Sarah Butler (Hendricks) and Abraham W. Hendricks

Letters, 1856-1859

The following letters are available at the Duggan Library Archives, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).

They were transcribed for Hanover Historical Texts in Fall 2006 by the students of His234 "Studies in American Cultural History: The Middle Class," taught by Sarah McNair Vosmeier.

Hendricks Letters, 1856 (introduced and transcribed by Jennifer Caudill, '09).

The courtship letters of Sarah Butler Hendricks to her future husband, Abraham Hendricks, were written in 1856 in Madison, Indiana. Mr. Hendricks was staying at the Madison Hotel, and the letters were sent to him there. The letters to Mr. Hendricks describe Sarah's feelings for him, discuss, and future visits between them, and contain some of the most current events in the town, including a future wedding. In her writings, Sarah Butler Hendricks signs them at the end as Sallie or Birdie instead of Sarah.

During this time period, Mr. Hendricks was practicing law in Madison, Indiana. The letters between this couple provide information regarding the history of Hanover and Madison, Indiana. The Civil War, from 1861-1865, had not yet began, but Abraham W. Hendricks did serve in it as a major and quartermaster later. These letters provide a depiction of life before the Civil War, and when compared to later letters show how life had changed afterward. [Source: Clinton D. Christenson, Finding Aid, Abraham W. and Sarah Butler Hendricks Correspondence Collection, 1824-1877.]


Sarah Butler Hendricks, letter to Abraham W. Hendricks, 26 April-24 June 1856, Abraham W. and Sarah Butler Hendricks Correspondence Collection, 1:10, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Indiana).

Friday. P.m.

I am invited to tea at Dr. Sniris this evening._ If there is to be other company you of course will be a guest, and if you are there one heart will be happier for your presence; - if not shall we delay our meeting till to-morrow?_

As to the proposed ride if it continues agreeable to your other arrangements you know I can be ready at any hour convenient to yourself and Eliza._

I am hoping to see you tonight yet the in-vitation came so informally that I scarcely expect to meet any others than my Aunt hollie and George._ Tomorrow evening you will be here will you not?_ Even if we take the ride you can spare me a little time after tea, and I shall watch for your coming then.


Ap 18 (?)


Something seems to impel me to write to you, yet I can scarcely define it unless it be the desire of feeling certain of your coming tonight._ That may promise does not quite satisfy me; you must appear with the evening hours to make me happy in the remembrance of it._ Do not allow the lady of Lyons, _Camille, or anything of a similar character to lure you away from me now, my own One, am of nothing more agreeable and important calls for your presence elsewhere come to enquire after the health and happiness of your companion of yesterday.

Would you like to know how dearly I prize this little picture of somebody that lies beside me here?_ I muse over it when I'm alone, and I long to show it to everyone I meet - that under the pretext - of discovering if others think it correct I may gain one more glimpse of the features I so often watch for._ Extravagant as your demands might be, I'm sure you'd be satisfied at the moment of attention my little jewel receives when we are alone together ; it speaks in a "still small voice" to a waiting heart, and its messages of affection are treasured up for enjoyment now and hereafter._

I wonder if you saw "the Indigo" and me passing your office this morning;- duty called me out, and - amongst other pleasant little incidents that varied the hot hours of my wandering was a rencontre with our mutual friends ._

I gleaned some information of vast importance to one of your profession in the course of my peregrinations._ Ms. Meriwether is to be married - they say - on next Tuesday, one week from today; Mr. T.R. Wilson is to be the groomsman on the occasion, and a party of some twenty join them in their wedding trip. _ I tell the late as was told to me, and am willing to believe it.

I did not intend to have written such a lengthy document, but you are accustomed to reading such, and are expected to pardon any lack of brevity._ Will you "criticise" [sic] these three tiny pages?_ You may, and I'll try to improve in any thing that you suggest.

