Friday, November 30, 2012

Visit our History Book Club!

Germany in the 20th Century

Hitler, 1939 (From LIFE Magazine)

            If you live near Rockport, Massachusetts, we invite you to join us for our monthly History Book Club meetings. 
            Every meeting is a new adventure for us all.  We are quite a diverse group--- not a bunch of serious scholars, trying to impress each other with what we know…
            Instead, we are people who are interested in history, and thinking and talking about how it intersects with our lives, and with our world.  
            From time to time, interested people drop in and share their life experiences, and their interests, with us, and then they disappear!  We’d love them to return, and continue with us on our journey.
            When we’ve discussed Russia Russians who live in the area have joined us to give their fascinating insight to the discussion. 
            This past Wednesday (Nov. 28, 2012), we discussed books about Germany in the Twentieth Century, and two bright ladies who had been born and grew up in Germany during World War II joined us, and gave us the benefit of their experiences.  You can read about that in the paragraphs below.
            If learning about our world, and what went on, and how it relates to you and your world interests you, come join us! 
            Our next meeting will be at the end of January, on Wednesday, Jan. 30th, 2013.  We’ll be discussing books about China in the Twentieth Century.  Pick a book in our library or yours and discover some piece of China’s history that catches your fancy.  It can be whatever you want—Sun Yat Sen or Madame Chiang, or Mao Zedong, the Chinese Civil War or the Boxer Rebellion.  Anything about China from 1900 to 2000.

Here’s our report of our most recent meeting:

The History Book Club met at Rockport Library’s Trustees’ Room at 7 p.m. 
Regular members present were Beverly and Dick Verrengia, Rick Heuser, Glen Nix and Sam Coulbourn.  We were joined by Ms. Waltraut (Trautel) Brown of Manchester, Sandra Stolle of Wenham and Doug Hall of Rockport. 

Trautel and Sandra were both born in Germany before World War II and came to the U.S. after the war. Doug received an advanced degree in German history. 

Dick Verrengia was first to report on The Coming of the Third Reich, by Richard Evans, 2004.
Dick started with William Shirer’s well-known account, but soon found that other historians found it very inaccurate, so he chose Evans’ book.  Amazon blurb: “There is no story in twentieth-century history more important to understand than Hitler’s rise to power and the collapse of civilization in Nazi Germany. With The Coming of the Third Reich, Richard Evans, one of the world’s most distinguished historians, has written the definitive account for our time. A masterful synthesis of a vast body of scholarly work integrated with important new research and interpretations, Evans’s history restores drama and contingency to the rise to power of Hitler and the Nazis, even as it shows how ready Germany was by the early 1930s for such a takeover to occur. The Coming of the Third Reich is a masterwork of the historian’s art and the book by which all others on the subject will be judged.”
Doug Hall noted that the Weimar Republic was an experiment.   Those present discussed the Treaty of Versailles and how it had bound up Germany after World War I in such a way that made the rise of Hitler more likely. Sandra Stolle stated that Versailles was awful.  She also noted that many “myths” were attached to this era.  One, Americans have been told that at the 1936 Berlin Olympics Hitler refused to shake hands with Jesse Owens, the black runner from the U.S.  Hitler did shake his hand, she said.  Also Sandra said  that the number of Jews killed by the Germans was grossly overstated—it was less than 200,000.  Others present disputed that. Sam Coulbourn said that his roommate at the Naval Academy had spent WWII in Auschwitz as a child, saw his mother murdered by the Nazis, and always had stood by the number of about six million Jews exterminated in the Holocaust. 

Sandra Stolle next gave a brief report on three books. She was born in 1933 and grew up in Hanover.  All Things Nature's Blessed, A Woman’s Story of War and Peace (1988) was her most important book, because it was written by her mother, Ruth Beumann Mahler.  It is her mother’s personal account of the war years in Nazi Germany.  Sandra also reported briefly on Typische Ossi, Typische West, a book in German about East and West Germany, and the contradictions of Germans living in both parts from 1945 to 1989. She also mentioned Katyn, a book describing the massacre of some 8000 Polish officers by the Soviet NKVD.

