NAACP at the organization's tenth annual conference. This letter, in which he told Tantie about the event, was written on the letterhead of The Negro Welfare Association of Cleveland, Ohio, an affiliate of the "National League on Urban Conditions Among Negroes."

The addresses he mentioned at the end of his letter are those of the Forrest family (97 Morris Street), where Tantie still lived, and the Harleston Funeral Home (121 Calhoun Street).

June 23, [19]19

My dear Liz,
The Conference is under way and a fine gathering of men and women from every section of the country. ... Had a nice trip up from Atlanta where I made three pictures and had an engagement to go to Maine to paint the Pres. of Atlanta Univ. See that I go -- it will take a week or ten days longer to do it.

I like the idea of your going to the school of Photography -- if you be good, think I can arrange it.
Enjoyed your letter. Do you think we could manage things this fall? They want me back in Atlanta in Oct. to do a nice job or two -- one good one. How about November? It seems that we can fix up by then and have both ventures done with, provided we can find somewhere to live.

It has been very inspiring and reassuring to be here at this conference. Last night in half an hour $10,300.00 was subscribed to the Assn. for the coming year and tonight it was increased to more than $12,000.00 above regular dues. I have reason to be proud of the Charleston Branch in comparison with other cities and the officers here appreciate what we have done. We go to Oberlin tomorrow for a session (by trolley). I am to speak at the Thursday aft. session, and hope to crowd some helpful words into the twelve minutes. There are over three hundred delegates registered.

I have very often had your image in my mind's eye since leaving. You are a sort of steady company with me. I judge folks by you. I compare you with them. Perhaps I am too severe a judge sometimes, but do not forget that I can be only a just judge in such moments; so do, my lady, let me have the abiding happiness to declare in your favor by deserving it, for if you love me, (and do you not?) you will make and keep yourself perfect for me, as I keep myself clean and wholly for you.

With every wish for your happiness, and love to all the folks at 97 and 121.


Shall probably leave here Sat. for Detroit. Miss Eva Bowles spoke here tonight.

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