hi there!

Welcome and thanks for checking out this website. It is very much a work in progress – there are still many letters to transcribe and even more research to do. I started the transcriptions with the letters from 1878 – stay tuned for the back story to the drama.

I think of these letters as a window into a shared past because for family these are our ancestors, and for everyone else here is a glimpse of how that which is now “old” was experienced back when it was new and young: literature, music, people, and a growing Ontario in the late 1800s.

I have had a lot of fun looking up the literary references. Ida and Jacob met at a meeting of the Canadian Literary Institute, back in about 1876, so it was a shared interest and a way that they tried to impress and maybe even challenge each other in their letters. Whenever I see quotation marks, I start digging. Feel free to contact me if I’m off track on the source of any quotations.

One thing that may put some readers off is how religious Ida was.  It was something that surprised me, even though she did come from several generations of ministers.  If you find that it’s a barrier as you read the letters, consider trying what I did: think of how great it feels to talk about something that you share with someone you are just starting to date, and imagine that feeling as the motivation for those parts of the letters. And, hold on for the other stuff, there’s no shortage of passionate lines like “when hungry lips were first satisfied”.