Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What an incredible place we live in!

            What an incredible place we live in!

Rockport's downtown, viewed from Lumber Pier
Shalin Liu Performance Center in middle.

            People visit our town in droves from April through October, and some even come during the months when Bearskin Neck is full of snow and ice.  But in summer, it is pretty much heaven on earth, with brilliant blue water, beautiful beaches, flowers blooming everywhere, and pleasant people. 
            Many years ago, Cape Ann caught the eye of artists, and they began coming here to paint.  They eventually took over an old building downtown and named it the Rockport Art Association.  They rented places to live and paint, and then put up their own art galleries. 
            Then, in 1981 a handful of local music lovers brainstormed the idea of creating an annual music festival, here.  For the next 28+ years they brought distinguished musicians to town to play for small audiences in the Art Association.
            It is small wonder that the people at Rockport Music decided to build their own performance center here.  It’s more of a miracle that they raised millions of dollars and built a world-class music center!  Right smack in the middle of our little town!

            However, some people are not happy to live in paradise.  Every few days, someone from Rockport writes a letter to the Editor of the Gloucester Daily Times, complaining about the recent decision to modify the rules for restaurants serving alcoholic beverages.
From reading these letters, it appears that some people in town:

  • Don’t like the new Shalin-Liu Performance Center, and certainly view serving of alcohol during intermission, etc. as harmful.

  • Deplore efforts to make serving of alcoholic beverages in restaurants compatible with the rest of the United States.

  • View the Selectmen, and the Economic Development Committee and Chamber of Commerce as plotting against townspeople for the pleasure of out-of-towners.

Since it opened in June 2010, Rockport Music has filled the new performance center over and over again for performances that range from chamber music, jazz, pop, and simulcast of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The new hall has won acclaim from music critics all over the United States, and performances regularly get reviews in The New York Times, as well as The Globe and many other papers and magazines. 
Rockport Music has also been more than faithful to its pledge to involve Rockporters and others on Cape Ann with free music appreciation events, hundreds of school children have been involved with music, either as performers or as audience, both at the center and in their own schools.  [Over the past 30 years, thousands of kids have participated.]
Rockport Music has obtained permission to serve alcoholic beverages at intermission during performances, which has never even remotely caused any problems with abuse of alcohol by anyone. 
Ever since the idea of permitting restaurants to serve alcohol in Rockport was first presented, back in 1995, some people have predicted disastrous consequences.  When it became law and alcohol was finally allowed in 2005, Rockporters and visitors quietly accepted the change, enjoying an alcoholic beverage with their meal just like they could in Gloucester, or Essex, or in their own homes.  I believe the Chief of Police has stated that to date, this has not caused any problems with abuse by patrons.
Some residents have questioned why Rockport should go to such effort to provide a more welcoming environment (music center and alcoholic beverages in restaurants) for “tourists”, but indeed, most of the people who attend Rockport Music performances live in Rockport or nearby.  Most of the people who enjoy a meal at local restaurants are Rockporters, except during peak summer months.
Some have questioned the motive of selectmen in permitting relaxations in the service of beverages, and ascribed similar “underhanded” tactics to the Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Committee.  What it appears they have been trying to do is to make it possible for restaurants in Rockport to serve customers in a way that is pleasant and enjoyable for the customer, whether they are Rockporters or from someplace else. 
Part of the motivation for improving the restaurant climate has been to encourage more and better restaurants to open in Rockport, for the benefit of Rockporters, as well as visitors.
Another part of the motivation, particularly of Selectmen and the Economic Development Committee, is to provide more revenue for the Town from tourism.  More visitors paying room tax, meals tax, and paying for parking, means more revenue.  More visitors shopping and dining in town means more jobs for Rockporters, and encourages more businesses to open their doors, and pay taxes here.  
Some continue to complain about the tax-exempt status of the new performance center.   I have already noted that Rockport Music provides many thousands of pupil-hours of instruction, motivation and entertainment to local students every year.  Most cities, not to mention towns, would give their right arm for a marvelous facility like ours, which brings many people to town to hear performances, and then to enjoy shopping and dining here.
Most of us truly love to live in paradise.

Samuel W. Coulbourn

Rockport Harbor, with Sandy Bay Yacht Club at left
and Motif No. 1 near center.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Progressive America, 1898-1920

Is your political “life” fulfilled?  If the current dialogue between Conservatives and Liberals, Progressives and Tea Party people, Democrats and Republicans, leaves you underwhelmed, I invite you to read this book that will take you to the start of the Twentieth Century. 
Perhaps you will find it is a refreshing change.

Traxel, David Crusader Nation: The United States in Peace and the Great War, 1898-1920. 2006. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 413 pp.

            This is the story of Progressive America, during the first two decades of the Twentieth Century.  It begins with the Presidency of the remarkable Theodore Roosevelt, and then the national narrative changes reels to Woodrow Wilson, and takes us through all the anguish and anxiety of that interesting but improbable leader. 
            Today we have Liberals and Conservatives, and Liberals generally identify with the Democratic Party, and Conservatives with the Republican.  In 1900, at the start of the “Progressive” era as described by Traxel, it was Republican Teddy Roosevelt who was the opponent of big business and the trusts; it was he who made great strides in setting aside huge tracts of land for national parks and forest preserves.  In many ways he was a pioneer in preserving America’s wilderness, and fencing it off from the ever-widening reach of corporations who wanted it for drilling for oil, or digging for coal and other minerals, or for huge livestock raising operations.  He looked like a “Progressive”.
            Then, along came William Howard Taft, and he rolled back some of Teddy’s land reserves.   You might have had a hard time calling him “Progressive”.