Jürgen Habermas

Rick Heuser delivered a comprehensive report on Jürgen Habermas, including these books by the famed German sociologist and philosopher:
The Divided West, 2004
A Berlin Republic: Writings on Germany 1997
The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, 1987
Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action, 1990.
No one else in the meeting had heard of Habermas.  Rick described this 83-year old philosopher’s brilliant work, championing international post-national societies.  He said that Habermas had been opposed to the 1989 East-West Reunification. He is perhaps best known for his theory on the concepts of communicative rationality and the public sphere. His work focuses on the foundations of social theory, the analysis of advanced capitalistic societies and democracy, the rule of law in a critical social-evolutionary context, and contemporary politics, particularly German politics.
Rick noted that Habermas especially favored strengthening of the United Nations, and saw the actions of President George W. Bush as ending U.S. effective cooperation in the U.N.  Rick also observed that the Pentagon looks at the world in a unipolar way. Sam agreed that the Pentagon was most comfortable with the old bipolar world, and is yet ill-equipped to envision the world as it appears today. There is always the tendency to create an “opponent”  for the U.S. and today that is China

Trautel Brown gave a detailed account of her book, the story of her life as a young girl in Germany.  She was born in Hamburg in 1927 during the era of the Weimar Republic.  She recalled the street fights in those days. She started school in 1933, and her father joined the Sturmabteilung, the paramilitary arm of the German Army.  She said he loved to ride motorcycles, which he did in the SA. Her family moved to the country about 1933 and during these years there was a national drive to educate youth.  Her family took 40 boys on their farm to work.  About 1940 she and her sister were evacuated to Vienna, but then after a year she was returned to Hamburg, where she remained for the rest of the war.  Trautel met a German who had already come to the United States.  In order to become a citizen her prospective husband joined the U.S. Marine Corps. She and he were married in Milwaukee and then moved to Camp Pendleton, CA.  He served with the Marines in the Korean Conflict. 

Beverly Verrengia reported that she had begun reading Hitler by A.N. Wilson, but then shifted to Hitler, Germans and the Final Solution, 2009 by Ian Kershaw.
This book, written in rather abstruse form with very long sentences, wraps up more than three decades of meticulous research on Nazi Germany by one of the period’s most distinguished historians. The book brings together the most important and influential aspects of Kershaw’s research on the Holocaust for the first time. Kershaw provides an explanation of the uniqueness of Nazism.

Members discussed the destructive dynamic of the Nazi leadership and of the attitudes and behavior of ordinary Germans as the persecution of the Jews turned into total genocide.

Glen Nix reported on Weimar Germany by Eric D. Weitz, 2007. Glen observed that
Weimar Germany still fascinates us. This was a very creative period for Germany, and although we often remember it only as a time of huge inflation and the starting point for Hitler’s rise to power, it was really a time of strikingly progressive achievements--and even greater promise.  This book tells about some of Weimar's greatest figures, and recaptures the excitement and drama of the era, viewing Weimar in its own right--and not as a mere prelude to the Nazi era.

Sam reported on Payne, Robert, The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler, 1973 New York, NY: Praeger Publishers. 623 pp.

            I was fascinated to read Robert Payne’s book, but now I find that he used some questionable sources, and so a part of this book has been discredited since 1973.  Payne died ten years later. 
            The material in question was about Adolf Hitler’s visit to Liverpool, England for a year in 1910 (p. 97).  It turns out this was all made up by Bridget Hitler, the wife of Hitler’s brother Alois.
            Let me home in on one of the more mystifying episodes of Hitler’s conduct of World War II. 
            On November 12, 1940 a train bearing Soviet officials steamed into Berlin’s Anhalt Station.  There were red hammer-and-sickle flags flying amidst the red, black and white Nazi banners. 
            Leader of the Soviet delegation was Vyacheslav Molotov, People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union.  He was met by Joachim von Ribbentrop, Foreign Minister of the Greater German Reich.  Molotov was being invited to discuss with Hitler how the world would be divided up among the four totalitarian powers—Germany, Japan, Italy and the USSR.
            That morning Ribbentrop and Molotov met in the German Foreign Office.  Ribbentrop launched into a series of speeches about the imminent downfall of  England and the need for closer relations between Russia and Japan.  He urged the Russians to turn their faces to the south, to acquire warm water ports, not in the Dardanelles, but in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea.  He hinted at Russia being invited to acquire that country from the British, whose empire was now in the last stages of disintegration.
            In the afternoon, the meeting shifted to Hitler’s Chancellery.  Molotov was surprised to be greeted by Hitler with Hitler’s “Heil” salute. Hitler then gave him a limp handshake, but gazed piercingly into Molotov’s eyes.   One member of the Soviet delegation recounted that Hitler’s sharp nose was pimply, and his clammy palm felt like the “skin of a frog”.
            Immediately, Hitler launched into an hour-long speech about the imminent downfall of England and the soon-to-be complete destruction of her armies in Africa.
            When the speech was over, Molotov asked why a German military mission had been sent to Rumania without consulting the USSR; he asked what German troops were doing in Finland
            Hitler was polite, but gave meaningless answers to Molotov, and went on to call upon the Soviet Union to consider a Soviet-German war on the United States.  He considered that the U.S. would eventually imperil the freedom of other nations.  Not by 1945, of course, but perhaps by 1970 or 1980.
            As it grew dark, Hitler looked at his watch and remembered that a British air raid might be expected shortly, and they should adjourn until the following day.
            The talks continued all the next day, and that evening the Soviets hosted Ribbentrop and the other senior Germans (Hitler was absent) at their embassy, which had once been the palace of the Tsarist ambassador.  Vodka flowed and there was plenty of caviar and then a fine dinner, until it was interrupted by an air raid. 
            Ribbentrop suggested they all go to shelter, and the servants loaded the food and drinks onto trays.
            Ribbentrop was still talking about the urgent need to divide up the British Empire, now that England had been so decisively beaten.
            “If England is beaten, why are we sitting in this shelter?” asked Molotov.

