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Robert and Romaine McIntyre Papers

 Collection — Box: 2016-094
Identifier: MSS-0083

Content Description

The papers of Robert McIntyre and Romaine Packard McIntyre include correspondence, diaries, calling cards, and other material created both by the couple and members of their extended family. Many of the letters are from Robert to Romaine or Roma while they were courting. The couple lived in Chicago, but also had connections in other parts of the country including Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Colorado, and elsewhere.

The following information and partial transcription was provided by the seller:

A 5 page typed manuscript titled "The Story of My Life." It is written by Robert Jr. and in part reads…..
"Very little is known of my father's family before the Revolution. My father's great grandfather had just entered Harvard, when the cry "To arms" echoed throughout the land. His patriotic spirit was fired, and he left all to obey the summons. Soon he obtained a leave of absence and married. His daughter was married to a Scotchman by the name of McIntyre. It is from this line that my father was descended. Being driven out of France because of political troubles, my mother's ancestors came to America, and they also did their part in procuring liberty for this wonderful nations. With this heritage, I was born, one cold Sunday morning, in January 1905….(He goes on to tell of a story he remembered when his father had business in Salt Lake City and took Robert Jr. with him and after that part of the story he continues on …). Some of the happiest moments of my life were spent on a cattle ranch in Nebraska. I'll never forget the wonderful times I had riding over the prairies with my uncle. The view was unbroken for miles and miles, except for herds of cattle here and there. The foothills in the distance, covered with a blue, hazy smoke from small forest fires which were continually breaking out, seemed to us, alone on the prairie, as in an entirely different world from ours. My uncle was an old Indian scout, and as we rode he would tell me of his experiences……"
He goes on telling about a terrible prairie fire one fall which ended up burning his Uncles house to the ground. He then lived with his aunt in town as his uncle rebuilt the house. After that he began his music education which became very extensive but soon stopped. He moved with his mother and father to Milwaukee and then to a cottage on Nagawicka Lake. The story goes on through high school which is where it ends and I believe it is because this is the time he's writing his story.
There are several different miscellaneous pieces from various family members, such as a handwritten notebook or journal filled with school work which belonged to Helen Packard, Romaine's sister. Then the wonderful blue tinted photo which shows a nurse holding up the baby has a handwritten inscription on the back that reads…..
"Helen R. McIntyre at three mon. Oct. 1902. With Miss Packabush her wonderful nurse who saved her life after a struggle of four weeks when she came. Helen was a month old and weighed less than 5 pounds while at birth. She weighed 7 ½ lbs."
This Helen was the daughter of Robert and Romaine whom I believe was named after her sister Helen. Then there are several letters written by a woman named Grace. I don't know her last name but she seems very very close to Romaine. Grace is writing the letters while on a European trip. Grace's mother has just died and she heads to Europe to help with her grief. There is also a 5 page letter from Grace and at the top it says, "Private". In it Grace seems to be comforting Romaine concerning her worrisome attitude about her upcoming marriage. I think at one point Romaine is a bit unhappy too with her marriage as there is one letter in this lot from Romaine to her family who is back at home. In it she speaks of her intense need for them and at one point says, "I long for you so I can't live." She seems to be struggling with all her children too.
But the majority of the items have to do with the two young lovers; Robert and Romaine. In fact most of the letters were written by Robert to Romaine during 1899 and 1900. They are love letters and very long and his descriptions are amazing concerning Chicago and his yachting trips on the lake. In one 16 page letter he is staying at Onekama which is a village in Manistee County Michigan. The village is located on the shores of Portage Lake and it is here he tells her about two boating trips and describes this beautiful little village.
Then the calling cards; I looked up many of the names and found on the web. Here are some of the names represented: S. A. McNamara, Alfred N. Burnham, Gordon Buchanan, James H. Freeman, John L. Marsters, William T. Campbell, Maurice P. Barker, Herbert Richardson Thayer, John Marshall Jr., Frederick Halsey McElhone, S. T. Collins, Charles Chandler, Frank Edwin Ayres, William T. Steward, M. D. Packard, Robert Boyd, L. Frank Castle, Edward Dennison McConnell, John L. Goodwin, Frederick Warner Moore, Elizabeth Sheffield Brown, Frank Rosebrook, Caroline B. Freeman, William L. Hoerber, Ettie L. Smith, Frank A. Howard, Hamilton B. Brown, Sydney Tenison Collins, John E. Nicks, B. M. Goldsmith, Janet Gregory, Everetta Pattison Packer, Jacob Sloat Fassett, Bender, Madeleine Barger, K. M. Wetmore, Ida Serven, Faith More, Addison Webster Moore, Amy E. Jackson, Dr. Willard H. Fox, Georgene Faulkner, Telford Burnham, Frances E. Dewey, Wheeler W. Carpenter, and more.
I've taken several excerpts from the letters to give you a better idea of the amazing contents they contain. And mind you this is only a fraction of what you'll find between the pages…..
