Barbara’s Christmas Greetings (1922-1925)

1922 — Kitty’s Christmas Supper : Barbara’s Christmas card for her mother.

1922: Kitty's Christmas Supper


1923 — The Tree

The Tree


1924 — Silver Magic (my photo of the original Christmas greeting is very blurry, but fortunately I have a copy of the poem from another source.There’s a rare typo in the latter, two-thirds of the way down: “thrust” should be “thrush.”)

Silver Magic



1925 — Noël


The small text at the bottom reads:

Barbara Newhall Follett, the daughter of Wilson Follett, is twelve years old and already has achieved something of a reputation as the authoress of “The House Without Windows.” In this Christmas song, of which she wrote both the words and the melody, she has chosen French as the medium for the beautiful tale of the birth of Jesus. She tells first of crossing the world to come to the manager [sic], then of the wise men, their guest and their gifts. The shepherds leave their flocks to follow the light. Miss Follett closes with an exquisite stanza—”Oh Jesus, may Gow blass [sic] you. Take what we bring in our hands. He smiled out from the arms of Mary. Oh, the devine Child.” 

Miss Follett has been painted by an Albany artist, Ida Pulls Lathrop [Dorothy Lathrop‘s mother]. This song is reproduced by Miss Follett’s permission and through the Courtesy of Miss Marjorie Potter, children’s librarian at the Harmanus Bleecker library.


Letter to A.D.R., January 5, 1931

620 West 122nd St.
New York

January 5, 1931

Dear Mate!

Happy New Year!  Five days gone a’ready!

A thousand thanks for your Christmas gift, which was a very happy thought indeed, and which I shall read with the greatest of pleasure–and wistfulness, too, I guess. I can’t forget the torment of Wuthering Heights. It’s a haunting thing to me.

I don’t think it was so very terrible of you to open It before Christmas. It was quite my fault. Then, too, as you know, I am somewhat of an atheist; and to tell the truth quite despise the mercenary thing Christmas has become! The real thing goes far deeper than that.

We enjoyed all your gifts ever so much, including every scrap of gilt ribbon, even! The “edibles” were quite ambrosian (speaking of ambrosia!) The soap-Santa-Claus made such a hit that it hasn’t been used yet! It’s one of those sad problems: “You cannot eat your cake and have it too.”

We had a three-foot Christmas tree and a lot of fun buying things for Sabra, mostly from Mr. Woolworth. That’s about all.

Well, to tell the truth, the graham crackers which you so subtly allude to, Matey Mine, are somewhat more chocolate-covered than before–not to say “gilt-edged,” which doesn’t seem to fit the metaphor so well! I’d hate to think you really were so blind as you suggest that you are.

Anyway, Christmas is gone, and here is another year, brand new, just out of its chrysalis!

Thanks again; and to all of you I wish the best luck in the world.

Your pard,

[in hand] Pardon the puny dimensions of this, won’t you?

Dec. 22, 1931 – letter to A.D.R.

150 Claremont Avenue
New York
December 22, 1931

Dear A.D.R.:

I’m not sending any cards, either, so that’s all right. Christmas doesn’t really exist this year, anyhow. Six to ten million human beings unemployed and suffering, and the weather messy and warm and rainy, and nobody with you whom you love—well, it just isn’t, that’s all. I’m damned if I’ll send any cards!

You ask for a pleasant chatty intimate sort of letter. You have me stumped, A.D.R. I don’t know where to begin. We don’t go for walks, much of any. One soon exhausts the possibilities of the neighborhood, you know. There isn’t any pleasant little hill…. Ouch! Idiot! Fool! Sabra is well enough, only I don’t see very much of her, and when I do see her usually neither she nor I are at our best. My best goes into the job, which isn’t where it should go; and her best goes into school, which she really loves. Besides, she’s rather outside my pale, you know (or is it pail? I hardly know).

I’m glad to hear the hopeful sound in your words when you mention B.R. Also it’s good to know that E. is writing. Painting? And how is the business-in-the-desert? Phoebe, I suppose, finds it difficult to see rhyme or reason. Well … don’t we all?

The book crawls along—crawls is just the word to describe its progress the last month or so. It’s about two people who found out the rhyme and reason for a little while, but had it snatched away again. It’s supposed to tear one’s heart, you know. If it doesn’t, a little, here and there, then it’s no good. Promise you’ll be torn, A.D.R? I may send you a copy of it before I show it to Messrs. Harper etc. I want to try to get a copy to E.A., you see, and perhaps I’ll ask him to send it to you, or you to him, or something like that.

He remains the best thing that I can see in life. (See???) It’s his steadiness and strength and complete trustworthiness that makes him stand out so, in a complicated and discouraged world. I won’t do any quotationing now, because I haven’t time, but sometime I will. In the meantime, oh, thank God I’ve got him!

I hear that H. is going to do something about your little serial in John Martin’s. I’ve glanced at it, and it really is adorable. Something ought to be doable about it, of course. I hope she’ll succeed. What are you writing now? Healthy things, always? Oh, well, I suppose we can’t afford to do the others until we make our fortunes first!

I want to see you, very much. Who knows? The world is fairly small, when all’s said and done, and I’ve an odd presentiment that I shan’t be sitting at this desk for more than a certain amount of time—another year, say. I don’t know what’s going to happen after that, but I just have a small, dim suspicion, that’s all. If the world has any justice (I never believed it had much), or a shred of happiness in it, or even the most erratic tendency to keep its promises—well, I shan’t, that’s all. And if that sounds vague and mysterious and so forth, it’s just because I don’t dare to do more than vaguely, dimly hint that things could take a sudden turn. (Sudden???) And if the world so much as suspected that I was in danger of telling you anything about its secret mechanisms, it would swoop down on me at once and cut off my head.

My love to all the fambly, and—no, I won’t say “Merry Christmas.” I don’t feel the faintest ray of that sort of sentiment, and there’s no use in cluttering up the air with it. But my greetings, anyway.

As for the poor Hoovers being crammed into art. Well, I don’t feel qualified to give many comments about that. However, perhaps this will give a clue. My new shorthand abbreviation for “article” is “art,” and oh, you, more than anyone in the world, will appreciate and see the irony of that! Especially with the dry, scientific, technical “arts” which are submitted to our little publication, the Personnel Journal!

Oh, yes, I do laugh now and then. In fact, I’m not honestly so gloomy as I sound. I’ve gotten into the habit, I think, of writing rather cynical letters lately. You will make due allowances. I probably say either more than I mean, or not as much.