Archive by Author
maid

A Tribute to Old Maids

In a little work entitled “Our Peculiarities,” by Viscountess Combermere, there is the following fine tribute to the class of old maids:

These single women, whom it is the cant of society to ridicule, may have often postponed their own settlement in life from the highest motives; filial devotion has, perhaps, engrossed them so entirely in early life that no selfish object diverted them from its holy duties.

It was sufficient to satisfy affection and to supersede hope; for the devoted, generous child, from the intensity of her love, has felt that the future must ever be a blank, when the interest that engrosses the present is withdrawn by death; and this dreary prospect adds another motive to her tenderness.

(more…)


steam-explosion-og

Scene of the Fatal Explosion in Philadelphia

Frank Leslie’s Weekly, founded in 1855 and continued until 1922, was an American illustrated news publication started by publisher and illustrator Frank Leslie. While only 30 copies of the first edition were printed, by 1897 its circulation had grown to an estimated 65,000 copies.

Our illustration represents the scene of the explosion of a steam-boiler, which occurred on the afternoon of June the 6th, at the steam saw-mill, occupied by Geary & Ward, No. 1,024 Sansom street, Philadelphia.

The explosion occurred at about six in the afternoon, and reduced the structure to a mass of ruins, nearly every person about the building being buried beneath the debris. Search was immediately commenced for the unfortunate beings, but before any of them were rescued, a fire broke out where the most of them were buried, and in a very short space of time the entire pile of rubbish was one mass of flames.

The shrieks of the men who were thus fastened in the very jaws of death were heartrending in the extreme, but all efforts of the firemen to rescue those who were smothering and burning to death were unavailing. About eight o’clock the fire was subdued, and search at once commenced. In a few minutes a number of bodies, blackened, scarred and disfigurred beyond recognition, were removed. The search continued during the entire night, and is still progressing. Ten bodies have been recovered from the ruins, and others it is feared are lost.

(more…)


cabin

Advice for People of Moderate Fortune

Lydia Maria ChildIf you are about to furnish a house, do not spend all your money, be it much or little. Do not let the beauty of this thing, and the cheapness of that, tempt you to buy unnecessary articles. Dr. Franklin’s maxim was a wise one, “Nothing is cheap which you do not want.”

Buy merely what is absolutely necessary, and let experience of your wants and your means dictate what shall be afterwards obtained. If you spend all at first, you will find you have bought many things you do not want, and omitted many you do want. Begin cautiously. As riches increase, increase in hospitality and splendor; but it is always painful and inconvenient to decrease.
After all, these things are viewed in their proper light by the judicious and respectable. Neatness, tastefulness and good sense, may be shown in the management of a small household, and the arrangement of a little furniture, as well as upon a large scale. The consideration gained by living beyond one’s income, is not actually worth the trouble it costs. The glare there is about such false, wicked parade, is deceptive; it does not, in fact, procure valuable friends or extensive influence. More than that, it is wrong, morally wrong, so far as the individual is concerned; and injurious, beyond calculation, to the interests of our country. – To what are the increasing beggary and discouraged exertions of the present day owing? A multitude of causes no doubt tend to increase the evils, but the root of the whole matter is the extravagance of all classes of people!

We never shall be prosperous, till we have sufficient moral courage to make pride and vanity yield to the dictates of honesty and prudence. We never shall be free from embarrassment till we cease to be ashamed of industry and economy! Let woman aid in the needful reformation. Let their husbands and fathers see them happy without finery; and if their friends have, as is often the case, a foolish pride in seeing them decorated, let them silently and gradually check this felling, by showing that they have better means of commanding respect. Let the exercise of ingenuity, economy and neatness prove that good taste and gentility are attainable without great expense.


– Mrs. Lydia Maria Child

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.

Source: The North Star, June 16, 1848
Photo:  Historic American Buildings Survey Arthur C. Haskell, Photographer Oct. 17, 1935 (e) INT.- WEST WALL & FIREPLACE, SITTING ROOM – Timothy Wood House, Halifax, Plymouth County, MA


lincoln-emanicipation

New Online: Abraham Lincoln Library Abolitionist Books

The development of our newest Civil War collection, Part VII: Abraham Lincoln Library Abolitionist Books is coming along quickly. These twenty-one items are now fully searchable.

