Thursday, December 5, 2013

"A right fat, jolly, roistering little fellow" - Irving, Paulding, Saint Nicholas

It's Saint Nicholas' Eve, which means that in Holland - and in plenty of other places, too - Sinterklaas celebrations are in full swing. I'm paying brief homage to the Dutch part of my heritage by gesturing to the development of Saint Nicholas in the New World in works by early American writers - specifically Washington Irving and James Kirke Paulding. Yes, little Saint Nick was a popular chap amongst the Knickerbocker set.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mr. Pooter Remembers the Fifth of November

To mark the day, Mr. Pooter's account of a firework party:


From, of course, George and Weedon Grossmith's Diary of a Nobody, first published in Punch magazine, 1888-1889. Here's the original appearance of the entry above - from November 24, 1888. And because there's nothing, but nothing, more Pooterish than blogging, a couple of thoughts...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Countdown To Halloween: "A Hallowe'en Party" (1896)

"Pumpkin Carving", Benjamin Franklin Reinhart, 1872  (via)
It's Halloween! Which means we've come to the end of the Countdown for another year. There's still time to take in the glory of Benjamin Franklin Reinhart's pumpkin carvers, above, another illustration that comes courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society. It also means it's time for a party - Caroline Ticknor's "A Hallowe'en Party" (1896), to be precise.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Countdown to Halloween: War Wounds


Today, a Halloween story from Godey's Lady's Book and Magazine in 1870, in which the emerging holiday touches upon the trauma of the Civil War and the project of reunion.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Countdown to Halloween: Pumpkins Redux

"Pumpkin Time", H. Harring after Benjamin Champney for L. Prang & Co., 1872, via
It's about time we saw some pumpkins on this Countdown - so make sure you click the image above to get a good look at a chromolithograph of Benjamin Champney's "Pumpkin Time", from 1872, courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society. There's also a nice blog post on this image, here. But that's not the only pumpkin delight on offer today.