Letters from the Rogers Family Papers

(selected for discussion)

The following is a sampling of seven letters written in the era of World War I by women connected to the Rogers family.  The Rogers family includes Hanover College alumni, and their home, "Bird Haven," is in Hanover, Indiana.

The original letters are available at the Duggan Library Archives, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).  Additional letters have been transcribed: one set from female correspondents and another set concerning World War I).


Agnes Westfall, letter to Henry Carter Rogers, 4 Nov. 1916, Folder 5, box 9, Rogers Family papers, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Eve Galbreath, HC 2020.

Vincennes, Ind.
Nov. 4, 1916

Dear Carter,

Did I tell you that I would write again soon? Was it to you that I wrote a very short letter? I wrote someone a short letter and promised to write again soon but, for my soul, I have forgotten who it was.

I wrote Morris a letter, of eight pages, Thursday night. He answers so promptly that I have to write to him about twice a week.

What do you know concerning politics? I feel very much that I would like to have some one disagree with me. I donít know what your politics is but I am sure you are not a Democrat. We girls had a great deal of fun at school the other day. Helen, Eva Mae, Ruth Alexander are Republicans and Ruby, Dora and I are, of course, strictly Democrats. We tried to quarrel (just in fun) but we finally ďgave upĒ and desided that politics is all around rather crazy. Thereís nothing to it.

Father said that if he went back to Legistature this year he positively would vote against woman suffrage. Sad isnít it! Do you still think a Womenís place is at home performing her domestic duties? That is the first thing every man or boy will say in opposition to woman suffrage. Thatís a rather new question but Iíll leave it for the time being.

Several of us girls here made a resulution the other day concerning those long dresses. We are not going to wear our dresses longer than to our shoe tips if every body in Vincennes has them longer. A few years ago I wanted to wear long dresses fix my hair up on my head and be a lady. Now I want short dresses have my hair down and wear large ribbons.

How do you like college life by this time? You know I am taking book-keeping this year. I just love it. One of my main delights is to mess around with a lot of papers and junk, consequently  I sometimes wish I could work all day on it. I wouldnít want to be a book-keeper but I like the work at school. Book-keepers are always tired looking. The work is very tedious.

A credit is given, this year for Bible work. It may be taken with or without a tutor. There are four examinations to be conducted the same as teacherís examinations, two on the old Testament and two on the new Testament, and a student who passes all examinations is given one credit. I think this something great. I donít think I will be able to take these examinations this term but I hope to do so sometime soon.

Did you know that Miss Cora is teaching in South Dakota this year? She says she just likes every thing fine. She boards five miles from school and rides back and forth on horse-back. Typical Western fashion! She sent Oscar a picture of herself. She was on horse back with her hair in two braids hanging over her shoulders and an old ugly hat almost like those the cow-boys wear. I think the picture is a ďsightĒ. She doesnít look like a dignified school teacher but rather like a course, uncultured western girl. She is sixty-five miles from the nearest railway station. She goes with one of the western boys. They have  grand dances out there. Said she was the most awkward dancer on the floor. Thatís one accomplishment.

I am just beginning to think about the high cost of living. I am, as I said, a Democrat but if the election of Hughes can reduce the cost of, at least clothes, I am for his election. I want some clothes. I got a few the other day, but everything is so high that I will soon be entering the county house if something doesnít change. I donít see what real poor people are going to do this winter in order to live.

I must close and study my Sunday school lesson.

Sinceraly Yours,


P.S. Hereís hoping youíll answer sooner than I did.

[Agnes P.?]


Marjorie Orton, letter to Henry Carter Rogers, 5 Nov. 1916, folder 2, box 1, Rogers Family Papers, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Morgan Livinghouse, HC 2018.

ďThe WesternĒ
Sun. P.M.
Nov. 5, 1916

Dear Carter:

Run for the smelling salts so that you wonít faint. I hadnít heard about any of the Rogers family after they moved so I became curious to know how they were getting along. I am first writing to Grace and Mary at Petersburg and they donít mention your name - strange to say. Mother said that she heard that Jane was going to Hanover. Iím having a pretty good time but am also working. I am taking 15 hours and music. They know how to work you here all right but thatís what I came for. I didnít get homesick at all -- am rooming with a Soph. - so that may account for it.

