Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A page on books...from her book

This is a page from a book that Margretta (Blay) Johns kept to record births, marriages, deaths, addresses and other information. This page lists books. Was she listing them because they were books she read and enjoyed? Or was it a list of books she wanted to read? I don't know. But I wanted to learn more about the books and the authors, and I'm bringing you along on my search: I've listed the books (linked to either Internet Archive or Project Gutenberg), the author (linked to Wikipedia) and reviews or quotes from various sites. I enjoyed this small glimpse into her life and finding out more about the types of books she (probably) read.

John Galsworthy

"They who have known the doldrums--how the sails of the listless ship droop, and the hope of escape dies day by day--may understand something of the life Gyp began living now. On a ship, even doldrums come to an end. But a young woman of twenty-three, who has made a mistake in her marriage, and has only herself to blame, looks forward to no end." (quote from Fantastic Fiction)

"To the reader with a critical instinct, the first impression made by Mr. Galsworthy's new novel, The Dark Flower, is that of keen delight at the sheer technical skill of it, the beautiful symmetry of its structure and its symbolism. It is only after enjoying this feature to the utmost that such lovers of fine artistry will begin to enjoy the equally fine interpretation of an almost universal phase of human life." — The Bookman (December, 1913) - (editorial review from Amazon)

"The story is divided into three epochs, "Spring," "Summer"and "Autumn" three great passions in a man's life belonging respectively to his youth, his maturity and his middle age. Of the three women who successively inspire these three passions, the first might almost have been his mother, the second was of suitable age to be his wife, and the third could easily been his daughter. Such is the substance of "The Dark Flower," a curiously interesting and probing study of man's passions and woman's weakness." (quote is from Fantastic Fiction)

Harold Bell Wright

"The shepherd, an elderly, mysterious, learned man, escapes the buzzing restlessness of the city to live in the backwoods neighborhood of Mutton Hollow in the Ozark hills. There he encounters Jim Lane, Grant Matthews, Sammy, Young Matt, and other residents of the village, and gradually learns to find a peace about the losses he has borne and has yet to bear. Through the shepherd and those around him, Wright assembles here a gentle and utterly masterful commentary on strength and weakness, failure and success, tranquility and turmoil, and punishment and absolution. (editorial review from Amazon)

B. M. Bower

"A vigorous Western story, sparkling with the free, outdoor, life of a mountain ranch. Its scenes shift rapidly and its actors play the game of life fearlessly and like men. It is a fine love story from start to finish." (description from FeedBooks)

"He was hungry for a solitary ride such as had, before now, drawn much of the lonely ache out of his heart and keyed him up to the life which he must live and which chafed his spirit more than even he realized. Instead of such slender comfort, he was forced to ride beside the girl who had hurt him--so close that his knee sometimes brushed her horse-- and to listen to her friendly chatter and make answer, at times, with at least some show of civility." (editorial review from Amazon)

William MacLeod Raine

"The sun had declined almost to a saddle in the Cuesta del Burro when the sleeper reopened his eyes. Even before he had shaken himself free of sleep he was uneasily aware of something wrong. Hazily the sound of voices drifted to him across an immense space. Blurred figures crossed before his unfocused gaze." (product description on Amazon)

Gene Stratton Porter

"...the tale ...starting with the mangled body of a cardinal some marksman had left in the road she was travelling, in a fervour of love for the birds and indignation at the hunter, she told the Cardinal's life history..." (quote from Gene Stratton-Porter, A Little Story of the Life and Work and Ideals of "The Bird Woman")

"...is the uplifting story of a plucky waif without a name and without one hand, disabled since infancy. Raised in a Chicago orphanage, he survives abuse and harsh circumstances and grows up a brave, loyal, and hardworking young man with a true capacity for self-sacrifice. Freckles becomes a timber guard in the Limberlost swamp in Indiana and exhibits extraordinary courage and resourcefulness on the job. He also falls in love with the Swamp Angel, a young girl whose beauty and kindness bring out the best in others." (product description from Amazon)

