Lydia’s Picks July 2020

Miscellanea found in a ledger of Caleb Edward Iddings, 1888-1901

Advertisement, found in 2004.0004.0005
My days are often brightened by the bits and bobs we find tucked into diaries or ledgers. While often unremarkable scratchings and miscellanea, these stray pieces survive decades and even centuries by simply been unthinkingly slipped between random pages; it feels so personal, a little like preserving the contents of one’s pockets or purse on any given day. When I came across this gem hidden inside one of Dr. Caleb Edward Iddings’ ledgers, I gasped. Who knew creosote could be medicinal!

Letter: John H.B. Latrobe to Edward Stabler, 1845

Letter, 2001.0001.0017g-i

These three letters from John H.B. Latrobe to Edward Stabler were written between March 16th and April 4th, 1845 in which designs for a stamp for the State of Maryland are discussed. That these two gentlemen collaborated on such a task is somewhat unremarkable; after all, Stabler was a seal maker and Latrobe an engineer. What captures my interest is that both men were true polymaths: Stabler was also a farmer, the postmaster of Sandy Spring, and the head of the Mutual Fire Insurance Company; Latrobe was also a patent lawyer, an inventor (the Latrobe stove), and founding member of the Maryland Historical Association and the American Bar Association.  It’s fun to imagine how the genius of one may have fed off of (or collided with) the other.

Diary of Caleb E. Iddings, 1904-1905

Diary, 1983.0083.0036

This particular diary is a bittersweet testament to marital devotion. Dr. Caleb Edward Iddings was a lifelong diarist faithfully recording his daily experiences throughout his entire adult life. In the year of his death, he continued to write daily until mid-February, after which his wife Harriet begins to sporadically add notes of Dr. Iddings’ declining health and of visitors offering well wishes. Following his passing on June 4, 1904, Harriet picks up the pen and begins a daily chronicle in same book, continuing ritual for many years afterward.

Club Minutes: Mutual Improvement Association, Feb. 7, 1918 and Scrapbook: Deborah Iddings, 1913-1921

Club Minutes, 2004.0018.0011 (left); Scrapbook, 2009.0040.0051 (right)

I had to giggle when I saw how these two items together illustrate that generation gaps have existed long before the “OK Boomer” crowd! A discussion of the “unladylike and deleterious habit of chewing gum” among the younger generation ensued during the February meeting of The Mutual Improvement Association in 1918. The women rested assured, however, saying that their “dear Sandy Spring is comparatively clear of girls addicted to this disgusting habit”.  That said, in browsing the scrapbook of a young Deborah Willson (nee Iddings) from the same period I found, nestled among her most treasured memories and mementos, two gum wrappers!   The irony is that Deborah eventually joined the club herself as an adult and I am sure her future self engaged in many discussions regarding the “younger generation.”

Derek’s Picks July 2020

George Ellicott Survey Book, 1794

Daybook, 20009.0028.0017
One of the oldest holdings in the Sandy Spring Museum Archives is the Survey Notebook of George Ellicott.  George, son of Ellicott Mill founder Andrew Ellicott, married Elizabeth Brooke (daughter of James Brooke Jr.) in 1790.  She recently inherited part of her father’s share of Pioneer Settler James Brooke’s vast estate. Reading this Survey Notebook of the Sandy Spring region reveals all the commonly known land patents – Charley Forrest, Brooke Grove, Gittings Ha-Ha, and Brooke Black Meadow.  It also introduces you to some cleverly named new ones – Hard Bought, Bear Garden Forrest, Pork Plenty, and many more!  It is obvious that George Ellicott is very interested in documenting his wife’s newly acquired land holdings.  Their daughter, Elizabeth Ellicott, would marry Thomas Lea and later go on to national fame as the author of a famous cookbook!

The Community Council of Sandy Spring Neighborhood Minutes from 1930

Minutes, VF-Community Council

Before the days of Homeowner Associations and Civic Associations, there was the Community Council of Sandy Spring Neighborhood. The Community Council engaged with local governments on behalf of the Sandy Spring Clubs to effect positive change in the Sandy Spring Community. Road improvements, landscaping, electricity, water, and sewer were all hot topics. It’s fun to read about the Council’s concerns regarding development and compare it with the issues local residents face today.

Club Minutes: The Neighbors, 1914-1923

Club Minutes, 2009.0018.0001

In 1921, The Neighbors, a Sandy Spring Social Club, formed a Committee to develop a “Sandy Spring Creed”.  The idea was to communicate the spirit of unity embodied by Sandy Springers.   Contributions from the community were submitted and the Committee announced the winner at the 268th meeting held August 18, 1921.  The winning entry, written by Huldah Janney, is timeless and inspires us to act selflessly, especially during these trying times.  You can also read the other entries that were submitted to the Committee by reading the previous pages.