And now for the present moment adieu._ I'm in haste, though that fact - has scarcely revealed itself to you before per-haps._ Receive it as a truth now, dearest, and think of me ever as

Your own,



Tuesday June _24th _

What kind of Providence has looked down upon our necessities and sent us this bountiful shower._ If it should be damp, or if the sky continues threatening shall I forbid your going anywhere - unless it be to come to me._



Hendricks letter, 1856 (introduced and transcribed by Carley Meeks, '08).

The following letter comes from the Abraham W. and Sarah Butler Hendricks Correspondence Collection, 1824-1887. This courtship and correspondence letter is written from Sarah to Abraham closely preceding their marriage on December 2, 1856.

Sarah Butler Hendricks's was born January 26, 1835 in Madison, Indiana. She attended Springler Institute in New York City, school for girls. She then returned to Madison, Indiana on December 2, 1856. Soon thereafter she married Abraham W. Hendricks, a young attorney who lived in Madison, Indiana. The couple moved to Indianapolis, and stayed for the rest of their lives.

This letter serves as an inclusive example of Peter's Stearn's explanation of the use of emotions throughout the Victorian period. Studying the history of emotions, Stearn sets out to disprove the common belief that the Victorian period was classified by coldness. In her letter to her lover and future husband, Sarah Butler openly discusses her emotions of anticipation as she waits for Abraham to arrive . [Sources: Clinton D. Christenson, Finding Aid, Abraham W. and Sarah Butler Hendricks Correspondence Collection, 1824-1877; Peter Stearns, American Cool: Constructing a Twentieth-Century Emotional Style. New York: New York University Press, 1994.]

Sarah Butler Hendricks, letter to Abraham W. Hendricks, 1824-1887, Abraham W. and Sarah Butler Hendricks Correspondence Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Indiana).

The birds are carolling [sic] their matin hymns in the trees by my window, and I have come from the library to listen to their voices, and to talk with you, my own absent one. Shall I tell you what you know so well - that I miss your presence and long for your return, and each evening rejoice that another day has gone, and Friday approaches. If you should fail to come then, dearest, I'll grow weary with waiting.

I'm wondering where you are at this moment- whether in the Court Room wearing just such a grave countenance as pretends to be yours in this picture beside me. I really believe when I look at it that you are trying to awe me into sedateness, but I will smile when, I feel inclined and laugh as merrily as I please even in the face of your feigned reproof.- So, revered sis, you may continue to scrutinize me through this glass with the same unvarying sternness, and when I'm tired of that mood I'll shut you up, and recall a phase of countenance that is more natural to your counter-part, and very much more familiar to me.-
Nothing exciting has occurred since you left I believe; I can scarcely convince myself that you went only yesterday- it seems longer ago;- and Sabbath evening - since then there must have been a lapse of time far greater than my little calendar denotes.- I'll welcome you back so gladly that I'm sure you'll not regret leaving the crowded Capital for our more quiet valley.-

Sarah and Eliza were here yesterday on their way to exchange farewells with Mrs. Grover Hendricks,- and we could not resist suggesting to Eliza and Mother the attractions of Mrs. Melinda Jones and her Shakespearian entertainment.- They might have entrusted me with messages if I had told them I should write today.-
I go this afternoon to take tea with George and Mother. Miss Mary Hays and Miss Robinson at Aunt Amolia's. If you were here you would join us in the evening, for the 'denouncement' has been made, and Amity has become aware existing circumstances.- I'll tell you sometime what were her criticisms upon the arrangement.
Yesterday I had several offerings of flowers,- some from very young friends, and one boquet [sic] from Mrs. Whitney, from which I should love to call a bird and enclose to you, it could come to you in all the freshness of its mossy beauty. It is exquisite in form and coloring, and its language of "confession". I would willingly breathe in my tiny gift-;- I must seek for another when you are home again, and it shall be yours then, for this could scarcely endure the rough usage of a mailbag.
And now, dearest, what shall I say in closing "Come home" is the utterance of my heart, yet I would not have you heed that with you are freed from the calls of business, and can return to rest for a little time at least from such continued wanderings.-

I shall be looking for the promised letter Thursday evening and that anticipation will make the day a happy one.-

Till then adieu; and believe me ever

Your own Sallie.



