Title: Letter from Kenelm H. Lewis to Emma Lewis, May 26, 1837: Electronic Edition.
Author: Lewis, Kenelm Harrison, 1816-1866
Editor: Erika Lindemann
Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Erika Lindemann and Kimberly R. Myers
Images scanned by Mara E. Dabrishus
Text encoded by Sarah Ficke
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 14K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text
The electronic edition is a part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2005-03-15, Sarah Ficke finished TEI/XML encoding.
Part of a series:
This transcribed document is part of a digital collection, titled True and Candid Compositions: The Lives and Writings of Antebellum Students in North Carolina
written by Lindemann, Erika
Title of collection: John Francis Speight Papers (#3914), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Letter from Kenelm H. Lewis to Emma Lewis, May 26, 1837
Author: Kenelm H. Lewis
Description: 3 pages, 4 page images
Note: Call number 3914 (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Topics covered:
Education/UNC Buildings and Grounds
Education/UNC Enrollments and Finances
Examples of Student Writing/Letters and Letter Writing
Social and Moral Issues/Women and Women's Roles
Editorial practices
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 5 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Transcript of the personal correspondence. Originals are in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved.
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Any hyphens occurring in line breaks have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.
Letters, words and passages marked as deleted or added in originals have been encoded accordingly.
All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as ".
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For more information about transcription and other editorial decisions, see Dr. Erika Lindemann's explanation under the section Editorial Practices.

Document Summary

Lewis gives his sister an account of his expenses and claims that trustees' statements of what an education costs are misleading.
Letter from Kenelm H. Lewis to Emma Lewis , May 26, 18371
Lewis, Kenelm Harrison, 1816-1866

Page 1
C Hill May 26. 1837

My Dear Sister .

I have been expecting to receive a letter from you, for a long time, but it appears that I was destined to be disappointed. But we are taught to bear-up with disappointments, and not to be repressed by the failure of our expectations; yet I can hardly forgive you for neglecting, to inform me of the health and conditions of those most dear to me. for But I am persuaded, as soon as this reaches you, you will give me that information so heartily desired.
But what shall I say of myself, my health, and my pursuits? You know that young persons bestow very little solicitation or reflection on their own health, having, as they think, before them almost unnumbered years, and reflecting not, on the fleetness of moments; so if I should not, at any time during the course of our correspondence, mention the state of my health, be assured that I am free from all afflictions of pain and disease. The time I have been absent from you, I hope I have not passed unprofitably, or without its' being in future a benefit at least to myself; it would almost be the hight of criminality, to look on with indifference, and without any exertions on our parts, the preparations that are made here, for our advancement in learning, and personal

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accomodation. No doubt you have seen in the report of the Executive Committee, a stattement of the various improvements which are going-on here for our convenience and comfort, Some of those statements are evidently erroneous, to be sure, the buildings are undergoing reparation, but the workmen, to use a figurative but common expression, move like snails; judging from their progress I should think it will be many years before they finish. But the misrepresentation of the Committee is more glaring in their statement of the expenses, which they put down at one hundred & twenty five dollars; now if board at eleven dollars per month for five months and a half, tuition thirty one, bed & washing ten, fuel and candles sixteen, servant hire two Literary ten, sometimes more, Stationary, travelling expenses, and pocket money make one hundred & twenty five, then they are right;2 by the by, I had to stay in Raleigh ten days when I came up, you know what I would have you infer from this, by what I have previously said. My dear Sister , this page is intended for the eye of my Father, unwilling do I trouble you with these things.3
Mention to my Father that I would be very glad to receive some money for to pay my commencement and other little expenses reluctantly do I ask this favour, & would not do it, but it is unavoidable

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necessity. I hope to be with you soon Give my love to my parents & relations, and write immediately. I should like to take a trip to the Pilate mountains4 this summer, but I cannot ask two favours in one letter.
I would write more but time presses.

Your affectionate Brother


Envelope page


1. John Francis Speight Papers, SHC. The letter is addressed "Miss Emma Lewis / Mount Prospect/ Edgecombe/ NC." The amount of postage, handwritten in the upper right corner, is "12 1/2" cents. The upper left corner shows a circular stamp, with "CHAPELHILL N.C." inside the circumference of the circle and "JUN 2" in the center.

2. Lewis' punctuation makes interpreting this list difficult. He means that he is paying $11 per month for food each term; $31 for tuition (which includes a library fee of one dollar per term); $10 for laundry and his bed in the dormitory; $16 for firewood and candles; $2 for servants who clean his room, build fires, and haul water; and at least $10 for Philanthropic Society expenses. His expenses total $129.50 per term, exclusive of incidental expenses and money to travel back and forth between the campus and his home in Edgecombe County, near present-day Rocky Mount, NC.

3. Students rarely discussed their expenses in letters addressed to women, unless the women were widows or otherwise legally responsible for a student's financial affairs.

4. Pilot Mountain in Surry County, NC, is perhaps one of the best known North Carolina landmarks; however, William S. Powell, The North Carolina Gazetteer (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1968), 382, lists nine sites by the name of Pilot Mountain, two known as Pilot Ridge, but none called "Pilate mountains." We also cannot be certain that Kenelm is referring to mountains in North Carolina.