| Home | Search | SBButler Letters |

SBButler Letters, September 1916

Sept. 3, 1916
Sept. 10, 1916
Sept. 11, 1916
Sept. 17, 1916
Sept. 24, 1916

Pleasantville. N.J.
Sept. 3, 1916

Dear Mother,

You will find enclosed with this letter a rough sketch, showing a general outline of Pleasantville as a town and in its relative position to Atlantic City and the intervening meadows, swampy land, and inlets, from such observation as I have been able to make thus far. Generally speaking, I should call Pleasantville, or the inhabited part, quite a long and rather narrow rectangular strip of land running parallel to the inlet and meadow land which separates it from Atlantic City. The Main Street in Pleasantville I have indicated by double lines, and is known as North Main, north of the rail road tracks and South Main the other side; At certain points it is the easternmost street in the town and at others houses have been built further out toward the meadow or inlet, so that there is another north-and-south street east of Main. There are two railroads running through the town, the Reading (north) and the Pennsylvania (south); they go thru two blocks apart from each other (This by the way is where I made a mistake when I thought I wouldn't pass thru here on my way to Atlantic City; on the map I looked at over at the factory, it looked as though only the southern line passed thru). The town centers on that part of Main St. between the tracks of the two railroads. You will see from the sketch that the house where I am boarding is on Collins Ave., a recently opened block street running out from North Main St. toward the meadow. It was really quite a lucky find, I am sure, and I don't believe I could have possibly found a better place to be. The meadows up by the house are not very swampy for some distance, and the breezes, which come our way if there are any around, are very fine; I was a little afraid at first they might have rather an ill swampy odor, but Mrs. Winch said that they never were that way, and I guess they aren't. This street is part of a large old farm, known as the Collins farm, and east of the house down toward the meadow and along south there is still a large tract owned by the Collins family and farmed. The Winches' house was built only last April and is everything to be desired - a modern square shaped house, enclosed porch in front, attractively furnished, hardwood floors, a piano (or rather two, as both Mr. and Mrs. Winch have been married before, and each had one when they pooled their interests), an Encyclopaedia Britannica, and a historical library which had belonged to Mrs. Winch's former husband. There are only two things which aren't quite right about the house, as far as I have already observed; one is that the doors are not very squarely fitted and there is a hump in the middle of the bathtub which I am sure will give me curvature of the spine eventually. My room is on the south-west corner, is almost as large as Aunt Lucy's and the study combined, at home, I should think; has two windows, plenty of air, a fine big closet, a double brass bed stead, three chairs, and a bureau, with one large and two small drawers, but the large one holds most all my clothes. Mr. and Mrs. Winch are very cordial and make me feel very much at home, and say they want anybody that lives with them to have the freedom of the house. They have a small garden and a flock of White Wyandotte and Plymouth Rock Hens, so that they have their own fresh eggs and also a small poultry business; Mr. Winch gets fifty cents a dozen for his eggs wholesale in Atlantic City now.

[Sue Czaja took the above picture in June 1997. It seems quite likely to be the house where Sylvester lived on Collins Ave, Pleasantville]

The town seems to cover quite a large area, and one would, I think, take it for a little larger than it is, (not quite 5000). It is very plain, on the whole; there is only one street in town on which the houses are the least bit elaborate, this being the Boulevard, a two block street running east from South Main, two blocks south of the tracks, and the street to which you turn to go to Atlantic City; but the houses on this street do not average any greater elaborateness, than, say, Mrs. Briggs' or Mrs. Kirkpatrick's in Cromwell. (My house, by the way, is as near like the Sellew's as anybody's in Cromwell). There are scattered houses on other streets which are better than the ordinary, but the Boulevard is the only street on which they are the rule. For the most part the homes seem very small, and there are not a few which appear to have only one full story; but most of them seem fairly tidy. There isn't a hill in sight, and the town is practically level thru out. It is almost entirely a residential town, and probably may be considered a suburb of Atlantic City, as I think that a large number of people work over there; however on the outskirts there appears to be quite a little trunk growing, and down in the extreme southern part of the town I noticed in a walk the other day there is a large pigeon farm. There is a small hosiery factory in town and also a large laundry which does about all of Atlantic City's work; there are, too, a couple of lumber yards (I don't know where they get the lumber, for trees here are small and scarce) and it seems as though I saw a small iron or brass foundry in my travels the other day - just what it was slipped my mind. In the center there are two hardware stores, a national bank, a trust company, two real estate firms, a couple of restaurants, one hotel beside the Pleasant-Villa, several grocery stores and combined tobacco, confectionery, and stationary emporiums, one or two drug stores, two shoe repairing places, two cleaning, pressing, & dyeing establishments, two clothing stores, a millinary shop, and probably others. The largest thing here is their cemetery; I don't know where the patrons all come from, but it certainly is huge; and I noticed a number of Mausoleums in it, and several quite elaborate gravestones - they don't go with the appearance of the town, and I'll have to look into that matter further. The people that I have met so far have seemed cordial and intelligent; I met a few men the other night, at the Pleasantville Athletic and Musical Association, when I stopped there with Mr. Wilson, who is directing some minstral show they are going to give; but they are the limit of my acquaintance so far, except for the people whom I went to see about room and board, and three or four others to whom I happen to have been introduced. Wednesday afternoon when I was walking around I made the unfortunate discovery that there is a large negro quarter down in the southwest part of town, but I'm hoping there won't be many of them to mix the color in my classes.
What has come to my attention most particularly about the people here is the different way they speak from us New Englanders - this is noticeable chiefly in their pronunciation of the sounds [here he shows the different sounds of "o"]; short o is pronounced almost invariably aw, and the difference from us in the pronunciation of the other sounds lies I think in a greater pursing of the lips and bringing the tongue nearer against the teeth; perhaps it might be described as kind of half-way between New England and straight Southern dialect. It sounds very strange at first, anyway.

