The Family Letter Blog

Connecting Generations

Leave a comment

February 1, 1937

Letter from 80 years ago – Richmond Feb 1, 1937 (written in pencil in JBK’s handwriting)

Background: Joseph B Kingsbury had resigned from his position at St John’s College in Annapolis, MD and was working for Griffenhagen and Associates, continuing the consulting work he had done before he and Kitty were married. I get the impression he may have worked for G&A in the summers even when he was teaching at Annapolis. 

Kitty and the boys lived in Richmond with JBK for part of the time JBK worked there. I found a 1937 newspaper article about a children’s party in Richmond at which Bryant Kingsbury was a guest, which makes me wonder if the date on this letter is correct (maybe it was later in February.) JBK added the date later, perhaps when he was reviewing and organizing his letters. It is in pencil and the letter is in ink.


I enclose a letter for Bry, the milk bill, and a clipping for you. I am sending Flash Gordon and some more of the Sunday paper to Bry in a separate wrapper – there is a picture of a clock made by Miss Hamish’s father in one of them.  

I went out and got the trunks this morning and sent them prepaid ($2.98) to Washington, marked “will call” – the clerk didn’t take either your address or mine, so there is no way of notifying either of us.

 Mrs. Schutte asked if I knew what became of the green ice box dishes and the cover to the water cooler. She said she expected dishes to get broken and didn’t care about any except the set of ice box dishes. She thought you might possibly have some of them with your things. I told her to get some more if she could and let me know how much, but she said she would wait and see if you found any of them. Everything else seemed to be okay there.

 I looked at a few boarding houses on Grace Street and took one – 810 West Grace Street – $6.00 a week – paid a week in advance and left my bags.  I don’t believe they have a telephone, but if you want to call me, I expect I’ll be in the office nearly every evening. 3-2406  Catherwood got a wire this morning calling him home for 10 days or two weeks. No word about FOE’s arrival.

 I had a good night’s sleep at the Y and breakfast at the cafeteria with Bob & CW.  

I do hope you have some luck finding a place and getting settled.

Love  –  Joe


This article appeared in the Richmond Times Dispatch on Wednesday August 5, 1936. Now we know where JBK was when his wife was in Osage, Iowa giving birth to their son Preston Deane Kingsbury on August 8, 1936.

From JBK’s letters I get the impression that the men who worked for Griffenhagen & Associates got very little notice before switching to a new assignment. Earlier in the summer of 1936, his letters suggested that JBK might be going to California for the next assignment. Perhaps Kitty was en route there when she stopped in Osage for a visit with the Kingsburys and ended up staying a bit longer than expected because of Deane’s early arrival.

She and the boys joined JBK in Richmond but perhaps only for 6 months since it seems she had returned to DC by February 1937.

Overlapping Ancestor Tracks again – but these I knew about. I grew up in Richmond and my father told me that he lived in Richmond as a child. He remembered living off of Forest Hills Drive, near the intersection with Hull Street, on the south side of the river. My father and I paid many visits to the Westover Hills Public Library which is located within a few blocks of where he lived as a child.