Charity chain letter. Education in the Cumberlands. Send 10 cents, four copies. US, 1888.

Dear Friend:

                 We have adapted this plan to educate the poor whites in the region of the Cumberlands, who have so long been neglected and whos parents are unable to pay their tuition and without aid they must grow up in ignorance.

  Four of us have agreed each to give ten cents and to write to four friends, asking of each two favors.  First, that they will wrap a dime in paper enclose in an envelope and mail to Mrs. Geo. O. Herman, Sherwood, Tenn. - second that you will send this letter or a copy of it to four of your personal friends, asking of them the same two favors. Will each one as they kindly send me their dimes give me the names of their four friends.

  If you will do this you will receive the blessing of Him who was ready to die for us.

  Yours in the words of the Master.

                        Mrs. Geo. O. Haman.

................................................From enclosed personal letter...................................................

I enclose a document which I received and forward to you as one that would be interested in good works.

Handwritten in black ink on 6 3/8 by 8 3/4 inch paper, scalloped edges. Envelope addressed to Miss Helen E. Wood, Box 246, Lebanon, New Hampshire. Sending postmark truncated but from Hartford, Vt., Dec. 7. Receiving postmark: Lebanon, N.H., Dec. 8, 1888. Sic "whos". Accompanied by personal letter from Ella A. Keagen (?) dated Dec. 4, 1888. This letter is in a different hand than the chain letter. One sentence mentions the enclosed charity letter, as recorded above. From a lot of several old letters addressed to members of the Wood family in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Ebay lot 715959864 closing 9/26/02. Supplied by Michael Glaser. Entered by D. VanArsdale on 10/01/02. Presently the oldest physical "chain letter" collected. Paul Collins describes a charity letter for the Chicago Training School (Methodist) that circulated in the summer of 1888 (Slate, Oct. 1, 2010). Note the racial exclusion. 


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