Woodrow Wilson
            In 1912 Woodrow Wilson was elected President, and he definitely fit the mold of “Progressive”, but he seems to have dramatized some weaknesses in his political stance.
Wilson was the president of Princeton University, and a rather serious, no-nonsense man. He was honest and absolutely dedicated to his Democratic principles. 
In 1914 an assassin killed the Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, Bosnia and all of Europe was soon embroiled in war.  The Germans sent hundreds of thousands of well-trained troops marching into Belgium, on their way to take all of France. 
            As neutrals, we sold arms and supplies to any nation that ordered them, but soon we were supplying Great Britain far more than Germany.
The Germans began a campaign to stop the resupply of arms, fuel and food to the United Kingdom and their other enemies, and began using submarines to sink shipping.
            Wilson and most of his cabinet, and much of the nation for that matter, were very much against getting involved in this European War, and Wilson was the model of the modern “Peacenik”.  He was determined to steer the United States clear of the mess in Europe; the very thought of “preparedness” was a dirty word to him and to many, because that seemed to be a code word for being tempted to jump into war.  Wilson and his associates knew that big corporations, munitions manufacturers and the lot would gladly drag the nation into war for the billions of dollars that they would earn.

Jack Reed 1887-1920
            Traxel tracked other Americans all through this era.  Jack Reed, a young Harvard graduate, was a hell-raising, womanizing, hard-living and hard-drinking adventurer who managed to find his way to the trouble spots of the world, always with a similarly-motivated, and rich, woman.  Gradually his natural liberal ways shaped him into being a champion of revolution, dictatorship of the Proletariat, and a dedicated to the triumph of Socialism.  

Henry Ford with Model “T”
            Another champion of Peace at any cost, who spent millions for what seems today like a scatter-brained effort to save the world from war, was Henry Ford.  By 1914 he was already a millionaire, and he naively thought that he knew what was what in Europe, and how to stop this war.  The story of Ford’s Peace Ship that he took to Europe in a bizarre effort to stop war today looks like a comedy.
            Still another fascinating character was William Jennings Bryan.  Bryan was Wilson’s Secretary of State.  He was a Liberal’s Liberal.  He ran three times for President, Served as a Congressman and a Senator, was a devout Presbyterian, a prohibitionist, enemy of gold and champion of silver, and believed that he could put together agreements with other nations to keep peace in the world. 
            Many of the leaders in these days seem to have had this blessed naiveté that everyone in the fight could be convinced to be good Christians and behave.   Perhaps it is an American defect, that some of us think that just because we have upright morals and want to do the “right thing” others will see the wisdom and follow along. Wilson for the longest time was sure that the warring powers—the Austro-Hungarians, the Germans, the British and the French—would soon come around and accept his offer to mediate a peace agreement. 
            At the same time the Germans had spies in Mexico, paying various groups of Banditos to revolt, or to kill Americans, or generally stir up trouble.  Still more Germans were paying American labor leaders to strike companies that made munitions that were being sold to the Allies.  And they were arranging for convenient explosions at various factories and transportation hubs.  The German navy was sinking neutral ships on the high seas, and American lives were being lost.
            Wilson and his cabinet truly bent over backwards to avoid getting on the wrong side of the Germans, and the more they protested for peace and against war, the more the Germans did to taunt America.
            All during these years, with war raging in Europe, but with America hoping it would all go away, Socialists like Eugene Debs, and Radicals like Emma Goldman, German-American Instigators, and of course Jack Reed, were riding the Peace Wagon.
            Finally, when the word leaked out that the Germans had promised Mexico that they would help them regain possession of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, Americans began to realize that we could no longer stay neutral. A few months later, we were sending hundreds of thousands, and then millions, of troops across the Atlantic to fight in France.
            I thought it was particularly interesting to compare Liberal and Conservative thought today with these first 20 years of the Twentieth Century.  The strength of our country comes, I believe, from this tension between those who want peace at any price and those who campaign for a strong defense posture, and are not opposed to using our strength when it is needed. 
            Teddy Roosevelt was the truculent warrior, and without opposition we might have been as warlike as the Germans.
            Woodrow Wilson was the quintessential man of peace, who found that there is a time when you just have to get in there and kick butt.
            The Progressive Era came to a screeching halt when Americans, fed up with Wilson, elected Warren Gamaliel Harding, perhaps the most unqualified man ever to serve as President.  It was peacetime, but the sides were building up for another war, and the restraints on corporate business growth were off, and some in America were prospering.  

Now, the Personal Navigator would like to offer some books and papers:

France, Our Ally: A Brief Account of France, Its People, and Their Part in the War, with special Information for American Soldiers [WITH an American Soldier's mementos included.] by Van Vorst, B. 1918 New York, NY: National War Work Council of YMCA. This is a rich little World War I piece that belonged to Pvt. Thomas Salzillo of Providence, RI, Co. H, 114th Infantry, 29th Division. He has listed what must be the names of his platoon, and in the book are two clippings about the 29th Division in France. One notes that the 114th fought in Haute-Alsace and Meuse-Argonne. Also two tramway tickets and a watchmaker's business card from Bordeaux. Little book explains French customs, currency, urges courtesy, explains French bargaining, and provides a map of France.   44 pp. 9.8 x 15.3 cm. Paper booklet with included clippings, card and tram tickets, fair. (8004) $35.00. World War I/American Originals

Geographical Results of the Great War, by Torrance, Stiles A.; maps by Edward Y. Farquhar 1919 New York, NY: American Book Company. Booklet provides summation of geographical changes as result of Allied victory over Germany and other Central Powers. Photos of Pershing, Haig, Foch, Joffre. Maps show Territorial Cession by Germany, details of Alsace-Lorrraine and Sarre Basin; Belgium; history of boundaries of Poland with 1919 boundaries; Proposed territorial changes in Austria-Hungary and Balkan States; establishment of Czechoslovakia; Territorial additions to Italy; changes to Turkey and Arabia; Russia; changes to German colonies in Shantung, New Guinea, Africa.  20 pp. 19 x 25 cm. Paper booklet, very good. (8050) $20.00. World War I

