Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Books about Birds by Alice E. Ball

In the Local Authors Collection of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center are two books about birds by Alice E. Ball.

Alice E. Ball was an 1886 graduate of Sandusky High School. She was the daughter of Flamen Ball and Katharine Follett Ball, and a granddaughter of Oran and Eliza Follett. A Year with the Birds was published in 1916 by Gibbs and Van Vleck in New York City. Artist Robert Bruce Horsfall illustrated the book with 56 colored plates. Several species of birds were pictured, accompanied by poems. Alice E. Ball composed many of the poems, but some were by other poets.

On pages 60 and 61 is a poem by Alice E. Ball entitled “Robin Redbreast.” She described how she and her siblings left food for a family of robins outside the window pane. The same robin family came back every spring for four years,  much to the Ball family’s joy. In 1923 Alice E. Ball wrote another book about birds, also illustrated by Robert Bruce Horsfall.

This book was an introduction to over one hundred common birds of the eastern United States. Pictured below is a brief description of the song sparrow, accompanied with a color plate by Mr. Horsfall.

Alice E. Ball taught school for a year in Sandusky, and then she moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where she taught for twenty nine years in public and private schools. She died in New York City on April 24, 1948. Funeral services were held at the Riverdale Presbyterian Church in Riverdale, New York, and burial was at Cleveland’s Lake View Cemetery.

Miss Ball compiled a family history entitled Sketches of the Ball and Follett Families, which was privately published by the Vermont Printing Company in 1939. A copy of this title is found in the Family History section of genealogical books at the Sandusky Library. Touching tributes to both Oran and Eliza Follett are found in the book, helping readers learn personal details about these prominent early residents of Sandusky, Ohio.  Alice had fond memories of spending time in Sandusky with her maternal grandparents.

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