Archive for June, 2011

Barbara’s Ransom

June 30, 2011

Image from the Project Gutenberg website.


The distinguished gentleman who hands these verses to us desires us to preface them with the remark that Senator Gorman has asked from the Government in behalf of the citizens of Frederick, Md., reimbursement to the extent of $200,00 for money paid by them as a ransom to Gen. Jubal A. Early, C.S.A.

Up from the meadows, rich with hay,
Clear and cool in that Early day,
The clustered spires of Frederick stand,
Green-walled by the hills of Maryland.
Round about them orchards sweep,
Cider and apples ten feet deep;
Fair as a garden of the Lord
To the eyes of the famished rebel horde,
On that pleasant morn of the Early fall
When Jubal came over the garden wall —
Over the mud-roads winding down,
Horse and foot, into Frederick town.

  *      *      *      *      *      *

Up rose old Barbara Fritchie then,
Bowed with her four score years and ten;
Bravest of all in Frederick town,
She took up the flag the men hauled down.
In the attic window, the staff she set
And smiled as she said, “that’s me you bet.”
Up the street came the rebel tread,
Jubal A. Early a neck ahead.
Under his slouched hat left and right
He glanced — the old flag met his sight.
“Halt!” The dust-brown ranks stood fast.
“Fire!” Out blazed the rifle blast,
It shivered the window pane and sash,
It rent the banner in seam and gash
Quick as it fell from the shattered staff,
Dame Barbara laughed a large-sized laugh:
“Shoot, if you must, this old gray head,
But spare your country’s flag,” she said.
A shade of sadness, a blush of shame,
Over the face of the leader came:
“Who touches a hair of yon gray head
Dies like a dog! March on,” he said.

*      *      *      *      *      *

Barbara Fritchie’s work is o’er,
The rebel rides on his raid no more.
And Frederick wants for that window sash
$200,000 cash.

Washington Post.

The News (Frederick, Maryland) Jan 15, 1890

Charge of the Black Brigade.

June 30, 2011

Charge of the Black Brigade.
MAY 27, 1863.
Dark as the clouds of even,
Ranked in the western heaven,
Waiting the breath that lifts
All the dead mass, and drifts
Tempest and falling brand
Over a ruined land;—
So still and orderly,
Arm to arm, knee to knee,
Waiting the great event,
Stands the black regiment.

Down the long dusky line
Teeth gleam and eyeballs shine;
And the bright bayonet,
Bristling and firmly set,
Flashed with a purpose grand,
Long ere the sharp command
Of the fierce rolling drum
Told them their time had come,
Told them what work was sent
For the black regiment.

“Now,” the flag-sergeant cried,
“Though death and hell betide,
Let the whole nation see
If we are fit to be
Free in this land; or bound
Down, like the whining hound —
Bound with red stripes of pain
In our old chains again!”
Oh! what a shout there went
From the black regiment.
” Charge!” Trump and drum awoke;
Onward the bondmen broke;
Bayonet and saber-stroke
Vainly opposed their rush.
Through the wild battle’s crush,
With but one thought aflush,
Driving their lords like chaff,
In the guns’ mouths they laugh;
Or at the slippery brands,
Leaping with open hands,
Down they tear man and horse,
Down in their awful course;
Trampling with bloody heel
Over the crashing steel,
All their eyes forward bent,
Rushed the black regiment.

“Freedom!” their battle-cry —
“Freedom! or leave to die!”
Ah! and they meant the word,
Not as with us ’tis heard,
Not a mere party shout:
They gave their spirits out;
Trusted the end to God,
And on the gory sod
Rolled in triumphant blood.
Glad to strike one free blow,
Whether for weal or woe;
Glad to breathe one free breath,
Though on the lips of death.
Praying,—alas! in vain!—
That they might fall again,
So they could once more see
That burst to liberty!
This was what “freedom” lent
To the black regiment.

Hundreds on hundreds fell;
But they are resting well;
Scourges and shackles strong
Never shall do them wrong.
Oh, to the living few,
Soldiers, be just and true!
Hail them as comrades tried;
Fight with them side by side;
Never, in field or tent,
Scorn the black regiment!


Janesville Daily Gazette (Janesville, Wisconsin) Jun 17, 1863

Read more about the Black Brigade:

Written in Glory
Letters from the Soldiers and Officers of the 54th Massachusetts

the ROOT
Revising the Civil War Record
The 54th Massachusetts Regiment, featured in the film Glory, was not the first black unit to fight.


Death in Philadelphia of a Man Famous in Many Ways.

Mr. George H. Boker, whose death took place recently at Philadelphia, combined two rare gifts seldom found in one person. He was both poet and diplomat. His verses were of sufficient merit to attract the attention of no less a literary light than Leigh Hunt, and as a diplomat he once succeeded in averting a war between the United States and Spain.