"June 21st, 1899 (On his Fireman's Fund Insurance Co. letterhead. Chicago ILL.)
"Dear Peggy, I don't wish to be found dead with these relics of torture and barbarism on my person and so enclose them to you trusting that you have been able to get on conveniently without them. Mr. Johnson wished me to tell you that he received a note last eve from a gentleman saying he had found the lost ticket. Yours in haste, R. J. M." (Wouldn't I love to know what items were with this letter!)
June 23rd, 1899 (Same letterhead as above)
"Dear Peggy, I will meet you at the Japanese buildings on the wooded island at 1:30 Saturday. We can then go where we are able to find a good place. Shall I bring anything? Yours, Robt."
July 9th, 1899 (Same letterhead)
"My Dear Peggy, Please tell Mrs. Rosenbrook that Mr. Beck will repair her glasses and send them to her tonight. We had a choppy and sloppy trip last night. One of the ____singers told me it was the worst one they had had this season. Nearly all were very sick and it was so cold that the cabins were filled with sick people to such an extent that one had to be dexterous to get through it. I was fortunate enough to get a stool to sit on in the back of the boat on the main deck, and staid there for an hour and a half just reading, when I was crowded into an uncomfortable position by standers. So went down stairs on the lower deck where I got a good seat out of the draft but not entirely out of the bad odor. Met several people that I knew and they were with me part of the time down below. We did not tie up at the dock till 11:15 and after getting something to eat I took the 12 o'clock train for home. It makes too long a trip (and uncomfortable one in a crowd) to take often. Don't' come home on a crowded boat. Choose a day and a time when there are not many passengers and if you have to get a stateroom look around and see about what number you wish before buying your berth ticket. Also get an upper berth ticket. That costs only 50 cents and I think you can use the lower without their objections. I left my umbrella at the McConnell's. Will you please bring it with you. It is rolled and had a natural wood handle like this (he then draws a picture). Yours with love, Robt."
August 20th, 1899 (Same letterhead)
"My dearest Peggy, It was of course impossible for me to write while I was down the river and as I have been busy as usual today thought you would like to have me stay down to dinner this eve and spend my time with you. The time has seemed to drag since you left, and the drag was accentuated, rather than otherwise, by my visit to the "farm" which lasted from Friday afternoon till Sunday eve. A return of the hot weather which we all experienced here before you went East, and an almost absolute absence of breeze, made Friday night, Saturday and Saturday night very nearly unbearable at Frank's. And with this affliction which in itself was enough to render us sleepless and a quite profane, we were all forced to the realization that the summer resort without the mosquitoes as a myth and a fancy. Sunday was made a trifle more comfortable by a breeze, which though not cool, was a breeze and during the afternoon and evening as three of us journeyed toward Chicago we were met by the fresher air from the lake. I don't remember of experiencing a more uncomfortable night than Saturday. You know that I nearly always have such a cool breeze in my room at night as to spoil me for an ordinary room. This last trip has just brought me to my annual conclusion that Chicago is about the best summer resort around here (from 6 P.M. till 6 A.M.)……I am very tired tonight as usual and as it is nearly 10:00 will say goodbye with lots of love, Yours Robt."
August 24th, 1899 (Same letterhead)
"My dearest Peggins,…….What I was going to tell you of is the terrible fate which befell Miss Nolan. She was on her way to a dinner party the other eve. about 7 o'clock and was run over by a C. M. and St. Paul train in Rogers Park and was mutilated and killed instantly. Mr. Evendin in our office, lives in Rogers Park, and knew the Hatelz's and Miss Nolan. He and his wife discovered the body and not knowing who it was, raised the alarm and the people whom Miss Nolan was going to dine with telephoned to the police that some one had been run over by the train. They little knew that they were telephoning about the guest that they were expecting and later in the evening when she was missed her brother and friends found her at the morgue. She was a sweet girl and everybody liked her very much. I met her on the boat going over to South Haven last year. I think I told you about it. We little know what is in store for us all…..Well Peggy, I must close. I exist, but I merely exist, while you are away and I am almost afraid to try or to think of a position which will keep me away from you for two weeks at a time. If I started to tell you how little there is to interest me when you are gone, I would write all night. I simply am obliged to work nights to keep from getting blue and lonesome. I don't want you to hurry home though, for you don't have an opportunity to go East very often and you need just al the rest you can get……good bye sweetheart, With love, Robt."
August 28th, 1899 (Same letterhead)
