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SBButler Letters, November 1916

Nov. 12, 1916
Nov. 19, 1916
Nov. 26, 1916

S. B. Butler
Box 295

Pleasantville, N.J.

Dear Mother

Hasn't this been an exciting week? When I left New York Tuesday night, I supposed that Mr. Hughes [note - Charles E. Hughes, Republican candidate for President] was elected without a doubt, and spent Wednesday morning in anything but an agreeable frame of mind. The final result has borne out my predictions pretty well, that the vote would be very close, and that Pres. Wilson's strength would be in the West; as a matter of fact, only four states West of the Mississippi went for Mr. Hughes, one of those being Minnesota, with its extremely close vote, which might even yet prove to swing the state to Wilson. It has been more satisfying than anything to read the final result in the columns of the Hartford Courant, and particularly to watch them swallow their medicine in the editorial in Friday morning's issue. There was certainly a great deal of interest taken in the election all over the country, and, as probably you know, there were over 8,000,000 votes cast for each candidate, about 8,500,000 for Wilson, and 8,100,000 for Hughes; the most that has ever been cast for any candidate before was about 7,700,000; of course the female vote is a large factor in the increase. The gain of five states for prohibition Tuesday seems to have been lost sight of in the excitement over the outcome of the presidential contest; it wouldn't surprise me to see national prohibition an issue in 1920, or perhaps endorsed by both parties, as woman suffrage was this year.

I got to New York at about schedule time Tuesday, and went first down to the Pennsylvania station to leave my suitcase and get my sleeping car reservations; they don't have any parlor cars on trains at that time of night, so I got a regular berth, and an upper one. Then I walked back up town to Times Square and stood with the crowd watching the returns a considerable time. Traffic on the sidewalks was only allowed to go in one direction at a good many corners, which is I suppose a usual custom. Horns and rattlers were the chief noise- producers, and there were an abundance of these feather duster ticklers in the crowd. The returns on the Times screen weren't a bit faster than I use to see them in New Haven, perhaps a little slower. Where I was standing was right within view of the hotel where the Hughes family were watching the returns. I didn't see anybody I knew in New York or on the journey, except a 1915 man on the train from Berlin to New Haven. Shortly after midnight I started down towards Pennsylvania station again, and was tucked away in my downy couch, surrounded by my suitcase, overcoat & other clothes, several minutes before the train started out. I didn't sleep very soundly but of course got some rest; it was necessary to get right out as soon as I got to Philadelphia as I had to get a 5 o'clock ferry for Camden, where I took a 5:10 electric train for Pleasantville, arriving here on schedule time, before breakfast. I was pretty sleepy all thru the day, and got to bed real early Wednesday night, very shortly after nine, and slept for ten good solid hours, which rested me up completely.

Friday night all the men teachers and three of the women teachers had to be present at a reception at the High School given by the Sophomores to the Freshmen, to put a curb on any roughness which might get started, and to see that they didn't go all over the building, doing what they pleased, and so on. As a matter of fact, I should have gone anyway, before Dr. Whitney asked me to, as I promised to take part in the entertainment with a piano solo; I ventured to play Leybach's Fifth Nocturn, and the Beethoven Minuet in G for the encore which I suppose they felt called on to clap for. I also played the accompaniment for a song, also encore, for Miss Haskell, the music teacher.

The examination yesterday didn't seem particularly hard, although you can imagine it was rather long, when I tell you I spent four and a half hours on it. I'll not know whether I passed or not until just before Christmas; I feel pretty confident that I did, but of course can't ever tell. I am glad it's over with anyway, and shall be still more so when Physiology and Hygiene is out of the way next week; then I can give much more attention to my regular work.

Yale got beaten by Brown yesterday, as you probably know, 21-6. Yale purposely played six substitutes, so as to save as many for the Harvard & Princeton games as possible; I am not very certain, but rather think the chances are against Yale in both of the big games, however don't look for anything like last year's Harvard score.

Please tell Uncle Bill that Carey knows Miss Bessie Griswold very well, & had her as a teacher in High School; he also knows of the Fred Norton Uncle Bill spoke of to me while I was home.

It's time to say good night.
With much love to everybody

Pleasantville, N.J.

