In this four page letter, Helen Duffin is writing to her sister Celia who is ill and who cannot be with the family for Christmas. Helen tells Celia about an "odd" incident she had with an unexpected visitor to her office: a little man with a "pale face" and a "fuz of red hair" who is looking for some contributions to a poetry book for which Lavery (possibly John Lavery, the painter) is also providing a drawing. The man has requested that Celia provide a poem for the volume and their sister Ruth is also sending him one. At the end of the letter Helen encloses a humorous sketch.
Helen (b.1891) and Celia Duffin (b. 1888) are two of the Adam and Maria Duffin's nine children. At the age of sixteen, all seven Duffin girls attended Cheltenham Ladies College in Gloucestershire, England.
Celia Duffin along with her sister Ruth published a book of poems titled "Escape Poem" (illustrated by their sister Emma Duffin) and published by Maunsell & Co. Ltd in 1913.
This letter is part of a rich correspondence between various members of the Duffin family, a large prosperous family living in Strandtown, Belfast. Several family members served in the war, including Major Terence Duffin, who served as a staff officer with 107 Brigade, and later with Royal Irish Rifles; Major Charles G Duffin MC, Royal Field Artillery; and their sisters Emma, Celia and Dorothy who served as Voluntary Aid Detachments (VADS) in Egypt and France, and with the YMCA.
Public Record Office of Northern Ireland
Duffin Papers D2109/9/4/C, Duffin Papers D2109/9/4/C
"Letter from Helen Duffin to Celia Duffin, 22 December 1915". Letters of 1916
. Schreibman, Susan, Ed. Maynooth University: 2016. Website.
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