President Ronald Reagan in 1985. (Bob Daugherty/AP)
Columnist

Where did Ronald Reagan receive his grounding in faith? Most historians credit his mother, Nelle Wilson Reagan, a devout woman who was baptized into the Disciples of Christ church in 1910, the year before Ronald was born. In this 1937 letter to the family of her former pastor, she writes of the big news that Ronald, a radio announcer in Iowa, has gotten a seven-year movie contract with Warner Brothers. She assures them that he will not be influenced by “such a wicked place as Hollywood.” Read the letter below:

Dixon, Illinois

May 26th 1937

Dear Friends:

How is our young mother and her new baby getting along? I imagine little [illegible] is thrilled over a little brother, but I am awfully sorry he has the “wheezes,” as you call it, let me hope he will outgrow this asthma, he’s so young to have to suffer with that.

I am inclosing some clippings regarding Ronald, I hardly know how to explain “our feelings,” but when people ask me if I am not “afraid to have him go to such a wicked place as Hollywood, all I can answer is, that I feel I can trust him anywhere, he has never lost his high ideals of life, and when he called us to tell us the news, Pete Mac Arthur talked to me too and this is what he told me.  (quote)

“I’m going to tell you something that your boy won’t tell you, when the wire came from Hollywood and we were all overjoyed at Dutch’s good luck, we missed him from the office and sent one of the fellows to look for him, he soon came back saying he had discovered Dutch in one of the smaller studio rooms on his knees, praying, he didn’t let Dutch know that he saw him, and when he told all of us there in the office, we cried like babies.”

(end of quote.) Friends, he does love God and he never forgets to thank Him for all his many blessings, and when we visited him, he told me of all the nice things he would be able to do now for Eureka College if he won the seven year contract with Warner Brothers.

You know he has been a wonderful son to us, his father hasn’t had any work since the 15th of June, last year, and during all that tyme I have rec’d a $60.00 check the first of each month, and another one of the same amt the 15th of each month, and if he signs the seven year contract then he is going to send for us that is the thing that makes me so happy, to think I can live my last days, making a home for him, it’s almost more happiness than I ever expected in this life.

Thanks for all your kind wishes for “me and mine” and we hope you’ll write again.

Sincerely,

The Reagans.

P.S. Remember, if you do plan to come to Dixon, our latch key is on the out side, you’ll find a warm welcome awaiting you all.

My best to Elizabeth and her little ones.