Nesbitt Memorial Library

Old Bottle of Preserves Donated to Library

On April 13, 2005, while Bill Stein was working with a patron in the Texas Room, a small sheet of paper fell from one of the family files. That paper contained a brief typewritten story about a bottle of preserves. According to the story, Frances Seifert, a good and regular patron of the Nesbitt Memorial Library and a long-time resident of Weimar who died in 2000, had owned a bottle of preserves that had been given to one of her ancestors in about 1868. As the story was related, Mary Coates and her daughter, Alma Coates Hester, did not speak to each other or have any direct interaction with each other because, on January 1, 1868, Alma had married without her parents' approval. Sometime after the wedding, Mary Coates wanted to give her daughter a bottle of preserves. She took it to her friend, Fannie Arnold Mahon, and asked her to give it to Alma. The daughter however refused the preserves, and the mother would not take them back either. So Fannie Mahon kept them, never eating them because they did not belong to her. The preserves remained in the family, passing down to Frances Seifert, who was Fannie Mahon's granddaughter. Two days after the note fell from the file, Frances Seifert's two daughters, Julie Hoegemeyer and Frances Helen Kintzele, brought the bottle of preserves into the library, asking Bill Stein what he knew about it. Armed with the knowledge he had accidentally acquired only two days earlier, he was able to relate the story. Julie and Frances Helen shortly agreed to donate the bottle of preserves to the library, contingent upon the library's agreement to transfer it to a city museum, should one ever be created. The fairly-ornate bottle stands about one foot high and is well sealed with a lead cap covered in melted wax. The preserves are sugared over and probably inedible. It cannot be determined what kind of preserves are in the bottle.