Drafted in WWII

4.2.7The United States entry into World War II was a difficult time, especially as the draft board began calling up men for military service. This appeal letter was written on behalf of my father by his employer.


January 16, 1941


          I am asking for your consideration in classifying Harvey Simmelink, who is in my employ as manager of the Manlius Milk Products Company of Manlius, Illinois. My reason for doing so is that I am not in a position to replace Mr. Simmelink with a man that will be able to operate that plant as he is.
          It takes years of special training to learn to make a quality cheese which the trade demands today. Besides that, Mr. Simmelink has the acquaintance, personality and the respect that is required of a manager to make a plant like the one he is in charge of operate successfully in its respective community. The experience and qualifications Mr. Simmelink possesses are outstanding in his profession and he would not be very easily replaced, if at all.
          I would be the last one to claim exemption for any of my help which could readily be replaced, but in this particular case it is otherwise. Harvey Simmelink has been in my employ for better than five years and it is through his efforts that the Manlius Plant has served that community as well as it has.
          In view of the fact that Mr. Simmelink’s work consists of manufacturing food product which is of vital importance, I trust you will consider my request in classifying Mr. Simmelink so he will be allowed to remain in his present position.

Respectfully yours,
Axel Madsen

The letter and an appeal hearing delayed Dad’s induction but he was eventually drafted into the Army in 1942.

Photo from National WWII Museum


If You Lived With The Sioux

If You Lived With THE SIOUX INDIANS is a fun book for children. It offers lots of information about Sioux life in the 1800s.  It is written as a series of questions and answers. Here is a sample:

What would your very first lesson be?

You would learn your very first lesson in the very first hour of your life. Newborn babies leaned how not to cry out loud.

As soon as you made a crying sound, your mother would gently pinch your nose and put her hand over your mouth. Every time you began to cry, she did this. Soon you would learn not to cry out loud.

Why was this lesson so important?…Suppose you cried out loud when your tribe was hiding from the enemy. Your loud cry would give away the tribe’s hiding place. 

If You Lived with the Sioux Indians by Ann McGovern was published by Scholastic in 1972.  It has been reissued in paperback and Kindle formats.

Published in: on May 18, 2015 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Studying Indians

Densmore Frances Densmore (1867-1957) was born in Minnesota. She studied music at Oberlin College and taught music on Indian reservations. In 1907 she began recording Native American music for the Smithsonian Institution’s Bureau of American Ethnology. In 1926 she wrote a book, Indians and Their Music.

In 1974 Frances published a book titled How Indians Use Wild Plants. She studied the Chippewa people of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada. For example, a headache could be treated with a plant called dogbane.

Four pieces of dogbane root, each about the size of a pea, were crumbled into powder with a rock. It could be used in three ways. (1) The person with a headache snuffed the powder into his nose. (2) Powdered root was sprinkled on a hot stone and the person covered his head with a blanket to inhale the dogbane fumes. (3) Small cuts were made in the person’s temples. Powdered dogbane root was mixed with a little water and applied to the cuts with a duck down feather.

Emerald Fairy Book, Part Four

Bianco Margery Williams Bianco (1881-1944) was an English-American author of popular children’s books. Her family moved to the United States in 1890. She returned to England in 1901 where her first stories and a novel were published. Her story “The Blue Dragon” was included in The Emerald Fairy Book, Ralph Tuck & Sons 1901 (under the name Margery Williams).
          Margery married, travelled in Europe, had two children, and returned to the United States after World War I. She found lasting fame at forty-one with the 1922 publication of her best-known work, The Velveteen Rabbit. It was her first American publication.
          Margery continued to write for children and young adults. She died just as her final book, Forward Commandos!, went on sale in 1944.

Emerald Fairy Book, Part 3

SDC10657Dorothy Furniss, illustrator (1879-1944)

Dorothy began her career in England working with her father, illustrator Harry Furniss (1854-1925). He contributed over 2,600 drawings to the famous British magazine Punch and illustrated two of Lewis Carroll’s books.
          While much of Dorothy’s work was in collaboration with her father, she found her own opportunities, such as The Emerald Fairy Book and Eve’s Adventures: a submarine fantasy in 1904. 
          The family moved to America in the early 1900s where Harry pioneered the first animated cartoon film for Thomas Edison and wrote a number of books. Dorothy continued as an illustrator and also produced several books on drawing.
Thomas Noyes-Lewis (1862-1946) was primarily known for his religious illustrations. He occasionally produced work such as this image for The Emerald Fairy Book.

Emerald Fairy Book, Part 2

BrundageFrances Brundage (1854–1937) contributed six full-page, color illustrations to The Emerald Fairy Book.
          She was an American illustrator known for endearing images of children. Her father, Rembrandt Lockwood, trained her as an artist. He abandoned the family when Frances was 17. She was able to support herself with her art skills.  In 1886 she married artist William Tyson Brundage.       
          Frances’ first published professional work was a sketch illustrating a poem by Louisa May Alcott. The work was purchased by Ms. Alcott. 
          In the 1890s, illustrator Maud Humphrey was the favorite of American publishers. However, international publishers Raphael Tuck & Sons in London, and Wolff Hagelberg in Berlin, chose Frances’ work for their American market publications. From 1899-1910 she was the largest presence in U.S. art paper. Her illustrations appeared in children’s books and on postcards, advertising cards, and paper dolls.

