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One especially significant letter is dated April 7, 1885, and was written from Harrisonville, Missouri, where Mary Martha was staying with her brother John Anderson Truman and his wife, Martha Ellen Truman."Baby is real sick now," Mary Martha writes, "he is so cross we can't do anything." The baby was Harry S. This is believed to be the earliest written description of the future President.Almost all of the letters are handwritten, and describe various aspects of Mary Martha Truman’s life.She discusses classmates she and Nancy had in common, and reminisces about the times they spent together attending Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, where they were roommates.In addition, she follows Nancy Bentley’s romantic endeavors and frequently encourages her to visit so that she can match Nancy with her male friends and relatives.Nonetheless, the letters toward the end contain frequent complaints by Mary Martha about her life experiences.
The papers also include notes concerning the letters, correspondence regarding the collection, and photographs. Due to the nature of the correspondence between Mary Martha Truman and Nancy Bentley, what exists provides little information as to the biographical details pertaining to Nancy Bentley.
Mary Martha offers insight into her career as a teacher as well as the frustrations that accompanied her responsibilities.
Occasionally, she expresses discouragement with the profession and a lack of interest in continuing further.
Most letters are filled with her dreams of finding a suitor and the dissatisfaction associated with being an unmarried school teacher in the late nineteenth century.
The early letters in the collection have a much more optimistic tone; however, as the years pass by, Mary Martha comes to the realization that she may never marry.
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