L'Invasion Dans Le Nord de Seine-&-Marne 1914; Trilport Montceaux Germigny; Publié sous loes auspices des Conseils municipaux de Trilport,Montceaux et Germigny. [Invasion of France North of the Seine-Marne, 1914, in French.] 1918 Meaux, France: Imprimerie-Librairie G. Lepillet, Place de la Cathédrale. This is the story of the German invasion of France in the early days of World War I, when Belgians fleeing the Germans poured into the three small towns in this history.  This history covers the events in Germigny-L’Evèque, Trilport and Montceaux-les-Meaux, with French and British forces fighting the invading Germans.  Includes photo of Railroad Bridge over the Marne at Trilport, blown up by the British, ruins of the Château de Montceaux, Bridge over the Marne at Germigny-l'Evèque, blown up by the Germans, and more. 52 pp. 17 x 25 cm. Paper booklet, very good. (7965)$26.00. World War I/History 

Pages from The Great German Campaign in Poland showing Hitler in action

Der Grosse Deutsche Feldzug Gegen Polen,[The Great German Campaign in Poland] Eine Chronik Des Krieges in Wort und Bild; Herausgegeben im Einvernehmen mit dem Reichsbildberichterstatter der NSDDAP, Prof. Heinrich Hoffman, Geleitwort Generaloberst Von Reichenau [Text in German] ca. 1940 Vienna, Austria:  Verlag Für Militär Und Fächliteratur A. Franz Göth & Sohn.  Triumphant book of pictures and German text extolling German march into Poland in 1939, with many references to the Versailles Peace Treaty of 1919. Geleitwort [Preface by] Generaloberst Von Reichenau. [Many photos of Adolf Hitler and his generals, happy “liberated” Germans in Danzig and other cities in Poland greeting Hitler and his troops with enthusiastic "heils".  Many spirited exhortations from A. Hitler, General von Brauchitich, Field Marshal Hermann Göring, Admiral Raeder. Pictures of children presenting flowers to troops. Picture of truckload of Jews, text notes that a million Jews live in Poland. This is one of many propaganda pieces created by the Nazis to "explain" their attack against the “aggressive” Poles to "rescue" the beleagured Germans in the City of Danzig. Der Feldzug in Polen; Zusammenfassende Darstellung, Die polnische Wehrmacht; Der polnische Angriffsplan; Ziel und Anlage der deutschen Operationen.  Maps show how German troops stormed across Polish border, with attacks from Czechoslovakia, Germany and East Prussia; Drives on Lodz, Warsaw and Krakow. Maps show attacks as of 2, 6, 11, 14, 18 and 19 September. Last two maps show attacks from East by Soviet troops. Full-page portrait photos of Göring, Von Brauchitsch, Halder, von Rundstedt, von Bock, List, von Reichenau, von Kluge, von Küchler, Keitel, Guderian, Hoepner, Strauss, Hoth, Schmidt, von Briefen, Reinhardt, Kübler, Olbricht, Admirals Albrecht, and Schniewind. 344 pp. 22 x 32 cm.Green cloth on board, front and back hinges cracked, inside front hinge mended with black plastic tape, but front board loose; frontispiece of Hitler loose, top 6 cm of each page warped from moisture.  On front free endpaper is inscription: "Sgt. H. White, Salzburg '45". All pictures and text completely readable, clear. Poor. (7697) $95.00. World War II/Propaganda

Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlevi
Iran: Headquarters Armish MAAG Iranian Brochure, Teheran, Iran ca. 1970 Tehran, Iran: U.S. Army Mission to the Imperial Iranian Armed Forces/ Military Advisory and Assistance Group, Iran          66 pp.  21 x 26.5 cm. Booklet provided for Americans assigned to United States Advisory Group in Iran. Contains information on Iran, its people, language, religion. History of ARMISH, based upon contract signed between Iran and U.S.  In November 1943.  Actually an American military mission existed in Iran since September 1941, when it was providing lend-lease assistance to the Middle East. Brochure provides photos of Tehran and Iran, and Army facilities in Iran.  How to prepare for your journey, what to bring, including clothing (for women, certain clothing is inappropriate for street wear). Advice on adjustment after arrival, hotels, churches, housing. Details on Tehran American School, Community School and International School (Iranzamin). Facilities available like USAFOOM and Gulf District, PKEOM (open messes and recreation sites). Currency conversion tables (US$1.00= Rls 76.25). Useful words and phrases in Farsi.  Map of Tehran showing U.S. facilities. Paper booklet, Persian numbers on front cover, which shows crossed Iranian and American flags and Shah's seal. Lightly soiled. A few lines in booklet are underlined with red pen. Fastened with two-hole metal fastener. Good. (8139)  $48.00. Printed Matter/Iran
Boston Courier, Semi-Weekly, Monday, October 15, 1829 Buckingham, J.T., Editor   Boston, MA: Adams & Holden, Printers. 4 pp. 39 x 50 cm. This issue is full of news from Europe as the story of long battle for Serbian and Greek independence plays to a climax.  The news comes by the latest ship, which brings news from London, Brussels, Vienna and elsewhere, that the Russian Fleet has been bombarding Constantinople (now Istanbul) with great damage, and also landed troops, but local opposition forced them back aboard their ships.  On one side of this struggle, which has been going on since 1804, are the British, French and Germans, in support of Greek independence from Turkey, and Russia on the other side, but also supporting the Greeks, but helping themselves to territory near Constantinople. More than one column is dedicated to discussion of new school books that are coming out, the best and most prominent being "The Improved Guide to English Spelling" by William B. Fowle.  There is a long, humorous column about "Recollections of China" that discusses Chinese desire to be buried in a good coffin.  A son will sell himself into slavery to pay for a good coffin for his father.  If you cannot pay for a good funeral to go with the fine coffin, you seal and glaze the coffin until better times arrive, even 20 years.  The first part of a funeral is like an Irish burial, with a great deal of howling.   Newspaper, small holes in folds,  good. Inscription on top of page one "G. Wilkinson". (8140) $39.00. Newspapers/Greece/Turkey/China       
Boston Courier, Semi-Weekly, Monday, October 22, 1829 Boston, MA: Adams & Holden, Printers. 4 pp. 39 x 50 cm.       Report of Merchants' Dinner at Tremont House, with record of toasts.  Lead story is long report of a trial of five men in Boston circuit Court for conspiracy, revolt and mutiny aboard the brig Apthorp.  News from the War around Constantinople: The Russian army entered Adrianople (old Ottoman capital, now Edime) on the 20th of August. the Turkish fleet is shut up in the port of Bujukdere.  English ambassador at St. Petersburg has visited with Emperor Nicholas, who says that negotiations to avert the fate of Constantinople are useless. The Sultan is doing everything to excite the population against Russia, and the British Cabinet has determined to declare war upon Russia.  There is a long, humorous column about "Recollections of China" that discusses city of Canton, harbor swarming with boats, streets are as busy as an ant hill. Chinese gentlemen must have their head shaven smoothly-- their heads look like a large collection of turnips.  Newspaper, small holes in folds,  good. Inscription on top of page one "G. Wilkinson". (8141) $39.00. Newspapers/Greece/Turkey/China      

