Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Turn the Hourglass

Forster Avenue, Mt. Vernon, N.Y.                                cjk

It’s the 1960s and we live in a house styled after an Elizabethan cottage, built in 1917. Ivy creeps up the stone chimney and twirls around an iron lantern at the front door. 

The house sat on a corner lot. The street it faced, which inclined slightly toward the next block, felt dim and mysterious yet wide and bright. A straight, quiet street with huge elms arching overhead and a slate sidewalk of many hues, crippled in places where the tree roots had pushed through.

The sidewalk lilted up the sunny side of the street and darkly down the other, shaded in part by a granite precipice on which two homes were perched. It extended expectantly in front of a double lot.

It felt like an important street. To begin with, it was perfectly composed. It had the habit of seeming to rise up before you, with the houses and landscape flowing in all directions. Sometimes an imaginary mist floated around.

The massing of slate, stone, and greenery beneath tall trees was such a strong symphony that you invariably thought you heard a clap of thunder or the first chord in the history of the world when you came upon it.

I’m not making this up. This is how it was.  

We kids thought the street belonged to us, but it went back 3/4 of a century. Even during the late 1950s, gas sconces remained in a few of the homes.

So it was that Violet Romer – gorgeous flapper & actress, acclaimed interpretive dancer –

& her brother Romer Shawhan – an architect who flew at St. Mihiel with the Lafayette Escadrille and married the heiress to Pacific Coast Borax, for whose father Zabriskie Point was named –

would interrupt our ball game when their 1938 “Woodie” station wagon rounded the corner and rolled halfway up the block, turning into the driveway of their white frame house.

Did we step back impatiently when they drove by, eager to resume our play? Or were we blown to the curb in space and time?

Of course none of us children had any idea about the vivid places that Violet and Romer had occupied.

I’m always chasing that street into the past.

http://www.throughthehourglass.com/

See also April 13 + 27, 2016 posts.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Florence E. Cory's Unusually Beautiful Hands

Patent received by Florence E. Cory, 1884

She found her calling while sitting in a friend’s drawing room sometime during the mid-1870s. You can imagine the stuffy Victorian parlor, probably in brownstone Brooklyn where many ambitious, imaginative women crossed paths during the last third of the 19th century.

Florence Elizabeth Cory looked around the room and thought the carpet and curtains ugly – at best “inartistic,” she remarked later.

A native of upstate New York who left her lawyer husband in Ohio after two years of marriage, Florence decided to approach several carpet manufacturers about the possibility of creating designs for them. The men were surprisingly encouraging.

“As women buy carpets, it would be a good thing for women to design them, as they would know best what women like,” one company agent replied. He suggested that Florence enroll at Cooper Union to learn about art. With six months to spare before classes would start, she forged ahead and created her first design; earned $15 by selling it to a carpet company.

But Cooper Union, founded in 1859 by Peter Cooper for the advancement of science and art, didn’t have much to teach Florence about how a pretty pattern is actually woven into carpet. 

So Florence boarded a streetcar, or perhaps a horse and carriage, and headed south to the carpet district in lower Manhattan. There she met with the president of the Carpet Trade Association, who arranged for her to receive free instruction in weaving machinery while completing her coursework.

Soon after, the Cooper Union faculty invited Florence to teach “practical industrial design” to a class of 17 young women. Through her classes there and at the Ladies’ Art Association on 14th Street, hundreds of women learned how to earn a living by creating and selling designs to companies that manufactured draperies, tapestries, carpets, linens and more. 

Previously, the profession accepted only men who worked as apprentices. Now, women could create designs that had monetary value because they could actually be woven into a product.

“At present the most valuable gift which can be bestowed on women, is something to do, which they can do well and worthily, and thereby maintain themselves,” once declared James Garfield, a college president who would be elected U.S. president in 1880.

In the decades following the Civil War, educational opportunities for middle and upper-class women proliferated. Florence Cory benefited from that trend. And she opened up more possibilities by establishing The Institute of Industrial Arts and Technical Design for Women at 134 Fifth Avenue, in 1881.

Initially, the two-year program welcomed women who could afford tuition and supplies although later Florence offered scholarships. Her students’ designs often won prizes and some were displayed in the Woman’s Building at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. 


