Francis Scott Key’s Poem Before It Became the Star Spangled Banner

by Rachel Bohlmann, American History Librarian


“Some Beautiful Verses Written under the Circumstances”


This was how Maria Nicholson Montgomery, a Baltimore resident and wife of the city’s future mayor, described Francis Scott Key’s poem, “Defence of Fort McHenry,” in a letter to her brother in November 1814. Fort McHenry was the US garrison in Baltimore harbor and the British military’s target on September 12-14, 1814, during the War of 1812. Key had been detained on a British vessel a few miles away from the city. At dawn on the 14th, after a long night of bombardment, he spied the American flag over the fort and quickly drafted four stanzas on the American victory, set to a popular English tune, “Anacreon of Heaven.”

Key showed the poem to his brother-in-law (and Montgomery’s cousin) Joseph Nicholson, who had commanded a company of volunteers at the fort. He was enthusiastic and helped Key publish them quickly in a broadside on September 17, 1814. By October a Baltimore music store had begun selling copies as sheet music retitled as “The Star Spangled Banner.”

[ Facsimile of first newspaper printing of The Star Spangled Banner] Library of Congress
In her letter to her brother, Montgomery enclosed a clipping of Key’s poem from a Baltimore newspaper (nonextant). Several papers published the verses, and Montgomery could have sent this one, from the Baltimore Patriot on September 20, 1814 (a fitting platform for Key’s poem). She also couldn’t resist tweaking the politics of the situation, calling Key “a federalist,” although in an admiring way (“would they were all such federalists”). Montgomery herself was part of a prominent anti-Federalist family in Baltimore and New York. (Anti-Federalists generally opposed a strong federal government; for example, they disapproved of Alexander Hamilton’s plan to create a national bank.) Montgomery’s father had served in the American navy during the Revolutionary War and later became active in anti-Federalist circles, and three of her four sisters married politically prominent men (one of whom was Albert Gallatin, Secretary of Treasury under Jefferson and Madison).

Montgomery’s letter is part of the James Witter Nicholson Family Letters (MSN/EA 5002) held in Rare Books and Special Collections. The correspondence reveals the everyday details of life as well as a family’s political and social ambitions during the early republic.


Special Collections will be closed on Wednesday for the holiday but will be open regular hours (9am-5pm) the rest of the week. 

We wish you and yours a safe and happy Fourth of July!


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Memorial Day 2018

To honor all who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Originally, Memorial Day was celebrated as Decoration Day.

“Decoration Day,” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was published posthumously—first in June 1882 in The Atlantic and later that same year in In the Harbor, a book containing previously unpublished poems. The poem “pays tribute to what was then a new form of civic observance: a day set aside to commemorate those who had perished in the Civil War by placing flags and flowers on soldiers’ graves, a custom that gradually gave rise to our modern Memorial Day honoring all who give their lives in military service.” (David Barber, The Atlantic, May 30, 2011)

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-82) was but five years old when he witnessed the War of 1812 devastate his hometown. This event had a long-lasting impact on him.

Wordsworth would go on to Bowdoin College, graduating along with Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1825 before traveling through Europe, where he gained mastery over seven languages. On his return to the US, he taught languages first at Bowdoin and later at Harvard, and also spent much time writing textbooks and essays on languages, particularly French, Italian, and Spanish. While at Harvard, Longfellow’s literary career took off. He travelled to Europe twice more before resigning from Harvard in 1854 to devote his full attention to writing.

Less than a decade later—in 1861—not only did his beloved wife, Fanny, die but the Civil War broke out and his son, fighting for the Union, was wounded. The invalid had to be escorted home by his father and brother. To cope with these tragedies, Longfellow immersed himself in his literary endeavors including a full translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy (completed in 1864). Against memories of the War of 1812, the Civil War, and the traumatic loss of a wife and the injury of a son, Longfellow continued to write. In some of his last pieces, including “Decoration Day,” one cannot help but notice Longfellow’s solemnity and poignancy.

Memorial Day 2017 blog post

Memorial Day 2016 blog post


During June and July the blog will shift to a summer posting schedule, with posts every other Monday rather than every week. We will resume weekly publication on August 13th.