"The book is an account of many species of birds that Stratton-Porter studied over the course of five years, including photographs that she took. In each chapter, she discusses a different species of bird and her experiences in the field with that species. She describes in intimate detail her encounters with birds in the Limberlost and how she photographed them in their natural habitat. Her strong feelings against harming an animal or its surroundings for the sake of nature study or photography are evident." (quote from Our Land, Our Literature)

"...uses fishing as a backdrop to tell the story of Jimmy Malone and Dannie Macnoun, who is in love with Jimmy's wife, Mary. In addition, this includes a lengthy biographical introduction on the author's life and work." (from Library Journal posted on Amazon)

"...the timeless story of an impoverished young girl, Elnora Comstock, growing up on the edge of the Limberlost swamp." (product description from Amazon)

"...a very scholarly work and required a great deal of research. It was by no means decisively popular, but was interesting and replete with illustration, some of which were collected abroad with painstaking care." (quote from Wabash Carnegie Public Library's "The Life and Work of Gene Stratton-Porter")

"While making photographs of birds in the spring of 1910, Mrs. Porter became interested in their music, calls, and sounds; the result was "Music of the Wild". She dedicated this book to her husband's brother, Dr. Miles Porter, then a physician in Fort Wayne." (quote from Wabash Carnegie Public Library's "The Life and Work of Gene Stratton-Porter")

"Gene Stratton-Porter returns us to her beloved Midwestern woodlands with a hero modeled after Henry David Thoreau. He and his "wonderful, alluring" Ruth ultimately find idyllic bliss in the pure, unspoiled woods, but not before her mysterious past is revealed and resolved." (product description from Amazon)

Marie Van Vorst

"...the story of a stenographer in love with and loved by her employer, a married Wall Street financier. In Mary Moreland, Van Vorst writes her most sophisticated discussion of the moral issues surrounding marital dissatisfaction and infidelity and creates her most complex and admirable heroine. Mary, a self-supporting suffragist dedicated to her career while searching for a passionate love that is neither compromising nor limiting, is a memorable fictional portrait of a young American woman seeking her identity in a world of shifting social and sexual values." (quote from NovelGuide.com)

Vera L. Connolly

The Lone Trail - this appears to have been a serial that appeared in "Woman's Home Companion" magazine in September and October of 1923. The author wrote other serials such as "Cry of a Broken People" (Good Housekeeping, Feb 1929) and "We Still Get Robbed" (Good Housekeeping (Mar 1929). Columbia University Libraries' Archival Collection holds the Vera L. Connolly Papers (27 boxes of her writings, correspondence, and clippings).

The Blue Book ("The Blue Book Magazine)

And finally she lists Favorite Songs - Hall and McCreary, Chicago, Ill. This appears to be a music publishing company. They published "The Golden Book of Favorite Songs" (1915), "The Gray Book of Favorite Songs" (1919), and "The Blue Book of Favorite Songs" (1924).

Tombstone Tuesday

Eleven year old Emily Susan Yunker spent the morning helping her mother bake pies. Afterward she went outside to play. She was playing around the wagon when it rolled into her; crushing her to death. The pies she baked that morning ended up being served at her funeral. She was buried at Pleasant Grove Cemetery in Moccasin, Effingham county, Illinois.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Did you wear pajamas??

My great grandparents lived through the San Francisco earthquake on 18 April 1906. I've blogged about them before (http://tinyurl.com/lxq2oy). Today while going through newspaper databases a friend found this advertisement (in The Oakland Tribune, 1 Jun 1906 issue). It made me laugh so I thought I would share.

Don't you just love historical newspapers?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

So close...and yet so far...

