[Posted as 1 of 10 in a series on the College Archives by Emma Paine, a graduate student intern from Simmons College]

Professor Harry Todd Costello was recently featured on this blog in connection to his work in the field of philosophy, specifically his connection to the famous philosopher Bertrand Russell.  He served as Russell’s teaching assistant at Harvard in 1914, and his faculty papers contain notes from that course, as well as essays and lectures from other philosophy courses he taught or took.

Although he was very much involved in the study of philosophy, however, Costello was also a professor of Psychology— in fact, he was the only professor in Trinity’s Philosophy and Psychology department until 1927.

The College Archives has several items from his teaching days, including exams for his Abnormal Psychology classes and the syllabus for Intro to General Psychology.  There’s also a newspaper article he might have used as a reading for Abnormal Psychology in Spring 1944.  Of course, Costello didn’t have access to PDFs, electronic course reserves, or even Xerox copies during his 36 years at Trinity, so we can only wonder how he shared the clipping with his class.

Another find is a sheet of notes on “Memory Training,” which he presumably handed out during the first class of Elementary Psychology.  Some of the tips:

  • “Trust your memory.  Think habitually and definitely that you are going to remember.”
  • “In learning a disconnected series, form quick associations, the more bizarre the better.  Get a picture that gets them all in.”
  • “Be rigidly exact in recall.”
  • “Learn to forget the useless.”
  • “Practise.”

Costello_1In addition to items that show how he taught psychology, there are also two journals that demonstrate how he learned the subject as an undergrad at Earlham College in 1907.  Although they didn’t have computers or today’s brain scanning technology, Costello and his fellow students were still looking for ways to objectively study seemingly subjective phenomena, and these journals document their experiments.

 

Most of the time, the students were each other’s lab rats, and the experiments literally brought them closer together. In one experiment, for example, Costello had to shave the back of his lab partners’ hand and count the “hair stalks” in order to determine the location of “pressure spots.” In another, “Distribution of Taste Sensitivity over the Tongue,” he had to identify prominent papillae on his partner’s tongue and then drop different flavored liquids on each one to determine which papillae sensed which kinds of flavors.   Should we be thankful that the field of psychology’s changed a bit since then?

Costello_2Costello_3

To learn more about these journals and the rest of the Costello collection, please stop by the Watkinson and ask for the finding aid.

26
Jul

How to Bring Up Baby

   Posted by: rring   in Classes, Students

Kristin1Though raising children will never go out of style, certain fads, methods, or ideas will surely change in the years to come and have definitely changed over the years. Elizabeth Robinson Scovil published her book How to Raise a Baby in 1906, and I was actually surprised to find her methods were not completely off-the-wall or out-of-date. This may be because Scovil was actually a graduate of the Massachusetts General Hospital Training School for Nurses, so it is safe to say that she was well educated and a source that women would have trusted. She was also the author of a number of other texts, including: “A Baby’s Requirements,” “The Care of Children,” and “Preparation for Motherhood.” Her writing did not stop at simple advice on how to be a mother, and she also wrote other books on how to be a proper girl and woman. One of her other texts was “Prayers for Girls,” published in 1924, and “Little Prayers for Little Lips,” published in 1921.

 

 

Kristin2Interestingly, How to Bring Up a Baby was provided as a complimentary gift for women along with their Ivory Soap purchases, which explains why the publisher of her text is Procter and Gamble, the popular American consumer goods company. Procter and Gamble insert promotions for their product throughout the booklet. For instance: “No soap but a pure scentless one like Ivory Soap” should be used” (25) or “Children will brush their teeth if they have a tooth wash that tastes nice. There is none better than half an ounce of Ivory Soap (one-twelfth of a small cake) dissolved in four ounces of water with a teaspoonful of rose water as flavoring” (35-36). These examples are not uncommon throughout Scovil’s text.

I unfortunately could not find an image of the particular Ivory Soap product that this booklet was accompanied by; it may have been a variety of products. Instead, I looked into what types of advertisements Ivory Soap had out in 1906. Those, too, unsurprisingly, were directed toward women. Two such ads are included on the previous page. These ads fit into the same vein as the messages within Scovil’s text.

Kristin3Scovil’s books are still available online and do not run for very high prices. They are available from sources like Amazon and AbeBooks. There are various editions of How to Bring Up a Baby listed, ranging in price from $10 to $40. Our Watkinson copy seems to be in better shape than some of the others listed, as its pages are made of some sort of silky, smooth cardboard, and there are no pages missing. There are forty pages in this text, and colored illustrations are included (and dispersed throughout this blog post). Our particular copy appears to have been a gift from the Grom Hayes Library in Hartford, as recorded on the inside cover of the book.

There is no table of contents for the text, but the first page of the booklet is worth noting. In order to be able to personalize her copy of the book, a woman could fill in her baby’s specific details on the first page, as shown on the right. I imagine this was amusing for women reading the book, knowing they could apply the reading material to their own child. In that way, they could know if they were correctly “bringing up a baby.” They could also compare their children’s statistics to what was considered to be average in the day. If their babies fell within normal limits, they could rest assured; if not, they could read on and figure out where they, as mothers, went astray and how to address the problem. This book puts a lot of pressure on the mothers.

Kristin4After this opening page, Scovil provides what could only be considered threatening advice. For instance, Scovil says, “Success in life depends largely on the care that is taken of the health in childhood” (7), and “A child has the right to ask that his parents shall give him a fair start; that they shall not allow him to contract disabilities that could have been avoided by careful oversight” (7). She also mentions that there is too high a “Number of children who die annually from entirely different causes” (7). These causes, she maintains, are preventable with expert care. In fact, she states, “Incessant and intelligent care is necessary to overcome the tendency to disease, and to enable them to become strong” (7).

Kristin5After the first page personalization and her brief note that includes the many threats and warnings, Scovil goes on to write her book about effective childcare. (I use the word “book” lightly because I might consider this more an instructional pamphlet, booklet, or manual than a book.) She divides her book into the following sections: “When to be alarmed,” “Office of the physician,” “Food,” “Sleep,” “Dress,” “Cleanliness,” “Removing stains,” “Ventilation,” “The eyes,” “The ears,” “The nose,” “The teeth,” “The hair,” “The nails,” “Emergencies,” and “Poisoning.” These sections provide pretty solid information, nothing too drastic, but what interested me the most was what Scovil decided to emphasize (with italics) in each passage. Below, I will insert the seven passages from the book she puts particular emphasis on:

“Whenever it should be, and no oftener, Ivory Soap is mentioned; and, invariably, a reason for its use is given” (3). “No oftener?” I’m not so sure about that… Ivory Soap is mentioned 18 times so on average, every other page. This proves the text is intended to be a promotional piece for Ivory Soap.

