Hyde Papers - Box 01: Folder 01

Letter from Julia Hyde to Lucy Goodale, 1837 December 09

Letter from Julia Hyde to Lucy Goodale, 1837 December 09
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Mt Holyoke Female Seminary, S. Hadley

Dec 9th 1937 Saturday morn

Dear Lucy

Since I came to this place, I know not how often I have thought of that friend whom I expected to be my companion here, the sharer of my labors, studies, and joys. Often your cousin have your cousin and I have spoken of you and wished you an inmate of our pleasant chamber, and indeed, as we once said, if wishing would bring you here, you would have come long since.

When I first arrived it was with a heavy heart, and the appearance of an unfinished building, and a crowd of strangers, not apparently in the best order, were not fitter to console me but I had firmly resolved not to be "homesick," and the kind care of my father, who did everything in his power to supply us with accommodations, soon rendered us quite comfortable.

By degrees the the deficiencies in furniture were supplied, the family became more and more settled, and we now proceed with a very good deal of regularity.

You may suppose that I looked with no small degree of interest on Miss Lyon, when first introduced to her. She was then and has apparently been ever since, much in haste, and pressed with business, but her reception of us was kind and affectionate. She is, I think, about as tall as your mother, but more fleshy, making rather a large lady in her bodily form, and she is doubtless no less so in her mental part. She is extremely affable and smiling, her manner in conversation reminds me of Mrs Reeves.

She has comparatively little to do with the occupations of the schoolroom, being much occupied with other cares, and the sovreignty in that department resides with Miss Caldwell, the Associate Principal, whom I like very much. She too is very smiling and agreeable, she conducts the devotional exercises of the school and in her remarks and prayers is more interesting than any body I ever heard.

There are two other teachers, Miss Smith and Miss Hodgeman, and some of the pupils act as assistants.

The building is of brick, four stories and a basement, and is ninety four feet long and forty five wide. There is to be a piazza in front, which is not yet made, so that there is no way of access to the front door. The house fronts the west. The first story as you come in by the doors contains the public parlors, connected by folding doors, the Seminary hall which is the whole width and some about one third the length of the building, the reading room, adjoining the hall and communicating with it by folding doors, and a parlor and sleeping apartment for Miss Lyon, with two spaceways, one of which leaves from the front door, the other from b. door at the north end of the building. The three upper spaceways stories have spaceways extending the whole length from north to south, with two flights of stairs in each. The second contains several recitation rooms and some lodging rooms, the third and fourth {illegible} are entirely devoted to lodging apartments.

The basement contains a large dining hall, a kitchen, kneading room, baking room, washing room, ironing room, store room and cellar, besides spaceways and closets. There is also a woodhouse, three stories high, which is in the process of building which will contain places for hanging clothes, keeping baskets, and the like, with various other conveniences.

Perhaps it will not be uninteresting to you to know something of the little chamber we occupy. It is, according to my measurement, ten feet wide, twenty long, and twelve high. It is on the back or eastern side of the building, thus looking towards the rising sun, and our own dear homes. On the east end are a window, a bookshelf some bookshelves and a place for the the stove. At the other end are the door and a large light closet about seven feet square. Adjacent Along the wall of the closet with the head towards the south stands our bed, leaving the rest of the room to be occupied

by a table and three chairs. The table stands on the south side of the room and on it stands Elizabeth little desk, and we generally have some books lying on it also. One chair stands in a line with the table, between it and the bed, the others, when in their places are by the window. A small plain neat looking glass hangs over the table, we have also bellows and dust brush which hang on nails near the stove.

There is a place made for drawers within the closet and they open on the outside of the closet, we find them very convenient. The closet is also provided with shelves and contains a candle stand which holds our wash bowl and pitcher. Our room is number 27 and is the next but one to the north end of the building in the third story.

In the dining hall are set five long tables, around which are gathered at meals eighty two persons, of whom seventy eight are scholar, three teachers and one the matron, Miss Peters. At the first table Miss Lyon presides, at the second Miss Smith, at the third Miss Hodgman, at the fourth and fifth Miss Brigham and Miss Moore two of the pupils. Miss Caldwell does not at present board with us but every other individual connected with the school {page damaged}

We have no regular school exercises on Monday, that {page damaged} being devoted to washing and writing compositions. As yet {page damaged} have written only in Parker's exercises, but for next week we have this subject given us. "Mt Holyoke Female Seminary."

We are very near meeting, and have in Mr. Condit, the pastor of the church here, a very interesting preacher. We have the liberty of attending the third service on Sabbath evening, and it is Miss Lyon's particular desire that we should all and always attend the Monthly Concert. On Saturday mornings, at eleven o'clock, there is a meeting in the Seminary hall for those who are professors, or indulge hope. These meetings are attended by the teachers and haver been, thus farm quite interesting. There are only eleven of the whole family who are not pious. The young ladies have also formed a plan to have prayer meetings in various rooms, Saturday evenings or Sabbath mornings. Elizabeth and I are to attend one tomorrow morning in Miss Brigham's room, which adjoins ours.

We have bible lessons regularly every week. We meet in the Seminary hall shortly after meeting to recite them the first time, and Miss Caldwell makes remarks and explanations, and we recite them the

second time to one of the other teachers, Saturday morning.

It is the rule that we must study forty five hours in the week, or at least attend to school exercises. The time we devote to compositions, recitations, and other duties of the school, being included.

The bell rings to awake those who get breakfast at five o'clock, at six it rings for the others to rise, and at half past six for breakfast.

At eight the bell rings for study hours, after which we may not speak and at nine it again summons us to the Seminary hall. After the opening exercises of the school we may study in our rooms if we like, unless occupied in recitations, but we may not make communications with each other till twelve. In the afternoon study hours commence at two and continue till five and in the evening they are from seven to nine. We must be in bed and have our light extinguished at half past ten. Pray do write to me, and accept for yourself, your mother and sisters, the affectionate regards of your Julia.

S. Hadley

Dec 11

Miss Lucy T Goodale



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