 

An Easter Issue from Our Collections

Notre Dame Special Collections, MS GILL B-138

The Game: An Occasional Magazine was first issued in 1914 by Eric Gill, Edward Johnston, and Hilary Pepler. This publication became the main forum for members of the Guild of St. Joseph and St. Dominic.

The Easter 1917 issue featured here is from the Eric Gill Collection. It contains Eric Gill’s woodblock prints, “The Resurrection” and “Paschal Lamb” accompanied by text from The Easter Sequence by Wipo (d. 1048).


Rare Books and Special Collections will be closed in observance of Good Friday on March 30. We will reopen at 9am on Monday, April 2, 2018.

Happy Easter to you and yours
from Rare Books and Special Collections
at the University of Notre Dame.

St. Patrick’s Day in America (1872)

by Aedín Ní Bhróithe Clements, Irish Studies Librarian

This lithograph was printed in Philadelphia at a time when the general impression of Irish immigrants was that of an impoverished people, unfavorably viewed by native-born Americans. Irish immigration to the U.S. in the 1830s and 1840s was becoming dominated by poor, unskilled rural Catholics, and in the decades following the Great Famine, American cities were inundated by waves of impoverished Irish peasants.

“St. Patrick’s Day in America. Commemorative of Ireland’s unswerving fidelity to her ancient religion and the devotion of her exiled children to the sacred principles of her freedom and redemption as a nation.”  Washington: John Reid, 1872.  Lithograph by Hunter and Duval. [i] 

Hence, according to historian Kerby Miller, all Irish immigrants were viewed negatively, including those who arrived with education, skills, or capital. He states that “in the eyes of native-born Protestants, middle-class Irish Catholic immigrants were by religion and association not ‘good Americans’, but in the opinion of many of their own transplanted countrymen, they were not ‘good Irishmen’ either.” [ii]

Considering this attitude to Irish immigrants, then, the lithograph doubles as an effective piece of propaganda and a heartwarming picture of family life.  The mother and children are respectably dressed, and the sewing machine suggests an industrious household. Symbols of Ireland include the statue of St. Patrick while the portrait on the wall, of an American soldier, suggests a relative, perhaps even the absent father, fought in the American Civil War.

The mother is pinning a shamrock on the boy’s lapel. The shamrock, emblematic of St. Patrick, is a popular symbol of Irish identity. The family is clearly preparing to take part in the celebration of their Irish identity, while at the same time the image proclaims American middle-class orderliness and industry.

To read about St. Patrick’s Day, see the following books in the Hesburgh Library:

Cronin, Mike and Daryl Adair. The Wearing of the Green: A History of St. Patrick’s Day. Routledge, 2002. Hesburgh Library GT 4995 .P3 C76 2002

Skinner, Jonathan and Dominic Bryan (eds.) Consuming St. Patrick’s Day. Cambridge Scholars, 2015.
Hesburgh Library GT 4995 .Pe S556 2015

Fogarty, William L. The Days We’ve Celebrated. St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah. Printcraft Press, 1980. GT 4995 .P3 F63.

Dupey, Ana María (ed.) San Patricio en Buenos Aires: Celebracionse y rituales en su dimensión narrativa. Buenos Aires: Editorial Dunken, 2006. GT 4995 .P3 S25 2006.

 

 

[i] To learn more about the lithographers of Philadelphia, see Erika Piola (ed.) Philadelphia on Stone: Commercial Lithography in Philadelphia 1828-1878, Pennsylvania State University Press, 2012.

[ii] Kerby A. Miller. Ireland and Irish America: Culture, Class, and Transatlantic Migration. Dublin: Field Day, 2008, p. 260.

 


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Happy National Puzzle Day!

January 29 is National Puzzle Day, a day to appreciate puzzles of all sizes, shapes, and forms. This holiday was started in 2002 by Jodi Jill, a syndicated newspaper puzzle maker and professional quiz maker. In honor of the holiday, the curator of our next exhibit, “In a Civilized Nation: Newspapers, Magazines, and the Print Revolution in 19th-Century Peru,” shares a couple of puzzles from two of the serials that will be featured in the exhibit. The exhibit will open in early February.


by Erika Hosselkus, Curator, Latin American Collections

The periodicals of nineteenth-century Peru often featured puzzles, from riddles (charadas) to rebuses (geroglíficos).