Hendricks letters, 1856 (introduced and transcribed by Meredith Johns, '08).

The collection of letters from Abraham W. Hendricks and Sarah Butler Hendricks include letters written between Abraham and Sarah during their courtship period as well as letters that these two have also written to their family members. The following letter is written during the courtship while Abraham is staying at the Madison Hotel in Madison, IN starting his practice as a lawyer. The letters written by Sarah to Abraham during his stay at the Madison Hotel were frequent.

Life in Madison, Indiana is quite different today than it was in 1856. Because of the towns' location on the Ohio River, the river was used a great deal for business. Two large cities, Louisville and Cincinnati were either a one or two day trip from Madison making it "the ideal location for an intermediate river port with the object of serving as a major entrepot for the Indiana Territory." When not many roads went through this area during the early to mid 19th century, then using the boat was transportation was integral. More importantly, "the transition of Madison from an entrepot to a trade center competing with Cincinnati and Louisville paralleled the increase of steamboats." With the addition of the steamboats, Madison was now able ship and receive goods much faster. [Source: Donald T. Zimmer, Madison, Indiana, 1811-1860: A Study in the Process of City Building (Indiana: Indiana University, 1975, Dissertation), 113, 120.]


Sarah Butler, courtship letter to Abraham W. Hendricks, 9 June 1856, Abraham W. and Sarah Butler Hendricks Correspondence Collection, 1824-1887, Hanover College Archives, Agnes Brown Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).

If you have made your call tonight will you give tomorrow evening entirely to me? - It is so long since we've enjoyed an hour together that I am restless in the anticipation, and tomorrow eve I shall be lonely if you do not come. Father accompanied Oliver to Cincinnati in the afternoon, and I shall await your presence to make me happier in the evening-

Thank you for yielding to my wishes tonight, dearest, but then your call was very hurried, and not so pleasant to me as your coming tomorrow will be; do not disappoint me then, but lend me the light of your pres-ence at as early an hour as possible.-

I'll not write you another note today certainly.-

Remember my desire for tomorrow eve, and once again indulge


Monday night-. 11 o'clock.-
June 9th - 1856.-

I've written tonight because I wish to dispatch this to you quite early in the morning.- We are to be off for College Point at 7 ½ o'clock! and this may be my only opportunity to drop a line to my correspondent. -



Hendricks Letters, 1856 (introduced and transcribed by Sarah Maurer, '07).

The Hendricks correspondence consists of letters between Abraham Hendricks and Sarah Butler Hendricks and their family and friends.
Sarah Butler Hendricks was born on January 26, 1835 in Madison, Indiana. After attending Springler Institute in New York City, a school for girls, she returned to Madison where she married Abraham Hendricks on December 2, 1856.

Abraham Hendricks was born in October 1822 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. He attended law school in Lexington, Kentucky, after which he started his law practice in Madison, Indiana. He married Sarah Butler on December 2, 1856. [Source: Clinton D. Christenson, Finding Aid, Abraham W. and Sarah Butler Hendricks Correspondence Collection, 1824-1877.]

The following letters are written from Sarah Butler to Abraham Hendicks during their courtship, at a time when parlors in homes were used as social places for purposes such as receiving visitors and for courting. These letters concern when Abraham will come visit Sarah at her home in Madison.

Sarah Butler, letter to Abraham Hendricks, 4 September 1856, Hendricks Correspondence, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).

Come to me at home tonight, Mr. Counsellor; the afternoon is so pleasant here that I cannot steal away from my work basket - even to visit [Anna A?]; and then too I've an antipathy for wet-walks, and the burden of an umbrella, and I'm so selfish as to prefer seeing you here in my own home.

I wonder if these clouds have made the day seem gloomy in your office; they have not cast a shadow any where about me. The rain has fallen so gently so kindly upon the arid earth that each [ ? ] drop whispers only of love to my attentive ear, and there's nothing melancholy in that.

Are you watching the changes of the Autumn time as I am, dearest? Have you discovered that the foliage which from my window has refreshed me with its luxuriance and its [verdure?] is beginning to assume a golden tint; and at intervals a solitary leaf floats earthward in its sure and yellow beauty? Do you remember the expression of the Prophet- "We do all fade as a leaf."