Balkan States, Rand McNally Pocket Map ca. 1918 Rand McNally Co. Fascinating map shows Balkans with new state of Jugoslavia; Czechoslovakia, East Galicia Plebiscite, Dardanelles and Bosporus under international control. Paper map in folder, torn near top fold w/ old tape repair, tears at some corner folds, pencil route from Bukarest to Constantinople. Poor condition. (1517) $20.00. Maps.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Red Square at Christmastime

Our First Christmas in Moscow.  When you are in the capital of “Godless Communism” you appreciate your Christian faith and all its traditions much more.  However, I always had the feeling that many of the most dedicated communists still had buried deep in their psyche a rich religious tradition. 
            At Christmastime we attended Russian Orthodox religious services, which were beautiful, with priests wearing splendid robes, incense, and chanting parishioners. 
            Our maid, whom we figured was a Major in the KGB, and was assigned to report on all of our doings, had her husband, the plumber at the East German embassy, find us a Christmas tree.  It was a rather pitiful tree, but we appreciated their thoughtfulness.  Ludmila may have been a KGB agent, but she was a wonderful woman, and we learned a lot about life in Russia from her.
            Our middle son, Mark, had spent the last several months living with us in Moscow, and our daughter had been attending high school at an American school in High Wycombe, England.  She arrived by air from London.
Son Mark at the Train for Helsinki

Leningradsky Vokzal (Station). Our oldest son John and his friend Ned Walsh, both seniors at University of Rochester, had been conducting a low-cost, backpacking trip across Europe for several months, and the plan was for them to arrive by rail in Moscow three days before Christmas.  However, we had not heard from them for several weeks.   
 This was before cell phones and email, etc. However, surrounded as we were in the USSR with much uncertainty, we didn’t think there was much of a chance that the two college boys would actually make it across the Soviet frontier by the overnight train from Helsinki, Finland. 
            It was snowing lightly as we walked through Leningradsky Station.  Moscow has 14  train stations, most of them large termini for trains going to destinations all across the USSR. This station was for trains between Helsinki, Leningrad and Murmansk and other points in the far north.  Across the street was another rail station, for the Trans-Siberian Railway.  Other stations around the city served Kiev, Odessa, Poland and the rest of Europe, and so on. 
            Russian train stations were pretty much like a scene from “Doctor Zhivago”.  Grim-faced travelers with huge, heavy bags.  The women often wearing babushkas and the men wearing wool hats, or fur shapkas, but you’d also see a few Turkomans or Khirgiz or Uzbeks or Tadzhiks in their native dress.  Then there were the drunks. Large stations had a room where they would put the very drunk men seen staggering around the station, and you could look in where they were jammed in so tight they could hardly fall over.
            We reached the track for the train from Helsinki and shortly the train chugged in, and the people poured off.  They were mostly Soviet citizens, but there were a few international travelers, including young people with back packs. There were also Soviet soldiers and sailors.
            But no John or Ned!  We began to wonder how in the world we would catch up with them.  With everyone off, the train began to back out, to go over to another location to get cleaned up for the return trip.

Gals like this keep order on the trains.
            Then, just as the train started to move faster, our son and his friend jumped off, with all their backpacks and jackets flying behind them.  One of the sturdy, officious Soviet women who ruled the trains with an iron hand had found these two laggards still asleep in their compartment!  They had thought they had another 12 hours to travel. She booted them off unceremoniously.  Welcome to Moscow!
            We gathered the boys and their belongings and rushed them back to the Embassy, and Christmas.
            Chinese General Decorates our Tree.  We had a Christmas party, and one of our guests was the Chinese Defense Attaché, a large, burly man who resembled Mao Ze Dong.  Chinese military did not wear insignia of rank, but we figured this guy was about a Major General. 
            He brought for a gift a very beautiful set of Christmas tree ornaments made with bright colored feathers, and he insisted upon putting them on our tree himself.  He was as excited as a little boy doing that!  We still cherish those ornaments today, 30 years later.
            At that Christmas party we also had the Swedish, British, West German, Japanese, Italian, French, Turkish, Norwegian, Canadian attachés and wives, officials from South Korea, Chile, India, Egypt, our Ambassador, and other Americans.  But no Russians, as our government was showing the USSR our displeasure at their invasion of Afghanistan.
             It was a good Christmas.

