Fondly, Pennsylvania

HomeBlogsFondly, Pennsylvania

Fondly, Pennsylvania

Fondly, Pennsylvania is HSP's main blog.  Here you will find posts on our latest projects and newest discoveries, as well articles on interesting bits of local history reflected in our collection.  Whether you are doing research or just curious to know more about the behind-the-scenes work that goes on at HSP, please read, explore, and join the conversation!

Enter a comma separated list of user names.

HSP Blog

George F. Parry's Civil War Diaries: February 1865

Hello again to our readers! We're back this month with another set of transcriptions from the George F. Parry Civil War diaries (George F. Parry family volumes, Collection 3694). If you're just joining us, in 2012 HSP acquired the diaries of Bucks County resident and Civil War veterinary surgeon George F. Parry. In that collection are three diaries he kept during the Civil War dating from 1863 to 1865, when he served with the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry. In celebration of Parry's work and the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, I'm providing monthly posts on Fondly, PA of transcripts of entries from his diaries.

To see other posts in the series, check out the links over on the right-hand side of this page.  Clicking on the diary images will take you to our Digital Library where you can examine the volumes page by page, along with other digitized items from the Parry collection.

*****

February 1865 was not a terribly exciting month for Parry, though he did note several occasions in which he dealt with the regiment's horses. He didn’t mention much extensive movement, so it’s likely he rode out a wintry and often “disagreeable” February around the outskirts of Nashville, Tennessee.


Notes about the transcriptions: I've kept the pattern of Parry's writings as close as formatting here will allow, including his line breaks and spacing. My own additional or clarifying notes will be in brackets [ ]. Any grammatical hiccups that aren’t noted as such are Parry's own.


*****

Friday, February 3
Dull and wet.  Issued to Co.
I two Horses with Halters.
                                          Rode
out in afternoon.  Called on Frank
Keys and got some supplies.
                                          Rations
and Horse fed in abundance.
                                          Number
of third class Horses that reached Eastport
(112) and one mule

*****

Sunday, February 12
Sick but on duty[,] slept most
all day – had chill (etc.)  rode out
after dinner.   preaching in camp
by 4th Mich. Chaplin.    Splendid
Day and more like a Sunday
than any other day for a long time[.]
                                                            Dress
parade Band out – any thing splen-
did[.]          Col. McCormick first appe-
arance on dress parade.

*****

Thursday, February 16
Thunder Storm in the moon [illegible] cleared
up fine and warm – Rec'd new
pair of Pants from Tailor and put
them on[,] also new Boots.
                                                Inspected
the Horses and clasfied[sic] according
to Orders from war dept. in four
classes.

*****

Friday, February 24
Dull Day – very muddy for the Horses
Made a new place for to Confine
our Horses.
                        nothing new in camp[.] rumor
sais(sic) will start for Mobile in few days[.]

Fourty rebels came into our lines and
gave themselves up.
                                    Mail came[,] no
letters or papers for me.

*****
Tuesday, February 28

Nothing new in Camp[.] Mustered
Reg't in afternoon on Drill[.]
Bob Johnson and I rode down
to the river and Saw Gun Boat
and was taken over it by the
commander – a surgeon from
Chester on board.
                                    Small mail of
eight Letters arrived.

*****

Fads, Folksongs, and Fairy Tales in Political Cartoons

A few weeks back, we shared some political cartoons we've been researching for HSP's  Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT) project, that referenced classic works of art; we've also found several cartoons, however, that draw inspiration from the pop culture of their times.

The 1896 political cartoon "Effect of Roentgen's Rays," for instance, references Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen, credited with the discovery of x-rays. In the cartoon below, Senator Boies Penrose of Pennsylvania and Republican party boss David Martin, who appears to operate an x-ray device, stand over the body of President of Select Council Wencel Hartman.

Effect of Roentgen's "Rays", 1896, in Hampton L. Carson papers (#117)

While most people think of X-rays in purely medical terms today, Roentgen's discovery set off a huge fad in the 1890s. Roentgen made the first X-ray film in November 1895 when he took an image of his wife’s hand. After he gave a public lecture on his discovery, people became fascinated with "Roentgen’s Rays" and began taking "bone portraits." Inventors even tried to develop X-ray devices for household use. Advertisers took advantage of the craze and made associations between their products and X-rays: consumers could buy "X-ray" headache medicine, soap, and whisky.

The following political cartoon, “If-The Inaugural Dinner at the White House,” features several well-known comic strip characters. William Randolph Hearst, a candidate for the 1904 democratic nomination and owner of the New York Journal and San Francisco Examiner, gives a toast. At the table are seated characters from Katzenjammer Kids, a popular comic strip published in the Sunday supplement of Hearst’s New York Journal. Characters from the Little Bears play musical instruments in the corner while Mr. Jack, the man standing below the portrait of Teddy Roosevelt and wearing a top hat and bow tie, raises his glass to Mr. Hearst.