This is the most beautiful site for a college -- is set on a hill. There are hills all around for that matter and just beautiful woods. We take walks every morning and see quite a bit of the country. Well, do you miss Dorothy and Celesta etc. or did you find some more Dorothyís? Actually, I wouldnít know how to act if I did have a date - some do manage to have some Sat. afternoon and night but I never happen to be so fortunate or unfortunate as to meet any of them. Besides theyíd run if they got a look at me. This is a regular nunnery here but Iím getting used to it. Iím sprouting wings - we have chapel every morning, have to go to church every Sun. morning, if we want to there are class prayer- meetings Sun. P.M. and Bible classes to go to besides Y.W.C.A. prayer meeting Wed. night. Donít you think Iíll turn out to be an angel?

Mon. A.M. - I have so much to do this morning that I donít know what to first. Each girl has an hour of ďdom.Ē to do about every day- I mean the Freshies and Sophs. Mine is to stay in the General office- ans telephone- run errands etc. Just general ďBell-boy,Ē you understand. I am in here this hour and everybody is talking so I donít know what I have said. I havenít said anything anyway. Give my love to Jane and the rest of the ďRogersĒ family. Write and tell me what you are doing.




Marjorie Orton, letter to Henry Carter Rogers, 26 Nov. 1916, folder 2, box 11, Rogers Family Papers, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Macey Franklin, HC 2021.

ďThe WesternĒ
Cell No. 78
Sun. Nov. 26, Ď16

Dear Carter:

Here it is quarter after four and I have written only one letter.  Sunday around here goes faster than any other day it seems. To-day was such a grand day that I had to get out and take a walk and that took up half of the afternoon.

Imagine my surprise when you said that you were going to Hanover! If it had been anyone but Carter Rogers, he couldnít have done it. (Quarter please). Youíre quite a ďswellĒ now arenít you since you are pledged Beta. I hope you survive the initiation. Iím also glad that Jane is going to Hanover.

There is a girl from Vincennes whom I have know for quite a while but didnít think about asking if she knew the Rogers.  I was down in her room this afternoon and found that your father had baptized her and that she went to the Indiana Church or the other one, I donít know which. I guess Iíd better tell you her name.  Its Martha Simpson. She said that she had been at Petersburg when we had that S.S.[Sunday School] or C. E. [Christian Education] Convention. I guess it was the latter. My memory is failing. I canít think of the names of some of the P. people half the time. Mary writes that the old burg is as dead as can be. Nothing new of course.

ďThe WesternĒ is no more for Oxford College and Western are to be united into one college (to be located here) called the Western Oxford College. The real union wonít take place for  two years but they are under the same board of trustees. There was some hard feeling on the part of the Oxford girls at first because they will have to give up so much but they thought better of it after a while. Last night ďWesternĒ went down and serenaded Oxford. The faculty had heard that we were going to come so had prepared for us and invited us in for a cup of coffee. We surely had a warm welcome and are crazy about the Oxford girls. One of [strikeout: the] my class-mates at Logan. is at Oxford, so Iíve been up there several times. I feel like a regular little Country-jake, a mile out here in the country. It isnít really in the country but we never know any thing thats going on in the outside world unless we read the papers and we never have time to do that.

I am going down to Cinci Thanksgiving to hear Gadski in Tristan and Isolde.  Over a hundred from Western are going and we are going down in a special train.

I am counting the weeks until I go home Ė not many just now, Ė 3 from Wed. I havenít been homesick but Iíve had just about enough school for the present. I am taking English Comp. and Public Speaking and they are the worry of my life, only I donít worry.

We have to write two themes a week and my writer is played out already.

Well, I must ring off and write Ďsteen hundred more letters. Write soon and tell me all that youíre doing.




Marjorie Orton, letter to Henry Carter Rogers, 18 Mar. 1917, folder 2, box 11, Roger Family Papers, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Clare Justice, HC 2021.

