Saturday, January 28, 2012

About Boston Commuter Rail....

Boston Commuter Rail Travel—Moving Bravely into the 20th Century!

Boston & Maine Locomotive at Lowell

            Faced with backbreaking debt, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) has proposed to raise fares and eliminate service. 
            Here in Rockport, the MBTA plans to take all weekend train service away, which means that not only will weekend workers be unable to use the “T”, but visitors to Rockport will be turned away. 
            Our local economy depends upon visitors coming here to shop, eat, attend events at our Shalin Liu Performance Center, and visit our Rockport Art Association and all our galleries.
            First, about the debt.  Newspaper stories in the past year have told how some MBTA contractors, tasked with printing the passes that are sold to commuters for travel, helped themselves to the point of printing and selling millions of dollars of fake tickets!
            Perhaps a bigger hole in the revenue bags, however, is the report many, many commuters have made that conductors on the Rockport-Boston line often don’t check tickets, and don’t bother to collect fares from people without tickets. Many people frankly say they have made many trips without paying a dime!
            Not only is the “T” unable to take in the money it needs, but if receipts are the only way to determine ridership, obviously, they have no clue as to how many people are actually riding. 
            If so many people are riding for free, it’s no wonder the “T” wants to cut service on weekends.  Of course, the next logical thing would be to cut all service, and let the trains sit at the terminal. 

Rockport Station under water
Aug. 25, 2010 (By Dee McManus)

            Here in Rockport, for eight years we have been working with the “T” on a design for a new station.  Since we are the end of the line, usually four or five trains lay over on tracks at our station on weekends.  The “station” is not nearly the fine structure we had here in 1929. 
            In 1929, as a matter of fact, trains made the same trip from Rockport to Gloucester, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Beverly Farms, Montserrat, Beverly, Salem, Lynn and on to Boston’s North Station, only they made it faster.  And I will bet that even without electronics, bar code scanners and all the other modern paraphernalia, very few people escaped the conductor’s ticket punch.
            The “T” has indulged us mightily in Rockport.  They have spent many thousands of dollars on reams of plans for the grand new station here, with new layover tracks, a longer raised platform with roofs and lights, and even a paved parking lot! 
            In response to local calls to reduce the noise of trains in the station, the “T” designed a massive “Hush Hut”.  
            We have had the finest designs money could buy.  But not anything has proceeded beyond design. 

B&M Train at North Station 1966

            In a more logical world, with a transportation authority that existed to provide transportation for commuters, instead of perhaps just soft jobs for people, you would think that more and better service would lead to more riders, and more revenue.  Commuters would leave their cars at home, and in increasing numbers, hop on the “T”.
            It’s the same old business --- tired, bored “public servants” going through the motions of providing sloppy commuter service.
It’s time for citizens to speak out! 
We don’t buy the “Massachusetts is broke” excuse.  Our Governor and Legislature can and should demand an excellent “T”. 
WE should demand it!

Why can’t we travel in a car like this?
(Mercury train by Priestmangoode)

The Personal Navigator offers these items that will take you back to the days of the wonderful Boston & Maine Railway:

Boston and Maine Railroad Timetable, November 3, 1930; Minute Man Service  1930 Boston, MA: Boston & Maine Railroad. Timetable features Berkshire Flyer between Boston and Troy, NY and Minute Man between Boston and Chicago. Also Montreal-Washington, Boston to Saint John, NB and Halifax, NS. Commuter lines.  50 pp. 20 x 22 cm. Paper booklet, stained and soiled, cover coming loose, poor. (6308) $20.00. Travel

Boston and Maine Railroad Complete Rail Schedule, April 24, 1955 (Daylight Saving Time)  Boston, MA: Boston and Maine Railroad, 150 Causeway St.  Cover shows "Minute Man" Buddliner and scene of a waterfall. Fares: Boston to Montreal, $12.12 in coach, $15.83 for sleeping car, Pullman lower berth additional $5.50.  Boston-White Mountains via White River Jct. Connecticut River Valley.  New York-Springfield-Greenfield, change at Greenfield for Grand Central Terminal. Boston to Beverly and Gloucester. Ad: "More new 'Budds' are here! $9,000,000 worth of them on B and M lines!" 40 pp. 20 x 23 cm. (6655) $24.00. Travel/Railroads

Boston and Maine Railroad Time Tables, December 11, 1922 Boston, MA: Boston and Maine Railroad, North Station. Front  cover of Time Table shows picture of woman enjoying skiing or ice skating; back cover show drawing of deer with ad for a Fall vacation in the Maine Woods: "Pack your guns-- leave your cares and worries behind-- and get away for a week or two hunting--". Centerfold features map of Northeast from Schenectady and Montreal east to Rangeley, ME and Boston. Time tables between Boston and Maine, Boston to Portland via Portsmouth and via Dover; between Boston and Haverhill, MA; Lowell, Medford, Lawrence and Manchester, NH branch lines; Swampscott Branch; Gloucester Branch; Salem and Peabody; Conway and Wolfeboro Branches, more. 52 pp. 20 x 23 cm. Paper timetable, pages lightly browned, good. (7876) $20.00. Travel/Railways