The Personal Navigator offers these books and papers for your enjoyment:

Cambridge of 1776, The; Theatrum Majorum;  an Account of the Town, with which is incorporated the Diary of Dorothy Dudley, now first published; together with historical sketch, poems, etc. Adorned with Cuts and a Map Dorothy Dudley.  Diary by Greely, Mary Williams. 1876 Cambridge, MA: Ladies Centennial Committee by A.G. 123 pp. + adv. 14 x 21 cm. Miss Greely has concocted "Dorothy Dudley" to tell the story of Cambridge a century ago (1775-76) and W.D. Howells includes a poem to the "Fair maiden, whom a hundred summers keep forever seventeen.."  "History of Cambridge from 1631 to 1776"  by David Greene Haskins, Jr.  "Influence of Cambridge in the Formation of the Nation" by Andrew P. Peabody. D.D. "The Guests at Head-Quarters" by H.E. Scudder.  Light brown cloth on board finely decorated with gilt picture of the Washington Elm, blindstamped image on back cover. Tape label on spine, two or three pencil notations in margin of text, else very neat and a very good condition. (2739) $37.00. History

Canning:  Sketch of the Character of Mr. Canning. From the National Intelligencer of Sept. 15, 1827 By  Rush, Richard (?) 1828 Washington, DC: Gales & Seaton. Blistering picture of Great Britain's Foreign Minister, George Canning (1770-1827) published shortly after his death, apparently written by Richard Rush, but also attributed to John Quincy Adams.  Sketch accuses Canning of "British selfishness", toryism, undeviating support for monarchy, ridiculing popular movements. Canning was never the political friend of the U.S., writer states. "From Mr. Canning, literally nothing has been obtained -- no, never; though we have held frequent and protracted negotiations with the British Government, during his administration of the Foreign Office." 22 pp. 13 x 21 cm. Paper booklet, pencil notes on cover wrap: "Richard Rush, author". Minor foxing.  Good. (7929) $42.00. History/Great Britain

Chelsea Fire: Souvenir Book of The Great Chelsea Fire April 12, 1908; containing 34 views of the burned district and prominent buildings also a descriptive sketch 1908 Boston, MA: N.E. Paper and Stationery Co.  Fire that started at about 11 a.m. in the Boston Blacking Company on West 3rd St. near the Everett line. So intense was fire that buildings made of solid granite crumbled and were entirely destroyed. Number of buildings destroyed was about 1500, and between 10,000 and 12,000 people were rendered homeless. Photos show various scenes of damage, including Stebbins Block, looking up Broadway from Third St., Everett Avenue, corner post of Granite Block, Cherry Street, Odd Fellows Building, Bellingham Hill, Chelsea Savings Bank Building, Williams School ruins on Walnut street, Shurtleff School ruins on Essex St. Also Ruins of City Hall and City Hall School on Central Avenue, more. 32 pp. 15 x 10.5 cm. Paper booklet, good. (7958) $48.00. History/Boston

Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary, Illustrated London News Coronation Record Number, with 24 coloured and other platrs and many illustrations and portraits; price half a crown            Ingram, Bruce S., Editor           ca. 1911    London, England: Illustrated London News, 172 Strand, W.C. Elaborately and richly illustrated with full-color plates, many tipped in, with tissue shields. Elegant border designs for illustrations. Paintings of King George V and Queen Mary in coronation robes, painted especially for Ill. London News by C. Ouless and G.C. Wilmshurst, respectively. Painting of Heir to the Throne as a Naval Cadet, Edward, Prince of Wales. Paintings of Coronation-year Battleships and Vessels the King has Commanded, including Super Dreadnought "Neptune" and Battle-ship Cruiser "Indominatable". Painting of the British Dominions Beyond the Seas: Natives of the Greatest Empire the World has ever known.  Painting of officers in various uniforms of the King's "Own" Regiments of the Indian Army. Also includes advertisements. 29 x 41 cm. Pasteboard cover, 5 cm tear in spine top and bottom, edgewear also; small wrinkles in some tissue shields; good condition. (7821) $64.00. History           

British Charge at Balaklava in Crimean War

Crimean War: Memoirs of the Brave: A Brief Account of the Battles of the Alma, Balaklava, and Inkerman with Biographies of the Killed and a List of the Wounded, by James Gibson, Late of Sidney Sussex College 1855 London, England: Effingham Wilson, Royal Exchange. This little book about the Crimean War is dedicated to Rt. Hon. Sidney Herbert, M.P., Secretary at War. This edition includes letter from "our Most Gracious Queen" noting accounts of Miss Nightingale and Mrs. Bracebridge, and expressing her sympathy to families of those lost and wounded. Letter is dated Christmas, 1854, from Windsor. Brief accounts of battles of Alma, first Allied victory; Balaklava, second victory  with great disaster to British troops; and Inkerman, called "the soldier's battle". Memoirs of officers killed include Major-General Henry William Adams; Lieutenant-General the Hon. Sir George Cathcart; Lieutenant-Colonel Edward William Pakenham (nephew of Sir Edward Pakenham who fell before New Orleans); Memoirs of some 200 officers killed provide excellent biographical data and relate units men belonged to, family connection, peerage, and more. Also list of officers wounded; chronology of incidents of the war. 148 pp. 8.2 x 12.3 cm. 16mo. Attractive purple moiré silk on board with crest and crossed flags of France and Great Britain, and title. Covers warped, cloth missing from spine, edges frayed, dampstain on end papers. Gilt-edged pages. Fair. (7293) $195.00. History/Biography

Harper:  Speech of Robert Goodloe Harper, Esq. at the Celebration of the Recent Triumphs of the Cause of Mankind, in Germany, delivered at Annapolis (Maryland) January 20th, 1814   By Harper, Robert Goodloe, Esq. 1814 New Haven, CT: Oliver Steele. Harper (1765-1825) was a Congressman from South Carolina, then moved to Baltimore in about 1800, where he practiced law.  He served in the War of 1812, attaining the rank of Major General.  This speech celebrates the Prussian victory over Bonaparte, but then goes into a lengthy discourse about how the debt of southern planters led eventually to the War of 1812 with Britain. He tells about the British attack on the frigate Chesapeake in 1807, looking for deserters, that emboldened the "war party" in the U.S. "The passions of honest zealots; the erroneous theories of visionary, but well-meaning politicians; the cupidity of such as are governed in their political conduct by pecuniary interest; the ambition of demagogues, more desirous of distinction than attached to principle; the weakness of honest party men, and the low prejudices and passions of the vulgar, were all enlisted in the cause." 59 pp. 14 x 23 cm.       Paper booklet, quite browned. Illegible pencil notes on bottom of pp. 32-33. Fair.         (7925) $58.00. History/War of 1812