If-The Inaugural Dinner at the White House, 1904, from Puck, in Historical Society of Pennsylvania cartoons and caricatures collection (#3133)

The following political cartoon, published in the humor magazine Puck, references the popular 19th-century  poem "Darius Green and His Flying Machine," by John Townsend Trowbridge.  In "The Political Darius Green and His Flying Machine," presidential aspirant John Sherman flies above a barn in a flying machine made up of his "bloody shirt" and "speeches." He exclaims: "I’ll astonish the nation,/ An' all creation,/ By my great Presidential Aspiration." Despite his best efforts, Sherman’s presidential hopes were later dashed when he lost the nomination to Benjamin Harrison in June 1888.

"The Political Darius Green and His Flying Machine," 1887, from Puck, in Historical Society of Pennsylvania cartoons and caricatures collection (#3133)

A number of cartoons use fairy tale imagery. The Wasp’s 1883 "Who Will Wake Sleeping Beauty?" creates a tableau from the story of Sleeping Beauty and transforms famous political figures like Ulysses S. Grant and Grover Cleveland into dwarves.

Who Will Wake Sleeping Beauty?, 1883, from Wasp, in Historical Society of Pennsylvania cartoons and caricatures collection (#3133)

A later cartoon published in 1908 in the Philadelphia North American also uses the fairy tale motif to criticize government corruption and corporate monopolies.  In "A Beautiful Fairy Tale," John D. Rockefeller sits on a rocking chair and recounts his own version of a fairy tale—one about kind-hearted and ethical corporate monopolists—to a tiny stand-in for the "common people."

"A Beautiful Fairy Tale," 1908, Philadelphia North American, Historical Society of Pennsylvania cartoons and caricatures collection (#3133)

 

These five political cartoons are just a small sample of the many cartoons that make pop culture references. We hope that you check out the rest of our newly digitized cartoons when the exhibit becomes available later this year.

Discoveries of an Enchanting Name: Part Two

October saw Part One of my discoveries pertaining to a name within our Bank of North America collection, Isaac Hazlehurst. If you missed that first post, please read it prior to the following, where I detail Part Two of my findings.

This week finally offered an opportunity to take the short drive out to Mount Holly, New Jersey, the location that Isaac Hazlehurst, Jr. chose as a refuge for his family from the skirmishes of the Revolutionary War. As I am not a Philadelphia native, the magic of being surrounded by the history of our country’s founding, and the people who helped make it so, felt particularly tangible as I drove the mere 18 miles to the cemetery that was the final home of twelve members of the Hazlehurst family.

Arriving at St. Andrew’s Graveyard felt like the continuation of a dream. Walking up the narrow drive, I realized an element of the experience which, in my excitement, I had failed to anticipate – the actual task of locating the Hazlehurst family plot in a cemetery much larger than my imaginings. Instead of concentrating on the now present worry of the task at hand, I chose instead to study the lovely St. Andrew’s chapel. Its history is immediately apparent, and I was instantly transported with images of the Hazlehurst family worshipping together in its small interior. The chapel doors were locked, so with the glimmer of hope of exploring the space removed, I turned around to study the acreage of the cemetery.

As my prior study revealed that the Hazlehursts were buried in a family plot, many times I had imagined finding a small area designated by a rusty iron fence.  After I turned my back to the chapel, my eyes instantly fell upon such an area. I walked over and exclaimed aloud – it was indeed the very plot for which I searched! After all these months of learning of Isaac, wondering about him, and feeling connected to him through space and time, I had finally found him. It is as if the distance between his life and mine – formerly a span of 150 years – had vanished.

The epitaph on the grave of Juliana Purviance, Isaac’s wife, reads as follows (to the best of my ability):

“To the Memory of JULIANA
Wife of ISAAC HAZLEHURST
of Philadelphia Merchant
and Daughter of SAMUEL PURVIANCE
… of Salem County in this State
She was born March 14th, 1741
and died July 11th, 1804 at Cloverhill
in the 64th year of her age
To Her
Tender, Prudent, Pious, Intelligent
One Daughter & Six Sons
owe
their Being and their Virtue
To Her
The Solitary Mourner who Erects this Tomb
The Pride and the Consolation
That for 35 years her Love and her Counsel
Blessed their Union
To Her
In the Search now vain for Happiness
in this World
Cheering Certainty that he shall …
Her Immortality …
John and Robert died before”

My sadness at leaving the cemetery was abated by the discovery of another historic connection; the grounds are adjacent to the location of a Revolutionary War battle which occurred on December 23, 1776 – the Battle of Iron Works Hill. I was surprised to learn that although Isaac Hazlehurst, Jr. had relocated his family to Mount Holly in the hopes of finding refuge from the war, a decisive battle occurred within a mile of his home.

It was time to visit the address I had found as the probable location of Clover Hill, the Hazlehurst mansion and estate. My research had revealed an account of family lore by Isaac Jr.’s granddaughter, Miss Julia Latrobe of Baltimore (the daughter of Mary Elizabeth Hazlehurst and architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe), pertaining to the family’s years spent living in this mansion. She tells of the family playing host at Clover Hill to the staff of the British General during the Revolutionary War, including Lord Cornwallis, and I desperately wished to see the location where this story occurred.