We get automobiles here in Pleasantville just as thick and thicker than in Cromwell, inasmuch as our main street down as far as the Boulevard is on the way to Atlantic City; and of course they have been particularly thick during the last two days.

Now a lot of these things I have written about Pleasantville will probably bear corrections as I become more familiar with the place, and any flagrant errors in statement I shall try and remember to correct when I learn of them. Of course you will realize, too, that the sketch I drew is undoubtedly far out of proportion; I paid more attention to line and direction than area.

The high school building is a new one just being completed, and is about three blocks west of Main St. on Washington Ave. (see map); up to this year I believe the high school classes were conducted in the grammar school building at the foot of Collins Ave., on North Main St. The school board decided this week to postpone opening until the 18th, but I understand, although I have not been told officially, that the teachers will be expected to report on the 7th. When Mr. Wilson first told me the other night, merely that the opening had been postponed, I was pretty much put out inside, as the matter must have been in the wind the week before and it seemed as though he could have let me know something about it. Of course I said nothing, but decided that whether we had to report or not it would be better to stay right here, and in time I may be glad that I am having all the extra time for preparation; also, it is not unlikely that the fine room I have would have been snatched up by someone else if I hadn't come early. Dr. Whitney hasn't appeared yet, but I imagine he will be here right after Labor Day.

Friday I spent a very pleasant day in Bridgeton with Ernest et-ux-to- be [ux=wife]. It is a very round about way one has to take to get there; first the Philadelphia electric train as far as Newfield, then another electric train to Millville, and then either trolley or jitney to Bridgeton - with the various directions about like this:

             * Newfield
              \   ---\
               \      ----\                [try to see a straight 
                \           ----\           line between P'ville 
 -----*----------*               *          and Newfield]
    Bridgeton  Millville   Pleasantville

Sylvester, Miss Ott, "Tot" and Ernest in canoes

I missed the train I intended to take by about two seconds, so that I didn't get to Bridgeton until eleven o'clock. We just visited with each other until lunch; then most of the afternoon we spent canoeing on a mill raceway, and a small lake from which it comes; the raceway and lake are very pretty, the banks of the former being shaded all the way, and the sides of the lake being all wooded; this is really the only naturally pretty place I have yet seen in New Jersey, and it is Bridgeton's pride. At the end of the raceway there are several buildings made to house canoes, and there are over a hundred and fifty lockers for them, practically all of them full. We had along with us a Miss Ott, who teaches German in the High School at Bridgeton; she graduated from Bucknell College two years ago, so I suppose must be about twenty three years old, but she doesn't look over eighteen; I am almost afraid to tell you that she is a blond and even shorter than "Tot", because of the theory that I am very susceptible to the above combination. At any rate, she was a pleasant girl, not hard to meet , and a good conversationalist, so that I had a very agreeable afternoon. We were all four together in a canoe part of the time, and the rest of the time we had two; the reason for this being that one of the canoes was way upon the lake. As both girls could swim, I of course didn't mind going; I don't suppose it would have made much difference about going if they hadn't been able to, inasmuch as I was Ern's and Tot's guest and they had made all the arrangements. About four o'clock we had to get Miss Ott home as she had some company coming at that time, and then we took a walk around Bridgeton. It is quite a decent city, on the whole, there are quite a number of nice homes there, and plenty of shade trees, which I miss down here, also once in a while an elevation of more than a yard or so. I saw something there, too, that I had never seen growing before, a holly bush. After supper, I stayed until half past nine, just visiting with Ern & Tot at Tot's rooming place and listening to her sing. Connections coming back were very poor, as I found after I started, so that I didn't get home until a quarter to one; and didn't even wake up until a quarter past nine yesterday.

Yesterday and today I have spent very quietly, at the house most of the time. Last night I played 500 with Mr. and Mrs. Winch and a Mr. and Mrs. Bosler who came to see them; and this seems to be quite a favorite game with them. There is a feature in the game they have of which I never heard before, and that is, when you are playing five handed, that you are restricted in calling for a card to be your partner to aces, and aces not in the trump suit. I rather imagine tonight Mrs. Winch will ask me to go to church with them; she is a Presbyterian and he is a Baptist, but I believe they compromise on the Presbyterian for the most part. There are thirteen churches in this place, none of them a Congregationalist.

I'm going to be able to get a New York Times about seven thirty in the morning, beginning tomorrow; some woman (a Mrs. Matthews) has a news agency here, and delivers papers earlier than I could get them by mail. It's strange, though, that not a single newsstand in town carries a New York newspaper, except the unspeakable Journal. All the papers here are Atlantic City and Philadelphia organs; and do you know that Philadelphia is only fifty five miles from here? I'm going to try and get Sam over to see me some fine weekend.