Dear Mother,

It is certainly a shame that Raymond has been having further troubles. I got a letter from him at Lakewood in the next mail after your letter came; he wrote me because he thought at the last minute I might have found some way to go to the Princeton game. Perhaps the result will be just what Raymond needs; anyway, I do hope his vacation and treatment will bring him back to health.

Yale seems to have a hoo-doo on Princeton, for even in the six lean years before this, Princeton has only beaten Yale once, and that was the time Ralph came down to New Haven to see the game in 1911. Saturday's result is naturally a rather hopeful augury for next Saturday, although to see Yale win would still be a surprise. I hope those awful 36-0, 41-0 scores of the last two years will be avenged some day.

Pleasantville High School didn't fare as well as Yale yesterday, but rather occupied Yale's position in last year's game at Harvard. The game was up at Bridgeton, the score 46-0. My Physiology and Hygiene examination, which was to have come in the afternoon, I succeeded, after some effort, in getting transferred to the morning, so that I could go up there; for the reason that neither Carey or Cruse could go up, nor could I find anyone else, and of course it was necessary that some one go up with the boys. As a matter of fact, Dr. Whitney finally went along with us, but didn't attend the game. We hired a big truck to take the team over to Bridgeton, and also a dozen other students, boys and girls, and Miss McAllister. There was an overflow of four or five who had to go by train, and I had to go up that way, because I couldn't get away from Atlantic City in time to get the truck. The result of the game, as I have indicated, was rather disastrous; for one thing, the Bridgeton team averaged ten pounds heavier at least than our boys, but of course, they played better, too. I didn't have any time to look up Miss Stieberitz [the soon to be Mrs. Ernest Binks, or Aunt Tot], as I had hoped to do before going up; the game wasn't over until five and the people of course wanted to get started back as soon as possible. We arrived in Pleasantville about half past eight, then a good many, including Dr. Whitney and myself went to a "box party" the Senior Class was giving in the gymnasium at the High School; a "box party", as you may know, is one where the girls all bring boxes of lunch with their names on the inside, which are auctioned off to the boys; the boys then eat the lunches with the girls whose names are in their several boxes. I acted as the auctioneer, and managed to dispose of the lunches in a satisfactory manner to those who reaped the profits; some of the boys knew who brought the boxes, and wanted certain ones brought by their own girls (the idea of these youngsters having girls!? Nothing like that in my day) and paid as high as 90 cents to get them. Ring games like "Three Deep" & dancing to the victrola filled up most of the rest of the evening.

When I was home, I saw some of those salesmanship course books on Ralph's table, and thought probably he was studying them, although the matter of a regular class hadn't occurred to me. I suppose the course will be of some value to him in his work, and hope it proves to be worth the time and expense spent on it.

Mrs. Winch wants me to thank you for the recipes you sent. She has already tried the chocolate cake once and the orange pudding twice, with considerable success.

In the course of a conversation I had last night with Dr. Whitney, I learned that he is fairly well acquainted with President Wilson; has introduced him twice on the lecture platform, has attended several dinners of the Philosophical Club which Mr. Wilson has also attended, once sitting right next to him, and I believe has once ridden on the train with him; these things occurred, I presume, before Mr. Wilson entered on his political career. It was very interesting to hear him tell about the President; the chief thing about his personality which Dr. Whitney mentioned, was that he was the most courteous gentleman he had ever met. Dr. Whitney has certainly had an interesting life, with his wide travels and his wide acquaintance with gifted and important men; when he was sixteen years old, he talked with Tennyson, in England. He is well acquainted with Alfred Noyes, and has even had him as a guest twice at his home on the Hudson [I looked him up and he was a British poet, best known poem "The Highwayman", and a professor of modern English literature at Princeton from 1914-1923. Died in 1958.]

It's a great relief to have these examinations over with, and to be able to devote more time to my regular work. Thru the Thanksgiving vacation I shall probably stay right here in Pleasantville; shall have to be here on the day, anyway, as we have a football game. If you had thought of it, don't bother to send me anything in the way of a spread, as of course I'll have plenty to eat right here. It will seem strange to be away from home, as, if I remember rightly, it will be the first time that I have not been home on Thanksgiving Day.

Tomorrow I hand out my first report cards, which can't be said to be uniformly complimentary. No one in my session room has all E's (90-100), although about three of them have three E's out of four marks. There is one little girl in my room, the youngest one of these, I think, who looks very much like Lucinthia. She's a bright youngster, too, but kind of a cut-up. Then there is another girl in my room who reminds me for all the world, in looks and actions, of Anna Anderson. Lucinthia's prototype's name is Virginia Anderson, Anna's Mildred Burns.

