Archived Story

Dr. Price would be proud

Published 7:40pm Wednesday, May 2, 2012

To the Editor:

I was pleased to see the WDN article about the authorship/signing of the book “Sparrows’ Nest of Letters. Although I am not a family member, I do feel a certain kinship toward some of those letters. During the mid-1960s, I was a student at East Carolina College and worked part time on campus for Dr. William Price in the history department. In addition to teaching, Dr. Price was involved in a Civil War project and one of my tasks was to read documents and letters and prepare a chronological list for him. I specifically remember Major Thomas Sparrow’s letters; most of them addressed to his wife. As a carefree, young person, I was struck at the formality between husband and wife — quite a contrast from the way we corresponded at that time, much less today. The hard copy, original letters were in my hands there in the professor’s small office every work session — no white gloves or special vault. At that time I didn’t think much about the significance of what I was doing. After all, it was just a job to help pay my college bills.

Later, I matured and my viewpoint changed when I taught fifth grade social studies in my elementary classroom each year. The curriculum, of course, included an overview of the Civil War for my students. Then I began to recall those documents that I had in hand for a time in Greenville. I wondered if they had been catalogued and placed somewhere for safekeeping. So now I know the “rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey would say. I’m so glad that Joy Sparrow has been able to compile her family’s history for this time period. I look forward to reading it, and, perhaps, rereading Major Sparrow’s letters after almost 47 years.

And I know Dr. Price would be proud, too.

Perry, Okla.

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