UMass Amherst
William Penn Brooks in Hokkaido

William Penn Brooks letters, 1885 August-1895

Date: 1885 August 25download pdf
Writer: Brooks, William Penn
Recipient: To Rebecca Brooks
Place: Sapporo, Japan
Description: Gets pictures taken of himself and Rae in Hakodate, but they come out horrible because Rae "behaved like midget, wouldn't stay still one secondů" Gives strict instructions on the dispersal of the photos, as "I don't want such photos widely seen as representing a child of mine." He and Eva go to Hakodate for dental work. Good description of travel within Japan. The "Hakodate ladies," Miss Hampton and Miss Hamisfar, come to visit them for a few days, and the house is very crowded, as the Batchelors are also staying, Mr. B for his health. "There have been more foreigners here this summer than everů" including a Yankee setting up milling machiens in Japan under contract.

Date: 1885 October 11download pdf
Writer: Brooks, William Penn
Recipient: To Rebecca Brooks
Place: Sapporo, Japan
Description: Beautiful description of the area around Brook's house. Also says that since the mail flow has been temporarily broken between America and Japan, their mail has been coming via Europe instead. Seems to be trouble between steamer companies and possibly between politicians. Brooks is excited about Rebecca's interest in botany and vows to support her, buying whatever books on the subject she desires. Encourages her to pursue it, that she might soon be able to become a teacher in a high or boarding school.

Date: 1886 January 24download pdf
Writer: Brooks, William Penn
Recipient: To Rebecca Brooks
Place: Sapporo, Japan
Description: The Stockbridges lose their five-day old baby. Interesting discussion of late 19th century Christian religion that arises regarding the funeral of the little boy (for whom a Japanese Christian graduate of the college performs a service, followed by the service of a French Catholic priest).

Date: 1886 August 22download pdf
Writer: Brooks, William Penn
Recipient: To Rebecca Brooks
Place: Sapporo, Japan
Description: Brooks has an eye ailment that has prevented him from writing or reading much. In April he was appointed President and Interim of the College and also accepted the position of an advisoryship to the Hokkaido government concerning agriculture. Family having some health concerns. Hottest summer Brooks has experienced in Japan; his crops are well, especially grain, but there have been some thefts from his farm. Chlorea plagues the country, especially in regions south of Hokkaido. Mr. Miyabi, a graduate of the university will be going to the States to study botany at Harvard. Incomplete

Date: 1887 January 09download pdf
Writer: Brooks, William Penn
Recipient: To Rebecca Brooks
Place: Sapporo, Japan
Description: Brooks still healing his eyes; Eva and Rae are away on a shopping/visiting/vacationing spree---good descriptions of travel and sociability in late 19th century Japan; they go by steamer, by sleigh, and by carriages and are entertained with feasts. Description of the island and of Hakodate road, and of regions of pasture land. Says that staying in Japanese hotels are the hardest part of traveling in Japan, since they have no stoves but only hibachis, or charcoal-boxes to heat up individual rooms. Mrs. Stockbridge has given birth to a new baby boy. Uncle Volney has died.

Date: 1888 January 22download pdf
Writer: Brooks, William Penn
Recipient: To Rebecca Brooks
Place: Sapporo, Japan
Description: Rebecca sick. Sentimental letter concerning Brooks' feelings of indebtedness to his sisters (it seems like he is the youngest child). Eva is pregnant again, due in August.

Date: 1888 April 09download pdf
Writer: Sapporo Agricultural College. Junior Class
Recipient: To William Penn Brooks
Place: Sapporo, Japan
Description: Suggestions for improving agricultural experimentation at the college.

Date: 1888 July 01download pdf
Writer: Brooks, William Penn
Recipient: To Rebecca Brooks
Place: Sapporo, Japan
Description: Brooks has accepted a position in Amherst, but knows that it will be hard to leave Sapporo. Though Amherst offers him less money and no house, Brooks writes that the affinity for old friends draws himself and Eva to America ("I think neither of us care much for the so called "advantages of civilization:" there are too many attendant disadvantages"). Cautions Rebecca not to get overtired. Brooks expects to arrive by mid-December.

Date: 1888 August 26download pdf
Writer: Brooks, William Penn
Recipient: To Rebecca Brooks
Place: Sapporo, Japan
Description: Eva has given birth to a son six days before, and both parents agree to give him a Japanese name "if we can find one which would not be too outlandish to the American ear."

Date: 1888 December 22download pdf
Writer: Brooks, William Penn
Recipient: To Martha and Rebecca
Place: Revere, Massachusetts
Description: Stays in Revere because the weather and the wind are too much for the baby (1 degree) to be outside too much, and all the Greenbus trains are either too early or too late. Baby had a little difficultly with the journey and the change in daily routine. Brooks likes his new house, but also finds it a bit large. Looks forward to Rebecca moving in. One of his duties at Mass. Aggie will be oversight of the Experiment Station. He also meets with President Goodell and visits the elder Stockbridges, whose son and family have just arrived from Japan.

