“We cannot change the world but we can change the people in it.” The Eleanor Bumstead Stevenson Papers

Document 1: Diary Entry on Love and Marriage     |     Introduction to Documents 2 & 3
Document 2: 21 November 1924, Eleanor to Bill Stevenson     |     Document 3: 17 November 1925, Bumpy to Bill Stevenson
Document 4: Girl Trouble and Divorce     |     Document 5: “The Soldier Takes a Wife”
Document 6: Recreational Program     |     Document 7: Fair Employment Practices Council and Democracy
Document 8: Women’s Group Tea     |      Document 9: The Weaker Sex      |      Document 10: PAUW the Challenge to Education Today
Document 11: Making Use of Their Education     |      Document 12: Letter of Condolence      |     Bibliography

Document 3: 17 November 1925, Bumpy to Bill Stevenson

Author: Eleanor Bumstead

Bumpy Getting Married (1926)
Bumpy Getting Married (1926)
Source: Subgroup II. Eleanor B. Stevenson papers, Series 6. Photographs, Box 2. Stevenson Papers, RG 30/219, O.C.A.

Recipient: Williams Stevenson

Date: 17 November 1925

Location: Subgroup II. Eleanor B. Stevenson papers, Series 1. Correspondence, Box 1. William and Eleanor Stevenson Papers, RG 30/219. O.C.A.

Document Type: Autograph letter




Original                       Both                    Transcription





[added in pencil in a different hand: posted 17 Nov 1925

To: 337 W. 22nd st.

New York City]





My darling-

I love you frightfully and find myself in a wretched humor after you have left us. How glad I am that in the course of a few months we won’t have to face this continued separation. It is telling on my already shattered nerves.

Darling I do a great deal of childish joking but really I do love you very much and have every intention of remaining in this state. We will be loyal and faithful to each other. I know we are here primarily to make good Mothers & Fathers & good citizens and there is only one way to do it. You mean every thing [sic] to me and in spite of your work, which of course you love, I think I must mean something to you.[2] We will be happy and sensible and loving through all the disappointments and [temptations?] that may come to us. I feel ridiculously serious to-day [sic] for I know not what reason. Perhaps just because I love you.

Mother & I leave to-night [sic] for Baltimore- Please write me there & come to Princeton as soon on Saturday as you can_

I love you & would write more but I have to go to the [hair dresser?] What trivial things keep us apart-

[smiley face drawn in]    Bumpy

[1] This is Eleanor’s address in New Haven, Connecticut, where she lived with her family (Subgroup II. Eleanor B. Stevenson papers, Series 1. Correspondence, Box 1. William and Eleanor Stevenson Papers, RG 30/219. O.C.A.).

[2] While the letters in this mini-edition are all from Eleanor’s perspective, it is worth taking Bill’s words into account. Though from the tone of Eleanor’s letters, including this one,  Bill might have been thought to be somewhat cold towards Eleanor, this is far from the case. Bill’s correspondence is just as effusive, romantic, and sappy as Eleanor’s was. In his reply to this letter Bill says “The one thing in your letter which I didn’t like was you saying that you think that you must mean something to me- Darling, darling Bump, you mean everything to me that is near to my heart or is fine or is noble or is worthwhile. Naturally I am interested in my work but that is only a means towards my only end- that is you and all the happiness which that must involve. I love you and am devoted to you beyond possibility of mine explanation or expression. You darling.” (Bill Stevenson to Eleanor Stevenson, 19 November 1925. Subgroup I. William E. Stevenson Papers, Series 1. Correspondence, Box 3. William and Eleanor Stevenson Papers, RG 30/219. O.C.A.).