The laundry came whole as far as contents were concerned, but the box had split at the edges, so that the paper could not be used for sending my laundry home this week. As I understand it, I am to wrap up my clothes in the bath towel and just put paper around that. Am I right? Thank you for the pears sent with the laundry; they tasted very good. Also thank you for the extra things you found and enclosed, and for the hint from Dr. Bush as to gargling thymoline or listerine as a precaution against paralysis. If you think of it, next time you send my laundry, please send me an extra trousers hanger; if there isn't an extra one around, please don't rob anybody else, but let me know and I'll buy one. I also miss my sun glasses, and if you can find them, they would be very useful whenever I'm in Atlantic City.

I was sorry to hear about Sadie Nobel, and hope she gets well pretty soon.

I didn't think in the middle of last week, that there would be any way of communicating with you except by telephone or telegraph this week, but of course the danger of that is now by for the time being. Probably there are other things I could write if I should stop and think long, but its after suppertime and twenty pages must be about enough to digest at once.
Much love to everybody

[notes around margin of letter]
L.F.& C. only sent pay up to 19th.
Please pardon scratches & words written over each other. When there's less to write, I'll try to write more slowly & carefully.

[hand drawn map enclosure I can't duplicate]

The Family comments:

[The last two letters mention two things that show that Gramp of 1916 was very much like the Gramp of the 1960's that I remember:
First he mentions wanting to clip an article from the Sunday paper. I think we all remember the stacks of newspapers out in the barn and in his office in the house in Ledyard. He meant to take clippings from all of them and couldn't bear to part with them. He got real nervous when Nathan or I would go exploring for Dick Tracy comics among his old newspapers.
The second was him mentioning chickens. Mainly it reminds me of his chickens and especially one called Napoleon who lived alone in the dog house between the grape arbor and barn. Also he used to tell me that when the chickens crowed in the morning they were saying "Mr. But--lerrr" (said to the tune of a rooster crowing) -David Butler, grandson]

[David's comment about the roosters' saying "Mr. But-lerr" reminds me of the roosters which were all over the Philippines, outside the windows of our conference center in Tagaytay and even in downtown Manila, and I'm not kidding you, ALL of them were saying "Mr. But-lerr!" (I don't know if it's the power of suggestion, or the strong imprint of youthful imagination, or what, but I simply cannot hear ANYthing in a rooster's call BUT "Mr. But-lerr!") So of course I shared that with Hannah, insisting that each rooster was calling me. She giggled, but I'm not sure it really sounded like "Mr.But-lerr" to her.
I got a big kick out of Gramp's reference to his newspapers and clippings, too. I wish I could remember more about Pleasantville in general, so as to compare it in my mind as he describes it's look back then. I pretty much just remember Aunt Catherine's street and the graveyard where Great Grandma Laura was buried, even though I took Susan and the kids there right after we got married. I was surprised at how much the Boardwalk back then apparently resembled the Boardwalk I remember from my childhood, including the Steel Pier. I'm also occasionally surprised by some of the terms he uses. For instance, I would have guessed the word "suburb" was a more recent invention. And, of course, I WAS surprised by his reference to the "colored section" and his hopes they wouldn't be in his class. I always think of him as a perpetual '60s Liberal Democrat, I guess.
The letters are fun, for sure, and certainly speak of a slower-paced and more reflective time. I fear our emails will NOT tell the next generation nearly so much. Who has the time to write 20 page letters?! -- Nathan Butler, grandson]

Pleasantville, N.J.
Sept. 10, 1916

Dear Lucinthia, [this is his younger sister]

You have probably before now learned definitely of an extension in your vacation; I saw in the New York Times and also in the Hartford Courant this week that Wellesley wouldn't open until Oct.2nd, I believe it was. I have not been told officially, but I have strong reason to believe that the Pleasantville schools will not open until that date. Whether they wanted to open or not, it is very doubtful if the new High School building will be ready by the 18th of this month, the date to which the first postponement was made. Not a single desk is in place yet, and I believe it's going to be the job of us men teachers to screw down all the desks & chairs, so as to help things along as fast as possible. We did a little work over there Friday afternoon, but haven't gotten to the desks yet.

I was in the new High School building for the first time Friday afternoon. It's a two story brick structure, with a plan about like this:

       First Floor
|Kindergarten|         |    Stage         |          |            |
|            |         |__________________|          | Class      |
|  Room      |    Assembly Hall                      |            |
|            |                  |                    |            |   
|            |                  | Going              |  Room      |    
|            |                  | up                 |            |
|            |                 \| /                  |            |    
|                                                                 |
|stairs                     Corridor                        stairs|
|                                                                 |
|            |           |                  |        |            | 
|   Class    |Supervisors|                  | Cloak  |   Class    |
|            |           |    Entrance      |        |            |
|    Room    |   Office  |                  | Room?  |   Room     |
|            |           |                  |        |            |
|            |           |                  |        |            |

                 Street     --------------------------> W

Second floor

|Class       |         Open                          |            |
|            |_______________________________________| Class      |
|  Room      |    Upper tier seats                   |            |
|            |                                       |            |
|            |                                       |  Room      | 
|            |                  for Assembly         |            |
|            |                 Hall                  |            | 
|                                                                 |
|stairs                     Corridor                        stairs|
|                                                                 |
|            |                  |                    |            | 
|   Class    |Commercial        |                    |   Class    |
|            |                Rooms                  |            |
|    Room    |                  |                    |   Room     |
|            |                  |                    |            |
|            |                  |                    |            |

In the basement is the manual training department and I think the boys' cloak room. You will notice that the kindergarten is going to be in the High School building. The assembly hall is going to be fine, with a stage large enough for any play we should want to give, and with plenty of space in the rear for dressing rooms; and a seating capacity large enough to take care of all that will ever be there to fill them, at plays, concerts, or graduating exercises. There will be about a hundred and forty or fifty pupils all told in the school, aside from the kindergartners; and more than three quarters of the pupils will be in the first two classes. This is partly because a good many drop out, and partly because beginning this year a number of pupils will enter the High School from surrounding towns which have formerly sent their boys and girls to the Atlantic City High School; those who have started at Atlantic City from those towns will, however, stay there the rest of their course.

