CCC Vol. 4 p.96 Will Selph's Letter

#217 Broadway,

New York City,

April 15, 1926.

Dear Cousins:-

It seems to be the custom to start our Cousin letter by saying "I have received three or four letters reminding me that my Cousin letter is due". Yes, I have had more than three or four reminders about my letters, but have been spending the most of my time trying to get the other Cousins lined up. A year really seems to be a very short period of time as the work in connection with one series of letters is scarcely finished up when it is almost time to begin to think about the next.

The past twelve months with us have slipped away in very much the same fashion as lots of other twelve month periods, - the most notable happening in our family circle having been the marriage of our daughter, Doris, on November 28th last.

Our summer season which dated from June 1st to October 1st of each year, was very pleasantly spent at our summer cottage at Mt. Tabor, New Jersey, where we have plenty of social activities including golf, baseball and tennis for the men folks and a fine Ladies' Social League for the ladies. We did not take any long motor trip last summer but did spend four of five days on two different occasions at Ocean Grove; and also took some short motor trips to the Delaware Water Gap, up the Hudson, and various points within our own state of New Jersey.

Perhaps one of the most pleasant little outing we enjoyed during the year was our trip to Osceola to attend the Cousins' Dinner1 held at the home of Minnie Clark. We left New York the morning before and arrived at Nelson that evening, and rode back to New York the day following the Dinner, which gave us a nice three day vacation, and we enjoyed every minute of it. We had not attended a Cousins' Dinner for many years and simply made up our minds to steal the time and go.

All during the fall we were of course more of less busy preparing for Doris' wedding. We were especially glad to have with us at this time Cousins Emma Buck, Anna Owlett, George and Anna Buck. The bride's father and mother were kept so very busy that evening, and we had to walk so straight and "mind our P's and Q's", that we really did not see much of the wedding or hear much of the music, but I fancy that the Cousins who were there could really tell you what a pleasant and enjoyable affair it was. Doris and Philip have a very pleasant little home in Morristown, New Jersey,

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1. The Cousins' Dinners were different from the Campbell Reunions. Then, as now, the Campbell Reunions were open to anyone who wished to attend. The Cousins' dinners were by invitation only. They were for Will's 1st cousins (i.e. the grandchildren of Joseph and Ann Clinch Campbell -- plus anyone else the hostess wished to invite.


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and are certainly very happy in it and our hope and prayer is that they may always be as happy throughout their lives as they seem to be at this time.

As Tommie Campbell says, the number of letters from the First Cousins is growing less and less each year, and for this reason we are very glad indeed that Second and Third Cousins are taking up the work.2

As I am glancing at the calendar in front of me I am reminded that I came to New York City thirty-four years ago - on April 20th, 1892, from Elmira, to hunt for a job. It hardly seems possible I have been here so many years. I recall distinctly that the World Building at the end of the old Brooklyn Bridge was the tallest structure in the city of New York thirty-four years ago and I used to go up to the World Building Tower and gaze around in amazement at the wonderful things to be seen from this high point, - 375 feet. However, times have changed,- the World Building and the Trinity Church Steeple which used to be so tall in comparison are now barely to be noticed because of their insignificance. The Woolworth Building (next door to my office) with nearly 60 stories and almost 800 feet in height is the tallest office building in the world, - and all over our big city fairly large buildings are being demolished to make room for building several times larger. The growth of our city in the past thirty-four yeard, has, therefore been wonderful and I am just wondering what the next thirty-four years will accomplish. Our suburbs are likewise increasing in population by leaps and bounds. For example, sixteen years ago we moved to the little town of Maplewood, N.J. the population of the town at that time was about 2,000 people; today it is not far from 15,000, and if things keep on growing I guess we will have to move back to Tioga County to get away from the crowds.3

We certainly would like to have been in a position to have migrated to Florida about ten days ago so that we might have been on Tommie's front doorstep last Monday, the 12th, to help celebrate with him and Frank their Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary. We have not had a report as yet of just what took place on that memorable day and night, but we have no doubt that everyone enjoyed a most wonderful time and that the hearts of Tommie and Frank were made glad in royal good fashion. Edith and I have promised ourselves

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2. Many of Will's first cousins (i.e. the grandchildren of Joseph and Ann Clinch Campbell) were dying off or becomming infirm. The Second and Third Cousins were respectively, Joseph and Ann's great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren.

3. Will may have been doing some padding because he wanted to be sure of meetng his goal of having 100 pages in Vol 4. It seems strange to me to hear Will referring to NYC as "our city". He was born in PA, grew up in MI &Amp; PA, and had lived in NJ for the last 16 years. Perhaps the "our" was based on his employer being New York Life Insurance Co.


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that someday we are going to make the Florida trip and I hope we may be able, with Cousin Mabel, to say that "then half has not yet been told".

