White Plains, New York: 1842. Envelope or Cover. This stampless folded letter measures 15.25” x 9.75”. It is datelined “White Plains May 24th 1842” and bears a circular, red “White-Plains, N.Y.” postmark and “6” rate marking (the cost to send a letter up to 30 miles). In nice shape. Transcript included.
In this letter, young Babcock informs his mother that he has arrived at his boarding academy along with two other returning students to find Mr. Harris (perhaps the headmaster) was busy finishing up improvements to the school that included adding an additional wing and improving the school’s “wash house.”
“They have made great alterations since we were here last. Thy have cut off a part of the room which the boys need to sleep in and made an entry there so that we can go into the new house without going out doors they have a place joined to the new house so that it is almost one house. Mr Harris says that the boys that have been here longest would sleep in the rooms of the new house he says that it will be all finished this week. All the nails that we had to hang our hats upon in the old school room are taken away, and also the folding doors. The wash house is turned around and they have made it a little larger they have made 30 boxes to keep our hair brushes and tooth brushes in one for bringing up a box I am very glad that Ai did not bring one u with me.”. Very good. Item #009421
Although Babcock does not name his school in the letter, the only boarding academy operating in White Plains at the time was the White Plains Academy, a Methodist school that was founded in 1826 and incorporated in 1828. Although it appears school records no longer exist, Babcock’s letter implies that in 1842, its boarding population was approximately 30 boys. The academy remained in operation for over 50 years, closing in 1880. (See Harrison’s on-line “White Plains School History”.).