Two 1900 Manuscript Letters from Samuel Wyman Smith, Importer in Cuba, to William E. Gilbert in Cambridge Springs, PA; His Business Partner Regarding the Closure of their Restaurant Venture "The Studio" in Havana
(Americana - Manuscript - Cuba - Havana - Business History)

Havana, Cuba: Not Published, 1900. F Both letters two pages, on Samuel Wyman Smith Importer Havana Cuba letterhead paper; dated Jan. 4, 1900 and Dec. 5 1900. Both addressed to "My Dear Gilbert"; the contents typed and concerning the fate of their mutual investment in "The Studio" restaurant & bar in Havana. "...all the papers that I can find at the Studio have been forwarded to you at Cambridge Springs. The reason for this delay has been that I have been quite ill, having had a toe amputated...You will see the Studio is improving. I have just made an arrangement with two Chinamen, as cooks, Spanish waiters, however...this should finally put the place on a paying basis..." adding, handwritten "...I trust you will soon send me a good sized check as I need money desperately..." The letter of December relates Smith's attempts to find buyers and leasors for the restaurant, "...I am bothered to death by the bills of the place, existing before you left, some of which I have personally guaranteed....have also had a proposition from a Spaniard to take the restaurant...As a restaurant is always a dead loser except under very competent management this seems to me to be most advantageous...The quarantine has been taken off the camps here and business is much better...."; continuing to ask for money. With the original mailing envelopes addressed to Mr. W.E. Gilbert. This venture was perhaps an attempt to meet the needs of the very large population of North Americans residing in Cuba after the Spanish-American War; many businesses opened, especially in Havana, including hotels, bars and restaurants. In his book "On Becoming Cuban: Identity, Nationality, and Culture" By Louis A. Perez, 2008 Univ. of North Carolina Press, an individual named Edward E. Nelson opened the Studio restaurant in Havana in 1899 and was not very successful, per the contents of these letters. Envelopes very soiled and worn; letters with light wear, old fold lines; in very good condition. Interesting Cuban - U.S. business history ephemera from the early days of the 20th century, telling of the unsettled commercial climate. Very Good Paperback (Item ID: 25439)


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