Kristin6“It may not be out of place, to add that for nearly thirty years, Ivory Soap has enjoyed a unique position in the homes of the majority of intelligent Americans. For bath, toilet, and fine laundry purposes, it has no equal” (4). “Intelligent Americans?” Was this supposed to compliment her readers and make them feel good about themselves? Was this an elitist brand of soap? Is that why she mentions that Ivory Soap is to be used for “fine laundry” purposes? What would be the opposite of “fine laundry,” I wonder?

Scovil mentions that children need nourishing food for their school lunches and may have “a piece of cake but no pastry” (18). Heaven forbid that a child would eat a pastry! She doesn’t elaborate on this advice as the merits of cake versus pastry, but she does allow the children a slice of cake.

“The most exquisite cleanliness is necessary in the care of bottles and everything used in the preparation of the food. The baby’s life depends on this” (15). This emphasis reminds me of the first page. Scovil makes clear the very high stakes involved in raising a child and how essential Ivory Soap is to that undertaking.

Kristin7When speaking of wet weather, Scovil advises that, “The feet should be well shod in thick boots and rubbers. Rubber boots may be worn if circumstances permit of their being removed” (22). I really can’t explain her emphasis here. Aren’t shoes always removed eventually?

Never box a child’s ears” (33). This makes sense; do not physically abuse your child (obviously). I don’t know if the emphasis was because this was a common problem at the time, or if this was something she considered to be highly detrimental to the proper growth of children. Both seem like good reasons to me.

“When a child swallows any small body, as a pin, or a cent, give soft food—potatoes, oatmeal, or bread and milk. Use no medicine. The substance will probably become imbedded in the soft mass and pass safely away” (39). Here, I think Scovil assumes that mothers will panic and quickly resort to any type of stomach medicine available. She further advises that, if the object does not naturally remove itself from the child, a doctor be consulted.

Kristin8Though Scovil’s booklet is an instructional text for mothers, it is also a long and illustrated advertisement for Ivory Soap. I don’t know how much Procter and Gamble paid her to promote their product, but she certainly does so with great frequency—to the point of it being amusing. They had no qualms about inserting promotional material within book. For example (one among many), Scovil insists, “A cake of Ivory Soap is within the reach of every mother, and with this she can keep the skin of her children in perfect condition” (26).  “Perfect” condition is quite a promise. The amount of promotional material in the text actually made me not take Scovil’s advice as seriously. Though she had her nursing degree and gave seemingly wise advice, the consistent ads within her work made me skeptical. I’m not sure this would have had the same effect on women back in 1906.

Scovil’s book and Procter and Gamble’s lengthy ad ends very unceremoniously: When referring to the treatment of bites and stings, Scovil advises, “Cover the part affected with a paste made by moistening baking soda with water, or bathe with a teaspoonful of ammonia in a cup of water” (40). The book ends there, leaving the reader to contemplate Scovil’s advice and when she can make her next Ivory Soap purchase.

[Posted by Emily Leonard for AMST 851: The World of Rare Books (Instructor: Richard Ring)]

IMG_2892Film buffs think of “Tyrone Power ” as the breathtakingly handsome actor who was 20th Century Fox’s top male attraction from the mid-1930s to early 1950s, starring in such classics as The Mark of Zorro or Witness for the Prosecution. Theatrical cognoscenti know that the real star in the family was the film idol’s great grandfather, the first Tyrone Power, an Irish comedian who packed theaters all over the Continent before his triumphal tour of the United States in 1833, ’34 and ’35. Impressions of America is the record of these travels.

My master’s thesis concerns the early Republic and, among other things, how foreign visitors viewed it. Power’s book is particularly important because, unlike the negative reports of his fellow Britons who traveled in the United States in the 1830s, it provides an appealing picture of an ambitious young nation, a bit bumptious but always sure that its destiny lay west and that any enterprising person could find success if only he looked far enough. Since Frances Trollope, Fanny Kemble, and the great Charles Dickens, among others, could find little to admire and much to condemn in American society, Power’s Impressions of America is essential to the development of my thesis. But there was not a single copy to be found on the Internet, Amazon or in local bookstores. It has never been reprinted and, surprisingly, Project Gutenberg has digitized only the second volume. A search of the Trinity College catalog turned up the first edition, in 2 volumes, at the Watkinson. I could now provide the balance I need for my review of the early Republic.  Power’s Impressions of America provides the perfect response to the sharp criticism of observers like Dickens and Captain Frederick Maryatt, whose disdain for all things American so incensed the citizens of Detroit that they hung him in effigy.

Power found the citizens of the young Republic “clear-headed, energetic, frank and hospitable…” (x) His assertion that a “working man at the dinner table was as courteous and well-mannered as the elegant lady who sat next to him” (92) refutes other European travelers’ complaints about “… spitting-boxes, tobacco, two pronged forks…”(346). He had, from the outset, been determined to ignore these minor irritants, while focusing on “the great labors” that were rapidly transforming the nation as it moved west.

The energy and ambition exhibited by the average American made a strong impression on Power.  He described “… a community suited to and laboring for their country and its advancement rather than for their own present generation,”(x) noting the many voluntary philanthropic societies devoted to improving community life and, with some amusement, the American predilection for playing soldier as manifest by the ubiquitous musters of militia in towns and villages during the summer months. These glimpses of democracy in action provided a strong contrast to the conditions in Great Britain and Ireland where powerless workers were in virtual bondage to their employers. Indeed, it may well have been the contrast between his down-trodden, near-to-starving Irish compatriots, suffering under the Penal Laws, and the apparently well-fed, decently dressed house slaves Power encountered in his travels in America’s south that made him so tolerant of that ‘peculiar institution.’

“My days were passed at the hospitable house of

Mr. G——n, where I encountered many pleasant

people; and was attended by the sleekest, merriest

set of Negroes imaginable, most of whom had grown

old or were born in their master’s house: his own

good-humoured, active benevolence of spirit was

reflected in the faces of his servants.” (110)

Power’s comments on New Englanders offer some support for this explanation of his failure to condemn slavery. Although he has only praise for Boston’s “…houses of the largest class, well built and kept with the right English spirit as far as regards the scrupulous cleanliness of the entrance areas and windows,” (102) he is not so flattering about the New England character.