Come up early tonight, Abram,- and if the evening should be clear we can make the proposed call at [Wende's?], or if not- perhaps we shall neither of us be disappointed to defer it til another time.

Adieu til eventide, and believe me now and ever

Your own

September 4th, 1856._


Sarah Butler, letter to Abraham Hendricks, 8 September 1856, Hendricks Correspondence, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).

Come up tonight, dear Abram;- I could not allow you to go tomorrow without a parting word. I've been wondering this morning if you would come to me this eve.- I thought of signing it in a note,- and then persuaded myself to wait and let the evening hours decide which was [worth?] inpatient for a meeting.

I'm happy now to feel assured that you will be here, dearest.

I'll listen to the explanations and promise a gentle [fredgment?].

Your own loving

Monday, Sept. 8th


Sarah Butler, letter to Abraham Hendricks, 10 September 1856, Hendricks Correspondence, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).

Come at nine or a little before, Abram,- that is, as soon as you can consistently steal away from other engagements. I will go to the evening lecture, but that begins at 7 1/2 o'clock you know, and generally continues only a half hour._ I should say two half hours. -

I wish to see you tonight as Miss Stevens will be here tomorrow eve, and you are not such an admirer of hers as to wish very earnestly for a meeting.-
Come up certainly, dearest, and I will await you

In haste

Your own

Wednesday Sept. 10th


Hendricks Letters, 1856 (introduced and transcribed by Katelyn Edds, '09).

The Abraham W. and Sarah Butler Hendricks Correspondence Collection is comprised in part of letters from Sarah to Abraham during courtship. Sarah writes to Abraham, whom she refers to as "Abram," from her house on Second Street in Madison, Indiana. At the time, Abraham was staying at the Madison hotel in the same town. Sarah signs her letters using nicknames, including "Sallie" and "Nell." The nickname Nell was also used by Sarah as a pen name under which she published a few articles in the local paper. The Hendrickses got married on December 2, 1856, and moved to Indianapolis ten years later.[1] [Source: Clinton D. Christenson, Finding Aid, "Abraham W. and Sarah Butler Hendricks Correspondence Collection, 1824-1877," Hanover College Archives, Agnes Brown Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Indiana.) November 2000.]

Sarah and Abraham's courtship correspondence took place just a few years before the Civil War broke out, and so tensions over issues of slavery would have been commonplace. Further tensions existed between the North and the South, by which Madison, located in southern Indiana, would have been greatly affected. Also a feature of this era was Victorianism. Sarah's letters use nicknames to address both herself and her beau, whom she also refers to as "dearest." She talks of anticipation and how she is sure Abraham's heart shall guide him. This clearly expressed passion was en vogue at the time, guiding the behaviors of etiquette. Another point of note is that Sarah writes to Abraham every couple of days, self admittedly with no real purpose most of the time, except perhaps to further communicate her passion and stay connected to the man she cares so much about. The fact that the two lived in the same town and saw each other with regularity was not enough; they felt as if they had to have written communication also. This restraint of bodily passion and yet presence of emotional passion is characteristic of Victorianism. [Source: Peter Stearns, American Cool (New York: New York University Press, 1994), 56.]


Sarah Butler, to Abraham W. Hendricks, 17 September 1856, Abraham W. and Sarah Butler Hendricks Correspondence Collection, 1:12, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Indiana).

Wednesday. Sept-17th.._

I'm writing to you because I feel like it, Abram; not that there is any thing very urgent to communicate to you at once, but there's a longing to talk to you and I do not resist it._

You remember some of the incidents of the story I was interested in yesterday?_ At first I almost regretted to have perused it the recollections were all so perfectly sad, but when this first effect had partially passed away I rejoiced at the influence the book had had over me; I seemed to receive anew some of that beautiful faith that at last inspired Nina_ and in the glory of the night and in fresh beauty of this morning I too read_ "He still liveth, and He loveth thee"._ Sometime when I may go with you to Columbus or somewhere else to await the pleasure of a Court this little tale shall be our companion, and you too will listen with interest to portions of the volume that bears such an unattractive title.

