HHH: Remember the joy of handwritten letters

Published 6:30 am Saturday, July 11, 2020

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One positive note of this slower business period at the Hormel Historic Home is having the time to focus on projects that don’t make it to the top of the priority list due to the busy nature of our organization.

In the archives are many letters written to and from George Hormel.  Since the majority are over 100 years old, we handle them with great care and treasure them for the picture they paint of our historic figure focus.

Unfortunately, the art of penmanship has been lost as has the ability to read the elaborate script.  It seems that only persons who have reached a certain maturity level can decipher the handwriting.  I can do it, but I am grateful for a volunteer who is willing and able to spend time now transcribing the letters so we can read them easily and share them with you.

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About this time in July 1888, George Hormel wrote to his sister Lizzie telling her the value of enjoying a summer get away. George had been living in Austin for less than a year and was working hard to make a successful go of his new venture as a butcher.

“Dear Sister Lizzie,

Your welcome and interesting letters from Wooster [Ohio] and home received and in reply will say that I regret very much that I was unable to be with you at the graduating exercises.

I am glad you are all going to Lake Side again for a good time and only wish I could go with you.  I think it does you all a world of good for there the mind and body gets a good rest and you are retired from everything like work and you have a good time.  Go home well rested and take up the house duties with much vigor for another year.

Just received a nice long letter from Mr. Crandale.  Wish you could read it.  He still thinks a great deal of me (so do I of him) and seemed to have great confidence in me while in his employ.  He says he can’t go away at all now for a vacation as he used to do when I was with him.  And says that where off to Lake George or anywhere he felt perfectly easy and did not have to worry about his business at all, but now he can’t leave for even a day or two…”

At some point this summer, I hope you (and I) can get away for a lake vacation even if just for a day or two, so you (and I) can be restored to house duties with more enthusiasm.

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