The correspondence in the box so far has ranged from as far back as the 1870's all the way up to the 1960's.
Here is a letter from 1910, apparently from New York City. Although I couldn't find an envelope or postmark, the writer makes reference to the Dakota apartment building, where Rosemary's Baby was set many decades later, and where John Lennon would meet his tragic end later still.
254 W. 78th St.
April 3, 1910
My dear Mr. Webster,
No doubt, Mr. Benedict has written you that we have looked over all of dear Kate’s belongings that were at the Dakota and the trunk will have reached you ere this does. I went over there last Monday evening at Mr. Benedict’s request and again the next evening and as far as I was able sorted the things that had belonged to Kate there were a good many boxes filled with lining & pieces etc that I knew you would not wish sent and those things were sent here and I will sort them here as there is no hurry about them, but the trunk I packed with such things as we thought you would care to have, in fact there were some things I should not have put in but Mr. Benedict thought best to send. I’m sure there is nothing left here that you would care to have. I hope the pictures were not broken. I had some doubts about packing them as I did but there seemed no other way. Everything that Kate had put away was done so carefully and beautifully, it seemed wicked almost to disturb them. It was the first time I had been in the Dakota since last Spring and I missed those that had gone more then I can tell you. How the weeks and months fly by though. It will soon be time for us all to go away for the summer and no doubt you will be glad to get to Green Lake – it is a great rest to one’s mind to know just where they are going instead of finding a different place each year. We have no place as yet and it is quite a difficult question, more so each year. Hoping you are quite well and with love to you and yours,
Hattie J. Hall
I hard a bit of a hard time deciphering the handwriting on this one, and also deciphering the relationship between the writer and the recipient and the nature of the event she describes. In the end, I came to read it as a very sad letter in which the writer has had the job or taken the personal responsibility of going to this abandoned lifeless apartment in the Dakota to pack up the belongings of a close relative of the recipient, a Mr. Webster.
Was "Kate" his wife? His daughter? Has she died or only "moved on"? There is something mournful about "I missed those that had gone more than I can tell you", but because it is a plural reference perhaps it is just a family that has moved away and left behind their possessions to be shipped to them later?
What is your interpretation of Hattie J. Hall's slightly enigmatic letter?