Nov. 30, 1926.
My Dear Miss Gelvin:
Do you still look for Santa Claus or have you
become so "growed up" that you no longer look for him? Well, he went past
here yesterday with a large sled and many reindeer. He is coming to
Plainfield without fail. I told him I had nothing to send for Christmas
except my heartfelt wishes. Look for him. My own sled and team of
malamutes must soon be on its way to carry joy to my husky friends along the
Yukon. Candidly I do not understand how the Indian children learn so
easily the Christmas story. That is something I demand of all of them.
Sometimes I sit down and review. I do not let such things discourage me.
The prize at start is too great to be given up without a great struggle yet, and
A few days ago I returned from a rather
thrilling visit to a sick man in the Koyuk Mountains. Word came to me by
the "Mukluk Wireless" so called because the Indians wear boots or "mukluks" when
the Indian trappers meet one another. All the latest news is re_____ with
whatever _____ may be deemed prudent. It is astonishing how fast news can
A narrow sled mark was all I had to guide me
for miles and miles through the maze of lakes and sloughs and woods between the
Yukon and the Koyuk Mtns. Time and again I merely hung onto the sled
handles trusting my leader, Buster, to take me on the right path. As I
went along I noticed many fox and lynx tracks, my work since I came to Alaska.
One thing stands out above all else - the affection I have developed for the
children. They seem to understand me so well. Even my powerful
malamute dogs share in the welcome given me when I visit the cabins in the
woods. Grass is brought to make a nice warm bed for each one. And
then what petting they get from the little boys. No wonder some of my half
wolves are loth [sic] to leave the camps.
The grown-ups are a sad lot. I am almost
willing to say that they are as bad as the white men on the Yukon.
Certainly they strive to imitate them! Last summer I visited a certain
group of Indians near Louden. All came to services and listened with close
attention to the sermon. Three days later on my return, an unexpected
return, all the men and women were beastly drunk. Now and then a rabbit
would be startled from his seat and go leaping up about at a great speed with my
team in close pursuit. However, the leader always keeps to the trail so
the rabbit escaped. After a ride of thirty file miles in thirty to forty
below zero weather I reached the dying man and gave him what consolation
Religion affords. This cabin, a long, low, crudely built affair had B____
Flour sacks as windows. You may imagine the rustic comfort of that house.
As I lay on the floor of the cabin I paid some of the penalty for my ____.
I shivered all night and at the rate of one shiver to a ____ - I think I paid a
large part of my ____. The next morning I started for home. The cold
became so intense that I had to change my moccassins [sic] enroute. It was
fortunate that I came along that day. Two days later an Indian broke
through the ice in one of the lakes. An Indian woman out tending to her
rabbit snares heard him screaming. He was rescued but will most likely
lose both feet.
The long Alaskan nights I reserve for my
reading. Just at present I am quite interested in following the trend of
Educator in the ________. Years ago I was quite impatient with the systems
of credits, credits. I used to _____ on intelligence or what I called
comprehensive tests. When I suggested to a certain Dean of Faculty that
most of my class should be sent to learn iron molding or get a job on the
"Force" I was told that I must see to it that all the boys passed.
If that subject of comprehensive tests
interests you get hold of some of the recent articles by _____ letter of
Swarthmore, _____, et. al I must not bore you with my pet hobby.
Please tell me what lovely things you are doing, what splendid things you are
selling and what great work you intend to do. I am away _____ in a far
corner of the world ______, too, have my own little castle with _____ and _____
that can effectually ____ out the world when _____ to dream.
With all best wishes for Christmas to you (rest
of letter is illegible)....
Envelope: from J F Williams, Nulato; postmarked
Nulato, Alaska Dec 1, 1926 2PM; to - Miss Elizabeth Gelvin, 214 West Seventh
Street, Plainfield, New Jersey