George Henry Boker was born at Philadelphia in 1823. His family, originally French, removed to Holland, and thence to England. There becoming identified with the “Quakers,” they emigrated to America and settled in the City of Brotherly Love. Mr. Boker was educated at Princeton college, where he was graduated at 19, and soon after married and went abroad. He had written verses at college, and while abroad wrote more, publishing a volume in 1847, on his return. In 1848 he published “Calayno,” a tragedy. It was the first marked success he attained, and was played to admiring audiences in England and the United States. Then came “The Betrothal,” “Francesca da Rimini” and “Anne Boleyn.” He also wrote many short pieces. Leigh Hunt regarded him as the best sonnet writer of his time.

In 1852 Boker dined one day with Daniel Webster at a dinner party given by the later in Washington. Webster had been speaking to his guests on the relations then existing between the United States and England. Suddenly turning to young Boker he said: “I think you have expressed the true sentiment concerning this subject in that admirable sonnet of yours.” He then recited the lines referred to to the party much to Boker’s surprise, who sat listening to the splendid performance in elocution doubtless with great delight:

Lear and Cordelia!  ‘Twas an ancient tale
Before thy Shakespeare gave it deathless fame;
The times have changed, the moral is the same,
So like an outcast, dowerless and pale,
Thy daughter went; and in a foreign gale
Spread her young banner, till its sway became
A wonder to the nations. Days of shame
Are close upon thee; prophets raise their wail,
When the rude Cossack, with an outstretched hand,
Points his long spear across the narrow sea —
“Lo, there is England!” when thy destiny
Storms on thy straw crowned head, and thou dost stand
Weak, helpless, mad, a byword in the land —
God grant thy daughter a Cordelia be!

Mr. Boker wrote very prettily in the way of light love verses. Here is a dainty bit which reminds one of some of Leigh Hunt‘s work:


This slip of paper touched thy gentle hand,
Doubtless was sunned beneath thy radiant eye;
Perhaps had clearer honor, and did lie
Upon thy bosom, or was proudly fanned
Within thy fragrant breath. At my command
A thousand fancies, growing as they fly,
To maddening sweetness, flit my vision by,
And mingle golden vapors with the sand,
That times my idle being. Senseless things
Start into dignity beneath thy touch,
Mount from the earth on love’s ecstatic wings,
And to my eyes seem scared, If from such
I draw such rapture, who may say how much,
Wert thou the theme of my imaginings?

But Mr. Boker’s main work was in diplomacy. During the civil war he was an indefatigable worker in the Union cause being one of the organizers of the Union League club, of Philadelphia, for the purpose of standing by the government. Besides this he devoted his pen to the service of the Union. When Grant became president he made Mr. Boker minister to Turkey. He soon showed great talent for the work before him, and left Turkey with the approval of the United States government and the good will of the sultan. From this mission he was promoted to St. Petersberg.

While minister to Russia, the Virginius affair occurred. A wanton outrage on a United States ship had been perpetrated by the officers of a Spanish vessel. President Grant was very much opposed to going to war with Spain, but the case demanded either war or an apology from the Spanish government.

From Washington instructions were sent to United States ministers abroad to endeavor to gain the influence of foreign governments to the cause of the United States. All the efforts of those who followed these instructions failed, except in Mr. Boker’s case. The work required great delicacy, and the Spanish minister at St. Petersberg sought to thwart the Americans efforts. However, he succeeded in inducing Prince Gortschakoff to send instructions to the Russian minister at Madrid taking ground in favor of the United States. This settled the question; Spain apologized for the Virginius affair and was was averted.

Mr. Boker was doubtless aided by the friendly relations between Russia and America, which sprang from Russia’s pronounced declaration in favor of the Union in sending a fleet of war vessels to New York during the civil war. But he unquestionably gained a great ascendency over the Czar Alexander and his minister of state. Both requested that his term as minister to Russia might be prolonged. When his successor arrived at St. Petersberg it is related that Gortschakoff said to him:

“I cannot say that I am glad to see you. In fact, I’m not sure that I see you at all, for the tears that are in my eyes on account of the departure of our friend Boker.”

For many years Mr. Boker was a conspicuous light in Philadelphia, and it is due to his efforts that Egypt, Turkey and Russia were led to take an interest in the Centennial exhibition of 1876. He had a fine library, to which he devoted himself during his later days. His house was decorated with many articles of vertu, obtained during his residence abroad.

Newark Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Jan 15, 1890

Image from the Old Pictures website.

Poets Are Not Like Birds.

The late George H. Boker wrote to his friend, R.H. Stoddard: “Read used to tell a story of some Yankee poet who resolved to wait for an impulse from the Muse. He waited thirty years, and at the end of that time concluded himself no poet, although his youthful poems gave promise of great things. That man perhaps wanted but industry to make him immortal. I hold that there is a labor connected with all great literary achievements sufficient to drive any but a man of genius stark mad. This the world will never believe. It has an idea that poets write as birds sing, and it is this very false idea which robs us of half our honors. Were poetry forged upon the anvil, cut out with the ax or spun in the mill, my heaven! how men would wonder at the process! What power, what toil, what ingenuity!”

