In honor of Valentine’s Day today, I want to share with you one of the earliest documents we cataloged, which I recently stumbled across while starting our copyright review for the Library of Congress collection. A young woman wrote to President Roosevelt a few weeks before Valentine’s Day 1902 with an unusual request.
One reason I find this letter fascinating is that I cannot find anything out about its author. Miss Lang seems to have been lost to the history books, but she certainly must have been a character!
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
Detail from Letter from Tallulah V. Lang to Theodore Roosevelt. From Library of Congress Manuscript division.
Transcript of entire letter:
(Editor’s note: all spelling and grammatical errors are original to the letter. The author’s original underlining has been italicized in this copy.)
You have had many requests made of you, but nonetheless this unconventional one will eclipse them in the point (?) of oddity and excentricity.
Yet, as you are considered an excentric man, and yet, a bright, practical one, I hope you will not judge me an idiot or deficient in delicate womanliness.
Knowing your kindly feeling to the Georgians, I will tell you, I am a Georgian by birth and my father’s parentage, and a Va. by my mothers. Am an only daughter, a girl of refinement and cultivation – thirty years of age, and considered very goodlooking.
Was reared with every comfort until four years ago lost everything, and am now, and have been a clerk in the Census for eighteen months.
I fear I will soon lose my position, and write to make a strange request of you.
I am heartily sick of this struggle for my existence, and ask in your large acquaintance, do you not know, and could you not bring about a meeting with some refined intelligent gentleman and myself that would make one a congenial and happy, companion for life?
Before coming in this office, I have had attention and admirers, but rejected all, thinking I’d make a “love match.” Now, my views have changed, while I have a warm, true, southern disposition, and I think, I would be far happier with some one whole I respected and admired, as I care for no one other than a friend whom I could marry.
I am ambitious, but do not care specially for money. This may seem ridiculous to you unless we were personally acquainted but that would make it all the harder for me.
I would trust you in this matter, but will not sign my real name unless you would like to have an interview and I know it will be confidential strictly between us.
If you are interested and can assist me in this, or to a good situation, I can see and assure you of my sincerity and will convince you of my deservedness. I am no “crank or greenhorn.” But heart sick and tired.
If you care to communicate with me, Address;
(Letter attached to a calling card, “Miss Tallulah V. Lang”)