White letters

The following source material comes from my wife’s side of the family, the White and Stoddard lines. This post includes correspondence from the Stoddard’s, the McCarthy’s, the White’s and the Dorff’s. Throughout, I have intermittently indicated source spelling errors with (sic), but not comprehensively. I’ve also introduced my fair share, or more, of errors in these transcriptions.

Letter 1

Atlasta House
Cafe, Bar, Lodging, Gas, Gifts
P.O. Address – Palmer, Alaska

Dear Bill:-
Give my love to all the Stoddards when you see them! Have a good visit and catch lots of fish! – I hope our gifts reach you in time for you to have your gift to take with you if you wish-

Letter 2

Mrs. Elizabeth Dorff
1040 S. Oak Park
Oak Park, Ill. 60304

(Postmarked Mar 30 1967)

Mrs. Esther White (neé McCarthy)
4221 South 6th Street or Ave
Milwaukee Wisconsin

Wednesday 29 – 1967

Dear sister Essie,

I imagine you are home by now and feeling a lot better. But Mercedice(sic) tells me you haven’t been feeling to well lately. But what can we expect we have lived a long time and so far as I am conserned (sic) I am not conserned about what the future brings. I feel my work is done. I keep going with my house work and feel quite well thank God. Mary comes and takes me out every week I enjoy it. But I don’t mind staying home. The Lent seemed to pass quickly Easter was early this year the terrible snow we had kept me from going to church during the week. Its gone now and I hope we won’t have another winter like the one just passed. Seemed the weather was bad all over. Howard and his wife are in Florida and a letter from him today said it was chilly there which really means there’s no place like hom. The grown up’s and children to are all well and home from school this week making a lot more work and cooking for the mothers. Cool as it is the Robiins are with us trying to find a place to build a nest no leaves on the trees yet. Guess I must go now and with lots of love to you & Bill(William R. White).

P.S. I woould be so glad to hear how you are

Letter 3

John E. White
Vista de Correas
Buenos Aires
Argentina, S.A.

(dated 4-9-35)

Mrs. E.L. White
318 Soouth Whipple St.
Chicago, Ill

Mallendo, Peru
April 9, 1935

Dear Mother & all,

Well Easter week is with us again. I spent the last one in La Union, Salvador and the one before that in San Diego, California. This letter may not reach you tell after Easter tho’.

With this letter I am sending a picture of myself which was taken recently and a cliping(sic) from the Lima Paper. My health has so improved in the last month that I hardly know I had been so sick for 14 long endless months. Not only that I am in the “civilized” part of South America now and the food is like our own in many respects but with Spanish reservations of course.

Here in Mallendo I am being entertained at the home of Guarena de la Parra by special invitation from Lima. So you see, I doubt if I would enjoy the absolute “liberty” in the States that I do here in Latin America. Altho’ now that I more or less made a name here it may be diferent(sic).

I was lucky again on the lotery and won 500 soles or about $125.00 so now I am geting some new cloths(sic).

I stayed two weeks in Lima and was recieved in special visit by the President of Perú and the same evening had dinner with the Minister of Forign(sic) Affairs in his home. So you see! I am going to miss such things in the States unless I have made enough stink for them to take notice up there.

Mercedes! You will be leaving grade school in June. I hope when you answer this letter you will tell me all about your plans for high school. I imagine you will take a commera(?) course no???

Billy! Are you still driving that truck? and how are you coming along in electricity? What kind of an electrician are you going to be. I went to two theaters last night and at the first I saw the English film “The Count of Monte Christi(sic)” with Elisa Landi and at the other I saw Ring of Kings. Both were wonderful.

Well I must say “so long for now and happy Easter.
Your loving Son & Brother
John (((((answer immediately)))))
Lista de Correas
Buenos Aires,
Argentina, S.A.

