Letters from Craigie Gunn Mitchell
Our Archives has numerous pieces of correspondence from graduates of the Academy, the predecessor of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. Craigie Gunn Mitchell is one such alumna who has a plethora of letters that have been saved in our Archives. Craigie, of Bedford, Ind., was born in 1854 and attended the Academy from 1868 to 1872. She served as president of the college alumnae board for many years. Just to give you a little historical perspective, Craigie was born before Saint Mother Theodore Guerin died (May 14, 1856) and she lived during the years of the Civil War (1861-1865). Now that we have that perspective, let’s turn our attention to the letter at right.
On Aug. 25, 1935, Craigie, writing from Somerset, England, penned a letter to Mary (Sister Marie Grace Molloy, a volunteer in Archives, and I believe this to be Mary McNutt, who was also an alumna). Craigie wrote:
“One month from today I will be somewhere on the Atlantic, homeward bound. I had my Italian passports before I left home, and thought, if at the time of my return I was free enough from rheumatic twinges, that I might go over to Rome for ten days and sail from Naples. But not now, with all this trouble brewing, and war talk of Europeans and British African interests to be protected against Mussolini’s arousing race and tribal menace. I was here in August 1914 — and think my little corner of Indiana more desirable than elsewhere, if Italy continues her preparations against Abyssinian.”
“The news from Europe continues alarming. When you have but one grandson, and he is exactly the age to be called in the event of war, you can only try to imagine what it all means to me. John has been a 1st Lieutenant in the Yeomanry for two years. It is an organization between our militia and regular army, subject to call in case of war. He is a 1st Lieutenant — the higher ups being regular Army men & older. All of which is no consolation to me, for German guns do not respect youth nor age, nor anything else.”
Craigie Gunn Mitchell, who is pictured at left on her 85th birthday in 1939, died in 1945.