Tag Archives: 19th century
brass-bed

Sleep Talking – Godey’s Lady’s Book May 1832

This is merely a modification of somnambulism, and proceeds from similar causes, namely, a distribution of sensorial power to the organs of speech, by which means they do not sympathize in the general slumber, but remain in a state fit for being called into action by particular trains of ideas.

If, for instance, we dream that we are talking to some one, and if these organs are endowed with their waking share of sensorial power, we are sure to speak. Again, the mere dream, without a waking state of the organs, will never produce speech; and we only suppose we are carrying on conversation, although, at the time, we are completely silent. To produce sleep talking, therefore, the mind, in some of its functions, must be awake and the organs of speech must be so also. The conversation, in this state, is of such subjects as our thoughts are most immediately occupied with; and its consistency or incongruity depends upon that of the prevailing ideas being sometimes perfectly rational and coherent: at other times full of absurdity.

The voice is seldom the same as in the waking state. This I would impute to the organs of hearing being mostly dormant, and consequently unable to guide the modulations of sound. The same fact is observable in very deaf persons, whose speech is usually harsh, unvaried, and monotonous. Sometimes the faculties are so far awake, that we can manage to carry on a conversation with the individual, and extract from him the most hidden secrets of his soul. By such means things have been detected, which would otherwise have remained in perpetual obscurity.

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Group of Negro women at revival meeting, La Forge, Missouri

Ladies Should Read Newspapers (1861)

This appeared in an 1861 issue of The Christian Recorder.  It is important to note that this publication was produced and sold primarily within African American society and this issue came out while it was still illegal in some places for black slaves in the south to be taught to read at all.

It is a great mistake in female education to keep a young lady’ s time and attention devoted to only the fashionable literature of the day. If you would qualify her for conversation you must give her something to talk about, give her education with the actual world and its transpiring events.

Urge her to read newspapers and become familiar with the present character and improvements of our race. History is of some importance, but the past world is dead, and we have little comparatively to do with it. Our thoughts and our concerns should be for the present world, to know what it is and improve its condition.

Let her have an intelligent conversation concerning the mental, political, and religious improvements of our time. Let the gilded annuals and poems on the centre table be kept a part of the time covered with journals. Let the family – men, women a children – read the newspapers.

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 Christian Recorder, May 4, 1861
Image Details:  Group of women at a 1938 revival meeting, La Forge, Missouri (LOC)


Fugitive Slave Act

The Colored Man’s Perils (1837)

The following shows up to the light some of the doings and devices of wicked men, which surround people of color in northern cities. Not only slave agents and kidnappers, but black-legs in desperate circumstances, prowl about to plot our ruin.

It will be recollected, that not long since, two colored men were arrested at Utica, on a claim of being fugitive Slaves, but who afterwards effected their escape. The Rev. Geo. Storrs, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, recently met with them, in his going about, and received the story of their difficulties from their own lips. He learned various interesting facts from them – and found them to be very simple, honest-hearted persons. The following is a copy of a part of his written memorandum of their conversation, as we find it in a Union paper. The soul-catcher alluded to, passed as a “Virginia gentleman!” at the time of the investigation at Utica.

Southern Jewels

“Jewels” found at Alexandria – engraved by Samuel Curtis Upham, 1819-1885

“Harry’s own story of the matter,” says Mr. Storrs, as he told it to me was, “that the soul-catcher had tried to persuade him to get his mistress’ consent to be sold, saying – ‘Harry, if you will be sold to me, I will give you $20, and will make you rich. I go to New York sometimes, and when there, I gamble, and sometimes lose $1000 or $1500, and then I go out and kidnap some of the colored people, and then go and gamble again, and get all my money back again, and win too.”

“He wanted,” adds the paper alluded to, “to see Harry as a decoy or stool-pigeon to entice others into his snares.”

The same paper further states – “It is proper to mention, that the colored men did not runaway on the solicitations of this gentleman soul-catcher. They were left by their deceased master to his widow, during her life, and afterwards, to younger heirs. The old lady being aware that they would be sold into Louisiana as soon as she died, and not expecting to live long, as they had been favorite servants, advised them to runaway.” These facts were disclosed, by the colored men, to their counsel in Utica. So that, in truth, they came into this State with the consent of their mistress, and hence could not, legally, be pursued or retained as slaves.

Learn more about this era in our free copy of Twelve Years a Slave.

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: Weekly Advocate, February 25, 1837
Top Image Source: Practical illustration of the Fugitive Slave Law


Lee and his Generals

The Pursuit of Lee – His Capture Certain

Part I of our Civil War collection, A Newspaper Perspective, contains articles gleaned from over 2,500 issues of The New York Herald, The Charleston Mercury and the Richmond Enquirer, published between November 1, 1860 and April 15, 1865.

The theatre of the latest operations against Lee is that part of Amelia county that lies in the bend of the Appomattox river and between that stream and the Danville and Lynchburg railroads, which form a right angle at Burkesville station. Burkesville station, on the Richmond and Danville Railroad, is fifty-two miles west of Petersburg. Amelia Court House is on the same railroad, about twenty miles nearer to Richmond – that is, twenty miles up the railroad in a northeasterly direction from Burkesville station. Jettersville is on the railroad between Burkesville and Amelia Court House, but nearer to the Court House.

The Pursuit of Lee - His Capture Certain

The Pursuit of Lee – His Capture Certain

On the 6th, at daylight, General Meade, with the Second, Fifth and Sixth corps, was at Burkesville station and Lee was near Amelia Court House; consequently our troops were south and west of the enemy, and our menfaces were turned to the northeast. Our cavalry advance was at Jettersville, and, as it moved toward the enemy at Amelia Court House, its left stretched well out toward Painesville, a point about ten miles northwest of Amelia Court House, and directly on the line of Leeretreat toward the Appomattox .

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drinks-607186_1280

American Women Who Drink (1871)

The press has lately been agitating to a considerable extent the question as to whether intemperance among women is increasing so much as some of the published statements of physicians and others would lead us to suppose, and from my own observation I am compelled to believe that this vice is growing to such an alarming extent that unless it is checked, and that speedily, the next generation will be born drunkards, and die drunkards.

Even as I write there comes over me the recollection of a bright, piquant little lady in Washington, the mother of a lovely boy, the wife of a good, kind husband, whom we all liked, and who was the life of any party she joined, and of home. We ladies used to wonder why her husband would never allow her to enter the general parlor where we all sat in the evening, sometimes entertained for hours by the interesting conversation of Mrs. Gaine’s and other witty ladies. We thought he was rather strict with his bright young wife, but afterwards found he was right, for she was addicted to drinking intoxicating liquors.

I refused to believe it at first, until one evening when she had stolen into the parlor, she executed a can-can before a minister of the government, when my faith in her began to waver; but not until the day of our departure when I went to her room to say good-bye was I convinced that she really was a slave to the demon. She met us at the door with a stagger, her dress disarranged, and with her tongue so thick she could scarcely utter the farewell words that come to her lips. I left her, sick at heart, saying, “God pity that little family.” She had alcoholic drink prescribed to her by a physician, and that is how she became a drunkard.

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