Woodland Daily Democrat (Woodland, California) Aug 8, 1890

Flapper Fanny’s Tickled with New Wardrobe

June 29, 2011


Now You Can Dress ‘Flapper Fanny’ in Her New Outfit

Right in keeping with the spirit of spring, “Flapper Fanny,” popular newspaper feature star, has a brand-new wardrobe. And what an outlay of wearing apparel it is. An evening gown, an afternoon dress, a spring suit, a warm weather coat, some lounging pajamas and a printed chiffon dress.

No wonder the young lady is tickled. And you should be tickled, too, for “Flapper Fanny” wants you to color her costumes. Hence we are going to give them to you in the form of “Flapper Fanny” paper dolls .  .  .  a trim little figure of “Flapper Fanny” and six costumes.

All you need do, is borrow mother’s scissors, and get out your colored crayons .  .  .  then cut out and color “Flapper Fanny” and all of her garments. First, paste the above figure on cardboard, and cut out carefully. Fold the standard on the dotted line and paste the smaller section to the back of the doll.

Next, color “Flapper Fanny’s” cheeks pink, and pick out the colors you like best for the garment she is wearing, and for her evening gown. Now, try the gown on the young lady. Then watch for another spring costume, tomorrow.

Ironwood Daily Globe (Ironwood, Michigan) Apr 9, 1936

‘Flapper Fanny’ Picks Out Striking Afternoon Gown

IN the spring a young girl’s fancy .  .  .  if she togs out in an afternoon dress such as this one, which “Flapper Fanny” picked as part of her spring outfit. It surely lends itself to color Nave blue skirt, red patent leather belt, red kerchief and yellow blouse for instance. But, use your own judgment. Just get out your crayons and color the dress as you see fit. Then try it on your “Flapper Fanny” paper doll. Tomorrow we will give you “Flapper Fanny’s” spring suit.

Ironwood Daily Globe (Ironwood, Michigan) Apr 10, 1936

This New Spring Suit Just Suits ‘Flapper Fanny’

NOTHING suits a girl in the spring better than a nice, new spring suit. “Flapper Fanny” is proud of this one .  .  .  and can you blame her? Very neatly tailored, we’d say, and very fitting as part of “Flapper Fanny’s” spring outfit. Imagine how nice it would look colored blue, with a yellow blouse. Or, maybe you can think of a better color scheme. Color the garment any way you wish .  .  .  then try it on your “Flapper Fanny” paper doll. And watch for “Flapper Fanny’s” spring coat. It will appear tomorrow.

Ironwood Daily Globe (Ironwood, Michigan) Apr 11, 1936

‘Flapper Fanny’s’ New Coat Is Last word in Style

CLASS will tell. This spring coat, for example. It’s classy, and it tells you that “Flapper Fanny” used rare judgment in picking it as part of her spring outfit. We can imagine the garment in several colors .  .  .  gray, for instance, with a splash of color on the flowers at the neck. Perhaps you prefer green, or blue. Crayon the coat to suit yourself. Then slip it on your “Flapper Fanny” paper doll. Oh-o-o! We just peeked into “Flapper Fanny’s” closet and found a beautiful afternoon dress. It will appear tomorrow.

Ironwood Daily Globe (Ironwood, Michigan) Apr 13, 1936

This Printed Chiffon Dress Becomes ‘Flapper Fanny’

ON a Sunday afternoon .  .  .  or any afternoon, for that matter .  .  .  who is the girl who doesn’t like to step out in a smart, bright new spring dress? Well  .  .  .  it isn’t “Flapper Fanny!” She loves even the thought of it. That’s why this dress was included in her spring outfit. It is printed chiffon, and what an opportunity for color. Dots of green, violet, blue and yellow are certain to be attractive. It should be real fun coloring this dress with your crayons. The final costume in “Flapper Fanny’s” spring outfit  .  .  .  lounging pajamas  .  .  .  will appear tomorrow.

Ironwood Daily Globe (Ironwood, Michigan) Apr 14, 1936

Lounging Pajama Complete ‘Flapper Fanny’s’ Outfit

“FLAPPER FANNY” is very proud of the lounging pajamas she picked to complete her spring outfit. And rightly so, we think. They look the last word in comfort .  .  .  and that’s a comforting thought. Imagine them in aquamarine crepe. Or, perhaps your imagination runs to some other color. Crayon them as you please. And then, with the five other garments, you have “Flapper Fanny’s” complete spring outfit. Try each one on the young lady and see in which one you think she looks best.

Ironwood Daily Globe (Ironwood, Michigan) Apr 15, 1936

*  *  *  *  *

A New Feature

Flapper Fanny Says

Begins in The News today. It is a two column cartoon which will contain a trite saying each day.

The News (Frederick, Maryland) Jan 26, 1925

*  *  *  *  *

Note the two column Flapper Fanny (Jan 1925) quickly downsized to a one column (Mar 1925.) Flapper Fanny.

A few (O.K., several) samples of the Flapper Fanny comic from various years:

Girls used to marry to get a husband. Now they marry to get a divorce.

The News (Frederick, Maryland)  – Jan 27, 1925

A kiss has a funny way of getting back to its originator.