Florence E. Cory, lecture on "Industrial Art for Women,"
published in the journal Art Amateur, 1897

“I understand the machinery thoroughly and can tell you all about the manufacture of almost every industry in the United States,” Florence Cory told the U.S. Senate Committee on Education and Labor in 1884. She testified about teaching, factories, and the future for women who could support themselves by designing anything so long as they understood how it was actually produced.

“Mrs. Cory had unusually beautiful hands,” reported the American Carpet and Upholstery Journal in April 1902.

About six weeks before her death a tiny red spot appeared on one of them. She noticed it first by finding herself dreading to shake hands with any one. It was lanced as a felon, but that proved more serious. Finally the trouble developed into gangrene in the right arm, and first the finger and then the entire arm were amputated, in an effort to save her life.

She died in the New York Post-Graduate Hospital, not too far from the Institute which appears to have endured possibly for another decade.  


*A felon is an abscess deep in the palm side of the fingertip.


http://www.throughthehourglass.com/

Monday, December 21, 2015

No Sunlight

From The Mirror, Bates College yearbook, 1909

It’s amazing how events can loom so large in the life of a community – and then time passes, tension diminishes, secrets are kept, and one is reduced to piecing together the story from newspaper clippings that chip and crumble, leaving your fingers covered in dirt.

This happened 70 years ago: a series of events in the Mount Vernon, N.Y., school district that remained particularly opaque. When I called the former superintendent’s daughter, who sounded very far away even though she was just 100 miles north in Saugerties, N.Y., she recalled that “something bad happened” in 1945. There was a box of papers up in the attic, but she never got around to opening it.

After World War II, clashes between superintendents and school boards became common. Progressive education, with its emphasis on developmental learning and the arts, faced challenges by educators who believed it lacked sufficient rigor for the post-war world. School trustees who had acted as little more than timeservers suddenly wanted to flex their muscles. Americans harbored greater expectations of the public schools.

So, what happened in Mt. Vernon wasn’t unusual. But when the school board voted to force a paid leave of absence on Superintendent William H. Martin, observers could only conclude that some questionable business had transpired behind the scenes.

From this long distance, it looks like the historically Protestant school board felt besieged by the growing involvement of Italian immigrants in school affairs and the newly-raised voices of local black leaders. One of the majority led the move to oust Superintendent Martin and marshaled six votes. Across two months, the board offered no explanation for the forced leave and Martin would not talk. 

Eventually, public indignation, two investigations, a strongly worded newspaper editorial, and a ruling by the Corporation Counsel resulted in a compromise: Martin’s appointment to the position of Elementary Grades Supervisor.  

He held that job for the rest of his short life, dying suddenly in 1954.  

Two aspects of the Martin case are of interest.  The first is how the incident was the first public display of the corruption, fueled by racial and ethnic factions, which persists to this day on Mt. Vernon’s school board.

Second is William Martin’s ambivalence about whether he should have taken the position in Mt. Vernon. In several letters, Martin wistfully reflected on what could have been. Nothing earth-shaking, just a few expressions of longing that defy the stereotype of a bespectacled ceremonious “school-man” from New England. 

William Harris Martin was born in Hooksett, N.H. in 1885 and graduated from Bates College; then worked as an elementary school principal. In 1918 he and his wife of one year, Hazel, moved to New Haven where Martin commenced work on his master’s degree at Yale and developed a special interest in the relatively new institution of the junior high school. Eventually he earned a doctorate.

His mentor at Yale, Frank E. Spaulding, had arrived just a few years earlier to chair the university’s new Dept. of Education. Spaulding had served as Superintendent of Schools in Cleveland and other cities. He was both practitioner and theorist, having received his PhD at the University of Leipzig under William Wundt (considered a father of modern psychology).

Frank Spaulding and William Martin remained close after the latter finished his graduate studies. In 1930, Spaulding recommended Martin for the position of assistant superintendent of the Mt. Vernon public schools. In 1940, when the longtime superintendent retired, Martin was promoted.


William H. Martin's promotion to superintendent was
announced in the September 4, 1940 issue of the Mt. Vernon Daily Argus.

During the early thirties, Martin wrote to Spaulding:

I am wondering if you would be bored if I wrote just a little concerning our present life in Mount Vernon. We are very pleasantly situated in our home, a small cottage in a very desirable, newly developing section of the city so that we are surrounded by woods on three sides and a house on the other. Mrs. Martin is gradually accumulating friendly contacts and my associations in the schools are all that could be desired. . .

