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Corresponding with the Past

Phyllis’s story

In 1910, Phyllis’s mother boarded a train at South Station in Boston. She was going to join her new husband, head of a large mining operation in Mexico. She had never been out of New England and they had spent little time together as a married couple. All of her belongings, including silver candlesticks, lacy shawls, and china, were packed in trunks for the journey.


Please Note: To protect our clients’ privacy, we have not used actual names.  However, the excerpts and circumstances are exactly as presented.  Client references and writing samples are available on request.

What Phyllis’s mother didn’t know was that she was headed into the Mexican Revolution. During the decades she spent in Mexico, her husband was kidnapped, terrorists invaded her home, and, with her two young daughters, she made long, dusty train journeys to the border for medical care or, during the harder times, a refuge from the terrorists.

Our client, Phyllis, was born and raised in Mexico and her own memories are overlaid on the hundreds of letters that her mother wrote home to Boston. These letters tell colorful tales of Pancho Villa and describe lonely days and nights in isolated mining towns. Most of all, the letters reflect the passionate love that held Phyllis’s mother and father together throughout.

People often come to us with letters, diaries, and drafts of histories. Sometimes we’re able to combine present-day conversation with the archived written material and graphics to produce a meaningful and attractive narrative. Original material, no matter how intrinsically interesting it might be, can be difficult to access. Typically, we take a small group of letters or diary entries and produce a chapter so that our client can evaluate the process before deciding to proceed. Combined with photographs, this text is much more accessible than the raw materials and ensures against the possible loss of original sources.

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