Elizabeth Zeilitz Shapleigh to Jane Addams, October 29, 1923

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Williamsville, N.Y.
Oct. 29. 1923.
Miss Jane Addams
Hull House
Chicago

Dear Miss Addams:

I have just finished reading your book "The Long Road of Woman's Memory," and I found it both interesting and inspiring. You may be interested to know that about the time of my own birth in 1887 in Stockholm Sweden there was current just such a "Devil Baby" tale as you relate. It was an atheist father who tore a Bible to pieces, and his expressed wish ↑[rather?]↓ to have the Devil in the house was answered as usual in the birth of a child that tore its own mother to pieces as it was born, with its horrid claws. It was black & fire red, covered with long hair & walked on the floor like an animal. My mother had happened to mention this once in my childhood. Now I questioned her again and she told me that it was a matter not only of common talk but also of actual publishing in the newspapers of the city.

Another and even more unpleasant legend which is sporadically repeated, with every [versimilitude] is that of the girl who, finding no man [page 2] upon whom to exert her charms submitted her body to a great dog of her master's and bore puppies. This has been told me in good faith more than once, with the addition that the dog recognized the puppies as his own and claimed them. The two stories have ↑sometimes↓ been told together, but I had heard of the Devil Baby the more frequently.

Permit me to thank you for your attention to this rather informal letter.

Very sincerely yours,

(Mrs.) Elizabeth Zeilitz Shapleigh.

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