“The terror of my grandparents can be imagined during the short sojourn of these troops. I have heard my grandfather describe his feeling as he saw a soldier tie his horse to a tree, at the foot of which a box of valuables was buried, a bag of oats was thrown down and he expected each moment to see the earth scraped away and the box discovered. This box containing many articles of value, when sought for after the war was over, was never found. The passage of so many horses and vehicles had completely covered over all traces of the spot where in haste and confusion it had been placed.” 

Despite the fear and trepidation of housing the soldiers, the family was treated with courtesy, and no damage was done to the property. Part of Miss Latrobe’s tale contained an amusing anecdote of the small children at the time of the British occupancy, including her mother, Mary Elizabeth, and her mother’s younger brother, Samuel.

“Seated upon the General’s knee, my uncle [Samuel] was presented with a glass of wine. ‘We will give you a toast my little fellow, and you shall have this glass of wine. Drink to the health of King George!’ The glass was emptied by the little American in a moment. ‘And now you shall have some more, and we shall drink your toast. Who shall it be?’ ‘George Washington!’ said the child, and laughing heartily the glass was emptied by the officers, who dismissed the brave little fellow with praises for his independence.” 

As my research prior to my visit had hinted, the land now serves as grounds for a large apartment development called Village Square Apartments. A conversation with the rental manager confirmed that the complex had been named Clover Hill when the current management company took over twenty-five years prior. However, all hope of discovering more of the family’s history was not lost – she established the existence of a mansion still standing at the edge of the property, now rented as business offices, known as the Ashurst Mansion Office Building.

The Ashhurst name was a familiar one from my study of the Hazlehurst family tree, so on the day of my exploration of Isaac’s old haunts, I visited this mansion. I was immediately impressed by both the scale of the house and by the original architectural details. As my visual study dated this house to have been built in the early 19th Century, I knew that this could not be the original Hazlehurst home at Clover Hill – but still I intuited a connection.

My later research confirmed that the house was built by Lewis Richard Ashhurst, the husband of our Isaac’s granddaughter Mary Hazlehurst, daughter of Samuel Hazlehurst and Elizabeth Markoe. After the couple married, Ashhurst removed the original Clover Hill mansion and built the house that stands today. Ashhurst was the first president of the Philadelphia Trust Company, and a plaque to this effect is still posted on the exterior of the house.   

Thomas Sully, Lewis Richard Ashhurst, 1833. Oil on canvas.

In conclusion, as a conservation technician it has been a wonderful experience to make such surprising discoveries in the contents of the Bank of North America collection. I can hardly stress the influence on my understanding and interest in history this experience has had on me. As a child, it was difficult to grasp the concept that history is defined by the actions and lives of real people that truly existed, people that were living their lives and making decisions to the best of their ability. Researching Isaac and his life, arriving at the location of the chapel where he would have worshipped, in the town where he lived out his later years, a mere mile from the mansion where he lived with his family... these discoveries transformed mere tales into a tangible history.

Although my reporting on Isaac Hazlehurst, Jr. has come to an end, I know that the information contained in the 671 volumes of the Bank of North America collection can lead to a wealth of historical connections and findings. These volumes contain so much more than numbers and accounts; they are the trace evidence of families, businesses, and lives once led.   

To view more of my photographs taken in Mount Holly, visit our flickr

George F. Parry's Civil War Diaries: January 1865

Happy New Year's folks! We've reached the final months of transcriptions from the George F. Parry Civil War diaries (George F. Parry family volumes, Collection 3694). If you're just joining us, in 2012 HSP acquired the diaries of Bucks County resident and Civil War veterinary surgeon George F. Parry. In that collection are three diaries he kept during the Civil War dating from 1863 to 1865, when he served with the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry. In celebration of Parry's work and the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, I'm providing monthly posts on Fondly, PA of transcripts of entries from his diaries.

To see other posts in the series, check out the links over on the right-hand side of this page.  Clicking on the diary images will take you to our Digital Library where you can examine the volumes page by page, along with other digitized items from the Parry collection.

*****

At the beginning of 1865, George Parry was once again on the move south with his regiment. They headed out of Kentucky and into Tennessee. Though Parry wrote extensive entries during the month, he didn't see any battle action. Instead, he focused on his work with the regiment's horses, the sceney, and, in particular, the weather. Parry descibed a number of miserable winter scenes complete with miserable marches.


Notes about the transcriptions: I've kept the pattern of Parry's writings as close as formatting here will allow, including his line breaks and spacing. My own additional or clarifying notes will be in brackets [ ]. Any grammatical hiccups that aren’t noted as such are Parry's own.


*****

Sunday, January 1
The second Cavalry division on march
for Nashville from Louisville[.] Encamped
for the night near Elizabeth Town. Revalie
at Three Oclock[.] drew five days rations[.]
marched at eight Oclock[,] passed through
[Nolin?] Red Mills and encamped for
the night four miles from [Nolin?].
Fox persuded by Hounds[,] crossed the road.
Had a good time to Day with Lucy –
Sergt. Breckhle. Rosecrans and Lieut.
Connor.        Rec’d a Letter from Home.

*****

Sunday, January 8
This night Six of our men
belonging to Wilders command was
caught by Guerillas[,] tied to trees and
shot[.] only one escaped and he
shot through shoulder.  Moved out
at day light[,] marched thirty miles
and encamped near Nashville[.] a
very hard days march[.] passed through
several Towns.   Rec’d Mail and
a Letter from Sallie C. Lukens  [illegible]
Papers from Home.