Boston: Everywhere in Boston and How to Get there; Street Guide of every street in Arlington, Belmont, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Milton, Newton, Revere, Somerville and Watertown. ©1943. Boston, MA: I.E. Chase-Myrick. Little index of streets and street car lines. How to get to and from Scollay Square, and other places that no longer exist. Appendix listing for Boston Elevated Railway. 352 pp. 11.5 x 15.2  cm. Paper booklet very good. (6067) $16.00. Travel/Boston

Boston & Maine Railroad Tourist Map ca. 1890 Boston: Rand Avery Supply Co., Engr's 1 map         50 x 40 cm. Folded map, same as one contained in 1890 Boston & Maine Travel booklet. Tourist Map Boston & Maine Railroad, shows B& M routes and connecting lines from Boston north to New Brunswick, Dominion of Canada, west to Montreal and south to Catskills.   Paper foldout map,  8 cm. closed tear in bottom edge,  good.    (8115) $20.00.  Travel  

Boston & Maine Railroad Tourist Map ca. 1890 Boston: Rand Avery Supply Co., Engr's 1 map         50 x 40 cm. Folded map, same as one contained in 1890 Boston & Maine Travel booklet. Tourist Map Boston & Maine Railroad, shows B& M routes and connecting lines from Boston north to New Brunswick, Dominion of Canada, west to Montreal and south to Catskills.   Paper foldout map,  8 cm. closed tear along fold for southwestern corner panel, poor. (8116) $16.00. Travel      

Boston & Maine Railroad  Map and Connections, Boston and Worcester to Portland and North Conway           ca. 1890 Boston: Boston & Maine Railroad. 1 map 50 x 40 cm.        Folded topographical map, shows routes from Boston and Worcester to North Conway, NH and Canadian Border at Vanceboro.     Paper foldout map,  very good.   (8117) $28.00. Travel  


Friday, January 27, 2012

Pvt. Dixon L. Coulbourn, AUS


Young Private Coulbourn on bivouac with Co. E, 124th Infantry Rgt., 1917
(In third tent on right.)

            My Dad, Dixon Long Coulbourn, was busy all his life, always in a hurry, and yet he lived to be 98 years old.
            He was born in a little Virginia town on Chesapeake Bay on January 27, 1899.  His dad ran an oyster business.  The employees were all African-Americans, and I am sure some of the older ones had been slaves at one time. 
            Watermen raked up tons of oysters and brought them back to Morattico to be processed.  Black oyster shuckers worked all day, filling barrels with fresh shucked oysters, which were iced down and rushed to customers all over the eastern United States.
It was hard work, and a typical shucker made $6 a week.  They piled up mountains of oyster shells. 
            America was going to war in France to fight the Germans in 1917, and young Dixon was in a hurry to join.  He enlisted in the 124th Infantry Regiment (First Florida), and was shipped up to Camp Devens in Massachusetts, to join the Yankee Division.
            1,500,000 young men boarded troop transports and were soon fighting in France. Dixon was among them. The shells exploding near him permanently damaged his hearing, so he spent the rest of his life with very poor hearing.
            On November 11, 1918, Armistice was declared. People went from unit to unit, announcing the news.  Dixon remembered that vividly, especially because a cook wagon came to the front lines and started cooking pancakes for the soldiers.  “Man, that was the most wonderful thing!” Dixon used to say. 
            As it has done for most men, and now women as well, combat made a lasting impression on Dixon.  He was proud of his service.

            When the war was over, all the soldiers returned to America, and suddenly all those young men were looking for jobs at the same time.  Dixon and his brothers went to work in central Florida, packing strawberries and trying all kinds of schemes to make a living.   Texas was gaining notice all over the country because oil wells were popping up, new refineries were being built, and workers were needed. In 1927, Dixon got himself on a freight train headed for Texas.  He made his way to Port Arthur, in the southeastern corner of Texas.  Real estate developers financed with money from the Netherlands had begun building a town here to handle shipments of locally grown rice. They located the Kansas City Southern Railways terminus here, and Dutch settlers came to live, followed by Americans. Then a huge oil discovery at Spindletop, right where all the Dutchmen were living, led to creation of several refineries here. Texaco and Gulf Oil companies were created. Families began streaming here to make their fortune in this oil boom town. 

Gusher at Spindletop, Jan. 10, 1901
Courtesy of American Petroleum Institute

            For a young man, veteran of The Great War, looking for work, this looked to be the place, and Dixon landed here.  Dixon found a job as a bookkeeper at a local grocery store.  Dixon, who enlisted in the Army before he had graduated from high school, now enrolled in correspondence courses to learn to be an accountant.  He earned his certificate.
He met a young woman at a Methodist Church social event. Katherine was the daughter of a doctor and a strong supporter of the local Methodist Church and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.  Dixon and Katherine were soon married. 
            I was born a couple of years later, in 1934, and my brother Dixon Wall Coulbourn was born two years later, in 1936.
            Dixon then began taking the test to become a Certified Public Accountant, but didn’t make it.  He took it again.  All through World War II, every year he took the test, and finally, in about 1945, he earned the “CPA” designation. We were all so proud of him!
            In 1944 my sister, Martha Louise, was born, and our parents looked at the neighborhood where we lived, just over a mile from downtown, and decided that now, with a little girl, it was time to move to more idyllic surroundings. So, in 1945 we moved to Griffing Park.  Here we had a cow pasture beyond our back door. Dixon ordered a flock of Plymouth Rock chickens from a supplier in Massachusetts, and soon we were in the chicken business. 

