Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sarah Sees the Future

In or around 1896, when she was 13 or 14 years old, Sarah Eva Howe was already a voracious reader, prolific writer, and skilled storyteller. In the following theme, she muses about life 16 years into the future. In the process, she predicts something that might surprise us 100 years later! My own transcription notes are in brackets. Parentheses and question marks are original to the handwritten document. The people mentioned were Sarah's friends and classmates at school in Carrollton, Kentucky. Several were her cousins.

A Possible Scene
As I enter my studio this fair morning in June, 1912, and take my station at the great window, where I touch a button, and the sash flies up letting in the balmy air for, however great the changes in other civilized machinery, the air and sunlight are not changed, two little individual flying-machines of the common kind, as used by newsboys and letter-carriers alight at the front door, and immediately the chimes begin to play “A Flying Machine for Two,” the latest popular song. A moment later, down the silver slide connected with this front door, come two letters and a newspaper, with blue lines around some columns of the paper, to call attention to them. I take up the letters first, of course, and see that the postmark on one shows it to be from that great busy metropolis Carrollton, at the junction of the O. and Ky. Rivers. I open it, and see that it is from my cousin Jennie [probably Jennie/Jenn Howe, daughter of William Ficklin Howe and his wife, Louisiana "Lou" Winslow], now Mrs. [the word “Blank” here is crossed out] Remardo Berdo; and it “reads” thus:

“Dear Sarah; – I am so glad to hear of your progress in your artwork; and that your last picture ‘Frolic’ sold for $1000. I am doing well, too. I have finished my course at the Conservatory, you know, and have written a march and two other pieces of music; I am quite in demand for entertainments. But don’t imagine that I neglect Louise. By the way, poor little Louise has been unwell lately, and I had to call in Dr. J. I.[?] Rowland. Do you remember him? By the way, there is a rumor of his soon being wedded to a certain fair young novelist. Professor Browinski is giving great satisfaction as the principal of the Carrollton College, a magnificent building which has been erected on the site of the old college, and his wife Miss S_ P_, is much admired and liked by all of us. But I must be closing. One word more. There is much sorrow at our house just now, because brother Beverly, Capt. Beverly W. Howe [Jennie's brother, Sarah's cousin], has just left with his wife to take command of the United States troops at Hawks-wing, Wash. Well, Louise is nodding and must be put to bed. Good-night and Good-bye. Yours affectionately, Jane.”

Much pleased with that letter, I take up the other, which is postmarked Chicago, and is from Madame Bornlaski, neĆ© Miss Mildred A. Goslee [another cousin], who has been there for a short time recovering from a slight illness. She has not much time to spare, so the letter is “short,” but “sweet.”

Now I take up the paper, the Carrollton “Post”; and the first thing that catches my eye is an advertisement, reading “Transact your law business at the office of W. Shoesmith and J. C. Winslow, Attorneys,” but as there is a blue line above the “Literary Notes,” I turn to them. There I see that “a book that bids fair to be very popular this summer is “Boys and Girls, A Reminiscence of Old School-days,” by the [the word “young” here is crossed out] bright and interesting young novelist Miss Mary Emily Merrill, formerly of this city. Still another advertisement attracts me – “Miss Grace Rowland, Kindergartner, assisted by Misses R. Louise Howe and Paulina Winslow [Sarah's relatives].” And among the “Personal Items” I see that “Miss Mildred Merrill, a fair young lady of this city, is assisting Miss Velma Donaldson in the primary department of Miss Elizabeth Howe’s [likely a cousin] private school.”

What is this, heavily marked, on the inside of the paper? A sermon! By whom, pray? Why, it is by the Rev. Richard H. Stanton, who graduated only a year ago! I must read it. When I think of the time when we all were children together, and of what and where we are now, it almost makes me sad; but “the world do move,” and we with it, and I lean my head on my hand, and think of the gay girl who went to school, and that I am now a real artist, and an old maid of twenty-nine.

Will all of this come true? Why not? The world is what we make it, and we may mold the future with our own childish hands.
[signed] Sarah Eve Howe


Yes, Sarah Eva Howe foresaw the invention of drones and their use to deliver messages and publications! She saw a future as a professional artist. The scrapbook contains her sketches, but many are too faded to reproduce well.

Sarah predicted that in 1912 she would be an “old maid at age 29.” Sarah married in 1905 at the age of 22.


ScotSue said...

You have such fascinating material, and you share Sarah 's story telling skills. I am enjoying reading your posts

Frances Nelson Salyers said...

I'm so pleased that you continue to read my blog! I hope you will continue to share your comments and advice with me.

Leslie said...

I look forward to each new blog post. Very interesting!

Frances Nelson Salyers said...

Thanks, Leslie. I'm working on one about Sarah's 8th-grade year in school. Fascinating to me -- full of names of fellow students and comments about a time when the Carrollton school system made decisions the parents didn't like. See? Nothing much changes over time!