Ironwood Daily Globe (Ironwood, Michigan) Mar 2, 1925

When a wife mends a hole in her husband’s pocket, he’s usually appreciative enough to wonder how she knew it was there.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Nov 2, 1925

The first-year-of-married-life-biscuits are the hardest.

Reno Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Jul 2, 1928

It isn’t always a brilliant child who is considered too smart.

Ironwood Daily Globe (Ironwood, Michigan) Jun 7, 1929

Girls who wear stripes attract attention all along the line.

Modesto Bee and Herald (Modesto, California) Jul 28, 1933

In the old days girls would have gotten a good dressing down for the way they dress up now.

Ironwood Daily Globe (Ironwood, Michigan) Jun 19, 1936

“No, you can’t read my diary! It wouldn’t interest you, anyway — it’s mostly about boys you don’t know.”

Ironwood Daily Globe (Ironwood, Michigan) Jul 6, 1939

“Wonder why we haven’t seen any robins yet?”

“Guess they know the early bird catches a cold.”

Cumberland Evening Times – Mar 14, 1940

The Dying Hobo

June 29, 2011

The Dying Hobo

(By Roland P. Gray)

Beside a Western water tank
Once cold November day,
Inside an empty box care
A dying hobo lay.

His partner stood beside him,
With low and drooping head,
And listened to the last words
The dying hobo said:

“I’m going to a better land,
Where everything is bright.
Where longnecks grow on bushes,
And you sleep out every night.

“Where you do not have to work at all,
Nor even change your socks.
And little streams of alcohol
Come trickling down the rocks.

“Tell my sweetheart back in Denver,
That her fair face I no more will view;
Tell her that I’ve jumped the fast freight
And that I am going through.”

The hobo stopped, his head fell back;
He had sung his last refrain,
His partner swiped his hat and shoes
And jumped an eastbound train.

Fresno Bee Republican (Fresno, California) May 30, 1937

Songs and Ballads of the Maine Lumberjacks: With other Songs from Maine
by Roland Palmer Gray, Bruce Rogers
Contributors: Roland Palmer Gray,Bruce Rogers
Publisher: Harvard University Press – Cambridge, MA – 1924
Page 102

*  *  *  *  *

Omitted from version in newspaper:
[after verse: “Tell my sweetheart…]

“Tell her not to weep for me,
In her eyes no tears must lurk,
For I’ve gone to a better land,
Where I won’t have to work.

“Hark, I hear a whistle;
I must catch her on the fly.
Farewell, partner, it’s not
So hard to die.”

Bio from the University of Maine 1912 yearbook

What Art Thou, Hen?

June 28, 2011


{The United States court of customs appeals is to rule on the question of whether or not a hen is a bird.}

What art thou, hen? When thou wouldst sit,
Or set, all firmly on thy nest
Thou art, when naught can make thee quit,
A pest.

And when thou cacklest when we’d take
A nap with no disturbing pother
Thou art, we vow and stay awake,
A bother.

In summer when the garden patch
Tempts thee to stroll with cluckings vague
Thou art, whene’er we see thee scratch,
A plague.

The ministers, however, when
They eat thy offspring served with dressing,
Pronounce thee once and yet again
A blessing.

In winter, when we have to pay
Whate’er cold storage men may hint,
Thou art, because of thy fair lay,
A mint.

And when old age hath ended thee
The plot once more begins to thicken —
In market then thou art, we see,
Spring chicken!

— W.D. Nesbit in Chicago Post.

Warren Evening Mirror (Warren, Pennsylvania) Oct 20, 1910


Customs Court of Appeals Now Has That Question to Determine.

WASHINGTON. Sept. 26. — The new United States Court of Customs Appeals is in the full swing of its first session. The much-disputed question, “Is a hen a bird?” which the Treasury officials passed up as hopeless will probably come before the court at this term. The question is, If birds’ eggs are free under the tariff, and hens’ eggs are taxed 3 cents a dozen, why isn’t a hen a bird? An importer who paid the higher rate of duty wants to know.

Another importer has canned eggs which he want assessed as canned albumen, on which the duty is lower.

There are also Chinese merchants with poultry meats packed in oils which they want the court to pronounce fresh poultry, and many other customs cases which have baffled the Board of General Appraisers at New York.

The New York Times — Sep 27, 1910 PDF LINK

A Hen Not a Bird.

To the Editor of The New York Times:

Referring to the communication from Washington in your issue of the 27th, entitled, “Is a Hen a Bird?” and the statement that the Treasury officials had passed it up as hopeless, permit me to state for the benefit of the Treasury officials and the United States Court of Customs Appeals that a “bird” carries its food to its young; while a “fowl” conducts its young to its food. Under this definition it is at once apparent that hawks, sparrows, and robins are “birds,” while ducks, geese, chickens, partridges, and turkeys, whether wild or domestic, are fowls. In a broad sense, however, all feathered animals with wings and two legs belong to the bird kingdom, from the ostrich to the sparrow or humming bird, and fowls, as designated above, are merely a subdivision, so to speak, of  the bird species.

Washington, D.C., Sept. 26, 1916.

