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EJP's Chicago Google Map 
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=202426891661796490166.00049808fec2a0bd5928b&ll=41.909112,-87.632017&spn=0.043308,0.111151&z=14&iwloc=0004980916ea6188109c6
Oct. 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago  Stony Island Avenue 56th St to 67th, Midway Plaisance, near the University of Chicago

Mary Glen's planned transcontinental train trip  I've been to Chicago a number of times, but never in search of EJ Phillips.  The Palmer House she stayed at in 1888 is not the present building (but is the same site) and as far as I know there is very little left of the 1893 Columbian Exposition  except the Midway Plaisance, five buildings, three of which were moved to other states and photographs and souvenirs.  Hooleys and McVickers Theatres are no more.

Aug 1899  answering a question from Albert about an old friend "he [Mr. TLW McIntosh] left Canada & went to Chicago where I met him in 1875 while I was traveling with [Lawrence] Barrett  ... When I went next to Chicago it was to join the Union Square Co in June 1878

Tremont House
Chicago
June 7th/86 

My dear Son, 

No letter from you since Friday. I hope you are not ill, after your base ball playing on Monday.

We open tonight with Our Society.  They say the "take" is not large, which looks like a bad beginning.  Hope we shall come out all right.  Hope I shall hear from you to-morrow  -- if I do not I shall feel inclined to telegraph to see what is the matter -- always let me hear from you if only a line.  If you are ill send at once for Hattie and she will go to you.  Love and Kisses from your loving Mother   

Tremont House
Chicago
June 9/86  

My dear Son, 

I think the Texas scheme a very good one if you had the money to carry it out -- but there lies the difficulty.  I cannot as you know do anything more.  I am willing to pay the two $50 notes due on the 20th of this and next month respectively -- but you would want $200 more to go comfortably to Texas.  And there you would be running the risk the same as you now are doing, although I suppose there is more chance of business growth in Texas than in Middletown

Mr. Riley's proposition is a very fair one and I could not offer any opposition to your accepting it -- but I have not the money to help you accept it.  If Mr. Riley can do what you have proposed to him -- and you feel that the change would better your condition -- you have my consent to try your luck, and I will do what I can to help you.

Fever and Ague I guess are a part of the trials you may be exposed to -- but there is always something to battle with, and perhaps it is not so bad in that part of the State.  Dr Nagle is very kind to think of you, and I would think he would not make the proposal if he did not have a very good opinion of Mr. Riley. 

I was very nervous about you all day yesterday -- fearing that you were ill, from exposure in the Sun on Decoration Day.  I have a Matinee (for which I receive no extra) -- so will have to close this.  Love and Kisses and best wishes for your success from your loving  Mother 

Tremont House
June 11th/86 

My dear Son, 

In my reply to your former letters, which you will receive to-day I have given you my views on Texas and what I could do and would do.  That is pay the Johnson notes and help you as I can spare the cash from my salary.  If you feel that you can take the position, I think it is a good one.  Of course you may find many annoyances and many troubles, but those have to be met everywhere and I think you can battle with them there better than in New York.

I give my consent to your going as I feel it will be to your advantage -- and if I had the money you want, I would send it to you -- but I have not.  Do not worry about the Johnson notes.  If necessary Aunty will be responsible for them until I can send her the money.  Texas is a good way off and I shall not be able to see you very often -- but if I know you are doing well I shall be consoled knowing that it is for your advancement.

Act as you think best.  I like the tone of Riley's letters but yet we do not know the man, so you had better have all arrangements set down in black & white.  Dr Nagle having loaned him money must have great confidence in him, for the Dr is very careful of his dimes.  Love and Kisses from your loving Mother

Tremont House 
June 13th 1886
Sunday 

My dear Son, 

If I could fly I would be with you to-day -- for I dare say you are lonely and so am I, although I have been in Maud's [Harrison] room and with [Walden] Ramsey & Miss [Marie] Greenwald reading the morning papers.  But I keep thinking of you all the time and wondering which way you will decide.  I suppose I shall hear tomorrow if you have heard from Mr. Riley. 

Hattie thinks it a splendid chance for you, if you can get there, but does not see how you will be able to manage it.  That is our trouble isn't it?  I am sorry I did not go to Middletown to see you from Utica.  I had four days to do it in, but thought of the expenses and that the money would do you more good, then my presence could do, for so short a time.  Of course, I had no idea of a change being made.  I dare say you will receive letters from me while in San F'co in  Texas as soon as you would Middletown.  The Southern Pacific you know runs through the Northern part of  Texas.

How do you think you can get the $75?  I think you may through the Dr or Mr. Boardman be able to get reduced fare from New York to Galveston.  I asked Maud [Harrison] is she could get a pass for you by the Mallory Line.  She said yes, if you could give her two or three days notice and she would do it.  But you know she romances considerably and you might not have time to wait as long as she would take to get the pass.  

Telegraph me if you decide to go -- as a letter takes two days to reach me, and that is a loss of time.  Should Mr. Riley's reply be satisfactory and you go, telegraph "All is well" and I shall understand you are going.  I mention this way of telegraphing supposing you may want to keep your departure unknown until prepared to go. 

Mr. Palmer is not here, or I would state the affair to him and try and borrow the money from him.  Miss Greenwald kindly intimated that she would help me -- and if you are pushed, why perhaps I can get the sum you want.  She knows a young man who went down to some part of Texas a couple of years ago and who is making money fast. --I forget what she told me he was doing -- but she thinks it is the right thing for you to go. 

I rec'd a splendid reception last Monday night -- and splendid notices in all the papers.  I mention this as it is stock in trade for us. Our Society has done more for me than any part I have had for the past three seasons -- so that I feel lighter hearted professionally, than I have done for the same length of time.

