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Your Letters are Read with Eagerness

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A series of letters are used in this gallery to demonstrate the critical role of mail in the lives of these pioneers and adventurers. In a world without telephones, email or faxes, mail was the only link between families and friends separated by thousands of miles. 

Mary Stevenson's letter

Mary Stevenson, a recent immigrant from Sweden, writes her family, letting them know that she misses them, and hopes that perhaps at least one of them would join her in America. 

Charles Mulford's letter

Charles Mulford wrote an account of his stagecoach journey westward to his cousin in 1849. 

Waterman Ormsby's letter

Waterman Ormsby was a reporter who traveled on the first westbound Butterfield overland stage in 1858. Whenever it was possible, he mailed his reports back to the New York Herald where they were published. In this letter, he talks about the first stage west out of Tipton, Missouri, driven by John Butterfield Jr., son of the line's owner.

Mary Searls' letter

Mary Searls wrote this letter to let her mother know that she was now a grandmother. 

Charles Harvey's letter 

Charles Henry Harvey was a miner who sought his fortune in the Denver gold rush. In 1879 he wrote to his wife about lines of miners waiting for word from home.