Hayward's Massachusetts Gazetteer, Containing Descriptions of all the Counties, Towns and Districts in the Commonwealth, and Fashionable Resorts by Hayward, John 1847 Boston, MA: John Hayward.  Descriptions of cities and towns of Massachusetts as they appeared in 1840s.  Description of railroads, colleges, lunatic asylums, hospitals in Commonwealth. Illustrated with engravings, incl. Boston and Bunker Hill from Chelsea, Landing of Pilgrims at Plymouth, 1620. Tables of population, property value, banks, visits by vessels to ports, railroads, lighthouses, latitude and longitude of towns, table of prices of 40 selected articles for fifty years. Viz.: Holland Gin was $1.33 per gallon in 1795, and $1.15 in 1844; Mackerel was $10.00 a barrel in 1795, $10.25 in 1844.  Includes description of "Brook Farm Phalanx" in Roxbury town description. 448 pp. 13 x 19.7 cm. Black cloth on board with black leather spine, spine frayed at heel and toe; gilt design and title on spine, pp. 279-286, one signature, partly detached. Good. (1438) $65.00. History

World War II Sailor's Photo Album, ca. 1945 ~23 pp. 25 x 29 cm. World War II sailor collected photos of girls, Navy blimps, his ship USS Zircon (PY-16), more girls, other sailors. Includes three small handmade sailor cartoons, two large photos of girls, charcoal sketch of young man, group photo of 1945 class at Naval Academy Preparatory School, Camp Peary, VA.  Leatherette photo album with photos inserted in plastic sheets, good. (5686) $50.00. American Originals/World War II/Navy/Ephemera

Het Panama-Kanaal, Proefschrift ter verkrijging van den graad van Doctor in de Staatswetenschap, aan de Rijks-Universiteit te Leiden op gezag van den rector magnificus Dr. H. Oort, hoogleeraar in de faculteit der letteren en wijsbegeerte, voor de faculteit te verdedigen op Vrijdag 23 October 1891, des namiddags te 2 uren, door Nicolaas Charles de Gijselaar, geboren te gorinchem. [in Dutch] by De Gijselaar, Nicolaas Charles; Oort, Dr. H. ca. 1891 Leiden, Holland: P. Somerwil. Very detailed doctoral dissertation on what would someday be the Panama Canal, in Dutch. Het graven van kanalen, die twee zeeën verbinden, behoort voorzeker tot de belangrijkste feiten van de 19e eeuw. 224 pp. 15 x 23 cm. Red cloth on board with gilt lettering, cover lightly soiled, very good. (5430) $28.00. History/Travel

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Friday, June 17, 2011

The Mill Girls of Manchester

 Mill girls weaving

Old newspapers give you a wonderful view of life in another time, and they give it as it rolls along, without the wisdom of a historian, as a snapshot in words that reporters capture at the moment. Sometimes you’ll catch fleeting reference to an event that later turns out to be the first appearance of a glittering gem of history.
More often you’ll observe details that give you a colorful picture of life in those times, at that place.

In my travels I’m always glad to scoop up newspapers from the nineteenth century.  Not long ago I found a bunch of papers called The Gleaner, from the tiny little textile mill town of Manchester, New Hampshire.
Manchester was a town of just a few hundred when the mills started to go up along the Merrimac River, but it grew rapidly into one of the main textile manufacturing cities in the United States. 
The mills hired young women to operate the thousands of spindles in the mills, and the first came from American families, mostly in New England.  Many farmers in the 1830s could barely feed their large families. The boys helped with the crops, but the girls just helped churn the butter, wash the clothes, spin and knit, and help with cleaning—all things the mother in the home was expected to do, and families often looked upon the girls as just more mouths to feed.  When farmers heard that the mills were hiring young women they were eager to ship their second or third daughters off to work there. 
The boarding houses where the mill girls worked were often run by women who were strict disciplinarians, and demanded that the girls keep their rooms and their persons spotless.  They worked terribly long hours, and had only Sunday to read, write letters home, mend their clothes, and find a bit of enjoyment.  Sunday was of course the day they were expected to attend church. 
Most of the girls in the early years at the mill were very clean cut, God-fearing, and of average intelligence.  They attended evening talks, eagerly read books, and were dedicated to self-improvement.  Pay for those girls was something like $1 a week, and most of that was taken up with room and board.
Of course, there were exceptions, and sometimes there were unscrupulous males and females operating the boarding houses, and there are tales of older men seducing the fresh-faced young girls.  There were also stories of young swains luring girls astray, and in cases where a girl got pregnant out of wedlock, fear of social and family rejection  might lead her to commit suicide.
Those Yankee women in that early mill force constituted the last WASP (White Anglo Saxon Protestant) majority in the labor force in America.  By 1860 they had been replaced by young immigrant girls from Canada, Ireland, and later, other parts of Europe, who would all work for even less than the American girls.

The Gleaner captured the flavor of those early years in Manchester. In the July 26, 1845 issue, the Editor relates a story from the Boston Satirist, of a young man from Boston who comes to Manchester and hires a horse and chaise, and after concluding that bargain, asked that he might obtain a feminine partner to accompany him on a pleasant moonlight ride.  An Irish girl was provided...she asked the young lover for her pay up front, but he said the pay would come when they arrived at the happy spot. There was kissing and hugging.  As they rode, she dropped her handkerchief, the young lover stopped to pick it up, and the girl took off with the horse and chaise.  The girl… turned out to be a crafty New Hampshire boy.