My dress for the new play will cost $46.  I shall have two weeks board to pay next Wed, they not having presented last weeks bill yet.  The two weeks salary is knocked out but when I get my things all ready for The Martyr I shall then be able to help you and pay the notes to Johnson.

Well I guess you will be tired reading this long letter, and yet I could keep on writing this way all day.  Should you make arrangements to go, telegraph all you want by night message and I will pay for it here.  My heart is with you in all you do -- It is hard to have you so far away -- but life is before you -- and if you succeed in your undertaking we may yet enjoy many days together in the "Lone Star State".  

God bless you and keep you in Uprightness, Honor & Sobriety!  Always remembering (as I know you must have done in many instances) -- To do unto others as you would have them do unto you -- The Golden Rule -- which always comes out right in the long run.  Enclosed find V with love and Kisses from your  loving Mother

TELEGRAM
June 16, 1886  from Chicago to Middletown

Glad of your decision to remain in your present position. 

Tremont House Chicago
June 16th/86  

My dear Son, 

I must say that I felt rather happier than I have done for a week, when I read your decision to remain in Middletown for the present.  I did not wish to oppose you in the Texas affair, still I could not help thinking it was a great risk.  You are now your own master, and in Texas you would again be in partnership, and with a man whom you do not know as well as you did  Seymour.

Have a little patience.  4 months is a very short time to give Middletown a trial.  I cried all the time I was writing to you on Sunday for I felt --that if you went to Texas I might never see you again.  You know, your Mother loves you! and I am your Mother.  And to go so far away to take up your abode, made me very blue, although I think in Texas you would not have the long winters and deep snows to contend with, as you would have in Dakota or Wyoming.

[Walden] Ramsey had a sister whose husband owned a ranch about 9 miles from San Antonio, Texas and he lost a good deal of money.  Ramsey's sister says the heat there is intense.  I have just telegraphed you that I am pleased at your decision to remain in Mid.[dletown] for fear you might change your mind before this got to you.   Love and Kisses from your loving  Mother  

Tremont House Chicago
Wed AM 
June 30th/86 

My dear Son, 

I have not had time to write to [Aunty Zavistowski], for we had such long rehearsals that I was worn out with them and dressmaking and 2 Matinees per week, I could not get time to write even to you & your sister.

But the worst is over.  We made a success on Monday night & I guess will run the play for at least 2 weeks.  Mr. Palmer shook hands with me and congratulated me although my part is a short one.  I have made quite a hit in it and have received good notices in all the papers & this morning's InterOcean [newspaper] gushes.  I will enclose the notice to you. 

I recd Sunday's World from you this morning, "Dear old Mrs. Phillips" has been, worked harder than any of the other ladies, all but I having been out of the bill, or else not in the new play.  I have regained all the prestige I lost while under Collier's management.  I am feeling well and hope next Winter will set us on our feet once more.  

Do not let the memory of  Seymour make you "mad all day".  He is not worth it, and perhaps is more to be pitied than blamed if he cannot curb his unfortunate nature. 

I do not want you to make an offer of buying the July note for less money than its face value.  I guess I shall be able to get that much together by the 20th.  If in the meantime you can manage to pay your board, I shall send you the other $50 before I leave here. 

We remain here three weeks after this one.  My dressmaking bill was $70, shoes $2.50, gloves, laces for caps &c I do not know how much more; but however I do not think I shall have anything more to buy for the Stage until I get back to NY.  Glad your prospects are fair, and that you have disposed of your press satisfactorily.  Love and Kisses from your loving Mother 

Chicago Ill
July 3rd/86 

My dear Son, 

After next week I shall have an easy time while staying here.  The business is -- next week, Martyr, the following week Sealed Instructions three nights -- Broken Hearts and Old Love Letters three nights.  Last week Jim the Penman and I am not in either of the four plays -- therefore no rehearsals. 

I hear we go by way of Denver over the Rio Grande road to Salt Lake returning Union Pacific.  I am sorry we go over the Rio Grande -- it is an awfully fright road -- narrow gauge and such high Mountains to climb over!  OH! Dear!  Love and Kisses from your loving  Mother 

Chicago,  Ill
July 5th 1886
Monday 

My dear Son, 

I feel quite relieved having no rehearsals.  Those in the cast of  Jim the Penman are rehearsing until late in the afternoon of everyday except Wed & Sat. 

Mr. Wm Palmer last night brought me a pass to Ind'[ianapo]lis and return, good until 31st of August.  So I may take a run down to see Mrs. Fay.  I asked Mr. .[AM]  Palmer for the pass one day last week, more as a joke than anything else, and he surprised me last night by calling at my door and giving it to me.  It reads for "Mrs. E.J. Phillips & two".  Were you here I could take you. 

Well, [Herbert] Kelcey and [AM] Palmer are having a good time by telegraph.  Mr. Palmer having cast Mr. [Frederic] Robinson for Jim the Penman and Mr. Kelcey not only refused to play a part named Percival that he is cast for, but demands the part of "Jim".  Mr. Palmer telegraphed this morning that he would not change the cast.  So Kelcey and wife will leave they say.  I am only afraid I will be put in the part Mrs. Kelcey was to have played, as the part is of a woman of not less than 40 and the mother of the "parts"  that Mr. [Walden] Ramsey and Maud [Harrison] play.  Mr. Robinson is the Husband and father of Kids, Maud and Ramsey.  If Mr. P[almer] wants me to play it, he must furnish the dresses of which four are required and fine ones too. 

