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…”