Dixon’s family, 1946
L to R: Dixon, young Dixon, Martha, Sam, Katherine.

            We collected the eggs each morning, and cleaned all the chicken mess up, and fed the chickens.  Dixon started his own accounting firm, leaving for work after he had made sure that we were doing our chicken chores.
            Dixon was always in a hurry.  He hurried to work, and he hurried home.  He ate each meal like there’d not be another.  The only thing he slowed down for was church. We all went to the Methodist Temple downtown every Sunday, but as soon as the sermon started, Dad would turn off his hearing aid and drift off to sleep. 
            Dixon loved gadgets.  All during the war, Army surplus items were finding their way to market, and when war ended, there was a flood of interesting gadgets, and Dad wanted to buy as many as he could find. 
            He had a friend who owned a store that sold outboard motors for boats and all kinds of appliances, from washing machines to record players. 
            Dixon bought an electric deep freezer, and then one of the new Bendix washing machines, with the window, so you could see the clothes swirling around inside.  He bought my mother an electric ironing machine (mangle), which turned out to be a total waste of money.
            When a new voice recorder came out, that you could record on a paper disk, he brought one home to try out, and took it back.  Then a wire recorder came out that made a recording on a slim silver wire on a spool.  He brought that home, and then took it back. 
            However, we were one of the last families in the neighborhood to buy a television. 
            Even though he loved gadgets, Dad was no spendthrift!
            Dad kept his accounting business until he was 73 years old, then with all of us kids with families of our own, he and mother moved to Georgetown, Texas, where he opened up another accounting business, and wrote a book, “Control Your Finances”.
            All his adult life, Dad was a loyal member of the Kiwanis Club and the American Legion.  On his 90th birthday the local newspaper ran a front-page story of this crusty old World War I veteran.  Dad wasn’t pleased about the publicity, because he thought the fact that he was 90 years old might turn away some of his accounting business.
            Happy Birthday, Dad!

The Personal Navigator offers these books and papers:

Our Army--and How to Know It and Our Navy and How to Know It edited by Albert A. Hopkins--Reversible book 1917. New York, NY: Munn & Co., Inc. Scientific American Office Little book describes modern World War I Army with 310 illustrations--maps, ranks, insignia, how to salute; Reverse the book at it describes modern Navy with 275 illustrations, insignia, uniforms, weapons, etc. 124 pp. 10 x 14 cm. Paper booklet bound with Army on one side, Navy on the other. Cover missing, pencil writing on Navy title page, thus poor. (6225) $30.00. World War I/Army/Navy

Portfolio of the World War-- Rotogravure Etchings Selected from the Mid-Week Pictorial of The New York Times. 1917. New York: New York Times Company. Excellent collection of photographs from World War I. 28 x 41 cm. Cloth on board, very nice cover. Sepia-toned, high-quality photos. Front hinge broken, but binding intact. Fair condition. (0392) $60.00. History.

Scientific American, August 25, 1917 New York, NY: Munn & Co., Inc. Publishers. Cover painting shows U.S. Army Motor-Truck Kitchen. Story p. 137 describes new vehicle, costing $7000, may find favor with the military authorities.  "Canning Tomatoes in California" by Arthur L. Dahl. "Gas Engine Drive for Submerged Submarines," with photos, by E.C. Crossman. Lead story: "The Neglected Water Power of New England."  "The War of the Specialists-- The Machine Gunner" with photos,  by Captain Louis Keene, C.E.F. Photo and story about Giant Bombing-Planes--Italy's Contribution to Aeronautical Progress. Triplane carries crew of three, and 2750 lbs. of explosives. Newly-invented trench weapon combines automatic pistol with bayonet in single instrument. Full-page Ad: Now women can drive  with pleasure, in Delco-equipped automobiles. Full-page color ad for Bulldog Mack trucks, from one to 7 1/2 tons capacity. Full-page ad for Pierce-Arrow Motor Trucks.  Week's Review of the war by our military experts, shows map of operations in Rumania. 24 pp. 27 x 39 cm. Paper periodical, minor wear and soiling, good. (7230) $24.00. World War I/History

