Document 2:


Author: James Harris Fairchild

Recipient: Mary Fletcher Kellogg

Date: Unknown.

Location: Oberlin College Archives, James H. Fairchild Papers. Series III Courtship Correspondence,

1771-1926, RG 2/003.

Document Type: Transcript (1939) Autograph Letter, Signed by Author.


This is James’ second letter to Mary, which he sent before he had received a reply to his first letter to her. Though his first letter had a respectful and almost distant tone, this one is far more emotional, perhaps even a little manipulative.


Wed. 4 o’clock P.M.1

First Page
First Page

My dear Miss K. I have waited anxiously for a reply to the note addressed to you more than a week since. Perhaps I ought to take your silence for a reply, but<,> as I am unaccustomed to the interpretation of signs, the conduct in question seems somewhat equivocal. After reflecting upon the possibilities and probabilities, I have come to the conclusion that you did not receive the note. Still<,> the failure is mysterious. I have expected an answer, how reasonably, I am willing to leave to your candor to decide, but how vainly expected<,> the result has shown. Have you ever felt the withering pang when your intentions were misapprehended by one whose good opinion you valued, and contempt instead of goodwill was your only consolation? I hope you never may. “But I prattle somewhat too wildly.” Don’t leave me now to solve the mystery alone, but tell me, did you receive the communication?

You can pass a note by my sister2 or otherwise<,> as is most convenient<.>

Yours with much respect,


Second Page
Second Page

To Miss M. F. Kellogg

Transcribed by Rebecca Debus.

1It should be noted that, assuming both dates and times are correct, that James wrote this second letter after Mary had already written her reply to him, though he would not have received it yet.

2Probably his oldest sister Catherine Baxter Fairchild, with whom Mary seems to have been friends (Former Student File: President James Harris Fairchild. Record Group 28/2, Box 312. Oberlin College Archives.; Oberlin College Archives, James H. Fairchild Papers. Series III Courtship Correspondence, 1771-1926, RG 2/003).