Just a Figurehead

12 Dec

Chicago, IL
June 14, 1919

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray, New Providence, NJ

My dearest Ruthy:

It is 11:05 P M and I am on this train waiting for it to get on its dusty way to St Louis.
I am tired and sleepy but it is too awfully hot to retire before the train starts. After it gets
going it may stir up a breeze and make life bearable.

The weather in Chicago has been hot, mucky and showery. Have done nothing here
but sweat, sweat, sweat. Talk about using up laundry. I sent you a package today showing
what I got away with since leaving Minneapolis last Wednesday. Had everything laundered
there, less than I am sending home 2 silk shirts; 2 suits underclothes; 2 pair socks, a few
collars and 2 handkerchiefs — cost $1.58, so I thought I had better send the neat lot to G
cheaper laundry in New Jersey. Besides I can spare the stuff and its lightens my carrying

Asked the porter if it was likely to be as hot as this in St Louis. He replied “Guess
so, boss, just a shot; mebbe hotter,” so you see what I am in for. I’m fine, cold baths today
afforded some relief.

Had two guests from Moser Paper Co to lunch today, then took them to a baseball
game where they had the pleasure of seeing the New York Giants lick their home team,
the Chicago Cubs. Wish you could have been along. Returned alone to the hotel, had my
bath, packed up and checked my baggage. Then looked up a new restaurant and had a
modest feed of cold stuff — too hot to eat much. Then I went to a “movie” Raineys Travels
in Africa, and melted some more there. Then a taxi to the train and here I am. 

Think we can do some business here but it will take more than one trip. The biggest
envelope buyer here, Mr Burt of the Butler Paper Co, is coming East week after next and
promised to call at the factory. This may result in business. Mr Geo L Armour of the Paper
Mills Co, another large jobber was surprised that I was a really live man, and knew
anything about the envelope business. Huston had told him that I was “just a figurehead”
and that he (Huston) was General Manager and Magill looked after the finances.” Looks as
if it were about time I got around and made myself known.

Had hoped to get this letter done and mailed in Chicago but I got too chatty and the
old train started on time.

Will go to Hotel Statler upon arrival at St Louis 7:30 tomorrow and further activities
depend entirely on the heat. I may get in the bath tub and stay there all day.

Much love to all and many kisses for your own sweet self.


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Posted by on December 12, 2013 in Family History


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