In your reserve, pride and super sensitiveness, you reflect my own nature

To Bertha from Cora Hendricks (Mother) – September 28, 1908

[Note: Bertha is 18 years old. She is has recently begun her studies at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia. Until recently, she had lived in Fort Niobrara in northwest Nebraska.]

Fort Magara, New York

My dear little girl,

It is possible that I lectured you in two letters? Indeed I did not mean to do that. Perhaps I was too severe, dearie, but if so you must blame me only, for Reba [Note: Her sister] had not written one word to call down any censure on you. What you write in the letter I have just received, is the first I have heard of any lack of interest since you got there. I don’t want to be severe with you, Bertha, and I don’t at all believe that at heart you unappreciative of your opportunities. But sometimes your manner would lead one to think so. I also understand perfectly how much you dreaded going away from home and to a strange place again. I know it was much harder for you there for Reba, and I, believe I can appreciate your feelings and difficulties better than almost anyone else can for in your reserve, pride and super sensitiveness, you reflect my own nature so much that is like looking in a mirror. Those qualities are a handicap to you in some ways, a protection in others. I know they have been both to me, but it makes going among strangers rather hard.

Cora Hendricks
Cora Hendricks

I am sorry you were sick when you got there. Are you quite well now? Don’t be unjust to yourself, dear, even if you to feel that I have been unjust to you. We are all selfish, you are not more so than other people, quite the contrary, I think, and you are certainly not a fool, but an uncommonly bright girl. You think Reba is bright, so she is, and can no doubt excel you in some things, moreover, she has three years the advantage of you, but not only your father and myself, but many other recognize you as being the real superior. Your marks at school have always shown you to be well up and I have noticed that whenever you really set yourself to do anything, it is well and thoroughly done.

Now, girlie, don’t think everybody is slamming at you. Reba felt nearly as badly as you did because I scolded you, and I did not want to hurt you only to show you how you sometimes made yourself appear.

I do want you to be interested in your work not merely as a duty, but because it really does interest you, and I hope you will have a pleasant time too and not all grind. I want you to enjoy your college life and be able to look back to it with pleasure when it is over. As I said before, I do not intend to ask you to for another year, but I hope that you will want to do so.

I sent you a check a few days ago, not forty but thirty dollars as I was sure you had included what had already been paid. I hope you have gotten the notebooks but you have not gotten the pictures for they are not yet mailed although I wrapped some of them up a week ago. I will hunt up Reba’s book and mail them all this afternoon if I can. It is raining now for the first time in weeks and I may not get to the post office.

Clara is likely to be away another week and I find I am quite busy, and really have not felt very well lately. I think it has been more the weather than anything else. I will be alright again very soon, I dare say. Now, cheer up, girlie, and don’t think I was so very unjust to you.

Your loving mother,

Cora Ballou

I must decline the pleasant invitation

To Bertha from John C. H. Lee – August 19, 1912

[Note: Bertha is 22 years old.]

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 10.48.30 AM

Miss Julia Bertha Ballou
Summer Place
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

My dear Miss Ballou,

As I am off for maneuvers at four thirty tomorrow morning, I must decline the pleasant invitation of your mother and yourself for Monday evening.

John C.H. Lee

[Note: John Clifford Hodges Lee (August 1, 1887 – August 30, 1958) was a US Army general. He graduated 12th out of 103 graduates from the United States Military Academy in 1909. He served in World War I, World War II and rose to the rank of lieutenant general. “Heavy on ceremony, somewhat forbidding in manner and appearance, and occasionally tactless,” as the Army’s official history described him, “General Lee often aroused suspicions and created opposition.”]


John C.H. Lee
John C.H. Lee
Lt. Gen. John C.H. Lee during a reception given by Tito in Belgrade on the anniversary of V-E Day, May 9, 1946.
Lt. Gen. John C.H. Lee during a reception given by Tito in Belgrade on the anniversary of V-E Day, May 9, 1946.

Now, let’s have that little party

To Bertha from William B. Loughborough – November 26, 1912

W. B. Loughborough
2nd Street 3rd _____
Madison Barracks
New York

Miss Bertha Ballou
United States Military Academy
West Point, New York
C/O 1st Lieutenant George B. Hunter
Madison Barrack

Dear Miss Bertha,

Your card five minutes since, and any address book on the desk, and I, very comfortably dressed, about to write you.

