Thursday, October 27, 2016

Bits & Pieces: Poetry, Music, Student Rosters, Skirt-length Scandal, and Playing Detective with An Old Photo

Bits & Pieces is a continuing series of posts containing scrapbook snippets that have great info but are too short for stand-alone posts. Some of these small items are too good to leave behind.

 1. Sleep Sweetly

Just reading this pleasant, lilting verse is relaxing! I found this in one of Sarah's earliest scrapbooks. I suppose it is the front of a greeting card, but the reference to "in this pleasant room" makes me think it would make a welcoming and decorative piece for a guest bedroom.
Well, now! After I wrote the first paragraph, I did a quick online search for the poem. I found a site that attributes the poet to Victor Hugo (1802-1885); another site disputes that. When world-renowned biochemist Roger J. Williams was traveling, he saw the poem on the wall of a bedroom in which he stayed. He liked it enough to memorize it. He recited it to himself nightly, and his assistant read it at his funeral in 1988.

  2. News Flash! Teachers Refuse Order to Wear Longer Skirts!

When the Hazel Park, Michigan, school board decreed that teachers wear skirts no shorter than 10 inches above the floor, the teachers protested with a unanimous NO!

Women on the school board argued that the "smock measure" (so called because teachers could opt to wear long smocks over their shorter skirts) was necessary to "protect the moral integrity of the youth of Hazel Park."

The local PTA supported the teachers.

The issue got publicity in papers near and far, so I was able to date the battle to late September/early October 1927. I'm intrigued that Sarah posted this newspaper clipping in her scrapbooks. Maybe there was a similar issue in her local schools.

I don't know which side won, but my bet is on the teachers.





3. The Evolution of Carrollton High School, 1880s-1890s

Continuing with the "schools" theme, here's a clipping about the students and faculty of Carrollton, Kentucky, high school from the opening of the school in 1887 to the early 1890s. While the end of the article has a "continued" line, I have yet to find the other part of the article.

The crayon marks are something only a Salyers could love. James R. Salyers, a son of the scrapbooker Sarah Eva Howe Salyers, saved lots of clippings, and he marked almost every one of them with crayons. (If you don't believe me, check out the Salyers surname and Carroll County files in the Kentucky Historical Society library in Frankfort.) In this clipping, he underlined the name of his paternal grandfather. The black line draws the eye to a paragraph that includes the names of several relatives and friends.

The final paragraph lists the roster for 1890 and 1891. What a gold mine for researchers trying to place their relatives in time and place! To help, I've listed below the surnames that appear in the article. Unfortunately, the article's condition make some names impossible to read, and the "jump" or continuation of the article is not in the scrapbook.

Fishback, Vance, Kipping, Blessing, Salyers, Weaver, Bridges, Hafford, Smith, Goslee,  Hunter, Walters, Beetem, Bergen, Hart, Meek, Palmer, Netherland, Shepherd, Stringfellow, Wilson, Bowling, Steele, Howe, Willis, Donaldson, McCrackin, Raney, Forbes, Sanders, Baker, Caldwell, Jett, Kirby, Schuerman, ???tem, Stout, Ga??es, Darling, Melcher, Hennessy, Moreland, Brash??, Giltner, Foster, Meade, Grobmyer, Whitehead, Cox, Butts, Barrett, Crouch, Mitchell, Bond, Bailey, Dem??, Phillips, Roberts, Vallan???, Arnold, Adcock, Booker, Driskell, Duvall, Hayden, Goughton, Horan, Morgan, . . .

UPDATE: I found the continuation of this article! It completes the list of students of 1890-91: Clarence Nugent, Amelia Pryor, Otis Steele, C??? Wilson, Gideon Wood, Cora McCracken (misspelled CcCracken), Bennie Cox.

I'll post the article continuation soon, in case researchers are looking for the names of Carrollton school system faculty members up to 1917-18.

4. Leonora's Piano?

The Howe and Cost families of Cincinnati appreciated fine music. Many of the girls and women in both families played piano in their homes, in recitals, and at church.
I think this warranty certificate, dated 1903, may represent the Howe family's purchase of Baldwin piano #7590. Leonora Alice Howe turned 7 years old that year, a perfect age to begin learning. She showed musical promise, so I can imagine her parents, Robert James Howe and Alice Ada Cost Howe, supporting her early talent. Their support was rewarded. Leonora became a sought-after piano soloist, accompanist, and teacher.

The warranty certificate's presence in the scrapbook is one indication of how important and treasured that piano may have been to the whole family.

5. Whose House This Is I Think I Know

Once again, I long to ask Sarah about an unidentified photo in her scrapbooks. She wrote no names or dates below this image, and removing it from the page could cause damage.
I'm left to use my imagination. I see an adult woman in a dress with late-1890s styling. The dress is dark, possibly black. Maybe a mourning dress? I see a girl dressed in the style of a younger person, maybe in her early teens. With the help of a magnifying glass, I see a baby bundled up and propped in a stroller. In the shadow of the doorway stands a person who appears to be a man in a suit with a white shirt. The trees are bare.

Putting all of these observations together, I think this could be the Howe family of Carrollton in the winter or very early spring of 1897. If my theory is right, the man is "Papa," Robert James Howe; the woman is "Mama," Alice Ada Cost Howe; the girl is 13-year-old Sarah Eva Howe; the baby is Leonora Alice Howe, who was born 20 December 1896. Alice and probably Sarah would have been wearing dark clothing in early 1897, mourning the loss of Alice's maternal grandfather David Arnet, who died that January.

Sarah, you're making detectives of us all. I wish you were here to prove us right – or wrong.


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