The weather is pretty warm now and I hoped to be out of the bill after this week, but this disturbance will, I am afraid, make a change all around, and I shall have to come in for my share of the work. 

I hope you had a pleasant  4th where ever you may be.  Thursday is your birthday - 23 years old!  God bless and give you many Happy returns.  24 Kisses and bushels of good wishes from your Mama who had not much else to give you this year but enclosed find $5 which you can spend in candy if you want to.  You know I am saving up for the 20th, therefore your birthday present must come short this time.   

Fire crackers and all sorts of noisy things have been going off since Friday night, but they are quieter today then they were yesterday.  Love and Kisses from your loving  Mother

Tremont House  
July 9th 1886

My dear Son, 

I feel quite relieved having no rehearsals.  Those in the cast of Jim the Penman are rehearsing until late in the afternoon of everyday except Wed & Sat. 

I wrote you in a hurry the other day, (but guess I did not put a stamp on the letter and you may not get it for a month) that things were in a mixed state with us - and there was a feeling that we might close here and not go to California.

I will now give you the reason - Mr. [Herbert] Kelcey claimed the part of Jim the Penman - He refused the part of Percival for which he was cast and demanded Jim or he would leave the theatre!!  Well there was a great time telegraphing between him and Palmer, and between Wallack and Kelcey.  I do not know how they compromised, but Kelcey plays the part of Percival.  But I am told he leaves Palmer and goes to Wallack next season. 

I am glad it is settled as far as this season is concerned - for as was threatened - if our season had closed here I do not know what I should have done, for as I wrote you I would not have a dollar to live on from now until Oct.  

Mrs. Kelcey telegraphed Palmer that Sealed Instructions must be withdrawn from next week's programme or she would resign!  Well it is withdrawn and Our Society takes its place.  Business has not been great and times are very dull in San F'co, and altogether things looked very shaky for a day or two. 

We shall leave here on Sunday or Monday for our Western trip.  That is the 25th or 26th of July, no salary while traveling.  Open 2nd of August in San Francisco.  I shall send you the $50 next week.  Salary day is Wed.  It is after 1 PM when salaries are paid, so shall not probably send before Thursday.  You will get it on the 17th and then we are free from the Johnsons, and I hope forever.   

So Seymour has started again.  It does not sound feasible to me - still Seymour is energetic and had gall enough for anything.  I am going to write Aunty so will close this with love and Kisses from your loving  Mother 

Tremont House 
 July 19th 1886

My dear Son, 

I have been packing today as they want to send some trunks on with car load of scenery tomorrow - which accounts for my not writing this earlier in the day.  Love and Kisses from your loving  Mother

Tremont House 
July 21st/86 

My dear Son, 

The time is drawing near for my departure for the far West.  So far, far away from you all!  I did not write yesterday for I had to get some things for my journey, and then met Mrs. Scott and Mrs. Holmes at the Japanese Village and staid there until after 5.  In the Evening Mrs. Augusta Forbes called and she did not leave until nearly 10 PM, then it was too late to write.  Direct your letters to Baldwin's Theatre, San F'co % A M Palmers Co.  He is beginning the Wallack and Daly style. 

I shall send back letters every day, or as often as possible on the journey.  Of course I shall not hear from you for nearly a week - but write as often as you can, for to hear from my dear children will be all the happiness I shall have.  

I went to see Jim the Penman on Monday night.  It is a very strong, well written play and was, with the exception of the two leading parts, well played.  Miss [Caroline] Hill and Mr. [Frederic] Robinson failed to bring out all the heart & soul of the two characters of Jim the Penman and his wife. 

AMP[almer]'s wife and her two sons [by her first husband and Palmer's former partner Sheridan Shook] left yesterday en route for San F'co.  I think they go to Yellowstone Park.  I suppose they will be there for our opening on the 2nd of August. 

Tomorrow I shall send by PO order to you $15 - that will have to do you until I get my 1st weeks salary in San F'co, which will be the 11th of August.  They pay salaries (due on Monday) on Wednesdays.  I wish I could send you more dear - but my salary seems, nay is, so small for the heavy expenses I have, that it is impossible for me to do so. 

I have not returned Miss Greenwald's money she so kindly offered & that is not right.  I owe nothing but for storage, payable on my return to New York.  I get no salary next week - and it will cost about $3 per day for my expenses on the road.  I am not happy in the prospect of my long journey, but I hope all may be well.  Love and Kisses from your loving Mother 

next: Railroads   previous Kansas City

Tremont House 
Chicago  
Octr 4th 1886

My dear Son,

Arrived here at 7 AM.  Left Omaha at 9:20 AM yesterday.  When I wrote you I did not expect to leave here until 6:30 PM.  We leave at 3 PM and are due in NY at the 42nd Depot tomorrow night at 9 o'clock.  Had Mr. Palmer known it we might have taken train this morning at 9 and been in NY to-morrow morning - and it would have saved us our hotel bill here.  However we will get a little rest here.

I see by the papers we do not open until the 1st of Novr.  We have had no official notice of the same.  All the Company feel very sore over it, and are willing to take any offer that may come to them.

Kelcey is all right.  He goes at once to Wallacks so he is happy.  I think it is his leaving that has upset AMP's ideas - for he thought to be able to hold Kelcey until the last moment.  And those Held by the enemy have scored a success and so we small fry may wait his pleasure.  It comes very hard upon me at this time.  Well I shall soon see you I hope.  Until then Love and Kisses from your loving Mother

William Gillette's Held by the Enemy had been produced at the Madison Square Theatre in  Aug-Oct. 1886

previous: Kansas City  next: Bartholdi Day

1887  
Tremont House 
Chicago Ill 
June 9th 1887 
 

My dear Son, 

I congratulate on your success of at last obtaining employment and sincerely hope it will be a pleasant position for you. 