There will be ten teachers in the High School, including the manual training man, and possibly eleven. They need another teacher badly for commercial subjects, but if the board cannot be prevailed upon to get one, I shall probably have to teach some Freshman algebra (which goes up to quadratics only), and the regular mathematics teacher take care of book-keeping, which will go to the new commercial teacher, if we can get her; as I couldn't take the book-keeping, but I could take care of the algebra if necessary, and nobody else seemed to be able to. We made this tentative arrangement between, or rather among us. I shall probably have something to teach beside history, anyway, as Doctor Whitney thinks a teacher should have two subjects; and if they have another commercial teacher, I imagine I shall have an English literature course to teach. Another man was hired on the understanding that he would have some of the history, so that I couldn't have it all, anyway; at present, under the tentative arrangement we teachers made among ourselves, I shall have the Medieval and Modern European History, and American History & Civics; the other man (Carey from Southington, Conn. a Wesleyan man) will have Ancient History and a course in Industrial History. Besides the manual training man, there are three men teachers in the High School; Cruse, a Penn State man, whose home is around southern New Jersey somewhere, and who will have the Physics, Chemistry, and General Science, the last a Freshman course; Carey, who will have Biology and some History; and myself. The school hours will be from 9 to 12, and from 1 to 3:30; the last hour of the day is the time for manual training classes, music & drawing, but we regular teachers may have some special work at that hour, from time to time - individual work with backward students, etc.

This afternoon I took the first good sized walk I've had since I came. Carey and I walked up north into the next town, Absecon, then struck over west for a half mile or a mile and down again; about a two hour walk, six or seven miles. Going up to Absecon is much like walking to Rocky Hill would be, but when we got going south again on a road further west it was somewhat more backwoodsy, and about as dusty as the road going out by Roscoe Gardner's. The woods around here are not as thick nor the trees as high as up home; low misshapen pines predominate. And in walks here you will never come to a spot where an excellent view may be had of the surrounding country, as we have had so often in our various Sunday afternoon travels; however it's interesting to see different kinds of country, but it doesn't take long to decide whether you would prefer Connecticut or southern New Jersey scenery.

I am sure I am going to like my boarding place very much. I have had no reason to change my first favorable impression which I conveyed in my former letters, and now that I have begun to eat here, I like it still better, for Mrs. Winch is an exceptional cook - and it isn't possible to go hungry, no matter if oysters are the only meat on the table. Carey eats here also, but rooms at another place. Then there are two young ladies here who teach at the grammar school, a Miss Hodgson, and a Miss Davis; both appear to be splendid girls, and full of fun - they both knew the Winch's well before, although this is the first year they have actually stayed with them.

Thank you for writing me last Sunday; I was mighty glad of letters the first week or so especially, and of course always like to get as many as I can. I hope you won't chafe too much under your prolonged rest.
Very affectionately

Pleasantville, N.J.
Sept. 11 1916

Dear Mother,

I have just come back from a three hour session of the High School teachers with Dr. Whitney, including a long talk from him on textbooks and reference books and the kind we should have, & on a scheme of supervised study periods that he is introducing into the schools, and an attempt to arrange a schedule of classes without conflicts; the latter isn't quite completed, but we hope to do so Wednesday morning, as the pupils are all supposed to come to the school to-morrow and register their selection of courses, and when these choices have been put together we can see what electives are not chosen by the same pupils and will therefore not conflict; then we shall be in a position to complete the schedule intelligently. There will probably be four forty minute periods in the morning, and two in the afternoon, the last hour of the afternoon, after regular periods, being devoted to work in manual training, drawing, and music, and on the part of the regular teachers to individual work with backward students, etc. I believe you will probably be interested in this supervised study idea of Dr. Whitney's: under one scheme, either two or three days of the week will be devoted to supervised study and the balance to recitation; and under the other, half of each period would be devoted to supervised study, and the other half to recitation; this latter scheme is called the "divided period." In history this will mean that all the textbook work will be done at the school, both study and recitation; but there will be outside reading for the pupils to do at home and report on. In the supervised study period or part of period the idea is to ask the pupils a question or two that will get them interested and into the setting of what they are to read, then put the problem before them of what they are to study. As they study, the teacher will go from desk to desk and ask pertinent questions to see if they are grasping what they are reading, and in general will try to instruct them in the right way to study. The teacher will in addition for the first couple of months put an outline of the lesson to be studied on the board, which they should follow in the reading. After that the pupils will be asked to make outlines themselves, then study the lesson according to their outline; with hints or thought-provoking questions from us or thru their own observation they will [be] asked to correct the outlines after studying the lesson once, then study it again with the corrected form in view. The outside reading is required, but what subjects or phases of subjects shall be followed by the pupils is expected to be partly voluntary on their part, though of course under the teacher's guidance and subject to the teacher's approval. The teacher is expected to make the course interesting enough so that the pupil will naturally become interested to know more about certain phases of the subject, and make voluntary suggestions and inquiries in regard to outside reading; otherwise the teacher is not considered a success. Dr. Whitney is a peculiar looking and peculiar speaking man; he is slight of build, and about my height, I should say, has sandy & curly hair, sallow complexion, a forehead of average height, but the head, as nearly as I can describe it, slopes quite gradually down from the top so that the back extends out further somewhat than the average man; his voice is not heavy, the most characteristic thing about it being the prolongation of the last syllable in the clause or sentence, at times giving an idea of a period of abstraction in which one thought is being dismissed, and he is reaching for the next. He appears to be a very learned man, and one with a very comprehensive knowledge of pedagogy, as applied to all branches of study; furthermore he has very definite ideas in regard to proper teaching aims and methods, and ideas which if not original, are new to me; many of them I have reason to believe are the product of his original thought, however.