Lenore (Hille) Prehn was a special representative for the Southwestern Division of the Red Cross. She had been on the road in Oklahoma visiting some of the 45 charters under her supervision, and on December 21st, 1919 was heading home to be with her family for Christmas. The train she was traveling on (the Frisco Passenger #10) broke an axel and derailed 3 miles east of St. James, Missouri. Lenore was one of two people killed in the accident (the other being J.O. Hopper of West Virginia). Besides her husband, Wiliam Phillip Prehn, she left two young children. She was buried in Kirkwood at Forever Oak Hill Cemetery (Missouri) on Christmas Eve. You can read about the accident here.

She was so close to making it home...yet so far away.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ding Dong, Strawbridge & Clothier calling...

My grandfather's brother, John Ivor Davis/Davies (on the left in the above picture), worked as a delivery man/driver for Strawbridge & Clothier Department Store in Phildelphia in the early 1900's. Wikipedia has a page on the store's history that included the following:
The store began as a dry goods store and was founded by Quakers Justus Clayton Strawbridge (1838-1911) and Isaac Hallowell Clothier (1838-1911) in Philadelphia in 1862. In 1868 Strawbridge & Clothier purchased a 3-story brick building on the northeast corner of Market and 8th Streets in Center City Philadelphia, which had been Thomas Jefferson's office in 1790 while he served as Secretary of State, and opened their first store. But soon the old building was replaced by a new 5-story department store offering a variety of fixed price merchandise under one roof.
In the above picture (dated 30 Oct 1912) he's driving the delivery truck. The picture below was taken at a "farwell party" on 18 Apr 1915. John Ivor is in the back holding the child (not his child).
You can see a photograph of the store with delivery trucks and drivers lined up here. Based on the style of vehicles, it appears the photo was taken about the time John worked for the store.
In 1911, the Strawbridge motto evolved from "Small profits, one price, for cash only," into the trademark "Seal of Confidence," which featured William Penn and the chief of the Leni-Lenape shaking hands to cement a treaty. You can see their trademark on the postcard pictured at Remembering Great American Department Stores.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bathing beauty????

This is my great grandfather, Robert William Johns. Unfortunately, the photo doesn't have a date on it. I don't know anything about cars or dating them. The Model T Showroom website has similar "looking" vehicles (based on looking at the windshield, radiator cap, tires and fenders) that are dated in the early 1920's. The website Ford T 1921 for Sale has photographs that look very similar. The Beefcake Swimwear: A visual scrapbook of vintage men's beachwear website shows similar swimsuit designs from the early to mid 1920's. Of course I can't determine the age of the vehicle or the swimsuit at the time the photo was taken, but I would guess late 1920's.
Looking at this photo always made my Dad chuckle, and I can understand why...I love those knees!

Tombstone Tuesday

Leah (Evinger) Burtner, wife of Jacob Burtner died 7 Dec 1849, age 21 yrs
buried Otterbein Cemetery, Hutton Twp, Coshocton county, Ohio

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Passenger number 105...


Henry Prehn (Heinrich Prehn) came to the United States from Germany on the ship Bremen on May 12, 1857...he was passenger number 105.

He arrived in New Orleans, but ended up living in Webster Groves, Missouri. The following is a biographical sketch of Henry that was published in the "History of St. Louis County," by William L. Thomas, 1911, pg. 72-77:

HENRY PREHN
The record of Henry Prehn is but another illustration of the fact that character and ability will always come to the front, no matter what the early environment of a man may have been, for from a humble position he has worked his way up in the business world until he ranks among the men of prominence in commercial and financial circles in Webster Groves.

He was born in Germany on the 21st of January, 1833, a son of John Henry and Margaret (Kniff) Prehn, who passed their entire lives in the fatherland. In the schools of his native country Henry Prehn acquired his education and he assisted his father in the work of the home farm until his ambitious spirit prompted him to seek advancement in the business world. Determining to try the opportunities which he heard were open to enterprising youth in the new world he left home and friends and sailed for America, arrive at New Orleans in April, 1857. He continued his journey up the Mississippi river to St. Louis, Missouri, and thence to Gasconade county, this state, where he remained for a short time.

