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Admin/Biog History Phillip A. Laffey was born in Portsmouth, England April 17, 1871. He began his musical career at age 14 and was a Band Master in the British Navy. In 1895 he came to the US and setled in Oshkosh. he became the violinist for Trinity Episcopal Church. He married Cora Mueller October 29, 1896. He was one of the founders of the Arion Band and the Acme Orchestra in Oshkosh. He served as the Band Leader of the 2nd WNG Band for several years and served during the Spanish-American War. In 1901 he moved to Chicago, IL where he instructed violin at the Chicago Conservatory. he also toured with orchestras for 11 seasons. The Laffeys returned to Oshkosh in November 1927 where he conducted the band at the Fischer theater. He invented improvements to the glockenschpiel and was an active music composer. He died in Oshkosh in 1947.
Lorna Hooper was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin May 28, 1889, the daughter of Jessie Jack and Benjamin Foss Hooper. She married Dr. Louis Marshall Warfield of Milwaukee on April 25, 1914 in Oshkosh. After their marriage the couple lived in Milwaukee.
Collection Spanish American War Small Collections
Dates of Accumulation June 18, 1898
Abstract Letter to Lorna Hooper from Phillip Laffey, Band Master, 2nd Wisconsin National Guard, written on patriotic letterhead. Lorna was his music students back in Oshkosh. In the letter, Phil Laffey uses a racial slur, which was in common usage by whites at this time period.

Second Wisconsin Vol. Infantry
Camp Thomas
Chickamauga Battlefield
Lytle, Ga. June/18, 1898

My Dear Little Friend & Pupil Lorna.
I received your welcome present just a few minutes ago and I tell you my little Lady I was tickled to think you had not forgotten me and when I come back to Oshkosh I will bring you something along that will make you laugh. If I can't catch a Spainard for you I will get something else.
Well Lorna I only wish you were here for a day or so for you would keep us all pretty lively for I tell you Lorna true the big folks cannot tell the news the same as you can.
If you were here now Lorna you would see all the soldiers and horses you would want to see for there seems to be nothing else.
If you were here and told them you were from Wisconsin they would give you more hard tack than you could eat in a year.
You just write Lorna and tell me if you want a small nigger and I will send one up there to you for they have got them to spare down here.
I am writing this letter [to] you on a drum and every time I start a word or dot and the old drum goes Bomb.
Well my little Lorna I will close with Best Wishes to all at home. Grandpa - Pa - Ma and Uncles and old aunts. Thanks for present. From your Master Phil Laffey
Event Spanish American War
Category 8: Communication Artifact
Legal Status Oshkosh Public Museum
Object ID SC411.7.2.1
Object Name Letter
People Laffey, Phillip A.
Warfield, Lorna Hooper
Hooper, Lorna
Subjects Spanish American War
2nd Wisconsin National Guard
Military bands
Title Letter
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Last modified on: December 12, 2009