Letter from Robert Emmet Gribbin to his sister Mary, January 26, 1903


Letter from Robert Emmet Gribbin to his sister Mary, January 26, 1903


Robert Emmet Gribbin, 1887-1976, graduated from The Citadel in 1906. His collection in The Citadel Archives includes letters written to his mother and two sisters in Blackville, South Carolina during his first two years as a cadet. A selection of these letters have been digitized and transcribed for this website. The full collection can be viewed at The Citadel Archives in Charleston, South Carolina.




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Robert Emmet Gribbin Cadet Letters










Charleston (S.C.)

Date Valid


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Charleston, S.C.

Jan. 26, 1903

Dear Mary,

I received your timely and kind letter was received Saturday dinner. In regard to the debate it was a complete victory & success on our part. The judges unanimously decided in our favor while the President rendered his in favor of the opposite side but that was on account of my colleagues having been a second in a fight for the Presidents antagonist. The critic in his report thanked me for memorizing my debate & complimented me for my delivery. The President thanked me for the logical & complete manner in which I delivered my speech and also thanked me for waking up one of the censors. After the society the President came up to me and congratulated me on my speech saying that he never heard a better or one that even would come up to it in that hall. Said that the society was going down and that he believed that it would give a new start & impetus & that any time I wished to deliver a speech or recite before the society

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to do it that I would be received as already shown. The critic also afterwards said about the same.  I started my regular debate as this: You might expect me if I had the eloquence & persuasive ability enough by flowing speech and glowing epithets to raise the character & standard of Alexander and on the other hand by Phillipical denunciations to lower that of Hannibal. I went on then to discuss the motive of the conquests etc. When I rose the second time, I said: I have not the oratorical powers of the “Silver Tongued Orator” or of the “Pitchfork Senator” or I am not able to make an impromptu speech like Robert Emmet yet I wish to vindicate the character of Alexander.

All of the boys had a great opinion of me know [sic] on account of my speech. They said with my glasses I looked like a sage. I could certainly have done nothing if it were not for your points.  Do not say much of this outside or in your letters to me as I think H is jealous and Bowman & Roy were not down that night.

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Thursday I went to see the Doctor he said that I had scarcely any vision at all in my right eye but with the use of glasses I might be able to better it. He sent me to Allan’s to get the glasses which cost $3.00 and I will have to pay for them by next Saturday as they were not got from the Doctor himself. I do not know what the Doctor will charge himself for the examination. With the glasses I have been able to do a great deal better. I happened to be able to buy a shoe order from an old cadet who had plenty of money on account but no cash. I got the order for $3.00. But I had to buy my suspenders so you see it was not wasted, I mean the rest of the amount I was to pay for shoes. Exams will be Thursday & Friday. Physics & French on Thursday & Math & History on Friday. There will be three courses here next year. Scientific, Literary, 

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and Civil Engineering course.  

The earthquake was also felt here. It shoved our press out from the wall. I did not go to see Miss Saurence yesterday or Sunday before as I had to study yesterday & Sunday before I was excused church and could not go on leave. 

I will close now with much love from your brother,

  1. Emmet Gribbin

P.S. Do not forget to tell Mamma I will have to pay for the glasses next Saturday.



Gribbin, Robert Emmet, 1887-1976, “Letter from Robert Emmet Gribbin to his sister Mary, January 26, 1903,” The Citadel Archives Digital Collections, accessed October 4, 2023, https://citadeldigitalarchives.omeka.net/items/show/854.