Archive for December, 2010

The Quilting Party

December 10, 2010

Image from the  What a Load of Scrap blog.

The Quilting Party.

The times of old — the good old times of frankness and honesty and lowness of heart! Their memories linger around us like sunshine upon rains, or like the incense of flowers whose beauty has been trampled beneath the feet of the spoiler. We fear that the glorious days of New England have gone by; that the characteristics of her children have departed; that the luxuries and the vices and the fashions of strangers have usurped the beautiful plainness and simplicity, the freedom, the generosity and bravery of New England. A false and evil spirit has gone over the land, undermining the foundations of her strength, and desoiling her real beauty; lopping away the noble oaks of her forests; the rough featured but useful products of her own sod, to give place to the graceful but worthless exotic. It has penetrated every where; from the thronged village to the isolated farm-house; and the plough has been exchanged for the insignia of professional life, and the spinning wheel for the piano.

‘Tis an evil change, and we fear there is no going back to our original ground. Strange that the young farmer, he whose association of life’s purest and dearest enjoyments are with the homesteads of his ancestors should so readily leave the beaten and proven track of honorable industry, for the uncertainty and danger and mortifications of more fashionable pursuits. Strange, that he can thus leave the hills and streams of his boyhood, the blue skies that bent like a blessing above his childhood, the sanctuary of his neighbors, the playmates of his infancy, the companions of his opening manhood, and the very graves of his fathers! Where will he again find the deep affection of the friends he is leaving? Where again will the eye of love beam so kindly on him, and where will the grasp of friendship be as warm and as cincere as his own loved birthplace? Does he hope to find them in the gay circle of fashionable folly? Miserable will be his disappointment. For him there will be vexation, and changing hope, and fear, slight, indignation, resentment and hate, confidence misplaced, and vows broken, and affection outraged. It is the solitude and awful beauty of nature, that heart answers to heart, thrilling with a passionate touch the mysterious cords of human sympathy, rather than the artificial beauty and the heated atmosphere of fashionable existence.

Reader! were you ever at a quilting party — an old fashioned quilting party? If not, you will do well to read our description, which of course falls far short of the reality; and this reality, as the thing is now nearly obsolete, you may never have the satisfaction of witnessing. ‘Tis one of the pleasantest things in the whole round of a country life to attend one of these gatherings-together of the young and light-hearted. Let it be understood in the first place that these quiltings are indispensable. The quilts, &c. must be made; the girls must have their “things ready” as the phrase is; or they will assuredly meet with no attention from the marriage-seeking young men. The preparation of the requisites of domestic life is a sort of implied declaration of readiness to receive the address of the lover, and to encounter the perils of matrimony, and is understood and acted upon accordingly.

Image from Roddy on Picassa

When a quilting is to take place, the respectable young ladies of the neighborhood are all invited; there is no aristocracy; no singling out of favored individuals. They assemble early at the dwelling of their friend, and immediately fall to work, as if their very lives depend upon their exertions. They consider it absolutely necessary to forward their work in such a manner as to prevent any material encroachment upon the hilarity and mirth of the evening. The evening is looked forward to with a great deal of satisfaction, and many a fine eye glances impatiently as the slowly setting sun, whose tardiness seems to mock the feverish anticipations of the fair quilters.

Night at length comes; a New England winter night — for the quiltings are usually in the long evenings of the winter — with skins, clear, beautifully clear, in the dark coloring of the sky, moonlight resting like a smile upon the white lustre of the snow, streaming through the naked branches of the wild forest trees, and flushing like pale fires upon the distant icy hills. The merry sound of bells now rings upon the ears of the fair listeners within doors.

“The fellows are coming,” cries some eager voice, and a sudden smile steals like electricity around the apartment. There is a moment of rapid preparation, a hasty glance at the small mirror, a trembling adjustment of curls and combs — and then all are seated demurely at work. One after another the “fellows” arrive, until the apartment is literally crowded with as merry a company as ever laughed away an evening. The girls however, remain perseveringly at their work, their fair hands stooping almost to the outstretched quilt before them, now and then exchanging a sly glance, or a smart reply or a meaning nod, with the fine, healthy looking gentlemen around them. They are soon interrupted, and one complains of the loss of her thimble, another that her thread had been taken away, and another that the “fellows plague her so that she wont work nor touch to,” and in a few moments Babel-like confusion is effected, very much to the satisfaction of all parties.

