Jon Bouman to the Bouman Family


Jon Bouman to the Bouman Family


Bouman, Jon Anthony, 1873-1958




1919 May 20


Letter from Jon Bouman to his family.


Gift of William C. and Evelina Suhler


Paris Peace Conference (1919-1920)


Rachel Dark
Denise Montgomery
Austin Shifflett




Evelina Suhler is the granddaughter of Jon Anthony Bouman and inherited the family collection of his letters from the years of World War I. She and her husband gave the letters to the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum in 2013.


13 Place de la Bourse
Paris, Saturday night
Well, my dear bairns,
(as I mustn’t say kidlets any more)

    It’s about time I should send you an answer to all your nice letters, and I am going to send it now, to all of yez. And then you can show it to mother too. Let me tell you first of all how pleased I am always to get your news, and to hear from mother that you are all so well and happy at school. I am sorry that Bill has had to go to an oculist about his eyes; I hope he won’t have to wear glasses because they are such a nuisance to a boy. But now there are many children who have to have glasses, so if it must be, it must be. Perhaps he will be neater in future. Yes Bill, your school report says something about that, and although I was glad to get your letter; it was rather an awful looking rag of paper you wrote on, eh?

    Well now I must tell you about bank holiday in Paris, only they don’t call it Bank Holiday here: Easter Monday. There is a big square here they call the Place de la Nation and here you saw all the attractions of Hampstead Heath, steam organs, swings, roundabouts and what not. The roundabouts have no horses, but huge March hares and cocks and pigs with curly tails tied with blue ribbons. And you hold on by the tail or by his ears, just as you like. I saw some Tommies having a ride and they were enjoying it, going up and down on the pigs. The great thing is the gingerbread fair; they hadn’t had any while the war was on, so the people enjoyed it very much. They sell gingerbread pigs with a bit of string to it so that you can wear them round your neck, and it was a funny sight towards dinner time to see father mother and children going home with the gingerbread pigs bobbing about on their chests. And they have their names on them in letters of sugar. I saw Rose, Melanie, Henriette, and other names on those pigs. The shooting galleries were very crowded, of course they were all shooting at Germans; the boys enjoyed that very much too. I didn’t see any hoop-las but there were a lot of wheels of fortune, you pay a penny and see what you get. But I didn’t see anybody winning anything and all the pennies went into the wheel man’s pocket. That was his idea of making a living.

    Of course Betty I am getting surprises for Mary and Bill too. What do you think, child?? Ah, you don’t know what I have but I took it out of the box again and looked at it. It is so pretty. And I have also – I nearly told you that time, but it’s to be a dead secret, so no more until I get home.

    I was much interested in that black doesje Mary wrote about. I suppose you don’t see him any more. I got - . . . . there, I nearly told you again, but I mustn’t. Isn’t it funny you should meet Mrs. Harrington’s nephew whose name is Hugh. He ought to live in Doggy Diarlogo land. I have . . . but no, mum’s the word. I haven’t said nothing.

    I want to hear what you thought of the Midsummer Night’s Dream; did you all enjoy it? I suppose you will soon be in your new home now; and I suppose Mary chose the wallpaper. I very much want to see it. When you see John Beljeman again, give him my love. I am so glad that the Game of 16 is such a success. I must write to Aunt Lena soon, and she will be pleased.

    Tell mother that the strikers on May Day only cut the light off for 2 hours, between 7 and 9 in the morning, so that wasn't very bad.

    I am doing night work tonight and it is just two o'clock. I go home at six and sleep until 2, then I get breakfast. Good bye, dear ones, all of yez and don't forget your old

[drawing of a bird chirping "Piep, little dickie boydie, piep, piep, piep!"]

Original Format



Bouman Family



Bouman, Jon Anthony, 1873-1958, “Jon Bouman to the Bouman Family,” 1919 May 20, WWP23041, Jon Anthony Bouman Collection, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.