short reg

Hot Toast and Bacon

"Hot Toast"
By Chelsea Risley, Berry College
March 2012
While scanning Martha Berry’s letters every day, sometimes a phrase or word will grab my attention because it’s so odd or funny or important. Some time ago, I read a letter from a twelve year old girl who had sent a little bit of money to the school. She signed her letter with her name and a post script to Miss Berry that said “I hope our friendship spreads like butter on hot toast.” For some reason, that phrase has stuck with me and it makes me laugh just thinking about it. Martha Berry wrote a sweet note back to this little girl expressing her desire to continue their friendship as well.
What struck me about the whole exchange was just how personal Miss Berry was in her affairs and how approachable and friendly she must have been to have so many people write to her. I know I’ve said it before, but it still amazes me because so few people are like that. She took time to write many people that donated money personal thank you letters and even more received form letters, which must have consumed a lot of her time. I think she recognized how important it was to have personal relationships with the people she worked with and how important it was to show gratitude to her friends. I imagine that girl was pretty pleased to receive a letter from Martha Berry herself. It’s funny to think of all the little impacts we can make in people’s lives with our simple acts of kindness.


Augustus O. "Bacon"
By Kasey Haessler, Berry College
March 2012

I have been working in the Berry College archives for three years, so I have, from time to time, been in contact with the Martha Berry correspondence. I always find it thrilling to hold in my hands (or gloves) a letter written by one of Martha Berry’s more renowned friends; President Roosevelt, Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie. Dealing with the correspondence more consistently through the MBDA project, I have also been surprised by many how similarities and connections to my own life I find reflected in the letters.

For instance, this semester my Creative Non-Fiction class was assigned to read a memoir (Harry Crews, A Childhood: The Biography of Place) by a man who was raised during the 1930’s in Bacon County which is in Southern Georgia. The beginning of the memoir includes a great deal of historical background on Bacon County, and I learned that the county was formed in 1914 and named for Senator Augustus Octavious Bacon. The morning after I read this, I was at work scanning for the project when the signature “Augustus O. Bacon,” a hard name to miss, caught my eye at the bottom of a letter. It was a rather short letter commending Martha Berry for the work she was doing to help improve the state of Georgia, but I discovered it was from the very same Augustus Bacon who had served on the state Senate. I was so excited to stumble upon the letter, and I could not wait to go to class and share the discovery with my professor. Discoveries like these are part of the reason why I find working with the MBDA Project so intriguing, and they provide a reminder to just how vast a range of time, place and experience the correspondence contains.


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