I'm thinking of straying away to Mrs. Whitehead's to tea this eve, and then to Church with Mary H. at "candle lighting"._ Tomorrow night I'll be watching and waiting at home._

I called upon a neighbor of one of your fraternity this morning, and she told me he would most probably go Eastward at the close of the next term of Court._ Thus his case is disposed of._

If I should allow this pencil to play as it feels inclined over my little page there would be almost no limit to its thoughtless gambols;_ I've not said what I would say if you were here beside me, Abram, but there'll be something to tell you when we meet,_ not new or startling, Mr. Washington, but pleasant I verily believe without those characteristics._

Adieu till tomorrow._

Yours now and ever



They say a document from a lady's hand is not complete without a "P.S._" Therefore I will resume my pencil to add that I've just been listening to Mr. Lawrence's cordial invitation to the ladies to attend at the Court House tonight to hear the Governor._ His eloquence did not avail with me, and I cannot regret to find something else to occupy the evening._

I've deferred going to visit Mollie Hays till another day of this week or next.

Your own



Sarah Butler, to Abraham W. Hendricks, 24 September 1856, Abraham W. and Sarah Butler Hendricks Correspondence Collection, 1:12, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Indiana).

Here am I, still an inmate of my own home, Abram, and looking out upon the neighboring hills of Trimble instead of casting hurried glances upon fields and forests between this and the Queen City. We've deferred the excursion to Cincinnati until Monday morning, so that I shall hope to see you several times again before I run away from our valley._

How beautiful the day is! I've been sitting by the window with the sun beams shining in upon me, and making the room warm and bright and cozy,_ a snug retreat from the chilly atmosphere of my own sanctuary._ I've been at home quite busily occupied,_ but shall have a short walk tonight to Church and that will give me some exercise in the open air._

I'll please myself with expecting you tomorrow evening, Abram; it is so much more agreeable to look for you, dearest, even if I must be disappointed, that I shall encourage the anticipation._ I'm sure it's not necessary for me to urge your coming as early as possible,_ your own heart will prompt that, and do you know my consolation when sometimes hearing you may be engaged all the evening is that it will be a deprivation to yourself as well as to me if we cannot meet._

My presence is called for first now, dear Abram and I must desert my quiet nook where I can talk with you for another apartment in which to superintend some household matters; I've no very great fancy for such employment at present I must confess._

Adieu then Abram, till we meet;_ if you should not succeed in getting off from office duties tomorrow evening I'll await you at home on Friday night.

Your own


Sept. 24th.._
A.M._ Wednesday.


Hendricks Letters, 1858 (introduced and transcribed by Chad Riehle, '07)

These letters were written by Abraham W. Hendricks in the year 1858. For an unknown reason, Abraham was in Indianapolis and unsure about when he would be able to come home to his wife, who was still in Madison, Indiana. The writing style in these letters depicts Abraham as a very passionate person. He also displays control. He is not passionate to the point where it is ridiculous. This controlled passion very well depicts the middle-class Victorian way of life.


Abraham W. Hendricks to Sarah Butler Hendricks, 18 May 1858, Abraham W. and Sarah Butler Hendricks Correspondence Collection, 1:12, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Indiana).

Indianapolis May 17 1858

My dear little Yell,

Tell Mamma that I arrived safely here at the usual hour this morning.

Tell her- quit your crying and listen to me- tell her I don't know anything more about when I can go home, or indeed about anything else, than I did when l left. Tell her that- quit your noise or I'll have to spank you- tell her there are a good many people in Indianapolis now but that Papa has a good room at the Bates House, and will get along pretty well. Tell Mama I love her and little yell too. Good bye



Abraham W. Hendricks to Sarah Butler Hendricks, 18 May 1858, Abraham W. and Sarah Butler Hendricks Correspondence Collection, 1:12, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Indiana).


Wednesday May 18, 1858

My dear Sallie. It is actually before breakfast and I am writing note. This must be another consequence of the extraordinary rain.