Treat 'Em Square: The National Ex-Service Mens Magazine, May 1922 Haimes, Robert, Editor.  New York, NY: Treat 'Em Square, 33 Union Square. Cover shows soldier holding flag with Capitol in background. Lead story: "Politicians Tricking Soldiers on the Bonus--Declares Francis"--"the plain truth about the bonus is that the (Harding) Administration is afraid to pay it in the right way."  "Canadian Pension Board Makes Generous Provision for Disable War Veterans, Their Dependents, For Children Yet Unborn".  "Baseball booming, says Judge Landis".  Editorials: President proposes sales tax to pay for bonus.  Treat 'Em Square is distributed exclusively by ex-Servicemen. On Sporting Page is photo of Babe Ruth demonstrating his batting stance for Belgian General Baron Jacques. Ad for "Knights of the Ku Klux Klan" -- an institution of chivalry, humanity, justice and patriotism.   32 pp. 20 x 27.5 cm. Periodical, slight wear, very good. (7846) $45.00. World War I/Propaganda

World War I Postcard: Drafted Men receiving their first physical examination, Camp Devens, Mass.     1917 Camp Devens, MA: Postcard. 2 sides 14 x 9 cm.          B&W photo shows men milling about, still in civilian clothes, while Army medics check them out. On reverse is message from young soldier to his mother in Turner's Falls, MA. Postcard, good. (5687) $12.00. World War I/Postcards/ephemera    
World War I Postcard: Arrival of the drafted men, Camp Devens, Ayer, Mass. 1917         Camp Devens, MA: Postcard. 2 sides           14 x 9 cm. B&W photo shows men standing in loose ranks, still in civilian clothes, most in suits and felt or straw hats, with soldier at their head. On reverse is message from young soldier to his sister in Turner's Falls, MA. Postcard, good.    (5690) $12.00. World War I/Postcards/ephemera                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
World War I Postcard: Soldiers under arms, running "double time." 1917  Camp Devens, MA: Postcard     2 sides  14 x 9 cm. Color photo shows soldiers with rifles at port arms and blankets over their shoulders, running double time. On reverse is message from young soldier to Mrs. Arthur Brodeur in Turner's Falls, MA, thanking her for the cigars which he received. Postcard, good. (5693) $12.00.  World War I/Postcards/ephemera          

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Enchanted Island--The Opera

"Ho Sbagliato…"
(I messed up…)

Placido Domingo, as King Neptune
(Metropolitan Opera photo)

            I went to see Enchanted Island at the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport Saturday. 
            It was a Simulcast of the live performance at the Metropolitan Opera of the World Premier of this amazing Baroque conglomeration (they called it “pastiche”) of the music of Handel, Vivaldi, Rameau and a few others, stirred elegantly with parts of Shakespeare’s plays “The Tempest” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
It was the story of Prospero, the Duke of Milan, living with his daughter on an “Enchanted Island”, in exile.  He had banished his former lover, the Sorceress Sycorax to another part of the island, along with her somewhat disadvantaged son, Caliban.
  Prospero, sung by the Countertenor David Daniels, spent his time cooking up magic spells and potions, with the help of Ariel, a “spirit” slave he had stolen from Sycorax.. Ariel was sung by Soprano Danielle de Niese, and Sycorax by Mezzo Soprano Joyce DeDonato.
The opera had everything, including multiple spells cast upon various characters, the spectacular appearance of King Neptune by Tenor Placido Domingo, complete with chorus, shipwrecks, people falling in and out of love with each other according to spells cast, spells that didn’t work out as intended, brilliant costumes, and mermaids who soar above the stage, and dancing nymphs.
I’m accustomed to and really enjoy operas that have been around a while, but this was exciting, interesting and excellent entertainment. 

Prospero (David Daniels) and Sycorax (Joyce DiDonato)
(Metropolitan Opera photo)
When you cast yourself free of traditional Grand Opera like Aïda, Carmen, Boris Godounov, Eugene Onegin, La Traviata or La Boheme, and you envision an opera like Enchanted Island, I at once wondered who would make an opera out of the fantastic story of a ship, captained by a wild Neapolitan, hotdogging through the Tyrrhenian Sea and rubbing her keel over the rocks of Giglio island.
I thought the Countertenor voice of David Daniels might make a marvelous Captain Francesco Schettino, and perhaps the Moldovan mystery girl could be sung by a golden haired soprano.  I can hear Francesco's aria now: "Ho Sbagliato." 
Placido Domingo would be a natural for the Coast Guard Captain, ordering the Captain to go back aboard his ship.       You can imagine this scene with a chorus of waiters, sailors and passengers.
Enchanted Island, with all its spells and shipwrecks, seemed to be an excellent model for a modern-day Costa Concordia—the Opera.

Carbiniere and Captain Francesco Schettino (AP Photo)

The Personal Navigator offers these books and papers:

Confession of Faith and Form of Covenant of The Old South Church in Boston, Massachusetts with lists of the Founders, Pastors, Ruling Elders and Deacons, and Members 1855 Boston, MA: Crocker and Brewster, 47 Washington St. Book of history and rules of the church. Most important are contemporary handwritten notations in List of Members as of Jan. 1, 1855, with deaths and dismissals to 1857. 118 pp. 12 x 19 cm. Cloth on board, gilt printing, blindstamped design. Top piece of spine torn loose ( 5 cm.). On back, lower left corner dampstained and worn. Original owner's name written on paper on cover: Charles Stoddard, Deacon, joined 1821. (1450) $60.00. Religious/History.

