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A Letter to Grandma

January 19, 2012

It amazes me how early children learn that grandmas are one of their biggest allies. Maybe it is because they don’t hear the word “no” as often or they get chocolate chip cookies for breakfast, but grandchildren know they have a special bond with grandma. So when I came across this letter from Mary Stewart to her grandma, it made me smile to see that bond has existed for a while in history.

The letter is part of the Slawson-Tarkington Papers, a collection that documents the lives of two Indiana families. The Slawson family settled in Switzerland County, and the Tarkington family settled in Greensburg. In the letter, young Mary Stewart writes to her grandmother, Maria [Slawson] Tarkington. She pleads her case about buying candy but not getting to eat sugar and talks about family matters. She ends the letter with love to all at grandma?s house and asks for a letter in return.

Do you think grandma would have let her have some sugar?

Suzanne Hahn is director of reference services for the IHS Collections and Library. She loves helping people find the information they seek and is perhaps the only librarian ever to get shushed for laughing too loud in a library.

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