9 August 1863: “I don’t know how the professors can be expected to live on the same amount they received formerly when prices have increased so much.”

Item description: Letter, dated 9 August 1863, from Annie M. Schon to her sister Bettie M. Kimberly in Chapel Hill, N.C.  She discusses the devaluation of Confederate currency and difficulties in obtaining household goods, specifically shoes and clothing.

[Transcription available below images.]

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Item citation: From Folder 42 of the John Kimberly Papers, #398, The Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Item transcription:

Mrs. J. K.

Chapel Hill N.C

Atlanta Aug 9th ’63

Dear Bettie,

I received on yesterday your letter of the 2nd and am glad you like the apron pattern.  It fits Johnnie exactly with the exception of being a great deal too low in the neck, the pattern of the sleeve I like for muslin aprons, but for linen or [diaper?] I like the band at the hand. I was delighted that I had one made to send with the pattern I have now made another just like it and am soon going to work to make up a set of them. You speak of the prices in Chapel Hill, they are just the same here, and it is frightful to think how much we pay for so little but when we think of the value of our currency we ought not to be surprised at the cost of things for in reality one dollar now is not work more than ten cents used to be. But I think it is shameful Mr. Kimberly’s salary has not been raised.  I don’t know how the professors can be expected to live on the same amount they received formerly when prices have increased so much. If not an impertinent question what is Mr. Kimberly’s salary? The house and $18.00 was it not?  Well I tell you what I think! It is that we will yet see the day when we will look back even upon the present  prices and consider them very low, and I have now deter-mined to buy as soon as possible every thing I will need for the next year, and I would buy for 2 years to come but Mr. Schon thinks it is best not to do so, as he thinks in a year we will have brighter times, but I have given up the hope & since our late misfortunes, think the war may continue for years.  Yes as bad as I hate it, I have ordered 2 lawn dresses for next summer at $3 a yard, but I can’t do without them, so I have made up my mind to it.  And I am going in to have my measure taken for winter shoes.   We have found a shoe maker who makes very nice leather shoes for $25.00 a pair & that is very cheap for a good shoe now.  If you can’t do better & would like me to order any for you and the children write and I will do so immediately, for I suppose by winter they will be $35.00 or $40.00 a pr.  You must not think of sending me that linen Bettie, but must keep it. such things are always essential with children, and it may not be long before you will have to make up more baby shirts, so take my advice and hold fast to every shred of linen. And I have now become reconciled to cotton bands & sleeves to cotton chemises, and I have no hope of getting any more linen made up until the war is over & mine will not last me much longer, but I intend to have the good of them & wear them constantly.  The girls have such a splendid supply of linen, I do almost envy them, but they always have an abundance of everything, and if I ever live to see good times and moderate prices again, I shall always keep on hand of every thing for Mr. Schon, John, and myself.  But I must tell you of such a splendid present Mr. Schon received from his former clerks in the Quarter Master’s department. They call came out last Thursday night and present-ed silver egg boiler with the cups & spoons lined with gold.  It is the handsomest one I ever saw I appre-ciate the motive even more than the gift.  At the same time the presented me Madam LeVert’s travels bound beautifully & tried to find something for Johnnie but could not.  Have you heard of the death of Mrs. John M. Bass? I was surprised to see her death announced in the Chattanooga Rebel a few days since she was in Missouri on a visit to her relatives.  Old Mr. Vanleer is also dead.  Well I must close. Give my best love to Mr. K. & the girls  and ever so many kisses to the darling children.  Kind regards to all friends.  O how I wish I could see you.  With best love,

Your devoted sister,

Annie M. Schon


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