We had our first meeting of teachers on last Thursday morning when school was originally to open, had a short talk from Dr. Whitney, who then left us to make out a schedule. We immediately found that we were working somewhat in the dark, the first difficulty being that there was a lack of definiteness as to just what subjects each was to have. For this reason we had to do some bargaining with each other, this applying to me particularly as another one of the men, Carey from Southington, was also told he would have some of the history. The chief trouble, however, was that there were enough commercial courses left for another whole teacher; we made a tentative arrangement which assumed we would have no other teacher, but hope that the board may be persuaded to hire one. Under this tentative arrangement, I agreed to take Freshman Algebra, of which there will be two divisions, from the mathematics teacher, who will in turn take three book-keeping classes for which we lack a commercial teacher. My history work will be a sophomore course in Mediaeval and Modern History and a Senior course in American History and Civics. Carey will have the Ancient History and a course called Industrial History. If they provide another commercial teacher, there will of course be another shuffle, the mathematics teacher getting back her algebra, and I getting probably an English course and perhaps the Industrial History; I should very much like to have the latter. Working this out occupied Thursday morning, then Friday we worked together on a class schedule, which apparently didn't suit Dr. Whitney very much as he started it all over again with us this afternoon.

This morning we also had a short meeting at which Dr. Whitney asked us to prepare a list of what textbooks were on hand, what ones we prepared for any course or courses, if we were opposed to the one formerly in use; and also to prepare a list of reference books we should like to have, - in history for outside reading. So we all went down to the High School building whither the High School books had been carried and emptied in more or less helter-skelter fashion. Carey and I go together all the history books in a group of shelves in the library by themselves (the library, by the way, is a room which on the diagram in the letter I wrote Lucinthia yesterday I marked cloak room with a question mark); so that we now know just how well the school is equipped as far as history books are conceived. A number of desirable reference books are already there, and I am now going carefully into the matter of what further ones are needed, with the aid of some bibliographical material I have; and Carey has also been of no little help to me; he has a very good memory for authors and titles, and a very good knowledge of the worth while books in the various history branches. Carey also teaches some biology, incidentally is only teaching this one year, so that he isn't very particular about the courses he has, so long as he can teach them. The Atlantic City Library will also prove, I am sure, quite valuable to me.

This with what I wrote Lucinthia yesterday about completes what I know of my school work thus far. There are eight teachers in the High School besides the manual training man, and drawing and music teachers; three of the eight are men. One, by the name of Kruse, comes from Dorchester, New Jersey; he has charge of all the Physics and Chemistry, also a course in General Science for Freshmen; he is a short fellow, somewhat of a sport, and a big bluff, even to his attempt at a mustash. Carey graduated from Wesleyan last June, and lives in Southington, on a farm, near Kensington. He is well built but slender fellow, about my height and weight, and of a somewhat florid complexion; he seems like a fellow of good principle, he is light, a Phi Beta Kappa man, and displays a thorough knowledge of anything he has ever studied. He doesn't seem to be very much at ease in company, or if at ease, he says things which sound awkward; I have been able to make this judgment largely from the fact that he eats at Mrs. Winch's, where there are also two of the young lady teachers of the grammar school, as I wrote Lucinthia. I haven't seen enough of the women teachers in the High School to be able to characterize them very well; they all seem very pleasant and vary in ages from about twenty four to thirty five, I should say. Miss Tolbert has Latin and may take commercial arithmetic, that is if we can't get the new teacher; she is the most striking of any of the teachers, - is very well educated, has lots of ready knowledge and apparently is very able; and is a woman of very good address and carriage; age probably 30. The four other women teachers are Miss McAllister, mathematics, Miss McClelland, German, Miss Ryder English, and Miss Bates, Stenography, Typewriting, Commercial Law & Commercial Geography.

Labor Day I went with Mr. and Mrs. Winch to a field day and picnic given by the Pleasantville Athletic and Musical Association, otherwise known as the PA and MA club, at Lake Lenape, near May's Landing station, about twelve miles west on the Pennsylvania electric road. Lake Lenape is a little amusement place much like Lakeview. Most all the people in Pleasantville were over there, so I knew it would be a good chance to meet people, and I did meet quite a few men. Aside from this and parts of two or three evenings at cards, the week was spent largely in study and private planning of my work, and the teachers' meetings I have told you about. They play 500 more than anything here at the Winch's; I taught them what I knew of bridge the other evening, but Mr. Winch didn't care much for it; however I got a bridge score the other day in Atlantic City, so that I won't have to guess at the count, and he may like it better, and the rest seemed to like it; Mrs. Winch used to play a good many years ago when the rules were much different. At 500 Mr. Winch is a shark, and I've got to develop my game somewhat to keep up with him.

