As summer begins to fade away on us, I thought it would be nice to share something with all our faithful readers. As we've mentioned many times, one of the former residents of 26 Main was Maxwell Perkins and his wife Louise Saunders. Max was a literary editor of considerable mention with Scribner's and Sons. He pushed for the publication of such young authors as F. Scott Fitzgerald.
What may not be as well known is that Perkins and Saunders had five daughters. Wanting the girls to have the same summer experiences in Windsor that he had, the family would reside in Windsor while Max worked in New York. He took the train up every other week. In the mean time, he wrote the most amazing letters and drew delightful illustrations to each member of the family in turn.
In 1995, two of the sisters, Bertha and Louise compliled the remaining letters along with their niece/daughter Ruth. The book is entitled "Father to Daughter: The family letters of Maxwell Perkins (Andrews and McMeel, 1995). This book in particular has been the inspiration for me as I've begun a young adult novel about a summer in Windsor in 1923. I spent a delightful afternoon with Bertha's daughter, Jane and she absolutely brought the Perkins family to life for me. Here's just a sample of one of the letters Maxwell wrote to his daughters, taken from the "Summers in Windsor" chapter of the above mentioned book. I think it will give you just a little taste of the love and fun that must have existed in this family.
Tuesday, July 22,  My Darling Bert:--do write me some more nice long letters like the last one; and if you write any more of those little stories, will you send them to me? I love to read them. When I come again I will bring you the boat, and one for Peg and one for Lisbeth. Tell me what you are reading now and how you like it... Bert, some of the ladies I saw when I was up at the house had little girls;-- but they were surprised when I told them how my oldest little girl read such books as you read and wrote me letters and read my letters. I was proud. Daddy
Wednesday, August 7,  Darling Peg:-- Cousin Lawrence says you got the boats and that they sailed well. Do you think they did? Do you like them? I ask you questions because then you will write to me. It has been a rainy day here and very gloomy and all the lights are lighted in this room though it is only afternoon; and I am sitting now right under a lamp to write to you. This club is a big house full of lonely daddies who want to see their children and can't. They read newspapers and play dominoes and think about their children. Poor daddies! But if one of them gets a letter from one of his children, why he is happy and proud. Daddy
Hopefully you can take a few moments and jot down some of your favorite summer memories. We are so used to abbreviated electronic communication, it's wonderful to stumble upon an actual letter. They capture a person's heart and personality. These letters from a loving father to his daughters remind us of the importance of taking time to actually share your thoughts, memories and observations with those you care about. What a fantastic keepsake for all the Perkins descendants to have in Max's own words how much he loved his family.
Chime in with any memoirs that you think would make a great addition to our library. We are also looking to collect works edited by Max Perkins, anything about Windsor, Vermont authors and illustrators etc... Help us create a really unique experience for guests and visitors.