  • A DEFENCE OF SOUTHERN SLAVERY. AGAINST THE ATTACKS OF HENRY CLAY AND ALEX’R. CAMPBELL.
  • ABOLITION PETITIONS.
  • AN ESSAY ON LIBERTY AND SLAVERY.
  • AN ESSAY ON SLAVERY AND ABOLITIONISM, WITH REFERENCE TO THE DUTY OF AMERICAN FEMALES.
  • AN INQUIRY INTO THE CONDITION AND PROSPECTS OF THE AFRICAN RACE IN THE UNITED STATES: AND THE MEANS OF BETTERING ITS FORTUNES.
  • ANNUAL REPORT OF THE AMERICAN ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY, BY THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, FOR THE YEAR ENDING MAY 1, 1860.
  • ANNUAL REPORTS OF THE AMERICAN ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY, BY THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, FOR THE YEARS ENDING MAY 1, 1857, AND MAY 1, 1858.
  • MINUTES OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF A SPECIAL MEETING OF THE FIFTEENTH AMERICAN CONVENTION FOR PROMOTING THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY, AND IMPROVING THE CONDITION OF THE AFRICAN RACE, ASSEMBLED AT PHILADELPHIA, ON THE TENTH DAY OF DECEMBER, 1818, AND CONTINUED BY ADJOURNMENTS UNTIL THE FIFTEENTH OF THE SAME MONTH, INCLUSIVE.
  • NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS, AN AMERICAN SLAVE.
  • PERSONAL MEMOIR OF DANIEL DRAYTON, FOR FOUR YEARS AND FOUR MONTHS A PRISONER (FOR CHARITY’S SAKE) IN WASHINGTON JAIL. INCLUDING A NARRATIVE OF THE VOYAGE AND CAPTURE OF THE SCHOONER PEARL.
  • REMINISCENCES OF LEVI COFFIN, THE REPUTED PRESIDENT OF THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD; BEING A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE LABORS OF A LIFETIME IN BEHALF OF THE SLAVE, WITH THE STORIES OF NUMEROUS FUGITIVES, WHO GAINED THEIR FREEDOM THROUGH HIS INSTRUMENTALITY, AND MANY OTHER INCIDENTS.
  • SIX MONTHS IN THE FEDERAL STATES. VOL. I.
  • SIX MONTHS IN THE FEDERAL STATES. VOL. II.
  • SPEECH OF EDW. STANLY, OF NORTH CAROLINA, ESTABLISHING PROOFS THAT THE ABOLITIONISTS ARE OPPOSED TO GEN. HARRISON, AND THAT GEN. HARRISON IS OPPOSED TO THEIR “UNCONSTITUTIONAL EFFORTS.”.
  • SPEECH OF HON. HENRY WILSON, OF MASS.,.
  • SPEECH OF JOHN P. HALE, OF NEW HAMPSHIRE, ON THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. DELIVERED IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES, MARCH 18, 1862.
  • THE AMERICAN NATION: A HISTORY VOLUME 16; SLAVERY AND ABOLITION 1831-1841.
  • THE CHARACTER AND INFLUENCE OF ABOLITIONISM. A SERMON PREACHED IN THE FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, BROOKLYN, ON SABBATH EVENING, DEC. 9TH, 1860,.
  • THE MARTYR AGE OF THE UNITED STATES.
  • TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT OF JONATHAN WALKER, AT PENSACOLA, FLORIDA, FOR AIDING SLAVES TO ESCAPE FROM BONDAGE. WITH AN APPENDIX, CONTAINING A SKETCH OF HIS LIFE.

About this Collection

Compiled by the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Library in Springfield, Illinois this unique collection brings together a disparate group of abolitionist era reference materials. Ranging from memoirs to speeches, biographies to essays, sermons to proceedings minutes, these publications provide the user an intimate insight into the social, political and religious natures of these contentious times.


BBIshop

Bridget Bishop Hanged at Salem’s Gallows Hill

On June 10, 1692, Bridget Bishop was hanged at Gallows Hill near Salem, Massachusetts, for “certaine Detestable Arts called Witchcraft & Sorceries”. Bridget Bishop was the first person executed for witchcraft during the Salem witch trials in 1692.