            In the days that followed, Stalin studied the German proposal for a four-part pact, and appeared to believe that Hitler was leveling with him.
            Molotov sent a memorandum back to Hitler agreeing to the pact, with minor conditions, including German withdrawal from Finland, access to ports close to the Black Sea, and recognition of a Soviet area of influence  in the direction of the Persian Gulf.

            On December 18, 1940, Hitler issued Directive No. 21, ordering that, even before the conclusion of war with England, the Soviet Union be crushed in a rapid campaign.
            This operation became Barbarossa, named after a 12th century German emperor.  Planning went into high gear, and the word of invasion of Russia leaked everywhere. A spy in the German embassy in Tokyo sent word to Moscow.  Churchill informed his ambassador in Moscow, who passed the word to Molotov.  The State Department in Washington informed the Soviet ambassador.  But Stalin dismissed all these warnings and went off to spend a quiet summer at his estate at Sochi on the Black Sea.
            It is hard for us to imagine the absolute white-hot hatred Hitler had for the Soviet Union. Moscow and Leningrad were to be wiped from the face of the earth—no buildings, no people--- nothing! The order to advance was given at 0300 on the morning of June 22, 1941. One hundred fifty-four German divisions, 18 Finnish, 14 Rumanian divisions swung into action.
            The story of Stalin’s complete inability to understand that Hitler had turned on him is one of the most amazing stories of this period.  For the first several days after the start of Barbarossa, Stalin remained incommunicado.  His staff, frantic as German divisions raced across Russia, could not reach him. 
            And the story of Hitler, who fixed his mind on something to the exclusion of everything else, wrote his own death sentence.  Imagine if he had maintained his pact with Stalin and concentrated on finishing off England.
            Imagine if the U.S. had remained in isolation and not entered the war.


The next meeting of the History Book Club will be Wednesday, January 30th at 7 p.m., at the Library.  The topic will be China in the 20th Century.


Samuel W. Coulbourn

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

At sea, on patrol....

11-22-63 Remembered…


            I was on patrol aboard USS Ethan Allen (SSBN-608). We had left our base in Holy Loch, Scotland a few days before. I was a lieutenant in the Navy, serving as weapons officer of a fleet ballistic missile submarine, carrying 16 nuclear warhead Polaris missiles. I wrote this entry in my personal journal:

Saturday 16 Nov. 1963:  This morning, on our watch, we drove through the Straits of Gibraltar at 200 ft. depth and 16 knots. The straits were really buzzing with traffic… wouldn’t those skippers have been surprised to know that an 8000-ton submarine was droning along beneath them, her crew busily eating and working and sleeping their lives away down there?
            Just about four months ago I had the watch as we steamed out of the Mediterranean, and now here we are in it again. Today we went up to periscope depth, just at sunset, and the first thing that I saw as my periscope swept the horizon was the mountainous south coast of Spain—the Sierra Nevada range.  I couldn’t linger in admiring those mountains because spotting surface ships was far more important.  We must remain undetected, and certainly did not want to be shallow enough to collide with a surface ship. I saw one ship astern, headed away, right in the middle of an absolutely beautiful sunset.   There were three other ships, all hull down, on either side and ahead of us. 