I find I have to revise my statement about the railroads running thru here, a bit; the Pennsylvania tracks that cross the center are only for electric passenger trains and all freight trains; the steam trains for Philadelphia on the Pennsylvania road run on tracks which do not pass thru Pleasantville, but go from Atlantic City northwest across the meadows to Absecon; and this is probably the road shown on the map I looked at over at the factory which didn't run thru Pleasantville.

The cemetery, one might easily guess is as large as it is, because it accommodates Atlantic City's corpses as well as those from Pleasantville. This also explains the mausoleums and fancy monuments.

I found my sun glasses after writing you; this was with other things in my card file box, which I hadn't undone, and didn't think of as a place to find them. Thank you for sending the paper and other things. Are you going to keep track of the postage spent in sending my laundry back to me or shall I? I hope the bundle I sent got to you safely by Saturday; you will find enclosed a list of things which I sent. I think that I am one large bath towel short; in the laundry I shall send up this week, there will be two new sundry hand towels. In sending down my laundry this week, will you please try to find my white suspenders and include them? Another thing I would like is some of the music I left behind, intending to put in my suitcase, leaving them out of the box because I thought I might want to play them after the box went. What I want most are my songs "Just a Wearying For You", "Absent", "Main", and "I Hear You Calling Me"; should also like to have my Beethoven, Minuet in G, and Dvorak, Humoreske. The reason I should like the songs is that Miss Hodgson, one of the teachers at the house here, has a very fine voice, and I should like to have what songs I do own here so as to have as much variety as possible; I have showed her a number of my Etude songs, which she seems to like for the most part quite well. Miss Hodgson is engaged to a fellow by the name of MacDougall, who teaches agriculture in a school of vocational instruction at Hammonton; he seems like an intelligent and good principled fellow, with a very attractive personality; his voice is of almost exactly the same quality as Mr. Garde's.

[ Hear a short clip of Sylvester playing piano, early 1950's. ]

You asked about my box of books; these got here before I did. I have been surprised not to get any acknowledgment of the silver vase I sent Mrs. Clarence Barton, nee Miss Maude Wedmore; think I had better write Lux, Bond, & Lux about it. I was interested to see the Courant account of the wedding you sent me. This morning I got the invitation to Lawrence McClure's wedding which you forwarded to me; did all the family get them and are we all going to give something together? Please let me know in your next letter, also tell me, if we do go in together, what my share will be; also what I owe you on Arthur Strickland's. Speaking of weddings, I saw in the Courant this morning that a certain Orrell Hodge in New Britain, son of Charles Hodge, was going to marry some Detroit girl; I wonder if this is the Hodge family who worked for father years ago; the boy's name in that family was Orrell, I know, and it doesn't seem as though there would be many of the name around.

There is a little editorial on "pussy-footing" that I cut out from the Times the other day, which I thought might interest Father, so am sending it along with this letter.

How are you getting along with your chore boy duties? Tell Uncle Bill I think it would be a good job for him to go up and get the water. Has he been going to bed much with his shoes on?

Last week was very hot and uncomfortable for the most part but over Saturday night it cooled off, and yesterday and today have been delightful; these moonlight nights are very beautiful, particularly out here where we look off over the meadows to Atlantic City - a distance, by the way, of almost five miles, although it doesn't look more than two.

Saturday I expect to run over to either Atlantic City or Ocean City and take my first plunge in the ocean since I've been down here; Carey is going over with me. Up to now there has been no one with whom to do it.

I hope this finds everybody O.K. and Aunt Sarah all better.
Lots of love

[Enclosed Article intended for his father, George S. Butler]


This is the original, in straight
Colonelese, Lewiston, Aug.31;

There should be in this country a
system of Universal obligatory military
training in time of peace, and in time
of war universal service in whatever
capacity the man or woman shall be
judged most fit to serve the common-

This is said to be a translation of the
same into Hughesese, made at Nash-
ville, Sept. 4:

I hope the time will come when
everybody in this country will feel it
an honor to be ready for the service
of the country.

"Mr. Hughes makes a Byzantine
logothete look like Poor Richard," we
seem to hear the Colonel roar, as
he rages up and down his library at
Oyster Bay. "By Godfrey, he is as
"straightforward as the Oracle of
"Delphi and as bold as a sheep. Why,
"he is an amphibological dodge- mean-
"ing, and Iranian felipodist." And the
Colonel shies LIDDELL and SCOTT'S
Greek Lexicon at the Persian cat steal-
ing softly over the hearth rug.

Family Comments

[ For the younger generation. Uncle Bill is the person for whom the apartment was built on the side of the house in Cromwell. The closet on the porch was the stairway down to the lower apartment (at least at one point). When our generation of Butler's moved into the Cromwell house the stairway was long gone. In the bathroom in the apartment the toilet was raised about 6 inches, supposedly because Uncle Bill had some sort of rheumatism that made it hard for him to use a fixture of lower height.
Uncle Bill was Great-Gramma Carrie's oldest brother. She was the youngest of 12 children, see the Ralph Savage page to see Bill and all of her siblings. - David Butler, grandson]

