Wylie House Museum
Bringing History Home
307 E. 2nd St. (2nd & Lincoln)
About Wylie House
Edited by Bonnie Williams and Elaine Herold, 1994
Wylie House Museum
Andrew Wylie came from Washington County, Pennsylvania to Bloomington in 1829 as the first president of Indiana College. The administration and faculty of this fledgling college in the western wilderness then totalled three, including Wylie, with a student body of forty. Wylie brought with him his wife Margaret and their growing family, which eventually numbered twelve children. They rented a house for several years until their red brick mansion, which we call Wylie House, was built in 1835.
As the family grew, traveled, and scattered, the letters flowed -- loving notes from Andrew to his wife Margaret, touching exchanges between father and son John, amusing anecdotes from Sam, newsy ramblings from Liz and Anderson, missionary epistles from Maggie, and interesting items from Andrew Jr., Irene, and Jane. As the title of this compilation suggests, these are primarily personal letters. We have included a few from professional colleagues where they directly relate to the Wylies' family life, but for the most part the business of the University remains on the periphery.
In preparing these transcriptions for the public, we have, with a very few exceptions, maintained the spelling, punctuation, and capitalization of the original letters. The exceptions include instances in which a word is misspelled which the writer normally spells correctly (in which case we have silently corrected it), or in which the writer has accidentally written a word twice (in which case we have silently omitted it).
We urge you not to be dismayed when you come upon nonstandard spellings and spacings in the letters, but rather to appreciate them as a feature of their times, and as aspects of the individuality and character of the writers. Note, for instance, that "affectionately" is commonly abbreviated to "affecty" in letter closings. Take for another example Elizabeth Wylie's letters, which are nearly devoid of punctuation--admittedly a point of comment and complaint from her correspondents! Although they present something of a challenge to the modern reader, we felt that to punctuate Liz's letters for her would make them less expressive of her style and personality, so we have left them as she wrote them, and have treated all the letters in this collection with the same respect.
To further assist you, we have added a line in italics before each letter identifying the writer, the addressee, and where it was sent, as this information is not always clear from the letter itself. You will notice that many letters also have the name of the addressee at the end of the letter at the left-hand margin, a common element in period letters.
We thank Dr. Wendy Gamber of the Indiana University History Department for providing an introduction which helps to place the correspondence in a broader social and historical context. Dr. Gamber's insights into the themes revealed in the letters will enrich your reading of them.
The complete transcriptions of all 163 letters, with genealogy and other supplements, is available from Wylie House Museum for $17, which includes the shipping and handling. Ask for "Affectionately Yours, Vol. I," and make check payable to Wylie House Museum. A second volume of letters from 1860 through 1918 is also available for $15. If both volumes are purchased together, the cost is $30.
If you wish to study the Wylie family letters in the original, visit the Indiana University Archives in Bryan Hall, Room 201. The Archives are open to the general public Monday through Friday from 8 am to noon and 1 to 5 pm. Phone (812) 855-1127.
We also encourage you to visit Wylie House Museum, located at 307 E. 2nd Street, the corner of 2nd and Lincoln, in Bloomington, Indiana. The museum is open for free guided tours Tuesday through Saturday from 10 to 2 pm, March through November, and at other times by appointment. Call (812) 855-6224 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.