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Friday, October 16, 2015

Letter from Agnes Carpenter at Miss. Military Institute to Elodie Rose, 1884

Great news!  Agnes Carpenter was not left at that dreadful school in Albany, New York.  She found happiness and a boatload of fun making trouble at the Mississippi Military Institute. Not sure where that was.  I'll do a bit of research and find out. The letter is transcribed below the photos.
Agnes Carpenter dressed for Mardis Gras

Elodie Rose 

November 26th

Miss. Military Institute

My dear Elodie,

Well, I think it is about time that some of the girls are writing to me.  If they wait on me to communicate with them first they will never hear from me, I am afraid, as my time is as fully employed as it was at St. Agnes.  I enjoy myself more here than I ever did at my first boarding school, which is owing to the fact that I am getting worse and worse every day of my life. 

There are 6 girls besides myself who are just as bad and pranky as girls are liable to be cultivated in this degenerate age. We form a club of which I am Captain and everyone in the house seems to be mortally afraid of night crimes.  We have (?) ghosts, sleep walkers and (?) The latter would get me into a world of trouble if discovered for we nightly demolish six packages of cigarettes.  Mark my word if you tell Mama on me you will get the worst of it.

Night before last we went and had a midnight serenade with a lot of boys at our back fence.  And among us who is a member of the club was the sweet but shy Beulah Gordon who has such a saintly air connected with herself.  Together with the cigarettes was a large bottle of champagne, which made me quite lively.

I ought to be ashamed to act so as I rank above the other girls in regard to my situation as a scholar.   Am head of school for this month, was the first pupil to whom was… (last part missing)

For more on Elodie and Agnes, go here.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Letter from Agnes Carpenter to Elodie Rose, circa 1883

The letter has been transcribed below the photos.  Agnes Carpenter lived at Dunleith in Natchez,  but was sent to boarding school in Albany, NY.  Such a sad letter.  I remember being homesick like this.  And the school does look grim.  The school continued on as The Doane Stuart School . . . founded in 1975 as a merger between the Roman Catholic Kenwood Academy (founded by the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1852) and the Episcopal St. Agnes School (founded 1870). This unique merger is the only known merger of a Roman Catholic school and an Episcopal school in the United States.


St. Agnes
Sept 26

My dear Elodie

            It has been a long time since I received your letter — more than a week ago & I have been expecting to answer it for a long time but could not find time until today.  I have been awfully lonesome since I’ve been here & am half crazy to leave here Christmas.  If I can’t come home I believe I shall be sick just from disappointment. 

It is getting to be dreadfully cold here now, much to the girls’ displeasure as they have none of their wintry garments with them.  Has anyone heard from Alex yet?  I am willing to bet anything that he has been real homesick.  If he feels as I do I can sympathize with him.  I feel more homesick than I did last year for then it was a novelty to me but now nothing but the reality is before me.

The standard has been raised ever so high so now I can’t graduate (if I continued to come here) for perhaps five years or more. Tell Bessie to remember me to Alex when she writes to him. 

Does Juliet Rawle look the same or has she improved in her looks?  Ellen says she is rather stouter than she was when at home before. I wish you would explain to me the reason of Sophie not writing to me.  It seems rather queer in her and I don’t think I have done anything to hurt her feelings.

Emmie and Nannie have not written either since I was here last session.  I have written Carrie Dugan one letter since I have been here but she has not answered it yet.  She seems to be taking her time about it.  But I suppose the poor child is taxed with lessons.  Maybe she has changed her mind & not gone to College at all.

I have only 4 studies with ? &Miss Johnston will not allow the girls to have but 5 anyway.  At that rate it will take us an age to finish one class.  I am perfectly disgusted with girls, teachers & everything.  I want mama to take me away Christmas & put me teaching in New Orleans where I can take everything that I want & not be bothered to death with talk of unnecessary things as I am here.

Then I’d be home in case of sickness or any other emergency.  It would be perfectly heartless for them to keep me here when I dislike it so much. 

I must close now as it is time for walking & I have a letter to write to Ellen.

Answer Soon 
Your devoted friend