Last week we received a delightful surprise, the 1920s-era diary of Louie Lee Berry ’25, which was donated by her grandson, Patrick Clegg. We’re extremely grateful to him and his family and also to Rachel Dvoretzky, who had the good sense to send him my way.
I guess it doesn’t look like much from the outside:
Inside, though, this little journal is almost impossibly rich. Each page recounts in vivid detail exactly what it says on the cover–her dates! She went on a lot of them, with a lot of different boys and to a wide variety of places and events–movies, theaters, picnics, club meetings, dinners, beach trips, just riding in cars, and lots and lots of church. (This, I suppose, is what you do when you don’t have television.) I was only a little surprised that I recognized so many of the young men she spent time with, most of whom were also Rice students.
Here’s a small sample of the kind of thing she has to say, taken from a single week during the summer of 1924 when she was seeing a lot of a fellow named Ewing Werlein (who I take to be the future father of U.S. District Court judge Ewing Werlein, Jr.):
It goes on like this for about three years. It’s probably just a coincidence that her engagement and marriage to Melville Miller are recorded just as she runs out of space in the book:
Bonus: I haven’t read all of it yet but I’ve read enough to know that I like her. Which makes things much easier.