As far as the salary  - you can, if you so determine, save money on it.  Many men support families on a smaller amount.  And I hope you have now see enough of the follies of the world to know that happiness is not to be found in spending your money on those who will afterwards turn their back & leave you to your remorse. 

Do your duty by your employers to the utmost extent of your ability, but do not try to become too familiar with them. "Too much familiarity breeds contempt" is an old adage, but one that often proves true.  They want your work and your brains.  You want their money and not their entertainment. 

Keep a dignified presence, never let anyone know how poor you are, for no one has any sympathy for the poor cuss who has no money in his pocket. 

You have already experienced this, but how much more would that experience have been aggravated had not your Mother been where she is. Think of this, darling, and prepare for the future for another time Mother may be helpless!! 

I will now devote myself to paying your debt to your Aunty [Zavistowski].  She thinks I have paid $50 of it to Hattie (for her wedding present to Hattie) but I have not, so I have yet the $200 yet to pay for you.  You must help me to do this by being very economical and careful of your salary.  I will enclose $2 in this to make up the ten for last week's eight of which I gave you in R'[idge]wood.  And that is ten dollars more salary than I got last week. 

I shall not get salary for this week until next Wednesday.  I have about enough to pay my week's board which will be due on Saturday.  I had to buy things for Jim the Penman, among others a parasol.  I used one belonging to Maud [Harrison] during the "run" in New York.  I was wrong to do it, for it has cost me more in humiliation & presents than a parasol would have cost in the beginning, and at that I have had to buy one.  But I didn't have the money to buy one when we began the season in Novr.   

I am afraid Jim [the Penman] will not prove as big a draw as the management hoped for.  There was quite a fall off last night, and the matinee was not good.  However the day was very hot, and strong indications of a storm would perhaps prevent many from coming.  

Have not had any calls from my friends here as yet.  Saints and Sinners will be our next production. Jim may be kept on three weeks.  They wanted to run it four.  Daly's company are playing at Hooley's.  They remain four weeks after this one, making six weeks in all.  They are changing the bill every week.  Well, I will close for this time with love and Kisses from your ever loving and far away  Mother

Tremont House 
Chicago Ill 
June 19th/87 

My dear Son, 

Try and find a good doctor to treat your catarrh trouble.  I prefer Homeopathy - if you can find a good professor of that school - and they are the least expensive. 

AM Palmer was to arrive this morning, and I suppose he has.  We are called to meet him on the stage tomorrow 11 AM.  "What is he going to do with us" was the great question amongst the Company yesterday.  Suppose we shall know tomorrow. 

I posted a letter containing V to you on Thursday.  You should have received it yesterday.  With love and Kisses I remain your ever  loving Mother 

Tremont House 
Chicago, July 2nd/87 

My dear Son, 

The weather has been very warm for the past week and to-day promises to excel the other days in intensity.  And we have two performances of Saints & Sinners to go through.  Hard on Mr. [JH] Stoddart, his part being very long and he has to wear such heavy old coats. 

AM Palmer left us for New York yesterday.  I believe he is to come back later.  Our business is not good, but Mr. McVicker is determined to keep us for the time he has engaged us, which is now said to be 12 weeks.  That will take us to the 27th of August.  Our plays not strong, but Mr. McVicker knows what they are, so if he is satisfied, we ought to be. 

I am glad you are keeping well and the employees are quiet.  The strikes here and the anarchist troubles have made the City very dull.  People who have money are afraid to risk it in any business.  Thousands of men are walking about doing nothing.  How it will all end remains to be seen.   

It is the heat more than anything else that ails me.  It just wilts me and makes my feet ache.  Love and Kisses from your loving  Mother 

James H. McVicker (1822-1896). McVicker was a Scotsman and a comedian. On May 2, 1848, he appeared as the "First Low Comedian" in a theater owned by James B. Rice. Rice would later become Mayor of Chicago. McVicker worked in France and England and owned a stock company of actors in the U.S.  He is best known, however, by the theaters he owned. In 1857, he built a theater on Madison St. west of State. It cost $85,000 and was completely equipped including a drop curtain that depicted the railroad bridge connecting Rock Island with Davenport.  The curtain was considered by many a work of art. From opening night, until its destruction in the Great Fire of 1871, the stage was visited by the finest actors and the best musicians. His second theater was built in 1871 and was destroyed in the Great Fire nine weeks after opening night. After the fire, he spent $200,000 to build the Theater Ludlow. Sarah Bernhardt on her first American tour appeared at McVicker's Theater. In 1862, John Wilkes Booth achieved personal success in Richard III. His [McVickers'] daughter, Mary, was a popular performer starting at the age of ten. When she was 18, she married Edwin Booth the brother of the assassin. She died in 1881, childless, and 33 years of age. At the death of  Lincoln, the City chose a Committee of One Hundred to be at the funeral in Springfield. James McVicker was one of the men chosen to represent the City.   http://chicagoscots.net/Name%20List/Name%20List%20M.htm 

Politics Haymarket Riots  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haymarket_affair

Tremont House  
Chicago  Ill. 
July 4th/87 

My dear Son, 

Sorry you have had to feel the effect of combining cherries, soda water & lemonade.  Hope you are all right by this time.  If at any time you are taken with cramps, get some gum camphor and take a piece about the size of a pea and let it dissolve on your tongue. 

I told Miss [Virginia Ellen] Buchanan about it last week, she had been suffering for two days and was taking brandy and other remedies, but nothing stopped the cramps until she took the camphor.  It is well for you to have some camphor in your room at the house and in your desk at the factory.  It is a disinfectant & good to have around, but do not take too much inwardly.  You will find a very small piece suffice to stop cramps. 

