W is for Wedding

My grandparents - Albert B. Cleage & Pearl D. Reed in 1909.
My grandparents – Albert B. Cleage & Pearl D. Reed in 1909.


My dear Pearl,

The contents of your letter were very carefully noted and I shall endeavor to answer it in detail. Am sorry that such a letter was necessary but you did perfectly right in asking the questions you did, I had no idea that such thoughts were troubling your mind. You must forgive me dear for mistakes oversights etc. – I have never attempted anything like this before, – I realize now that I have taken too much for granted and have not talked with you over the matter as perhaps I should have done. Now don’t get from what I say that I do not realize the seriousness of what I am about to do – my responsibilities etc.- You know I spoke to you sometime ago about not staying with Gertrude and I thought I go from your reply that it did not matter much about where we stayed and neither was I very choisey about places, just so I could be with you knowing that in time we would be somewhere. Since we did not want our marrying to be general gossip I have refrained for a time asking the people whom I had in mind about rooming. However this morning I talked the matter over with Gertrude and she is more than willing – is rather anxious to have you live with her – and I convinced that it will be just about as congenial a place as will be possible for you to stay now, if agreeable to you, you may plan to live at 910 Lafayette – We’ll talk it all over. – again – you may plan definitely on going to visit my mother.

You ask about a wedding ring- I believe it is the conventional thing, in conventional weddings. – not by any means in my mind, a necessity.

Do you distinguish between an engagement ring and a wedding ring? I confess that I have never thought of an engagement ring for I thought you want that kept quiet – I had planned giving you a wedding ring after the wedding – but sweetheart it makes no difference to me. If you prefer it before or after you may have your choice. You must tell me all of this when I see you and anything else you must feel free to talk to me about, just as a wife talks to her husband- Now I hope everything is clear.

10 We shall live at 910 Lafayette (if you are willing)

2) We shall go to Athens, Tenn., on a honeymoon.

3) We shall have a ring – when you desire it.

Will let you know when you are to ? meeting when I see you Sunday. Hope you will get to come to choir practice. Your Albert


“In the presence of relatives and immediate friends of the two families Dr. Albert B. Cleage, Interne at the City Dispensary and Miss Pearl D. Reed, 1730 Kenwood avenue, were married at noon Thursday.  The Rev. D.F. White of the Witherspoon United Presbyterian church officiated.  Immediately after the cremony Dr. and Mrs. Cleage left on their wedding tour, during which they will visit the Appalachian Exposition at Knoxville, Tenn., and points farther south.”


21 thoughts on “W is for Wedding

  1. What treasures to have! What a snapshot into this moment in their lives this letter and article are. I like the part when he says “We shall have a ring – when you desire it.” Thank you for sharing these.

    1. I only wish I had them! Don’t know if they were in another box and got thrown out in the moving or if he (gulp) didn’t save them. Maybe they’ll turn up one day.

  2. The formal language in the letter is so interesting. You must treasure those originals.

  3. Truly amazing treasures to have! I wish my grandparents had saved more of their correspondence. Unfortunately they were not as sentimental as I am.

    1. I think there was some confusion about what was supposed to happen, more than a tiff. If there was, she did forgive him.

  4. You are so fortunate to have so many “family gems”. I have enjoyed reading your blog for about a year now and I am “blown away” by your ability and the quality of the family material that you have at hand. Your writing ability is truly a gift, your organizational skills are the envy of people like me. Continue the good stuff.

  5. All the formalities of the Day were very present. ABC was making it clear as often men do that forget to be precise about such things. I wonder what they have from Tennessee. What a postcard!

    1. Albert’s mother lived in Athen’s TN and I’m sure a good part of their trip was a trip to Athens to see her and other family.

  6. I find myself wanting to more and more! Do you know how your grandfather convinced Pearl’s mother to accept him or she came to like him on her own as time went by? Have you ever posted a wedding picture of your grandparents on the blog?

    1. I don’t think he ever convinced her mother, I think he convinced Pearl and her mother gave in because she knew she could not stop her. Her mother died several months after they were married. I don’t think a wedding photo exists, unfortunately. If it did, I would have one and would have posted it!

  7. Hello Kristin!
    I thought I left a comment before, but if I did not, I just wanted to let you know again how great this blog is to someone like me who has little in the way of documentation of my own heritage. The fact that you can do this for your family is short of remarkable! I hope you do not take offense, but I really believe that these letters and the story of your family would make an excellent film. I would love to visually see the story of your grandparents play out before our very eyes. However, no cinema would do the eloquent words of your grandfather justice. I commend you for the excellent work you have done and hope that you receive the acknowledgement that you deserve for putting this together!

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