Nevertheless, my mind turns back many times to New Haven and especially to the Graduate School at Yale. I cannot yet quite feel and we do not wish to feel that we have severed the pleasant connections there. I often think of the kindly interest that you showed in my work and the friendly way in which you and Mrs. Spaulding created a happy atmosphere. My only regret is that we are not able to see more of you now. . .

Two years later, Martin wrote to his mentor: “My work goes on just about as we planned. I think I am generally fitting into my place here and being more or less generally useful.”

By the late thirties, Martin had confided to several friends his frustration with the grind of school administration. The new chair of Yale’s Dept. of Education, Clyde M. Hill, wrote to Martin:

I appreciate fully how you feel about your creative work. Administrative jobs have a habit of getting in the way of other things we would like to do. Perhaps both of us can look forward to writing our masterpieces in the near future, and, when they appear, the educational world will have to “look out”.

Surely the Mt. Vernon school trustees and Martin’s colleagues did not know how much the superintendent missed the familiar community of Yale/New Haven and harbored regrets about getting wound up in the business of schooling, which is quite different from the study of education.

One wonders, though, about the extent to which the superintendent’s melancholy revealed itself to others. If it did, perhaps there are even more secrets about the events of 1945.

http://www.throughthehourglass.com/

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Lighthouse Tale

Twin Lights, Highlands, N.J., birthplace of Ruth Davies Smyth

The unshakable Ruth Smyth, born in a lighthouse in 1905, taught math to junior high school students in Mount Vernon, New York. She got the job in 1945 through the woman who had been her own math teacher years before in Bridgeport, Connecticut. 

Technically, Ruth grew up near Bridgeport because her father, as the keeper of the Black Rock Lighthouse, had a home on the property where the family lived. The lighthouse was located on Fayerweather Island overlooking Black Rock Harbor, which leads into Long Island Sound.

John D. Davies immigrated to the United States in 1894, having trained with the Irish Lighthouse Commissioners. His father had been keeper of the Rosses Point Light in County Sligo, Ireland. If any nation knows about lighthouses, that would be Ireland. Six years after he came to the U.S., John joined the Lighthouse Service. Sometime during those years, he married Rebecca.

I understand why John Davies felt the pull of America, but Rosses Point looks like one of the most beautiful places on earth.

In 1902, after serving as first assistant keeper for lighthouses at Plum Beach, R.I. and Stratford Shoal, CT, John became second assistant to the keeper at Twin Lights, also known as the Navesink Lighthouse, in Highlands, N.J. Built of brown stone during the Civil War, it looks like a fortress perched up in the hills overlooking the entrance to New York Bay.

Therein Ruth was born.

Twin Lights had a few other claims to fame. In 1893, the first public reading of the Pledge of Allegiance occurred at the lighthouse’s new 135-foot “Liberty Pole.” In 1898, it became the first coastal lighthouse to use electricity with a bivalve lens and arc lamp whose flash could be seen more than 22 miles out to sea. And in 1899, the inventor Guglielmo Marconi conducted his first experiments with the wireless telegraph after installing an antenna and receiving station at the lighthouse. 

The importance of lighthouses declined with the rise of modern navigation tools. But John Davies remained the keeper of Black Rock until 1932 when it closed and then became keeper at Dutch Island Light in Jamestown, R.I. By that time his three daughters and one son had grown up. Ruth and her older sister became teachers but an aunt persuaded their mother that two teachers in the family was enough; the youngest girl became a secretary.

“My parents were not college-educated but extremely literate and cultured, and especially well-versed in poetry and the Bible,” Ruth told me when I interviewed her in 1997.

While she enjoyed her career, Ruth Smyth rolled her eyes recalling the school principal who largely focused on housekeeping, warning teachers that the window shades in their classrooms always must be raised to an even height. She remarked:

“I never worried when he came to observe my class, for I knew that he did not know what I was talking about.”

For more about the principal, see 11/2 post.

http://www.throughthehourglass.com/

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Looking for Henry




The indelible case of Henry Moore winks out from nineteenth-century America, through the dim years of Pierce and Polk, peering from tintypes. He loses family heirlooms, buries a wife, sails through to the next century, wags his head at Woodrow Wilson. Bearded and musty in a black frock coat, he celebrates his golden anniversary with his second wife and expires in 1925 at the home of his son at Lake Congamond, Massachusetts.