I thank you for your kind invitation to visit you which I shall be glad to do, if I have the vacation - but I believe it is settled now, that we are to remain here eight weeks including the present one - so that we shall not close here until the 27th of August.  Leave 28th for New York, arrive there the 29th & at end of week leave for Boston to open at Park Theatre on the 5th of Sept.  Not much of a vacation, is it? 

It will not be as hard for me as for some of the others, as I shall have only one new part to study.  This week Margery's Lovers, next Foregone Conclusion, week after Our Society.  To be followed by Elaine in which there is no part for me.  I shall have that week to rest, or get ready for a part in a new comedy [?]. 

Friday will be your birthday.  I hope you will have good health to enjoy them.  This is the "glorious 4th" and fire crackers have been exploding ever since 12 o'clock last night.  I am tired of hearing them.  No more this time but Love and Kisses from your loving  Mother

Tremont House  Chicago Ill  
July 23rd/87 

My dear Son, 

You ask if I have been ill.  Yes, I have been.  Friday night, the 15th, I felt so weak that I went to Dr Ogden, and he prescribed for me and through his attendance I have been able to play every night and attend rehearsals, but it has been pretty hard work for me. 

I begin to feel a little better -- the weather having been cooler this week.  Thursday, Friday, Saturday and up to 5 PM Sunday of last week was so hot that we all suffered.  But all the other ladies have had a rest, and I have had none.  Have been in every bill, and rehearsal every day. 

We rehearse tomorrow night.  And on Monday produce, [Henry Arthur Jones'] Welcome, Little Stranger.  After that I shall not have rehearsals, as the two remaining plays for the season I shall not be in, namely Elaine and Fashion.  So Monday will be the end of my rehearsals and then I do not mind the night work. 

The doctor sounded my heart and lungs.  Said the heart beat regularly, but very weak, but nothing but what could be remedied.  I do not gain strength very fast but hope I shall after this week.  I am very thin.  It worries Maud [Harrison] terribly to see me getting thin.  Everybody is very kind to me even AM P[almer] who says he will give me a rest after Little Stranger.

Our new comedy [if this was Welcome Little Stranger it was never heard of again] is very funny.  It will either be a great success or a dismal failure.  We all have good farce parts.  It is one of those funny things though, you cannot tell how an audience will receive it.  I will send you some of the criticisms.  Guess the critics will "go" for the author but we hope the public will be with us and then the play will go for three weeks.  Mr. McVicker who is a very old actor [8 years older than EJP] thinks the comedy splendid and thinks it will run three weeks, if not more.  Well dear, I have now to get ready for Evening performance so with love and Kisses I remain your loving  Mother 

Tremont House 
Chicago Ill
July 27th 1887

My dear Son, 

Our new play is not a success.  I think Elaine will go on the boards next week then I shall have a much needed rest.  I do not know how our time will be filled for the next four weeks. 

There is talk of the last week being made up of reproductions of the different plays we have been doing during the past seven weeks.  If so, I shall have to remain here all the time.  And that gives only one week between closing here and opening in  Boston on the 5th of Sept. 

We cannot reach New York before Monday the 29th of August 9:30 PM.  Then we leave for Boston on the 1st of Sept.  Such being the case, I think I should prefer going right through to Boston, and rest there for the two or three days before the opening.  I could take little trips to the seaside that would be better for me than travelling to Phila or Middletown or R[idge]'wood. 

Oh!  Aunty told me in her letter that Seymour had given up the printing bus[iness] and his press &c was for sale.  Enclosed find V.  Hope you are spending your money advantageously.  Do you wear white shirts all the time now?  Or do you wear your flannel shirts for the office? 

I continue weak and have been quite sick again.  Am taking two kinds of medicine, one before eating and the other after.  They have been operating pretty freely today, but I have not had to go out today, and hope to feel all well now in a day or two.  Love and Kisses from your loving Mother  

next: Philadelphia Aug. 29, 1887   previous: Philadelphia July 5, 1888

Sunday 10:30 AM 
August 5th [1888] 

My dear Son 

Arrived at 7:45 this morning.  Have had bath, breakfast and shall start in a few minutes for Union Depot to take 12.10 PM train for the far distant West.  Go by Union Pacific.  God bless you.  Love & Kisses from your ever loving Mother 

next: Railroads    previous: Salt Lake City 1888

The Palmer House 
Chicago, Octr 18th 1888 

My dear Son

I have been so busy have not had time to write, for performances are so late, and on Wed Mat[inee] sprung on us that I do not find time to eat.  We are also rehearsing Our Society and I have to get my dress ready for it, and have been working at it all afternoon.  It is nearly six o'clock and not having eaten anything since breakfast must go to dinner.  No more tonight.   Your loving Mother   Love to Neppie 

1889
Denver, Aug. 1889
"See by paper this Morning that McVickers Theatre, Chicago, burnt down last night.  We are to play at Hooleys.  That will be Aunt Jack for two weeks I guess, and I shall not have to appear". 

previous:  Cleveland Ohio Sept. 1889

Written on  stationery but much larger piece of paper and fancier heading.  EJP points out her room on the 5th floor and shows the Hotel fronting on Randolph Street and Clark Street 

Sherman House
Chicago, Septr 25th 1889 

My dear Son, 

Your plan for taking half a house is good, and I think will not cost so much to furnish.  How about the water though?  Will that be conveyed upstairs by pipes & pump, or will you have to carry it?  That and the coal will be the only disadvantage of living upstairs.  Is the house near the office?  How many rooms? and what size?  Send me all the particulars. 