"My dearest sweetheart Peggy,……The past few days have been G. A. R. days. Whiskers of all condition, sizes, cuts, ages and colors have come to town with their sisters, their cousins and their aunts. The streets are full of them, the restaurants are full of them, the whole city is more than full of them! After dodging around them all yesterday morning outside, I finally decided to seek the seclusion of our office but before I have been hidden very long our G. A. R. agents began calling on us in twos and threes, and there was a steady stream of visitors all the afternoon. There greatest day so far as been today. They paraded through the streets, monopolized the car tracks and everything else in sight and paralyzed businesses generally. It was a general holiday, however, banks and many store offices being closed, so it did not make much difference to most of us. I had not made any plans for a seat but as usual skirted the crowd and went down to 12th St. where I found a thin place in the fringe of people near the last arch of the Court of Honor. I stood there for an hour and a half, and after being elbowed and crowded by a family of warm coons for a while decided I had had enough. Ran across a man I knew and we came down on the El. (Electric) together. It must have been half past one then and when we arrived down town there were thousands yet to form in the parade. Read in the paper this eve that one old man dropped dead in the ranks. The town is decorated quite profusely with bunting and flags and the Court of Honor, which extends from Van Buren in Mish. Ave. to 12th St. consists of 2 G. A. R. arches, one at Van B. and one at 12" and pillars draped with flags and Chicago emblem at intervals of about 50 ft. on each side of Mich. Ave. extending from Van Buren to 12th. The arches and pillars are made of staff, the arches resembling those built in the streets last year, and of course are lighted by incandescent lamps at night. The arches have groups of staff statuary but I cannot describe them as have not examined them thoroughly. Too add to the excitement, Pain is giving his mighty fireworks in an enclosure on the ground they have been reclaiming east of the Ill. Cent. and reached by the Van B. St. viaduct. The coliseum has been dedicated also and is used by the G. A. R. every night this week. Patriotic concerts, etc. And the last straw is that Buffalo Bill is here this week…..Must say goodbye, with much love, Robt."
March 6th 1900 (From Grace while in Europe)
"My Dear Roma, I thought you would like to hear of our visit to the Pope. We would have failed to see him I think if we had not had a letter from Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore to his representative here. Mrs. Willett presented the letter as that day I could not go out. She had a charming call and the next day the tickets came for the benediction at St. Peters. We went hours in advance to secure good places and were quite successful. It was something I would not have missed for anything. I will copy Mrs. W.'s description; "It was a scene of great enthusiasm, men applauding and crying "Long life the Pope" and women waving their handkerchiefs. First there was a line of church dignitaries, then men in a uniform of red brocaded silk bearing the chair in which sat the Pope. His hand was stretched in benediction as he passed down the long line and it brought tears to my eyes to see the gentle lovely old man so bravely performing his part in this church pageant when he must have been enduring deadly weariness. He has a beautiful face, lovely in its spiritual expression." I felt just as Mrs. Willett did and was moved almost to tears. The poor old man was so white and frail. He looked as if a breath would blow him away. It is holy year and he must practice great self denial to go through these functions for he is nearly ninety years old. We have been driving this P.M. on the Pincian Hill. So many elegant carriages, and mixed all up with them the shabby one horse vehicles that crowd all the squares of Rome. Italy is more democratic than America. The aristocratic horses give no glances of contempt to their rawboned brothers and the poor hack horse trot along quite unconscious of their lower rank. This easy tolerance of the poor and shabby is found everywhere in Italy and beggars and dealers in matches and small wares abound and are as happy and self possessed in their poor clothing as could be imagined. Indeed it would seem to be only in Democratic America that the poor feel uncomfortable and self conscious……..Affectionately Grace." (It's with this letter that she also writes a 5 ½ page letter that she titles "Private" and it's all about the up coming marriage of Robert and Roma.)
August 31st, 1900 (Same letterhead)
"My Dearest Sweetheart Pegging,……Last eve your mother and I went to see fireworks on the lake front. They were as elaborate as usual and were preceded by some tumbling and tight rope walking and the battle of Santiago. The ropes were tight and I think the lady who did the walking was in tights too but your mother wouldn't give me the opera glasses so I could see her very well. I think she was all right though from what I could see. The battle and scenes depicting Spanish military life in Moro Castle followed the acrobats., thru the fireworks. We got out of the crowd all right and your mother blind folded me and took me over to Gunther's. Never saw such a crowd there before. We had to wait for a table for a few moments then an old G. A. R. soldier with a wooden leg and only one arm, who had his bestest girl with him (poor old man with only one arm and a nice girl) got up, and we had their, him and her, table, just big enough for us. As it stood just along side the open candy county of course, we naturally helped ourselves while we waited…….With much love, I am Robt."
September 1st, 1900
