Patricia’s Picks September 2020

Autograph Album, Mary B. Kirk, 1835 (Poem by M. Fitzwater, 1836)

Autograph Album, 1983.0107.0008

The popular Irish Blessing, “May the road rise up to meet you…may God hold you in the palm of His hand,” exhibits amazing similarity to my next selection found between the pages of Mary Kirk’s autograph book written by M. Fitzwater in 1835.  Fitzwater’s intense faith, strong spirituality, and ability to express those feelings are apparent as evidenced throughout each verse.  A particularly poignant line reads, “…and when length of years makes thee tired of earthly joys, and the curtain of death gently closes round the last sleep of human existence, may the angels of God attend thy bed and guard the expiring lamp of life…”

Autograph Album: Mary B. Kirk, 1835 (Poem: “Friendship”)

Autograph Album, 1983.0107.0008

My selection this week touches upon the meaning of friendship.  The sentiments expressed in this poem written in Mary’s album by “Emily” hold as true in 1839 as it does in 2020.  Emily wrote that “Friendship! How pleasing is that sound, to those who know its meaning true!  And yet, how few on earth are found…”  Emily makes her message clear in the last stanza when she writes, “…those only who with hearts the same, at friendships holy alter kneel—know the true meaning of that name.”

Autograph Album: Mary B. Kirk, 1835 (Poem: “How Beautiful”)

Autograph Album, 1983.0107.0008

This poem caught my attention due to its darker nature, seeming antithetical to the other works found within the remainder of the book.  Penned by “Sarah” her contribution to Mary B. Kirk’s autograph book describes the beauty of nature and “how beautiful is this fair world—there’s not a leaf that falls within the forest not a flower that springs beneath our footstep not a twinkling star that gems the hour of night but gives the heart a lesson it should ne’er forget of peace and innocence..”  Sarah closes her poem with a question, “Oh why will man transform this gentle paradise of sweets to a dark waste of sorrow and sin.”

Book list: Caleb Edward Iddings, 1894-1903

Book List, 2004.0013.0001

This month I wish to highlight an amazing book list created by Dr. Caleb Edward Iddings in the 19th century. The titles found within Dr. Iddings notebook reflects a man of uncommon intellect, as well as one who appreciates all peoples regardless of their gender, religion, or ethnicity. It seems to me that perhaps, Caleb Edward Iddings was a man ahead of his time. This is a minute sampling of a vast collection of titles.

1. Israel Zangwill, Children of the Ghetto: A Study of a Peculiar People
2. Anatole France, The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard
3. James Anthony Froude, English Seamen in the Sixteenth Century
4. Richard Harding Davis, Our English Cousins
5. Recollections of the French Revolution
6. Peter the Great
7. Mansfield Park, Jane Austin
8. Edward Bellamy, Equality
9. Marietta, Samantha Among the Colored Folks. “My Ideas on the Race Problem”
10. B. H. Davis, Our English Cousins