May 20th, 1914

165 Broadway
New York, N.Y.
May 20th 1914.

My dear Marie:-

It seems like an age since I was out to see you last. I suppose I am to be criticised for not writing before this during the interval, but trust you will believe me when I tell you that the automobile has been largely the cause of it. A number of accessories, such as tire racks, electric lights, oil gauges, etc., etc., had to be added to the equipment of the car, and I have had a messy time of it diving down into the machinery to refill grease cups, etc., but its lots of fun after all.

I drove my brother Bill, mother, an Aunt and a little girl out to Lake Mahopac, N.Y. on Sunday (about 90 miles round trip) and we saw some beautiful scenic spots en route, going past Croton Lake, Croton Falls, Brewsters, Katonah, Mt. Kisco, etc., etc., and gathered some rare specimens of dust, too, before we got back, but the most of the road were well oiled.

You must have been “cramming” pretty well for your exams at Barnard, meanwhile, n’est ce pas? What success have you had?

I suppose Clem has long since returned home after her brief vacation.

If you are going to be disengaged Saturday afternoon, I shall run over in the car and give you a spin through to more remote sections of Long Island.

I had some of those recent snapshots made up on glossy post-cards and they show up very much better. Will bring them with me on Saturday.

Are wild onions still flourishing in L.I.? And what about birds’ nests?

Having no further nonsense to communicate, I believe I shall conclude.

Awaiting your reply, I am

Your very sincere friend

T. J. Styles

(Comments: Well, we’ve had a long time gap between letters here, and Thomas partly explains why – a young man’s fancy not only turns to young ladies, but also to automobiles! And apparently Thomas has been very busy keeping up with his [refilling grease cups? Pass.]. Also, this is the first I’ve heard of oiling roads, which apparently was done in the early auto days to minimize dust [environmentally questionable, I’d think!]. Related, one of my favorite early photos of him is below, from 1914, changing a tire on his Model-T [probably a bit harder back in those days]! Was this taken on that upcoming trip to “remote” Long Island? Also “n’est ce pas” translates loosely into “isn’t that so?”. And at least some of the glossy post-cards he refers to did survive; the photos of Marie and Thomas from the last post were in fact on postcards [and they do look good!] – TC)

Thomas changing a tire on his Model T, 1914

April 23rd, 1914 (2)

183 Young St
Long Island City, N.Y.
Apr. 23, 1914.

My dear Tom:-

I received your “special” at eight o’clock. I am sorry to have kept you waiting so long for an answer. My desire was really to let you taste your own medicine. I received both of your letters together last Thurs. evening. As to the Greek Games, the former Barnard student at your office is correct. I had the other man there for he answered to all the descriptions of a father. I hope that this young lady had not forgotten, that the men to whom she referred, are the teachers, doctors and professors of the University.

I shall be pleased to have you call early in the afternoon on Sat. the 25th. Auntie wishes me to ask you to take dinner with us.

It is getting late so Good-night, everybody is asleep.

Very sincerely yours,

Marie Chabaud.

(Comments: So after giving Thomas a taste of his own “medicine” by not writing for many days, Marie responds to his latest letter on the very same day! And below, we have photos! Marie and Thomas, and just Marie, at 183 Young Street, dated April 1914, taken with Thomas’ Kodak camera he referred to in the last letter. The third photo is the front of the house itself, at 183 Young Street, likely taken a few years earlier, in 1910. Lastly, I have finally narrowed down who Marie’s “Auntie” is that’s been referred to in so many letters – it’s her Aunt Annette, the wife of her Uncle Emile Geoffroy [brother of her mother Josephine Geoffroy]. Annette was born in Latvia, in what was then the Russian Empire in 1872, so she was 42 in 1914. Her husband Emile, along with all his siblings including Marie’s mother, was born in France. Both arrived in New York City in the late 1880’s, and were married in New York City in 1900, and settled in Colchester, CT. From what I’ve gathered from there, she herself moved to Long Island City, possibly solely to support Marie and her siblings as they tried to make their way in the big city. Last 2 photos below are Emile and Annette, one an earlier 1900’s passport or port-of-entry photo and the other taken many years [maybe decades] later. Welcome to the blog Auntie Annette! – TC)

Marie Chabaud and Thomas Styles, 183 Young Street, Long Island City, April 1914

Marie Chabaud, 183 Young Street, Long Island City, April 1914 (house to left, Young Street [now 34th St] to right
The house at 183 Young Street

2 photos of “Auntie” Annette and her husband Emile Geoffroy

April 23rd, 1914

New York, April 23, 1914

My dear Marie:-

Have been waiting patiently (almost restlessly in fact) for an acknowledgment of my letters of last week, but have attributed your silence either to the strenuousness of your studies or your desire to administer punishment for my past tardiness in replying to letters from yourself. However that may be, I believe I shall run out to Blissville on Saturday (the 25th) early in the afternoon, provided you will be home. I may bring along my Kodak, and perhaps I may be fortunate enough to secure your services as guide in a tour of exploration of wildest Long Island.