The owner of the quilt now interferes, and carefully removes the quilting frame, blushing all the while at the good natured jokes of the young men relative to herself, her quilt, and lover, who — if she is so fortunate as to have one — is pretty sure to be present. The scene is now all life and gaiety. In one part of the room may be seen the student of the old village Doctor, amusing and astonishing by his quotations of Latin — and laughing at the amazement of his friends. Hard by the schoolmaster of the district, a privileged and favored personage, you may know him by his pale cheek and fair hands. He is leaning familiarly over the chair of a pretty girl, the fairest in the room. She is telling his fortune by the old and curious method of palmistry, tracing out with her own pretty fingers the lines of good and bad fortune which intersect the hand of the master. — There are strange blushes on her cheek, and they steal at times even to her neck, with a variable and beautiful play of coloring. — She knows that the eye of the general favorite is upon her, and her young heart thrilling with a new sense of joy. Nor will her pleasant dream be broken in upon by disappointment. There is honest love, but nothing of the deceitful and designing in the gaze of her lover.

Meanwhile the sports of the evening go on. The “Blind Man’s Bluff,” with its odd encounters and very ridiculous mishaps, play of “Pawn,” with its kindly pressure of fingers, the whirling of the pewter plate, in default of catching which before its revolution ceases, the delinquent, if a male, is doomed to kiss all the fair company, and vice versa if a female. Then, too, there is a mock marriage ceremony of leaping over the broomstick — a pretty certain precursor of that more imposing ceremony whose bonds are broken only by death.

Image from the Living Archives website.

But the evening passes away almost insensibly and the time for departure arrives. The sleighs are speedily laden with the merry company, and the tingle of bells, and the loud cheers from one vehicle to another, and the rich toned laugh of the fair travelers, break upon the calm cold air of midnight. There is nothing on earth like a sleigh-ride by moon-light, when the path is smoothly worn, and the horse springs onward as freely and lightly as if he were running wild in the desert and rejoicing in his untamed freedom.

We can duly appreciate the blessings of re?ned society; we know how much the rugged asperities of our natures are softened by an intercourse with those whose minds and feelings have received the polish of education. Our sole object in the above hasty sketch has been to convince those who from education and habit have learned to hold in contempt the simplest pastimes of our ancestors, that the pure thrill of pleasure may be awakened in the rustic farm house as well as in the gay halls of fashion, where the chastened and rich light lends a deeper bounty to the fair brow with it wreathing tresses, and adds a milder lustre to the laughing eye, and where music melts upon the ear, like a very dream of melody and love.

[New England paper.

Watertown Chronicle (Watertown, Wisconsin) Feb 14, 1849


Corbis images

Equity and the Worm

December 10, 2010

Image from Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Tulane University.

[For the Chronicle.]


Turn, turn thy hasty foot aside,
Nor crush that helpless worm;
The frame they scornful looks deride
Required a God to form.

The common Lord of all that move,
From whom thy being flow’d,
A portion of his boundless love
On that poor worm bestow’d.

The son, the moon, the stars He made
To all His creatures free;
And spreads o’er earth the grassy blade,
For worms as well as thee.

The crown to awe, the rod to smite,
Is man’s by law divine;
But sacred be each humbler right
That clashes not with thine!

Let savage prowlers of the wood,
With thirst of hunger bold;
Let poisonous foes, by land or flood —
Let plunderers of thy fold;

Let pilferers of thy loaded grain,
To justice — victims die;
But injure not the harmless train
That creep, or walk, or fly.

Let them enjoy their little day,
Their lowly bliss receive;
O, do not lightly take away
The life thou canst not give.

Fox Lake.

Watertown Chronicle (Watertown, Wisconsin) Feb 14, 1849

Barbara Stanwyck “The Woman in Red” Paper Doll

December 9, 2010

Barbara Stanwyck is one of the screen’s most versatile beauties. Her charm and talent, immediately recognized, has gained for her a large following. Here, we see Miss Stanwyck with a complete wardrobe she wears in “The Woman in Red,” a Warner Brothers-First National picture which deals with Chicago’s gold coast. “The Secret Bride” and “A Lost Lady” were other recent pictures in which she was featured.

