The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

Beehive series: From the Reference Librarian 

“Across wide fields of melting snow / The winds of summer softly blow”: The Easter poems of Lucy Larcom

On March 20th we marked the spring equinox here in New England with the arrival of our fourth nor’easter of the month. After a warmer-than-average February we found ourselves bundling up for a colder-than-average March and spring has seemed further around the corner than it ought to be. In this week that marks both the Jewish Passover and Christian Easter holidays, I decided to share a poem for spring from New England poet Lucy Larcom. 

 

Many of you have likely encountered nineteenth-century writer Lucy Larcom through her autobiographical work A New England Girlhood (1889) which tells the story of her childhood in Beverly, Massachusetts and her experience working in the mills of Lowell before she traveled west to Illinois to become a teacher and later returned to Massachusetts to make her living as a writer and editor. In 1891, Larcom published a small collection of Easter poems, Easter Gleams with Riverside Press an imprint of Houghton, Mifflin & Company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Riverside had also published Larcom’s Girlhood three years before. Below are the poems “Ring! Happy Bells!” (5) poem “Sunrise” (13) from Easter Gleams.

 

Ring! Happy Bells!

Ring, happy bells of Easter time!

The world is glad to hear your chime;

Across wide field of melting snow

The winds of summer softly blow,

And birds and streams repeat the chime

Of Easter time.

 

Ring, happy bells of Easter time!

The world takes up your chant sublime,

The Lord has risen!” The night of fear

Has passed away, and heaven draws near:

We breathe the air of that blest clime,

At Easter time.

 

Ring, happy bells of Easter time!

Our happy hearts give back your chime!

The Lord has risen! We die no more:

He opens wide the heavenly door;

He meets us, while to Him we climb,

At Easter time.

 


Sunrise.

The Sunrise over the houses!

The beautiful rose of dawn

Reddening the eastern windows, --

The curtains of Night withdrawn!

 

More lovely than boughs in blossom

The spires and the roof-trees glow.

It is day; and, in God awaking,

Shall the spirit unfold and grow.

 

On the city, in chrismal splendor,

The blessing of morning falls: --

The Bride coming down out of heaven! --

The pearl-gates, the jasper walls!

 

The white light enters the casement

Like the wings of the Holy Dove;

And every house is a flower,

A blossom of peace and love.

 

The sunrise is fair on the gardens,

The groves and the forests afar;

But fairer the trees of manhood,

Of heavenly planting are.

 

And wide are the green savannahs

That under the dawn unroll;

But broader the landscape opens

In the sunrise of a soul!

 

The footsteps of morning hasten

Across yonder populous space,

And the dwellings of men are illumined

With the glory of God’s own face.

 

Who can guess the power of His coming?

He will banish doubt and despair;

The life of His Spirit will kindle

And stir the sleepers there.

 

Behold the Day Star ascending!

See the hour of His triumph begin!

The sunrise over the houses!

The Christ-light shining in!

 

In addition to holding a print copy of Easter Gleams and other published works by Larcom, the Massachusetts Historical Society holds Larcom’s diaries, correspondence, and other manuscript materials, principally in the Daniel Dulany Addison collection. We also hold issues of Our Young Folks (1865-1873) and the Lowell Offering (1840-1845), both of which Larcom was deeply involved in as a writer and editor. Researchers interested in accessing Larcom’s writings may visit the library or contact the reader services staff to learn about options for reproduction.

 

comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Wednesday, 28 March, 2018, 10:24 AM

Barbara Hillard Smith’s Diary, March 1918

Today we return to the 1918 diary of Newton teenager Barbara Hillard Smith. You may read our introduction to the diary, and Barbara’s January and February entries, here:

 

January | February | March | April

May | June | July | August

September | October | November | December

 

We will be following Barbara throughout 1918 with monthly blog posts that present Barbara’s daily life -- going to school, seeing friends, playing basketball, and caring for family members -- in the words she wrote a century ago. Here is Barbara’s March, day by day.

 

* * *

FRI. 1                          MARCH

School. Dentist Cousin Bert came. Papa glad to see him, Sick

SAT. 2

Showed C. Booklet to K. Heard Galli Curci. She is wonderful. Seminary with Mother

 

SUN. 3

Helped Mother. Studied

MON. 4

School. Mrs. Reed’s. Papa died. Grandma very brave, Mother is wonderful. C. Burt came.

