E.A. Lee Letter
Scope and Contents
The correspondence consists of an envelope and letter dated February 9, 1886, from E. A. Lee to Mrs. William J. Clark, sent from St. Nicholas, Florida. The writer describes to Mrs. Clark, a friend in Ypsilanti, Michigan, her experiences as a winter visitor to Jacksonville, Florida, in 1886. She recounts her arrival in Jacksonville and the boat ride across the St. Johns River to St. Nicholas, a settlement on the east side of the river where she and her brother have rented homes. She describes in detail: the variable winter weater in Florida, with the temperature plunging to 17 degrees in a "cold wave"; her winter home "Sterling Villa," and the St. Nicholas bluff area, with several dwellings bordered by orange groves; and the crossing of the River back to Jacksonville by rowboat with other river options being a ferryboat and a small steamer. She writes admiringly of the "the beautiful St. Johns," but unfavorably regarding the city of Jacksonville, which she describes as flourishing but "not a particularly pleasant city." She finds that the city is frequented by Northerners staying in the "enormous" hotels for the winter, the streets are unpaved, and there is a multitude of stores "mingled indiscriminately together." In closing, while initially disappointed with Florida, she tells of her growing appreciation of the benefits of the mild weather, and the natural beauty of the area.
The envelope is addressed to Mrs. William J. Clark, Ypsilanti, Mich. Written in pencil on upper left: Letter from Mrs. Lee to Mother. The letter, while legible, is difficult to read.
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Biographical / Historical
The correspondence was written by Mrs. Elizabeth A. Lee, E.A. Lee, to her friend in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Mary E. Clark, Mrs. William J. Clark in February 1886. Mrs. Lee was born in New York and lived in Ypsilanti, MI. She traveled to Northeast Florida for the winter season at age 60 and stayed in what is now the St. Nicholas neighborhood between Southbank and Empire Point in her brother's home, "Sterling Villa." She describes in detail her arrival in Jacksonville and the boat ride across the St. Johns River to St. Nicholas
The writer describes to Mrs. Clark the variable winter weather in Florida. She describes in great detail the damage caused by the Great Freeze during the winter of 1885-1886 to the citrus industry in Florida and the weather conditions in the region.
She writes admiringly of the "the beautiful St. Johns," but unfavorably regarding the city of Jacksonville, which she describes as flourishing but "not a particularly pleasant city."
Jacksonville in the late 19th century was a tourist destination and many affluent families traveled to the region during the winter months. Mrs. Lee describes the number of large resort hotels and the tourism "curiosities" trade that flourished in Jacksonville at the time.
In closing, while initially disappointed with Florida, she tells of her growing appreciation of the benefits of the mild weather, and the natural beauty of the area.
2 items ((1) One Folder )
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Immediate Source of Acquisition
The item was acquired through purchase from Joe Rubinfine American Historical Autographs
- Jacksonville (Fla.) -- History -- 19th century -- anecdotes Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Jacksonville (Fla.)--Description and travel. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Tourism--Florida--Jacksonville. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- E.A. Lee Letter
- Eileen Brady
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