*****

Friday, January 13
Revalie at four Oclock[,] moved out
at Seven[,] marched in slow manner[.]
passed over a ruined country made so
by late Battles.  Crossed Harper River on
through Franklin and encamped[.]
passed over the Battle Field of Franklin
number of Sick and wounded Rebels
in Franklin.       Encamped in woods
south of Franklin – clear and cold

 *****

Wednesday, January 18
Revalie at Three Oclock[,] moved out
at Seven[.]  [Forded?] Duck River[,] crossed
the Pack Mules on Pontoon Bridge[.]
passed through Columbia and encamped
in splendid Grove on Mt. Pleasant Pike
Inspected the Horses ith Brigade
inspector Lieut Sherwood.   Found
(156) Horses one hundred and fifty six
and (6) six mules that by all means
should be turned over.

 *****

Monday, January 23
Rain changed to Snow and snowed
most all night.  Very cold and
disagreeable[.] Portion of Reg’t moved
out at 12 pm with Brigade wagon
train.  Rest moved at one o clock[,] marched
over one of the worse roads ever marched
over[.]  [?] stuck by [?] Horses[,] moved
and give out by [?] after one of the
most dreadful march[es] ever made by man
for nine mules camped in a Brier Patch
at nine O clock.

*****

Saturday January 28
Cold and clear.  Colonel Mundy
visited our camp at Revalie
Had the Company Horses assemble
in a open field at One Oclock
and reissued to Companies in
regard to color.

                        Built log tent
for quarters.    Rec’d a mail[,] no
Letters for me.   No rations
Corn issued to men to eat.

*****

Hidden Faces

As we’ve worked to select approximately 500 political cartoons as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Historic Images, New Technologies project, we’ve come across several clever cartoons by Joseph Keppler. Keppler (1838-1894) was a cartoonist and publisher for the humor magazine Puck.

In “Let us have Peace, Now a President's Elected," Keppler created a puzzle by hiding the faces of approximately twelve politicians in the lake, rocks, hills and trees. Can you spot the outline of President James A. Garfield’s face in the rocks of the large hill, or the upside down image of Ulysses S. Grant near the trunk of the tree behind Lady Democrat?

Let us have Peace, Now a President's Elected, 1880, Historical Society of Pennsylvania cartoons & caricatures

Keppler satirizes greed, corruption, and bribery in “The Deadly Upas Tree of Wall Street." Bribes for Congress, editors, and the lawyers hang from the branches of the large tree. At the trunk of the large tree lie the bodies of Ulysses S. Grant, Whitelaw Reed, and several stockholders. Look closely at the space created by the two limbs of the tree. Can you see the image of Jay Gould?

The Deadly Upas Tree of Wall Street, 1882, Historical Society of Pennsylvania cartoons & caricatures

During the 1884 Presidential nominating conventions, both Republicans and Democrats had a long list of candidates from which to select their nominees. In “An Unpleasant Ride through the Presidential Haunted Forest” Keppler hid the faces of a number of candidates including Chester Arthur and James Blaine. We found twenty-one faces hidden in the landscape. How many faces can you spot?

An Unpleasant Ride through the Presidential Haunted Forest, 1884, Historical Society of Pennsylvania cartoons & caricatures

As you can see, there’s more to Keppler’s cartoons than meets the eye! As we continue researching the 500 political cartoons, we hope to identify more of Keppler's hidden faces.

George F. Parry's Civil War Diaries: December 1864

Hope all of you are enjoying a great holiday season, and thanks for coming back to HSP's Fondly PA blog! We've got more transcriptions to share from the George F. Parry Civil War diaries (George F. Parry family volumes, Collection 3694). If you're just joining us, in 2012 HSP acquired the diaries of Bucks County resident and Civil War veterinary surgeon George F. Parry. In that collection are three diaries he kept during the Civil War dating from 1863 to 1865, when he served with the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry. In celebration of Parry's work and the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, I'm providing monthly posts on Fondly, PA of transcripts of entries from his diaries.

To see other posts in the series, check out the links over on the right-hand side of this page.  Clicking on the diary images will take you to our Digital Library where you can examine the volumes page by page, along with other digitized items from the Parry collection.

*****

Parry spent December 1864 in and around Louisville, Kentucky. While he didn't participate in any battles, he did spend considerable time taking care of the regiment's horses, from shoeing them to distributing them among the soldiers. After a plesant stay in Kentucky's capital, Parry was on the march south at the end of the month.


Notes about the transcriptions: I've kept the pattern of Parry's writings as close as formatting here will allow, including his line breaks and spacing. My own additional or clarifying notes will be in brackets [ ]. Any grammatical hiccups that aren’t noted as such are Parry's own.


*****

Sunday, December 4
Wrote to Miss Lizzie Linton.  Received
a splendid Shirt from Home[;] after
noon took a walk.  caught two men
abusing their Horses by [running?] them[.]
ordered under arrest and I pressed
charges requesting they be transferred
to Infantry.