Now just a little heart to heart talk with all the Cousins! May I first say that the Campbell Cousins Correspohdence matter is one which four nearly four years has been very near and dear to my heart, - so much so that I have been quite willing and anxious to do any and all things necessary for each of you to share with me the joy and satisfaction to be derived from our yearly exchange of letters. In other words, in the beginning I volunteered to become the self-styled "Secretary", and to continue my duties until it seemed that the proposition was well under way, and the work could be continued year after year without requiring any one person to devote too much time to it. Thus far we have done very nicely as each book seems to have been an improvement over the preceding one both in the number of letters received and in the character of the correspondence. However, our main difficulty each year has been in getting the Cousins to respond promptly with their letters, and whereas we had a fond ambition that One Hundred letters might have been contributed to the 1926 book, - we want all the Cousins to know that no effort has been spared on our part to accomplish this result, - as no less than five courteous and urgent requests have been made, and yet we are without letters from a great many of our Cousins who have previously contributed and whom we had hoped would favor us again this year. In other words, our scheme has been given a most thorough and exhaustive tryout, with the result that about half of the Cousins seem to be really in favor of our proposition and can always be counted on to do their full part; the other half of the Cousins, for some reason or other not entirely clear to us, do not seem to be interested and are more or less indifferent. The above state of affairs of course makes our work here in New York difficult, - and we have always been more than willing to give up our valuable time and money for the sake of the Cousins, it has seemed to us each year that they, in turn, might make just the slightest effort on their part to bring about, as Cousin Will Campbell puts it, a 100% result.

Last October at the annual Cousins' Dinner4 the writer stated that after the present year's book had been prepared and sent out, he wanted to be relieved of the details connected with our future books, but that he would always be most interested in the proposition. It has been suggested that perhaps a book every year, which naturally carries with it more or less repetition of the

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4. Each year, in the summer, there was a Campbell Reunion. Then, as now, anyone wished to come, was welcome. And, usually in the fall, there was a Cousins Dinner. The latter were by invitation only. As explained in footnote #1, originally the dinners were only for Will's first cousins (i.e. the grandchildren of Joseph and Ann Clinch Campbell) and for whoever else the hostess chose to invite. Will's first cousins were dying off or becomming infirm - so gradually, some of the 2nd Second and 3rd Cousins were invited. The reunions were usually held at public locations such as the school grounds (in case of rain in the Odd Fellows Hall), whereas the Cousins' Dinners were held in, or at, someone's home.


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preceding year, is too often to have a published book, and that perhaps if the idea of the book was discontinued for a year or two or three it might meet with more hearty response than under the present yearly plan. One thing is certain; that if the majority of the Cousins are in favor of keeping up our Cousins Correspondence each year and will agree to support the proposition, then it certainly ought to be continued; if on the other hand interest seems to be waning and if the Second and Third Cousns (who of course are further away from the original ancestral tree than the First Cousins), are not sufficiently interested to see the thing kept up on a yearly basis, then perhaps it might be better to discontinue the book at least for the time being.

I am quite sure that not one of the Campbell Cousins fully realizes the amount of work required to bring out these Cousins books. Again, I am also very sure that if the Cousins did realize in their hearts what we have tried to do for them that not one would have to be asked a second time for co-operation, and I am only hoping that in some way the Second Cousins may now see their way clear to take up the work as it now stands, and in 1927 bring out a No. 5 Volume which will be as much of an improvement over our No. 4 Volume as that Volume was over our first exchange of letters in June, 1923. The logical one in our family to do this work would be our good Cousin George L. Buck whose Office equipment is ideal and whose business is that of publishing books. With him, in my opinion, should be associated such live wire Cousins as Cousin Roswell Young, Joseph W. Buck, Mary Snavely, Florence Bosard, and Mabel Shaw. With the above six Second Cousins on the job, and with the work divided up as Cousin George might designate, I see no reason why the work could not be continued year after year. My own business has reached the point where I cannot conscientiously devote so much of my time to the Cousins' book matter, and having been more or less responsible for the publication of four complete volumes, together with our genealogy chart (corrected up to June 1st, 1924), I really feel that my little contribution for the good of the Campbell family has been made and I now want to see others take up the cudgel and push the work. I stand ready and willing, as before stated, to render any assistance within my power to help the good work continue.5

This year we are having about 125 copies of the book bound up into books form as the cost for a few additional copies is so slight that it seemed wise to have these copies on hand for special use. Of this number only about eighty or ninety copies will be sent out at this time and I shall be very glad to hold the balance or this edition here in my

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5. At present, we don't know what happened -- why there was never a volume 5. Perhaps something will turn up as we process more of the materials not yet examined.


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Office and will be only too glad to send complimentary copies to any additional members of your family, so long as the supply holds out, no charge whatever being made for the extra copies. The book this year has cost a little more than the book last year owing to the fact that half tone cuts have been prepared of the photographs taken at the last Cousins Dinner, and these half tone cuts appear in the book this year. However, it has been thought wise to charge the same price as last year, - namely $3. per volume - and we are hoping that enough payments will be made by the Cousins to nearly cover the actual cash outlay. If agreeable therefore, will you kindly mail check promptly for $3. to Mary B. Snavely, #211 Tenth St., N. E., Washington, D.C., who will make returns to me in the regular way later on.

I would also like to remind the Cousins that I have on hand eight or ten additional copies of the genealogy chart, corrected to June 1st, 1924. These charts will gladly be sent with my compliments to any of the Cousins upon request.

I sincerely hope I have made my position regarding the Cousins book matter plain to all of the Cousins.

With kind regards and wishing you all health, wealth and happiness, I am

Sincerely yours,

COUSINS WILLIAM E. SELPH.

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Copyright 2013, 2017, 2018 by William B. Thompson. Commercial use prohibited.