Jessie Woodrow Wilson Sayre to Alice Appenzeller


Jessie Woodrow Wilson Sayre to Alice Appenzeller


Sayre, Jessie Woodrow Wilson, 1887-1933




1915 September 1


Jessie writes to her friend Alice in Korea about her new life as a mother and asks for news about Alice and their mutual friends in Asia. She worries about the bad weather and the war.


Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University




Dearest Alice Ap.

Are you thinking of me so hard at this minute, that I am impelled after days of lazy drifting and doing nothing to sit down and write letters, and neglecting piles of recent 'duty' letters, to write instead to you? I hope, I believe, you do think of me, as I of you, many, many, times.
I am here in Cornish with my sister and aunt and Cousins, enjoying the most unprecedented rainy summer. One would almost think that all the gunpowder in Europe was really affecting our weather here. The fields of corn will not ripen, and if you like corn as I do, you will see how regretable that is—not to mention, of course, all the Vermont Turkeys that won't be sufficiently fattened by Thanksgiving time.
I wonder what we shall be thankful for when that day comes. At this present moment, with the sinking of the Arabic, the clouds are so dark on our horizon, and what may happen between now and November, who can tell! It is very hard to be marooned up here so far from Washington and Father. We want to be near him in this crisis. He keeps well and calm, sustained by faith, but we naturally worry for him.Frank is in Labrador: he went up there two weeks ago on a flying trip. He is now one of the directors of the Grenfell work and they have heold a directors meeting 'on the ground' once a year. Then in the St they go north with the Doctor as far as a limited amount of time permits. It is wonderful how the work has been supported, even in England, this year; next year is still dark but no one is pessimisitic. There are most pathetic talks of how those Labrador people, whose trade has been cut off by the war almost entirely, have yet made most extraordinary sacrifices to aid the war sufferers, one old woman even selling her wedding ring to help the Belgians.Frank gets back next Saturday and the time seems long, for mail steamers are few and far between in these parts, and letters are desperately infrequent. But who am I to talk. You must now be learning what is to have letters desperately infrequent. I think that must be the worst part of going to a foreign land.
I have just had a sweet letter from Rachel McGowan, do you know her, the little Goucher girl who went out with the Scrantons and married in Korea. She speaks of her husband in such a dear way. It makes me like him at once. I wonder why we are all so chary of speaking of our husbands, because we are afraid of being laughed at as 'prejudiced witnesses' or what. This is the first time Rachel has ever spoken of hers and in so few words she has given me a glimpse of tender, loving, thoughtful man.
I am hoping that you will tell me something about Marion and Katharine and their respective families. You are on the spot now and can tell us the truth about them without prejudice. Marion has a baby, too, now hasn't she. Give it and her my dearest love.
What kinds of things do babies wear in Japan. What sort of wrap or shoes, for instance would be appropriate for Katharine's baby, and how old will he be by Christmas time.
This letter is full of trivialities and gossip, I realize it, but the world is so full of immense problems now that overwhelm one's brain, almost that it is a relief just to thurst it all aside and chat across the water to you.
The summer has been very domestic. I have read with Frank a good deal of American history and sewed a little, and taken care of baby and struggled with the nurse a lot. The baby is blooming and well, is a happy smiling baby, and gives very little trouble and a wondrous amount of pleasure. I wash him in the mornings and find it more and more a feat of arms. He is not still a moment, wants either to stand on his head or to sit up every moment, and you can imagine what it is to cut a baby's tiny nails in such circumstances. Literally I have to lie down when it is over. I am tired! It is fun, of course, and I can recommend it as good exercise.
I am a very happy woman, dear Alice, and I am hoping—and will you pray for it, too—, that these years of concentrated home life with the rich experience of watching and helping little new souls to grow will prepare me for better work when I can turn to active service in the organized work of Christ's kingdom again. I don't want to get off on a side track, I want it all to lead to deeper, richer, life. It ought to, of course, but it is so easy to get selfishly self-absorbed.
Not one word of you and your work! You see I do as I would be done by. When you write tell me about yourself, yourself, yourself!Ever lovingly, and in the confidence that God is blessing you and your work abundantly

Your devoted friend

Original Format



Appenzeller, Alice R.




Sayre, Jessie Woodrow Wilson, 1887-1933, “Jessie Woodrow Wilson Sayre to Alice Appenzeller,” 1915 September 1, WWP17520, Jessie Wilson Sayre Correspondence, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.