Manning the periscope

Friday 22 Nov. 1963: Just as I was standing in the Control Room tonight, after being relieved of the 16-20 watch, the Executive officer passed a sickening word over the 1MC (ship’s announcing system).

“The President has been shot and killed by assassins.”  At once I thought of those stupid mobs that spat upon Adlai Stevenson a few weeks ago in Dallas, and I wondered how my little wife reacted to this news, and I thought what a shock this must be to the world and indeed the nation.  Lyndon Johnson our president! A Texan seated as President after the bullets of a fellow Texan!  I feel the assassin must have been some sick-minded Bircher that saw this as the only way to solve the 1964 political quandary.
            What will this do to our foreign policy? Our defense policy? Who will the Democrats run for president next year? I don’t envision LBJ as the man of the hour, but now we shall see.
            Here we are, cruising along submerged in the Mediterranean, and we probably got the word before many Americans.  As a Texan, I feel especially bad that Kennedy had to go to Texas to have this happen.
            We are on 15 minutes notice to launch missiles and we don’t even have a leader to give the launch order!
            I pondered over this fateful date, 22 Nov. ’63, and remembered that 13 months ago, on 22 Oct. ’63, Mr. Kennedy distinguished himself for all time by ordering a Quarantine of Cuba, and thus backed the Soviet Union down on the Cuban situation.

            One of the agreements in resolving the Cuban  Missile crisis, in return for removing Soviet missiles from Cuba, was for the United States to remove its Jupiter missiles from Turkey.  This left targets in the USSR uncovered and so Ethan Allen and other SSBNs were ordered to pick up those targets, which meant that during part of our deterrent patrols we would have to move into the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

                When we received the flash message that President Kennedy had been shot our clocks  were on Zulu time, six hours ahead of Dallas, and when the flash message arrived at around 1900Z, (7 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time) no one in our government knew what would come next.  
            We  imagined that the assassination might be part of a large plot by the Soviets, culminating in a nuclear attack on the United States.  For a very scary period of time we didn’t know if we would be ordered to launch missiles for the start of World War III.
Saturday, 23 Nov. 1963: At 2000 tonight CINCLANT (Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet) sent us to battle stations, to prepare to launch our load of nuclear missiles.  [This is usually a drill, to check our preparedness for the real thing, but as we ready our missiles, preparing to arm our warheads and readying each huge launcher to eject its missile, we don’t know if it’s the real thing or not.] 
            I had the deck when the message came in, and after passing “Man Battle Stations” on the 1MC, I grappled for an alarm, and by mistake pulled the collision alarm. This so unnerved me that I reached for the diving alarm.  There being only one more left, I finally hit the General Alarm.  By this time I had men running in all directions, rigging for collision, preparing the surface, and scurrying to Battle Stations. 

            The Captain took over, and I ran down to the Missile Control Center, which was my battle station. for launching our missiles.  We spun up the gyros in each missile and proceeded through our countdown.  Then… came the order that this was a practice launch.  With all the uncertainty after the assassination, we were in the dark.
The Captain and the executive officer held the actual message, which in this case was indeed a test, and we didn’t arm the nuclear warheads. But it was scary!
Polaris Missile Countdown

                We all know now that the Soviets were not launching an attack, but we didn’t know it then, and things were very tense for several hours.

            We had a pretty good practice launch, and that’s all, Thank God!
                In the next several days we were fed news reports which helped us to piece together a fragment of the massive television and newspaper coverage that the rest of the world was getting.  When we returned to Holy Loch in early January 1964 we received our mail, and old Time and Life Magazines which reported all about the killing of the President, and then the killing of his assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Kennedy’s funeral and the start of Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration.

                My “catching up” on the news now that I was back on dry land had to wait, though, because I took Marty to the Navy hospital to have a little girl.   That little girl is now all grown up, and has a family of her own.

[Note: Some parts of the above blog appeared in an earlier blog, issued TUESDAY, APRIL 26, 2011.]