Meanwhile, I trust you are all enjoying excellent health.

In the interval, believe me to be

Your very sincere friend

Thos. J. Styles

(Comments: Thomas has not received a letter from Marie in a while, so decides to press the issue by visiting her in “wildest Long Island” [not too wild, as Long Island City is just over the Queensboro Bridge from Manhattan!], and bringing his Kodak, of which we have photos he took with it on that visit! See next post. And today I just discovered that Blissville is an actual name of a neighborhood in Queens, within Long Island City; I had assumed it was a humorous reference to her happiness there [although it seems that she was anyway]!- TC)

April 15th, 1914 (2)

152 Beech Street
Yonkers, N.Y.
April 15th, 1914.

My dear Marie:-

(Supplementing my letter of even date – as promised.)

In your letter of April 8th you referred to some remark I made in a previous letter about “overburdening you with my presence in Blissville”. Perhaps I have made myself misunderstood. I merely intended that as an attempt at humor, and was not in earnest “by a jug-full”, because your Auntie herself emphasized the fact that I was welcome at any time and for as long a stay as I saw fit, whereat I “threatened” to “stay over” a month some time.

The point I tried to bring out in my letter, however, was that I realized that a girl college student couldn’t afford, very well, in justice to herself, to allow her studies to be overshadowed too much by the ancient art of over-encouraging the attentions of her male admirers, and I feel quite certain that the Barnard faculty would back me up. But enough of that trash.

About the Greek games of the students at Barnard on Saturday April 4th. – Yes I read the account of them in the Sunday “Times” the day following. There were also some photographs (belated ones) in last Sunday’s “Times”. I think it real mean of you not to have obtained extra tickets, although you say you could not manage it even were you to pass me of as a brother or cousin. However, a young lady employed in our office (a former Barnard student also) was present at the games and said she noticed quite a few young men present. She thinks you must have been “away off” about the availability of tickets for other than the fathers of students and says she’ll bet you had “another man” with you instead – the cat! Well, who’s right, anyway?

Things are brightening up once again here in Yonkers now that the winter is over, and you will be elected for a visit to this burg ere long if I have to bind and gag you, so look out!

I suppose you are looking forward to your summer vacation, which is not so far away now.

I have not seen Mr. Pacent for over a week, so do not hear any Blissville gossip as a consequence.

Tell Auntie I found her little note awaiting my upon my return home this evening. (acknowledging receipt of my Easter greeting.) and that I had a very pleasant Easter. Also ask Clem to accept my kindest regards.

Trusting that you have no new aches or ills and that you will forgive my for my shameful delay in replying, I have the pleasure of continuing to be

Your very sincere friend

Tom Styles

(Comments: True to his word, he wrote a second letter to Marie that same day [hence what was to be the first (2) in the title of these posts, but today I discovered a second letter of March 18, 1914 that I’ve now since included as well]. And he is quite humorous and even a bit risqué here! Below are the exact articles from the New York Times that Thomas refers to, from April 5 and April 12, 1914. – TC)

April 15th, 1914

New York, NY
April 15, 1914.

My dear Marie:-

Your card dated the 14th just received; also your letter of April 8th – duly received by me without mishap on April 9th. I am a chump for having committed the unpardonable offense of delaying my reply to the latter, and thereby putting you to the unnecessary trouble and annoyance of writing again. Needless to state, I have been quite busy at the office, the stock transfer books (which were closed for a month on account of our annual meeting) having re-opened last Thursday, and a months accumulation of our securities had to be “put through” our records. We have had an extra pressure of work as a result and did not close very promptly evenings, being even compelled to keep open all day on Good Friday. Things have about dropped back to normal, however, and we closed up promptly last night, and I would have written you then had I not had an engagement to take dinner with my Aunt & Uncle at their home in The Bronx.

I appreciate very much your sentiments as expressed in your letter of the 8th, and you are, indeed a very sensible young lady in respect to your views as to money expenditures etc. etc. Few girls in these modern times would have the courage to say as much.

I am going to follow this letter up with another one when I reach home this evening, but wanted to rush this one to you so that it would be in your hands this evening. (I am writing this during my lunch period.)

Meanwhile, I am

Your very sincere friend

Tom Styles

Many thanks for your Easter wishes. Yes I spent a very enjoyable Easter. T.J.S.

(Comments: Thomas [a chump] is often self-deprecating in his letters, but I’d assume Marie was charmed by it! I also found his comment about “girls in these modern times” lacking the courage to be responsible with money interesting. Now let’s see if he picks up the pace of his writing as he says – a second letter to be written that evening?. – TC)