As I was about to make bold to tell you, poverty keeps one here until after the end of the month. That’s not the real reason, but, anyhow, I can’t get loose until after the first.

Now, let’s have that little party on the evening of Saturday December seventh. If anything should come up to prevent my coming, I shall let you know late in that week, but I think that I’ll be able to make it all right.

Please let me know if the seventh is alright, and anything else you may have to contribute to the general fund of human knowledge.

Please remember me most kindly to your sister and Humpty, otherwise known as, “Bouncy.”

May peace be unto thee.

Very truly yours,
William B. Loughborough

W. B. Loughborough death news clipping (August 1930)
W. B. Loughborough death news clipping (August 1930)

I’m trying to save a little so I’ll be able to get the steamer trunk and other things

To both parents from Bertha – February 19, 1913

[Note: Bertha is 23. She is now studying at the Art Students League of New York. She is preparing to visit her parents in the Philippines, where C.C. Ballou is stationed during the American occupation following the Philippine-American war.]

Dear Papa and Mamma,

Your letters arrived yesterday and I was very glad to get them. I have a few minutes tonight before dinner so I will write a few lines to go off _____ as there is a Philippine mail going there, I believe. The war scare seems to have relaxed a little today as Mexico has a new president but evidently it is not considered to be all over yet. Thank you for the check. Last month I was pretty extravagant, _____ a _____ box, some under ______ summer dress materials _____ at the midwinter sales – also took myself to $1.50 seat at the opera twice. I spent all my $65.00 but this month I’ve tried to be more economical and have saved – I will have saved a little over twenty dollars and of this month’s $65.00 altogether. I am about twenty-seven dollars ahead of what I will need for February in addition to the $65.00 you just sent for March. I’m trying to save a little so I’ll be able to get the steamer trunk and other things. I am also picking up along some of the other little things I am going to want to take over. As I said, I bought two light dresses at less than half price. Had to have a new traveling _____ as my old one was too disreputable to carry when visiting as I got one for _____ which I found at a sale which will last me through our Philippine tour.

Mrs. _____ was _____ for a moment this afternoon and I gave her your best regards and talked with her a little while. She asked me up to dinner for next Monday night. I am going. I am glad your furniture arrived in such good condition. _____ _____ least is satisfactory and the ______ sounded pretty good. I’m sorry Papa has to go out on _____ right away but hope they are well over with now.

The New York Times on 02/19/1913

I have been very glad to think of your so far away just lately for the papers have been so full of war scare that I would have been pretty uneasy if you had been near enough to be in any danger of going to Mexico. The 3rd Calvary was ready to _____ and the 3rd, 19th, and one other Infantry were under orders to leave at any moment, while a whole lot of Marines had already been ordered onboard a transport. It was too scary to be comfortable. I haven’t heard what _____ is doing in a long while.

Work is going a little better this week both the life class and in the portrait and I believe I have a fair start on a competition also. I wish the climate in the islands weren’t so hard to make myself work in but I believe I can work a bit anyway. I won’t be able to do anything that will show for much yet a while but I believe I can work at some of my own ideas and that will probably help me a great deal. I’m going to get me a little tiny “_____-_____” soon. One about as big as a Kodak that you can carry anywhere and make quick sketches with.

A friend of Mrs. Guthrie’s has been corresponding with me lately – trying to fix a date to call. She is living in Brooklyn so it is pretty hard for her to get here. I think it’s pretty nice of her to try. I am going down to call on Mrs. Farland just as soon as I get a minute free. Life seems awfully strenuous these days. We have had a little excitement lately and it may interest Papa to know that the thief they were hunting for – in the club –  last fall – has confessed – a kleptomaniac. I hate that sort of thing but there seem to be a certain number among us that are just irresponsible so it isn’t particularly disillusioning. It’s a satisfaction that while I knew the person she had never made any other appeal than one of pity and distaste.

I’m having a pretty good time. Am very well – weigh 118 pounds – have had no cold since Papa was here and am still very well satisfied with my roommates. Have not had the slightest unpleasantness since we’ve been together. I had a letter from Edna _____ _____ a few days ago. They are well enjoying their very mild winter in Maryland. Well, I must close now as I have very little time. I will mail this on the 20th and will try to get another off on the 24th.

Love to both.


February 19th, 1913