Brill-Kelsoe correspondence  1878-1889 (bulk 1885-1886 )
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Brill-Kelsoe correspondence (56 items) consists primarily of letters written by James A. Brill to his future wife, Ida C. Kelsoe, while he lived in the Dakota Territory in the mid-1880s. In his love letters, often 5-6 pages long, he described his life in Watertown, in what is now South Dakota, and frequently requested that Ida join him as he sought to build his life and fortune. He occasionally described his various jobs, including constructing a house and assisting in a shop, and discussed his finances. On June 14, 1885, he told Ida of his plans to construct a house and possibly to rent it to others for around $12 a month, and he attached a floor plan; though he did build the dwelling, he continued to live in boarding houses. Brill, a religious man, frequently commented about his neighbors and about local religious debates, often argued by several competing denominations. In addition to Brill's letters, the collection holds other correspondence addressed to Ida, including a letter from a suitor named Bruce from Bealeton, Virginia (October 23, 1882), and several others from male friends, who often discussed her relationship prospects. A newspaper clipping printing local news items under the heading "Sheridan Sayings" is also included.

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