*****

Thursday, December 8
Paymaster Paying off the Regt
Col. Munty's brigade [pressing?]
Horses.    went to City and got
new pair of Boots.  Dined at
Ornsby House[,] met Mr. Clapp
At Louisville House from Huntsville
Ala.
                        Attended Louisville Theatre
Spent the night at Wolfs Hotel.

*****

Wednesday, December 14
In the morn drew (600) Six hund[red]
Horses.   Picked out a number
For officers and one for myself[.]
afternoon Drew (400) four hund[red]
more.
               Issued three hund[red] Horses.

*****

Monday, December 19
went over to company D and
inspected their Horses[.]
                                   Went to the
City with Lt. Conner and Breckbill
clear and cold

*****

Saturday, December 24
In camp all Day[.]   clear and
Nice.   Ordered all the Smiths
at work shoeing Horses.
                                     Received
a Letter from Home.
                                     Had a
Gay time in the evening – got
a number Drunk and much
sport.  This night will long be
remembered by me.

*****

Thursday, December 29
Up at four O'clock and all
ready to move at light.  Moved
out at Day Light[,] passed through
Mount Washington and Bardstown[,]
crossed salt River and encamped[.]
a cold nice Day[.]  passed through
a splendid country.   Bardstown
a nice place.  Capt. McCormick and
Dr. J. L. [Shuk?][.] rode ahead to call on some
friends near Bardstown and while in the
House of their friend the House was
Surrounded by Gunillers and after their
surrender the[sic] were killed and robbed.

*****

Highway to the TEI Zone, or, Applying Text Encoding to Image Annotation

We’ve been making a lot of technological progress on the Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT) Project. My colleague Cat Lu has highlighted the exciting capabilities of the new HSP image viewer and annotation tool in a great blog post. We now have the ability to annotate images by drawing shapes around details on an image and associating a text box—containing transcription or commentary—with that portion of the image.

Detail from political cartoon "Phryne before the Chicago Tribunal," with annotation "urn baby, urn."

A lot of the behind-the-scenes work on the project, however, has centered on the question of how to incorporate TEI encoding, which we’ve used in our previous text-encoding-based digital history projects, into the new tools we’re developing for this project (see my colleague Dana Dorman’s informative blog posts here and here for some background on TEI and text encoding).

The updates we’ve applied to our digital assets management system now allow us to import and export TEI encoding. But how do we use TEI encoding to annotate details of graphic images?

Thomas Nast, "The Crowning Insult to Him Who Occupies the Presidential Chair," Harper's Weekly, May 13, 1876

 "The Crowning Insult to Him Who Occupies the Presidential Chair," HSP cartoons and caricatures collection (#3133), box 10, folder 6

For example, in this cartoon, how would text encoding and the HSP image viewer work together to create an annotation highlighting an easily-overlooked detail—that the medal worn by the presidential lion says “Patria”?

Detail of "Patria" medal from cartoon "The Crowning Insult to Him Who Occupies the Presidential Chair"

We can already encode the word “Patria.” But to link it to the right part of the image, the helpful TEI <zone> element comes into play. We can add a <zone> element to the section of the document that provides detail on the image file to which we’re applying annotation and give it an identifier, such as “medal,” a number, and an empty “points” attribute to record the zone’s coordinates.

<zone n="5" xml:id="medal" points=""/>

In the section of the document where we transcribe text and add editorial commentary, we encode a <div> element with the transcription of the medal text and link it to the zone element by using an attribute called “facs” (short for facsimile).

<div type="image_transcription" n="5" facs="#medal"><p>Patria</p></div>

Then, thanks to the updates we’ve made to our digital asset management system, we can upload the TEI code to the HSP image viewer, causing a polygon and annotation box to appear. Imported zone annotations are placed randomly on the image, so we have to position the polygon over the right part of the picture. We also have the option of adding or subtracting points to the zone to make it whatever shape we want.

Detail from cartoon "The Crowning Insult to Him Who Occupies the Presidential Chair" with "patria" medal annotation visible

Then, again, thanks to the behind-the-scenes updates, we hit an “export” button in the system to create a valid TEI document in which the correct points of the polygon have been filled in:

<zone n="5" xml:id="medal" points="52.82,55.32 55.51,54.83 56,59.73 51.35,59.57"/>

This works really nicely for light annotation of cartoons. For instance, transcribing just the text of “The Crowning Insult” involves encoding and positioning just eight zones, spaced comfortably around the image as a whole.

Political cartoon "The Crowning Insult to Him Who Occupies the Presidential Chair" annotated with eight zones

But images that require a lot of zones present a challenge. Here’s one with sixty-four zones, placed randomly after export.

Political cartoon "Liberty Triumphant: or the Downfall of Oppression" covered by sixty-four annotation text boxes

Clearly, we’ll have plenty of challenges to work through as we work to annotate hundreds of political cartoons for our planned demonstration exhibit, Politics in Graphic Detail. Luckily, I think I’ve found a theme song to help me power through (with apologies to Kenny Loggins):

Highway to the TEI <zone>
Gonna take it right into the TEI <zone>
Highway to the TEI <zone>
Ride into the TEI <zone>

Inherent Vice, part I

In the field of conservation there are degradations and vulnerabilities that are brought about by circumstance and environment, and then there are those that are endemic to an object, and fall under the poetic epithet of “inherent vice.”  Perhaps one of the most infamous and widespread potentialities of inherent vice in the realm of historical manuscripts is that of iron gall ink.  So named for its composition of gallotannic acid and iron salts, iron gall ink was the writing ink of the Western world from the late-Middle Ages up through the 19th Century.  The prevalence and popularity of this ink for so many centuries was due in greatest part to its outstanding permanence – a quality which with time has sporadically been known to shift from virtue to vice.  

