Dear Betty, Love, Edith

Book Description

When I, Mary Ames Mitchell, researched my genealogy, I learned that letters my grandmother Edith wrote to her first cousin Betty had been saved for five decades in an old attic in St. Paul, Minnesota. Grandma Edith began her correspondence in 1909 after Betty left the Twin Cities to study in Boston at Miss Winsor’s finishing school. Later, during WWI, the cousins worked together for the American Fund for French Wounded in Paris. Edith wrote her last letter weeks before her premature death in California in 1965 – when I was fourteen.

Learning that my grandmother had fought alcoholism, I desperately wanted to know why a beautiful, successful and bright woman became so unhappy. Touched and fascinated by her candid and tender descriptions of being a teenager, Ivy league college student, nurses’ aide, and Chicago socialite, I transcribed the letters and published them as Dear Betty, Love, Edith so my cousins and brothers could read them too. In the process of piecing together the historical background, I came to know and collaborated with Betty’s ninety-plus-year-old daughters, Leila and Kitty, who contributed their own rich memories.




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