Pleasantville, N.J.
Sun. eve. Sept.17,1916

Dear Mother,

There has been a good deal of sameness about my activities for the past week, so that the weekly letter won't be, I believe, very long. I have been working most of the week on the request which Dr. Whitney made of us to tell him what our wishes were in the matter of textbooks, and to make out a list of desirable reference books for our several courses. Of course when I came down here I had no idea of being made such a request, and having plenty of time, I have tried to go into the matter as thoroughly as possible, so as to make the most intelligent recommendations that I could, both for the sake of the school and for the sake of my own standing. In the course of this work, I have discovered that the Atlantic City library is not nearly as adequate for my purposes as I might wish it were; but of course is all that could be expected for a place of Atlantic City's size and character, probably more. Because I found everything I wanted the first day I was over there, I became a little optimistic, that's all. Tomorrow morning I have a date with Dr. Whitney, and am going over with him at the time the list of reference books I have suggested as a result of my week's investigation, also talk over with him the matter of textbooks. In American History, the textbook used last year will I think be perfectly satisfactory. The textbook in Civics is, I am afraid, very inadequate, and I have another one to suggest. In Mediaeval and Modern History, there are only three copies of the textbook in the school, so that the way is clear for considering a new one, but so far I am up against it, and can find none to meet all of the requirements of a good textbook, as set forth by Dr. Whitney in one of his talks to the teachers; I have written to four publishing houses about it, but so far only have a reply from one, with sample pages of a new book they have just gotten out; the morning's mail will, I hope, bring me some more - but in any event I'll talk the matter over with Dr. Whitney; he might inadvertently or otherwise indicate some definite book he would prefer, which would go far toward settling the matter. I suppose after all this careful preparing of suggestions, the School Board won't authorize the purchase of half of them.

There is only one day this past week that we did any manual labor on the new school building. Cruse and I for about an hour on Tuesday carried seats for the assembly hall balcony, from outdoors upstairs; the fastening of the seats to the floor will be done by the regular carpenters, I guess. Dr. Whitney doesn't like the idea of our going down there to help them out, thinks it isn't our place, but the School Board, or Mr. Wilson, apparently are anxious that we shall earn our salt in actual time. Apparently Dr. Whitney won out, for since Tuesday we have had no more requests for assistance. The Board also seems much averse to letting the young lady teachers leave town until school opens, the reason being, as far as I can ascertain, that the people think because the teachers are drawing their salary here they should spend their money here.

I didn't finally go and get my swim yesterday, as Carey had a cold and thought he didn't want to, and besides, I needed the time myself for library investigation over there. This afternoon we took another walk, going mostly west this time, as far as a town called Farmington.

No, I didn't go over to hear President Wilson at Atlantic City; I don't know whether many others aside from the ladies at the convention could hear him or not. Maine went Republican by a larger margin than I expected it was going to, but even the plurality they did get is small (less than 1/2) compared with a normal Republican plurality prior to 1908, and not necessarily to my mind a precursor of a G.O.P. victory thruout the nation in November. Wilson's greatest strength with the independent vote will be in other states than New England. I have never made a prediction on the coming election to anyone, except that I thought it would be very close; and I still think so.

I hope you will have an enjoyable trip to Worcester this week, and find Raymond well.

The package with the music came Friday evening, and thank you very much. I think possibly "Absent" is still down at Ern's, but I don't [know] what could have happened to "I Hear You Calling Me". Don't bother to send any more Etudes down at present; I might perhaps get a few sometime when I'm home. The package with the skates came in due time also, and I hope I get a chance to use them sometime; they usually have some skating once or twice during the winter.

The matter of desk and book-rack I must have forgotten to speak of, when there were so many things I had to write you about. I got a flat top desk and a three story book rack the first week I was here, at a semiannual sale at Braunstein-Blatt's Department Store in Atlantic City, although they were not delivered until the end of the second week. I really couldn't get along without them, and be able to study properly & comfortably, or keep things in convenient shape.

The tea stand will I am sure be a very nice present to send Lawrence McClure. One of my cards is enclosed to send with it, or anything else you might decide to send.

I saw in the Middletown News in the Courant the other day that Mr. and Mrs. Harold W. Lidstone, the better half of which was Miss Charlotte Pederson of Cromwell had returned from their wedding trip. Is that Lottie Peterson?

I am enclosing a list of laundry I sent home Thursday with this letter, and shall make a practice of doing this right along, without further mention.

It seems as though there must be more I ought to tell you, but I can't think of anything now, maybe because its midnight, and I'm cold and also drowsy. I am enclosing this with a letter to Aunt Sarah.
With much love to everybody

Pleasantville, N.J.

Dear Mother,

You must have had to hustle to get my laundry to me so soon last week, as it came Wednesday morning. I'll send two weeks worth home this next Thursday, as you suggest, and guess it will work out allright.

The week has been very uneventful, as far [as] I am concerned. After all my hustling around to complete my report on textbooks and reference books, so as to confer with Dr. Whitney Monday morning, he didn't appear, and as a matter of fact hasn't been in town all week and probably won't be until the end of this week. On Tuesday the School Board, thru Mr. Collins, principal of No.1 Grammar School, advised us that we need not report further until Friday the 29th, So that a good many teachers have left town. Everyone is still here at Mrs. Winch's except Miss Davis, who has gone down to Wildwood to visit friends. In the early part of the week I got off quite a few letters and postcards that it was about time I should send, and didn't do much work; but since Wednesday I have been studying in earnest, and from Thursday afternoon to Saturday evening read thru the entire textbook on American History, 600 pages, both for the purpose of refreshing my memory and to get an idea of what kind of book it was. Tomorrow I start on Mediaeval and Modern History; I haven't absolutely decided on what book I shall recommend, but an going to read one of the three for the purpose of refreshing my memory, and excerpts from the others by way of comparison.

