The Henslowe Letters

IMG_2466.jpgThe Henslowe letters were a series of letters penned by Douglas Henslowe and sent to Walter Winston between 1925 and 1936. Janet Winston-Rogers found the letters after her father’s demise and handed them over to Fr. Carl Meinardus, Lord Homestead and Howard Defoe in the initial investigation. A summary of the letters are as follows:

They were sent from two addresses in Savannah, GA.

The first set of letters started in 1925 and came from 513 West Henry Street.

The next set of letters came from 23 Old Hope Road in 1933.

Then, in 1934, the letters again were post marked from 513 West Henry Street.

Walter Winston went over the earliest message in pencil, circling individual letters in certain key words.

The summary of the letters are that they seemingly come from the pleas of an increasingly desperate and hopeless man, begging Walter to write back with an account of what had happened in 1924. Henslowe states that Walter should, “appease my doctors, who do not believe me.”

The letters are repetitive and often vague but contain the following insights:

  • Henslowe refers to deaths, several times. “Tell me they didn’t die for nothing,” he writes and, “Perhaps if they’d followed me out of there, they would still be alive.”
  • Henslowe regarded Walter as the ‘leader’ of the group.
  • Henslowe, apparently, traveled “back to Savannah” right after the August events, in 1924, without seeing Walter again. But Henslowe does not reveal where he was.

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The Henslowe Letters

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