April 06, 2011

Library to host 'The Teeter Family Papers' event

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- An upcoming event at Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Morris Library offers participants the opportunity to learn about life, love, loss and daily life in a bygone era through the eyes of a local family.

The Special Collections Research Center is presenting “Other People’s Letters: The Teeter Family Papers” from 4 to 6:30 p.m. on April 9 in the John C. Guyon Auditorium at the library. The event is free and open to the public.

The letters chronicle the Teeter family experiences. Horace Hollister Teeter came to the region in 1865, marrying Nancy Belle and becoming a Carbondale entrepreneur and businessman. He developed and marketed an innovative coffee percolator, produced baking powder, and produced and sold his own brand of furniture polish. Around the turn of the century, he founded Excelsior Paint Co. and served as manager until his death in 1924.

The Teeter family grew to include six children, all raised in Carbondale. The readings will include letters between three of the children: Kate, Robert and Lillian, as well as some from their nephew Louis Teeter and his wife and son. Library staff and community members will portray the Teeters, giving voices to the written words that offer a personal glimpse into the area’s history as well as the love, intimacy, humor, and ups and downs of a family. Event organizers say the letters present an authentic view of family life in Carbondale and Southern Illinois from the late 19th century until the 1977 death of Lillian Teeter.