[Note: This letter was written on stationery marked ďWestern College for Women, Oxford, Ohio.Ē]

March 18, 1917

Dear Carter:

I was quite glad to hear from you. You certainly must be a busy man these days. I suppose by this time that you have fully recovered from the effects of being initiated. We donít have sororities here, so I donít know the feeling. Iím getting to be (I mean I am and always will be ) a regular country jake --- I wonít know how to address a gentleman, Iím getting so shy. I have asked John and Denver to spend Sunday with us either April 1st, or 8th. I havenít heard from them yet but Grace wrote as if they were coming. I guess that they arenít very enthusiastic over such a prospect.

Thatís quite a good picture of yourself that you sent me. Its too bad that you couldnít have graduated with your class, but I supposed you didnít care. It would be fine if Byers could go to Hanover, but you know his grandmother. If he didnít go to college, it would be better to have any High-school diploma, but if he goes to College I donít see what difference it makes.

I hear that Sally is quite popular, especially with the gents. Tell Sally I wouldnít have thought it of her. Grace is again having visions of a wedding ring, and honey moon. I wonít believe it until it really happens.

I surely would like to see old Petersburg again. Iíve planned so many times to go back and each time my plans fall thruí that Iím not going to make any more. The Kings are talking of going West in the Fall. For the sake of the girls I hope that they can go. Well since I have no exciting or interesting news to tell, Iíll close this fond epistle. The most thing I did to day was to go to church in the morning and class prayer meeting this evening and read ď[Hearsts?]Ē in between times. I also read Van Dyke on rare occasions.



When are you and Byers going to row up the Wabash to Logan?


Agnes Westfall, letter to Henry Carter Rogers, 20 June 1917, Folder 5, box 9, Rogers Family Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Grace Harrison, HC 2021.

Vincennes, Ind.,

June 20, 1917

Dear Carter,

I have been so busy lately that I havenít written to anyone. You know I havenít even acknowledged your ďTriangles.Ē In spite of that, I enjoyed them very much.

I wish I could have heard your oration. I know it was just great.

You do certainly have an opportunity worth while. When do you go? I wish you would tell me more about it, (your trip), after you have gone, will you?

Morris is now in the U.S. Naval Academy. You know when he got the appointment he took a five months preparatory course for the examination. After he passed the mental exam, he came home and was here for about four months. He just went back to Annapolis the fifth of this month; passed the physical exam; was ďsworn inĒ at the Academy and is now preparing to help Uncle Sam. I feel very proud of him. (I donít mean to be boastful.) It may not be so great after all if he is needed in the war. Of course even there heíll have an honorable place. Fancy, Morris as a naval officer! I canít imagine him in that position.

Isnít the war terrible! When I stop and think about it I donít know what to do. The only thing I can do is to pray. Thatís noble even if it doesnít seem great. We women may have a chance to show our ability if the war continues. (I still have ideas of suffrage!) 

Did you know? Miss Cora is engaged to a wealthy rancher from South Dakota. She has a beautiful ring. You know, she still talks a great deal, so she has told us  all about him. His name is Peter Lenard [Monseru?], I donít know how to spell his last name but we girls laughed when she told us because it sounded so much like mushroom. It is a common thing to hear her speak of ďPeteĒ. He is coming in July, then Miss Cora is going away with him.

What is going on in Hanover? Things here stay just the same of course. I went to a patriotic party at Bonnieís last Friday night. Had a fairly good time. Had more fun coming home. Ruby and I went together. Well, unfortunately or fortunately however it was two fellows wanted to take us home. We insisted that we couldnít go because we had to take Old Dobin and the Sha [shay?] home. They said they were sure they could lead our horse. We had never tried anything like that and were rather doubtful but at last we decided to try it. My friend and I were in front, then our bugy and following Ruby and Ray. All, went well until we got about half way home and some way, heavens knows how, the line by which we were leading our horse broke. That tried we went ahead and had a tremendous time getting through our gate. Finally we reached our old post, very happy indeed. Next morning Ruby and I were about half scared stiff that father would say, ďHow did you break the line?Ē Nobody noticed it all day. About three oíclock I sliped out and patched it up. It has never been noticed and no one ever imagines that we had such a dreadful time. We learned that such performances wonít work. Wasnít that thrilling!

Really, I must close for this time. Iím sorry. I waited so long to answer that, as before, I was almost ashamed to write.

When you write again tell me about your girl friends. Have you had any further associations with Miss Carson? Miss Doup? Such details make your letter more realistic.

