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Duenner-Young Families

Identifier: MSS 80-10

Content Description

The collection concerns two families, the Young family of Bakersville, NC, and the Duenner family of Knoxville, TN.

Correspondence constitutes the bulk of the collection, particularly letters from Frederick Otto ("Fritz") Duenner to his stepmother, Ella Young Duenner (the link between two families). The letters begin in 1898, just after Fritz Duenner had graduated from the University of Tennessee, in Knoxville, and gone "on the road" in search of jobs as a civil engineer. Duenner's letters tell of his life in boarding houses and hotels, as his work took him throughout the Southeast. For the next six years, Fritz Duenner sent an average of one letter per week to his stepmother, who lived in Knoxville with Fritz's younger brother, Robert, and two younger sisters, Aurelia and Cecilia.

Ella Young Duenner was one of six children of Reuben J. and Nancy W. Young, the proprietors of the Penland House (later the Young Hotel) in Bakersville, NC. According to Reuben Young's great-granddaughter (and Ella's grandniece), Mrs. Mary Lee Barron of Bakersville, Robert Henry Duenner met Ella Young when he stayed at the Penland House as a traveling salesman. His wife had died, leaving four children. After their marriage, Ella returned to Knoxville with Duenner. She raised his children after his death in April, 1898.


  • 1891 - 1908

Condition Description


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4.25 Linear Feet