1899-1907. Ephemera. The collection of 9 letters are from the children of Harry and Rose Selfridge to Katherine Paulus [1881-1944], their governess, and 2 related to her becoming the governess dated around 1899, the letters are supplemented by a magnificent large gelatin silver studio portrait of the family.
Harry Selfridge is renowned for opening a new style of retail department store, called 'Selfridge and Company' in London in 1909. The man and store were recently popularized in the BBC drama, "Mr. Selfridge". Harry married Rosalie Buckingham in 1890, and they had 4 children: Rosalie b. 1893, Violette b. 1897, Harry Gordon b.1900, Beatrice b. 1901.
It seems Katherine worked for them from 1899 to sometime before August 1902. The letters dated 1902 and after are from Rosalie and Violette to 'Kay' or 'Katherine', and those with envelopes are addressed to Newton, Kansas.
The children express much affection for Kay, "Do you see my morning (sic) around the page (black outlines on page edges) well, I am morning for you & sisters..." August 1902; and often sign their letters, 'From your best friend Rosalie' and 'your little blossom Violette'. The children wrote from the Selfridge's various addresses during travel, the Lake Shore Drive Chicago home, the Lake Geneva Wisconsin home, and Foots Cray in Kent England.
There are two letters from Sophie Kunz to Katherine, one dated 1899. Kunz is possibly a family friend to Mme. Selfridge (Harry's mother) who seems to have referred Katherine as governess, "Although I have been wondering if your communication with Mrs. Selfridge had come to anything, it was rather startling to learn from Mme. Selfridge's letter this morning that you had actually arrived in Chicago."
9 ALS letters, handwritten, 2 pages of poetry, 4 photographs - 2 of Rosalie aged 9 and approx. age 4, and 1 of Violette aged 5 in 1902; one albumen family photo of Mrs. Selfridge and her 4 children 7 3/4 x 9 3/4" mounted on card 11 x 14" with an inscription to Katherine and dated Chicago May 1902 on verso. Photos lightly rubbed but very clean, board edges of large photo bumped. Letters are folded, some adorned with drawings, or 'kisses', 2 with envelopes, one including a postcard dated 1902 from the Thousand Islands within the envelope. Good + overall. Item #23615