HOMER, LOUISE. (1871-1947). American contralto. ALS. (“your niece Louise”). In pencil. 2 1/3pp. On a single folded sheet of ruled paper. Shady Side, December 26, 1879. Written at age eight to her aunt. Her childish spelling, punctuation, and usage have not been corrected.
“I was so much delighted with the presents you and uncle sent me. they were the very things I wanted only the bag was too nice to use. I want too tell you the things I got on xmas papa gave me a lovely doll just like the one you gave me last xmas and a Cradle with it, and Mama gave me a lovely red silk [here, she has drawn a smiling face] handkerchief and Allie a box of writing paper. and Mrs. Dilworth gave me a book. and Miss Mame Renshay gave Ella and I a book. and Bessie gave me a brass and chain. and breast-pin. for the doll papa gave me we wont give you up this winter so do come as soon as you can. good bye.”
After moving to Paris with her new husband, the American composer Sidney Homer, Louise debuted at Vichy in 1898, and the following year appeared at Covent Garden. Her successful American career included twenty-nine years (1900-1929) with New York’s Metropolitan Opera, where she became known for her masterly interpretations of Wagner. Homer is also remembered for her excellent concert and oratorio work, and for recordings with Caruso, Martinelli, and Gigli. Enclosed, with two locks of her hair, in a 1911 letter from her mother, on whose envelope the adult Louise has written in pencil, “special letter of mine & hair.” Fine.