Connecticut Evangelical Magazine, The; Vol. IV, Consisting of 12 numbers, to be published monthly, from July 1803 to June 1804 Williams, Nathan, D.D.; Smalley, John, D.D.; Day, Jeremiah, D.D.; Trumbull, Benjamin, D.D.; Parsons, Elijah, D.D., et al, Editors  1804. Hartford, CT: Hudson & Goodwin Bound volume of twelve issues of Evangelical Magazine.  "Attempts to Christianize the Indians  in New-England & c." continued from the previous year.  Mention of attempts by Romish priests, which are opposed to actions of Protestant priests, include "teaching them the Pater Noster and rubbing a few beads, then baptising them."  In November 1803 issue is description of Religious exercises in the Indian Congregations, from a letter from Dr. Increase Mather in 1687.    Before he died, Rev. Mr. Atwater of Westfield wrote an Advice for his only son, William. That advice is published in the October 1803 issue.  Report of Revival of Religion in Lebanon, New York, in 1799.  "Reflections of a Youth once dissolute, brought to serious consideration" published in April 1804 issue.  484 pp. 12.4 x 21.5 cm. Whole calf on board, edges lightly worn, text block slightly fanned; contemporary signature of Elijah Loomis written three times on front endpapers, with "Cost 11/". Text block tight, slight foxing.  Good copy. (5260) $66.00. Religious/Missionary

Delights of Wisdom Concerning Conjugial Love; After Which Follow Pleasures of Insanity Concerning Scortatory Love by Swedenborg, Emanuel 1852 Boston, MA: Otis Clapp. 438 pp. 14 x 23 cm. This book is widely available in new reprints and electronic versions. This 1852 version contains an 1833 "Advertisement" explaining the English translation from the original 1768 Latin edition. Readers when this edition appeared in 1852 must have been amazed, because Swedenborg does not mince words. Swedenborg presents love and sex as high-minded, and altogether connected with the will of God. He teaches that conjugal (conjugial) love between husband and wife is good and extends through child-rearing and abstaining from selfishness. However, he also deals heavily with all the unfavorable, immoral parts of love and the love of sex, including "Scortatory Love" or fornication, and polygamy, jealousy, adultery, lust and consorting with harlots.  A man becomes less of a man when he surrenders himself to scortatory love. Decorated blind-stamped black cloth on board with gilt title on spine, edges frayed. Inscription on front free endpaper: "Miss Ruth H. Smith--From her affectionate pupil-- Fanny E. Loring, June 30th, '54". Text block quite clean.  Overall good condition. (2308) $59.00. Religious

Cucumbers (Heb. Kishufîm) ..Says Mr. Tristam: “On visiting the Arab school in Jerusalem (1858) I observed that the dinner which the children brought with them to school consisted, without exception, of a piece of barley-cake and a raw cucumber, which they eat rind and all.”
776 pp. 14 x 22 cm. Calf on board, front and back boards detached. Text block quite solid. Thus, poor. (3760) $29.00. Religious/Reference.

Essays on some Select Parts of the Liturgy of the Church of England, the substance of A Course of Lectures delivered in the Parish Church of St. Werburgh, Bristol; First American edition. By Biddulph, Thomas T., A.M. 1818 Boston, MA: Munroe & Francis Twelve essays: On prefatory, exhortation, confession, absolution, Psalms, lessons, epistles, Gospels; Apostles' Creed, Collect for Peace, Grace, General Thanksgiving and more. 332 pp. 11 x 18 cm. Calf on board, cover worn scuffed, tear in top 1 cm. Of spine, front cover loose. Original owner name plate, Diah Allin, dated 1821. Purchase date and price noted on ffep. Poor. (2673) $36.00. Religious.

Friend of Peace, No. IV, by Philo Pacificus, Author of "A Solemn Review of the Custom of War" Worcester, Noah (pseud. Philo Pacificus) 1816 Cambridge, MA: Hilliard and Metcalf. Rev. Noah Worcester, DD (b. Hollis, NH 1758, d. 1837) devoted his whole life to Unitarianism and the cause of peace. As a boy of 16 he fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill and was nearly taken prisoner, then fought at the Battle of Bennington, where he confirmed his abhorrence of war. In this issue: "Reasons for Believing that Efforts for the Abolition of War Will Not be in Vain." Worcester offers ten reasons, and mentions that "The impious expeditions against the Mohametans as infidels were dignified as 'holy wars'... millions of people ..perished by the hands of these deluded fanatics, or Christian barbarians."  Author prints letters he wrote to former Presidents Jefferson  and John Adams. Jefferson offers a long-winded discussion on the late war with Britain (War of 1812), then declines to answer. Adams, however, states that wars are as necessary and as inevitable as hurricanes, earthquakes and volcanoes. Adams also says: "Universal and perpetual peace, appears to me, no more nor less than everlasting passive obedience and non resistance. The human flock would soon be fleeced and butchered by one or a few." 40 pp. 15 x 24 cm. Paper periodical, rough-cut pages, edges frayed, cover soiled, fair. (7288) $45.00. Religious/Pacificism