On the opening of the Season in New York I did expect to be out of the bill but Mr. P[almer] is going to put another play on with Aunt Jack and I may be in that.  It is called A Bed of Roses.  A.M. [Palmer] is to be here on Sunday.  Then I shall know for certain whether I am to be in it or not.  If I am, it will spoil the intention I had of going to pay you a visit as soon as we had finished our week in Williamsburgh.  

We opened to a fine house on Monday night.  I received a very flattering reception.  But I am afraid two weeks will be too much for Capt Swift to draw full houses here.  Still we shall play it for we have nothing else ready. 

Jack [Dolman] continues to get along nicely.  Has twelve teeth through, but does not yet walk alone.  He lacks confidence in his own powers. [He was 16 months old.]

You ask me to remind M[aud] H[arrison] about the set of dishes.  I prefer buying them myself.  I should feel better if she had not given Hattie hers [as a wedding present.  Albert was engaged and married in Nov. 1889.]   I believe she was to arrive in New York yesterday from Europe.  And Mr. Carson left here on Saturday to meet her.  The papers here are again full of the divorce proceedings.  And the divorce it is said, will be granted in Novr.  So I suppose, then, gifts to Maud will be in order.  With love and Kisses I remain your loving Mother 

Two newspapers articles refer to Maud Harrison and James A Carson, who seems to have been the proprietor of the Columbia Theatre Chicago. and General Manager of the Chicago & Western Indian Railroad and Belt Line Railway of Chicago.  Born 1855 But Maud seems to have married Mr. Bell, not Mr. Carson.

[smaller stationery  same as Sept 23rd] SHERMAN HOUSE
Chicago, Septr 30th 1889 

My dear Son,

Reading of Aunt Jack is over.  It is a farcical comedy in 3 acts.  Extremely clever and funny.  Aunt Jack is an old maid suing for Breach of Promise.  The last act is the trial before Judge & Jury.  Am not in it and Mr. P[almer] does not think he will do anything with it, unless he finds it too short for the Evening performance. 

I do not think it will be too short, for it took him two hours to read it.  Then the setting of scenes, applause and laughter will greatly lengthen it.  And performance not beginning before half past eight  I think, will carry the performance to 11 PM.  That is long enough.  So your humble servant will be left out in the cold.  It will be near the 1st of November before they can very well have it ready.  So I suppose that will mean the loss of two or three weeks salary, after one week in Williamsburgh, for which I am not very well prepared.  Love and Kisses to Albert & Neppie from your loving  Mother 

next: Albert's wedding Nov 1889

  1890
 

Michigan Ave Boulevard & Jackson St 
Lakefront
LELAND HOTEL
Warren Leland,  Proprietor                 
The view from this Hotel unsurpassed by any in the world 
Chicago,
Sept 15th 1890

My dear Son, 

Your letter which should have been given to me on Saturday in Omaha  was given to me on the train this Morning, just as we were coming into Chicago.  The property man had it in his pocket all the time. 

I suppose you intended to wish me many happy returns of my birthday and therefore I thank you for your good intentions, though you omitted to mention the fact. 

Hear that AMP[almer] is to be here on Friday when we shall be told something about business I suppose.  Should Aunt Jack not catch on tonight we may have to play Saints & Sinners next week & possibly Capt Swift, so I have to remain here.

Nellie had two doctors [when she had her baby], not that it was necessary, but I suppose there was some style to it,  Doctors Kneu and Mohr.  Hattie thinks Dr Kneu is the one who operated on Charles Norris's throat while he was at Chestnut [St. Theatre]

I may take a trip down to Indianapolis after I have seen AM [Palmer] and do not have to play here, but you continue to send letters here.  Maud [Harrison] will look after them for me.  Love and Kisses to my dear children, Albert and Neppie from their loving Mother

Sept 18 1890
Leland Hotel 
Chicago
Sept 18th 1890 

My dear daughter Neppie 

On Tuesday I sent to Albert two photographs for Mrs. Walton for I did not know her address or her initials.  I sent her the one with the bonnet because she desired it, and the other because I wanted her to have the one I like best.  

Letter from Hattie today.  All are well and busy getting ready to go to the wedding. Nellie is going.  A very foolish thing for her to do I think. [Nellie Dolman Law was very pregnant.

I will not have so easy a time here as I expected, having to play next week in Saints & Sinners.  I have been taking a good rest this week and I needed it for I was not feeling very well, and on Tuesday went to Dr. Ogden to get some medicine.  He said the trouble came from so many changes of food and water.  

I hear our manager will not be here until Saturday, and until he comes I cannot give you my business news.  We are here next week, the following one in Buffalo and then Philadelphia.  By the time I get there I am sure I shall hear of the arrival of my dear little grandchild.   

God bless and make you strong and brave, dear child, And I hope you have a good nurse.  Wish I could be near to help look after you, and take care of you after the birth is over.  You have my love, prayers and sympathy.  With love and Kisses to yourself and Albert I remain your loving Mother 

next: Buffalo Oct. 1890

Only actors in the cast of Alabama went to Chicago in 1891.  

1892  EJ Phillips made a very short trip to Chicago in May 1892 and was back in Philadelphia by May 25, where Elizabeth Ellen Dolman was quite ill. 

Marshall Fields store built in 1892 http://chicagoarchitecture.info/ShowBuilding/5.php
Early history, Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Field's

Oct. 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago

previous Newark NJ, April 6, 1894

1894 
SHERMAN HOUSE 
Chicago 

May 8th 1894

My dear Neppie, 

I expect to start on Sunday 11 AM for Phila by the Pennsylvania RR.  At least the managers told me so last night, but they may change their mind before Sunday.  Mr. & Mrs. [Herbert] Ayling and myself [go].  Miss Stoddard goes to St Louis.  Thus Mr. [Frank] Gilmore is the only one left of the company as we started out last Fall, and his engagement expires in June. 