Clifton Bingham (1859-1913) wrote a story in verse for The Emerald Fairy Book. It begins:
A pirate bold, in days of old,
Sets forth to roam the sea;
Though he was only six years old
A Rover he would be.
Clifton was born in in Bristol, England. Soon after his father’s death, he entered the family’s extensive bookselling business at the age of 16.
          When his mother died (about 1881) and the bookselling business was sold, Clifton joined the staff of the Cheltenham Examiner as drama critic, among other assignments. He also began to contribute short stories to newspapers and magazines.
          Clifton also wrote music and lyrics. When he found his lyrics and verses in demand, he moved to London in 1886. There, he wrote the words for “Dear Heart” and “Love’s Old Sweet Song.”  
          At his death, The London Times reported he had published 1,650 songs. Clifton Bingham provided many verses for the lavishly printed picture books produced by Raphael Tuck.

More Old Books

The Emerald Fairy Book was a gift from a British grandfather to an American grandson. The inscription on the fly page reads: “For the dear Arthur from Grandpapa, Christmas 1901.”
          Grandpapa was Joseph Henry Collins of England. He owned an international mining consulting company, J.H. Collins & Sons, Mining and Metallurgical Engineers located in London.
          Two of his sons, George and Arthur (born 1868 in Turo, Cornwall, England), came to America in 1894 to manage company mining interests in Colorado. The following year, Arthur married Margaret Morton Becker, daughter of Judge Clayton F. Becker. The couple had two sons: Arthur Jr. and Lawrence.
          In 1899 Arthur Collins became general manager of the Smuggler-Union Mining Company which operated a silver mine near Telluride, Colorado. Arthur made changes in mining operations that angered the miners and their union. He refused to bargain with the union and 350 miners walked off the job on May 1, 1901. After a shooting incident and intervention by Arthur’s older brother, George, the strike was settled.
          On 19 November 1902, Arthur was playing cards in the mine manager’s house. An unidentified person poked a shotgun through the open window and mortally wounded Arthur.  
          Governor James Orman ordered the rail route cleared so that a special train carrying two doctors and Mrs. Collins could race non-stop from Denver to Telluride. The doctors were unable to save Arthur and he died the following day, November 21, 1902.
          The Emerald Fairy Book, part of Father Tuck’s Golden Gift Series, is a lovely collection of stories by various British authors with illustrations on every pair of pages.
          Read more about the authors and illustrators in the next several blog posts.

The credits:
Stories and Poems by Clifton Bingham, Grace C. Floyd, M.A. Hoyer, etc.
Illustrated by F. Brundage, Dorothy Furniss, T. Noyes Lewis, etc.
Edited by Edric Vredenburg
Published by Raphael Tuck & Sons, Ltd.
Art Publishing by Royal Warrant
Printed in England as part of Father Tuck’s Golden Gift Series, with stories by various British authors, including Clifton Bingham, Grace C. Floyd, and M.A. Hoyer.
Beautiful illustrations enhance every pair of pages.


Old Books

GeographyOld books are intriguing, not only for their content but for the persons who may have owned them.
          One such book on my shelves is Natural Elementary Geography. It was published by the American Book Company, copyright 1897. My copy appears to be a later printing since it reports 1900 census data. Authors are Jacques W. Redway and Russell Hinman
          The Preface page notes the book is “designed for a pupil’s first text-book in the subject, and is intended for a two-year’s course between the beginning of the third and the end of the fifth school year.” You might expect this to be quite a thick volume to occupy students for two years. The 8”x 10” book has only 144 pages and there are lots of illustrations.
          Another Preface note states, “…one of the most important functions of elementary geography is to teach the names, locations, and characteristics of the countries into which man has divided the earth.”
          While the purpose was to prepare students for more intense study in higher grades, it also offered basic knowledge for “the large proportion of pupils who leave school at an early age.” (Between 1900 and 1919, half of the U.S. student population did not get to eighth grade, according to a 1995 study by Tyack & Cuban.)
          The boy who used this book wrote his name on the fly page: Raleigh Louis Poppe. He apparently had a crush on a girl named Isabella Murphy. He wrote her name beside his own several times in the front of the book.
          The back of the book offers two pages of world population data circa 1900.
          The United States had only 45 states. Arizona, District of Columbia, New Mexico and Oklahoma were territories, along with “Indian Territory.” The total population of the United States was 75,994,575.
          In addition, 91,219 people were listed as “Persons in U.S. service abroad.” (Today over 160,00 active-duty U.S. military personnel are deployed in more than 150 countries around the world.)
          Alaska, Hawaii, Porto (sic) Rico, Philippine Islands, Guam, Wake, and Tutuila, were listed as “Outlying Territories.”

Naming Places, Part 5

left handA number of places in Colorado are named for left-handed people. Boulder County’s Left Hand Creek was named for Andrew Sublette, a lefty fur trader.
          Not far away is the town of Niwot and Niwot Mountain. Both are named for the left handed Chief Niwot of the Arapaho.
          According to Wikipedia, “Peoples of the Andes consider left-handers to possess special spiritual abilities, including magic and healing.” The same source reports that “In tantra Buddhism, the left hand represents wisdom.”
          So, take heart you lefties!

For more information about place names in Colorado, see Colorado Place Names by George R. Eichler (1977) or Colorado Place Names by William Bright (1993).

Published in: on March 30, 2015 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Naming Places, Part 4

Rico_CourthouseA little spot in Dolores County, Colorado became very popular after silver was discovered there in 1879. Other prospectors rushed to the area hoping to make their own strike.
          A little village formed as more people arrived. They called it Carbon City, then Carbonville, then Lead City, then Dolores City. Finally, the residents held a meeting to pick a new name for their community, one they could all agree on. One man suggested calling it Rico, the Spanish word for “rich.” That was what all the people hoped to become so that became the name of their town.

For more information about place names in Colorado, see Colorado Place Names by George R. Eichler (1977) or Colorado Place Names by William Bright (1993).

Published in: on March 23, 2015 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 36 other followers