The March 13, 1875 issue of La Alborada, a weekly magazine on literature, art, education, theater, and fashion, featuring the writing of Peruvian women, contains a word puzzle in the middle of the third column. Readers decoded riddles such as this one to discover a one-word or multi-word solution. In this case, the puzzle creator provides clues about the three syllables comprising the word camisa (shirt), her one-word solution.

A loose translation:

Although foreign, it is known
That when I join my first syllable to my third,
It results in a familiar mansion.

Creating a similar union
Between my third and my first syllables;
I obtain a verb and a “sack,”
“larger than” any other.

My second (syllable) is a pronoun
And it runs into my third,
Each week, every person
Should go (to this) at least once.

I will say, in conclusion
That something that you find on me
And that you find also on yourself
Will turn out to be the solution.

A.A.A.

The author of this puzzle offered up a prize to be given to one of the first four subscribers to submit a solution.

Solutions to the puzzle (Soluciones á la charada del núm. 22) appear in a later issue, shown below. Some answers, like the one sent in by Ubalda Plasencia, are written in verse, like the puzzle itself. As Ubalda points out, the syllables indicated by the puzzle are “ca” “mi” and “sa,” resulting in the word camisa, or “shirt.”

Word searches (laberintos) are also featured in Peruvian periodicals, as are rebuses, like the one found at the bottom of the page below from El Perú Ilustrado of June 16, 1888. The prize for decoding this puzzle was 200 packs of cigarettes. Fittingly, the sponsor of the puzzle was a tobacco vendor. In English, the solution to the puzzle (shown at the bottom of the last image) is: “If you know what is good, in terms of tobacco, I advise you to buy the brand «El Sol de Oro» from Oliva brothers.”

Playing Indian, Playing White

by Rachel Bohlmann, American History Librarian

Last week’s blog post described an important collection about the Carlisle Indian School, a boarding school that was part of a federal educational program that opened many similar institutions and lasted through the twentieth century. Thanksgiving often evokes a benign story of starving New England Pilgrims saved by generous Native Americans. Records from the Carlisle Indian School, however, highlight a dark colonialist story of Pilgrims and Indians that the school asked its students to portray on stage.

By 1909 Carlisle students had begun performing a theatrical version Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “The Courtship of Miles Standish,” as part of the school’s week-long commencement celebrations. The school staged the play for large public audiences at the school and in nearby Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.[1] Adapted as The Captain of Plymouth, it was a comic opera by Seymour S. Tibbals and Henry C. Eldridge, published in 1904.[2]

While the soldier Miles Standish and the Pilgrim John Alden are both interested in a young Pilgrim, Priscilla, Standish is captured by a band of Pequot Indians. The Pequot princess, Katonko, frees Standish on his promise to marry her. Standish quickly reneges on Katonko and takes bloody revenge on the Pequots. The story ends when the Pilgrim leader, Elder Brewster, discovers Standish’s breach of promise to Katonko and insists that Standish marry her, which allows Priscilla and Alden to wed.

The play is both silly (anachronistically, Standish refers to the Standard Oil Company, Rockefeller, and the anti-alcohol icon Carrie Nation) and deeply and openly racist. Katonko and Indians in general are characterized as “the very beginning, as it were, of the race problem” and the play advocates for racial segregation, a position seemingly at odds with the educational and social goals of Indian boarding schools like Carlisle, which worked to assimilate Native Americans into white America.[3]

The play capitalized on popular demand during the first decades of the twentieth century for entertainment featuring Indians. Presumably Tibbals and Eldridge intended whites to be cast in both the European American and Indian parts. Carlisle students, however, were required to play both roles: the young people cast as settlers had to act white, while those cast as Native Americans had to play white-constructed versions of savage Indians.[4]

Carlisle’s founder, Richard Henry Pratt, understood the promotional powers of photography and he used manipulated images to argue for the success of his program to “civilize” Indians. Using before-and-after photographs, Pratt contrasted the traditional clothing and hair styles of newly arrived children with the cropped hair, neat uniforms, and photographically lightened skin of new students.[5] When The Captain of Plymouth was staged, school officials continued to use Pratt’s methods to promote the school. As seen here, the carefully organized studio photographs of cast members enhanced the whiteness of Pilgrim cast members in contrast to their fellow actors who played Indians.