“From both the creed and the sumptuary regulations

of the rigid moral censors from which they were spring,

they have inherited a practice of close self-observation

and a strict attention to conventional form which gives a

rigid restraint to their air.” (125)

Or, in the more generous spirit of gentle teasing which is his usual approach to the foibles of Americans in general, he describes a Boston theater audience:

“[it] ‘…is in the character ascribed to New Englanders that

they should coolly and thoroughly examine and understand

the novelty presented for their judgment and, that, being

satisfied and pleased, they should no longer set limits to the

demonstration of their feelings.” (124)

In one area, Power does echo the negative reaction of his fellow travelers. He depletes the way in which new immigrants, especially the Irish, are treated by the native-born. Noting that the Boston’s Tremont Hotel is entirely staffed by Irish lads, he makes a plea for their acceptance into Yankee society, which he characterizes as one with “…many prejudices inseparable from a system of education even to this day sufficiently narrow and sectarian.” (126)

But his major emphasis is on the rapid expansion of the nation, and the people who are accomplishing it:

“…these frontier tamers of the swamp and of the forest:

they are hardy, indefatigable, and enterprising to a degree;

despising and contemning luxury and refinement, courting

labour, and even making a pride of the privations which they,

without any necessity, continue to endure with their families.

They are prudent without being at all mean or penurious, and

are fond of money without having a tittle of avarice. This may

at first sight appear stated from a love of paradox, yet nothing

can be more strictly and simply true; this is, in fact, a singular

race, and they seem especially endowed by Providence to

forward the great work in which they are engaged—to clear the

the wilderness and lay bare the wealth of this rich country with

herculean force and restless perseverance, spurred by a spirit of

acquisition no extent of possession can satiate.” [216]

The paradox here is why the other British travelers’ generally negative reports on America’s citizens in the early Republic which aroused such ire in both the parlor and the press have been reprinted many, many times, while the work of one who saw us as we like to think we were has been so nearly forgotten?  Thanks to the Watkinson library and the seventeen other rare book repositories holding copies, Tyrone Power’s Impressions of America will continue to be available for scholars to study the young nation as it was creating the myths and the legends that form our modern understanding of America’s history.

26
Jul

The Poet & the President

   Posted by: rring   in Classes, Students

[Posted by Judith Daly for AMST 851: The World of Rare Books (Instructor: Richard Ring)]

IMG_2893American Studies stands at the crossroads of history and literature and I found an item in the Watkinson that is so apropos for the two topics.    The Watkinson holds two copies of Dedication: And The Gift Outright by Robert Frost The Inaugural Address of John Fitzgerald Kennedy Washington, D.C., January the Twentieth, 1961.

Frost was the first poet to recite a poem at the inauguration of a president.  Initially Kennedy asked Frost to recite “The Gift Outright;” a poem published two decades earlier.  But the poet wrote a poem titled “Dedication”, specifically for the inauguration.  However, he had little time to memorize it and when he tried to read it, he could only get a few lines in.  The glare off of the snow on that January day was too bright for the elderly Frost to read.  So he went back to the original plan and recited “The Gift Outright” from memory changing the phrase in the last line to “such as she will become” from “such as she would become” at the new president’s request.

Kennedy and Frost had a history.  At a press conference before Kennedy even announced his candidacy, Frost predicted that the youthful Massachusetts senator would become the next president.  It was at the Waldorf Astoria, prior to a gala to celebrate Frost’s 85th birthday. “Among the questions asked was one concerning the alleged decline of New England, to which Frost responded: ‘The next President of the United States will be from Boston. Does that sound as if New England is decaying?’ Pressed to name who Frost meant, he replied: ‘He’s a Puritan named Kennedy. The only Puritans left these days are the Roman Catholics. There. I guess I wear my politics on my sleeve.’”

Kennedy, in turn, would often close campaign speeches with two lines from the final stanza of “Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening.”

“But I have promises to keep, / And miles to go before I sleep.”

Kennedy invited Frost to take part in the inauguration and the old poet replied via telegram:  “If you can bear at your age the honor of being made President of the United States, I ought to be able at my age to bear the honor of taking some part in your inauguration. I may not be equal to it but I can accept it for my cause—the arts, poetry, now for the first time taken into the affairs of statesmen.”

Kennedy’s inaugural address is perhaps one of the most famous American speeches.  (A number of lists online have it as the #2 American speech of the 20th Century after Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream.”) Both of Frost’s poem’s, along with Kennedy’s inaugural address appear in this short book.

The book itself was printed by Spiral Press.  It was a limited edition.  The Watkinson holds two of the 500 copies.  Spiral Press was a small publisher run by Joseph Blumenthal.  Blumenthal was a longtime collaborator with Frost.  He met the poet in 1930 when Frost’s collected poems were published and he continued a relationship with him that lasted over three decades.  Blumenthal was part of the fine-press movement.  Blumenthal cared about the art of book design.  He once said about his work that “Craftsmanship has always been the core, and I’ve always devoted a maximum of effort to every job, big or small, profitable or not, from a book to a business card. “  He was an artisan and he used high quality paper, vintage inks, and an old style typeface that he invented himself.

The typeface was originally called Spiral, after his publishing house.  But once it became available commercially, the name was changed to Emerson.  Emerson is a Roman typeface.   It is noted for wide capitals and distinctive foot serifs of the lower-case a, d, and u.  Louis Hoell first cut it in Frankfurt at the Bauer Type Foundry in 1930.  It was then recut for the Monotype Corporation by Stanley Morison in 1935.  It first appeared in an edition of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature; thus, the name of the typeface.  A distinguished calligrapher, Reynolds Stone, favorably cited the typeface in a review, “(Emerson) avoided the rigidity of a modern face and preserved some of the virtues of the classic Renaissance types.”

The book that I examined was copy 340 of 500.  It is a thin volume; covered with wrappers of tissue. The title page says “Dedication.  The Gift Outright. The Inaugural Address.”  This is followed by the Presidential Seal and the location and date “Washington D.C.  January the twentieth, 1961.”  German artist and graphic designer Fritz Kredel created the woodcut of the Presidential Seal for Kennedy’s inauguration, which appears on the page   The paper has a coarseness to it.  The type is large.  Legibility is one of the goals that the printer Blumenthal aimed for. “Fine printing,” he once wrote, “is not fancy printing. It is simply (if not so simple) an articulate search for clarity.

