Saturday, April 6, 2013

Well Served: A Disgruntled Servant Misses the Livingstons

It was purely by luck that I happened across this post card in a stack about 8 inches thick.  Somehow post cards from Ollie Christiansen Meyers, the Livingston's nursemaid from 1909 to about 1917, made it back to Clermont and are now in our collections.  The post cards date from 1906, when she emigrated from Denmark until the 1950s.  The latest one I've found to this point is 1956, but that's not an exhaustive search by any means.  I dig through them occasionally when there is time; with further research they will eventually give me a better timeline for Ollie's life (following her address can tell me where she was living or staying), and plus, some of them are really pretty!

Amongst this giant stack, this particular post card was a great find though!  On the front is a picture of Trinity Church in New York, but it was the back that proved more important to me.  

Dear Miss Olivia, I feel very sorry that I left.  I can't find a place in such a nice family as I had by Mrs. Livingstone.  I would be glad if I could come back.  
Yours Sincerely,
Emma Schar
217 East 62
New York City

So mysterious!  She's not on the 1910 or 1915 census, so Emma couldn't have been at Clermont for more than a few years.  I can't quite read the date on the postmark either so I don't know exactly when this was written.  Why did she leave?  Was there an argument?  Was she fired?  I get the feeling that the departure was voluntary, but perhaps not well-received.  Who really wants to go crawling back to their old boss after they've quit, I guess?

And she's chosen to write to Ollie.  Had the two formed a friendship?  Ollie has many friends who sent her post cards, some for years and years.  She formed quite a few enduring friendships so perhaps some of her charm was just what a discontent coworker needed.

This is the first I've ever heard of Emma.  I only hope that as I continue my research in the bowels of Clermont, more about her story will be revealed!

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