Collection: Community Contributions

Author: (Friedrich) Wilhelm Voos

Recipient: Amalia Gerhardt (Voos)

Description: Letter written by (Friedrich) Wilhelm Voos to his stepmother, Amalia Voos, and other relatives, including his half-sister Bertha, on March 31, 1895. The letter shares the news of the birth of Amalie Johanne Voos, the second daughter of Friedrich Wilhelm Voos and his wife Lise Uhlmann (Voos).

Wilhelm Voos to Amalia Voos, March 31, 1895

English Text

Xalapa, State of Veracruz, [Mexico]

31 March 1895

Dear Mother, Bertha and Luise, dear Georg!

This past night at 1:45 a.m., Else gave birth to a healthy little girl. Luckily, it is easy to take on the responsibility of birth assistant for Else. We went to bed at 9 o’clock, after taking our usual evening walk. At 9:30, the first, weak contractions started. I have to add that her water had broken on the previous evening, but nothing worth noting had happened during the following day. The early loss of the amniotic fluid had me worried, because in my experience this often leads to a birth process that is slow, with difficult labor, and in the case of an abnormal position of the fetus, not without risk. Luckily, the fetus was in first [anterior] position, which is good, the head quite large; so, following my examination, I was expecting a slow birth.

At about 11 o’clock, strong contractions began. Around 1 o’clock, the head crowned, and at 1:45 the new citizen of the world had arrived. In her rush, she caused a second-degree perineal tear. Despite Else’s protests – she understandably has great fear of my surgical procedures – I sutured the wound this morning.

Our little girl, Amalie Johanne, is a much bigger, stronger child than Mathilde was at the time. She has, as Else reports, dark blue eyes, large hands, and small feet, and otherwise looks like me. She took to breastfeeding willingly, is very quiet, and seems content.

Mathilde is full of joy about the little “Nene”, as the Spaniards here call a baby, and showers her with affection. It was Mathilde who gave the baby the first kiss, without even being prompted. M. wants to sit on the bed next to her, and tells everyone she sees that Mommy has a Nene, and invites them to admire the baby.

Else is doing well under the circumstances. She says the birth was twice as difficult as her first, although she looks great and not as if she had suffered.

I am grateful that everything went so smoothly, and also that we had a girl. I might have preferred a boy, but actually – except for the propagation of the family – I prefer daughters. In my experience, they tend to bring more joy to the parents, are of more help in the home, and express more affection and loyalty than boys do.

As soon as Else’s condition improves, I will travel to Tlaxcala Puebla, Onxaca, where I have work waiting. I will return after two weeks, and stay with Else and the family, with only occasional interruption from travel, until July. In August, I will travel through Mexico to the United States – with the family, of course – and in September embark on our journey back to Germany. That’s our plan. I am eagerly anticipating Georg’s letter, as well as news on Bertha’s approaching delivery. I wish for her to have an easy birth, as I am certain Else does as well.

The most heartfelt greetings to you, dear Mother, dear Bertha, dear Louise, and dear Georg. Again, our best wishes for Bertha’s delivery.

With Love, Wilhelm, Else, and Family!

Original text