TUES. 5

Aunt Mabel gave Mother her car. She is very busy. People are very kind. Cousin Bert is the [back…]

WED. 6

Everything peaceful. Deluged with flowers. Funeral services very sweet + pretty. C. Bert went back.

THUR. 7

I must stand up for Mother. Worked. Flowers from […]. Waltham with Mrs. Pyrene. Hard to keep tears back

FRI. 8

Worked. Doctors with Mother. Things [go] a little easier. I feel like crying all the time.

SAT. 9

Helped Mother. Got Camp Fire Cocoa. Mrs Richmond came. Wood called up. At McDonalds

SUN. 10

Church. Sunday S. Cousin Mildred to dinner. Dr. Huntington.

MON. 11

School. Mrs. Reed

TUES. 12

School. Basket Ball

WED. 13

School. Gym dancing. Swimming

THURS. 14

School. Basketball. Got on class team

FRI. 15

School. Took care of the baby. Captain of the team

SAT. 16

Sewed at Mrs. Bucknams. Over to Lanes. Went swimming

SUN. 17

Shot Cat. Church and Sunday School. Moody’s for supper. Mr. Bailey out.

MON. 18

School. Took care of baby. Got [byce] out. Living Pictures.

TUES. 19

School. Played the Freshmen. 16-5 s. Juniors beat 30-0. Saw Dr. Ashland.

WED. 20

School. Rehearsed dancing. Swimming.

THUR. 21

School. Played the Juniors. They beat us. 25-10. Saw Dr. Ashland.

FRI. 22

School. Mrs. Reed’s. Newton-Erasmus game. We licked em up. War is awful

SAT. 23

Mrs. Reed’s all day.

SUN. 24

Church. Sunday School. Saw Dr. Ashland ([nude]). He seems much better. Dr. McClure.

MON. 25

School. In Town. Got suit. It seems funny without paper.

TUES. 26

School. Went to Mrs Reeds. Sick.

WED. 27

School. Dancing. In Town. Peg went with me.

THUR. 28

School. Mrs. Reed’s. Wrote Dr. Gordon

FRI. 29                                    GOOD FRIDAY

No School. Mrs. Reed’s all day. Surgical dressings

SAT. 30

Mrs. Reeds. In town. Got new hat

SUN. 31                      EASTER

Church[,] Sunday School and Concert. [Fraulein] and Miss [Colin] to dinner.

* * *

If you are interested in viewing the diary in person in our library or have other questions about the collection, please visit the library or contact a member of the library staff for further assistance.

 

 *Please note that the diary transcription is a rough-and-ready version, not an authoritative transcript. Researchers wishing to use the diary in the course of their own work should verify the version found here with the manuscript original. The catalog record for the Barbara Hillard Smith collection may be found here.

 

 

 

comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Wednesday, 7 March, 2018, 12:00 AM

Barbara Hillard Smith’s Diary, February 1918

Today we return to the 1918 diary of Newton teenager Barbara Hillard Smith. You may read our introduction to the diary, and Barbara’s January entries, here:

 

January | February | March | April

May | June | July | August

September | October | November | December

 

We will be following Barbara throughout 1918 with monthly blog posts that present Barbara’s daily life -- going to school, seeing friends, playing basketball, and caring for family members -- in the words she wrote a century ago. Here is Barbara’s February, day by day.

 

* * *

 

FRI. 1                          FEBRUARY

School. Took care of sonny. Gas froze. Pegs over night.

SAT. 2

Worked. Took care of Polly Godfrey. Seminary with Mother

SUN. 3

Sunday School. Hung around

MON. 4

School. Dentist. Dr. Ashland engaged.

TUES. 5

School. Bitterly Cold, “Sick.” Rosa Allen’s

WED. 6

School. Took care of sonny

THUR. 7

School. Rosa Allen’s. Took care of sonny

FRI. 8

School. Took care of sonny.

SAT. 9

Got my dress. Burton Holme’s Lecture. Sailor’s Dance. Met Mr. Wood

SUN. 10

Church. Sunday School. Aunt Mable’s. Met Sailor at the Station

MON. 11

School. Took care of sonny

TUES. 12                    LINCOLN’S BIRTHDAY

School. Basket Ball. Mother went to New York

WED. 13

School. Took care of Sonny

THUR. 14

School. Mrs. Moody to Basket Ball. Mother came home

FRI. 15

School. Took care of Sonny. Swimming

SAT. 16

Hung around. Over to Pegs. Plays at the Seminary

SUN. 17

Sunday School. Dr. Scott teacher. Studied

MON. 18

School. Took care of the Baby.

