Minnette Slayback Carper's Journal

About a Girl's Life in late Nineteenth Century St. Louis

"AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN UNIMPORTANT PERSON"

BY MINNETTE SLAYBACK CARPER

95 LINCOLN AVENUE,

LITTLE FALLS, NEW JERSEY

 

2001 copyright Carol Jane Belding

The ownership of Minnette’s Journal Is held by all her heirs

With special thanks to Carol Jane Belding and Deanna Adams Holm for transcription.

Minnette Slayback as she appeared in the 1880's.

Background

Minnette Slayback's  journal was written in 1937 but because she kept a detailed diary since 1870 this provides a very accurate picture what everyday life was like for a wealthy girl growing up on Olive Street in the late nineteenth century St. Louis, Missouri.. For instance, "it gives all the details of their family life right down to a detailed description of what all was in the parlor. She even details trips on the steamboats on the Mississippi clear up into Minneapolis to go to a vacation spot in the heat of summer!"

Minnette "had many interests including astronomy, but she loved drawing too and taught her daughter how to sketch and paint.  From childhood Minette Slayback wanted to go on the stage; but how that desire was frowned on, for in those days no "nice" girl, especially one brought up in such an atmosphere of culture and wealth ever, ever appeared on the other side of the footlights..*.".  Minnette a student "of the fashionable Mary Institute, turned her mind to other things, mainly drawing, singing and writing, caring more for them than her studies.  She was the finest draftsman in that school, wrote prodigiously and published in the school papers, took leading parts in all the student concerts." 

*See Rules of Ettiquette for St. Louis in 1886.

Family Information

Minnette was born March 07, 1868  in St. Louis, one of six children born to Col. Alonzo Slayback and Alice Waddell. The Waddell family were known for being early operator of the famed "Pony Express". Her father, Col. Alonzo Slayback was a Civil War veteran (commanded a regiment of Confederate cavalry during the war). He was also one of the founders of St. Louis' Veiled Prophet parade but was murdered by a once popular editor of the St. Louis Post Dispatch.. ( for more on Col. Slayback, visit one of the following pages: [with background sound]    [without background sound] ). The other children of the family were Susie, Katie, Mable, Grace, and Alonzo.  Also living in St. Louis she had an uncle, Charles E. Slayback, who was a prominent businessman and an aunt, Minnie (nee Slayback), the wife of Dr. Y.H. Bond. Her sister Susie married Arthur Wellington Adams, M.D., who had owned Adams Electric Co. and was noted scientist up until his death in 1898.

At age 24, Minnette married Cary Carper. She had become quite skilled at writing, even winning several poetry and play-writing prizes with the St. Louis Art Guild. Not only did she excel at writing she painted and and became noted for using other types of art. For instance she sold over 1,000 pieces of her carved "burned boxes" nationwide. 

Minnette did not live her entire life in St. Louis. Around 1902 the Carpers moved to Memphis, TN.  She also lived for a time in  Indianapolis but in 1920 the family made their permanent home at Little Falls, New Jersey. On  January 15, 1952, after living nearly 84 years, Minnette passed away. While she is now gone, her words describing detailed life in late nineteenth century St. Louis live on.  

The photo above left is Minnette as she appeared in 1935, two years before writing the journal.

Immediate Family:

    1   Minnette Slayback   b: March 07, 1868 in St. Louis, Missouri, d. January 15, 1952 in Little Falls, Passaic Co., New Jersey. Married Alfred Cary Carper b: Abt. 1860    m: 1892 in St. Louis, Missouri; d: 1935 in New Jersey   Father: Leo Carper

Children:
    1) Barbara Slayback Carper b: April 04, 1896 in St. Louis, Missouri; d: January 1978 in Montclair, Essex County, New Jersey; Married Granville A. Lang  b: May 03, 1900 in New York City, New York.
m: April 07, 1923   d: August 1966 in Montclair, Essex County, New Jersey      
    2)  Constance Edith Carper  b: January 01, 1900 in St. Louis, Missouri; d.  June 13, 1918 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
    3) Jane Charlotte Carper   b: July 05, 1902        d: 1977. Married James Augustus Belding             
    4)   Caryl William Carper    b: March 04, 1905       d: May 07, 1993 in West Hartford, Connecticut. Married Eva _____.    
           

Two paintings by Minnette Slayback Carper.

 

Two advertisements from an 1886 St. Louis directory to businesses mentioned in Minnette's journal:

The Journal of Minnette Slayback Carper:

The text has been divided into five randomly segmented  parts due to length, for easy loading.

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V


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Copyright 2001, Carol Jane Belding, All right reserved.  HTML and graphics edited by Scott Williams. Transcription by Deanna Adams Holm