Diary: James P. Stabler, 1827 (Volume 1)

Diaries – 2012.0006.0006

James Pleasants Stabler, the first Postmaster of Sandy Spring and part-owner of the Sandy Spring Store, had recently suffered through the death of his wife Elizabeth Gilpin and 3 children when he decided to take a Trans-Atlantic journey in 1827.  He kept a meticulous journal(s) of his adventure.  Volume 1 starts on June 16, 1827, and spans 28 days – the time it took the packet ship “Pacific” to cross the Atlantic from New York to Liverpool.  Packet Ships were similar to the airlines of today, in that they kept regular schedules between major cities.   Reading his detailed diary will teach you about the risks and hardships undertaken by the crews and passengers of the packet ship vessels that sailed the oceans between continents.  In addition, we learn what life was like on board the ship for Stabler and his fellow passengers and what they did to while away the many days spent at sea.

Sara’s Picks July 2020

Poetry celebrating 25th wedding anniversary of John C. and Cornelia H. Bentley, 1907

This is a collection of poems and notes that celebrate the 25th anniversary of John and Cornelia Bentley. The friends and family of the Bentley’s wrote these words and they are sweet mementos from this occasion. I like the creativity of their friends and the ways that they sent their congratulations.

Invitation: New Zealand Ambassador and Mrs. Munro to Mr. and Mrs. J. Bentley, 1954

Invitation, 1997.0005.0137

This invitation to the New Zealand embassy is very interesting to me as this is an international link to the Bentley’s in the Sandy Spring community. I imagine that attending a cocktail party at an embassy is a classy event and it is interesting to see the handwritten note that is included in this invitation. Clearly the Bentley’s knew some people in high places!

Caricature: by (Earl D.) Chesney baseball of Jack Bentley

Caricature, 1997.0005.0128

Caricatures are always interesting because they highlight a specific aspect of one’s personality or persona. This drawing of Jack Bentley displays his baseball career in a really dynamic way. I especially like the action lines around his exaggerated foot that give the feeling of movement or momentum as he winds up to throw the ball.


Letter: to editor of American Farmer

Letter, 2001.0001.0018aa

Gardening has seen a resurgence and expansion during the coronavirus shutdowns, many are cultivating their land and seeing what varied items they can try to grow. An important aspect to gardening and farming is using fertilizer to add essential nutrients for growth. This letter is an interesting description of bat guano, a fertilizer famously introduced to Sandy Spring in the 19th century, which was traded from Peru.

Patricia’s Picks July 2020

Diary:  Ellen Stabler, 1917

Diary, 2001.0019.0040
Fifteen-year-old John Caleb Bentley’s copybook will astonish you with not only the detailed complexities of his equations but also the eloquence of his penmanship.  As a bonus, John has a habit of doodling in the margins, which gives you a little insight into what a teenager in 1865 thinks about while in school.

Club Minutes:  Horticultural Society, April 1863

Club Minutes, 2001.0020.0001

Have you ever been faced with a dreaded mole invasion in your garden?  Apparently the Horticultural Club in April 1863 was facing the same problem as noted in their minutes, “Question: How do you get rid of moles? Answer: Unknown.” Well, some things don’t change with the passing of time. Or, how about this one, “Question: how do you raise broccoli? Answer: as cabbage.” So, I wonder how you raise cabbage!

Scrapbook: Clippings about Sophia Kummer Pierce and relatives, 1923-1932

Scrapbook, 2000.0005.0294

Those who disparage a diet that includes tea and coffee haven’t heard of Mrs. Sophia Kummer Pierce of Montgomery County.  Born in 1824, Sophia lived to be 103 years and credits her long life to “simple living, hard work and a firm belief in the goodness of Divine Providence.”  She noted that she used tea and coffee all her life and it had not hurt her!  Sophie’s husband, Edward Pierce who spent many years in California during the gold rush, must have shared her penchant for coffee, as he lived for 94 years!    Look through this scrapbook dedicated to Sophie’s life and you will wish you’d met this charming centenarian!

Poem: John (Jack) N. Bentley, 1918

Poem, 1997.0005.0434
Local celebrity, Jack Bentley (1895-1969) adhered to his Quaker beliefs and strong family ties throughout his career as both a minor and major league baseball player, a WWI lieutenant stationed in Europe, and as the proud breeder of his beloved champion hunting dogs.   During an interview with Ralph Graber, Bentley remarked, “One thing that I have learned to do is don’t worry.  In France, I never worried.  When I was under fire, sleeping on the ground, listening to exploding shells, I used to say to myself, ‘well, I might be in the hospital or cemetery.’ You have to take things as they come in baseball as elsewhere.”  Not only was Jack a “philosopher,” but he was also a talented poet in his own right, which brings us to this month’s pick entitled, “On the Battle Fields of Old France…” written in 1918.  As you read through the verses, one can easily be transported onto the “…Battle Fields of Old France…”