 

A title page written in iron gall ink from the Bank of North America collection: vol. 404.

 

Nearly all of the record books and ledgers in the Bank of North America collection (col. 1534) are written in iron gall ink, as are many of the other 20 million manuscripts held here at the Historical Society.  In the Western world, the ubiquity of iron gall ink lasted well into the 19th Century when the proliferation of metal nibs and fountain pens required a writing liquid that didn’t result in abundant rust and a “gumming up of the works.”  When considering an ink that rusts steel, it is easy to imaging the potential havoc it might wreak on the comparably delicate substrate of paper.

 

An example of iron gall ink corrosion from a collection of miscellaneous marriage certificates (collection Am .10155)

 

Oak galls from trees in the Aleppo region of Turkey.

 

Iron gall ink is comprised of four essential ingredients: oak galls, iron sulfate, gum arabic, and water.  Oak galls are an abnormal outgrowth that can be found on oak trees, and are an especially rich source of tannins.  The characteristic blue-black of iron gall ink when it is newly written is the result of a chemical reaction between tannic acid and iron sulfate.   For hundreds of years before such a reaction was ever applied to a writing fluid, both oak galls and iron sulfate were used in the dying process – oak galls as a coloring agent, and iron sulfate as a mordant.  As an ink, iron gall acts as a sort of dye, searing itself into the paper and bonding with the fibers; the result is indelible, being both lightfast and waterproof.  

 

    

Gum arabic and iron sulfate, ready for ink making.

 

A fresh batch of iron gall ink, made at HSP in September of 2014.

 

Traveling back a few millennia, it goes without saying that the advent of writing was revolutionary.  Knowledge was suddenly unencumbered by the limitations of a lifespan and the pitfalls of remembrance, and acquired an unprecedented potential to live on for centuries after its author had passed.  Or at least it might live on, if the marks that conveyed the meaning could actually be made to endure.

By way of Late Latin (encaustum) and Old French (enque), our English word “ink” derives  from the Greek enkaustos – a shared great-grandfather of another English word, “caustic:” to burn, to etch.  It is fitting then that humankind’s quest for a permanent writing fluid should find its apparent success in an ink that literally burns itself into the surface of the page.  

 

Detail of a page from the BNA collection; here the iron has started to migrate and the writing is now visible from the opposite side of the page.

 

Unfortunately the very reason that iron gall ink holds up so well initially is also at the heart of its eventual degradation.  The acidity of the ink over time can begin to attack the very paper that supports it.  Historically iron gall ink was made by hand, meaning that while a majority of these manuscripts may be written with ink of the iron gall ilk, the actual chemical makeup can vary greatly based on the recipe, the maker, and the availability and purity of ingredients.

Having an ink with a well-balanced chemistry is crucial.  Because of the iron sulfate, all iron gall inks contain a tiny bit of sulfuric acid; the tannins in the oak galls can actually serve to neutralize this acidity, so long as the molecules remain bonded.  Iron rusts, and so it follows that water would be the bitter foe of manuscripts containing an iron-based ink.  Exposure to moisture or elevated humidity can cause these molecules to breakdown, and the corrosive iron can begin to migrate and attack the substrate.

 

A spread from the BNA collection (vol. 447).  Notice how the ghost of the writing has imprinted, or burned onto the facing page.

 

From the BNA collection (vol. 348): an example of iron gall ink that has etched into the suede surface it was applied to.

 

For museums and special collections libraries, maintaining appropriate climate levels is of the utmost importance.  So long as they are not exposed to excessive moisture, most iron gall manuscripts will last for years to come, but it is still inevitable to encounter books and documents that are suffering from aggressive ink corrosion.  Areas where the ink has been applied more heavily are especially vulnerable, as are papers that have not been adequately sized as this allows the ink to permeate more completely.

 

Blotter papers from the BNA collection, used to blot the ink when it is freshly applied to prevent smudging while wet.

 

Evidence of excessive ink corrosion and losses in the company of water damage.  From an 18th Century school book, belonging to Grace Hoopes (Collection 1066), 1710.

 

Detail of the above, here shown with white paper.

 

By far though, the greatest culprit is water, and excessive ink corrosion is often coupled with staining and other telltale signs of water damage.  The certain peril of exposing iron gall ink to water presents quite a challenge to book and paper conservators as many standard treatments and repairs are fundamentally water-based.  Reversibility is a high priority in today’s philosophy of preservation, and water-based adhesives and humidifying are important tools in the conservator’s arsenal.  To aid in the solving of this conundrum, the Conservation Department at HSP recently attended a weekend workshop at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC.  Be sure to stay tuned for part II of this entry, set to appear sometime in April of 2015.