Friend of Peace, No. IX,  by Philo Pacificus; August 1816 (May be 1817) Worcester, Noah (pseud. Philo Pacificus) 1816 Boston, MA: Joseph T. Buckingham. Rev. Noah Worcester, DD (b. Hollis, NH 1758, d. 1837) devoted his whole life to Unitarianism and the cause of peace. As a boy of 16 he fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill and was nearly taken prisoner, then fought at the Battle of Bennington, where he confirmed his abhorrence of war. In this issue: "The Messiah and Mahomet" -- Prince of Peace vs. Prince of War. Author notes that Goths and Vandals followed the Mohametan example, notes that the papal clergy  have encouraged men to fight their battles, and asks: "how often have the protestant clergy followed this dreadful example?"  "The Christian Religion, as Taught by the Apostle of Christ Incompatible with War"--Author suggests that the apostles "totally misapprehended the nature of Christianity... the Christian spirit and the war spirit are as perfectly opposed to each other... as virtue and vice."  "Views of an English Writer Respecting the Wars of Great Britain"  Letter from Germany dated March 17, 1817 comments on Friends of Peace pamphlets, notes evidence of the harmful effects of war by Austria, England, and France.  Cowper's poem "Pity for Poor Africans" applied to War. Letter from Baptist missionary to India. Letters from Peace Societies in Ohio, Cayga and Maine. 40 pp.          15 x 24 cm. Paper periodical, rough-cut pages, edges frayed, cover soiled, fair. (7289) $43.00. Religious/Pacificism

Friend of Youth; or New Selection of Lessons, In Prose and Verse, for Schools and Families to Imbue the Young with Sentiments of Piety, Humanity and Universal Benevolence.  Second Edition. By Worcester, Noah, D.D. 1823. Boston, MA: Cummings, Hilliard & Co. This was an influential little book when it appeared in 1822-- it had everything!  Divine Compassion illustrated by the Parables; Report of a Visit to the Loo Choo Islanders. Also, "Character of Numa Pompilius"; Fable of the Bee, the Ant, and the Sparrow." "The Smallest of Known Animals"--Animalcules. "On the Fascinating Power of Serpents"; "Influence of Education in regard to Appetites and Passions." "Influence of Education and habit on horses and dogs." "Effects and Influence of War" by Dr. Channing. "Rights and Duties of Rulers" by Rev. S. Blackslee.  Poem, "The Lord and the Judge" by Lomonosov. "Pride not made for Man" by Addison. "Remarks on Patriotism" by Gallison. "Reflections on Fireworks" by Addison. "Citizens of New England bound to support Liberty and correct Abuses" by Webster. Extracts from Russian Poetry by Karamsin, Bobrov. "Ice Islands and Ice Bergs"  "The Docility of Animals" by Smellie. "Salt Mines of Cracow, in Poland" by Clarke.  "Dangerous Influence of Party Passions". Much more. 276 pp. 11.6 x 18.2 cm. Beautifully burled calf on board, moderately worn.  Inscription on front pastedown: "Betsey Smith Jenneys Book, New Bedford." Pages foxed. Overall Good. (1616)  $44.00. Religious/Educational

Gay, Ebenezer: The Old Man's Calendar; A Discourse on Joshua xiv. 10 Delivered in the First Parish of Hingham, on the Lord's Day, August 26, 1781, the Birth Day of the Author, Ebenezer Gay   By Gay, Rev. Ebenezer 1822            Salem, MA: John D. Cushing and Brothers. Reprint of Discourse delivered by Rev. Ebenezer Gay (1696-1787) in 1781. Text is based upon verse in which Caleb notes that on this day he is 85 years old. 36 pp.   15 x 24.5 cm. Paper booklet, no wraps. Circular stain on title page.  Good. (7926) $33.00, Religious

George Fox: Selections from the Epistles of George Fox, Abridged by Tuke, Samuel 1858 Philadelphia, PA: Association of Friends for the Diffusion of Religious and Useful Knowledge.  This is the first edition in abridged form of Samuel Tuke's earlier Selections of the Epistles of George Fox. Fox (b.1624, d.1691) is considered to be the founder of the Society of Friends (Quakers). The introduction in this small book is the same Tuke used in his earlier Selections. Fox's mission was to speak truth to all, and that truth often got him thrown into jail. When he visited America he became an early champion of the Indians and Black slaves (p.38-39, 67-70). He warns against vain fashions, not to be over thoughtful of the things of this world, and urged followers to believe in the Light as Christ commanded.  114 pp. 10 x 15.5 cm. Blindstamped design on brown cloth on board, top of spine worn, dampstain to first and last pages, good. (1734) $39.00. Religious/Quaker

Gift Book for Young Ladies, Or, Familiar Letters on Their Acquaintances, Male and Female, Employments, Friendships, &c. by Dr. William A. Alcott. 1853. Auburn: Derby & Miller. "Holiness before happiness" Alcott advises. His advice to women about their health, amidst scrofula, dyspepsia and consumption, is interesting. Includes chapters on self-denial and self-sacrifice. Author continually mentions women with biliousness and other examples of poor health. Not a book to cheer up a young woman! 307 pp. 12.5 x 18.3 cm. Cloth on board, blind stamped with elaborate pattern. Slight tear in spine.(0102) $40.00. Women's.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher on Time cover, May 14, 1979

