Collection: Raster Family Letters

Author: Hermann Raster

Recipient: Sophie Raster

Description: Letter from Hermann Raster to his sister, Sophie Raster, January 5, 1868.

Hermann Raster to Sophie Raster, January 5, 1868

English Text

Chicago, 5. January, 1868

Dear Sister,

Happy New Year! I trust the past year gave you all the things you wanted from it and I wish that the new year would fulfill all your wishes and hopes.

Almost six months have passed since I settled in Chicago, and I have become almost as comfortable here as formerly New York, or rather Brookyln. A few small things which we had are still lacking, especially a small garden. Otherwise everything is better than we expected, particularly h climate which we find agrees with us. My wife was under a doctor’s care in October and beginning of November, but this time (the first time in years) with good results. She was in New York the last week in November and the first week of December, had a very good time while there, and feels much better here in Chicago since she has found how easy it is to get back to N.Y. if she should get homesick. Both she and I are getting positively fat, so that she, much to her distress, discovered that she would have to have her two best silk dressed altered because she couldn’t get the waists hooked up. Even hard work to get Christmas presents ready didn’t help her lose weight.

You will learn from Mathilde’s letter to Marie that our Christmas was a happy one. I wish you could have all been here with us. Our only complaint is that our house here, as in Brooklyn isn’t full enough with family. We have a house in which three large rooms are completely empty. I do not wish to have renters, though I could have them by the dozen: but guests I would like to have.

I have plenty of work, but (the hours) are more conveniently dispersed. I can be home at noon, which was not possible in New York, and I spend only one evening in the week on my correspondence for the Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung. The Berlin Nationalzeitung wanted me to resume articles for them: I didn’t to do this, because I do not need the additional income and prefer to have more free time from my home comforts. I ended the year financially in good shape. My income in 1867 (including several hundred dollars realized in Brooklyn from the sale of furniture: 4376- ¾ dollars). This was greater than the expenses (inclusive of the move and furnishings for the Chicago house: 4296 ½ dollars)-leaving me with a profit of 80 ½ dollars, so that I was able to cover the entire cost of moving and furnishing in one year. Since I have ? 2000 dollars since the 1st of July 1986 I have decided to use my entire cash income of approximately 4000 for my household, so that I won’t have to deny my family things they would like to have. In fact so far as creature comforts can make people happy, we are so happy, that I sometimes have to think of the ring of Polycrates. Meanwhile we eat well, drink well, sleep well, are healthy and have 100 dollars left-what else could we wish for. Yes, we wish that we could have you here; also my wife’s brother, who lives in Zurich in straitened circumstances. Otherwise everything is fine.

Best regards to my brother-in-law and Marie,
Your faithful brother,
H. Raster