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Crocker, Anna Louis (ca. 1867-1957). Historically Interesting Original Autograph Letter Written by a Wealthy Music Teacher from Maroa, Illinois, Describing her Vacation in Los Angeles, Redlands, and Oak Green, Including Staying at the “Hotel Lincoln” in LA, Singing in a Presbyterian Organ Recital, and Participating at a Local Thimble Party. Los Angeles: 8 April 1899.



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Quarto (ca. x cm. or in). 6 pp. of text. Brown ink on yellowish lined wove paper with the printed letterheads “Hotel Lincoln. Thos, Pacos. Proprietor. Second and Hill Streets. A Private Family Hotel….. Appointment Perfect….. All Modern Improvements.” Slightly age toned, but otherwise a very good letter written in a legible hand.

Historically interesting manuscript letter written by Anna Louise Crocker, a family member of prominent bankers from Maroa, Illinois, during her travels through Southern California in the early 1899.

The author, Anna Louise Crocker (ca. 1867-1957), was a graduate of the Boston Conservatory of Music and a music teacher in Maroa, Illinois. Her father, John H. Crocker, was a leading businessman of Maroa, and her brother, J. H. Crocker, an influential banker of that place. In 1902, Anna married William H. Black (1866-1951), a Decatur attorney and chairman of the County Republican Committee. She was active in the Presbyterian Church and social life of the town before moving to Toledo with her husband and son.

Anna wrote this extensive private letter to her friend Lora during her two-week stay at the strictly first-class “Hotel Lincoln” in Los Angeles. The hotel was built by L. Shively at a cost of $30,000 in 1888 and was considered LA’s leading luxury hotel, with about eighty “elegantly furnished rooms, first-class board, and European plan.” (Los Angeles Evening Express. 11 September 1888. P. 2)

In the letter, Crocker vividly describes a “very happy” four-month retreat in Redlands, an unexpected snowy excursion to Oak Glen, and her refined leisure time in Los Angeles. She enthusiastically recounts participating in a Presbyterian organ recital in LA and reveals feeling extremely anxious about singing in front of an audience. Anna also discusses a “thimble party” she attended at a local parsonage, saying she had to bring her own thimble and sew all day to earn her meal. In the rest of the letter, Crocker writes about singing at the “Hotel Lincoln” every other night, planning to visit her relatives in Northern California, and hating to leave Redlands for LA. Overall, historically interesting manuscript letter illustrating early travels through Southern California.

The text of the letter: “The first week in April is a thing of the past. I wonder what it brought to you. I hope you are safely through the ordeal and are happy in the possession of a nice healthy child. I am getting quite anxious to hear from you and hope it will not be long before you write me a long letter telling me all about it. Is their any preference in your family as to the gender? Have you name selected? You see at last we have torn ourselves from Redlands though for me it was a terrible task. I never hated so to leave a place.  I spent a very happy four months there and am longing to return next fall. I went on six picnic drives while I was there and no two times did we go to the same place. We could drive every day their and not see the same things twice. Even the mountains seem to change from day to day. While we were there, there was a big snow storm up in the mountains and the sight was perfectly grand when the clouds lighted. A week ago we drove up to Oak Glen, a place in the mountains, for a picnic but when we got there we found the ground covered with snow. None of us had worn rubbers – not expecting to find snow – so we had to turn back about three miles before we could spread our lunch on the ground and sit about it without any extra wraps on. It is hard to realize that the land of snow and of flowers can be so – together. The Presbyterians gave another organ recital last week and I assisted in a trio and quartette. Yes, I think it does frighten me more than it used to, to sing before an audience. It may be I realize now how little I can sing though I never did think I was anything of a singer after they found out at the hotel that I did attempt to sing they kept my busy singing for them nearly every night – but I did not mind that or would not have minded it if I had had my music with me. I only had two or three songs I could sing that I found in a folio their. One of the new told me I better learn some news ones before I came back next fall. We came down to Los Angeles last Monday and expect only to stay until next Monday. Things have turned out so differently from the way we planned when we left house. Then, we expected to spend most of our time in Los Angeles. From here we go to visit some cousins and farther North - uncle. But now we feel that we have started home for we will not stop long at any one place. We will be home the middle or last of May. When you write to me you can send your letter to Maria and it will be forwarded. I think that a genuine and safer way than send a letter to any of the places I am going to be forwards. The thimble party I wrote you about – we took our thimbles and spent the day at the parsonage and the minister’s wife gave us sewing to do and own dinner to pay for it.  Yes, it does seem as though Linda ought to visit us now with her brother so near us. But she is such a busy woman I am afraid she will never find time to come. When I received your letter I felt better about that chain letter and went straightway and destroyed the one that was sent to me. I think they are a nonsense and I thought their was a low prohibiting there. My poor guitar is only used to pursue the children now. Little Ruth likes to play on it the strings broke so fast I could not keep it in playing condition. Remember me kindly to your husband and ask him to write me a line when the party is over and then I hope to hear from you before long.

Item #MB61
Price: $525.00