NOTE: Click images to enlarge:

3. A beach costume of heavenly blue with darker blue cord at neck and girdle.

1. Formal dinner dress of gold lame with frills of gold satin across the shoulders, down the sleeves and forming the uneven motif at the bottom and train.

2. Spring print afternoon frock, fresh as a flower, with jade green pattern on beige background. The frills are of solid green chiffon and belt of jade green velvet has ornamental buckle.

4. Street ensemble of English tweed in shades of brown and tan, brown caracul trimming, with muff purse and toque to match, and brown crystal bracelet as an accessory.

5. Informal evening frock of white crepe without which no woman’s wardrobe is complete. The skirt is long and graceful, bodice beauty depending on a simple drape from shoulder to waistline accentuated with shirrings.

6. Luminous rose negligee for informal hours at home. Smart, high collar with frog fastenings down the front and all the insouciance of a Russian officer’s tunic.

7. White gabardine riding breeches with black cloth coat and vest, derby hat and imported patent leather boots. An overnight bag. party bag and monogram kerchief complete the dainty details of Milady’s wardrobe.

Brownsville Herald (Brownsville, Texas) May 5, 1935

At The Theaters


“The Woman in Red,” Barbara Stanwyck’s latest starring vehicle for First National Pictures, shows Wednesday only at the Capitol, Brownsville. The picture is based on Wallace Irwin’s popular novel “North Shore” which is a glamorous romance with intensely dramatic scenes and replete with thrills.

The story deals with the romance of a young aristocratic Kentucky girl, portrayed by Miss Stanwyck who through family financial reverses, becomes a professional rider at society horse shows. She meets Gene Raymond in the role of a scion of a blue blooded Long Island family, also impoverished. It is love at first sight with both of them. But Miss Stanwyck’s employer, a part played by Genevieve Tobin, is herself madly in love with Raymond, and vows to break up the match between Miss Stanwyck and Raymond.

Brownsville Herald (Brownsville, Texas) Feb 19, 1935

Brownsville Herald (Brownsville, Texas) Feb, 20, 1935

Here is the movie trailer for The Woman in Red:

Moberly Monitor-Index (Moberly, Missouri) Mar 30, 1935


This is the last “movie star” paper doll from the series that I could find.

Previous “movie stars” can be found at the links below:

Jean Harlow “Reckless” Paper Doll

Maureen O’Sullivan “West Point of the Air” Paper Doll

Marlene Dietrich “The Devil is a Woman” Paper Doll

Helen Hayes “Vanessa, Her Love Story” Paper Doll

Jeanette MacDonald “Naughty Marietta” Paper Doll


For other paper dolls, such as, Etta Kett and Boots, just search the blog for “paper doll.”

A Farmer’s Wife I’ll Be

December 9, 2010


Image from lisby1 on flickr

A Farmer’s Wife I’ll Be.

I’m a wild and laughing girl, just turned sweet sixteen,
As full of mischief and of fun as ever you have seen;
And when I am a woman grown, no city beaux for me —
If e’er I marry in my life, a farmer’s wife I’ll be.

I love a country life, I love the joyous breeze,
I love to hear the singing birds along the lofty trees;
The lowing herds and bleating flocks make music sweet for me —
If e’er I marry in my life, a farmer’s wife I’ll be.

I love to feed the chickens, and I love to milk the cow,
I love to hear the farmer’s boy a whistling at his plow;
And fields of corn and waving grain are pleasant sights for me —
If e’er I marry in my life a farmer’s wife I’ll be.

I love to see the orchards where the golden apples grow,
I love to walk in meadows where the bright streamlets flow
And flowery banks and shady woods have many charms for me —
If e’er I marry in my life, a farmer’s wife I’ll be.

Let other girls who love it best enjoy the gloomy town,
Mid dusty walls and dusty streets, to ramble up and down;
But flowery fields and shady woods, and sunny skies for me —
If e’er I marry in my life, a farmer’s wife I’ll be.

Watertown Chronicle (Watertown, Wisconsin) Dec 20, 1854

Present Imperative and Talking Sense

December 8, 2010

He Was Particular.