For those who would like to learn more about iron gall ink, there is currently a window display on the subject located on the first floor of HSP, across from the elevator. 

 

 

Political Cartoons and the Classics

As part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT) project, we’ve been researching over 500 political cartoons and have come across a number of cartoons that humorously reinterpret famous works of art and literature.

“Phryne before the Chicago Tribunal,” published in the June 4, 1884, edition of Puck, parodies Jean-Léon Gerôme’s famous 19th century painting Phryne before the Areopagus. In the 1861 painting by Gerôme, an ancient Greek courtesan named Phryne is on trial for a capital crime. Hypereides, her lawyer, fears she will be convicted, and so he brings her before the tribunal and removes her robes. Phryne’s beauty overwhelms the tribunal and they acquit her. Bernhard Gillam, the cartoonist of “Phryne before the Chicago Tribunal,” pokes fun at the 1884 Republican presidential candidate James G. Blaine by depicting him as the courtesan Phryne in Gerôme’s painting. Blaine is covered in tattoos illustrating his corrupt political dealings.. Whitelaw Reid, editor of the New York Tribune, takes the role of Hypereides and unveils Blaine to the stunned ancient Greek tribunal made up of prominent 19th-century Republicans including George W. Curtis, William M. Evarts, Carl Schurz, and Theodore Roosevelt.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phryne before the Chicago Tribunal, 1884, (#Bc 612 P 567)

Phryne before the Areopagus by Jean-Léon Gerôme, circa 1861, Wikimedia Commons

The following cartoon pokes fun at Boss Tweed by turning him into the Trojan Priest Laocoon. In the famous ancient sculpture entitled Laocoon and his Sons, sea serpents attack and kill Laocoon and his sons. In the cartoon below entitled “The Modern Laocoon,” Boss Tweed and his ring are attacked by a sea serpent labeled “The Press”.

The Modern Laocoon, 1871, Historical Society of Pennsylvania cartoons & caricatures collection (#3133)

Laocoon and his Sons, Marble, copy of Hellenistic original ca. 200 BC, Wikimedia Commons

“They Have Him Down” satirizes Samuel J. Randall opposition to free trade by recalling a famous scene in Jonathan Swift’s 18th-century novel Gulliver’s Travels. Randall, as Gulliver, is tied down by an army of little people called the Lilliputians. Two little men hoist the Liliputia flag of “Free Trade” on Randall’s chest. Grover Cleveland, the King of the Lilliputians, sits on a throne and wears a crown.

They Have Him Down, Hampton L. Carson Collection (#117)

The following Joseph Keppler political cartoon alludes to Richard Wagner’s 19th-century opera entitled Siegfried. Grover Cleveland, as Siegfried, is dressed in fur, holds a sword of “sound policy,” and fearlessly attacks the war tariff monster. 

Siegfried the Fearless, 1887, Historical Society of Pennsylvania cartoons & caricatures collection (#3133)

If you enjoyed this post about art and literature references in political cartoons, stay tuned for an upcoming post on pop cultural references in cartoons.

George F. Parry's Civil War Diaries: November 1864

Happy Fall to you all! And thanks for returning to HSP's Fondly PA blog for another set of transcriptions from the George F. Parry Civil War diaries (George F. Parry family volumes, Collection 3694). If you're just joining us, in 2012 HSP acquired the diaries of Bucks County resident and Civil War veterinary surgeon George F. Parry. In that collection are three diaries he kept during the Civil War dating from 1863 to 1865, when he served with the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry. In celebration of Parry's work and the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, I'm providing monthly posts on Fondly, PA of transcripts of entries from his diaries.

To see other posts in the series, check out the links over on the right-hand side of this page.  Clicking on the diary images will take you to our Digital Library where you can examine the volumes page by page, along with other digitized items from the Parry collection.

*****

Parry spent November 1864 in two states: Tennessee and Kentucky. At the very beginning of the month, Parry and his regiment set out for Nashville, Tennessee, and they made several stops along the way, including a stop on the outskirts of Chattanooga for horses.  Parry's travels did not keep him away from the polls ("voted for Lincoln & Johnson" – 11/8/64), his spirits remained in good order despite the generally rainy and cold weather he encountered. After spending some time in and around Nashville, he arrived in Louisville, Kentucky, close to the end of the month. He apparently had a decent amount of downtime as he noted attending the Louisville Theatre several times before the month's end.


Notes about the transcriptions: I've kept the pattern of Parry's writings as close as formatting here will allow, including his line breaks and spacing. My own additional or clarifying notes will be in brackets [ ]. Any grammatical hiccups that aren’t noted as such are Parry's own.


*****

Tuesday, November 1
Signed pay Rolls
                                 turned over
Saddles + equipments, those who
had no Horses and at 12 noon
started for Nashville[.] passed
through Rome and encamped on
Calhoun Road[.]           a very rainy
night.

*****

Saturday, November 5
Up and moved out at light[.] marched
to within seven miles of Chattanooga
and encamped. Passed through
Tunnel Hill and Ringold.
                                  Sergt. Connor
And I had some words with
Caot. Griffin[,] 4th Mich. Cavalry
a cowardly sneak of Mc[illegible]
order.