P.S. From Callo I took a short cut and took a boat the Montarro to Mallendo and on Friday I took the “Maipo” to Arica, Chile

Letter 4

John E. White
(postmarked Apr 3, 1942)

Mrs. E. L. White
3450 North Maryland Ave.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

(Enclosed letter typed)

1548 East 49 Street
Brooklyn, New York
April 2, 1942

Dear Mother and Mercedes:-

Your two beutiful(sic) Easter cards came yesterday and some time ago a valentine from Mercedes. Grandmother and sent a birthday card the first part of march but it was returned. I noticed that on Mercedes valentine the address had been changed but I somehow lost the envelope.

We have not heard from, or of, dad since he sent us the card from Georgia. Bill will be with us for Easter. He wants to see the Easter parade. Or rather I should say that he wants to be in it, as he has a new suit and top coat.

Grandmother was terribly sick all this week. She had a very severe attack of nervious(sic) indigestion which I though(sic) for a while was the end. It came upon her very suddenly at midnight and I instantly got a doctor. He was with her until three in the morning. We had an overnight guest, a lady friend of grandmother’s and I was thankful for her help. She has been in bed all week since but is getting stronger now. The attack left her very weak.

The astonishing part is that her heart showed absolutely no reaction to it whatsoever, indicating that her heart is in perfect condition. We finally put in the automatic heat. It is gas, and she has no wory(sic) about the fire going out so that she can be sick in peace at least.She will in all probability be up and around for Easter.

Spring is with us at last. Our lilies are in full bud and the first we know they will be in bloom. I was kind of in hopes that they would be in blossom for grandmother’s birthday. There is practically now news here these days so I will close with love to all of you and wish you a joyous Easter from both of us.


Letter 5

Wm R White
Squadron 57
Br 218
Camp Luna, New Mexico

(postmarked Jan 15 1943)

Mrs. E.L. White
3540 N. Maryland Ave.
Sharewood, Wis.


Dear Mother & T.D(Mercedes).

With this letter I am sending a check for $20. This will cover this will pay for developing & printing of the films I sent & the rest for your (?). If you need more let me know.

I am sorry to hear about T.D.’s job, but she will get one soon I am shure(sic).
I got my skates and used them to day. The ice was rough but we had fun just the same. We went up to the pond in one of the trucks, so I saved us a long walk.

I have had two nice long letters from D and I am so glad he got his hearing aid. It must help a lot.

I am sending some more films, send me the prints and keep the negatives.


P.S. Write soon.

Letter 6

(In same envelope as Letter 5)
U.S. Army Air Forces
Air Transport Command Training Center
Las Vegas, New Mexico

I must be in pretty good shape and I do feel fine. I weight 138 lbs. now. Thats 8 lbs. more than I did when I came in.

Since I got into the Engineers I don’t half(sic) to do K.P. but when I was on K.P. last I got a recipe you may like. First you mix a good pancake batter (use baking powder in it if you don’t anyhow) then get a can of sliced appled bust them up then mix it into the batter. Drop a spoon full into hot grease and when its done, its quite good.

Send my skats(?) be shure they are mine as TD. are the same as mine just bigger. Send my s(?) to me. I think I can keep it for a while. Also send my kackie(khaki) pats & shirt as they are the same as I wear in the summer. Have T.D. pick it out as I have a gray suit which looks like it. These are light brown or tan. Insure them and send it as soon as you can. I got your last box and the candy was grand.

(My baracks(sic) number is room 218.)

Letter 7

John E. White
The Panama American
Box 5037
Ancon, Canal Zone

(dated Sept. 11 -34; envelope contains 3 separate letters)

Mrs. E L. White
318 So. Whipple Street
Chicago, Ill

Sand Cristoble
Feb. 23, 1934

Dear Mother; and all,

It has been some time since I have writen(sic) to you alll so I am going to try to make up for it now. I don’t always know where I will be so I wait. I have been very sick again with “yellow fever” and havent felt very much like writing to any one..

I wish you could see some of the names of the towns here in Guatemala such as Chichicastenango, Malacatan, Quetzaltenango, Totonicapan, aand Antuigua, etc. etc. maybe you don’t think I have a time to remember those crazy names. Sometimes I just ask how far it is to the next town and let it go at that.

