A Letter to Santa
Posted On: 12/22/2017 - 11:06am, Posted By: Christine Engels, Archives Manager, Manuscripts Department
Several years ago I rehoused the Sidney D. Maxwell Papers (Mss qM465). This simply means I removed the collection from old boxes that needed to be replaced and put the collection into new acid-free folders and boxes. As I was doing that I came across a small piece of paper with a note for Santa Claus written by Maxwell’s daughter in a correspondence file. It is undated but has to be sometime after 1882 when her brother Rudolph was born. It’s quite charming and is the first letter to Santa that I’ve run across in a collection. Naturally I wondered what happened to this precocious Carrie.
Caroline Neff Maxwell Lee (1877-1960) came from a well-established Cincinnati family. Her father was Sidney D. Maxwell (1831-1913), a colonel and newspaper correspondent for the Cincinnati Commercial during the Civil War and her mother was Isabella Neff Maxwell (1854-1941). Her brother was Rudolph Neff Maxwell (1882-1953).
Caroline was a University of Cincinnati graduate and worked to help found the Bartholomew-Clifton School, serving as its first assistant and later as head of the English Department. She later led the English Department for Miss Doherty’s College Preparatory School. She was also very active with the Presbyterian churches in Cincinnati. She married Rev. Lewis Earle Lee (1870-1937) and they had two children, Isabella Lee Elsey (1910-2005) and Eleanor Hart (1912-2004).
Dear Mr. Santa Claus,
Please bring me when you come around a little Dolly, Picture Book, Nuts, Oranges, Candy, and very much oblige.
Carrie Neff Maxwell
P.S. Please be kind enough & bring me a broom also.
My dear little brother not being able to write down his wants I take pleasure in asking for him.
He said that he would like for you to bring him if you be kind enough a nice little Hobby Horse a pretty top and nuts, candy, oranges & bananas. By fulfilling the above both of our wishes you would greatly oblige us.
P.S. Late yesterday he told me to ask you to bring him a little iron, a picture book, a small stove.