Tuesday evening I went over to Atlantic City with Carey, expecting to see a vaudeville show at Keith's; however it wasn't open, and as we weren't keen for a moving picture show or a regular play, we did nothing except patrol the Boardwalk and see the people and sights. Last night and tonight MacDougall, Miss Hodgson's fiance, has been staying with me. He is an instructor in agricultural at the vocational school up in Hammonton, half way to Philadelphia, and comes down here weekends to see his lady. Up until this week there has been a room at the house for him while here overnight, but Miss Tolbert of the High School faculty moved in the early part of last week, taking the room in question, and the last one in the house. So I asked him to bunk in with me if he wanted to whenever he came down; I believe, though, that he is going to stay at another house as soon as the people, who are particular friends of his, are fixed in it.

This afternoon I took another extended walk, this time going south down into a town called Northfield; the town is more attractive in some ways than Pleasantville, the houses being in the main larger, and there being a greater abundance of trees; but almost every place has a "For Sale" sign on it. They are all farms, laid out along a good road, as at home, but smaller.

Early in the week I got in the mail a box of very fine fudge from cousin Anna, and certainly did appreciate and enjoy it. Possibly you knew I was going to get it, as my post office box number was on the address, and she must have had to write to Cromwell for it.

The usual vivacity of our household has been somewhat marred this week by a serious heart attack which Mr. Winch was taken with Wednesday night. He was in excruciating pain across his chest and in his arms for over an hour; his heart action and pulse became almost dormant and I imagine he had a pretty close call; to make it worse he was scared to pieces, because he had seen his mother die in the same kind of an attack some years ago. The doctor relieved him finally with three hypodermic injections, and some other treatment, - I don't know the whole business accurately - but the attack left Mr. Winch very weak and with a terrible headache all next day. He finally got downstairs Saturday, but this morning after he had already been downstairs a while he was taken with another attack but milder than the first. He dressed and came downstairs again this afternoon, and even monkeyed around his chicken coop; but I don't believe he has any business trying to do so much, believe he ought to rest absolutely for several days. The doctor told Mrs. Winch he would be liable to similar attacks again; it's to bad, of course no one likes to see another in trouble, and I would hate to have Mrs. Winch lose her husband, because they are ideal companions for one another and do certainly enjoy one another. I don't know whether his attacks are the regular angina pectoris or not; the doctor who was here Wednesday night hinted that it was, but Carey and I looked up in the Encyclopaedia and found a few differences between the information it contained about angina pectoris and Mr. Winch's symptoms, chief of which was the real thing was supposed to be of only a few moments duration while Mr. Winch's was for a much longer time. I hope he's careful of himself anyway.

Since Mr. Winch has been ill, I have been at the head of the table, but haven't had a worse problem than a leg of lamb thus far.

The letter which you forwarded to me from Lake Placid was an acknowledgment of the silver vase, and I am relieved to know that it got to its destination safely.

I think you asked in an earlier letter as to whether we should have to make up the lost school time, and I neglected to answer. Fortunately we do not.

Do you mind my sending a check for the money due from me for the McClure & Strickland presents, also the two fifty I still owe the house for the last week I was home, and for which I didn't have change before I left? I am sending it that way; it will save me the trouble of going to the bank and getting it, and then sending it by money order, and I hope won't cause extra trouble at your end.

Would you please look up for me Harold Barrows' Hartford address, at his uncle Rawney's?

Thank you for the extra washcloth sent me, also the daisies, which I put in the pressed flower section of my scrapbook. I haven't seen any late daisies here but lots of dandelions, also lots of everbearing raspberries.

I am going to have to take a couple of State examinations this fall and a couple more in the spring to get a permanent certificate. This fall I'll have to take an examination in Physiology and Hygiene (isn't it the limit?) and another in School Management and Methods of Teaching with special reference to Secondary Education. In the spring I take one in Psychology with special reference to education and in the History of Education. These mean of course that I shall have a little studying to do thru the fall and winter. The thing I dislike most is that the examination in Physiology and Hygiene comes on the afternoon of the Princeton-Yale football game. The examination for this county will be at the Atlantic City High School. Don't worry about my having too much work to do; of course it is a heavy schedule, but I shall see to it that I get plenty of sleep and try to get enough exercise, realizing that to keep going mentally I must keep sound physically. So far I have been averaging an earlier bedtime than I was at home.

This week Tuesday primary elections are held thruout New Jersey (they have direct primaries here instead of nominating conventions), and there is a good deal of interest in this vicinity in getting a man by the name of Edge, State Senator, from Atlantic City, nominated as the Republican candidate for governor. He's a very able man, I gather, but I noticed the other day that the German organizations were backing him, which however he may not be able to help. This is a thorough Republican section; no chance at all for a deserving Democrat in Pleasantville. All the men High School teachers, Cruse, Carey, and Myer, the manual training man, however, profess Democratic sympathies, as I have found out thru information they have volunteered me.

I don't know how people stand on the war down here; nobody seems to be particularly interested. Carey is half German but he is at least neutral, if not pro-Ally, as far as I can make out, in his war sentiments.

I hear MacDougall & Miss Hodgson breaking away downstairs so think it must be getting fairly late, and shall therefore say goodnight. Hope you had a fine time in Worcester.
With much love to everybody

| Home | Search | SBButler Letters |