By: Olivia Mund
While reviewing letters in MBDAâ€™s database, I encountered an intriguing letter to Martha Berry. In this letter, James Hamilton responds to Martha Berryâ€™s letter, which was addressed to Mr. Hamilton and his wife. However, James Hamilton informs Martha Berry in his response that his wife passed away nearly a year ago. What both impressed and touched me about this letter is how James Hamilton responded in light of this information. Instead of angrily correcting Martha Berry as a result of the grief he most likely still dealt with, he went on to share his experience learning about the good work of The Schools. James Hamilton was impressed by the work Martha Berry was doing to the degree that he was willing to make a donation on his wifeâ€™s behalf. He knew his wife would be moved by the work of The Schools and decided to make a donation in her memory.
In his letter he specified his donation would be â€œa modest contribution of five dollars.â€ I decided to look up a conversion to see what those five dollars would be worth now. Upon converting the amount, I discovered that five dollars in 1938 had the buying power of around $80 today. This letter was to me another example of peopleâ€™s connection to The School and deep affection for the good work it has been doing for all these years.