The Alfred W. Ramsey papers document a dark part of United States history and uncover what must have been bewildering experiences for young Native boarding students, far from their homes and families.

 

Notes:

[1] Louellyn White, “White Power and the Performance of Assimilation: Lincoln Institute and Carlisle School,” in Carlisle Indian Industrial School: Indigenous Histories, Memories, and Reclamation, Jacqueline Fear-Segal and Susan D. Rose, eds., (Lincoln: U of Nebraska Pr, 2016), 111.

[2] Seymour S. Tibbals and Harry C. Eldridge, The Captain of Plymouth, a Comic Opera in Three Acts. [Franklin, Ohio: Eldridge Entertainment House], 1904. Accessed on November 16, 2017: https://hdl.handle.net/2027/iau.31858047202639.

[3] Quotation from Tibbals and Eldridge, The Captain of Plymouth, 21. White, “White Power and the Performance of Assimilation,” 114-15.

[4] White, “White Power and the Performance of Assimilation,” 111-12.

[5] Jacqueline Fear-Segal and Susan D. Rose, “Introduction,” in Carlisle Indian Industrial School: Indigenous Histories, Memories, and Reclamation, Jacqueline Fear-Segal and Susan D. Rose, eds., (Lincoln: U of Nebraska Pr, 2016), 8-9.


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National Native American Heritage Month 2017

We join the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in recognizing the rich histories and traditions of Native Americans during this National Native American Heritage Month.


Alfred W. Ramsey and the Carlisle Indian Industrial School
by George Rugg, Curator, Special Collections

In January 1909 Alfred W. Ramsey (1883-1955) accepted a provisional appointment as business teacher at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He was formally hired in March following a satisfactory result on his Civil Service examination. Ramsey was charged with organizing a business department at the school, to complement its trade and academic programs. He resigned his position effective 1 November 1910, apparently disillusioned with the Indian Service and the school.

Panorama of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School campus, 1909. (MSN/MN 0503-110-F2)

The Carlisle Indian Industrial School was founded in 1879 by Captain Richard Henry Pratt, as part of a government project designed to “kill the Indian, save the man.” In Ramsey’s day it was overseen by the Office of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior. Carlisle became the model for 25 government Indian schools, founded on the premise that Native Americans could be equal to European Americans, provided they assimilate into European American society and culture. While the school removed Native American children from poverty and provided them with a free education, it also encouraged children to abandon their native cultures.

The Alfred W. Ramsey Papers, acquired by RBSC in 2014, include a wealth of material from Ramsey’s time at Carlisle. Among the manuscripts are examples of student writing and typing exercises; copies of addresses by Carlisle administrators (especially superintendent Moses Friedman) and commencement speakers; school mission and policy statements; and essays on character and behavior with a bearing on Indian education. Some of this material would have been generated as a consequence of Ramsey’s teaching (including instruction in typing), but much of it was the result of his de facto status as clerical assistant to Friedman. There are also two memory books preserved by Ramsey, with questionnaires filled out in manuscript by 79 different Carlisle students.

Carlisle Indian Industrial School student memory book, 1910 February-November. (MSN/MN 0503-65)
The Red Man, 1910 February. (MSN/MN 0503-89)

The printed matter includes a broad selection of items from the Carlisle Indian Press; printing was one of the trades taught at the school, and Edgar Miller, the program’s superintendent, was a particular friend of Ramsey’s. Included are runs of school periodicals like the weekly The Carlisle Arrow and the monthly The Indian Craftsman (later titled The Red Man). There are also pamphlets, programs, broadsides, dance cards, and other ephemera.

Photographs include panoramas of the Carlisle campus and a number of group portraits of the student cast of the comic opera “The Captain of Plymouth”—the subject of next week’s blog.

