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I Love You Before Breakfast

Eight large cartons came out of the closet to become the rich vein from which we fashioned a two-volume history of Dr. Walter Lee Lingle, President of Davidson College in North Carolina from 1929 to 1941. A strong administrator and gifted leader, Dr. Lingle was also a warmhearted husband and father who signed many of his letters to his children with “I Love You Before Breakfast,” giving us the title of our book.

Mrs. Lingle handwrote pages of correspondence until she was gifted with a typewriter and a package of carbon paper. Her letters provide a wonderful portrait of life in Davidson in the 1930s: annual visits to the hatmaker and the corsetiere, the purchase of a few new dresses every year; the pleasure of Coca Cola parties on the porch, and the advent of the waffle iron. The history was commissioned by the Lingles' granddaughter, just in time as not long after turning over the boxes her basement flooded.

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