William Gillette was a native of Hartford, Connecticut, growing up in the Nook Farm neighborhood. An actor, playwright, and stage manager, Gillette is best known for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. By the 1930s, when this letter was written, he had retired to a home in Hadlyme, Connecticut. Today his house is known as Gillette’s Castle. The Manchester Cheney’s, who he mentions, ran the Cheney Brothers Silk Manufacturing Company in Manchester, Connecticut. At the time, Manchester was the center of silk production in the country.
I am sure I have written this before, but stumbling upon documents like this is part of the reason I love my job. This letter, the rest of the collection, and many others are all available for research. Come visit!