Conductor (to man smoking) This is not a smoking car, sir; I shall have to ask you to put the cigar out, if you intend to remain here.

Smoker — “Shall have to ask me, eh; shall, future tense. All right, conductor, when you get ready to ask, I’ll be ready to comply.

Conductor (getting impatient) I shall have to insist, sir.

Smoker — “Shall” again; more futurity. Puff, puff.

Conductor — Remove that cigar instantly, sir, or go into the smoking car.

Smoker — That’s better. Present Imperative. Out of the window goes the cigar. Please be more careful next time, conductor, in using the English language. I am a trifle particular on points of grammar. — Yankee Blade.

Eau Claire Leader (Eau Claire, Wisconsin) Dec 1, 1889


A Detroit father has undertaken a little educational venture with his own children, and he is trying to make them give up slang, the use of ambiguous terms of speech, and other peculiarities affected by the youth of the day. Yesterday he asked his 14-year-old daughter where a certain book was,

“I haven’t an idea, papa!” answered the young lady.

“I didn’t ask you for ideas,” said the father sternly, “just answer that question. Where is that book?”

“On the top shelf in the book case,” recited the girl, like a parrot.

“Can you reach it?”

“Yes, sir.”

There was a long silence, the father waiting impatiently for the book. At last he asked:

“Nell, why don’t you bring it?”

“Bring what, sir?”

“The book I wanted.”

“You did not say you wanted me to get it,” said the daughter in a demure voice, “you asked me if I could reach it.”

“Nellie,” said the father, as a smile made his mustache tremble, “get that book like a good girl and bring it here to me.”

“Now you’re talking sense, pop; I’ll have the book in a jiffy,” and she whisked off after it, while the father sighed over the degeneracy of the times. — Detroit Free Press.

Eau Claire Leader (Eau Claire, Wisconsin) Dec 1, 1889

The Horse Objected

December 8, 2010

The Horse Objected.

Luther Springer, of Hancock, Me., owns a horse, whose days of usefulness being over, he hired a man to kill.

The man taking an axe started to lead the horse into the woods, but after going some distance the animal suddenly attacked the would be slayer and throwing him down trampled upon him and injured him so badly that it is feared he will not recover.

At last accounts the horse’s prospects of living were much better than the man’s.

— Philadelphia Ledger.

The Evening News (Lincoln, Nebraska) Jan 6, 1893

Pearl Harbor: A Day of Infamy

December 7, 2010

San Antonio Express (San Antonio, Texas)


Hundreds Believed Killed When Waves of Dive Bombers Swoop Down Upon Hawaii

Roosevelt Summons Congress

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada)

Two U.S. Battleships Sunk


The Zanesville Signal (Zanesville, Ohio)

President Speaks Briefly; Calls Yesterday a Day Of Infamy For America

Nazis May Declare War on U.S., Tokyo Reports

Mason City Globe-Gazette (Mason City, Iowa)

England Goes To War:  Calls Japs “Wanton”

Japs Claim Supremacy in Pacific

The Gettysburg Times (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)

Japan Attacks Pearl Harbor The Declares War on U.S.

Uncle Sam’s Forces Are Fighting On Land, Sea And In Air To Halt Invasion Of Bases By Nipponese

Boiler Explosion of the Locomotive, Achilles Proves Fatal

December 7, 2010

Above image of the DL&W camelback 4-4-0 #952 (not the train mentioned in the article) is from the Kodtrak Kountry website, where you can find more New York train history.

Terrible Railroad Accident.

SYRACUSE, Nov. 21.

The freight train of the Syracuse and Utica railroad, this morning about 4 o’clock, drawn by two engines, when about three quarters of a mile from the depot, the boiler of the foremost locomotive, Achilles, exploded with disastrous consequences. It exploded in the fire box — The machinery and wood work were demolished, and the locomotive is left and almost worthless wreck. The power of the agent of this mischief may be imagined from the fact, that the entire locomotive was lifted from the tract and carried around so as to lie directly across the second parallel track, and the tender was thrown entirely off the track in an opposite direction.

