Christmas Revived

It was six o’clock in the morning of last Thursday (Christmas morning), when Nathan Stoddard, a young saddler, strode through the vacant streets of one of our New England towns, hastening to begin his work. The town is an old-fashioned one, and although the observance of the ancient church festival is no longer frowned upon, as in years past, yet it has been little regarded, especially in the church of which Nathan is a member. As the saddler mounted the steps of his shop, he felt the blood so rush along his limbs, and tingle in his fingers, that he could not forbear standing without the door for a moment, as if to enjoy the triumph of the warmth within him over the cold morning air. The little stone church which Nathan attends stands in the same square with his shop, and nearly opposite. It was closed, as usual on Christmas day, and a recent snow had heaped the steps and roof, and loaded the windows. Nathan thought that it looked uncommonly beautiful in the softening twilight of the morning.


Published in: on December 1, 2009 at 6:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Cotswold Village

Traversing around the world wide web I recently landed in the Cotswolds of England, famous for thatched roofed cottages and the Cotswold Lion, a very wooly sheep.

An interesting book came to my attention, written by one J. Arthur Gibbs in 1888, called A Cotswold Village or Country Life and Persuits in Gloucestershire. It is about life in the Cotswolds in the late 19th century.

Mr. Gibbs was a devout believer and this book was a tribute to the Creator that he served. An excerpt from his diary shortly before his passing (prior to the third publication of the book) read:

“Do not neglect the creeping hours of time: ‘the night cometh when no man can work.’ All time is wasted unless spent in work for God. The best secular way of spending the precious thing that men call time is by making always for some grand end–a great book, to show forth the wonders of creation and the infinite goodness of the Creator. You must influence for good if you write, and write nothing that you will regret some day or think trivial.”

I think these are words worthy of rememberence and wisdom worth heeding for this aspiring authoress.

Read A Cotswold Village online.

Here’s a page with some great photos of the Cotswolds today – doesn’t seem to change much which is nice enough for me!

Published in: on November 18, 2009 at 5:58 am  Leave a Comment  

My Collection of Antique Books

I just thought I’d share with you some of the neat little antique books I have in my collection, how I came by them, any particular comments I might have concerning them, with names and inscriptions or writing found inside.

The New Select Speaker  by Josephine W. Stratton, Jeannette  M. Stratton (1902) –  “Containing directions for expresing written thought in a correct and pleasing manner together with rules and exercises for physical culture and elocution.”  This book is filled with illustrations and photographs featuring poses for the orator.  It is a treasure trove of materials that were useful for recitation, including decorum for such occasion, and included instruction on proper writing.   It would behove individuals of days gone by to become and  eloquent speaker and steward of the writtnen word.  As a writer and speaker I found this fascinating compilation  enlightening and quite enjoyable.
Original owner, Lilla A. Marr, N. Bridgeton, ME
I purchased this from a used book store in Waterville, ME.

Bright Ideas for Entertaining by Mrs. Herbert B. Linscott (1905) ~ “Two hundred forms of amusement or entertainment for social gatherings of all kinds:  larger or small parties, clubs, sociables, church entertainments, etc. with special suggestions for birthdays, wedding anniversaries, Hallowe’en, All Fools’ Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and other holidays.”
Back in the days before television, movies, the internet, and our compulsive busyness set in folks gathered together for social occasions.  Perhaps the original owner purchased this little book for such times as these.  It would be important for a good hostess to provide entertainment in the form of planned activities for her guests.  The compact book is a compilation of about 175 activites including games, themes, recitations, and party ideas.   I found this book entertaining in itself just reading it.  It will also become a good resource for my novels when characters are in need of leisure occupation.

Original owner:  Laura B. Elliott
I purchased this from a used book store in Waterville, ME.

The One Hoss Shay by Oliver Wendell Holmes with its Companion Poems How the Old Horse Won the Bet and The Broomstick Train (1898) ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay about a buggy which belonged to a deacon. It is said that the buggy
was crafted so well that in needed no repairs for over 100 years. The problem with the buggy was that it wore out completely, all at once and fell apart while the deacon was on a journey. Holmes satirizes the deacon’s position, pointing out that taking “logic” to the extreme can make a situation worse instead of better.