Now, I’d like to offer some books I acquired from the library of Fred and Lucy Colony. [See my Blog of 10-26-12] The collection, from the 1880s, appeared nearly untouched since that time:

Abide With Me by Henry Francis Lyte, Designs by Miss L.B. Humphrey, Engraved by John Andrew & Son       1883.  Boston, MA: Lee and Shepard, Publishers. Popular 19th century poem beautifully presented in this slim volume. 34 pp.   15 x 18.8 cm.    Dark brown cloth on board with gilt design on cover, thick, gilt-edged pages. Inscription on ffep:"Fred from Addie, Dec. 25 1885". Slight edge wear, slight bubbling on back cover, very good. (8293) $19.00. Poetry


Conduct of Life, The by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1861   Boston, MA: Ticknor and Fields. Emerson (1803-1882) took it upon himself to write this series of essays to answer the age-old question, "How Shall I Live?" and delivered them to  young merchant-class audiences across the midwest in the 1850s. He published this volume in 1860, just before the start of the Civil War. Contents include Fate, Power, Wealth, Culture, Behavior, Worship, Considerations by the Way, Beauty and Illusions. He ridicules the current urge to travel abroad. His essay on Worship is pungent: "What is called religion effeminates and demoralizes." He supports the slogan "Aliis lætus, sapiens sibi", or "Be merry and wise". Emerson's advice is lively and thought-provoking throughout. 288 pp. + 16 p. adv.  11 x 18.5 cm. Dark brown cloth on board with blindstamped design and gilt lettering on spine. Some biopredation on spine cover. Title page signature loose. Inscription on ffep: "Louise Grant, 1865". Fair. (8296) $23.00. Educational/Philosophical

Enigmas of Life by W.R. Greg Greg, William Rathbone 1873     Boston, MA: James R. Osgood and Company. Greg (1809-1881) offers in this book some suggested thoughts, based upon his outlook after having reached the age of 60. In his Preface he sets forth the framework for his thought: " becomes possible at once to believe in and worship God, without doing violence to our moral sense, or denying or distorting the sorrowful facts that surround our daily life." Greg takes on Malthus' discouraging theory of geometric progression of populations against arithmetic growth of sustenance, in "Malthus Notwithstanding". He takes on Darwin in "Non-Survival of the Fittest".  322 pp. 12.6 x 19.4 cm. Maroon cloth on board with Gilt titles, minor wear and blotches on cover. Inscription on front endpapers: "Louise Grant, 1873". Very good. (8297) $27.00. Educational/Philosophical

Looking Backward created quite a stir....

Looking Backward 2000-1887 by Edward Bellamy 1889 Boston, MA: Houghton, Mifflin and Company. Author Bellamy in this wildly popular (in 1887) looks a century into the future in his fictional account by a man, born in 1857, who goes to sleep and awakens 113 years later at the end of the 20th Century.  He describes radically new social and industrial institutions, in a very upbeat and optimistic look backward, yet into the future. There is a strong look of socialism in this "new world", one which Marxists quickly admired.  Includes a Postscript by the author responding to a review of his book in the Boston Transcript of March 30, 1888.            475 pp. 12.4 x 19 cm.    Dark green cloth on board with black lettering. Moderate wear. Bookplate and inscription on front free endpaper: "F.E. Porter".Very good.         (8298) $96.00. Fiction/Philosophy

Lucile by Owen Meredith, pen name for Edward Robert, first Earl of Lytton (1831-1891). Family Edition, illustrated by H.N. Cady 1888        New York, NY: Frederick A. Stokes and Brother.  Lucile by Owen Meredith, pen name for Edward Robert, first Earl of Lytton (1831-1891). Author dedicates this edition to his father, the noted novelist Lord Bulwer-Lytton. Romantic narrative poem about Lucile, beloved by two bitter rivals, English Lord Alfred Hargrave and French Duke of Luvois.  352 pp. 17 x 25 cm. Decorated brown cloth on board, moderate wear, including edge wear. Front and rear inside hinges cracked. Inscription on ffep: "Abbie E. Dewey, July 14, '88." Good.        (8300) $48.00. Poetry

My Old Kentucky Home, Written and Composed by Stephen Collins Foster, Illustrated by Mary Hallock Foote and Charles Copeland 1888 Boston, MA: Ticknor and Company. This attractive little volume was first published in 1853, before the end of slavery.  Foster is said to have written this song, which later became the state song of Kentucky, to capitalize on the popularity of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin.  Excellent engravings portray the sad life of African-Americans. Includes music for song. Abolitionist Frederick Douglass thought this song "stimulated sympathies for the slave."              32 pp. 16 x 20.7 cm. Elegantly decorated white paper on board with thick, gilt-edged pages. Inscription on ffep: "Henry G. Colony from Aunt Mame, Christmas 1887". Inner binding cracked, half-title page loose. Poor. (8294) $24.00. Poetry/Slavery

