Collection Title: Elizabeth M. Taylor Letters

Collection Number: Ms. Coll. 201

Dates of Collection: 1925-1928

Box Numbers: 1 Box, 2 Folders

RepositoryChester County Historical Society, West Chester, Pennsylvania 19380

Language: English


Elizabeth “Bessie” Taylor was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania and lived in Landenberg with her family for several years. While working as a nurse in the area, Bessie met Augustus Lorzier. Augustus was born in New York and became the president of the Young Men’s Republican Club in his home town. In 1919 however, he decided to move to Chester, Pennsylvania. Bessie and Augustus began their relationship together as early as 1925 and were married in 1928. Bessie also gave birth to the couple’s only child, Paul, around this time. Unfortunately, Augustus passed away from illness in October, 1929. Paul grew up and eventually became a soldier in the U.S. Army.

Collections Scope:

All of the letters in the collection are written to Elizabeth “Bessie” Taylor, and all but four were written by Augustus “Gus” Lorzier. The documents were all written between 1925 and 1928, and the majority of them are centered on the daily activities of Bessie and Gus.

Collection Arrangement:

The letters are arranged alphabetically by the author’s last name, then chronologically within each author. The first folder consists of all of the miscellaneous letters, as well as Gus’s letters written up to 1927. The second folder contains letters only from Gus written in 1928.

Collections Contents:

Folder 1: Miscellaneous Letters; Augustus “Gus” Lorzier 1925-1927

Grady, A.C.

–         April 11th, 1927: A church official from St. Patrick’s Rectory in Kennett Square would like Bessie to take a set of tickets for an event to benefit the school.

Groff, [Hanison]

–          December, 1926: Christmas card containing a not suggesting that Bessie visit the senders some time soon.

Pratt, James A.

–          October 12th, 1928: The President of The Williamson Free School replies to her letter containing Francis’s baptismal certificate.


–         December 14th, 1926: Bessie’s mother is making clothes for certain members of the family. She mentions a recent incident reported upon in the local paper that involves 2 possible members of the family stealing barrels of cider, wrecking Elizabeth’s Uncle Henry’s car, and eventually being fired upon.

Lorzier, Augustus “Gus” 1925-1927

–         June 18th, 1925: Bessie has been ill recently and is concerned about one of her patients. Gus sympathizes for her father whose horse is on the verge of death.

–         June 24th, 1925: Gus talks about the previous letter he had written to Bessie and how his friends teased him in regards to writing to his girlfriend. He also mentions that the previous evening, a friend of his sister played the piano in a style very similar to Bessie’s.

–         August 20th, 1925: Gus is glad that Bessie is on a new medicine. Bessie does not trust her doctor but Gus tries to reassure her that he is honest and smart. Gus also reports on a friend who has lost his job.

–         December 20th, 1926: A Christmas card from Gus containing a poem.

–         November 1st, 1927: Gus has been sick with a cough finds out he has trouble with his bronchial tubes. After receiving medicine, he goes to work where his secretary has recently been fired and replaced. 

Folder 2: Letters, Augustus “Gus” Lorzier 1928

Lorzier, Augustus “Gus”

–         January 19th, 1928: Bessie is sick again and Gus suggests she discuss a serious course of treatment with her doctors. He describes a reception at the [C.S.A.] that he attended.

–         June 21st, 1928: Bessie has returned home feeling better, but Gus may have to cancel a visit to her. He mentions the graduation exercises he attended at a local college.

–          August 8th, 1928: Gus talks about an eventful yet exhausting trip he took to see some friends in “the Cedars.” He also makes potential plans to meet with Bessie.

–          August 16th, 1928: Bessie is leaving her job but feels obligated to wait until her employer has found a replacement. Gus’s business had a “Dollar Day” of sales which was so popular that it actually took several policemen to keep order within the crowd.

–          August 28th, 1928: Gus discusses a trip he took to Media and a bouquet of flowers he received. A woman he refers to as “L” commented on the flowers and inquired about a “big event” that was to occur. This may be referring to their wedding.

–          August 30th, 1928: Gus recalls a meeting he had with Bessie recently and plans for one in the future. He also recounts a story told to him by a woman named “Mary,” whom he talks about quite often.

–          September 10th, 1928: Bessie gave Gus a large and impressive Bouquet of flowers which his friends admire.

–          September 26th, 1928: Gus has been very sick recently and missed an outing with Bessie and their friends. He plans to see the doctor very soon and tell Bessie the results the next time they meet. Though he does not want her to worry, he seems very concerned about his condition.

–          December 19th, 1928: Bessie has given birth to their child, Paul, whom Gus refers to as “Sonny Boy.” He attempted to visit them recently but the car he was to ride in had a dead battery. When he told his friends an undisclosed fact about him and Bessie, they seemed to show disapproval.

–          December 21st, 1928: Gus is sick again but happy to hear that Bessie and the baby are well. He would like to send gifts but their current circumstances prevent it. Nevertheless, he is excited and will see Bessie and Paul on Saturday.