Read Online

I purchased this from a thrift store in Waterville, ME.  The old book, is like new.

Don’t: A Manual of Mistakes and Improprieties more or less prevalent in Conduct and Speech by Oliver Bell Bunce (1884) ~ A victorian handbook of etiquette, very entertaining.

I ordered this on ebay from an antique dealer in Belfast, ME.

See my blog post on this book with excerpts

Dreams by Olive Shreiner ~ A little book of the author’s dreams.

Inscription of original owner:  “A book I have loved.”

Read online

This is from a little used bookstore in Waterville, ME.

A Thousand and One Gems of English Poetry: Forming a complete Dictionary of the Most Admired Passages of the Brittish Poets (1869) ~ This could be a later publication, though prior to 1882. I found this at the same little used bookstore in Waterville, ME.

Book’s original owner and inscription: Addie C. Ames, Jefferson, December 25, 1882

Read online

Sweden and the Swedes by W. W. Thomas, Jr. (1892) ~ Written by William Widgery Thomas, Jr. – Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States to Sweden and Norway. This book belonged to my grandparents who emmigrated from Sweden. It is one of my most treasured books, an exceptional volume providing all information on the history and culture of Sweden including the country’s affiliation with Norway.

Gipsy Smith, An Autobiography (1909) ~ His Life and Work. Rodney (Gypsy) Smith, 1860-1947, was born in a tent, raised on a Gypsy camp, never attended a school – not even for a day! – yet he influenced the lives of millions of people for God through his powerful preaching. He was converted in 1876 and, the next year, was invited by General William Booth to join him in evangelistic work. He served as an officer with the Salvation Army until 1882. He then began ministering as an itinerent evangelist working with a variety of organisations all over the world, but particularly in Britain and America.

I picked this book up while doing novel research on Gypsy’s.  This man has a fascinating life.

Ellen’s Idol by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward (1864) ~ a Sunday School story, children’s morality book. The first in a series, we meet Ellen, Tiny, and their brother Fred, following six-year old Ellen’s struggle to overcome selfishness.

Book’s original owner and inscriptions: Grace Townsend, Barnard, Vermont, Windsor County. “This book is what Mrs. Walker gave me when I was nine years old.”

I found this at a yardsale on Dedham St., Wrentham, MA.

Sequel Online – Tiny

Mrs. Marshall’s Key, and What it Unlocked by “the author of the New Commandment” (1870) ~ A religious morality book about Johnny Whadley who is adopted by Captain and Mrs. Marshall. I found at same yardsale in Wrentham, MA.

Book’s original owner and inscriptions: May Martin. “Though many miles apart we be please see these lines and think of me.”, “My pen is poor, My ink is pale, But my love for you, Will never fail. My pen is poor, My ink is pale, But my love for you, Will never fail.”

Live and Learn of The Woodbine Series by Mrs. Madeline Leslie (1871) ~  Inside quote: “Perseverance is the surest road to success.”

Prefatory Note inside cover: “The facts narrated in this volue, were communicated to the author by the subject of the story,a nd contain many valuable lessons to the young of our age and country.

Certainly the struggle with the spirit of reenge: the sweet peace that rewards forgiveness; the joy of victory over temptation, the unsatisfactory nature of sinful indulgence, and the blessedness of virtue and piety should warn youth against the broad road to death, and allure them into the path of life and peace.” – the author.

This is from a little used bookstore in Waterville, ME.

Pigs is Pigs by Ellis Parker Butler (1906) ~ An adorable little children’s book I found at that yardsale in Wrentham, MA. My children got a real kick out of this one!

Frontispiece “Pets thim animals may be, but pigs, I’m blame sure they do be.”

The Bunny Twins by Harrison Cady

The Gingerbread Boy told by Eunice Tietjens

The D. L. Moody Year Book, A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody, Selected by Emma Moody Fitt (1900) ~ Written by his grandaughter.