The New York Times — Sep 29, 1910 PDF LINK

The Gang’s Skidoo Day

June 27, 2011

In the Pennsylvania’s Governor’s race in 1906,  Edwin Sydney Stuart ended up besting Lewis Emery, Jr. to win the election, graft or no graft, skidoo or no.

The Gang’s Skidoo Day.

This is the day the ring will get
Its dues, without a doubt;
The people have arisen and
Are bound to knock it out.
The bosses who have ruled the
State so long with iron hand,
Will get a solar plexus blow
That they cannot withstand.

Our gallant leader, Emery
A fighter without fear —
Will whip the gang and bring them
To their very knees in fear.
And Acheson, who’s striving hard
To save his bit of bacon,
Will be forced to give up his seat
In congress to “Bob” Aiken.

The grafters who have fattened off
The taxpayers, ’tis plain,
In battle of the ballots will
Be numbered with the slain.
And ’tis a fate they well deserve,
All know that this is true —
Hark! Do you hear that funny noise?
‘Tis “23” Skidoo!

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Nov 6, 1906

Pittsburg baseball team images and excerpt from the Baseball Legends Revealed website. (Scroll down passed Bill Richardson.)

In 1890, a new baseball league opened up, and they had a Pittsburgh team, as well, the Pittsburgh Burghers. This new team essentially pirated away all of McKnight’s best players. After the worst season in Pittsburgh history in 1890 (finishing 23-113), McKnight was forced to abandon his team back to the National League.

How are these two topics related? 23 SKIDOO, of course! I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this 1906 newspaper article. I didn’t see this theory listed in Wikipedia’s article on the origins of 23 Skidoo, but since I ran across it, might as well put it out there as an option:


Pittsburg Holds Record for the Smallest Attendance at a Championship Contest.

One often hears of the skidoo number “23” and how it really came to be the hoodoo number, etc., but all the guesses regarding its relations to baseball are wrong. The number really started in Pittsburg and proved conclusively that it was really the skidoo number, but of course it was not thought of at that time.

It was back in 1890 when Pittsburg had two baseball teams, one in the Players’ league and the other in the National league. It was the National league club that failed to make good and started “23” on the way. In a game of ball there September 26 of that year, but 23 persons paid to see the Pittsburg and Boston teams struggle for the nine long innings. That year Pittsburg was hopelessly in last place with no chances of ever getting out. That was the smallest crowd that ever paid to see two National league teams play.

Pittsburg struggled along for some time with the two teams, but both could not be supported, and the National soon won out. During the season when the 23 people paid to see the game there  Pittsburg made every effort-in-its-power to get up the ladder without success. That year over 100 players were tried out and yet the club finished last. Never before nor since have as many players ever been given a trial by one team in a season. Thus it will be seen that Pittsburg beside finishing in last place held two records — one for the smallest attendance and the other for trying out the greatest number of players.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Aug 29, 1906

In The Attic with Wilbur D. Nesbit

June 27, 2011

Image by Janet Kruskanp.

I had originally planned to post this with the other “dolls in the attic” poem (see previous post) but after doing some  research on Wilbur D, Nesbit, I decided to separate the poems so I could include more about him and his work.


Up in the attic where mother goes
is a trunk in a shadowed nook —
A trunk — and its lid she will oft unclose
As it were a precious book.
She kneels at its side on the attic boards
And tenderly, soft and slow,
She counts all the treasures she fondly hoards —
The things of the long ago.

A yellow dress, once the sheerest white
That shimmered in joyous pride —
She looks at it now with the girl’s delight,
That was hers when she stood a bride.
There is a ribbon of faded blue —
She keeps with the satin gown;
Buckles and lace — and a little shoe;
Sadly she lays that down.

One lock of hair that is golden still
With the gold of the morning sun;
Yes, and a dollie with frock and frill —
She lifts them all one by one.
She lifts them all to her gentle lips
Up there in the afternoon;
Sometimes the rain from the eave trough drips
Tears with her quavered croon.

Up in the attic where mother goes
is a trunk in a shadowed place —
A trunk — with the scent of a withered rose
On the satin and shoe and lace.
None of us touches its battered lid,
But safe in its niche it stays
Scared to all that her heart had his —
Gold of the other days.

— W.D. Nebsit in Chicago Tribune.

New Castle News ( New Castle, Pennsylvania) Oct 28, 1904

Wilbur D. Nebsit was also the author of An Alphabet of History, the FRANKLIN image above taken from the book, which can be viewed/read on the Open Library website. I linked the Google book version of this book in my The Unknown Blue and Gray post, which also includes his poem by the same name.

*  *  *  *  *

A very brief Masonic Bio can be found HERE. Some of his Freemason poetry can be found HERE.

Below are  some articles that give a little more insight:

Image from The Indianapolis Star – Apr 4, 1914


Scribes From Afar Arrive to Describe Speed Battle for Papers and Journals.

The 500-mile Motor Speedway race has drawn men from two continents, whose names are known to the world of letters. These men will relate the human interest tale of the struggle of men and steel machines against time and danger in the columns of publications throughout the world. Gellett Burgess is one of the many who will pen the history of the race.