From June through September of 1692, nineteen men and women, all having been convicted of witchcraft, were carted to Gallows Hill, a barren slope near Salem Village, for hanging. Another man of over eighty years was pressed to death under heavy stones for refusing to submit to a trial on witchcraft charges. Hundreds of others faced accusations of witchcraft; dozens languished in jail for months without trials until the hysteria that swept through Puritan Massachusetts subsided. (Source)

Like most things of magnitude, the Salem Witchcraft had its beginnings in small things— in so small a thing, indeed, as a circle of young girls meeting together, on winter evenings, at each other’s houses, to practice palmistry and such sleight-of-hand as parlor-magic had then attained. Perhaps it was as remarkable a thing as any in the whole occurrences that such meetings were countenanced at all in that place of the Puritan, and more remarkable still, that no connection was suspected between these meetings and the subsequent antics. These young girls were ten in number; three of them were servants, and two of these are believed to have acted from malicious motives against the families where they were employed, one of them afterward admitting that she did so; and Mary Warren’s guilt, as capital witness securing the execution of seven innocent persons, being—unless we accept the hypothesis of spiritualism—as evident as it is black and damning. In addition to these there were the negro-slaves of Mr. Parris, the minister, in whose household all the first disturbances made their appearance, Tituba and her husband.

The town still preserves a few relics of its memorable past; the House of the Seven Gables was standing there a little while ago, together with the Townsend-Bishop house, famous for its share in the old witchcraft transactions, and the Corwin house, at the corner of North and Essex streets, where the Grand Jury sat upon those transactions. There are some handsome churches and public buildings of more modern date, and a stone Court-house, together with a fine Registry of Deeds. There is an interest attaching to this latter structure, not altogether archaeological though concerning itself with antiquities, but an interest in one of the darkest problems ever presented by human nature; for here are kept such documents as have been preserved from the witchcraft days, and among them the death-warrant of Bridget Bishop . Very few indeed are these papers; for, when the frenzy of the period began to subside, those “Salem Gentlemen” who petitioned the Government to grant no reprieve to Rebecca Nurse, a woman who had lived nearly eighty years of a saintly life, were over-taken by remorse and shame, and hastened to do away with all remembrance of their recent action, exhibiting a better sense of the fitness of things than their descendants do who to-day display in a sealed vial a dozen bent and verdigrised and rusty pins purporting to be the identical ones with which their forefathers plagued the witches; albeit, it is said, the fashion of these pins was not known at the time when those poor wretches were tormented.

Source: Frank Leslie’s Weekly, January 28, 1871

Frank Leslie’s Weekly, founded in 1855 and continued until 1922, was an American illustrated news publication started by publisher and illustrator Frank Leslie. While only 30 copies of the first edition were printed, by 1897 its circulation had grown to an estimated 65,000 copies.

About Bridget Bishop

Bridget Bishop

Bridget Bishop

Bridget Bishop, “a singular character, not easily described,” was born sometime between 1632 and 1637. Bishop married three times. Her third and final marriage, after the deaths of her first two husbands, was to Edward Bishop, who was employed as a “sawyer” (lumber worker). She appears to have had no children in any of her marriages.

Although Bishop had been accused by more individuals of witchcraft than any other witchcraft defendant (many of the accusations were markedly vehement and vicious), it was not so much her “sundry acts of witchcraft” that caused her to be the first witch hanged in Salem, as it was her flamboyant life style and exotic manner of dress. Despite being a member of Mr. Hale’s Church in Beverly (she remained a member in good standing until her death), Bishop often kept the gossip mill busy with stories of her publicly fighting with her various husbands, entertaining guests in home until late in the night, drinking and playing the forbidden game of shovel board, and being the mistress of two thriving taverns in town. Some even went so far as to say that Bishop’s “dubious moral character” and shameful conduct caused, “discord [to] arise in other familes, and young people were in danger of corruption.” Bishop’s blatant disregard for the respected standards of puritan society made her a prime target for accusations of witchcraft.

Source: The Bridget Bishop page at Salem Witchcraft Trials 1692.