I am still living in uncertainty as to when I can get home to see wife and baby. Still hope to get down tomorrow If I find it practicable to go I will telegraph your father in the morning.

Tell Sarah or Eliza that Mr Rockwood intends visting Madison with cousin Jane, and of course to go to the same place that Cousin Jane goes. I learn this since I came out. Eliza wrote to Mr Pierce on Saturday but did not mention Mr Rockwood at all so that Mrs P. was embarrassed to know how to act.

She perhaps had best write again with Mr Rockwood in her eye.

Mr Dunne and I made a short call yesterday evening at Mrs Moores.

But I must go down to breakfast and must close this note. I don't want to wake either of you, but I will just now kiss you and baby and then go.




Abraham W. Hendricks to Sarah Butler Hendricks, 24 May 1858, Abraham W. and Sarah Butler Hendricks Correspondence Collection, 1:12, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Indiana).


May 24, 1858

I am here my dear wife, safe and well. At the Bates house. The croud is not as great as it was last write.
I received your letter this morning and read it it with almost as much pleasure as if I had not seen you since it was written.

Tell some of the people at Joseph's that I saw Cousin Jane this morning. She thinks they cannot go in before next week. Thinks the Orr & Lockwood arrangement will be satisfactory.

Kiss litte Yell about twenty times for me. And while you are doing that I will help you and say

Good Night A.W.H.


Abraham W. Hendricks to Sarah Butler Hendricks, 24 June 1858, Abraham W. and Sarah Butler Hendricks Correspondence Collection, 1:12, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Indiana).


Thursday 24th June 1858

My dear wife I shall not know until after mail closes whether or not I go home today. Let me write a little note that may go whether I do or not. 'Twill do no harm if us both go.

If you do not see me this evening you may look for me tomorrow. I have considerable hope of getting through this time (either successfully or unsuccessfully- but through) so that I shall not have to return in the same business.

My kindest regards to all at home. . Kiss baby for me.

Yours, &c.



Hendricks Letter, year not designated (introduced and transcribed by Meredith Elliott, ['09?])

The Hendricks letters are correspondence often between Abraham W. Hendricks and Sarah Butler Hendricks and their family. Often the letters are between Abraham and Sarah. There is also a large number of letters between Sarah and her mother. In his letter Abraham is writing from Indianapolis to Madison. He is describing what it is like in the hotel he is staying at, and also all that is happening in the city at the time. In the list of activities there is an Odd Fellows Convention that he describes. He also states that a court was in session and names all of the judges that he knows of from Madison. Abraham was staying at the Bates House is Indianapolis, Indiana. At the time the house was very crowded due to all the conventions and parades. The Bates House was a small hotel that has since been demolished; the architect was Francis Costigan. [Source: Hotel History, (accessed October 30, 2006).]


Abraham W. Hendricks to Sarah Butler Hendricks, Abraham W and Sarah Butler Hendricks Correspondence Collection, 1824-1887, 21 May, Hanover College Archives, Agnes Brown Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, IN).

Wednesday May 21st

I find myself this afternoon, in the first time since I came here, with a half hour of unappropriated time on my hands, and my thoughts, for the first time released from the objects that brought me here, tend homeward again and are with you my dear Sallie.

It is pleasant to imagine that you may be expecting to hear from me by tomorrow mail. What this half hour gives me the opportunity of saying -
Indianapolis seems overflowing with people. The Courts, the Conference, the Odd Fellows celebration we had called together a mixed multitude from all points of the state. At this moment a large procession - seemingly and endless one - is pouring through the streets with music and banners and gaudy regalia.

The Bates House, where I am, is crowded to double its reasonable capacity. There is but little comfort to be found in the house at any time, but there is a general outcry against it now. I am fortunate enough however to have a room alone, therefore feel very indulgent over the privation of minor hotel comforts.
The other night when I could get no candle stick, I got a stump of candle to preserve a perpendicular by cutting the end off square and if I had no table fit to write on I got along very comfortably by taking out the drawer of a miserable little candle stand and mounting it on the top of the stand.
And there if after there is four r[…] to the hotel table, one feels like "the […] that all day long, had cheese at the villager with his song," he can accept some friends invitation to dinner or tea and justify himself there against starvation.