Inside cover Mr. Moody’s Favorite Texts:

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Isaiah 12:2

The Lord God will help me, therefore shall I not be confounded, therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know I shall not be ashamed. Isaiah 50:7

Love – The Supreme Gift; The Greatest Thing in the World by Henry Drummond (1887)

Read online

The Three-Fold Secret of the Holy Spirit by James H. McConkey (1897) & (1899)

Read online

The Mansion by Henry van Dyke (1911) ~ The book had belonged to my great aunt.

Read online

St. George and the Dragon, Bedtime Wonder Tales by Clifton Johnson (1919) ~

Book’s original owner: Judy M. Packard

The Curious Lore of Precious Stones by George Frederick Kunz (1941)


American Catalog of Books – published in the United States 1861 – 1866.

American Catalog of Books – published in the United States 1866 – 1871.

19th century girls series Sunday School stories

Google Book Search

Published in: on November 18, 2009 at 5:48 am  Comments (6)  

I Love to Tell the Story

I love to tell the story
of unseen things above,
of Jesus and his glory,
of Jesus and his love.
I love to tell the story,
because I know ’tis true;
it satisfies my longings
as nothing else can do.

I love to tell the story,
’twill be my theme in glory,
to tell the old, old story
of Jesus and his love.

I love to tell the story;
more wonderful it seems
than all the golden fancies
of all our golden dreams.
I love to tell the story,
it did so much for me;
and that is just the reason
I tell it now to thee.

I love to tell the story;
’tis pleasant to repeat
what seems, each time I tell it,
more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story,
for some have never heard
the message of salvation
from God’s own holy Word.

I love to tell the story,
for those who know it best
seem hungering and thirsting
to hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory,
I sing the new, new song,
’twill be the old, old story
that I have loved so long.

Arabella Katherine Hankey ~ 1866

Published in: on November 13, 2009 at 12:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Wired Love: A Romance of Dots and Dashes by Ella Cheever Thayer


Long before the internet chat rooms and social networking was ever thought of, the Victorians had their own means of long-distance romances across the wire . . . the telegraph.   Here is a glimpse into the courting conversations of one such couple.

Wired Love: A Romance of Dots and Dashes

by Ella Cheever Thayer (1880)


Published in: on July 20, 2009 at 5:42 am  Comments (5)  

Yesterday’s News


As a writer/researcher, genealogist, and history aficionado I just love researching news of yesteryear. Did you know that the New York Times has archived articles going back to 1851? The Times Machine will take you back in time to read yesterday’s news.  They also have a blog called The Times Traveler that features yesterday’s news which highlights news from 100 years ago to the day (updated daily).

Here are some additional links:

International News Historical Archives, list of many links

Chronicling America – Library of Congress

Newspaper Archive

19th Century Newspaper Collection, 1803-1898

British Newspapers, 1900-1900

Published in: on June 25, 2009 at 3:29 pm  Leave a Comment  



“My beloved spoke and said unto me, ‘Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For the winter is past; the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear upon the eath; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.’” Song of Solomon 2:10-12

O voice of the Belovèd!
Thy bride hath heard Thee say,
“Rise up, My love, My fair one,
Arise and come away.
For lo, ’tis past, the winter,
The winter of thy year;
The rain is past and over,
The flowers on earth appear.

“And now the time of singing
Is come for every bird;
And over all the country
The turtle dove is heard;
The fig her green fruit ripens,
The vines are in their bloom;
Arise and smell their fragrance;
My love, My fair one, come!”

Yea, Lord! Thy Passion over,
We know this life of ours
Hath passed from death and winter
To leaves and budding flowers;
No more Thy rain of weeping
In drear Gethsemane;
No more the clouds and darkness,
That veiled Thy bitter Tree.

Our Easter Sun is risen!
And yet we slumber long,
And need Thy Dove’s sweet pleading
To waken prayer and song.
Oh breathe upon our deadness,
Oh shine upon our gloom;
Lord, let us feel Thy presence
And rise and live and bloom.