A vain, difficult young man, Henry lurked in Victorian parlors, on porches and piazzas; attended oyster parties, smoked and smirked. “Henry,” wrote his mother, Sarah, in 1852:

I think of you every night when I go to bed. Don’t throw all your money when you earn it so hard. You won’t ever be young but once. Oh how short the years look to me when I look back at the time I lived in Market Street and you was but 4 years old. Them will never return. Henry don’t be out late nights will you and do go to some evening meetings and not live all the while for the world.

At 21, Henry went to New York City. He paid $3 a week for room and board and hoped to earn enough to pay off a debt to a Hartford tailor. Sarah begged her son to return.

My dear boy, I feel hurt and sorry to realize that I seem to be so forgotten by you. Is it possible you are so taken with that wicked place that you have not one moment’s reflection or sober reality – You are now free of my talk and advice which you hated so bad to hear. Do stop long enough to think whether you are under any obligations to us or to me. Oh how much I have done without for you – but tis all gone by and among the things that were.

She scribbled on the envelope: “Send back your dirty laundry by return post.”

In 1850 the widow Moore lived with her children, Henry and Kate, and her mother and sister in the Captain Daniel Moore Homestead at the corner of Main Street and Windsor Avenue, Hartford. Inside the Homestead, the four women sat around the stove, worrying about Henry. He could not make a success of anything. He had the habit of leaving suddenly on the train or in horse and carriage. As a cousin once wrote: 

We had almost concluded that you had forgotten us entirely, as the last we knew of you, you left the gates and whether you ever reached home or not we never knew.

In 1853, Henry was back in Hartford, mulling dry goods prospects in Chicago. But he ended up hanging around, purchased new trousers, and on Valentine’s Day 1854 received several strands of brown hair braided with pale blue ribbon. Soon enough, he married Theresa P. of Maine. The idea was, he would settle down. 

But in 1858, Henry packed up Theresa and traveled out to Kansas Territory where he earned $15 a week delivering mail via pony express. His route was Lawrence to Fort Riley.

They called it “Bleeding Kansas.” Not yet a state, this vast unorganized territory seethed with tension as Senator Stephen A. Douglas’s Kansas-Nebraska Act forced the issue of slavery into the West.

Henry spent much of his time on the open prairie. He saw the buffalo and Kaw Indians, and it all made impression enough to be related to his son and grandson. But Kansas disappointed, too, because Henry did not make the money he expected. He decided to look for gold that ran in the streams near Pike’s Peak.  

But Theresa persuaded her husband to return to New England. They moved to Massachusetts and she died one year later.

He lost her as he lost many things: for instance, the key to the parlor desk in the Homestead. 

Then there was the old black trunk that Gram loved; it was sent to New York to collect Henry’s laundry but disappeared. 

He never received the piece of carpet that his mother shipped out to Kansas. 

He lost or never received a packet of arsenic that a minister sent him to use in preserving and mounting dead birds. Simmons & Leadbetter, Forwarding & Commission Merchants, spent a year searching for his boots lost somewhere between Hartford and Chicago. 

And much later, an heirloom chair was stolen from his home, presumably by an agent acting for the Rhode Island Historical Society. (It now resides in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.)

Before Sarah died in 1870, she probably realized that Henry himself would not be lost. He didn’t end up in State’s Prison, as she often worried. He voted in every presidential election from 1860 to 1924, although she declared he would never stay in one place long enough to gain residence. And he never was knocked down and robbed, as she once predicted.

Instead he married his cousin Henrietta in 1863. Their only child, Henry Elmer, was born three years later. After a few months’ apprenticeship with a bookbinder in Northampton, Henry joined the Springfield Republican as a printer, working there until retirement. 

He bought a clapboard house in West Springfield and never moved again.

http://www.throughthehourglass.com/

See also February 10 + 17 posts, 2016.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

George S. Counts of Kansas

Turn-off to Baldwin City, 2002

Baldwin City is a place where it’s easy to conjure the past. Located about 30 miles west of the Kansas-Missouri border, it doesn’t even begin to be part of the beyond of Kansas, the plains that stretch infinitely westward toward Colorado. It’s not out there like Dodge City, frozen in time with a Carnegie library to boot. But Baldwin City definitely takes you back a century.

