A Letter from Ollie L. Powers

According to the postmark on the envelope, this letter was mailed March 4, 1927. Although the stationery is for The Annex Hotel in St. Louis, Ollie has crossed out St. Louis and written Gary, Ind. instead. This letter was written to Inez Pearl Shaw, his wife Jeanette's sister, in Detroit. Below the letter is my understanding of the text.

Image of page one of letter by OLP image of page two of letter by OLP

Gary Ind.

Dear Iney

    Just a line to let you know that I arrived safe and feeling much better. I got a telegram from Jeanette and they arrived safe but she was not feeling very well. Well old dear I sure enjoyed my self while at your house, and if you ever make up your mind to visit New York you know the doors are open to you and your friend. Tell Smithy I said I still have some gin left. This would be a nice place for your and your Dady [sic] to live because there is lots of work here. There ain’t a good place to stop at. [??] It is just like spring down here. Well honey I will have to close as it is time for me to go on the stage. Now old kid drop a fellow a line. I will play Hammiond [sic] Ind Mar 10 and 13th I will be in Flint Mich at the Palace Theatre. be sweet and give Smithy my regards and lots of love to you.

    Ollie Powers

    of Brooks & Powers  Hammiond Ind

    Orpheum Vaudville.


His distinctive spelling of Hammond, IN, with an “i” in it appears twice, and there is no other obvious explanation for the dot that is clearly above the word both times. A strict reading would also note that by the end of the second “M” in each of the occurrences, he wound up with one stroke too few, making it “Hamniond.”

“Jeanette” was of course his wife (my grandmother), and “they arrived safe” most likely referred to Jeanette and her son Ollie M. (my dad)!
“Smithy” could conceivably be Harrison Smith, the manager, promoter, and songwriter, who is quoted in his reminiscences in the Bibliographical References.

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