26
Jul

The World’s Greatest Organ

   Posted by: rring   in Classes, Students

[Posted by Dylan Mosenthal for AMST 851: The World of Rare Books (Instructor: Richard Ring)]

mosenthal2When I was first presented with the opportunity to explore the stacks of the Watkinson, my first inclination was to find something that had to do with organ music. During my four years as a student at Trinity, I studied the organ with John Rose and naturally became increasingly interested in not only organ music, but the history of the instrument as well.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to focus my search on actual sheet music or books regarding the constructions of organs. After all, The Watkinson contained a large collection of both! I decided to first do a broad search in the database to see what I could find. Immediately, I was attracted to the second book listed on the screen. It was a series of musical compositions from 1880 entitled, Arrangements from the Scores of the Great Masters for the Organ”.  Because of the long organ history at Trinity College, I hoped that these compositions would have annotations from organists of years past. To my disappointment, they were in mint condition and seemingly untouched by any organists, and though I found the variety of arrangements compelling, (Bach, Beethoven, Handel, Haydn, Lizt, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Schumann), I wasn’t overly intrigued by what I had found. (This was unfortunate, considering the collection consisted of five large and heavy books that Rick had to transport from the stacks on his own!)

After returning to the database, a book entitled, “The World’s Greatest Organ”, caught my eye. Written in 1917, the book described the infamous Wanamaker Organ in Philadelphia. The book was small, a pamphlet of only twenty or so pages. It was in very good condition, and certainly had a modest aesthetic appeal compared to some of the other books we had seen in class. The book had a large number of illustrations integrated within the text as well. I was curious as to the reason why the book had been written. At first glance, it seemed to be a marketing tool for the Wanamaker Organ company. But as John Wanamaker himself explains on the second page, the point of the book was to pay homage to one of the greatest organs in the world:

mosenthal1“The Great Organ in the Grand Court of The Wanamaker Store in Philadelphia is heard every year by thousands of people from all over the world. And from many lands, from many lovers of music, have come requests for information regarding it. To give to the public a brief history of this noble instrument, to guide visitors to its many points of interest, and to recall to them at some later time the joy of its melody, this little book is made.”

mosenthal3The first page of the book made an immediate impression on me. It contains a quote from Honoré de Balzac entitled, “The Organ”. The quotation is surrounded by a beautiful border that resembles a picture frame. Not only was I drawn to the beautiful aesthetics of the first page, I also was also infatuated with the first line of de Balzac’s quotation which describes exactly the reason I decided to play the organ in the first place: “The organ is in truth the grandest, the most daring, the most magnificent of all instruments invented by human genius. It is a whole orchestra in itself”. For the past five years, I have tried to explain to those unfamiliar with the instrument the reasons why the organ is, in my opinion, the most “magnificent of all instruments”. De Balzac effectively explains in one sentence the way I feel about the organ.

 mosenthal4The book then goes on to describe a brief history of the “Evolution of the Organ”, citing the legend of “Syrinx” or “Pipe of Pan” to explain the formation of the reed pipes. It explains how organs evolved from a single hollow-reed pip “blown by the breath of man” to the formation of large reed pips and the ultimate birth of the hydraulic organ. The following sections of the book focus on the Philadelphia Wanamaker organ itself. In the section entitled, “The Story of the Great Organ”, Wanamaker clearly doesn’t try to be modest when describing the instrument’s beauty and sound, describing the story of the organ as “one of romance” and explaining that, “So constant is the care given it that there is no moment of the day when it cannot pour out its music untrammeled…It is theoretically and practically a masterpiece, not only the largest but probably the finest musical instrument in the world”. Reading these descriptions validated my original thoughts about this book being primarily used as a marketing tool, for the descriptions were written by the owner of the Wanamaker Company.

On the other hand, the following section was written by someone unaffiliated with the Wanamaker company. In a short essay entitled, “The Thrill of Playing the World’s Largest Organ”, Alexander Russell writes about his experience playing the instrument as a guest performer. He sat at the organ for two weeks, ultimately playing a recital on Bach’s Chorales. He only has words of praise for the organ, and ends the essay by powerfully writing, “This great organ creates music lovers, not once in a while, but every working day in the year”.

Although I enjoyed reading about the beauty of the Wanamaker organ, I found the last section of the book, “A Little Journey through the Interior of the Organ”, to be the most interesting. For the sake of this blog, I won’t bore you with the details about the specific pipes and stops within the four levels of the organ, but I can sum up the section in Wanamaker’s own words:  “This is a veritable forest of pipes”. This section had the most illustrations in the book, and I was infatuated with the descriptions of all of the different levels within the organ. All in all, this book was extremely captivating and well written. The combination of illustrations and text made for a comprehensive look into not only the Wanamaker Organ in Philadelphia, but organ history as a whole.

26
Jul

Little Birdie’s Picture Primer

   Posted by: rring   in Classes, Students

[Posted by Margaret Pallis for AMST 851: The World of Rare Books (Instructor: Richard Ring)]

Maggie 1The item in the Watkinson that caught my attention was a primer from circa 1880.  The text, Little Birdie’s Picture Primer, was published by George Routledge and Sons.  The book appealed to me because I’ve been interested in literature written for children for quite a while now.  The book also relates, tangentially, to my thesis (which I am in the process of writing) on children’s fiction of this era.  In my thesis, I am examining the didacticism inherent in literature written for children and, more specifically, how some particular texts written in the mid-19th to mid-20th century can impact children’s lives.  It is possible to suggest that a text like Little Birdie’s Picture Primer was designed specifically to mold children in very specific ways.  Consequently, when I was looking through the extensive collection that the Watkinson contains, I became interested in the primers.  I wanted to see if these books, which are highly didactic in nature, as they were used to teach children to read and write also had a more social or political stance as well.

Before I discuss the particular primer that I selected for this discussion, a bit of history about primers seems appropriate.  Primers were intended as instructional texts for children, principally in terms of religious or spiritual development.  Primer was the original name for a prayer-book, and these were “simple books for teaching children their letters, prayers, and later, other simple subjects” (“Primers”).  Primers have a long history, and early versions were found in the middle ages.  When doing a bit of research on primers, I was reminded of the fact that in Chaucer’s “The Prioress’s Tale” there is a reference to a child who “sat in the scole at his prymer” (“Primers”).  While this was an interesting tidbit, the information was also useful in reminding me that the primer was a significant text for children.  By the end of the 18th century, primers moved from being religious texts for children and moved to more secular learning tools (“Primers”). The primer I selected from the Watkinson is of the latter type as it is not about religious instruction.

