Emma’s Correspondence with European Cousins

Emma saved dozens of letters. Here are a few from the French side of the family. I have also included a 1940 letter from her cousin Alice Gerhardi because of her vivid description of sleeping in a bunker during the Nazi Blitz.

November 1, 1937 letter to Emma from Baroness de Poliniere, born Angelique de Laurencel, Grenoble. She describes visiting her cousins in Denderleeuw where she met Emma’s father,Romain, and his brother Benoit. However, “All the affection I could give a the time was for my uncle Corneille de Boom, brother of my mother who lived then around Paris, to the place called La Chapelle-en-Larval, he was coming to visit us in the convent which was also a boarding school where we stayed. He brought us candies and he is the one who died of small pox during the war of 1870-1871. His death was one of my greatest child’s sorrow.”                                   99_JC_niece_letter_translated                         95_JCniece_letter_1937_p1              96_JCniece_letter_1937_p2 97_JCniece_letter_1937_p3              98_JCniece_letter_1937_p4

February 24, 1939 letter to Emma from Baroness de Poliniere, born Angelique de Laurencel, Grenoble. Not yet translated.                       101_JCniece_Letter_1939_p1           102_JCniece_letter_1939_p2                  103_JCniece_letter_1939_p3            104_JCniece_letter_1939_p4

Fall 1940 letter to Emma from Mrs. Alice Gerhardi, England. Wonderful “stiff upper lip” letter written during the Blitz of London. 1940_Alice Gerhardi_letter

March 7, 1941 letter to Emma from Baroness de Poliniere, born Angelique de Laurencel, Grenoble.  Not yet translated.                                105_JCNiece_Letter_1941_pp1and4   106_JCniece_letter_1941_pp2and3

Photos of Baroness de Poliniere, born Angelique de Laurencel, and her children, Montreal, 1891.  One of their descendants, who found these photos online at the McCord Museum, shared these links in 2013.


December 26, 1952 from Henriette Dubarle, Angelique’s oldest daughter. Writing in English, she expresses much concern about the French interests in Indo-China (Vietnam). 107_HenrietteD_letter_1952_pp1and4  108_HenrietteD_letter_1952_pp2and3   

September 29, 1953 letter from Henriette Dubarle. Writing in English, she hopes that her children may be able to meet Emma’s son Frederick and his family while they are stationed in London.*                                                       109_HenriettD_letter_1953_pp1and4    110_HenrietteD_letter_1953_pp2and3

* They did – see Frederick’s letter of 22 August 1955 to Michel and Francoise Morterol on From the De Boom-Laurencel Archives page.