Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Bouslough-Harkison letters

Abstract

The Bouslough-Harkison letters (dated 1881-1930; 0.55 cubic feet; 2 boxes) comprise letters that document the relationship between Elmer Bouslough and Ruth Harkison in Aurora and Chicago, Illinois during the late nineteenth century.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Bouslough-Harkison letters
Creator
Bouslough, Elmer E., 1864-1958
Extent
0.55 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Boardinghouses
Correspondence.
Homeopathy
Medical education.
Arrangement
Collection is arranged chronologically. The Wade Hall Collection of American Letters has been processed into discrete collections based on provenance.
Finding Aid Author
Sarah Coblentz
Preferred Citation
2009ms132.0162: [identification of item], Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Bouslough-Harkison letters, 1881-1930, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Elmer E. Bouslough (1864-1958) was born in Illinois to Samuel K. Bouslough (1823-1884) and Eliza Jane Saiger (1828-1917). From 1891 to 1893 he attended Hahnemann Medical College in Chicago, Illinois where he boarded with Ruth M. Harkison (1846-1928), a widow with two sons. Despite the 18-year age difference, the two developed an intimate relationship with one another. After completing medical school, Bouslough moved to Aurora where he and Harkison maintained their relationship until her death in 1928. They never married and went to great lengths to keep their affair secret from her family, friends, and sons. He was employed as a homeopathic physician in Aurora and maintained residence there until his death in 1958.
American Letters collector Wade Hall (1934-2015) was a native of Union Springs, Alabama. Starting in 1962, he lived in Louisville, where he taught English and chaired the English and Humanities/Arts programs at Kentucky Southern College and Bellarmine University. He also taught at the University of Illinois and the University of Florida. He held degrees from Troy State University (B.S.), the University of Alabama (M.A.), and the University of Illinois (Ph.D.). He served for two years in the U.S. Army in the mid-fifties. Dr. Hall was the author of books, monographs, articles, plays, and reviews relating to Kentucky, Alabama, and Southern history and literature. His most recent books include A Visit with Harlan Hubbard; High Upon a Hill: A History of Bellarmine College; A Song in Native Pastures: Randy Atcher's Life in Country Music; and Waters of Life from Conecuh Ridge.
Scope and Content
The Bouslough-Harkison letters (dated 1881-1930; 0.55 cubic feet; 2 boxes) comprise letters that document the relationship between Elmer Bouslough and Ruth Harkison in Aurora and Chicago, Illinois during the late nineteenth century. The letters are primarily between Bouslough and Harkison, however there are a few letters from family and friends to Bouslough. The letters from family and friends to Bouslough discuss involvement in social clubs, social events, and personal health, all prior to his departure for medical school. The letters between Bouslough and Harkison discuss the weather, medical lectures Bouslough attended, social visits from friends, items purchased for themselves and each other, Harkison's children, boarding concerns and costs, and assistance in ensuring fair prices on work done to Harkison's home. Many of these letters also discuss their mental and physical health, both mention feeling blue often while apart, and Bouslough provides remedies for Harkison's various medical complaints. Additionally, there are two small portraits of Bouslough in the collection.
The Bouslough-Harkison letters are part of the Wade Hall Collection of American letters, which includes correspondence and diaries from all over North America covering the time period of the Civil to Korean Wars. The materials were collected by Wade Hall and document everyday men and women.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Use Restrictions
The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.

Contents of the Collection

Bouslough-Harkison letters, 1881-1889

  • Box 241, folder 7
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Bouslough-Harkison letters, 1890

  • Box 241, folder 8-9
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Bouslough-Harkison letters, 1891

  • Box 241, folder 10-13
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Bouslough-Harkison letters, 1892

  • Box 241, folder 14-15
  • Box 242, folder 1-5
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Bouslough-Harkison letters, 1893

  • Box 242, folder 6-8
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Bouslough-Harkison letters, 1894-1902

  • Box 242, folder 9
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Bouslough-Harkison letters, 1911-1930

  • Box 242, folder 10
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Researchers are required to have an SCRC Researcher Account in order to request or order digital copies of materials. Research Account set-up and use instructions can be found at: http://libguides.uky.edu/SCRCaccount

If you are visiting the Breckinridge Research Room, please request materials at least 48 business hours in advance of your arrival.

For all other questions, contact us at: https://libraries.uky.edu/ContactSCRC.

Researchers are required to have an SCRC Researcher Account in order to request or order digital copies of materials. Research Account set-up and use instructions can be found at: http://libguides.uky.edu/SCRCaccount

If you are visiting the Breckinridge Research Room, please request materials at least 48 business hours in advance of your arrival.

For all other questions, contact us at: https://libraries.uky.edu/ContactSCRC.

Requests

No items have been requested.