Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving in the Clarke

By Marian Matyn

As a day to give thanks for all our blessings and those we love and our freedoms, I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving. President Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving on Oct. 3, 1863. To read a copy of the proclamation click here:

Here is how Thanksgiving is represented three of the Clarke's collections.

First, we’ll look at the Geesje Visscher, Diary of our Grandmother, 1869-1901. This is a Dutch language diary (copy). Geesje married Mr. Visscher on May 2, 1841. In 1845, the Visschers sailed for the U.S. with Rev. Van Raalte, eventually settling in Holland (Mich.) by 1846. They had a large family, most of whom became or married ministers. Among other aspects of daily life, her diary discusses celebrating Thanksgiving in 1877. Here's how they did it:

Transcribed diary entry (p.64, transcribed by Mr. Clarence Jalving, from the Dutch) of Geesje Vander Haar Visscher.

The 29th of November we observed Thanksgiving Day as ordered in the President’s proclamation. It’s wintry and yesterday it snowed hard all day. Maria is home and so four of them went to church while my husband and I stayed home. The roads aren’t fit for buggy or sleight [sic] so they walked to church. We talked and read together and felt a profound sense of gratitude for all we had enjoyed throughout the past year. When the children came home they said that Rev. Pieters had preached from Psalm 29: ‘But in His temple He is honored by everyone.” We had a fine meal at noon and gave of our substance for the needs of the students and the poor. And so another Thanksgiving day was history.

This is a copy with a typed transcription of the diary. The diary is also available on microfilm. The original is at the Joint Archives of Holland, Michigan.

The second collection to look at is the Ursula Hemingway Jepson Collection, 1903-1951, which has a scrapbook that includes an original photo of the Hemingway family Thanksgiving dinner. Ursula (1902-1962) was one of famed writer Ernest's sisters.

Hemingway Family Thanksgiving, 1914

The third collection to mention is Jean Brinkman, Sadie Hawkins dance advertisments and letters (copies), 1949, 2014. Brinkman graduated from CMU in 1950. The first advertisement is for the weekend of November 5, 1949. It has seven characters and a letter written on the back to Jean's mom dated November 2, 1949. Jean discusses having asked Roger to the dance, thanks her mom for cookies and pearls, notes that she ate with Gamma Delta, is now treasurer of the Women's Glee Club, mentions her classes and going with Roger to the circus put on by the CMU community, and asks how she shall get home for Thanksgiving weekend. There is also an advertisement is for the weekend of November 18, 1950. It has eight characters and a letter written on the back to Jean's pop dated November 17, 1950, in which she discusses that she took Paul to the dance, had problems finding a boy whose date had not asked him ahead of schedule, which was against dance protocol, seating for a band trip, her classes, and that she has a ride home after her last class Wednesday for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Birthday, Royal Alice!

by Bryan Whitledge

We are almost too late for a very important date! November 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the release of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. A favorite of children and adults alike since its release, the first 2,000 copies released back in November 1865 quickly sold out. Today, a first edition is considered a must-have for children's book collectors and the Clarke is fortunate to have one those 2,000 copies.

While all first edition copies of Alice are special, some have added significance. One can find copies of Alice owned by Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll was his pen name) in the Morris L. Parrish Collection of Victorian Novelists at Princeton University. A copy that belonged to Alice Liddell, the namesake for the story, can be found as part of the Harcourt Armory Collection of the works of Lewis Carroll at Harvard University. At the Clarke, our copy also has added significance: it is the copy that was presented to the eight-year-old daughter of British Queen Victoria, Beatrice.

The copy, in presentation white vellum and containing the bookplate of Princess Beatrice, is part of the Lucile Clarke Memorial Children's Library. The Royal Alice, as it is affectionately called, is a favorite of library visitors of all ages. On the 150th anniversary of the release of one of the most beloved stories of all time, we think there is no better way to celebrate than to share this historically significant copy of Alice.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Traditional Thanksgiving Recipe

[To allow the staff of the Clarke to enjoy these recipes and other favorites, we will be closed Thursday, November 26, Friday, November 27, and Saturday, November 28. We will we return to our regular hours of operation Monday, November 30.]

A Traditional Thanksgiving Recipe

by Frank Boles

As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, some may be searching for inspiration for their feast. Instead of pondering the latest trends in the magazines and on TV, we decided to take a look back at some traditional recipes found in the vast collection of cookbooks on the Clarke's shelves.

In the nineteenth century, Dr. Chase’s Recipes was America’s most published cookbook. An almanac that included all sorts of information including recipes, the book was published in Ann Arbor for more than a half-century. With over four million copies sold, the publisher claimed that the only book in wider circulation was the Bible.

Dr. Chase's Third, Last and Compete Receipt Book was published in 1909. His recipe for roast turkey is found below, along with his trademark writing style used to describe differing recipes for stuffing:

“Some people stew and chop the giblets before hand and mix them into the dressing. Each can suit herself, in this free country; and a good many also, as well as the author, like quite a sprinkling of cayenne pepper in the dressing, as it seems to remove a peculiar fresh smell coming from the inside of the turkey.”

Click image for a larger version

If, by chance, you’ve grown tired of the traditional roasted turkey, but think a turkey fryer may not be the way to go, the good doctor offered an English recipe to boil the bird and serve it with a sauce named “golden rain,” which is a cream sauce that included hard boil eggs, from which came the “golden” color.

We hope you enjoy the holiday, and if you do try one of Dr. Chase's receipts (as he called his recipes) send us an e-mail and tell us how it worked out – particularly “golden rain.”

Click image for a larger version

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Clarke is on Facebook and Twitter

The twenty-first century keeps on moving at a lightning strike's pace and the Clarke is keeping up. Now, our 600-year-old book of hours, our 250-year-old French books about New France, and our 150-year-old children's books have a thoroughly modern platform on which their greatness can be shared with the world - social media.

Check out the Clarke's Twitter feed (@Clarke_Library) and our Facebook page (ClarkeHistoricalLibrary) for the latest news about Clarke events and happenings. Also keep up with our regular postings including a historic CMU photo of the week, a featured item from our current exhibit, a Michigan picture postcard each Monday, and a featured first edition from our collection each Friday.