This week I have a party on hand Friday evening, and also guess I'd better make a long overdue party call on the Maltby's. In addition I hope to get caught up on correspondence.
With much love to all

[Susan Czaja adds: Raymond is Raymond Coe, Sylvester's cousin married to Eleanor Schwartz who's sister Anna Schwartz became Anna Strom. The Librarian at Belden Library. Anna Anderson was Anna Doering of "Grandma Doering" fame, an old girlfriend of Gramp's who he had contemplated proposing to before going to Pleasantville. She's the Piano teacher that Jackie & Nate had. Dad says that Raymond had very bad Asthma.]

Pleasantville, N.J.
Nov. 26 1916

Dear Mother

Perhaps I haven't been wishing that I had been up in New Haven yesterday to see the break in the long lean spell and to feel the thrill and exhilaration of losing a perfectly good Derby hat over the goal posts. And to think Raymond couldn't have seen it either! Eleanor wrote me that it was going to be out of the question for him to do so. Yesterday was a good day all around in football as the Pleasantville High School team beat the Bartlett Athletic Club's team from Atlantic City, 26-0. The boys played the best game they have put up this season and it certainly seemed good to see the score end up on the right side. We play the same team again Thanksgiving morning and I hope they don't succeed in turning the tables on us at that time. That game will complete the season, and I shall be glad that it is over. Basket ball practice starts this week, and Carey is going to take care of the basket ball team, I hope, although I have been assisting in organization and have overseen the making up of a schedule.

The party Friday night was one of about thirty young people of Pleasantville & Ocean City at a Mrs. Gandy's, a woman with whom Cruse and some of the other teachers board; she is a young old person, who has put two poor men under the sod and is courting a third. Half a dozen or so of the other teachers were there, including Miss Davis from here, Carey & Cruse. Games, music, & refreshment made up the evening; refreshments seem to be the chief element in a party down here, and the people seem to be able to eat anything at any time - ice cream and cake near midnight somehow don't appeal to me very much. The chief game of the evening was a progressive "peanut-punching": in this game there are several different tables, as in progressive card games, and on each table there is a bowl of peanuts; people on opposite sides of a table are partners; at the sound of a whistle, the two opposing sides at each table try to see which one can get the most peanuts out of the bowl with a hat pin, starting with any one person and going around to the left; if you got a peanut you have another turn until you miss; this keeps up until the whistle blows and the couple that has the most moves up, and then the game proceeds as before, ad lib.

Last night Carey and I were invited for the evening over to Atlantic City by a Miss Dorsheimer, a Pleasantville teacher who boards over there; she had her sister over from Philadelphia and with one other girl and two other men made up a small party for the evening. We missed the car over that we wanted to take, and so were about an hour later than we intended to be. Her sister is a very fine contralto singer, but our being late prevented us from hearing her; she is a perfect picture of Ethel Barrymore, the actress. We played five hundred most of the evening and just before we went home had some refreshments of cake and cocoa.

I have just come in from a good walk of about an hour and a quarter with MacDougall, the first walk I have taken out in the country for some time.

In my other letter I conveyed some unintentional misinformation, I see, about the dancing. What there has been of it at the school parties has been rather limited, and I haven't taken any part in it. The auctioneering was easy enough, except that it was at the end of a hard day, examination and Bridgeton trip; how those who had to listen to me stood it, I wasn't told. The examination I took a week ago Saturday was harder than the first, and I don't feel very confident about the result, but even if I don't pass it, will have another chance in April; hope of course, however, that it won't be necessary to take it again.

Of course the loaf cake will be very acceptable, and I'm sure the other people here would enjoy getting a taste of it.

In the laundry last week I sent back a shirt that doesn't belong to me, but is one of Ralph's, if I remember rightly.

Christmas vacation will begin on Dec.22nd, which is a Friday, Christmas being on a Monday. I don't know just how long it will be, but there will be at least ten days, I think. We have the whole of the week from Thursday to Monday, off for Thanksgiving, and I shall be glad of the chance of a little extra rest. I hope everyone at home has a good time Thursday, even if you are going to do nothing special.
With much love for all

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