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[Written at top of letter] Do not trouble to write. Saturday so near.

[Written down right side] H. is packing your trunk.

W8734 TO REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN, B.A. from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Oct 20 1920
To: Calvin McQuesten Room 307. East House Knox College Toronto
From: 'Whitehern' Hamilton

My dearest Calvin,

Just a few lines to let you know that E.[Edna] has been quite herself and has taken to her knitting. I was sorry not to say good-bye, but did not realize the time or I would have been downstairs for I know you were so hurried and could not take time to come up. Sorry you tired yourself going away down to Ontario Ave. Dr. A. told you, in your case there was always a cause1. Surely there has been a cause for Edna too for at least two years tho' we did not know it. Her complaint had been coming on for a very long time at the very centre of the nervous system2. So try and not think of us and stay away as much as possible. It is not good for you to be here and it only adds to my anxiety, for unless you have a free mind you cannot possibly do any literary work. For this purpose you took your room and it would not be honest to all those who wanted it and those who secured it for you, for you to be engaging in outside work3. So just settle down and try [?] yourself. I am able to pray and have got back my faith that all will be well. With much love.

Your affectionate Mother

M.B. McQuesten


1 Likely, Dr. Arnott, see W4815.


2 Edna suffered another mental breakdown and was hospitalized with "irrational and hysterical behaviour" at Homewood Sanatorium at Guelph on October 23, 1920. The family visited her and sometimes took her out: On July 21, 1928 Mary wrote to Calvin:

We had a delightful afternoon yesterday at Guelph Tom drove us up in our fine car leaving here about 1:45 and reaching Guelph before three. . . . At [ ? ] Lake to which Edna wished to go, it was really too cold, but revived Tom greatly after excessive heat of previous days. Edna said we could have tea there so we drove about, down thro' Hespeler, till time for six o'clock 'supper.' It was excellent, thin sliced tongue, scalloped potatoes, a tomato with salad dressing, celery, lovely tea biscuits and to top off, a little ice-cream with a chocolate sauce and small cakes, bread & butter, tea or coffee with good cream, properly made tea & coffee We all enjoyed it immensely and really it was very pleasant to have no strange driver. E seems to have no desire to come to H.[Hamilton]. (W7044)

Edna remained at Homewood until her death on November 10, 1935 of "Haemorrhage, duodenal ulcer" (Minnes 3).


3 Calvin had written to Knox College requesting the use of the library while working on his "war book" and for accommodation as a post-graduate. He describes himself as "crippled" with "emotional problems" and he details the family's history of health and financial problems. He was granted a room, and the manuscript bears the title: "The King of Fighting Men." It is about Christ as soldier and saviour. It was never published (W-MCP2-3b.035, W6909).




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Copyright 2002 Whitehern Historic House and Garden
The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
Please direct questions and comments to Mary Anderson, Ph.D.


Hamilton Public Library This site was created in partnership with and is hosted by the Hamilton Public Library. Canada's Digital Collections This digital collection was produced with financial assistance from Canada's Digital Collections initiative, Industry Canada.