Monday, February 27, 2012

Hidden Treasure in Local History

Local history librarians had a big surprise today when they discovered an autographed copy of Kenyon Nicholson's play, "Sailor Beware!" in the collection. Kenyon Nicholson was born and raised in Crawfordsville, attended Wabash College, and served in France in World War I. His first play was written with Meredith Nicholson in 1921 and was titled, "Honor Bright." Kenyon had a successful career as a playwright and also worked in Hollywood. "Sailor Beware!" was written in collaboration with Charles Robinson in 1933; the film rights were sold to Paramount and the film was released in 1952, starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, and an uncredited James Dean in one of his first speaking roles. The library's copy of the play is inscribed: "With many thanks, for battling the Jack Marcos et al! Best wishes, Ken Nicholson. N.Y.C. Sept. 4, 1935." The book is on display now on the second floor of the library.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Letter, 1860

We have recently acquired a letter from November 1860. William Deneen wrote, from Ohio, to a local woman, Miss Ducky Huff. Here is the letter with transcription. Judge for yourself the intent of Mr. Deneen!

Letter written by William L Deneen, of Bunker Hill, Ohio. Addressed to Miss Ducky Huff of Crawfordsville.

November 1860. Bunker Hill Ohio November the ? 1860
Dear Miss, Your letter of November the 12th was received in due time but I have defered writing til the present time; for I had no convenient opportunity of getting my miniature taken as yet and I thought I would not write until I could send my miniature with it. I went five miles to have it taken but when I arrived there there was no artist there. I heard before I went that there was an artist stopping at that place. And I have not since had an opportunity of going anywhere else but intend going as soon as convenient. I received your miniature in a short period of time after you mailed it and I feel confident you would have thought I valued it highly if you knew how often I have gaized upon it. It has been raining and snowing for about a week and has made it so disagreeable as I should have had my picture taken sooner and sent it before this time, I aint been to but two or 3 partys since I came home. I think you can select more parties than wee can here and they would suit me much better. You spoke of your going to have a party a Christmas. I should like to be one of the number that is to attend your party for I assure you there is nothing gives me more pleasure than to be in your company. You spoke of hearing that I got offended at you the night of uncles party for you asking me to remove my arm but you have been wrongly informed, such was not the case. I should like to know who informed you for there is some certain ones that would like to make it appear so for I am sure that I never told anyone that I thought you wished to offend me. I thought myself that I was making up my acquaintance rather to fast but I did not think of it at the time. You requested me to pardon you I will freely comply with your request. In drawing my letter to a close I will make some apology for my poor writing and ink. Yours truly William L. Deneen.

A William L. Deneen appears in the 1860 census for Reilly Township, Butler County, Ohio as a 16 year old. There are two possibilities appearing on the 1860 census for a similarly-aged "Ducky" in Crawfordsville: Levanda J. Huff, daughter of Julia Ann and Abraham Huff, age 16, or Emiline Huff, 15, who lived in the household of the Lewellen family.

See accession folder for further information about the Huff and Byers families of Crawfordsville. Martha Laura Byers was William Deneen's mother, and apparently had family in Crawfordsville. Accessioned by Jodie Steelman Wilson, February, 2012.