Myths of Greece and Rome, Narrated with special reference to Literature and Art by Hélène Adeline Guerber, Lecturer on Mythology. 1893     New York, NY: American Book Company. Guerber explains that Hebrew antiquity had its beginnings passed down in scripture from God, but the Greeks and Romans had to invent theirs.  She promises to tell myths as accurately as possible, while avoiding the more repulsive features of heathen mythology. Includes map showing location of myths. Author has inserted poetical writings, quotations and illustrations from all ages to show inspiration of ancient myths upon literature and art. Includes Juno, Apollo, Diana, Venus, Mercury, Vulcan, Neptune, Pluto, Bacchus, Æolus, Œdipus. the Trojan War, Ulysses, Æneas; more; Genealogical Table, Glossary and Index.      428 pp. 13 x 19 cm. Dark green buckram on board with gilt title on spine, moderate wear. On ffep is inscription: "Louise G. Colony, Jan. 11, 1899, Friends School." Very good. (8295) $22.00. Educational/Mythology

Treasure Island  by Stevenson, Robert Louis 1892 Boston, MA: Roberts Brothers. Very nice, clean copy of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic, copyright 1883. This American edition dedicated to S.L.O. by the author.        292 pp. + adv.   12.5 x 18.8 cm.       Decorated red cloth on board, slight wear to heel and toe of spine. Owner stamp "Philip C. Johnson, Wilton, N.H." in front and back pastedowns and ffep. Very good. (8299) $195.00.  Fiction/Children's

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Isaac Allerton and a few Friends

Celebrating a Pilgrim Thanksgiving

 Remember Allerton looks over the food for Thanksgiving at Plimoth Plantation

            The Late Reverend Peter Gomes* once said that if all the descendents of the Mayflower Puritans were put back aboard a ship, it would have to hold millions. 
            My family traces itself back to Isaac Allerton (1585-1659), an enterprising gentleman who was among those who landed at  Plymouth on November 21, 1620.  The girl in the photo above is the young interpreter representing Remember Allerton, Isaac’s daughter. 
            We’ve visited Plimoth Plantation at Plymouth, MA several times, and each time it has been a fascinating learning experience.  The cultural interpreters who populate this little town “live” in 1627.  Each of them has learned his part so well that when you talk with them, you feel you are really talking to a person from this colony. They talk in a 17th century English accent.  They are continually studying the history of Plymouth.  They don’t know about radio, electricity or automobiles, or the United States.  There’s not a word for “fruit” in their vocabulary.  If it wasn’t common knowledge in 1627, they don’t know about it.

Pilgrim women at work in their home.

            We think of the Pilgrims as English, yet they left England in 1609, and returned only in 1620 to board the Mayflower and the Speedwell to sail to the New World.  They all spoke Dutch.
            By 1627 the Pilgrims figured they’ve seen it all.  During that first brutal, cold winter of 1620-21 the Indians never came near them, either to attack them or to make friends.  The Indians had met English sailors before. The sailors attacked the Indians, raped their women, and carried some back to England.  The Indians had caught European diseases from them which nearly wiped out some villages.  So they stayed away from the Pilgrims.

We have the idea that the Indians the Pilgrims encountered were wild savages, but one day in March, 1621 an Indian named Samoset came walking up, and he had the ability to speak bits of English. Then he introduced them to Squanto, who had been kidnapped and taken to London where he trained as an interpreter.  It appears that Squanto was the kind of guy you hope you’ll meet in a foreign country, because he opened up this part of America for the Pilgrims.  He taught them how to tap maple trees for their sap, how to grow native crops.  He showed them the best fishing grounds, and introduced them to clams, mussels and scallops.  
The original Thanksgiving Dinner, to which the Wampanoags brought venison from deer they had killed, also probably included wild turkeys, ducks, mussels, lobsters, swans, eels and cornmeal. Although they ate pumpkins, peas, beans, radishes, carrots, onions, lettuce, plums, grapes, walnuts, chestnuts and acorns, the meal probably was limited to various meats, seafood and cornbread made from Indian cornmeal. 
There was no pie—they had no sugar, milk, or ovens.  And no cranberry sauce, again because the sugar they brought from home in 1620 was now long gone. 
Wampanoag woman sewing deerskin coat.