Now prepare your self for a funny suprise(sic). I have been the guest of Americans in those towns and the only Americans in this part of the country have been Protastant(sic) Missonarys. They have treated me as tho’ they I(sic) were the only person on the earth and not one of them has ever preached religion to me. And the family with whom I am staying at present has been very kind in treating me for my sickness. I have been here for over a week now.

Well it will soon be Easter Time and I hope to spend it in Guatemala City. They are haveing(sic) big “Posadas” or parades for Lent. Catholocisim is the national religion of all these countries and they have big street demonstrations and ceremonys. I must say that the people here are sure Fanatics as they are mostely Indians they really don’t know what it is all about and just try to outdo each other. There is a sort of religion among them this called Brujoisim and is very barberious(sic) and they have mixed the two together until now it is nothing but a huge farce and not one of these ingnorant people can tell you why he or she prayes before any of the various statues which in themselves are hidious(sic). As the old Idoloters they pray to the statues rather than what they represent.

I am about eight thousand feet above sea level and it is quite cold. I had to buy all new cloths for the “COLD” if you can imagine that in the “TROPICS” but I am very high in the mountains and at nigh there are very heavy frosts and less than 100 miles from here people are dieing of fever from the heat. One of the luxuries of civilization which I miss is a hot bath. They are very few and far between. I was going to take one tonight but I have to take it in the old fashioned way. First heat the water on the stove and bathe in a wash tub. I thought those days were over but not for me.

I hope this letter finds you all well. Even tho I haven’t been so well I am happy and that is all I care about myself. So with the kindest wishes for all the folks and all the love in the world for you, Bill and Mercedes, I will close with an address so you can answer this as soon as you get it.
John E. White
American Consulate
Guatemala City

P.S. Please don’t forget the “E”

Letter 8

San Salvador
March 21, ’34

Dear Mother, Billy & Mercedes

I hope this reaches you before Easter: you wanted a picture of me this clipiing (sic) is as near as I can come to it at present. There are 2 clipings they are from papers in Guatemala. As you notice they call me the “Andarine” it means walker I like the Spanish word better. I am quite well now and feel grand but!!! I have a carbuncle on my heel and it is sure sore it came to a head today so in a day or two I will be O.K. unless God sees fit to give something else. It seem to me I’ve had about enough. Three and a half months of yellow fever and 3 carbuncles so far.

I waited several days here for my mail from Guatemala but I didn’t get any so I decided not to wait any longer. And I wish you & all the folks a joyful and bright Easter day.

Love to all,
Lista de Correas,
Managua, Nicaragua S.A.

Letter 9

Panama, R/P.
September 11, 1934

Dear Mother:

On page seven uper(sic) right hand corner of this paper is an article which will interest you, and on the front page is a story.

I realy(sic) have been having a grand time, my health is much improved and on Saterday(sic) I am going to take a ship to Buena Ventura Columbia as I was just three miles from the border of Colombia and I do not want to walk all that way a second time.

Love to all,

I am so happy that Bill has a job with the Western Union and is making good. That is one chance iin a million has grand chances for promotion, Go to it Billy.

The letters refer to “clipings” at several points, but the articles referred to were not with the letters. If I find them, I will include scans in this post in the future. John E. White walked from Wisconsin to Tierra del Fuego, then settled in Alaska. His home there is on the National Historical Registry. Bill (Wm. R. White) became an electrician, working for RexNord on Lake Superior for the better part of forty years. Mercedes earned a masters degree in English Literature, married John E. Stoddard, and moved to San Diego, CA.

Thanks for reading.

One Reply to “White letters”

  1. A couple of insider notes:

    John E. White (postmarked Apr 3, 1942)
    Based on the NY postmark, I presume the grandmother referred to is John White’s mother, Anna Olsen (?) who lived in New York.

    Wm. R. White (letter 6) Uncle Bill’s request that T.D., (his nickname for my mother, Mercedes) instead of his Mother, select his khakis is no doubt because Ester was black/white color blind as a result of Scarlet fever. She did not see any colors at all.

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