Patricia’s Picks June 2020

Letter, Jack Bentley to His Mother, October 28, 1918

Letter, 1997.0005.0379

If you love history, then you will enjoy reading about a local Sandy Spring hero—Jack Bentley.  His letters (and there are many) tell of his travels and experiences during WWI.  If you want to read primary documents, then the letters from Jack Bentley to his mother will keep your interest, to say the least.  Within the pages of his various letters, you capture a glimpse into the life of a WWI soldier.

Letter, Jack Bentley to His Mother, September 18, 1918

Letter, 1997.0005.0396

This letter is a fascinating first-hand account written by Jack Bentley to his mother describing German planes opening fire on his unit, dated September 18, 1918.  This primary document is one of many in the Bentley collection.


John Caleb Bentley Copybook, 1865

Copybook, 1997.0005.0028

Fifteen-year-old John Caleb Bentley’s copybook will astonish you with not only the detailed complexities of his equations but also the eloquence of his penmanship.  As a bonus, John has a habit of doodling in the margins, which gives you a little insight into what a teenager in 1865 thinks about while in school.



Diary:  Ellen Stabler, 1860

Diary, 2001.0019.0002

Ellen Stabler was born in 1834 and lived until 1924.  The diary entry I chose was written in 1860 when Ellen was 26 years old.  Ellen writes of the daily comings and goings of her family and friends in Sandy Spring’s tight-knit Quaker community.  It’s hard to imagine how Ellen could get anything done with her full social schedule.

On this page, she writes that her mother and father went to Dr. Howards and Lucy is dining at Phil’s.  She went to Uncle Samuels’ and the next day they went sleigh riding then returned home from Cherry Groove just in time for a meeting.  After the meeting, Debbie dined at the home in Auburn.  The next day Lucy, William, Louis, Debbie, and Ellen went to the cottage in the afternoon and brought Debbie to Phil’s after supper to meet her father.  At which point, Joe dined at the Millers’ and brought Fred home with him to supper and went to Phil’s after supper!  All of this in 1860 – no cars!