Words: Jack­son Ma­son, in Sup­ple­ment­al Hymns to Hymns An­cient and Mo­dern, 1889.

Music: “O Voice,” Jo­seph Barn­by (1838-1896)
Al­ter­nate tune: “Werde Munter,” Johann Schop, 1642

Published in: on April 11, 2009 at 6:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Refining Fire

“No words can express how much the world owes to sorrow. Most of the Psalms were born in a wilderness. Most of the Epistles were written in a prison. The greatest thoughts of the greatest thinkers have all passed through the fire. The greatest poets have “learned in suffering what they taught in song.” In bonds Bunyan lived the allegory that he afterwards wrote, and we may thank Bedford Jail for the Pilgrim’s Progress. Take comfort, afflicted Christian! When God is about to make pre-eminent use of a person, He puts them in the fire.”

~ George MacDonald

Published in: on January 9, 2009 at 12:55 am  Comments (1)  

Shipwreck of the Royal Tar

This is the story of a vessel that caught fire east of Fox Island in Penobscot Bay and later drifted off and sank. The ship carried 85 passengers and a menagerie of circus animals, 32 persons and all of the animals perished. The ship left St. John, New Brunswick and was headed toward Portland, ME in the year 1886.

The loss of the St. John steamer Royal Tar, in the year 1836, was in many ways one of the most remarkable
marine disasters in the annals of the Maritime Provinces. For many years it held a leading place in the stories of strange events handed down from father to son, and even at this day the older people can recall the intense interest with which, in their younger days, they listened to the recital of incidents of the notable casualty. A few years ago the writer published a partial account of the disaster in one of the St. John
newspapers, * and since then he has gathered further facts which now enable him to present the story in a
form worthy of preservation by the students of local history.


Published in: on August 2, 2008 at 4:49 am  Comments (11)  

Sailor’s Story

Sailor’s Story

According to the Stevens Point Journal
July 10, 1896

Clever Canine Employed at Wood Island Lighthouse

There is a dog up on the Maine Coast, which is a valued and valuable assistant at the lighthouse. According to the Portland Daily Argus, the animal is the only dog regularly employed at any lighthouse in the district and he performs his duties in a manner that is perfectly satisfactory.
He is attached to the lighthouse at Wood Island off Biddeford Pool and has been there for a number of years. He is the constant companion of the keeper and has learned much of the duties of one of Uncle Sam’s lonely watchers.
It is customary for vessels passing Wood Island to give three blasts of the whistle as a salute. At such times, the dog runs to the bell rope, seizes it in his mouth and tugs rigorously. The dog never rings the bell except at the right time and never misses ringing it when it should be rung.
Captain Oliver of the excursion steamer Forest Queen, was the first seaman to hear of the four footed helper that the keeper of Wood Island Lighthouse had trained to ring the bell. Several hundred excursionists on the boat saw the dog tugging at the bell rope, and they afterwards made inquiries about the matter.
They learned that it was an old story with the dog and that during a fog, the patient animal rings the bell without complaining for hours at a time. He has never been known to desert his post, which is more than can be said of some men engaged to ring fog bells and tend lighthouses.
At nearly every lighthouse that guards the coast, there is one dog and sometimes the keepers have several. They help to while away the long lonesome hours and are almost as good as humane companions. But, so far as is known, the dog pictured herewith is the only one that has proven to be of any real service to his master.
It is perhaps needless to say that the dog is highly valued by his owner and money would not buy him. He is a mongrel dog being more of a shepherd that anything else. No particular effort was made to teach him his duty. He “picked it up” from observation and it took few lessons to make him perfect.
The animal is perfectly contented with his lot in life, and as he is well fed and well housed, he has no reason to complain that he has been forced to leave off the usual habits of doghood  and tug at the end of a rope to ring a bell which will warn mariners who have lost their way in the fog.

Published in: on August 2, 2008 at 3:59 am  Leave a Comment