Maggie 2Upon first examining the book from the Watkinson collection, I amazed by the appearance of the book.  For a children’s book that was published in the 1880’s, it appears to be in good condition, though it certainly shows evidence of being used in the past and likely by children.  This primer is apparently an 1800 version of the cloth or plastic or hard cardboard books we now produce for young children as the publisher claims, on the cover, that this particular book is the “indestructible edition.”  The book itself appears to be made of a hard cardboard, and the spine is cloth-covered.  The pages of the book are made of linen, and it appears to have been well-read as there is light staining along the outer edges of all of the pages, indicating use.  The front cover is brightly colored, with an illustration of a young boy and girl under an umbrella.  The title of the book is in an engaging font (one that would appeal to children) which is staggered a bit across the front.  The back cover is a repeating picture of frolicking children.  There is a good deal of wear on the corners of the book, front and back.  The last page of the book shows a good deal of wear and, like the first page, is affixed to the inside cover.

The text itself boasts that it includes over 200 illustrations.  The book is clearly intended to teach the alphabet (both the Roman letters and script) and the numbers one through twelve.  As the text introduces each letter, there are a series of pictures of items or animals that begin with that letter.  For each letter, there are six or seven words with corresponding pictures.  Where I became particularly interested was with the inclusion of some words that seemed strongly based in political or social hierarchy. For example, this book teaches children about words like “earl,” “gun,” “globe,” “herald,” “king,” and “queen.”  These words clearly denote a particular mindset.  While king and queen are probably still in children’s books, the inclusion of a word like “earl” suggests that the word selection was intentionally designed to support the political system of the time.

The political system (along with the lesson that this text is attempting to inculcate) becomes even more apparent in the section of the text that uses the words in sentences.  It becomes clear that the goal of this book is not just to teach the letters and words, but also to help children to understand what is appropriate in society and who has authority.  The following sentences, form “G” to “L” indicate the nature of the text: “G was a gypsy who lives in a tent,” “I was an idler and wasted his time,” “J was a justice who punished all crime,” “K was a knight fully armed cap-a-pie,” and “L was a lawyer and fond of his fee.”  What becomes apparent, from these selections and further perusal of the book, is that the children are given a sense of words that begin with those letters (further cementing the lesson of the earlier part of the text), but there is also more direct instruction for the children about appropriate and inappropriate behaviors (i.e,. the idler and gypsy are clearly not favored by society).  The illustration of the gypsy shows a woman with a small baby strapped to her back, standing in front of a dilapidated tent.  But the book also casts dispersion on the lawyer, who seems only interested in money, unlike the justice that is referred to earlier.

The numbers, in contrast to the letters, do not appear to present the same sort of lesson.  Instead, the numbers simply reference elements one might find in the natural world, such as “One Hare,” “Five Fowls,” and “Ten Sheep.”  The book also contains a seek and find picture, in which the child is supposed to find a horse, boy, girl, and tree.  However, the images are quite easy to find, likely because this book was intended for a young child (a pre-reader).

I found this text particularly interesting to examine, as I felt like I was taking a step back into history and was able to get a sense of the kinds of instructional materials available for young children.  Certainly, the text gave me a sense of what adults found was important for children to know.  I also think the publisher might be right; this apparently was an “indestructible edition.”  As a book for children, it appears to have withstood a good deal of use.

[Posted by Michelle Deluse for AMST 851: The World of Rare Books (Instructor: Richard Ring)]

img948When L. Frank Baum wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, he created more than a children’s book.  The book inspired a legacy of children’s literature that expands beyond Baum’s own work and includes the many authors inspired to continue creating stories in the world he created.  The world of Oz also inspired a loyal fan base and, for some, a desire to collect and study the works that collectively make up Oziana.  Bibliographia Oziana : A Concise Bibliographical Checklist of the Oz Books by L. Frank Baum and His Successors by Peter E. Hanff & Douglas G. Greene provides a scholarly resource for students and collectors alike with an interest in exploring the Oz books.  Hanff & Greene claim their work, published by The International Wizard of Oz Club, is “founded on and continuing the Baum Bugle checklist,” and the bibliography serves as a “concise, descriptive publishing history of the Oz books” (11).

Hanff and Greene take great care to define what constitutes an Oz book in their introduction.  According to their parameters, books about Oz written by Baum or his successors written in the same format as other Oz books and published by the same firm, Reilly & Britton (later known as Reilly & Lee) can be considered an Oz book (12).  Other books that do not necessarily meet these qualifications, but are generally accepted by the field as Oz books are also listed in this text, but they are included as addenda (12).  Hanff and Greene organize the texts by author, beginning with Baum, and they include any relevant addenda at the conclusion of each author’s section.

Including official Oz books, addenda, and a brief section of “curiosa,” the bibliography catalogues a total of 52 texts and features 8 different authors.  Hanff and Greene credit Baum with a total of 16 Oz books, beginning with the original The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and ending with Glinda of Oz, the manuscript Baum completed before his death in 1919 (67).  The list of Oz books authored by Baum totals at slightly less than the 19books Ruth Plumly Thompson contributed after Baum’s death.  Baum’s and Thompson’s works constitute the large majority of the Oz books; the other authors listed in the bibliography (John R. Neill, Jack Snow, Rachel R. Cosgrove, Eloise Jarvis McGraw and Lauren McGraw Wagner, W.W. Denslow, and Frank Joslyn Baum) each contributed one to three texts in total.

img949The description of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz reveals how complex the original publication was.  Hanff and Greene indicate that it was “an unusually elaborate book” and represented a “conscious effort of the author and the illustrator… to produce a children’s book that would be as enjoyable to look at as to read” (12).  The emphasis on the visual aspects of the original publication encouraged me to pay closer attention to the visual content of the bibliography itself.  The images included in Bibliographia Oziana : A Concise Bibliographical Checklist of the Oz Books by L. Frank Baum and His Successors enrich the textual information provided.  For example, the bibliography includes a section entitled “Plates,” with photographs of the cover art for titles included in the bibliography.  Each plate is annotated with the page in the bibliography the title depicted appears on, making it easy for the reader to associate something visual with the information provided.  Examining this section of the text allow readers the opportunity to see the changes in style of cover art for Oz books through the years.  For example, the art for the first printing of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz differs greatly from The New Wizard of Oz (a republication of the same text).  A quick glance at the cover art for Hanff and Greene’s work and the plate for The New Wizard of Oz leaves no question that the former took inspiration from the latter (which is also confirmed by a brief note on the verso of the title page of the text).