Very sincerely yours,



Marjorie Orton, letter to Henry Carter Rogers, 24 July 1917, Folder 2, box 11, Rogers Family Papers, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Katherine Heiss, HC 2021.

2105 North St.
Logansport, Ind.
July 24, 1917

Dear Carter : 

I surely am sorry that you couldnít come but see that it was impossible. Let us know the next time you hit this old town.  I appreciate the fact that you wrote three letters while at the Lake. Just think, what a waste of stationery!

I am again contemplating a visit to Petersburg. Iíve despaired of ever going back but Iím talking about it again. Mary wanted me to come down  the first of August but I canít go then. I have three music pupils with hopes of a few more. When I scrape up a few bucks, Iím going to leave my happy home. This town is deader than a door nail  ̶  even deader than Petersburg, which is going some.

It is so hot here, now, that Iím going to disappear in a grease spot in a very short time. Weíve had very little hot weather until the last few days, and they have been scorchers.

We were so surprised to hear that Byers  is in Oklahoma and that he is going to Hanover next year. That will certainly be fine for him. After we left, I wrote to Byers  but have lost track of him now. This Miss Terhune you mentioned was visiting at Western Tree Day. I didnít meet her but saw her several times. Sheís rather literary looking and I guess was well liked there. They have somewhat young ladies for the Dean of women there, donít they? I am undecided about going back to school in the fall. I made teacherís license and if I can get a school, Iíll stay at home. I hope I can teach, for its too much for the folks to send me this year. Iím melting, so must stop. Remember me to the rest of the family.

As ever your friend,



Dorothy Kitchen, Letter to Henry Carter Rogers, 11 Jan. 1918, folder 1, box 9, Rogers Family papers, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Indiana.).
Transcription by Tim Brogan, HC 2021.   

626 Pearl Street
Columbus, Ind.

Jan. 11, 1918.

Dear Carter:

I was so glad to hear from you and to know that you still remembered me.

I hardly saw Hazel while she was here Christmas vacation, so I missed a great deal of the Hanover news. However Martha tells me some of it and it was Betty Tech who told me about the watch party.  She said it certainly was early -- in the morning -- when the party broke up. You must have had a fine time.  I, also, had a good time New Years Eve.  Mother, James, and I went to the late picture show which lasted until after the New Year had come in.  Of course we had a wild time.

You are not alone in the misery of making low grades.  I made a [illegible: 0?] in algebra last six weeks and a very weak E in History.  I was disappointed but I donít worry so much as I used to.

During the holidays I led a most frivolous life and I even dared to keep it up during the first week of school.  I am dreadfully ashamed to say that I went to the picture show every night for a week Ė in war-times.  But so long as someone asks you to go, you might as well go.  Sergeant Duncan, a friend of mine and the local recruiting officer, took me part of time and the rest of the time I went with some of the girls.

Last Friday night the basket ball team here played the Franklin team. Everyone was excited for up to that time, neither of the teams had been defeated and Franklin had a very strong team.  C.H.S. won, of course, though.  We have some team.  Tonight is to be the game at Seymor and quite a bunch is going down there. I would like to go but I wonít get to this time.

Do you wear a uniform? If you do I would like to see you  for I am sure you would look fine in one.  I belong to an auxiliary to the Red Cross and we girls have military training every two weeks.  I think it is very interesting and since Serg. Duncan drills us and he and I usually go to the show or some place else after drill, it makes it more interesting.

Last night the Sergeant  brought me home from a meeting and stayed till almost eleven oíclock.  That left very little time for me to get my lessons and this morning I had to rake up an excuse for not having my Latin lesson. 

I think Iíll have to tell him about it. Sunday afternoon we are going to Mildred Davisons to spend the afternoon and hope to have a good time

Please tell Hazel that I will write to her soon.

I have such a nice new girl friend -- that is, Iíve seen her since school began. She is a dandy girl from Pennsylvania and  we are certainly close friends.

Later -- I am in the post office now trying to finish this letter, I wrote the rest in school.  Virginia, my friend, is with me.

How are you and Miss  OíBrien?  I suppose you are just as good friends as ever.

Well, I must go down town and get home before dark.  You know Iím afraid of the dark.

Sincerely yours,

Dorothy Kitchen



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