*****

Thursday, November 10
Orders to go to Correll mount the
Men and take charge of (800)
eight hund. Horses + mules and to
procede[sic] to Nashville[.] Started at
[illegible] M. marched to top of Cumberl[and]
Mt. and encamped.  Very grand
Scenery and dreadful bad sleep[,]
Rough road.   The Grandest
Scenery in the South or in America[.]
Clear and cold

*****

Tuesday, November 15
Rainy morning – moved out at
eight O'clock + marched twenty
miles (22) on to Woodbury and
camped.         Drew five Days
Rations.--        very disagreeable
Day --
                 Eve. Conner, Limerick
and I attacked by a fine
corn fed Hog and we killed
him after a Hard fight for
our own private use.

*****

Sunday, November 20
Arrived in Louisville – Dirty,
tired + Hungry having gone
without sleep for 48 hrs and
with very little to eat – got
Shaved + Breakfast and proceded[sic]
Out to camp.
                       Erected quarters.
very cold – no wood and very
disagreeable. Rec'd Letter from
Miss Lukens + Paper from Home.

*****

Wednesday, November 30
Called on Paymaster at Lousiville
and rec'd Pay to October 31, 1854
ammounting[sic] to $1208.27[,] twelve hund. And
eight Doll[ars]. and twenty Seven cts.
             Paid Major Jennings $65.00 due him
on note.       Sent by Adams express
Co. to Phila. for Susan Parry $1000.00
Sent Joseph Willard $5.00 Due him.
Eve. attended Louisville Theatre[,] saw
Cora Hudson play Mazzeppa or the
Wild Horse of Tartan.

*****

2/25/15
Author: Cary Hutto

Hello again to our readers! We're back this month with another set of transcriptions from the George F. Parry Civil War diaries (George F. Parry family volumes, Collection 3694). If you're just joining us, in 2012 HSP acquired the diaries of Bucks County resident and Civil War veterinary surgeon George F. Parry. In that collection are three diaries he kept during the Civil War dating from 1863 to 1865, when he served with the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry.

Comments: 0

2/18/15
Author: Diane Biunno

A few weeks back, we shared some political cartoons we've been researching for HSP's  Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT) project, that referenced classic works of art; we've also found several cartoons, however, that draw inspiration from the pop culture of their times.

Comments: 4

2/6/15
Author: Erin Paulson

October saw Part One of my discoveries pertaining to a name within our Bank of North America collection, Isaac Hazlehurst. If you missed that first post, please read it prior to the following, where I detail Part Two of my findings.

Comments: 3

1/28/15
Author: Cary Hutto

Happy New Year's folks! We've reached the final months of transcriptions from the George F. Parry Civil War diaries (George F. Parry family volumes, Collection 3694). If you're just joining us, in 2012 HSP acquired the diaries of Bucks County resident and Civil War veterinary surgeon George F. Parry. In that collection are three diaries he kept during the Civil War dating from 1863 to 1865, when he served with the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry.

Comments: 0

1/7/15
Author: Diane Biunno

As we’ve worked to select approximately 500 political cartoons as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Historic Images, New Technologies project, we’ve come across several clever cartoons by Joseph Keppler. Keppler (1838-1894) was a cartoonist and publisher for the humor magazine Puck.

Topics : Politics
Comments: 2

12/31/14
Author: Cary Hutto

Hope all of you are enjoying a great holiday season, and thanks for coming back to HSP's Fondly PA blog! We've got more transcriptions to share from the George F. Parry Civil War diaries (George F. Parry family volumes, Collection 3694). If you're just joining us, in 2012 HSP acquired the diaries of Bucks County resident and Civil War veterinary surgeon George F. Parry.

Comments: 0

12/17/14
Author: Rachel Moloshok

We’ve been making a lot of technological progress on the Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT) Project. My colleague Cat Lu has highlighted the exciting capabilities of the new HSP image viewer and annotation tool in a great blog post. We now have the ability to annotate images by drawing shapes around details on an image and associating a text box—containing transcription or commentary—with that portion of the image.

Comments: 0

12/16/14
Author: Charissa Schulze

In the field of conservation there are degradations and vulnerabilities that are brought about by circumstance and environment, and then there are those that are endemic to an object, and fall under the poetic epithet of “inherent vice.”  Perhaps one of the most infamous and widespread potentialities of inherent vice in the realm of historical manuscripts is that of iron gall ink.  So named for its composition of gallotannic acid and iron salts, iron gall ink was the writing ink of the Western world from the late-Middle Ages up through the 19th Century

Comments: 0

12/10/14
Author: Diane Biunno

As part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT) project, we’ve been researching over 500 political cartoons and have come across a number of cartoons that humorously reinterpret famous works of art and literature.

Comments: 0

11/26/14
Author: Cary Hutto

Happy Fall to you all! And thanks for returning to HSP's Fondly PA blog for another set of transcriptions from the George F. Parry Civil War diaries (George F. Parry family volumes, Collection 3694). If you're just joining us, in 2012 HSP acquired the diaries of Bucks County resident and Civil War veterinary surgeon George F. Parry. In that collection are three diaries he kept during the Civil War dating from 1863 to 1865, when he served with the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry.

Comments: 0