John T. Andrews and Elizabeth B. Parker letters
Scope and Contents
This collection provides a series of 353 letters, which are mainly correspondence between Elizabeth Burditt Parker [Andrews] and John Thayer Andrews. The bulk of the letters date from 1934-1936 and focus mainly on the time prior to the marriage of E. B. Parker to J. T. Andrews.
E. B. Parker spent most of 1934 and the first half of 1935 working as an English teacher in Cohasset High School, Massachusetts. In the spring of 1935 she received an offer from East Hartford High School in Connecticut to work as a substitute teacher of English for one year. She accepted the position and moved to Hartford, where she lived until May 1936. During the summers of 1934 and 1935 E. B. Parker attended the Middlebury Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, at the end of which she received her master’s degree in English. During these two years Elizabeth frequently visited her home in Waban, Massachusetts, where she spent time with her parents Caroline Mason Burditt [Parker] and John Earle Parker, and brother John P. Parker. With her family and friends she frequently attended various performances and social gatherings in the New England area.
The second series of the collection focuses on the letters written by J. T. Andrews to E. B. Parker. During the first half of 1934 J. T. Andrews was living in Amherst, Massachusetts, working on his PhD. After being offered a position at Beloit College, he moved to that area and started working as an Instructor in Philosophy and Psychology in September, 1934. This was J. T. Andrew’s first job as a professor. He sometimes mentions the difficulties of balancing his work as a college professor with writing his thesis, while living in an apartment in a freshman dorm. Living far from New England, J. T. Andrews travelled back to Massachusetts mostly during longer holidays to either see his parents and sister Jess, in Amherst, or to visit E. B. Parker in Waban and Cohasset. In the spring of 1936 J. T. Andrews received an offer from Middlebury College to work as Assistant Professor of Philosophy, which he accepted. J. T. Andrews taught in Middlebury until his retirement in 1971.
Correspondence mostly consists of daily life descriptions in the lives of E. B. Parker and J. T. Andrews at their respective locations, while also reflecting worries about their future as a young couple about to start their life together. E. B. Parker and J. T. Andrews provide detailed accounts of their work as teachers, including interactions with students, correcting papers, relationships with colleagues and social life in the schools. E. B. Parker often mentions spending time and doing various activities with her friend Nita Willits (Middlebury class of 1930) and someone she liked to refer to as ‘Peanut’ (likely one of her colleagues at Hartford). J. T. Andrews tells stories about dorm life, dealing with freshman, attending college dance parties and other social events. Living close to large cities, both E. B. Parker and J. T. Andrews often attended various concerts and performance in Boston and Chicago respectively. For this reason they sometimes enclosed programs of various shows they attended or were planning to attend with letters to one another. In addition, E. B. Parker occasionally took part in theatre productions at the high schools in which she taught, or during her time at Breadloaf. Similarly, J. T. Andrews enjoyed playing the piano as he rented one during his time in Beloit, and he performed a few times for the students and faculty.
A recurring topic in the letters is coordinating travel plans during holidays and planning their meetings. The letters reflect the difficulties of being separated by distance as they often talk about missing each other, and waiting for the next holiday to come along. Related to this are descriptions of their respective travels to and from home. In addition, E. B. Parker and J. T. Andrews often discuss jobs and living arrangements for the future, in the hopes of being married soon and living together. Furthermore, after their engagement in September, 1935, organizing their marriage and discussing the details of it became a more prominent topic, especially in the letters sent during the summer of 1936. E. B. Parker and J. T. Andrews married on September 5th 1936. After this, the bulk of the correspondence ends. The two letters written in 1938 from E. B. Parker to J. T. Andrews are about E. B. Parker’s visits to the doctor and finally her informing J. T. Andrews about her pregnancy.
The third series of letters in this collection include letters written to John Thayer Andrews by his friends, relatives, and other people associated with his employment during 1936. Majority of these letters relate to J. T. Andrews and E. B. Parker’s marriage - either organizing it and coordinating with family, or receiving congratulations and notices about attendance. Some letters are from V. C. Harrington, regarding logistics about J. T. Andrews’s new teaching job in Middlebury.
Some letters have been marked as letters of interest by the donor.
- 1933 - 1938
- Parker, Elizabeth Burditt (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Open for research without restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
For permission to publish materials, contact: Special Collections & Archives Middlebury College Phone: (802) 443-2387 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Biographical / Historical
Caroline Andrew’s (donor’s) mother, Elizabeth Burditt Parker [Andrews] received her B.A. degree from Middlebury College in 1930; where she also received her M.A. degree in English in 1935 after having attended summer schools in both Middlebury and Harvard. From 1931-1935 E. B. Parker was an English teacher at Cohasset High School in Massachusetts. For one year, from 1935 – 1936, she taught English at East Hartford High School in Connecticut. Caroline Andrew’s father graduated from Amherst College in 1927 and took his Master’s degree in Philosophy at Harvard in 1929. From 1934-1936 J. T. Andrews worked as an instructor in Philosophy and Psychology at Beloit College, Wisconsin. During this time he was also working on his PhD. From 1936-1971 he was a Professor of Philosophy at Middlebury College. E. B. Parker married J. T. Andrews on September 5th, 1936.
Language of Materials
The collection consists of 353 letters, including postcards, some newspaper clippings, and programs of various shows. These letters represent the correspondence between Elizabeth Burditt Parker and John Thayer Andrews. The majority of the letters are written by E. B. Parker to J. T. Andrews. The bulk of these letters are written from Cohasset, MA, and Hartford, CT, where she worked as a high school English teacher between 1934 and 1936. Some letters are written from E. B. Parker’s parents’ home in Waban, MA. The second group of letters is written by J. T. Andrews to E. B. Parker from Amherst, MA, where his parents’ home is located, and from Beloit, WI, where he worked as an instructor in Philosophy and Psychology at Beloit College. The remaining letters in the collection are from family and friends to J. T. Andrews. The letters describe the work as teachers, travels, and social life of E. B. Parker and J. T. Andrews at their respective locations. In addition, the letters focus on the planning of their engagement, as well as their marriage a year later in September 1936.
This collection is divived into the following three series:
Series I: Letters from Elizabeth Burditt Parker (EBP) to John Thayer Andrews (JTA)
Series II: Letters from John Thayer Andrews (JTA) to Elizabeth Burditt Parker (EBP)
Series III: Letters to John Thayer Andrews (JTA) from miscellaneous.
The contents of the series are arranged chronologically.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Caroline Andrews, April 2014
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