Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Bertha E. Smith letters

Abstract

The Bertha E. Smith letters (dated 1920-1922; 0.03 cubic feet; 1 folder) comprise nine letters that document the courtship between Bertha Smith and Ralph Emerson in the early 1920s in Illinois and Louisiana.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Bertha E. Smith letters
Creator
Smith, Bertha E., 1897-
Extent
0.03 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Courtship -- 1890-1930
Employment -- Illinois.
Illinois
Love-letters
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
2009ms132.0268: [identification of item], Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Bertha E. Smith letters, 1920-1922, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Bertha E. Smith (b. 1858) was born in Illinois to George Smith (b. 1858) and Fannie L. Smith (b. 1861). Bertha eventually married Ralph W. Emerson (b. 1894), a clerk for the United States Post Office, and the couple lived in Springfield, Illinois.
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 Bertha E. Smith letters (dated 1920-1922; 0.03 cubic feet; 1 folder) comprise nine letters that document the courtship between Bertha Smith and Ralph Emerson in the early 1920s in Illinois and Louisiana. The letters date from the very beginning of their correspondence, with Ralph writing Bertha to pursue getting to know her better. Over time, the letters become more familiar and display the relationship the couple has built; most of the letters are written while Ralph is in Illinois and Bertha is in Louisiana. Ralph commonly writes about his job and covering shifts for other workers, visiting friends and his mother, trips to the dentist and work done on his teeth, attending fireworks shows, and him asking about her trip to Louisiana to see family and friends. There is one letter from Bertha's mother discussing visits from her children and Ralph.
The Bertha E. Smith 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

Letters to Bertha E. Smith from Ralph W. Emerson, 1920-1922

  • Box WH-3, folder 3
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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.

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