Letter from Admirer
J. M. W.
My dear Miss Nichols,
I am running the risk of seeming presumptuous in writing directly to you, to say how much I have enjoyed the photograph taken by you, which was used to illustrate the article “Say it with Stories” in the June number of the magazine “Children.” It was the photograph of a young mother telling a story to a little girl. I consider it masterly. You have captured the spirit of that moment perfectly. Perhaps I feel this so poignantly because I have a little daughter who looks very much like the child in the picture. I wonder if it would be possible for me to procure a real print of this photograph? May I trouble you to let me know. Do you ever take photographs of children other than for magazine use?
Thank you again for this charming bit of work, I am,
Jean M. Whitman.
Mrs. Roger W. Whitman
667 Corbin Ave
New Britain, Conn.
[Transcribed by Laura Feyer.]
 Jane Ellis Nichols (b. 28 April 1922) and Anne Townsend Nichols (b. 28 April 1924) were Ruth Nichols’ only children. They both attended Oberlin College: Jane was class of 1943, and Anne, class of 1947. Jane later received a doctorate and married the Reverend Howard Spragg, with whom she had at least five children. On 12 February 1947 (a few months before she graduated) Anne married Albert Wright Plambeck, a graduate of Union College who had served as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy for five years. They had at least three children together (Student File, Ruth Alexander Nichols, Record Group 28/2, Box 57, O.C.A.).
 “Pink collar” jobs, such as secretarial work, childcare, and domestic work, were seen as traditional female occupations. It is no coincidence that such jobs generally involved low pay and few opportunities for advancement.
 Jean M. Whitman (b. 1900) married her husband, Roger W. Whitman (b. circa 1897), when she was 23 and he was 26. At the time this letter was written, they would have had their first daughter Elizabeth (b. circa 1924), and would have been pregnant with their second child, a daughter named Sarah (b. circa 1927). The 1930 Federal Census reveals that the couple was fairly well off: they owned a home worth 10,000 dollars, and a radio set. Jean listed her occupation as “homemaker,” while Roger worked as the Superintendent of a hosiery factory. The 1940 census shows that he was promoted to President. While neither Jean nor Roger apparently attended college, they both had completed high school, and the census shows their daughters on track to do the same. This data reveals a fairly typical white suburban family from the 1930s, and reflects the target audience for Ruth Nichols’ work (“1930 United States Federal Census – AncestryLibrary.com.” Accessed 22 June 2016. Web link.; “1930 United States Federal Census – AncestryLibrary.com.” Accessed June 22, 2016. Web link.; “1940 United States Federal Census – AncestryLibrary.com.” Accessed 22 June 2016. Web link.; “1940 United States Federal Census – AncestryLibrary.com.” Accessed June 22, 2016. Web link).
 “Letter from Admirer” and the date 5/23/27 were written in a different hand from the rest of the letter. They were likely added by Nichols herself, as 5/23/27 would have been the date she received the letter, which was sent on 20 March, as indicated at the bottom of the epistle.
 The author’s initials are a printed or neatly stamped letterhead, the rest of the letter is handwritten.
 “Children” refers to Children, The Magazine for Parents, a “mass circulation monthly” about parentingfounded in 1926. The name was later changed to Parents Magazine (Dianna Selig. “Parents Magazine.” InEncyclopedia of Children and Childhood History and Society, 2008. Accessed 13 March 2016. Web link).