Wilbur D. Nesbit, author of poems, comic operas and books, is another. He will write the story of the race for Harper’s Weekly….

The Indianapolis Star (Indianapolis, Indiana) May 30, 1912


Wilbur D. Nesbit Made President of Indiana Society.

Wilbur D. Nesbit, the well-known bard, was elected president during his absence in New York….

The Indianapolis Star – Jan 17, 1912

*  *  *  *  *

I clipped this particle biographical sketch from a book on

Source Information: Indiana and Indianans : a history of aboriginal and territorial Indiana and the century of statehood [database on-line]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. Original data: Dunn, Jacob Piatt,. Indiana and Indianans : a history of aboriginal and territorial Indiana and the century of statehood. Chicago: American Historical Society, 1919.
Image from the Culver-Union Township Public Library websiteCulver Through the Years
*  *  *  *  *
The following poem by Wilbur D. Nesbit appeared in The Indianapolis Star as part of:
the remarkable sermon delivered by Wilbur D. Nesbit, the famous Hoosier writer, in the Mt. Vernon Methodist Episcopal pulpit at Baltimore last Sunday…
A handful of dust, that is blown by the wind
That is sporting with whatever thing it may find.
It goes swirling and whirling and scattering on
Till it puffs into nothingness — then it is gone —
A handful of dust.
It may be a king who of old held his rule
O’er a country forgotten — it may be his fool
Who had smiles on his lips and had tears in his heart;
But the king, or the fool; who may tell them apart
In a handful of dust?
It may be some man who was mighty and proud,
Or a beggar, who trembled and crept through the crowd;
Or a woman who laughed, or a woman who wept,
Or a miser — but centuries long have they slept
In a handful of dust.

It may be a rose that once burst into flame,
Or a maiden who blushed as she whispered a name
To its ruby-red heart — and her lips were as read —
But no one remembers the words that she said,
In this handful of dust.

A handful of dust — it is death, it is birth.
It is naught; it is all since the first day of earth;
It is life, it is love, it is laughter and tears —
And it holds all the mystery lost in the years —
A handful of dust.

The Indianapolis Star — Jun 15, 1913
Call of “30” for Poet
Wilbur D. Nesbit, vice-president of the Wm. H. Rankin and Company Advertising Agency, and an author of renown, died Saturday at the Iroquois hospital in Chicago, thirty minutes after he had collapsed on the street.
During his career, Nesbit had served as humorous writer on the old Inter-Ocean, the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore American and the Chicago Evening Post. In more recent years he had allied himself with an advertising agency, but was a frequent contributor to magazines and had acquired much fame as an after-dinner speaker. As a poet, he ranked with the best. One of his finest contributions, which will always endear his name to the patriotic people, was entitled “Your Flag and My Flag.” This poem appeared in the Baltimore American in 1902, and was circulated throughout the country during the World war. A verse will not be amiss at this time:
“Your flag and my flag,
And how it flies today,
In your land and my land
And half a world away!
Rose-red and blood -red
The stripes forever gleam;
Snow-white and soul-white
The good forefathers’ dream.”
Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) Aug 23, 1927
Famous Folk
Wilbur Dick Nesbit, the poet and journalist, whose first novel, “The Gentleman Ragman,” has just been published, was born in Xenia, O., in 1871. He began his career as printer and later worked as a reporter. His reputation has been won largely as a contributor of verse to magazines.
While Nesbit was finishing “The Gentleman Ragman” he was spending a few weeks in a country town in Indiana. He had sent nearly all of the revised manuscript to his publishers, but certain details of the completion of the plot had been the subject of discussion between himself and a friend connected with the publishing house.
One day a telegram for Nesbit was received at the village telegraph office. It read:
“What are you going to do about Annie Davis and Pinkney Sanger?”
Annie is the heroine of “The Gentleman Ragman;” Pinkney is the villain, if there is one in the book. The local telegraph operator personally delivered the message, and Nesbit wrote this reply:
“Will marry Annie Davis and shoot Pinkney Sanger as soon as I return to Chicago.”
The operator stared at Nesbit wonderingly when he read the message, but Nesbit did not fathom that stare until the morning when he took the train for home, when the village marshal stepped up and said meaningly:
“Mr. Nesbit, I would advise you, as an officer of the law, sir, not to do anything rash when you get to Chicago.”
Cambridge Jeffersonian (Cambridge, Ohio) Dec 20, 1906
The above poem is signed with Wilbur D. Nesbit‘s alternate nom de plumeJosh Wink. (see mention in below article.)
Bedford Gazette (Bedford, Pennsylvania) Apr 25, 1902