Mr. & Mrs. Emory play "Lord Darlington and the "Duchess" respectively, [in Lady Windermere's Fan] and I think the two salaries do not amount to as much as I received.  I have heard the highest salary is $40 -- that is Miss [Olive] Olivers!  Walter [Dolman, brother-in-law to Hattie] continues with them and is doing what little he has to do very well. 

I think [grandson Ted Nickinson, aged 3] is very good-natured to wear his dresses after wearing pants.  Not many such young gentlemen would do so without making a row over it.  He is a good little boy.  I will try to be with you by the 8th of July.  Love and Kisses to my dear children Albert, Neppie and Ted from their loving  Mother

Sherman House, Chicago, May 1894

Feb 1895 

TREMONT HOUSE
Alvin Hulbert & W.S. Eden. Props. 
G.A.Cobb, Manager 
Chicago, Feby 1st 1895 

My dear Son, 

I am sorry to hear Mrs. Smith continues so weak.  I wonder if they have tried "Valentine's Meat Juice"?  It will stay "down" when nothing else will and is very strengthening and worth trying.  It would make her stomach feel good anyway and give her rice water to drink. 

Boil the rice to a pulp and strain the water off, and let her drink that either warm or cold as she feels like drinking it.  I hope soon to hear the has found some remedy to relieve her  - she must suffer dreadfully. 

I am glad you and your friends enjoyed Camille but am sorry you will not be able to see Romeo & Juliet - for we do not return to New York to play at  [Stanford White's] Garden Theatre or any other theatre with Miss Olga [Nethersole] at present.  

After St Louis we go to Ind'lis for three nights, 25th, 26th & 27th, finishing the week in Cleveland.  Then to Columbus & Detroit three nights each, of week beginning March 4th.  Then on to Boston for three weeks. Then we may close, but we may go to Phila.  They want her there, and I dare say arrangements will be made to that effect. 

Glad you got the V all right.  I was afraid the one I posted at 42nd Street might have been lost.  It was such a lonely spot for a mailbox and right opposite horse car stables. 

Do not always feel as Samsonian as I would like to.  I have not had my hair cut off as he, Samson, did but it is falling out and that may account for my want of strength.

Did not play last night and not again this week, but every performance next week.  I am disappointed in not being able to play the nurse in New York. and now especially as Mr. Van Dusers and friends intended to see the play.  Love and Kisses to my dear children Albert, Neppie and Ted from their loving Mother 

Samson  Salvini had opened Palmer's Theatre season in Oct 1889 "with the thrilling play of Samson, which the star had not acted here since his first season in New York in 1873." [Odell] Samson and Delilah (adapted from the French by Augustin Daly) had been done in April 1889.  And Samson (by Ippolito d"Aste, adapted by William Dean Howells) opened in May 1895.  

1896
TREMONT HOUSE 
Chicago
May 21st 1896

My dear daughter Neppie, 

Should have enjoyed seeing [grandson] Ted's Terpsichorean achievements.  His movements are so quick and light.  He must have been a little fairy.  Glad the Thrall Hospital accumulated so large a sum. 

We are doing well so far and the Manager of the theatre told me he was sure it would (the play) have a long run as he considered it much better than "Charley's Aunt" [by Brandon Thomas Oct 1893] which two years ago ran 16 weeks, and we are booked for only 12 weeks.  

Glad Albert is getting such a nice lot of garden stuff planted.  Here we have had showers frequently since I arrived, and one of them nearly ruined my new hat on Monday Evening.  My love and Kisses to my dear children Albert, Ted and yourself from theirs and your loving Mother  

Terpsichore was the Greek muse of dancing.  Ted continued to be a good dancer, and he and the Poor Old Lady loved to dance.  MG can also remember son Edward Phillips Nickinson Jr. (and Aunt Betty) dancing at sister Beth's wedding in Boston in 1994.

TREMONT HOUSE 
Chicago
June 3rd 1896

My dear daughter Neppie, 

Your Mama has fallen into the same state I have been suffering from for the last three years.  She needs a tonic.  She is in a nervous condition and doesn't know what ails her.  Do not wait for her to get something for herself but get it for her.  She is at a very critical age now, and wants looking after [Mrs. Macardell was born in the early 1840s, so was in her 50s.  She lived until the mid 1920s, and gave birth to 13 children from 1861-1881.  Eight of them (at least) lived to be adults.]  Do not tell her I have said so, but I think you had better have her doctor see her.  I am sure he will tell you she is "run down" and nervous. 

I found Mrs. Holmes, my friend here, in the same condition.  I bought a bottle of Lydia Pinkham's vegetable compound.  She had been taking it a week when I again called and found her much better.  Says the compound did her a great deal of good.  I do not suggest this for your Mama, although I believe it would do her good, but she certainly needs something.  And it's part of her complaint not to do anything for herself.  She must have it done for her.  I am sorry she is feeling so.  I know what it is & sympathize with her. 

Hope your benefit for Asylum baseball club will net something handsome.  What is the bill?  "Our Boys"?  Too bad Teddie's cough does not leave him.   