The Pilgrims and the Wampanoags seem to have gotten along well and in 1621 Governor William Bradford decided they’d have a feast and thank the Indians for teaching them how to survive.  It lasted three days.  That was the basis for our modern Thanksgiving Day dinner.
At Plimoth Plantation today, in addition to the Pilgrim village, there’s a Wampanoag village, but here, instead of interpreters, there are actual Wampanoags and members of other Indian tribes, to tell visitors about what life was like amongst the Indians in Massachusetts in 1627.
Every time we have visited Plimoth Plantation, we ask about our ancestor, Isaac Allerton.  The Pilgrims always give us the same answer:  “He’s gone back to England.” 
It turns out that Allerton was something of a wheeler-dealer, traveling back and forth across the Atlantic as the colony’s business agent, buying and selling ships and goods. One of Allerton’s ships, a barque named Watch and Wait, was carrying 23 passengers, from Marbelehead to Ipswich, MA in August, 1635, when a fierce hurricane drove the ship against the rocks of an island just offshore here in Rockport. Antony Thatcher and his wife were the only survivors. The island was named for him.
 It seems Allerton saddled the colony with debt, and was accused of pulling some shady deals, so he was eventually declared persona non grata
We thank Isaac for his part in populating America, and our family.  My aunt Emily Coulbourn Traband was a long-tire Mayflower Society officer in Maryland.   We named our daughter Susan Allerton Coulbourn, and she and husband Ted named their daughter Katherine Allerton Mocarski and their younger son Isaac Peter Mocarski. 

            I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

                                    Sam Coulbourn
 [Above photos courtesy of Plimoth Plantation.]

  • Peter John Gomes (1942-2011) was an American preacher and theologian, professor at Harvard School of Divinity.  He was black, descended from Cape Verdeans, West Africans, Portuguese Jews and one of the Mayflower Pilgrims.  He was a brilliant, delightful man, a Republican most of his life, and author of two best-selling religious books.  And he was gay. He became an advocate of homosexuality in America and particularly in religion.  At one time he headed the Plymouth chapter of the Mayflower Society.

[Note: This Blog has been revised from one published in November, 2011.]

Here are some books and papers The Personal Navigator offers for your consideration:

Guinea Gold, Dec. 27, 1944 (item 8204 is sold)

Guinea Gold, American Edition, Sunday, December 31, 1944 Port Moresby, Papua-New Guinea: U.S. Army/Royal Australian Army. 4 pp.    26.2 x 39 cm.    This unique World War II newspaper, published in New Guinea and flown daily to U.S. and Australian troops all over South West Pacific command, often scooped the world, since General MacArthur released his communiqués to them 20 hours before they were released to the world press.  This issue's lead story on last day in 1944:  "Von Rundstedt Falling Back: Patton 20 Miles From U.S. 1st Army; Huge Nazi Losses." Report is from SHAEF. "Chinese Cross Burma Border into SW China: Link Up Likely"-- report from SEAC HQ in Kandy, Ceylon. "Scobie Begins New Attack on Greek Left Wing Guerrillas in Athens" is report after Greek political factions failed to reach a solution to the Greek trouble. "Wave of Isolationism Again Sweeps Nation: Leaders Worry"--report from Washington. Basis is distrust of power politics in Europe.  Report from New York: "Wives Celebrate Christmas by Murdering Three Husbands". Woman in Tacoma, WA killed her husband with an axe after he got drunk and knocked their children about.  Woman in Los Angeles shot her husband with a rifle, then said, "I know I am a dead pigeon but I did get the duck ready for Christmas dinner."  The third woman, in Detroit, found her husband was having affairs with other women. She got him drunk, strangled him, and dismembered his body.     Newspaper,  small tears in folds, fair. (8206)  $40.00.  World War II     

General Warren at Bunker Hill

Revolutionary War: History of the Siege of Boston, and of the Battles of Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill, also an account of the Bunker Hill Monument, Illus. Second Edition by Frothingham, Jr., Richard 1851 Boston, MA: Charles C. Little and James Brown. Author produced this book after he completed his History of Charlestown, MA, using many original sources, and it contains a very interesting 40 x 48 cm. fold-out map of the action at Bunker Hill, by Lieut. Page, which was originally published in England in 1776 or 1777. Fascinating account of Revolutionary War battles in and around Boston, the raising of the American army, evacuation of the British, General Howe, Debate in Parliament. There is a 22-page History of the Bunker Hill Monument, and an appendix.420 pp. 14.5 x 23.5 cm.  Cloth on board, blindstamped with gilt medallion front and back; medallion on front is bust of Washington, and on back cover is medallion showing the Recovery of Boston, March 17, 1776. Spine is torn for parts of front and rear hinge and inside front hinge is cracked.  There is a six cm closed tear in large foldout map of Plan of Bunker Hill Battle, and Plan of Boston and Environs is loose.  Plan of Boston facing Title page is missing.  All other maps and illustrations are present. Fair. (5782) $120.00. History/Revolutionary War/Boston.

