Thursday, January 31, 2008

Program Announcement: Victim of Honor: The Story of John Y. Beall and the Northwestern Conspiracy (book talk)

Join us in the Library Program Room on Saturday, February 2, at 2:00 p.m. as author James E. Duffey discusses his recently published book Victim of Honor: The Story of John Y. Beall and the Northwestern Conspiracy. The book is a historical novel based on the plot engineered by Confederate officer John Yates Beall to free prisoners from the Johnson's Island Civil War Prison Camp.

About the author.....James E. Duffey:

Though he was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1947, James E. Duffey has spent most of his life in Youngstown, Ohio. A graduate of Youngstown State University, he majored in English, and history, and has earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Education, and a Master’s Degree in American history. It was in graduate school that Jim got interested in writing professionally, where he was awarded the Madeline Blum Award for the most outstanding original research project of the year, a history of the Irish in Youngstown, 1890-1930. While taking an introduction to research course in graduate school he was assigned to write a short paper on the anti-war activists in Ohio and Michigan during the Civil War. This led him to discover the role of Confederates in Canada and their conspiracy with the anti-war movement in the United States. What began as a ten page paper was later expanded to thirty pages because it seemed there was a greater story that needed to be told. So, what began as a short research paper ultimately resulted in eight years of research and his book, Victim of Honor.

Jim has taught for over thirty years at both the high school and college levels, and currently serves as adjunct professor of history at Kent State University’s Stark County branch campus in Canton, Ohio. He resides in Medina, Ohio.

Jim is currently working on two new books, both sequels to Victim of Honor. One is based on the life of Bennet Graham Burleigh, who served with the Confederates both along the Chesapeake Bay and in Canada during the Civil War. Captured twice, he escaped prison and returned to Canada, and then home to the United Kingdom. An adventurer at heart, he became a war correspondent for the London Daily Telegram. Burleigh took many chances as a reporter, risking his life many times while covering the Boer Wars in Africa, the war in Madagascar, and the Russo-Japanese War, and become a media celebrity in the process.

The second book is about the life of Martha O’Bryan, John Beall’s fiancĂ©. After Beall’s death Martha never married. She returned to Nashville and resumed her teaching career and later did years of volunteer work with the poor of Nashville for which she is most remembered.

Mr. Duffey will sign copies of his book, which will be available for sale at a discount, after the presentation. Registration is requested but not required. To register, call 419-625-3834 and press 0 to speak with a switchboard operator (9-5, Monday-Friday) or press Option 6 to leave a message.

(Reposted to move it to the top of the webpage.)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Marcia Coburn of Southbridge, Massachusetts

In the holdings of the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library is an autograph album that originally belonged to Marcia Coburn of Southbridge, Massachusetts. The entries cover the years 1831 through 1833, and many are written by students of the Wilbraham Wesleyan Academy. Wilbraham was one of the oldest educational institutions of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

The Vinton Memorial, available full text at Google Books, tells us that Marcia Coburn married George A. Vinton in 1838. They had four children before Marcia Coburn Vinton died at the age of 38 in Southbridge, June 25, 1854.

Here is a verse written from George Vinton to Marcia Coburn:

"Avoid contention, friendship cultivate,
Respect, but never fawn upon the great:
Aim not to make thy friends his thoughts reveal
With seeming openness they own conceal –
Speak peace where discord reigns, assuage the floods,
And for revenge, persist in doing good.
Let proper objects never want a tear;
Excuse mistakes - in friendship be sincere.
Be envy banished from they generous heart,
Tell not the secrets which they friends impart;
In speaking of thyself, nor praise, nor blame,
And dread to be a slave to common fame."

Yours in true Friendship.

George A. Vinton

Below is another entry which was written at Wesleyan Seminary in 1831.
One of Marcia Coburn Vinton’s daughters, Evan Vinton, was a pioneer resident of Sandusky, Ohio. In 1871 Evan Vinton married Charles E. Bouton, who was elected Mayor of Sandusky in 1895. Though specific details are not known, Marcia’s autograph album was passed down to Lucia McCune, an area resident. Lucia donated the autograph album of Marcia Coburn to the Sandusky Library in 1962.

This hand-tinted cabinet photograph was found inside the autograph book. We do not know who this person is; although it could be Marcia Coburn Vinton, it likely is not, because she died in 1854, before this style of photograph became popular. It could also be her daughter, Evan Vinton Bouton.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Program Announcement: Culture and Commerce in Old Sandusky

Bring your lunch and join us at the Sandusky Library as we explore topics in local history. The next Brown Bag Lunch will be held on Wednesday, January 16, at 12:00 noon in the Library Program Room. The topic discussed will be Culture and Commerce in Old Sandusky. The weather outside may be snowy and cold, but the coffee will be hot when you join Maggie Marconi, Museum Curator, as she presents this program. Take a nostalgic walk down Columbus Avenue, via a PowerPoint presentation, looking at businesses and organizations of days gone by.

Registration is requested. To register, call 419-625-3834 and press 0 to speak with a switchboard operator (9-5, Monday-Friday) or press Option 6 to leave a message.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Happy Leap Year!

As you know, 2008 is a leap year, when we have an extra day on the calendar, February 29. Some also recognize these years as a time for certain quadrennial events, such as the Olympics and the presidential campaign season. (Although nowadays the campaigns seem to not just occur every four years, but to last for four years.)

In the nineteenth century, in particular, it was also the time for Leap Year Parties. Here is a scene from a Leap Year Party held in Sandusky 142 years ago, on Friday, January 21, 1876. Unfortunately, we do not have much detail on the party itself. The photograph was donated to the library in 1928 by Fred Woolsey, who is seated at the left in the picture. He went on to become the owner of the Woolsey Wheel Company in Sandusky. The other men are: Charles Mills, Albert Rosenbaum, Charles Johnson, Dr. Gibson, Sam Ferris, and D.W.C. Brown, Jr. Why these men are wearing ribbons and handkerchiefs fastened to their clothes is unclear, but it might have something to do with a leap year tradition. . . .

Legend holds that on leap year days (some say the entire leap year), it was socially acceptable for women to propose marriage to men; any other time of the year, etiquette and custom dictated that only men were allowed to propose marriage. Also, it became a tradition to have Leap Year parties, where the women invited the men to be their dates and dance partners, and were in charge of the festivities. (Some claim that that is where the idea for Sadie Hawkins dances came from.) We can only speculate, but perhaps the handkerchiefs and ribbons symbolize the men's position as secondary to the women on that day. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year!

Here's hoping for a pleasant 2008.

In honor of the New Year season, let's link back to one of our more popular articles, on the New Year's Pretzel in Sandusky.