Published by Milwaukee County Historical Society
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By Nancy O. Lurie
When Nancy Lurie finally got around to opening the large shopping bag filled with packets of letters that had come from her mother's attic, she assumed they held no more than she already knew about her family and their hometown, Milwaukee. Yet, she felt she should read the letters before disposing of them. Spanning the years 1915-1922, they turned out to be historically enlightening and entertaining far beyong the concerns of a particular family.
To begin with, there were more than 500 letters from Lurie's father, also a Milwaukeean, to her mother when he began work in Canton, Ohio, until their marriage in 1921. Beneath these letters were a number of letters from an earlier beaux, high school girlfriends, and her mother's mother who wrote on family business stationary. Lurie's mother's dianries (1918-1921) and other family memorabilia and oral tradition fill out the general context and missing details as the letters provide on the scene and often unexpected reactions and responses to the transition from horse to auto, the end of the gaslight era, World War 1- The Great War- at home and overseas, the Spanish Flue epidemic, news from the Russian Revolution, post war labor unrest, courtship customs, domestic life, Prohibition, women's suffrage, and much more.