United Kingdom:: Our Own Country. Descriptive, Historical, Pictorial [6 volumes bound as 3] 1882     London, England: Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co.  1944 pp. 19 x 26.5 cm.            Magnificent set of three elegantly bound volumes, each containing two volumes of history and descriptions of cities, towns, castles, ports, rivers in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, with many, many engravings and line drawings. Vol. I: Frontis. "Port of Liverpool", Salisbury Plain and Stonehenge, Leeds, Cinque Ports, Dunfermline, The Plym, Crowland, Ludlow, The Clyde, The Dee, Dublin City. Vol. II: Frontis. "Lichfield Cathedral"; Lichfield, Coventry, Island of Skye, Exeter, The Wye, Londonderry, Cambridge, Gloucester, Birmingham, Exmoor, Cork. Vol. III: Frontis."New Town Hall, Manchester"; Norwich, Newark and Southwell, Aberdeen, The New Forest, Coast of North Devon, Lakes of Killarney, Oxford, Manchester, The Severn, Guildford, York, Audley, Lizard District, The Boyne, Sheffield.  Vo. IV: Frontis. "Fountains Abbey"; Nottingham, Wells and the Mendips, Balmoral and Braemar, Shrewsbury, Ely, The Conway, Hull, Belfast, Isle of Wight, Blenheim, Dorking, Dundee, Limerick, Eton, Swansea, Marlborough, Poole to Portland. Vol. V: Frontis. "Hawarden Castle";Bradford, Cardiff, Llandaff, Harrow-on-the-Hill, South Devon, Lincoln, Great Glen of Scotland, Leicester, Wicklow, Isle of Man, Rochester, Chatham, Warwick, Highland Railway, Antrim, Flintshire, Winchester, Bury St. Edmonds, Southampton and Dorchester. Vol. VI: Frontis. "Canterbury from Harbledown".  Canterbury, Rugby, Iona, Staffa, Arran, Donegal, Richmond on the Swale, Bath, The Trent, The Tweed, Southern Pembrokeshire, Connaught, Chichester, West Sussex, Carlisle, Great Yarmouth, The Thames, and East Sussex Coast. Quarto quarter leather with marbled paper on boards, elegantly gilt-decorated, ribbed spines, very slight wear, slight scuffing at edges, 2 cm tear in lower outer hinge of spine on second volume. Very good to excellent condition. Weight about 15 lbs. (7 kg.)  (7695) $250.00. Travel/History

Zigzag Journeys in Northern Lands; The Rhine to the Arctic; A Summer Trip of the Zigzag Cub through Holland, Germany, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, Fully Illustrated    by Butterworth, Hezikiah 1883 Boston, MA: Estes and Lauriat. 320 pp. 17 x 21.5 cm.    Fifth volume of a series for youth, takes the reader to places most associated with German history, tradition, literature and art, gives a view of events  of those northern countries that once constituted a great part of the empire of Charlemagne.Many black and white illustrations. Decorated red cloth on board, moderate wear, inside rear hinge cracked, stamped name "Philip C. Johnson, Wilton, N.H." on ffep; on second free endpaper is inscription: "Henry Grant  Colony, Dec. 25th 1889 from Aunt Louise." Good condition. (8286) $26.00. Travel     

                                  Robert Burns Title Page

Complete Works of Robert Burns, The; Including his Correspondence, etc. with Letters to Clarinda, &c. &c.  With a Memoir by William Gunnyon; the text carefully printed, and illustrated with notes.   1873     Edinburgh, Scotland: William P. Nimmo. 490 pp. + 16 pp. adv. 15.5 x 24 cm.    Scarce edition from Nimmo of Edinburgh. Preface explains that this edition contains Robert Burns' Poetical Works, although title does not make that distinction. Dedication to the Second Edition to the Noblemen and Gentlemen of the Caledonian Hunt. Includes 78 page Biographical Sketch and Appendix to the Biographical Sketch. Woodcut engravings include frontispiece portrait of Burns. Includes much General Correspondence, and Correspondence with George Thomson and Letters to Clarinda. Green cloth on board, slight wear on heel and toe of spine. Front free endpaper, frontispiece and title page loose, the rest of the text block is intact and tight. Thus good.  (8287) $85.00.   Literature

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