We are still playing to good business.  Monday night the management gave the receipts to the St Louis  relief fund, $1000.  I did not see a published account of it.  It is time to go to shop.  Love and Kisses to you all dear children from your loving  Mother 

St. Louis Relief  Hundreds had died in the St. Louis Cyclone of May 1896 http://www.usgennet.org/usa/mo/county/stlouis/cyclone.htm

Tremont House 
Chicago, July 6th 1896 

My dear Son, 

This is to greet you on your birthday [July 4] with the best wishes of your Mother's heart for many Happy returns of the day.  The enclosed will pay for my treat to Ice Cream.  And may all who join you have a happy time. 

It is [John and Hattie's] intention to visit you I think when you return from Camp.  The six of you can take a trip to Coney Island and other places.  Have a good time and enjoy yourselves.  I will help you do it.   

I cannot tell you when you will see me.  I think they expect me to go to San Francisco  and along the coast.  So I am cut out of your garden luxuries this Summer.  I have not made any arrangements yet, but things look that way, and as long as I can work I want to do so.  

We are now in our eighth week and shall go through the stated 12 without doubt, but I do not think it will be extended to 16 as they proposed two weeks ago.  My love and Kisses to you three dear children, Ted, Neppie and Albert.  Let me hear from you soon for it is the greatest pleasure I have to hear from my children and know that they are well and happy.  Town pretty full now and the people are very busy trying to nominate a Presidential Candidate.  Hope the best man wins.  My choice is not Whitney or Russell.  Love to all your loving Mother 

William Collins Whitney http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_C._Whitney  Secretary of the Navy in Grover Cleveland's first administration, refused to support William Jennings Bryan in 1896. Who was Russell? Of course EJ Phillips could not vote.

Tremont House 
Chicago Ill
July 25th 1896

My dear Son, 

Well. dear, on Monday night 7:30 I settled with Gustave Frohman (for Chas Frohman) for next season.  Beginning in San Francisco August 17th.  Leave here on Sunday August 9th, due in "Frisco on Wednesday and rest there until Monday 17th when we open at Baldwin Theatre for 2 weeks.  Travel down the coast and up as far as San Diego and back up as far as British Columbia.  Play in Victoria and Vancouver.  Then back over the old road to Salt Lake, Denver &c until we reach Phila to play there four weeks. 

I regret not being able to enjoy your garden "sass" this Summer but will perhaps next.  I am feeling very well, and hope I shall pull through to the Pacific slope all right.  Love and Kisses to you all from your loving Mother

Tremont House 
Chicago, Ill
July 31st 1896

My dear Son,     

Was glad to hear you returned home safe from [National Guard] Camp and very sorry the weather was so unfavorable to your work there.  I hope you feel no ill effects from the rain -- such as cold, rheumatism, &c. 

I have been pretty busy the past week getting things ready for my Summer trip to the Pacific Coast.  I have a new gown ready for Mrs. Pringlet [in Gay Parisians].  We stay and give four more performances here the week after.  Leave 6 PM Wednesday August 12th arriving, D[eo] V[olente], in Frisco on Sunday 16th, begin Monday night August 17th for the Winter Season. I suppose Hattie is with you about now and you are just finishing supper.  It is 6 here and 7 with you.  How I should like to step in and kiss you all. Have a good time together.  God bless you all.  Your loving Mother

Wednesday noon
August 12, 1896

My dear Son, 

All ready to leave the hotel for shop where we give the 100th performance in Chicago of Gay Parisians and go to train as soon after as possible.  

Well dear I am off for a long trip.  If I can stand it, I will be improved by it, and whatever may come of it I do it for the best.  If all goes well I hope you, Neppie and Ted will be able to join me in a dinner at Hattie's on Christmas Day.  Love and Kisses to my dear children, Neppie, Ted & yourself dear Son from your loving  Mother

next: Railroads 1896

Chicago railroads
Grand Passenger Station built 1881. Replaced by Union Station built 1913-1925. Wikipedia accessed July 9, 2005
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Station_%28Chicago%29
Chicago: Where all the trains ran, Carl Smith, Common Place 3 (4) July 2003 http://www.common-place.org/vol-03/no-04/chicago/
   Grand Passenger Station Railroad Poster  http://www.common-place.org/vol-03/no-04/chicago/images/fig3.jpg

Dearborn Street Station built 1885 http://www.patsabin.com/illinois/dearbornstation.htm
Dearborn Street Station, Wikipedia accessed Nov. 26, 2010 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dearborn_Station_(Chicago)  Demolished 1976.

more on Railroads

Chicago Theatres  Hooleys, Richard Hooley; McVickers  JH McVicker  
Story of a Theatre, Lyman B. Glover, 1898  http://www.archive.org/details/storyoftheatre00glov   Hooleys and other Chicago Theaters

Columbian Exposition 1893 bibliography  Stony Island Avenue 56th St to 67th, Midway Plaisance

Bibliography
Chicago Historical Society http://chicagohistory.org/
Encyclopedia of Chicago http://encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/ Chicago Historical Society, Newberry Library, Northwestern University
From Louis Sullivan to SOM: Boston Grads go to Chicago, MIT, 1996 http://web.mit.edu/afs/athena.mit.edu/org/m/museum/chicago/introduction.html  
Illinois during the Gilded Age http://dig.lib.niu.edu/gildedage/historicalthemes.html

Mrs. Frank Leslie, California: a pleasure trip from Gotham to the Golden Gate, April, May, June, 1877 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gdc/calbk.115  
Chapter II Chicago
Chapter III Chicago to Omaha, Pullman Hotel car

Sabin, Pat, Old Chicago History and Architecture in Vintage Postcards, 1999-2004 http://patsabin.com/illinois/ 
Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Chicago#City_of_the_Century 1830-1900

Chicago Tribune, Proquest 1849-1986 http://www.proquest.com/assets/literature/products/databases/hnp_chitrib.pdf

Last revised Oct 29 2011

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