"My darling Roma,…..Wednesday eve, Wallace telephoned us to come down to the coliseum so we got ready and went down. Got thru about half past nine. Wallace and Mr. F. met us at the door and handed us over to the head usher so we had lovely seats and I assure you it was a stirring concert being military in character. During the battle at Antietam, with the firing of big and little guns and a band of sixty pieces and six hundred voices it was stirring. The tears rolled down my cheeks and I trembled so that Helen took hold of my hand. I wish I did not _____such things but I don't seem to have any control. The concert over, we waited and brought the hungry boys home and gave them a little supper which they did justice to. And last night Mr. McIntyre took me to see the fireworks on the lake front. Pain's was spectacle, battle of Santiago, then we went to Gunther's for ice cream, reaching home about twelve. We have complimentary tickets for the fireworks tomorrow night. I wish you were here to go with us……With all love our darling Roma, Mother."
(This next letter has 16 very detailed handwritten pages all about a yachting excursion Robert took and in part it reads….)
September 12th, 1900.
"My Dearest Peggins, I have really not looked around here enough to give a very good account of Onekama and the surrounding country but I thought you would like to hear from me on general principles so I am writing to you prior to a sail to which I have invited some of our neighbors this afternoon at 1:30. This is a little town of uncertain size varying anywhere from 200 to 600 though the first sets of figures probably represents more nearly the correct population than the later. It is beautifully situated on a very pretty little lake about a mile or so in width and about 3 or 3 ½ miles in length and erupting into Lake Michigan through a channel about 300 feet in width and 300 feet in length. At various points on the shore of little lake which in some places is wooded, are scattered pretty summer cottages mostly owned and used by Manistee people, which by the way are all closed now for the season; all of the resorters having gone to their winter quarters. The lake and town are situated in a little valley surrounded almost entirely by hills. Perhaps 200 ft. high which are partly timbered with second growth timbers and partly and perhaps mostly, land which is covered with stumps. And land which within the past few years has been farmed and put into fruit…..There is not much to do here except to rest. There is absolutely nothing going on in the town, which consist of two country stores, a drug store, meat market, saloon, a post office and a depot. Several vacant stove buildings and a vacant mill. The latter (the vacant buildings) all belong to Mr. Burnham who owns about 1500 acres of the surrounding land including considerable dockage. We have rooms in a house on the main residence street and take our meals at Mrs. Telford's next door, which makes a very nice arrangement for us. Mrs. Martin with whom we room has joined forces with Mrs. Telford and they together look after us……Wed. A.M. 7:30 oc. After our lunch yesterday five of us young people went out for a sail in a yacht. There was a stiff breeze blowing which kicked up quite a sea on the little lake. The older heads did not care to go so the two Farr girls, Alfred, Newton Farr (a little cousin about 12 yrs. old) and I made up the party. The boat was managed by two brothers, a boy about 18 and one about Newton's age. We started out with the main sail and the stay sail boat reefed. It had blown and looked threatening and rainy all day. Soon after we started we had to take in the stay sail……(more on their sail and then he says they all went back for a night of singing. Then he tells of another sail they had aboard the Kelly Yacht, by moonlight. About 20 of them went.)…..I wish you could be here for 3 or 4 days. That would be long enough for you. There are absolutely no conveniences here and you couldn't put up with things. I do and enjoy it. But the sailing is superb and the scenery is fine and we could put in three or four days of sailing splendidly. It is so lonesome without you Peggy. I don't think I shall stay much longer than a week but we'll let you know when I expect to return…….Yours with lots of love, Robt."
(This next letter is from Roma herself but it doesn't have an envelope or date but I believe it's after she's married.)
"My Own Dearest Ones, I know I have added to your sorrow by not writing but I couldn't. I have been in such a state that a letter was more than I was capable of mother dear. I long for you so I can't live. I can't eat or sleep. I have tried to keep up for the children's sake but it is more than I can stand. Yesterday morning I couldn't sleep after half past two and I tossed until after three then I got up and ironed until six o'clock. If the work restored my mental balance I think, and I had to pull myself together as the little son cries and worries all the time and yesterday screamed with colic for over two hours. Robert has been home for nearly three days with one of those frightful headaches. So with all I have had to do to keep things running in the house I have had my hands full…….(and if that wasn't enough her little baby girl ran off while she was being babysat and they had to call the police. Thankfully she was found.)….Your own loving Romie."


  • circa 1890-1910


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0.33 Cubic Feet (1 box) : Diaries; Correspondence; Calling cards

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Custodial History

Purchased on ebay from seller diaries on September 29, 2016.

Robert and Romaine McIntyre Papers
Amy Schindler; Angela Kroeger
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Nebraska at Omaha Archives & Special Collections Repository

Archives & Special Collections
Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library
6001 Dodge St.
Omaha Nebraska 68182-0237 United States