Mary Behner



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Mary wrote this letter to her family during the summer of 1927 while she was staying in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Though someone else has added 1924 as a potential date for this letter, the content mentions dates that take place in 1927. The letter is written on Student Volunteer Movement: Northern Ohio Union stationery, which includes Mary's name twice in the letterhead. The five sheets of paper are covered front and back and are handwritten with black ink. Mary writes about how she spends her time in Milwaukee, changing her major to sociology and doing a project on elderly care facilities, and how she wants to spend the rest of her summer once she leaves Milwaukee.


Saturday evening 7:30. a Summer in Milwaukee

Dearest Family,

Received a letter full of letters from Father this morning - - Among the letters was one addressed to H. Smith at Chatauqua [sic]. It was closed, and you said nothing about it in your letters so I thought either it was something you wanted me to see before you sent it out or your stenog. had forgotten to mail it - or rather I mean - had gotten it in the wrong envelope with my numerous letters - so to make sure I opened it - and I'll send it off tomorrow - as I sealed it up again.

The Mrs. Brouwer, Mary and Ellis left for the North last Thursday. They suggested to me to stay out here as much as I wanted and have Elizabeth spend the night with me; and that is just what I've done up until tonight.


And you can imagine what a wonderful time we have had together. We cooked our own supper & breakfast both times, of course and we talked & talked. She is so appreciative. We had our devotions together too and my what beautiful times we had together. She needs such a companion - for I know she hasn't had anyone treat her as I have. Every once in a while she says little things about what I've meant to her that make me feel so unworthy and small - and cheap - when I realize what she has had to buck up against. And then when she says such things I feel well repaid for all I've done for her. I should like very much to give her a Moffet's testament for her graduation present.

Did you send her a gift with a nice letter? You all should write to her - It would mean much.


Dad and Mother won't you both write - and send her something she can keep, together, if you feel you can at all?

It is trying to rain tonight- Just now I am all alone in the house. I am sort of a "door keeper" Have the keys etc. Water the flowers - feed fish - - etc, etc. It's sort of a responsibility but I give - strict attention to be very careful of everything you may be sure.

Mrs. Leiske, the dear old lady next door - the Captain Leiske died this winter - had me over with her for supper this evening - and I am staying there all night tonight. Don't worry I won't stay here alone at nights.

Then I called up Mrs. Anderson - the wife of the state Y.M. secretary who died recently - for she and


I are great friends. We only met a couple of weeks ago. We are going to church together tomorrow. Dr. Dekurst (10th & Harmon) preaches his last sermon here. Then I guess Mrs. Anderson and I are going to have dinner together. She is all alone too - the same as Mrs. Leiske is.

I am not having a real gay time in fact its a rather solomn - time for a vacation but I'm enjoying it - every bit. Of course my studying takes quite a bit of time as that comes first - And then I haven't the money to treat people - myself.

My ear fore is up - and also lunches that I take down town when I do research work at the Public Library. Got a Lib card and so you can see I mean business -.


Haven't had a letter from Fred but he sent me his brief case from up North so I could use it for my books - going to school. It is so handy. I asked him to send it if he wasn't using it. I suspect he is kept pretty busy alright.

Received a letter from Wooster today saying my scholarship was granted for next year. I am glad. Is that blank I sent you O.K. and how did you fix it up? You did not answer me yet - whether or not you put my July $50 in the bank. I would like to know as soon as possible.

I must tell you how I spent the day today - After getting Eliz. off to work I cleaned up the kitchen & made beds and then went out in the garden and picked loads of beautiful flowers to take down to Brouwers store. [Mr B. & Bud are in N.Y]


Mrs. B had told me to do that anytime I wanted to.

The rest of the day I spent in studying in a very practical and unusual way. Did I tell you that I changed my course from English to sociology? and how glad I am! Well - for Wed. we have to write a paper on some phase of "Old Age". Pensions - institutions for " " [Old Age] - etc. so - yesterday I called up the over here in Wau and made an appointment to visit them and did so - yesterday afternoon. Now - wasn't that bold? Well - to come to todays' happenings - I went over to the Prot. House for the aged in Milw. ( had called up beforehand and found that Mrs. Harrington - the bed lady our Calvary S.S. class used to send Sunshine Boxes to was still there ). So I took her some flowers - And - you never saw anyone so delighted and happy. She said before I left "this surely will be a red letter day for me --


Right away she asked me to stay for lunch - and I too was delighted. Thru her - then I got in very personal touch with the institution. It was indeed very interesting to compare the two Homes. The one - so narrow the other so broad. And the results of such attitudes are certainly marked. I won't go into detail - but will tell you about it some time. Our sociology is indeed an interesting study. Mrs. Harrington wants to be remembered to my mother & father and sister.

Geraldine [unclear] Prunslow [unclear] is married. Did you know it? Prof. Dodge is having in some swell apartments on Grand Av. He wants to see me. Ev Jausseu went to Wis. University last year. I talked with her over the phone but haven't seen her yet.

I have a date tomorrow night to her Dr. Johnson preach -


with a college student from Dubuque who is studying to be a minister - He is from Poland - has travelled to S.A. And is now doing mission work under the auspices of the national board - in the Polish district here. He has been in this society for 2 years & speaks wonderful Eng. He preached last Sun morning at the little Pres. Chapel in Wauwatosa. - Met him after the services. Mrs. B. asked him home to dinner and that is how it all started. Saw him Tuesday - & he met me down town at Marquette & then walked on down town with me. He is much interested to say the least. I am interested in his work & etc. but not him personally - for my sake - as I am afraid he is of me -

Summer school ends Aug 8. If I could drive to Chatauqua N.Y. with you - I should do it in one minute without further questioning -


National Council meets "in the vicinity of N.Y" (?) from Sept 3 - to Sept 8.- that is - Sat. Sun, Mon, Tues, Wed Thurs - of the week before school begins. Then on Fri, Sat & Sun of that same week - that is Sept - 8, 9, 10, I am due at Chipewa lake as representative of the S.V. at the retreat for the religious organization officers - Now -

- I have from Aug 8th to Sept 2nd free - Perhaps I could rush from here to W. Va and we could [the 4 of us] go to N. York together. Then - if there was time between Chatauqua & my council meeting - I could stay in the state of N.Y. some way, either working at Chatauqua or with Andy up in Northfield - Well - we'll see. Have you any ideas.

I have made no definite plans about up North. The Brouwers


want me to come up if its possible though. Thats! That.! - - -

Whew! It sure is raining out! Storming rather. Guess I'll go over to Mrs. Leiskes pretty soon. This is a pretty long letter. Pretty scibbly too. Hope you can read it.

Lots 'o love.


Just talked to Marjie over the phone. Am going to stay with her all night tomorrow & Monday I don't want Mr. Rabe to bring me way out to Wau - would feel safer in town - even tho he is O.K. there is T.N.T. Monday nite. So all will work out well.

Love - - -



Publication Date



Letters; Milwaukee (Wis.); Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions; Nursing homes; Seminarians


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Letter from Mary to Family- Saturday Evening, 1927



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