TUES. 19

School. Basket Ball. Papa sick. Sessions with the Doctor

WED. 20

Stayed to look after papa. Mrs. Reed’s

THUR. 21

Took care of papa. Took care of sonny. Red Cross play.

FRI. 22                                    WASHINGTON’S BIRTHDAY

Mrs. Reed’s in the morning. Home in afternoon. Masquerade

SAT. 23

Babys in the morning. In town in the afternoon

SUN. 24

Helped Mother. Studied

MON. 25

Toothache. Dentist. He goes to hospital soon. Married probably in Aug. Papa better. Sonny.

TUES. 26

Toothache again. Dentist can’t do anything about it. Mrs. Reeds.

WED. 27

Got class pins. Subscribed to Newtonian. Mrs. Reeds. Papa out. Tooth still at it.

THUR. 28

School. Basketball. Papa seems much better.

* * *

If you are interested in viewing the diary in person in our library or have other questions about the collection, please visit the library or contact a member of the library staff for further assistance.

 

 *Please note that the diary transcription is a rough-and-ready version, not an authoritative transcript. Researchers wishing to use the diary in the course of their own work should verify the version found here with the manuscript original. The catalog record for the Barbara Hillard Smith collection may be found here.

 

 

comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Wednesday, 14 February, 2018, 12:00 AM

A New Year’s Greeting from Merrymount Press, 1918

 

Welcome to the future! In this first week of the new year, I bring you a New Year’s greeting from one hundred years in the past. This illustration by Rudolph Ruzicka (1883-1978) graced the annual greeting to the friends of Merrymount Press, Boston at the dawn of the year 1918. The image is a view of the parade ground at Camp Devens (Ayer, Mass.) and the Latin text at the top of the image is the official motto of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, “Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem,” translated into English as “she seeks with the sword a quiet peace under liberty” -- a solemn message for the advent of a year under the shadow of World War One.

The Massachusetts Historical Society holds a collection of illustrations by Ruzicka, himself a member of the Society for many years, as well as many titles printed by Merrymount Press. You are welcome to explore our print holdings through our online catalog ABIGAIL and reach out to the library staff with any questions you have about accessing items in our collection.

We look forward to welcoming you to the library in 2018 and beyond!

 

comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Wednesday, 3 January, 2018, 10:15 AM

Gertrude Codman Carter’s Diary, December 1917

Today we return to the 1917 diary of Gertrude Codman Carter. You may read the previous entries here:

 

Introduction | January | February | March | April | May

June | July | August | September | October | November

 

It is the final month of 2017 and 1917 as well; Gertrude Carter left scant record behind as the Carter family’s year ended in news of the death of Gertrude’s grown stepson, Otho, when his ship was torpedoed on November 28th. News reached his father on December 4th, the final page of the diary. The only items left in the journal are pasted in, a photograph, cryptically captioned “the Prophets of Ruby Bay,” and a sketch of a room -- “Black & white room” -- with Gertrude’s design notations penciled in -- “Writing table here” and “Beam 1 foot deep”.

It seems fitting that we let Gertrude’s work as an artist and architect close out our year with her. Thank you for joining us on our journey with Gertrude Codman Carter through 1917! In January we will be introducing our diarist from 1918, a Newton (Mass.) teenager named Barbara Hillard Smith.

 

* * *

Dec 1.

Tea at the [illegible] Yearwoods.

 

Dec 2.

A very jolly [illegible] party. The Hancocks, Carpenters, Mrs. Smith [illegible], Laddie, Mr. Fell, Mrs. Da Costa. We sang & danced & had a generally jolly time of it.

 

Dec 3.

Met Mr. Eustace at L. Challum’s office. The [boots?] departed for the front.

 

Dec 4.

Poor G. came back from the town with a cable which had been handed him as he passed through. The cable was from Evelyn & said, “Otho lost at sea.” At first we could not grasp it for we had imagined him still in Africa -- however when our letters came we found alas~ That he had been invalided home & they were expecting him shortly. G. went to the [illegible] who kindly cabled to the Colonial office & received the official confirmation that the “Apapa” had been torpedoed & sunk with severe loss of life & Otho amongst the lost.

 

 

"Prophets of Ruby Bay"

 

 Black and White Room

* * *

As always, if you are interested in viewing the diary or letters yourself, in our library, or have other questions about the collection please visit the library or contact a member of the library staff for further assistance.

 

 

comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Wednesday, 6 December, 2017, 12:00 AM

older posts