            We went to see The Iron Lady, starring Meryl Streep Monday, and it was excellent, but----
            Ms. Streep played Britain’s first female prime minister brilliantly, both as an old woman, suffering from dementia, and as a robust young leader.
            Perhaps because I am 77 years old, the idea of a woman who clearly had better days, now looking back on a career that spanned most of the Cold War, now dodging in and out of reality, conversing with a husband who died a decade ago, is too close to something that can happen to any of us.
            Perhaps if you are a generation younger, you would see a different film.
However, The Iron Lady for me was a fascinating film because those years were important to Americans, too.  Thatcher came in to office November, 1979, just a little over a year before Ronald Reagan became President of the United States.  Both the U.S. and the U.K. were deep in the Cold War with the USSR. Neither nation, I suggest, really grasped the fact that the Soviet Union was on its last legs.
            Hollywood usually tends to view the world, and world history, through eyes that do not admire a woman with Thatcher’s Conservative stance.  After all, this girl who grew up in the Blitz of World War II was hard on individual responsibility, tough on trades unions, and dedicated to dismantling Britain’s socialist framework.  Then, this is a British film.
            Streep portrays a woman who is a tough, no-nonsense leader, in a country beset with violent labor struggles and with the Irish Republican Army running rampant, blowing up people all over London.
            Thatcher takes a determined, Churchill-like approach to the invasion of the Falklands islands by the Argentines in April 1982.  The day after the invasion the United Nations condemns the action, and three days after that the Royal Navy sends a powerful naval task force down to Argentina
            A month later, HMS Conqueror, a British nuclear submarine, sinks the Argentine light cruiser General Belgrano.  [I was interested to discover that this was the first ship ever sunk in anger by a nuclear submarine.]
            I was stationed in Moscow during this war, and every day Pravda carried a story about the war, taking the anti-British side, of course.  They referred to the disputed Falklands as the Malvinas, the Argentine name for them.  They also gave Thatcher the name Zheleznaya Ledy, or Iron Lady
            The Argentines surrendered in June, 1982, and Thatcher was the toast of all Great Britain.

            The Iron Lady is a love story, too.  Young Margaret Roberts married Denis Thatcher, a businessman, in 1951, and this film portrays a loving couple, enjoying each other’s company for over 50 years, until Denis’ death in 2002.  In the film the romance goes on after Denis’ death, because elderly Margaret, now well into dementia, sees Denis and converses with him all through her days and nights.  According to a 2008 book by the Thatchers’ daughter, Carol, all this is true.
            Meryl Streep is Margaret Thatcher, in her prime, and past her prime, in this very interesting and captivating film. 
            Look for Streep to win an Academy Award for this.

The Personal Navigator offers these books and papers:

Postcard: Life in our Navy--Crew  on USS Rhode Island (BB-17) (Color Postcard from Great White Fleet)        1911 Taunton, MA: A.C Bosselman & Co., New York. 1 card            13.9 x 8.9 cm.   Color postcard shows crew of USS Rhode Island, all in dress whites, seated and standing before No. 1 gun turret, also standing on No. 2 turret, and in platforms on main mast. Rhode Island was one of the battleships that made the historic cruise of the Great White Fleet (1907-1909), and this photo is believed to have been taken during that cruise. Card is postmarked 1911, with message that does not relate to ship or Navy. Color post card, very good. (8221) $15.00. Navy/Nautical           
Postcard:  USS Idaho (BB-24) (Color Postcard from Great White Fleet Review in Hampton Roads, VA, 1909)   ca. 1909.  M.L. Metrochrom. 1 card            13.9 x 8.9 cm.   Color postcard shows USS Idaho (BB-24) at anchor with full dress flags from stem to stern, one of first cage masts. View is of starboard side of the battleship. Idaho was commissioned in 1908 and did not take part in the 1907-09 world cruise of the Great White Fleet, but joined them at the final Fleet Review in Hampton Roads, VA in1909. This photo is believed to have been taken about 1909. USS Idaho had a short life in the U.S. Navy-- in 1914 her crew was transferred to USS Maine in Villafranche, France, and she was turned over to the Greek Navy, and renamed HHMS Limnos. She was sunk by German bombs in 1941.  USS Idaho was result of Congressional action to limit the size and cost of new battleships. There is no message on postcard, nor was it ever mailed. Color post card, very good. (8222) $15.00. Navy/Nautical