Your father and Aunt arrived safely at this point in there northward journey at the next 11 O'clock after you saw them last. I trust they arrived safely at their destination, and presume your father will have returned home before this time. Your Aunt and I had a few moments talk alone in which ourselves and the hopes we cherish were plainly spoken of - I will tell you of our conversation the first time I meet you alone. What she said, though very brief, was very pleasant Her words were kind, and she took with her my still warmer wishes, if that was possible, for her welfare.

There are quite a number of Madisonians her - Judge Sullivan, Mr. [Chafauran?], Judge Stevens, Mr. Leylor, Mr. Me[…], & Mr. Hulmer- I have also seen at the table Mrs. Handson and Mrs. Durbin - There are also many others in town that one meets in a walk through the streets

I cannot yet know certainly on what day I shall return - though I shall most likely go down on Friday. At any rate I expect to see you Saturday evening, and hope I may not be disappointed.

Till then […] and […] me my dearest,

Yours sincerely


Hendricks Letters, 1858-1859 (introduced and transcribed by Halie Norton, '09).

The Hendricks letters are the correspondence of Sarah "Sallie" Butler and Abram Hendricks. In the first letter Sarah is writing to Abram about the date and details of their wedding. In this letter Sarah signs her name as Nell, which is the pen name that she often used and was published in the Madison town paper. This particular letter expressed some of the deep concerns that Sarah has about the wedding as well as the concerns that her father also expresses. For example, she writes that her father would prefer an evening wedding, although this opposed the "normal standards" of weddings for the 1850's, since they were usually held in the early morning hours. [Source: Literary Liaisons, The Victorian Wedding, (accessed October 27th, 2006).]

In the second letter that Sarah writes to her husband, Abram. She writes to him of the pain that she is feeling for having to leave him while she goes on a trip. Sarah is going on the trip with other people, however, because of the reference she makes in the first paragraph, saying, "…if you were with us, but…" Further, she promises to never leave him again, unless she is forced to. Sarah also makes reference to "Uncle John," whom she is saddened that she has not been able to see. During the Victorian era it was not uncommon for women such as Sarah to travel with her family or husband to set destinations. However, it would have been unusual and immoral had Sarah been traveling alone. [Source: Alexis Shumpes, Women's Issues Now and Then, (accessed October 29, 2006).]


Sarah Butler-Hendricks to Abram Hendricks, 4th November 1858, Hendricks's Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Indiana)

Dear Dear Abram,

Can you be willing to defer the even we [l***ed] of for the 19th or 20th till Dec___?___ There are several reasons that make me disinclined to have our mistrials celebrated quite immediately, as week after next certainly would be. Father thinks he would prefer an evening wedding, too, and in that case may own preparations must vary a little, and require a few days longer for this completion. I'm sure you'll dismiss any feeling of disappointment if I ask it, Abram, and when you come up again the day shall be changed by anything over which we can have control.

You can [***s] attend the Supreme Court if you wish without the responsibility of such a companion and the line with another month has gone and Winter come.

May I believe that you will yield to me in this as you have in so many other things.

Nov. 4th

Your own Nell


Sarah Butler-Hendricks to Abram Hendricks, 1859, Hendricks's Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Indiana)

You remember my propensity for note writing and therefore won't be astounded good man of mine to find another [adr**] from your little wife awaiting you in the room where she ought to be with you. I'm so sorry to be going without you dearest. It would be a delightful little trip to me if you were with us, but I can't quite reconcile my heart to this leaving you alone. I'll scarcely do it again unless something more important than our present expedition should oblige me to go.

Be sure that you take all care of the health that is mine now.

I have not seen "Uncle John" which I regret exceedingly, but, today has given me many little duties that have left no lime for seeking him. The omnibus is here dearest-once more good bye until Friday. I shall be impatient.

Your Own,


April 8th-1859

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