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  Anne Sullivan Macy: Miracle Worker

Portrait of Anne Sullivan Macy: Miracle Worker

Anne's Letter to Eleanor Hutton (March 22, 1905)

Wrentham, March 22, 1905.

My dear Mrs. Hutton,

This is to be a business letter. I have left Helen the pleasure of telling you the news, and judging from the clicking of her typewriter she has a good budget this time.

We are to be married a good deal sooner than we expected when we announced our engagement. Mr. Macy's affairs are such that we can be married in May. As the time draws near for me to enter new legal relations, I feel that I ought to make a statement of Helen's and my affairs and suggest a plan for the management of her income in the future. If there is any point that you do not approve, will you kindly tell me how I ought to change it? And will you also kindly let Mr. Rogers see my letter?

If I had always been a good business woman, I should now be able to make a more satisfactory accounting of my stewardship. Had I kept all the accounts I ought to have kept, and written all the letters I ought to have written, I should at this moment feel very good and very happy; but I much doubt if I should have accomplished anything else. I have shirked business affairs as much as possible. I hate the very thought of addition and subtraction, and whenever I try to fathom the mysteries of my accounts, I am convinced of the necessity of sending all my daughters to a business college where they shall learn cooking and bookkeeping, and how to keep a servant good-natured, and I do not care if they know nothing else. In the absence of intelligible records, it seems to me that our friends must be content with what I have to show in the way of accomplishment, and believe that the details have been fairly well attended to, since the results are not altogether unsatisfactory. Clearly this letter is not the place for sentiment— I have said it is to be a business letter; but as I go over in my mind all that the past eighteen years have brought Helen and me of kindness, of generous and disinterested service, I feel that we have fallen upon good days, and among God's people.

Our house and furnishings and seven acres of land represent what Helen and I together have earned and saved of what has been given us. I have made a will, leaving the house to Helen, and she intends to make a similar will in my favor. In consideration of her part ownership of the house and furnishings, she shall always have her home here, and the expenses of her living Mr. Macy and I shall bear.

There remain two sources of income to be accounted for. The first is the money from the Fund which is now in trust in New York, and which yields us eight hundred and forty dollars a year. All this I wish to go to Helen, and I shall now open a separate bank account for her. The second source of income is the book-contracts now active, and the money likely to come from magazine articles and further book-contracts.

Of course you know that whatever Helen writes represents my labor as well as hers. The genius is hers, but much of the drudgery is mine. The conditions are such that she could not prepare a paper for publication without my help. The difficulties under which she works are so insurmountable. Some one must always be at her side to read to her, to keep her typewriter in order, to read over her manuscript, make corrections and look up words for her, and to do the many things which she would do for herself if she had her sight. I make this statement because Helen's friends have not always understood what the relations between her and me really are. They have thought her earning capacity was independent of me, and one person at least has hinted that financially she might be better off without me. Helen feels very differently, and when the book-contracts were made, she insisted that they should revert to me on her death. It is also her wish to divide equally with me, during her life, all the money that comes to her as our joint earnings. I am willing to accept one third. Does this seem a just arrangement?

Helen will have something more than a thousand dollars a year. With no living expenses she hopes to be able to have Mildred with her. I hope this can be arranged; for it would make for Helen's happiness, giving her a congenial young companion and making it possible for her to go about and see her friends oftener. This means that Mildred would have to depend on Helen for her support. She is now teaching in Alabama and in part supporting her mother. Mr. Macy and I shall be very glad to make a home for them both.

I am afraid I have forgotten more than I have remembered of business. But one thing is certain, my marriage shall make no difference in my love and care for Helen, and as far as is possible I shall share every happiness with her.

I have said nothing about that unfortunate investment in a coal mine, because there is nothing to say that I have not said before. I have suffered sharply for that piece of folly, and I hardly need add that I shall not again venture upon the troubled waters of the stock-market. I believe the mine is to be sold next month. It is vastly irritating to think how many pleasures and nice things went down with that coal-ship.

With affectionate regards, I am,

Sincerely yours,

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