Date: 1888 December 24download pdf
Writer: Brooks, William Penn
Recipient: To Martha and Rebecca
Place: Revere, Massachusetts
Description: Christmas dealings; Brooks says he will not travel with the baby still recovering from its cold.

Date: 1889 January 13download pdf
Writer: Brooks, William Penn
Recipient: To Rebecca Brooks
Place: Amherst, Massachusetts
Description: Brooks, Eva and Rae attend a wedding near Boston, and travel by a combination of train and "hacks". On the way home Brooks misses his train because of a drawbridge raising. Hack: slang for a hackney carriage, or in this time a horse and carriage with a driver and operated like a modern-day taxi cab.

Date: 1889 March 17download pdf
Writer: Brooks, William Penn
Recipient: To Rebecca Brooks
Place: Amherst, Massachusetts
Description: Goes to Washington to attend a conference of "workers in Experiment Stations." Then goes to Boston to take care of some business regarding some boxes from Japan. A customs official comes to Amherst shortly thereafter and drops the packages off. Will give a lecture in Hadley about farming in Japan.

Date: 1889 March 27download pdf
Writer: Brooks, William Penn
Recipient: To Martha and Rebecca Brooks
Place: Amherst, Massachusetts
Description: Plans a trip to Revere with his family, should the weather be all right. Asks them to arrange to have a "closed carriage and a good horse to meet us."

Date: 1889 April 07download pdf
Writer: Brooks, William Penn
Recipient: To Rebecca Brooks
Place: Amherst, Massachusetts
Description: The boy is named Sumner. Excellent description of travel in New England, especially to cities, and perhaps the custom of writing back those you visited when you got safely home?

Date: 1889 April 22download pdf
Writer: Brooks, William Penn
Recipient: To Rebecca Brooks
Place: Amherst, Massachusetts
Description: Attends the funeral of a mutual friend/acquaintance.

Date: 1890 September 22download pdf
Writer: Brooks, William Penn
Recipient: To Martha and Rebecca Brooks
Place: Amherst, Massachusetts
Description: Brooks returns from vacation on the shore and thanks his sisters for housesitting. Talks about his hens and their egg-production. Also concerned about Rebecca's health and livelihood and wants her to come and live with his family. Discussses his children's development.

Date: 1890 October 02download pdf
Writer: Brooks, William Penn
Recipient: To Martha and Rebecca Brooks
Place: Amherst, Massachusetts
Description: Monetary compensations.(On Massachusetts Agricultural College stationary)

Date: 1891 May 04download pdf
Writer: Brooks, William Penn
Recipient: To Martha and Rebecca Brooks
Place: Amherst, Massachusetts
Description: Brooks has one hundred chickens!(Also written on M. A. C. paper)

Date: 1891 October 12download pdf
Writer: Brooks, William Penn
Recipient: To Martha and Rebecca Brooks
Place: Amherst, Massachusetts
Description: Talks about how his sisters can redeem their bills at either the National Bank or the U.S. Sub Treasury in Boston.(written on M. A. C., Office of the Professor of Agriculture stationary).

Date: 1894 December 13download pdf
Writer: Brooks, William Penn
Recipient: To Martha and Rebecca Brooks
Place: Amherst, Massachusetts
Description: Brooks acts as an investor for his sisters.(written on M. A. C., Office of the Professor of Agriculture stationary).

Date: 1895 March 11download pdf
Writer: Brooks, William Penn
Recipient: To Martha and Rebecca Brooks
Place: Amherst, Massachusetts
Description: Intending to set eggs in an incubator and raise a hundred new Plymouth Rock chickens.

Date: 1895 December 01download pdf
Writer: Brooks, William Penn
Recipient: To Martha and Rebecca Brooks
Place: Amherst, Massachusetts
Description: Brooks is preparing to file a complaint against a man who unlawfully cut some of his woods down.

Date: Friday Morningdownload pdf
Writer: Eva Brooks
Recipient: "Dear Sisters"
Place: Sapporo, Japan
Description: Evan complains about the cook letting her do all the kitchenwork, "under the plea of his wife's sickness," and also that while the family is materially comfortable, they "want ideas more than anything else" and suffer from a lack of intellectual and social stimulation.

Date: undated and missing first page(s)download pdf
Writer: Brooks, William Penn
Recipient: To Rebecca Brooks
Place:
Description: Relates that a student broke into the farm office, stole six-hundred and seventy-eight yen, and invited other students to come with him and enjoy the prostitution houses. Brooks writes that Investigation and punishment is underway. Meanwhile, he has agreed to head a program teaching students of the common schools of Sapporo in "practical agriculture"; also urges his sister and his other correspondents to write more frequently and at greater length.

 

William Penn Brooks in Hokkaido:
 
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