SKU: AM00263 Category:


Description: In two 1832 letters, the young Allen M. Jerome dutifully “bring[s] intelligence from a son” in Princeton to his father Isaac Jerome of Wayne County, NY; he writes in explicit detail about people’s suffering and fears, his impressions of the cholera outbreak, and about his brother Leonard’s (who later came to be known as the King of Wall Street and was Winston Churchill’s maternal grandfather) and Aaron’s well-being. The first letter, dated July 26 and Aug 3, records the horrors of the victims who die alone: Allen cares for them “rubbing . . . their muscles,” “applying hot bricks and everything which the physicians” prescribed. He also adds that people’s fears were abating, and that they were slowly coming forward to help. He gets statements from 70 men about their “diet, drunken follies and filthiness” and becomes “‘fully satisfied’ . . . that they are the fatal victims of Intemperance, litterly [sic] they have murdered themselves. . .” Most victims “are among the Irishmen, poor ignorant, friendless, cheated, abused and diseased People. They live and die like the brutes that perish without hope and give up to superstition and the most hopeless infidelity. . . .”  His commentaries imply that the victims “imperiously defy [God’s] wrath, [they] deny [his] righteous government . . .,” where as he is less fearful for his family and friends as they “have habits that do not give up to fear.” He concludes with “be more afraid of sinning than of cholera.” In the second letter, dated August 19, he tells his parents that his academy and college are still closed, but he is “satisfied in [his] own mind that the cholera is not contagious”; “Seven men have died in Princeton, some have been cured, and [he has] watched with them, helpt to put them in their coffins and assisted in burying them, duty, humanity and religion required that [he] should do this.” He assists Dr. Howell in tending the sick and in turn, he says, “the (thankful) inhabitants of Princeton would kill [him] with kindness if [he] would let them.”

A third letter, dated Sept 5, 1834, does not reference cholera but tries to impress upon his father his ability to maneuver “a scraper, the wonder working machine” in spite of his learning. He is also keen to demonstrate that he talked Mrs. Brearley from hosting the people who help put out a fire at her mansion “with wines and whatever they chose to call for “as it was wrong in principle.” He writes about Leonard’s presence at the scene of action and Aaron’s absence, “at home in his study, so much for the fire.” He also admonishes his father and sister Sophy for not writing. Penciled across the folded letter is a note to Sophy about attending a funeral and meeting other acquaintances.

Item #AM00263

Condition: All three letters are folded stampless covers with Princeton, NJ cancellations. All three are three (10″ x 8″) pages long. All have light scattered soil and short separations at fold lines. Generally good condition and very legible/readable.