You’ll get off the main road and sail up High Street with the car rolling across beautiful deep red bricks. The street had been a muddy mess until 1926 when Jim Brown, a graduate of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, finished laying the bricks at the rate of 36,000 per day. He worked from a standing position, bending down to use both hands in order to place two bricks per second. The brick carriers had a hard time keeping up and Brown would tell them to “get on the stick.” An Oneida Indian who grew up in New York State, he went on to lay brick streets all the way to Texas.

Although the Chamber of Commerce does not mention it, one of the twentieth century’s foremost intellectuals and a longtime professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, grew up in Baldwin City. Best-known in his time for the short but controversial book, Dare the School Build a New Social Order?, George S. Counts believed that education should be a lever for social reform. He abhorred the one-sided view of capitalism that he perceived in the U.S. history curriculum of the nation’s high schools. That was just one of his many brilliant critiques.

Three experiences in Counts’s early years would reverberate through nearly everything he expressed about society, culture, and education for the rest of his life. These were: coming of age on a 160-acre farm, feeling browbeaten by the Methodist Church, and leaving Kansas behind.   

On the farm, George and his three brothers worked every day but Sunday. They cleared and plowed the land; planted, cultivated, and harvested the crops; cared for the animals. Much later Counts developed his “Cow Theory of History,” which held that there would be fewer wars if every person in the world owned a cow, for the relentless badgering of humans by cows that cannot wait to be milked and fed would leave little time for anything else.  

“God is a Republican and a Methodist” was said to be the unofficial motto of Kansas. Church and community were entwined. Every summer the Methodist circuit riders came through, setting up tents on the outskirts of town, performing revivals that overflowed with music and rhetoric. In 1908, the Methodist Church adopted a new social creed that was strongly influenced by the Progressive movement. Its twelve points addressed labor conditions and social justice for working people, a truly enlightened document. By that time, Counts had left home and had one foot out of Kansas and the church.

After Counts left Kansas, he and his wife and two daughters returned for a family reunion nearly every summer until 1960. In this one way he resembled many American educators who fled the Plains. They came back to show their children where they came from.

Among the Counts siblings, only one brother stayed in Baldwin City and kept the farm going.

George Counts’s nieces and nephews recalled that he did not reconnect easily with the family. It makes sense that the tense transition from the pre-industrial culture of his youth and the onset of the modern technological age endured as a central theme of his work.


Kansas sunflowers                                             cjk

http://www.throughthehourglass.com/

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Bear Chair

Seth Kinman testing out the Bear Chair

When my family visited Washington, D.C. during the 1960s, we brought back a book called The Story of the White House. Being quite fascinated by First Ladies, I pored over it so often that some of the pictures and captions remain stuck in my head. One is an etching of Theodore Roosevelt toasting the Prince of Prussia. Another is a photograph of sheep grazing on the lawn of the mansion during World War I. Also, a picture of Washingtonians devouring a 1,400-lb. cheese which Andrew Jackson served at his last public reception.

But not a bear chair in sight.

The story goes like something like this. During the decades before the Civil War, far up in northern California near the Oregon border, amidst mountains, glades, and marshland, the trappers of Humboldt County were famous for their bloodthirsty pursuit of wild animals and Indians. Mad River, Wild Cat Creek, the Siskiyou country; turn left at the second gulch you come to. Cold fog rolled in from the bay while sheep ran among redwoods and oaks. And cozy cabins were inhabited by tough men who would tell you to “git back to San Francisco.”  

Perhaps the most famous of these mountain men was Seth Kinman, born in Pennsylvania in 1815, who wended his way west to find gold and bring grizzly bears to their knees. (That story may be apocryphal.) A consummate hunter who supplied meat to the officers at Fort Humboldt, he led unspeakably brutal Indian massacres.

When James Buchanan was elected president in 1856, an elated Kinman celebrated his fellow Pennsylvanian’s fortune. He decided to make a gift for Buchanan, who is one of the lowest ranked presidents in American history. Kinman assembled elk horns and connected them with iron clamps to create a chair, then traveled by boat to New York and on to Washington to present it to the president.  

