Saturday, December 23, 2017

Saturday Serendipity (December 23, 2017)

Below are just a few recommended reads for this weekend .  .  . 

1.  Among the "Stories of Interest" mentioned by NEHGS in The Weekly Genealogist newsletter this week is an article about the things that folks placed on Christmas trees as decorations of old.  Family traditions around holiday time have always fascinated me (from the dinner fare, to decorations, to timing -- such as when to put up the tree or if Santa brought I and decorated it -- and I have been know to often ask the questions at social gatherings to learn how other folks celebrate.  With that in mind you should have a look at this article if the subject fascinates you too.               

2.  Recently I blogged here about the genealogical value of holiday newsletters.  Usually such letters are inserted into holiday cards, so I also found this article noted by The Weekly Genealogist to be of interest.  Read "A Brief History of the Holiday Card" here

The 1843 card by John Callcott Horsley said to be the first
commercially produced Christmas card.

3.  I have always been a fan of Norman Rockwell.  A few years back Molly and I visited a Rockwell exhibit in Washington, DC and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The exhibit was largely of Rockwell art owned by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, both of whom are big Rockwell collectors.  Since Rockwell got an early start in his career (1912) through association with the Boy Scouts of America, and became art director for Boys' Life, the magazine of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), the National Headquarters of BSA (when it was still located in New Brunswick, NJ -- home of Rutgers University) had a large exhibit of original Rockwells that were done for the annual calendars, magazine covers, etc. When I was at Rutgers I visited the BSA HQ several times and always paused to view the Rockwells on display. Rockwell was always grateful for the early boost to his career from the BSA and was proud of his association. He produced annual calendar illustrations for BSA from 1925-1976! You can see an example of one of Rockwell's Boys' Life Christmas covers here as provided online by the Norman Rockwell Museum.   Recently, Barbara Poole of Life From The Roots blog, treated us to the wonderful images of her trip to Stockbridge, Massachusetts and the Norman Rockwell Museum, where many of the items in the exhibit are of Christmas themes.  If you too are a Rockwell fan, you really must have a look here.           
4.  The blog Cow Hampshire by Janice Brown has been concentrating on posts about WWI during the last two years as we recognize one century since that "war to end all wars" was fought. She posted this week about a fairly well-known Christmas event that happened on Christmas Day in 1914. It is well worth the read in these turbulent times when it often appears we could soon be engaged in yet another armed conflict. It perhaps gives hope that if the meaning and spirit of this time of year could have broken out in the midst of The Great War, then maybe it could prevail to prevent another one.  We can hope anyway! Read "WWI- The Song That Stopped The Fighting" here

5.  And finally, from the blog New England Folklore by Peter Muise comes a summary of a twist on the usual merry holiday stories and celebrations during this season of the year. This post summarizes a 1923 New England Yuletide story by the writer H.P. Lovecraft called "The Festival."  Lovecraft was  born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1890 and died there in 1937.                   
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Copyright 2017, John D. Tew
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  1. Merry Christmas and happy ancestor hunting in 2018!

    1. Thank you Marian -- and best wishes for your continued success and writings in genealogy! Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

  2. John, thank you for your input about Norman Rockwell, I didn't know much about his early days and with the BOA, so thanks for that. I saw the book by Spielberg and Lucas, (nice to know how they spend their money), but didn't know they exhibited their collection. I hope you stop by the Museum the next time you come to NE, maybe April 2019. Thanks for the mention of my post.

    1. My pleasure Barbara! I hope you and your husband had a merry Christmas. I undertsnad you are experiencing a little bit of snow, but hopefully not the depth of recent years.