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“What shall we name the baby?" From family suggestions to a 21st birthday letter from dad.

We recently found a little booklet titled “Baby Days.” The printed heading of one of the first pages is the title of this blog. Bertha Mather could have been ‘Grace,’ her mother’s suggestion. Grace, her aunt-to-be, suggested ‘Sarah Jane’ and ‘Deborah’ was proposed by her uncle-to-be, Harry Floy. ‘Bertha’ was the choice of her maternal grandmother, and of her father, Stephen Mather, and ‘Bertha’ it was.


Like so many baby books, entries trail off after the first lock of hair and baby’s footprint. No record of first step, first word, or first tooth.


However, inside the book is a letter mailed from San Francisco on August 4, 1927 addressed to “Miss Bertha Mather, Darien, Connecticut, To be opened August 10th.” Inside is an eight-page letter written by Stephen Mather to Bertha on her 21st birthday. A brief excerpt…


“…It only seems the other day when we used to see you leaning over the tulips with your cute little sunbonnet at the age of three or less out at 5638. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons I hate to see our old home in Chicago disappear. It has been associated so closely with you ever since your babyhood. Of course, that is true too of the old homestead in Darien and I can see we are all going to get more enjoyment out of the place since we have made it over.”


And he closes…


“…Lots and lots of love and much too with motherwhose watchful care all these years has helped you develop into the level-headed girl who is just stepping over the threshold of 21.

Your affectionate father, Stephen T. Mather.”



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