However, of all the images included in the bibliography, one image is conspicuously absent.  Many modern fans of Oziana (myself included) have  a particular fascination with the Wicked Witch of the West.  Margaret Hamilton’s portrayal of the Wicked Witch of the West in the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz, arguably made the villain famous, and the rise of the popular musical Wicked revived a fixation on her in popular culture.  Due to her popularity, it surprises many readers to learn that the role the Wicked Witch of the West plays in Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is small, and she does not appear in subsequent Oz books.  As such, it is appropriate that she not be heavily featured in the artwork for the books of Oz, since her role is less prominent in the Baum books than it is in the cinematic adaptations of the material.

One entry in the bibliography that I found particularly interesting was The Laughing Dragon of Oz by Baum’s oldest son, Frank Joslyn Baum.  Frank Joslyn Baum wanted to continue his father’s work with books about Oz, so much so that he wrote Rosine in Oz which he later retiled Rosine and the Laughing Dragon.  He had little success in getting his book published, but eventually, the Whitman Publishing Company agreed to publish his book under the title The Laughing Dragon of Oz.  Frank Joslyn Baum and Whitman even planned to publish a sequel until Reilly & Lee took legal action against Whitman.  To settle the suit, Whitman agreed that they would not reprint the book and they would not publish a sequel (102).  I imagine the legal history surrounding The Laughing Dragon of Oz makes it a particularly rare book, as there were a limited number of copies printed before Reilly & Lee filed their suit.  For a collector of Oziana, Frank Joslyn Baum’s work must be highly coveted!

It surprised me that the Watkinson has a number of Oz books within the collection, let alone an academic resource for the study of Oz books, so this bibliographic collection of the books of Oz was an unexpected find.  Delving more deeply into the scholarly perspective on books and stories I loved as a child evoked both a sense of nostalgia and a renewed curiosity and amazement.  If you are a fan of Oz, I encourage you to visit the Watkinson to spend some time with Bibliographia Oziana, or any of the other Oz books in the collection.  It will be well worth your time!

30
May

Notes on Bertrand Russell

   Posted by: rring   in College Archives, Visiting researcher

[Posted by Bernard Linsky, Department of Philosophy, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, bernard.linsky@ualberta.ca]

IMG_2856I am a professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Canada, and have been working on the logic and philosophy of Bertrand Russell for some years now. My current project is, with the assistance of James Levine, at that other Trinity College, in Dublin, to edit lecture notes from various courses that Russell taught between 1910 and 1914. Russell became a lecturer at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1910 until he was dismissed over his opposition to World War I in 1916. This was the only period when Russell lived the life of University lecturer, and there are to this date, no notes on his lectures have been published.

Russell was invited to be a visiting professor at Harvard University in the Spring Semester of 1914 when he was giving the Lowell Lectures, later published as Our Knowledge of the External World.  Russell also taught an undergraduate course on Theory of Knowledge, and an upper level course on “Advanced Logic.” Russell had wanted to teach in the Cambridge “Lent” term, and so was only able to arrive in Cambridge, Mass. on March 13th. As the Winter semester began on February 10, 1914, someone was needed to step in to cover the lectures in the course until Russell arrived.

While the famous philosopher Josiah Royce gave the first lectures in the Theory of Knowledge Course, a recent PhD graduate, Harry Todd Costello, was selected to begin the Advanced Logic. Costello gave fourteen lectures before Russell arrived. I was surprised to discover that there were notes from this course, although they had never been published, but remained in the archives of Houghton Library at Harvard. These notes on “Advanced Logic” were by one of Costello’s fellow graduate students, then in his last year, one Thomas Stearns Eliot. Eliot was writing a dissertation on the British Philosopher Francis H. Bradley at the time, and was already a poet, writing the brief “Mr Appolinax” in that year, about Russell’s visit.

To my surprise, no one had bothered to publish Eliot’s notes, as they had his dissertation. Perhaps this was in part because the notes are in the mathematical symbols of Whitehead and Russell’s Principia Mathematica, which was then just published. I have now completed transcribing the notes, and will publish them with some discussion of their significance for understanding Russell’s logic. I don’t think that they help to understand Eliot’s poetry at all, and that may be why English professors haven’t been interested in the notes.

Some time last year one of my very sensible colleagues asked me if I had looked for Costello’s notes from that course. Surely he must have kept them among his papers as a reminder of his famous role as Russell’s Teaching Assistant. I had never thought of this, and immediately started writing to Trinity College to find out about Costello’s papers.

After leaving Harvard Harry Costello became a professor of Philosophy at Trinity College from around 1921 until his retirement in 1957. A bachelor, who lived in housing on campus for years, Costello was a well-known but slightly eccentric character who worked on the faculty Library committee overseeing the operations of the library and even buying books. I would love to know if there are any legends about Harry Costello still circulating at Trinity.  I had found online that the archives in Watkinson library keeps the papers of former faculty members, and so it seemed possible that they would have Costello’s papers.

On May 20th of this year, a little over a week ago, I walked into the archives to be greeted by Henry Arneth, the special collections assistant, who had brought up two boxes of Harry Costello’s papers, and I started to look through them. Within minutes I had found the notes that Costello had lectured from in those first weeks of 1914. They were more detailed than those of T.S. Eliot, who, after all, was just a student in the class. Then I looked through some other material, such as every class list and grade record from every course that Costello ever taught during his career, although he had left the Harvard class list to Russell. If anyone has an ancestor who took a course from Dr Costello at Trinity in those years, you can come to the archives and find it out. (I think that’s public information, but you will have to consult with the Head Librarian Richard Ring.) I also found some philosophical humor in Costello’s notebooks, presumably his own creations:

I am Mr Francis Bradley

When my liver cuts up badly,

I take refuge from the brute

in the blessed Absolute.

 

There is also a dig at a timorous administrator:

I am, that is, I mean,

I think that I am called

the junior Dean.

The boxes also contained endless lists of books that Costello had bought, presumably for the Trinity College Library, and a list of movies he had seen, including the leading cast. I saw on campus that students at Trinity College still like to go to the movies.

I had showed up at the archives at 10:00, which is the opening time for the public, found Costello’s notes for his own lectures by 10:30 and then looked through the other fascinating things in the boxes for another hour. Then, in among pocket diaries with the movies and book lists, I found a little notebook that contained Costello’s own notes from courses at Harvard. In the last part of the notebook I recognized his notes on Russell’s lectures from 1914! After standing at the front of the classroom for the first fourteen classes, Costello then took his place with the other students, and started taking notes as well. Not only do we have T.S. Eliot’s notes on Russell’s lectures, but we have the even better source of information, Harry Todd Costello’s notes on Russell’s lectures!