Israel Morgan, engineer, was blown into the air, and fell in the road about 150 feet distant. He received the full effect of the steam and hot water upon his person as it was forced through the door of the furnace. Most of his clothes were torn from his person, and his body was terribly scalded and burned.

William Canton, the fireman, was in a more fortunate location, and tho’ blown some feet to the side of the road, where he was found in an insensible condition, escaped with some scalding and bruises, which are not considered mortal.

The second locomotive, Thesis, had nearly the entire machinery of one side carried away.

Messrs. Howard and Palmer, the engineer and fireman, narrowly escaped injury.

The probable cause of the explosion, was high steam and low water, preparatory to accomplishing the difficult grade of road as it leaves the city.

Watertown Chronicle (Watertown, Wisconsin) Dec 1, 1852

The above article is almost identical to the one below; one a few words appear to be changed.


Syracuse, Sunday, Nov. 21. — 7 1/2 P.M.

The morning freight train on the Syracuse and Utica Railroad, this morning started from the East at 4 o’clock drawn by two locomotives. When about three-quarters of a mile from this depot, the foremost locomotive — the Achilles — exploded with terrible and disastrous consequences. The boiler exploded in the fire box. The machinery and wood work were rent asunder or demolished, and the locomotive left an almost worthless wreck.

The power of the agent of this mischief may be imagined, from the fact, that the entire locomotive was lifted from the track, and carried around so as to lie directly across the second and parallel track, and the tender was thrown entirely clear of the track, in the opposite direction.

ISRAEL MORGAN, the engineer, was blown into the air, and fell in the road, about one hundred and fifty feet distant. He received the full effects of the steam and heated water upon his person, as it was forced through the door of the furnace, and was undoubtedly instantly killed. Most of the clothes were torn from his body, and he was terribly scalded and burned.

The fireman was in a more fortunate location, and although blown some feet to the side of the road, where he was found in an insensible condition, he escaped with a severe scalding and bruising, which are not considered mortal.

The second locomotive — the Thesis — had nearly the entire machinery of one side carried away. MESSRS. HOWARD and PALMER, the engineer and fireman of this engine, narrowly escaped injury.

The probable cause of the explosion was high steam and low water, preparatory to accomplishing the difficult grade of the road as it leaves the city.

MR. MORGAN had been an engineer some seven or eight years, and was considered very careful and competent. He leaves a wife and three children.

The report of the explosion was tremendous, and was heard at a great distance. Fragments of the locomotive were thrown hundreds of feet, and several houses on either side of the street were slightly damaged by the clapboards breaking through, windows smashed, &c. MR. MORGAN’S watch was found in a vacant lot fully two hundred feet from the scene of the disaster. It was still running, and in no way damaged, except that the crystal was cracked.

The loss to the Syracuse and Utica Railroad Company by the accident, is estimated at from twelve to fifteen thousand dollars.

The New York Times – Nov 22, 1852

The New York Times article can be found on the GenDisasters website.

Dad’s Old Breeches

December 6, 2010

The Plaint of the Youngest Son.

When dad has worn his pants two years
They’re passed to brother John;
Then mother trims them with the shears,
and William puts them on.

When William’s legs too long have grown
The trousers fail to hide ’em,
So Walter claims them for his own
And stows himself inside ’em.

Next, Sam’s fat legs they close invest,
and when they won’t stretch tighter
They’re turned and shortened, washed and pressed,
And fixed on me — the writer.

Ma works them into rugs and caps
When I have burst the stitches.
At doomsday we shall see perhaps
The last of dad’s old breeches.

— London Tit-Bits.

The Evening News (Lincoln, Nebraska) Oct 1, 1892

Rhyming Decapitations

December 5, 2010

No.230. — Rhyming Decapitations.

In front we see a railroad _____,
Near by a farmer, team and _____.

A quarter of an hour _____
The train was due, yet on they _____.

The train, though late, yet still was _____;
Its sound soon fell upon his _____.

His eye beheld a smoky _____;
He heard the whistle sounding _____.

His horses stopped, o’ercome with _____,
And moved to neither left nor _____.

The engineer shut off the _____
And saved collision with the _____.

The farmer had a fearful ____,
And he henceforth will use more _____.

The Evening News (Lincoln, Nebraska) Sep 2, 1893