When he returned to St. Louis his entire capital amounted to but two dollars and fifty cents and he at once sought work by which he could provide for his support. He engaged in truck gardening around that city for about six months, after which he came to Webster Groves, and here was employed at various occupations, scorning no avenue through which he could earn an honest living. His time was thus employed until 1867 when, with the money which he had been able to save as a result of constant exertion, unfaltering perseverance and the most rigid economy, he purchased a small stock of goods and opened up a grocery store at this place, with which line of activity he has since been identified. The business had a small beginning, but its gradual expanse, in time, made it one of the most important enterprises of its kind in the city. In 1875 he added a feed department and his trade has now reached most gratifying proportions. The secret of his success lies in the fact that he has never been afraid of work, laboring earnestly and diligently toward the goal of independence, while his methods have ever been honest and aboveboard, never taking advantage of the necessities of others to further his own ends. Putting forth his efforts in financial fields, he assisted in organizing the Bank of Webster Groves and also the Trust Company of Webster Groves, and is now serving as director in both institutions.

Mr. Prehn was married twice. On the 21st of January 1862, he wedded Miss Johanna Leue, and they became the parents of two children: John Henry; and Minnie, the wife of John Carr, of San Francisco, California. The wife and mother passed away in 1871, and on the 21st of January, 1872, he married Miss Mary Caroline Bangert. Unto this union were born nine children, of whom one, John, passed away in infancy. The surviving members are: Louise, the wife of Louis Roemmer, of Pacific, Missouri; Fred, who is associated with his father in business; and William, Carrie, Charles, Robert, Catherine and Walter, all of whom are living at home.

Mr. Prehn and his family hold membership in the First Congregational church of Webster Groves and are well known in the social circles of his community. During the time of the Civil war he served as sergeant of the Home Militia, and in politics he has ever been a stanch republican, giving his allegiance to the party which stood as the support of the Union during the dark days of the Rebellion. He served as postmaster of Webster Groves under the administration of President Hayes, but aside from that office has never sought nor desired political preferment. No citizen, however, is more deeply interested in the welfare of the community in which he resides, for not only has he been progressive and successful in business, but has supported every public movement which has to do with the development and improvement of this district, and is a strong advocate of all those things which are a matter of civic virtue and of civic pride. He is a familiar figure in the community in which he has so long labored, and those who know him respect him for his sterling personal worth as well as for the business ability he manifests, and in all relations of life he measures up to the full standard of honorable, upright manhood.

Heinrich applied for citizenship in St. Louis Co., MO. His oath of allegience was found in FHL Film #1509835, Vol. A, Pg. 428.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday...

Stephen Medbury died May 2 1856 (aged 85 years, 6 mos, 6 das), buried New Berlin (Greenwood Cemetery), Chenango, New York, USA

Monday, June 08, 2009

A thing of beauty...

I was at Sutro Library (San Francisco) today looking through San Francisco city directories. My grand parents and great grand parents each ran restaurants in the city. I was trying to find the exact location of those restaurants. In the late 1940s my grandparents (Dave & Melvina Davis) operated a small cafe next to the Fox Theater called the Gold Room.

In the following photo (circa 1945 from the San Francisco Public Library web site http://sfpl.org/) shows a crowd outside the Fox Theater. If you look to the left edge of the photo you can see the small sign identifying the Gold Room.

Both of my parents worked at this restaurant before they were married. This is where their famous "hamburger in the face" incident took place.

I knew that the restaurant was next to the Fox Theater, but I never realized what a magical place the theater was. Wow! is all I can say. It was built in 1929 and torn town in 1963. The following picture (from the William Swain Collection http://tinyurl.com/ndzs82) shows the "grand staircase" in the main lobby. What a sad loss of San Francisco. You can see more images of the Fox Theater at http://tinyurl.com/lju7vg.

I have a menu from the Gold Room. When vagrants came into the restaurant begging for money, my grandfather told them he wouldn't give them cash, but if they were truly hungry he would feed them. They could order anything they wanted from the menu.