Henry Arneth dropped what he was doing and went to the basement and carefully scanned the notes I wanted, and sent me off with a key full of jpg images. Sally Dickinson, the associate curator, helped to find the one book of Costello’s notes, on Josiah Royce’s seminar, that had been published in 1962, and asked me to explain what I had found. I was too excited to think clearly, and it helped to start to tell this story in what I hope is a more coherent fashion. Peter Knapp, the College Archivist, was sadly unwell and away from work, and so completely missed the excitement. My thanks to him for protecting the Costello papers all these years.

Faculty and students at Trinity College should be proud of the history of their college, and of the work that has been done to preserve it in their college archives. I would encourage students to look in books in the College Library, to see if they were donated from Costello’s personal collection, and, by chance, whether he might have written something in a copy of Russell’s works that I should know about.

I’ll be back in Hartford. As I have learned, it is essential to revisit archives before publishing material from them. There is always something in the images that is a bit unclear, and as I can attest, you never know what you will find in boxes in an archive.

25
Apr

Hatha Yoga

   Posted by: rring   in Americana, Classes, Students

[Posted by Allexandra Beatty for AMST 838/438, "America Collects Itself"]

Hatha Yoga: The Yogi Philosophy of Physical Well-Being with Numerous Exercises by Yogi Ramacharaka (Chicago, Ill.: Yogi Publication Society, 1904)

imageMost medical treatises written in 1904 would rarely seem relevant in any contemporary discussion of health and wellness.  After all, is it not the case that the most popular explorations into the secret to wellbeing and happiness depend precariously on some sort of scientific discovery?  Surprisingly, and out of the pages of history, Hatha Yoga by Yogi Ramacharaka offers a scientific and spiritual answer to many current health and wellness questions.  Within the pages of this 110-year-old text are explorations of the correlation between the mind and body—analyses of the synchronic relationship between energies, thoughts, and mental attitudes and their physical manifestations.

Rather than delving into a list of common ailments and their scientific root cause, this book reshapes the perception of health and wellness from a focus on disease, to a focus on maintaining balance and order in the natural state of existence.  Here, the body serves as a vehicle, as a Temple of the Spirit, to be used as an instrument of soul growth.  Yogi Ramacharaka points to two Principles of the Vital Force that guide one’s state of health.  The first is Self-Preservation, which “moves us along in the direction of health, as surely as does the influence within the magnetic needle make it point due north.” (26).  The second is Accommodation, meaning our constant navigation through the ever-increasing technological and industrial complications that distract the body and mind from its natural state.  We are living in a time where natural living becomes disturbed.  Sleep, stress, eating, and health are all out of balance and prioritized improperly.  Instead, we must allow the Vital Force to flow freely through the body, in the most natural of ways, returning to the most basic, simple, and undisturbed way of nature, in order to decrease the gap between the mind and body.  Eliminating the dichotomy between mind and body, or spirit and form, will allow for a more synchronous life.  As the mind and body become one—adopting the natural order of things whereby the body acts as a conduit for the spirit—the Vital Force igniting one’s existence will blossom.

The chapter titled, “The Laboratory of the Body” deals with the most fundamental physical elements of the human form—teeth, salivary glands, tongue, stomach, blood, skeletal system, and so on.  Yogi Ramacharaka points to the importance of understanding the functionality of the body, as one needs to maintain the machine in order to attain a higher spiritual state of mind.  As such, several chapters are dedicated to the structure and functions of the body, paying particular attention to the intended functions of the digestive, circulatory, and breathing systems.  All three are explained pseudo-scientifically, bearing both diagrammatic and spiritual descriptions.  As such, these sections connote the proper and improper uses of the body, highlighting the negative effects of improper digestion, circulation, and breathing.  Most poignantly, Yogi Ramacharaka describes the fermentation and putrefaction of unmasticated food particles left to rot in the stomach—the consequence of hasty eating and gluttonous consumption habits.  Furthermore, this submission to appetite rather than true hunger leads to the transmission of said rotten particles into the circulatory system—permeating negative energy throughout the body.  In order to combat the circulation of putrefied elements and negative energy, Yogi Ramacharaka points to an essential principle of Hatha Yoga used to harness positivity and channel the abundant Life Forces—Prana.

“Prana is the name by which we designate a universal principle, which principle is the essence of all motion, force or energy, whether manifested in gravitation, electricity, the revolution of the planets, and all forms of life, from the highest to the lowest.  It may be called the soul of Force and Energy in all their forms, and that principle which, operating in a certain way, causes that form of activity which accompanies Life” (158).

Chapter X is entirely devoted to the absorption of Prana, specifically through food.  The body is a storehouse of energy, drawn from the environment—plants, animals, sun energy, and air.  The consumption of food, therefore, is a primary means of absorbing Prana, as it touches most all of these areas.  The most moving phrase throughout the entire treatise on physical nourishment and care of the body deals with that intangible sense of vitality one may witness in oneself, or others, who seem to be vibrating with positive energy, or Prana.  Yogi Ramacharaka writes:

“You know the sensation which one sometimes feels when in the presence of a highly ‘magnetic’ person—that indescribable feeling of the absorption of strength or ‘vitality.’  Some people have so much Prana in their system that they are continually ‘running over’ and giving it out to others, the result being that other persons like to be in their company, and dislike to leave it, being almost unable to tear themselves away” (68).

This sensation of abundance in both body and spirit is the goal of Hatha Yoga.  Moreover, is it not the goal of every human being to feel fulfilled?  To be abundant in one’s own sense of calm, strength, vitality, and life—so much so that we may share this gift of wholeness with others?

The next portion of this treatise deals with the physical exercises involved in maintaining the physical body, not just for nourishment.  Yogi Ramacharaka first describes the nature of correct and incorrect breathing—the former: using the entirety of one’s lungs (high, middle, and low), the latter: breathing against the chest and collar causing tension and straining the delicate lungs.  After the correct method is established, relaxation breathing is described as a form of generating, maintaining, and recharging pranic energy.  Once one has mastered breathing exercises, one must turn to the physical poses most commonly associated with yoga practices.  Not only do they involve stretching, but they also deal with strength and muscular stimulation—though, as Yogi Ramacharaka wisely points out, strength is not an attribute of the vain and narcissistic, but an essential quality of every healthy, centered being.

