To Julia Finney and Angelina Atkinson

25 December 1852


[MS in Finney Papers, Supplement # 38. The signature from this letter may have been used under the engraving in the article in the National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 2 (New York: James White, 1921), p. 462. Extracts from this letter were published in Frances J. Hosford, "Finney and His Children" in The Oberlin Alumni Magazine, Vol. 30 (July 1934), pp. 299-300.]


Syracuse 25. Dec 1852.

Dear Daughters.

I wish you a happy Christmas

We yesterday recd a letter from Helen & she said

she had recd a precious one from each of you.

She says Julias has a little dash of discouragement

in it. Dear Julia I hope you do not allow yourself

to droop in despondency. What is the matter my precious

daughter? Do your eyes threaten & trouble you so much that

you fear that you shall not be able to finish your studies.

Dont strain them at all for a year or two. Dont read

any by candle light. you will get along if you

favor them as you ought for a time. But this you

must do. As to your taking more music lessons you

can judge better than I can. If you dont need

lessons just remain where you are & practice & improve

as much as you can without at all injuring your sight.

If you find study hurts your eyes drop your studies

[ ] take one or more studies &

[ effect] your sight do so. But Dear Julia

I beg of you not to disregard this advice & trespass upon

the weak state of your eyes. Rest is what they need, & due

attention to diet especially abstention from butter

gravies & stimulants of all kinds. But keep up your

cheerfulness. Nothing will injure your eyes more than sadness

& weeping. Be cheerful in God. Leave all with him. Be

careful & prudent & then leave events with God in

entire cheerfulness. We don't know how long we shall be

here. The work of the Lord is extending. I sent the money to

[page 2]

Mrs. Brewster through Hobart. She has recd it before now I

presume. We had a pleasant but short visit with him.

Have you ever had Dr. Mathews or any other Physician

examine your eyes & give you any advice. I wish you

would consult some one & write me what they say.

Hobart will take you to the most skilful one in such

matters. Your Mother is now better than she has been for

a long time. Her appetite has returned again & her digesti

on seems to be good. She goes to meeting as usual without

apparent injury. Helen thinks your letters were excellent

Helen says Julia's letter was ful[l] of Ange, & that

Anges letter was one of the very best. So you all think

well of each other & we are most happy to have it so.

May the Lord bless you all forever. Do write us often

Your letters are refreshing to us. Just think we are

away from all our children whom we used to have around

us & filling our ears & our hearts with their loved voices

& their smiles. Do write us very very often.

And may the God of peace be with you & bless you

Love to the dear family where you are.

Your affectionate Father

[ signature cut out ]


[The following is added in Elizabeth Finney's handwriting]


Dear Children

I had intended writing a long letter

this morning but Father has anticipated much that

I wished to say and I know you will enjoy a letter from

me the next week better than for me to write a long one

now - Your love for each other is to me very delightful

I hope Ange is considerate of Julia's comfort in every way

and Julia I hope you will not too much lay to heart

the trouble with your eyes - I know it is trying, and

you require faith and patience to bear it well - Your delay

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in your studies is not of any material consequence - You

will only be the older in finishing your course and I think

the benefit of studying after your mind becomes mature

will be all the better for you - I have half a mind to

come out and see you for a day or two - if best I will

Your music I would continue to study if you think

you improve under Mr Wilsons teaching

I have found much comfort in your letters write

as often as you can - and ever believe me your own

affectionate Mother E A Finney

A Happy christmas to you all


The words music lessons are underlined in pencil, probably by Julia Finney.

The signature on the next page was cut out, removing part of the text here.

The word Hobart is underlined in pencil, probably by Julia Finney.