ArchiveA collection of 175 letters sent to Shelter Island, New York native, Glorian Duvall Devereux from various friends and suitors while she was attending finishing school at the Lasell Seminary School in Newton, Massachusetts from 1926-1927.
Glorian Duvall began studying at Lasell Seminary (which she sometimes refers to as the “cemetery") in the fall of 1925 and by the winter of the following year had started corresponding with numerous friends she had met during the previous summer holiday, including some Amherst University fraternity men. Al, from Beta Theta Pi, writes, “It sure must be tough to be shut up in such a cemetery as you describe your fair Alma Mater to be... I just know that all your teachers are giving their lives to make model and educated ladies of you all. After your terribly wild summer you probably do find things a bit irksome... Please don’t think I’m lecturing, just rubbing it in that we don’t have any restrictions at all here!” In another letter he described the fraternity’s hazing rituals. “We are having lots of fun now with our freshman. Each fraternity attends to the hazing of its own freshman... Our freshman report every morning at 7:15 in our bedrooms to wake us up and put us in good humor for the day. They also have to report after every meal and perform for about fifteen minutes. On Tuesday nights we have a big performance which lasts for about an hour. Tonight we gave each freshman a raw egg which he has to carry at all times. If he breaks it he has to carry two in its place. The funniest times however, are when they are performing. Please don’t tell me you feel sorry for the “poor boys,” because we enjoy it. Don’t you wish you were a boy?” Ms. Duvall seemed to have numerous love entanglements including an admirer from Boston named “Seely” who writes, “I can’t and I won’t believe that I’ll not see you for such a damned long time. Everything that happens now seems to remind me of you and to make me wish that I could see you.” He concludes his letter by asking for a photo of Glorian.
She corresponded with friends throughout the country including Philadelphia, Arizona, Georgia, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Ohio, South Carolina, and Connecticut. They discussed everything from schoolwork to relationships. One girlfriend who went by “Myers” writes, “isn’t it hellish to be back in school? I’d give anything to hop abroad a train tomorrow morning.” Her letter also addresses the ever-popular subject of the young men in their lives. “Just got a letter from Jack. He is off his head as usual and I get a cuckoo letter every once in a while.” Martha in Ohio writes, “Tonight is the Holly Ball its about the biggest affair of the season. I’m going with Dean Brewer. He’s rather cute but nothing startling!”
Many of her girlfriends tried setting her up with their male acquaintances. A letter from a boy named Jack tells Glorian that Martha has been talking about how the two of them should meet and that Glorian is “adorable and darling.” Another admirer, Robert, writes, “There is a soft musicality about your name. May I hope that you will be just as enchanting?” He continues, “I am intensely anxious to meet you and even more so to favorably impress you. Believe me, Glorian, the knowledge that I may have some delightful companionship near me is indeed the most cheering thought in my drab life here at school.” An extensive collection of letters detailing a woman’s education and social life in the mid-1920s. Also included are two small photographs; a valentine, business cards, and two pamphlets .All letters are very good or better with modest age-toning and tears from opening.