Des Moines Daily Leader (Des Moines, Iowa) Oct 13, 1901
*   *   *   *
Cracker Barrel
WILBUR DICK NESBIT expounded a brand of patriotism that seems to have fallen out of fashion in the current age when draft dodgers become folk heroes and the American flag is publicly despoiled.
Born in Xenia Sept. 16, 1871, the son of a Civil War veteran and court bailiff here, he grew up in Cedarville where he learned to set type on the old Cedarville Herald in which paper his first wrtings appears.
After two years he went to an Anderson, Ind. papers as a reporter, then to the Muncie (Ind.) Star in a similar capacity. There his copy attracted the attention of John T. Brush, an Indianapolis clothing merchant, who put him in charge of his store advertising.
From there he joined the ad staff of the Indianapolis Journal and next became a feature writer for the Baltimore American under the nom de plume Josh Wind [k]. After three years he was lured to the staff of the Chicago Tribune where he conducted the column “A Line O’ Type Or Two” and then joined the Evening Post.
*   *   *
AFTER HE BECAME director of the copy staff for the Makin Advertising Co. he bought an interest in it and changed the name to Rankin Advertising Agency. HE co-authored the musical comedy “The Girl of My Dreams” and turned out reams of poetry in some of which he collaborated with cartoonist Clare Briggs.
His collection, “Trail to Boyland,” reminisced about Greene County and Cedarville in the pastoral patern of James Whitcomb Riley. He also published “After Dinner Speeches and How to Make Them,” “Sermons in Song,” and “Poems of Homely Philosophy.” His “Your Flag and My Flag” was recited in most school classrooms.
Nesbit died Aug. 20, 1927. Recently his friend and admirer, ex-Cedarvillian, Fred F. Marshall, came up with his timely and appropriate poem entitled “The U.S.A.,” which follows:
There’s them that wants to get us skeered
By tellin’ us o’ things they feared.
They say we’re goin’ to th’ dogs,
Th’ gov’nment has skipped some cogs
An’ that ef we don’t trust to them
Our futur’ wont be worth a dem!
But I want to say
Th’ U.S.A.
Ain’t figgerin’ to run that way.
I’ve noticed things fer many years;
I’ve seen these men arousin’ cheers —
These high-hat men with long-tail coats
That tells us how to cast our votes,
I’ve noticed, too, their idees is
That votin’s all the people’s biz
But I want to say
Th’ U.S.A.
Ain’t only jest election day.

I’ve seen ’em lift their trimblin’ arm
An do their p’intin’ with alarm
Afore election! An’ I’ve seen
How they don’t do much work between
Elections! Seem to save their brains
For workin’ durin’ th’ campaigns
An’ I want to say
The U.S.A.
Don’t give them fellers its O.K.

There’s one or two that I wont name
That keeps a firm hand-holt on Fame
By stormin’ up an’ down the road
A-tellin’ us what long we’ve knowed
That is, they rise to heights sublime
Along about election time
Yit I want to say
The U.S.A.
Ain’t figured yit to turn their way.

It ain’t th’ men that tells our sins
That almost al’ays sometimes wins —
Its them that rolls their sleeves an’ helps
While these yere talkin’ humans yelps
That makes us know our native land
Has got a craw that’s full o’ sand
An’ makes us say
The U.S.A
Is settin’ tight an’ here to stay!

Xenia Daily Gazette (Xenia, Ohio)  Nov 2, 1972

Dolls in the Attic

June 26, 2011

Image from The Doll Show on the Nebraska State Historical Society website.


I found my old dolls in the attic to-day,
In a box where I long ago laid them away.
It was silly, I know, but ’twas such a surprise,
The sight of their faces brought tears to my eyes.

There was poor Flossie, with azure eyes closed,
For many a month she had quietly dozed
In the little silk gown in which I last dressed her.
That time was brought back so, I stooped and caressed her.

And then, as I raised her, she opened her eyes,
And stared at her mother in such sad surprise,
That I kissed her and laid her again in her place
To keep her reproachful blue eyes off my face.

And next I uncovered my little bisque Mable,
To meet whose brown eyes I was still unable.
Their gaze was surprise, but exceedingly milk
My poor little, dear little laid-away child!

And I kissed her, her face looked so childish and sweet,
And I held for a moment her little kid feet,
For her stockings were scattered and so were her shoes,
And then, when I found them, they gave me the blues.

I kissed her and laid her back in the box, but
She looked at me still (for her eyes would not shut).
And hastily covering her face from my sight,
I searched till wax Elsie I brought to the light.

Now, that poor, little doll was only my niece.
Her eyes were dark-blue and her curls white as fleece,
But her nose was so flat ’twas no longer a nose,
And her wax cheeks had faded and lost all their rose;

From losing her sawdust her body was slender,
Yet for these very reasons my kiss was more tender,
And I laid the poor thing away with a sigh,
And feeling, I must say, like having a cry.

One big doll was missing — my dear Rosabel —
How much I did love her, I really can’t tell.
It is painful, indeed, to be talking about,
But I loved her so much that I quite wore her out.

Well, well, I am older, but I’m sure I’m not glad,
The thought of those old times, in fact, makes me sad.
And, although the feeling is silly, I know,
I can not help sighing: “Oh! why did I grow?”

— Bertha G. Davis, in N.Y. Tribune.

The Salem Daily News (Salem, Ohio) Oct 22, 1890

The Curtain Falls – Creator of “Boots” is Dead

June 25, 2011

Creator of ‘Boots’ Is Dead;
Started Comic Strip in 1924

(NEA Service, Inc.)