The last portion of this book deals with rest, rejuvenation, as well as mental and spiritual freedoms.  It moves beyond the descriptions of the body’s natural state and step-by-step instructions on how to maintain it.  Rather, it moves into the realm of the spiritual, whereby one’s energy manifests itself positively or negatively in the body.  “The material body is but temporary, and the body itself nothing more than a suit of clothes to be put on, worn, and then discarded, yet it is always the intent of the Spirit to provide and maintain as perfect an instrument as possible.” (250).

Ultimately this book will leave you with a sense of wholeness, realizing how easy it is to “return to Nature”, as Hatha Yoga commands.  Beyond the many physical benefits to this practice, the emotional and spiritual growth that accompanies this simplistic return to stasis and inner peace seems like a retreat in a fast-paced, competitive contemporary world.  Yogi Ramacharaka concludes with the plea:

“Let us return to nature, dear students, and allow this great life to flow through us freely, and all will be well with us.  Let us stop trying to do the whole thing ourselves—let us just LET the thing do its own work for us.  It only asks confidence and non-resistance—let us give it a chance.” (255).

I invite you to experience this book on your own, as an exploration into your unique inner-self.  See what a few mere adjustments to your diet, breath, exercise, or even emotional elasticity will do for your health and wellbeing.  Give it a chance.

25
Apr

The Children’s Almanac 1879-83

   Posted by: rring   in Americana, Classes, Students

[Posted by Mollie Scheerer '14 for AMST 838/438 "America Collects Itself"]

IMG_7725Ella Farman’s The Children’s Almanac for the years 1879-1883 is a beautiful, small book with a green cloth cover, embossed illustration, and gilt lettering on the cover. American almanacs are annual publications containing information such as weather forecasts, tide tables, planting and harvesting dates for farmers, astronomical information, and religious holidays. This almanac, however, is slightly different. It contains only eighty pages as opposed to most almanacs of the same time that could have many more. Farman’s almanac is also more of an anthology of poetry to interest the children reading it.

On the first page inside is an inscription reading “Willie R. Witherle, Dec 25th, 1878,” either a dedication or the signature of the owner. Opposite the title page is a beautiful lithograph of a young girl seated by a window reading to her dolls with a short phrase below: “Good little heart maketh gay the dark and stormy winter day.” The almanac is filled with phrases such as this in order to instill good morals in children. The book was published by D. Lothrop and Company in Boston and very much embodies the New England values of the late nineteenth century for the middle and upper classes. In Farman’s author’s note, she discloses the purpose of the almanac: a “little everyday book designed for a handy pocket reference and school-desk companion.” She intended for it to be a way children could learn and be reminded of the morals with which they were brought up.
IMG_7727Just like an “adult” almanac, Farman divides hers into months for the years 1879 through 1883 almost as chapters, although she makes it a more appealing and interesting almanac as her audience is children. After the author’s note is a list of the original poets whose work Farman includes in the order in which they appear. Each month has its short own poem written by well-known literary figures such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Celia Thaxter, and J. T. Trowbridge. A unique component to these poems is that their signatures are included at the end. The colorful lithographs that separate each season are beautifully detailed and Farman also includes intricate steel plate etchings for every month done by the engraver W.J. Dana in Boston. All illustrations depict happy children in various seasonal situations to engage children reading the almanac.
Beginning January is a poem by Longfellow opposite a detailed engraving of a young boy and girl happily sledding down a snowy hill on a toboggan. On the next page are simplistic calendars for each year between 1879 and 1883 as references for the young minds for whom she wrote the almanac. Opposite the calendars are the “Daily Conduct-Mottoes” to which she referenced in her author’s note. For every day of January Farman includes a short phrase by important literary figures, some of whom also wrote the poems in the almanac. Farman wrote that she hopes the children will take heed of their Birthday-Motto but also pay attention to their Daily Conduct-Motto as an everyday reminder of how they should live their lives. She hopes they will keep these mottoes in mind each day in order to become as strong and true as the grandest men and women they can think of. She says, “Read it, hold it up high in your thoughts, and honor it in your deeds.”   After the Conduct-Mottoes there is a blank page entitled Memorandia: Studies for the School Year for the children to keep their own thoughts and notes. With this, they can contribute to the almanac and perhaps be inspired by the poems or mottoes and write their own.
My favorite monthly poem in the almanac is by Celia Thaxter for the month of August. Opposite a tranquil etching of a young girl washing her feet in a pool of water surrounded by cattails, Thaxter writes,
“Buttercup nodded and said, “good-bye!”
Clover and daisy went off together,
But the fragrant water-lilies lie
Yet moored in the golden August weather.
The swallows chatter about their flight,
The cricket chirps like a rare good fellow,
The asters twinkle in clusters bright,
While the corn grows ripe and the apples mellow.”
The poem perfectly embodies the month of August and the gentle language is appealing to children of every age.
Each month is unique and the different messages and etchings are interesting. February’s poem is by Mrs. A.D.T. Whitney with a magnificent engraving of a little girl curled up by a window surrounded by icicles with five birds on a branch below. Every engraving, poem, and lithograph relate to the month or season they are in. On the next pages are the calendars and mottoes, as with every month. Since my birthday is in February I paid special attention to the mottoes. As an example of one of the mottoes, my birthdate, February 17th, has a Longfellow quote: “Here’s a fellow who can both write and fight!” (I’d like to think so, Longfellow.)
The lithographs after March, June, and September also contain phrases to instill children with the values they need to grow into strong and true men and women, of course reflecting the transition between seasons. The lithograph between June and July reads, “Never be idle, never be sad / Go in the sunshine and grow glad!” and depicts a small girl having a tea party with dolls, embodying the ideal summer afternoon for the target audience. The detailing of the lithographs is exquisite; they seem to glow as the carefully placed ink radiates the light off the page. Although the etchings are equally as detailed, the lithographs stand out in this almanac and would have certainly captured the children’s eyes.
This almanac truly embodies the Victorian Era in America as it teaches children (of the middle and upper classes, of course) to uphold the moralities of the period. The advice, poems, and drawings are quite darling and the almanac, as Farman so intended, would have been the perfect book to store in a pocket or desk for daily reminders of these values. The children in possession of this almanac could certainly relate to the children depicted in the etchings and lithographs, as well as take pleasure in finding their birthday and the associated motto which they would hopefully, as intended, adhere to for all their lives.