The Most Insulting Letter Ever Written About a Dessert, August 15, 1924

If only it didn’t somehow taste worse than it looked

Darling Edna –

Marvelous time in Newport with Duckie and Clifton. Claire Harper threw an absolutely wild party on Saturday. All I’ll say is that Senator You-Know-Who got himself ossified and ended up in the pantry with a real big six. I think poor old Claire was keen on him, but she got a real what for, and how!

Meanwhile, I was stuck in the corner with the dullest man in America. I mean it, Edna, he was a total flat tire. He just went on and on about the New York Yankees or some such, then when he ran out of talk he dropped a line about just how swell I looked. And wouldn’t you know it? He’s at the party with some tomato, a real Dumb Dora, and she well near tore him to pieces for talking to me! It may have been a gas, but it made me wonder if I’ll ever attract any man who isn’t an oilcan.

Went to brunch the other day with Annabelle and the girls. Mean old Mrs. Gorman was there, and didn’t she just bring the ugliest cake you’ve ever seen. I don’t believe I would exaggerate if I were to say it looked like Silent Cal after a sock in the nose. Looking forward to the garden party. Ta!

A million little kisses,

Kitty

Analysis:

Although on its surface, this letter appears to be a simple example of insipid 1920s girl baloney, it is actually one of the gems of the History of the Letter collection. “Edna” was New York socialite Edna Gorman, and “mean old Mrs. Gorman” was her lovely mother Eugenia. Eugenia died just days before this letter was written. The cake referenced was the last Mrs. Gorman ever made, and perhaps her personal favorite. On her deathbed, her final words were, “If at least my baking made people smile, an empty life I have not lived.”

If Kitty’s letter had simply crossed word of Eugenia’s death in the mail, the insult would have been understandable. However, this letter was actually in response to a letter from Edna informing Kitty of Eugenia’s death. It was, in fact, written on the back of a copy of the elder Gorman’s obituary, enclosed for proofreading. Kitty, who was also Edna’s older sister, would go on to finish a disappointing third in the 1924 “Shallowest Dame in America” contest (now known as the People’s Choice Awards).

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