A spooky story for Halloween: The Goblin Spider

Ancient Japan, samurai warriors, and your casual spider—casual, that is, until nightfall. According to ancient Japanese legend, these ordinary spiders would morph as dark night enveloped the landscape. Menacing pincers, bulging eyes, and even taking on human form to deceive unsuspecting victims—like the samurai in the tale below—these goblin spiders wreaked terror.

Lafcadio Hearn brings this ancient tale, one of many in the Japanese tradition of ghost stories known as kaidan, to English readers. The Goblin Spider is lavishly illustrated in Takejiro Hasegawa’s five-volume set of crepe-paper books. These brightly colored illustrations are hand-printed using wood blocks on textured pages.

Hearn, Lafcadio. The Goblin Spider. Kobunsha’s Japanese Fairy Tale Series. Second series. No. 1. Tokyo: T. Hasegawa, 1899.

Happy Halloween to you and yours from all of us in Notre Dame’s Special Collections!

Halloween 2016 RBSC post: Ghosts in the Stacks

National Hispanic Heritage Month 2017

We join the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and U.S. National Archives and Records Administration in celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month.


Sergio Sánchez Santamaría
by Erika Hosselkus, Curator, Latin American Collections

Sergio Sánchez Santamaría is a printmaker, illustrator, and muralist who was born in Tlayacapan, Morelos, Mexico. Also trained in Mexico, Sánchez Santamaría has exhibited his work throughout Latin America and Europe, in the United States, and in Japan and China.

Among Sánchez Santamaría’s collections of linocut prints is a small volume called 500 años, México, printed at the San Jerónimo workshop in Tlayacapan. The 14 impressions comprising this piece offer a visual history of Mexico, from the age of the Mexica (Aztecs) to the late twentieth century. A jaguar and feathered serpent are among the engravings representing the nation’s indigenous past. Also portrayed are major figures historical figures such as national hero and president, Benito Juárez (in office 1858-1872), and the best-known female intellectual of the colonial era, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.

Rare Books and Special Collections holds the second of the six copies of 500 años, México produced by Sánchez Santamaría. Depicted here are two images from this copy.

A feathered helmet identifies this figure as an eagle warrior – a member of an elite corps within the formidable Mexica military.
A feathered helmet identifies this figure as an eagle warrior – a member of an elite corps within the formidable Mexica military.
Emiliano Zapata, hero of the Mexican Revolution, is depicted with his signature bandolier over his shoulder.
Emiliano Zapata, hero of the Mexican Revolution, is depicted with his signature bandolier over his shoulder.

Both prints illustrate the deep relief and heavy ink on cartridge paper characteristic of Sánchez Santamaría’s work. The style and the subject matter of his work tie him to the Taller de Gráfica Popular, a well-known artists’ print collective formed in 1937 that produced artwork designed to promote and advance the causes of the Mexican Revolution.

Sánchez Santamaría’s work often treats topics in Mexican history and popular culture. In 2016 he released a series of linocuts entitled Personajes de Morelos depicting figures central to the history of his home state. This collection was also printed in Tlayacapan. Rare Books and Special Collections holds copy fourteen of this collection, along with an actual linocut created by Sánchez Santamaría, shown below.

This image and linocut – number fourteen within this collection – depicts Zapatista colonel, Cristino Santamaría. According to Sánchez Santamaría, Cristino Santamaría, a musician and leader of the Banda Brigido Santamaría, fought alongside Emiliano Zapata during the Mexican Revolution. Santamaría’s face is obscured by his oversize sombrero, from under which his trumpet emerges. He is flanked by two figures wrapped tightly in traditional serapes. The print’s heavy lines contrast boldly with the white cartridge paper background.

Close examination of the linocut reveals something of Sánchez Santamaría’s technique. Cuts are of varying depth, to achieve different sorts of impressions. Outlines of the figures and blue pen shading can also be discerned.

Front covers of the Personajes de Morelos portfolio (left) and 500 años, México (right).

Along with these two collections, Rare Books and Special Collections holds copies of: Los chinelos,” a series of 11 linocuts featuring “chinelos,” the masked, bearded figures that feature prominently in festivals in Morelos, especially Carnival; Cuaresma en la region Cuautla Morelos, a collection of Easter-related prints, and; Kamasutra de exlibris mexicanos.

 


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