Wally: His Cartoons of the A.E.F., Reprinted from "Stars & Stripes", the Official Newspaper of the A.E.F. by Wallgren, Pvt. Abian A., USMC            1919     Brest, France    Stars & Stripes  52 pp.   44.5 x 18 cm.    Private Abian A. Wallgren, familiarly known as "Wally" Wallgren, worked as a cartoonist for the Philadelphia Public Ledger and Washington Post before the war. He served in France with the Fifth Marines of the First Division. Wallgren's cartoons appeared in every issue of The Stars and Stripes, poking fun at army life, satirizing the absurdity of army regulations, and highlighting the differences between the army brass and the frontline soldier. Numerous trips to the war front gave him material for his cartoons and first-hand experience about what soldiers considered humorous. His popular cartoons were collected in this book, published by the newspaper in early 1919.  Paperback book contains about 52 pages of cartoons printed on newsprint, very brittle. Front cover covered by transparent plastic, spine repaired with brown plastic tape. Numerous dogears and chips on pages. Poor. (8217) $50.00.  World War I/Humor

Russia: Memories of the Russian Court, First Edition, Reprinted, November 1923 by Viroubova, Anna 1923     New York, NY: The MacMillan Co.       400 pp. 14 x 20.6 cm. "It is with a prayerful heart and memories deep and reverent that I begin to write the story of my long and intimate friendship with Alexandra Feodorovna, wife of Nicholas II….and of the tragedy of the Revolution which brought on her and hers such undeserved misery, and on our unhappy country such a black night of oblivion."  The author tells of life at court in St. Petersburg, and Peterhof, Tsarskoe Selo, Livadia and elsewhere; how the Emperor whistled for the Empress, the children, and for Viroubova. Book contains many excellent photos of the Imperial family, including several aboard the Imperial Yacht Standert.  Photos of letters from Nicholas II and his children to the author are particularly poignant. One of the last letters from the Empress was written in Old Slavonic.  Brick red decorated cloth on board, very clean and fresh. Plate showing letters in Old Slavonic is loose. Owner bookplate (William C. Bowlen, Dec. 1923) on front endpaper. No dustjacket. Very good.     (5706) $130.00. History/Russia

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Spirit of Mac McCarthy

 Mac will always be a part of our lives....

            Mac will always be a part of our lives. He’s been gone a year, now, and his spirit is still with us. 

            Donald Joseph McCarthy made an impact upon Rockport.  He and his wife, Jennifer, came to live in this little town some 20 years ago.  
            I first met Mac and Jennifer when my wife and I visited the Marine Air Base he commanded in Iwakuni, Japan.  At the time, I was commanding a Navy base in the south of Japan
Mac was a fighter pilot from Anaconda, Montana.  He flew many missions in Viet Nam, and many more, flying off a carrier in the Mediterranean Sea, and all over the world.
When Mac returned from Japan he retired from the U.S. Marine Corps, but he was a Marine for life.  Even in civilian clothes, he still looked like a Marine. 
            Mac was a good friend. He was generous. He had a wonderful sense of humor, heavily colored an Irish green.  For him, the glass was always at least half full.
            He loved his faith—he was a loyal communicant of the Roman Catholic Church, and vigorously defended that faith.
            He loved his adopted town.  He got involved in many different activities.  I can see him now, standing in borrowed waders in the middle of the Mill Brook at Millbrook Meadow, pulling out trash and straightening the rocks on the side of the brook. 
            He wanted to help find good people to serve on the Board of Selectmen, and from then on he was involved in local elections, raising money for candidates, putting up signs, holding signs before election time (both he and Jennifer did this!) and both of them held gatherings at their home to introduce candidates to other Rockporters.

Pete Foss and Mac (right, wearing the Notre
Dame hat) carried signs for a campaign.

Mac loved the experience of getting people together to accomplish something in a small town, and he did it many times.  After all, this man had spent his life as a leader, and influencing other people came naturally to him.
And entertaining.  Mac and Jennifer loved nothing better than to entertain people, always with strict attention to polite, old-style graciousness and formality.    You could always count on an introductory speech by Mac, and an eloquent toast.
Jennifer always prepared elegant food—she still does—and Mac served cocktails on a silver salver (tray).   They brought the style and taste of social gatherings they had held in their homes around the world to their home in Rockport. 

At Twelfth Night, 12 days after Christmas, they always had a great, traditional, and very English celebration, with drinks, good food, including little mince pies, and Christmas carols.

But one thing about the Spirit of Mac was his strength and resilience.  A man takes a lot of punishment in a thirty-year career as a Marine aviator, but when Mac came to Rockport he began to face health challenges one after another:  colon cancer, heart problems, operations, more cancer, more heart problems, more operations.  Through it all, he kept his same good humor. 
Even lying in a hospital bed, with tubes going in and out of him, he’d have a good joke to tell, or a cogent observation. 
Somehow, his spirit is around.  Some of us still get our haircuts a little more often, and a little closer.  We think twice before walking around town or visiting the town trash and recycling station in sloppy clothes or needing a shave, because somehow, Mac is watching.
Whenever I receive a really funny aviation joke, or a little video clip showing aviators doing something daring or stupid, I still want to forward it to Mac, if only I had his address.
Whenever there is a celebration, or a party, and there comes a time to recognize people, and to thank the host and hostess, I remember to make a small speech, and perhaps a toast.
And we may pay more attention to town politics, to volunteering, trying to make our town a little bit better.  And his spirit makes us think about the brighter side of life.

Semper Fi, Mac!