The six-foot trapper, who dressed in buckskin and carried a rifle and Bowie knife, enjoyed the trip so much that he decided to make chairs for President Lincoln and President Andrew Johnson. He took a break during the Grant administration but made another elk horn chair for President Hayes.

Kinman outdid himself with a grizzly bear chair for Andrew Johnson, also ranked as one of our worst presidents. The chair’s special feature was a cord that could be pulled so that the bear’s head would surge out from under the seat with its teeth bared.

All of the chairs are lost to history except the last, which is on display in the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont, Ohio. Although one is tempted to visit Fremont to see the elk horn chair, a trip to the Johnson Homestead in Greeneville, Tennessee might be a better choice. I know because I have been there not once but twice.

Andrew Johnson began his career as a tailor. Our first visit focused on his original shop with all of its furnishings and examples of his work, now located inside a museum. Also, we had the opportunity to vote on whether to impeach Andrew Johnson.

During the second visit, a National Park Service ranger led us on an extended tour. She candidly told us about how alcoholism ran in the Johnson family and Mrs. Johnson’s lifelong deep depression. The one family member who held things together was the Johnsons’ daughter, Martha, who married a U.S. Senator. A natural protectress, Martha died too soon to go to war over some family papers, but she surely knew what became of the bear chair. As they say, the secret went to the grave.



The story of the Johnson papers will follow.       

http://www.throughthehourglass.com/

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Onward Josephine Walcott

Josephine Walcott to Linda de Force Gordon, November 3, 1878
(courtesy of Bancroft Library, University of California-Berkeley)


It’s not surprising that the passionate Josephine began traveling on behalf of women’s suffrage long before her three children left home. Lectures to the largest possible audiences were the mainstay of the movement. Both Elizabeth Stanton and Susan B. Anthony campaigned all the way to the Pacific Coast. And one of California’s best advocates, Linda de Force Gordon, befriended and inspired Josephine.

Both women were spiritualists as well as suffragists. A trance medium with superb oratorical abilities, Linda often represented the suffrage movement in the political sphere. Correspondence between the two women shows their collaboration.

“I lectured successfully at San Jose and found many liberal pleasant friends,” Josephine reported to Linda in 1878. “It is only among liberal people that woman can find sympathy, or audience to give utterance to her thought.” But further on, Josephine confided: “I begin to feel that there is nothing quite worth doing. Why should we pour forth the rich largess of our thought upon deaf ears?”


Josephine Walcott wrote to Linda de Force Gordon from
San Francisco's luxurious Baldwin Hotel, 1879


She persevered, however. In 1880, the California State Legislature received “A petition from Mrs. Josephine Walcott and one hundred and eighteen others, asking for legislation such as will permit women to vote on all school questions.”

She must have been very proud that her daughters, Mabel and Maude, matriculated at Berkeley the following year. Both became teachers. Maude married a professor at San Jose State College and Mabel married William Adam Beatty, son of a policeman, who became a lawyer in San Francisco. Tragically, Maude and Mabel died young. But Mabel and William had a son, Willard (see earlier post), who grew up to be a brilliant progressive educator.  

Josephine made an appearance with baby Willard in a dissertation written by the first female recipient of a PhD at Berkeley, Milicent Washburn Shinn. Considered a pioneer in developmental psychology, Milicent asked several young mothers – all Berkeley alumnae – to record information about their children’s first few years. Her thesis, Notes on the Development of a Child, includes Mabel’s descriptions of Willard.

Here, I have to interrupt the story to say that it is extraordinary if not unheard-of to have a detailed account of a baby, whose life’s work would involve the study of child development, learning how to walk in 1892.

Charmingly, Mabel reported:

On the same day on which he first took his hand thus off a chair to walk alone, he started to walk from his grandmother to me, but when he had gone half way, and I held out my arms to receive him, he suddenly whirled about and walked back to his grandmother, evidently pleased that he had played a joke on me.

Josephine surely enjoyed the joke.

After Willard was orphaned in 1901, he became the ward of his uncle Earle. Josephine shared their apartment. She died in 1906 a few months after the San Francisco Earthquake and five years before California voted for a proposition granting women the right to vote in state elections. From a conversation with one of Willard’s granddaughters, I know that she read her poems to him.

http://www.throughthehourglass.com/

See also 2015 posts: November 4 + 11 + 29 + December 2; January 12 + 16, 2016.