In the April 26, 1845 issue The Gleaner turns to the Massachusetts mill town of Lowell, with a poem, "Lowell Song" by J.B. Hall. It’s a tale of a nice young girl who comes to work in Lowell, but James Cook, man of high renown, comes into her room at night and seduces her.  She goes home to Vermont, disgraced, and tells her lover, who accepts the child.  They wed, and ten years later, visit Mr. Cook and extract a payment for the child's education. 
In the May 3, 1845 issue we read of "Dizer Jr.'s First Sermon,"  a piece of humor written in "Negro" dialect: "Moses was de meakest man, Sampson was de trongest, 'Thuselah was de oldest man, Bekase he liv'd de longest. Nebu-chad-mud-sneezerr, Drib out among de cattle, Libed on grass and grabil, 'Til his teeth begun to rattle."   
In the July 5, 1845 issue, there is a letter from Nashville, NH (a town created from the northwestern part of Nashua, which existed from 1842 to 1853) asking how they get along over at the Chesnut St. Theatre. "If the lewd young men don't go over there to catch the wanton lasses? Guess there is some Onderdonking going on among the perfectionist. The use of ‘Onderdonking’ must have been very humorous, but appears that it represents the temperature at which conducting wires melt.  I wish I knew what it really meant!
 The Glorious Fourth (July 4, 1845) will be celebrated in Manchester by different classes in various ways.  Grand National Temperance Meeting!!!!!!! Important and alarming to rumies! Tongue-in-cheek "news" notes meeting July 3 to make arrangements for celebration of the Fourth. "No person will be allowed to speak or take part in the meeting , who has not been either a miserable drunkard or has become wealthy  by the traffic in damnation." Gleaner publishes its regular list of those purchasing spirits, rum, gin, brandy and wine at Tilton's Rum Hole. Letter to Editor points out that a certain Doctor C. is engaged in mesmerizing certain girls whose characters are under suspicion. He "spends too much time... in their employ...and also the effects of the nervo vital fluid that must.. pass from the doctor in quieting the nerves of his femenine (sic) subjects
In the July 12, 1845 issue, two whole columns of the second page are devoted to Notice of Grand National Celebration: “Lickspittles and Nimcompoops of Manchester to the Rescue”, July 4, 1845. This piece includes a crude illustration of man chasing an animal.  Announces order of celebration.  First, the filling of 107 pint bottles...  Then comes "Col. Soft Soap, mounted upon a Blacking Bottle; then Liquor Agents and Boobys. Surviving members of the Drunkards Funeral Society; then Selectmen…  That Lawyer.. Libertiners and Strumpets... Dr. Vomit.. Eleven boys, without breeches or manners.  ... Tory Moore with six british Lickspittles...Millerites, Priests, Horse Stealers, Liars, Thieves, Pickpockets...etc." 

And the advertisements:

Ad: "Despair Not! You are not incurable! Relief is at hand, at Dr. Morrill's Office at the American House, Manchester Street. Treatment for the following complaints: Coughs, Diarrhea, Gravel, Rheumatism, Female Debility, Glandular Affections, Effects of Mercury, Scrufula, Cholera Morbus, more." 
Ad for Mail Stage over the Mammoth Road, leaves Manchester House, passing through Londonderry, Windham to Lowell, arriving in season for the 2 o'clock train of cars for Boston. Fare 75 cts. 
Ad for Improvements in dental surgery by Dr. Blaisdell, Surgeon Dentist. Price for filling single cavity with tin foil, 25¢ to 50¢. With gold, 50¢ to $1.00.
Ad for The Swell Seraphim: "Persons in want of a sweet toned parlor instrument will do well to call on M.O. Nichols who continues to manufacture and improve the same.”
Ad for Benjamin Kimball of Haverhill who offers for sale 50 barrels (bbls)  of Newburyport Rum, 1 pipe each of French, American brandy, Holland and American gin, 250 bbls of molasses sugar, 20 bbls of good salt pork, 3 Hogsheads (hhds) of good first rate molasses and a variety of other articles usually found in a West India Goods store.

And now….here are some items I’m offering…

National Intelligencer, Washington City, Saturday, March 5, 1814 by Jackson, John G.  Washington, DC: Gales and Seaton. Much of this small newspaper is devoted to the speech of Congressman John G. Jackson (1777-1825) of western Virginia in a lengthy debate on a Loan Bill for the War with Great Britain. Jackson covers the universe in his lengthy speech in support of the justness of the War of 1812, the justness of continuing it, and the mode of waging it.  This war had pitted the northern states (who opposed it) against the southern states, who favored it.  Jackson had married Dolley Madison's sister, Mary, in 1800, but she died in 1808. The President's wife remained close to Jackson after Mary's death. Northerners called this war "Mr. Madison's War".   In two pages of this speech, which concludes in another issue, Cong. Jackson reminds a modern reader of the  debate about the War in Iraq. Also, Story on the Proposal for National Bank.  4 pp. 32 x 50 cm. Newspaper, edges frayed, brittle, poor. (7431) $35.00. Newspapers/History

 Boston Courier  Semi-Weekly, Thursday, March 5, 1829 Buckingham, J.T. 1829 Boston, MA: J.T. Buckingham, Editor and Proprietor. This is a lively Boston paper from the time when Andrew Jackson was President.  "Domestic Slave Trade"  story from National Gazette tells about steamer on which writer was embarked encountering steamboat Tesch completely aflame. In aftermath several slaves were killed; two years later (1827)  in Frankfort, KY trial takes place initiated by slave trader-- much disapproval of slave trade-- then fire breaks out in courthouse. Slaves as "property". Announcement of new administration in Washington: Van Buren as Secretary of State, Ingham of PA to be Secretary of the Treasury, McLean of OH to be Postmaster General, Eaton of TN to be Secretary of War, Branch of NC to be Secretary of the Navy. Long editorial discusses new cabinet.  4 pp. 39 x 53 cm. Newspaper, worn, fair. Name "G. Wilkinson" written at top of front page. (8076) $30.00. Newspapers/History