A great career in the world of comic strips came to a close with the death Aug. 30 in Clearwater, Fla., of Edgar E. Martin.

More than 36 years ago a handsome, slender, blond young man brought to the nation’s newspapers the girl who was to become known as the “Sweetheart of the Comics.” She was called “Boots,” star character of the daily comic strip “Boots and Her Buddies” and the Sunday page “Boots.” The man was Edgar Martin, nicknamed “Abe” by his friends.

At the time of his death, Boots was running in nearly 700 daily and Sunday newspapers, and was followed every day by millions of readers. She exerted a profound influence on women’s fashions.

Martin was born in Indianapolis, Ind., July 6, 1898. Early in his boyhood his family moved to Nashville, Tenn., and then to Monmouth, Ill., where his father was a professor at Monmouth College.

*  *  *

As a freshman Martin used to draw grasshoppers, lizards and frogs in his father’s biology classes. He quit in his junior year to enter the Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago. He joined Newspaper Enterprise Association in 1921.

At first he drew several comics with varying success. When NEA told him it wanted a girl strip he swung into action and, on February 18, 1924, he came up with the strip that was to bring him fame.

Originally Martin featured four girls in the strip, but soon two of them were dropped. Cora, a school teacher, remained true to type, while Boots was developed into a glamour girl.

Dressing Boots in the latest fashions became a hobby, with him. He attended style shows, read all the fashion magazines, and developed a style sense that the designers of feminine finery often copied. When he gave Boots a new haircut in 1926 and called it the “Boots Bob,” it was a nationwide “click” and was endorsed by leading hairdressers in New York and other cities.

*  *  *

When Cora, with whom Boots had been living, was married to Prof. Stephen Tutt in 1927, Boots moved in with them. In early days Martin’s comic had its greatest following among high school and college students. They loved his glamour girl, delighted in her numerous romances.

Martin introduced a new character in 1927, popular Pug, who grew up to be one of the best-liked teen-agers in the comics. Boots, the much sought-after belle, remained in single blessedness until readers began demanding wedding bells. In 1945 Martin married her to a Texan named Rodney Ruggles and the strip became a family strip. A son was born in 1946, on the Fourth of July. Once more Boots’ great army of followers showed their interest by besieging Martin with suggestions for a name for the baby. David won by a big vote. Pug became an established member of Boots’ family when her father’s yacht was lost at sea with all on board.

*  *  *

Nearly every successful comic artist has one or more assistants. Martin was unusual in that he insisted on drawing and writing his strip himself. He finally turned the Sunday paper over to an assistant, but the daily was another matter. He felt so close to the numerous characters, all highly individualized, that he had to do the job himself. Much of Martin’s own character was expressed in the strip, especially in the person of Boots’ brother Billy, who disappeared from the strip some years ago.

Many people said Edgar Martin really was portraying himself in the character of Billy. Martin never admitted this, but he and Billy did have the same fine courtesy and courtly manners. Both were always every inch the gentleman.

Martin lived in Cleveland, headquarters for NEA, for many years. He and his family moved to Clearwater about 20 years ago. He is survived by his widow, Margery, three married daughters and five grandchildren.

Ironwood Daily Globe (Ironwood, Michigan) Sep 6, 1960

‘Boots’ Ends Comic Strip Career in Tribune Today

One of the nation’s great comic strips is leaving the daily entertainment scene today.

Edgar E. Martin, creator of “Boots and Her Buddies,” died Aug. 30. His daily strip comes to an end with the conclusion of the current sequence on today’s comic page.

There is symbolism in the falling leaf in the final picture, and in the caption, “The Curtain Falls.” For the curtain has fallen on a daily drama which has entertained the American public for more than 36 years.

Replacing “Boots” in The Tribune will be “The Story of Martha Wayne,” beginning on Monday.

This is a return engagement for this true-to-life narrative, which made a brief appearance in this newspaper several years ago.

Although some Sunday comic pages will continue to carry “Boots” as drawn by Lester Carroll, Martin’s assistant, the Newspaper Enterprise Assn. which syndicates the strip has decided against having the daily version carried on by another artist.

Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune (Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin) Oct 15, 1960

*  *  *  *  *

Wisconsin Rapids Tribune (Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin) Oct 15, 1960

Whittling Chips

June 25, 2011

Image from Elementary Sloyd And Whittling, by Gustaf Larsson – Publisher: Silver, Burdett And Company 1906. (

Whittling Chips.

Chubby hands, so brown and small,
Wield the blade and scantling,
Chips, like driftlets, fly and fall,
Wasteful litter one and all,
In flakes about the bantling.

Seventy springs their seed have sown,
Still with knife and shingle
The child, a white-haired grandsire grown,
His life a dream, his memory flown,
Sits whittling by the ingle,

Yet the past held busy years,
Works of wondrous glitter,
But many a loss brought burning tears,
And many a gain regretful fears,
As best a useless litter.

And so methought the hopes and schemes
Of many a worldly witling,
When all is told, are idle dreams,
Mere chips of mortal whittling.


The News (Frederick, Maryland) Mar 26, 1890