President Andrew Jackson

Boston Courier  Semi-Weekly, Thursday, April 30, 1829 Buckingham, J.T. 1829 Boston, MA: J.T. Buckingham, Editor and Proprietor. This is a lively Boston paper from the time when Andrew Jackson was President.  "An Apology for the United States" editor comments on article from the Edinburgh Review: "we do not recollect that we ever read an article… more insulting in its tone toward the people of the United States."  Editorial critical of Gen. Jackson and his cabinet, commenting on difference between him and Pres. Jefferson. Jackson, editor writes, appointed cabinet members strictly on political basis. A line of steam-boats is established to run the next summer between Boston and Portland. "Office Hunting" critical of men turned out of office and those begging for offices as new administration begins.  4 pp. 39 x 53 cm. Newspaper, worn, fair. Name "G. Wilkinson" written at top of front page. (8077) $30.00. Newspapers/History

Boston Courier  Semi-Weekly, Thursday, May 7, 1829 Buckingham, J.T. 1829 Boston, MA: J.T. Buckingham, Editor and Proprietor. This is a lively Boston paper from the time when John Quincy Adams was President. News from Kentucky about Henry Clay, who would later run for President. Gen. Houston has resigned as governor of Tennessee with remarkable resignation letter.  "Decree of Bolivar" reports new trade and commerce rules by Simon Bolivar for Gran Colombia (Venezuela). Tongue-in-cheek report on May Day in New York. Story of intemperance and murder in Maine. Letter from a Boston Merchant who writes about his trip out of Leghorn, Italy en route Florence. Humorous commentary on the militia in Massachusetts. 4 pp. 39 x 53 cm. Newspaper, worn, some foxing, fair. (8068) $29.00. Newspapers/History   

Boston Courier  Semi-Weekly, Thursday, August 6, 1829 Buckingham, J.T. 1829 Boston, MA: J.T. Buckingham, Editor and Proprietor. This is a lively Boston paper from the time when John Quincy Adams was President. Letter to Editor critical of recent editorial about lectures of Miss Wright, takes Courier to task. Signed "Fair Play". Following this, editor notes that he will not comment on the letter, but then he does. Nearly two columns on front page discussing role of women and performance of Miss Wright. Text of speech by celebrated Irish orator O'Connell at Kilrush on June 15. Critical of the British, praises the men of Clare. Chiding commentary on failure of New York newspaper publishers to send their papers north on time. Paper reprints report from Fourth of July celebration in South Carolina which is critical of Kentucky and "The American System" (This was a proposal by Henry Clay and the Whigs) as opposed to States Rights, a favorite in South Carolina.  Speeches also criticize President Adams. 4 pp. 39 x 53 cm. Newspaper, worn, fair. (8069) $30.00. Newspapers/History    

Boston Courier  Semi-Weekly, Thursday, August 13, 1829 Buckingham, J.T. 1829 Boston, MA   : J.T. Buckingham, Editor and Proprietor. This is a lively Boston paper from the time when Andrew Jackson was President.  "Letters from a Boston Merchant"  recalls that in last chapter he said that Japan was "Paradise of Dogs"--- rambling discussion about hunting for dogs and dog-hospitals.   Refuge for Destitute Mosquitoes.. relates tale of a man on the Dorchester flats where the mosquitoes are as large and as hungry as in Turkey, and of man who bet he could strip bare and lie naked for five minutes with mosquitoes.  Japanese have taste for fine gardens. "Extinction of Egypt" dissertation on course of the Niger, speculation on physical extinction of Egypt.  Commentary on Boston Newspapers reports opinions of Mr. Ruffleshirt, Mr. Neverchange, Mr. Firebrand, Mr. Scrupulous and Mr. Sugarplum.  Adv. with illustration of Patent Sponge Boots for Horses' Feet.  See James Boyd, 27 Merchants' Row. 4 pp. 39 x 53 cm. Newspaper, worn, fair. Name "G. Wilkinson" written at top of front page. (8078) $30.00. Newspapers/History

Dan’l Webster for President

Essex Register, Salem, (Mass.) Thursday Morning, September 15, 1836 Salem, MA: Palfray & Chapman. Notice of Whig Nominations in Massachusetts:  For President, Daniel Webster of Massachusetts; for Vice President, Francis Granger, of New York; For Governor, Edward Everett; for Lt. Governor, George Hull.  Commentary from the Amherst Cabinet about recent decision of Chief Justice Hornblower of New Jersey that a person should not be considered presumptive evidence of slavery simply by color. Anecdote about how Henry Clay took a bottle of Ohio wine to President Madison, which turned out to be blended with Kentucky whisky. Snide remarks about Candidate Van Buren from the Washington Sun. "Character of Kosciusko" Text of speech delivered in the Senate by Gen. Wm. H. Harrison, on hearing of the death of Kosciusko, the martyr of Liberty, in Soleure, France in October, 1817. George Bancroft, "the white kid glove and silk stocking democrat" has been nominated as a candidate for Congress by the Van Burenites of Hampden district, MA. When the railroad from New Brunswick harbor, in Georgia is completed, New Orleans and Boston will be brought within seven days of each other. Lines of steamboats will be established to Havana, Vera Cruz and the Isthmus of Darien, 15 days from Boston, and 27 from Europe will place the traveler on the shores of the Pacific! 4 pp. 41 x 58 cm. Newspaper, lightly soiled, some fraying at edges of pages, good. (7486) $30.00. Newspapers

Witness, May, 1868, vol. 4 No. 7 Inglis, James, Editor  New York, NY: James Inglis & Co. 8 pp. 29 x 40 cm. Utter Ruin and Complete Salvation:  defective views of our natural condtion are always found with low views of the person and work of Christ. How can I be assured of Salvation? The Law magnified and Grace Vindicated. Newspaper, slightly browned, edges chipped, good. (5033) $10.00. Religious