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Saturday, December 29, 2018

Fielde - Misapplied Wit - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Stories about the New Year aren't plentiful.  This Chinese story mentions the New Year and I probably should save it for Chinese New Year, but you can always celebrate that with whatever celestial animal is the topic.  You're probably wondering when the Chinese New Year is for 2019, since the date changes, and what animal is chosen for that coming celebration. says
Chinese New Year in 2019 is on Tuesday, the 5th of February.
According to the Chinese 12-year animal zodiac cycle, the Chinese year beginning in 2019 is the year of the Pig. Each Chinese zodiac year begins on Chinese New Year's Day.
Pig years are believed to be the most unlucky for people born in previous years of the Pig.
Chinese New Year, also known as the "Spring Festival" in modern Mainland China, is China's most important traditional festival, celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar, which consists of both Gregorian and lunar-solar calendar systems. Chinese New Year can begin anytime between late January and mid-February.
China's Spring Festival public holiday starts on the Chinese New Year, and lasts for 7 days.
As it turns out, today's story also include a boar's head and I just couldn't wait!  I trust you will enjoy it, too, as you may have become curious from the story's title.  (I'll add a bit at the end about the author and the anthologies where it can be found.)
This illustration was the second page of the story and I picture our "young literary graduate" there.  I'll give a bit more information at the story's end.

Now a reveal: The head is papier mache at

My copy of the story is in Adele M. Fielde's Chinese Fairy Tales which was a 1912 reissue of her earlier 1893 Chinese Nights' Entertainment, which only added a new Introduction where she states "This book reveals the Chinese mind as it was when untouched by foreign influences."  It's prophetic that she closed her introduction with this statement:
What lies in the future for a persistent nation possessing these characteristics, or what influence such people are to have on the destinies of the other three quarters of the human race, is a problem that in this twentieth century is presented to every serious mind.
As we look at the twenty-first century that continues to be true.  
Adele M. Fielde (March 30, 1839 – February 23, 1916)

See a very brief article about the protest at the National Museum of American History website
Wikipedia's article about Fielde is brief and neither of today's books are mentioned, but she was a fascinating woman prominent in the women's suffrage movement dying shortly before passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920.  (I can just picture her in the afterlife loving this woman's protest at the White House on 1917, a year after Fielde's death!)

Wikipedia does mention her missionary work and there's more on that at Boston University's School of Theology "History of Missiology" blog.  Surprisingly that article tells at first she "did not fit in with the Baptist missionary community. Her dancing, card-playing, and associations with the diplomatic community resulted in her dismissal from the mission."  She was later reinstated and went back for 20 very influential years.  The article mentions all her books and even includes her "Journal of American Folklore" article on “The Character of Chinese Folk-Tales.”

Thinking about her twenty years in China, it's interesting that her books of Chinese tales are dedicated "To THE WOMEN OF FAR CATHAY Who were my beloved companions in serious work and in needed recreation" -- for such a serious woman, she managed to add to our recreation.
All illustrations in the books are by anonymous Chinese illustrators
The Chinese proverb quoted on the title page fits the following section on Public Domain.
Photo by Jarred Craig on Unsplash
Public Domain Day
From's article, "2019 in public domain":
2019 is the first year since 1998 in which the majority of media from a previous year enters the public domain after the expiration of its copyright term.  2019 is also the first year in this annual process, where 1923 work become public domain that year, then 1924 works in 2020, and so on forward.
Under the Copyright Term Extension Act, books, films, and other works published in the United States in 1923 will enter the public domain in 2019.  Additionally, unpublished works whose authors died in 1948 will enter the public domain. Foreign works from 1923 that were never published in the United States may be in the public domain as well. This is the first time since January 1, 1998, that a new group of works will enter the public domain in the United States. From now on, works governed by the Copyright Act of 1909 will enter the public domain at the end of the 95th calendar year from publication. For example, 1924 works will enter the public domain on January 1, 2020, 1925 works in 2021, and so forth.

The article gives additional information, including about foreign works and authors works that had time added after their deaths.

Please check other entries in "Keeping the Public Domain" here for sources of Public Domain stories to read.  For January 1, 2019 I'm celebrating the return of works entering the Public Domain in the United States.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Christmas - 1863 and beyond


Detroit Free Press, January 5, 1864

The furlough of the Fifth offered the Free Press an opportunity to show some support for the Fifth. The newspaper used it as an opportunity to do a good job of giving a retrospective summary of all they have experienced so far.  To my mind it smacks of "too little, too late", but it's up to you if instead it is "better late than never."  At least the writer made it clear that the members of the Fifth Infantry were respected -- even if the newspaper at other times offered criticism of the war itself and President Lincoln.

At the end of today's article you may choose to look for my personal Excuses and Frustrations Rant.  A few comments follow it in bold print to wrap things up.


mid-February coverage will return to the Detroit Advertiser and Tribune.  The Detroit Free Press will wait until warmer weather heats up the action to a point where they feel unable to ignore it.  (See below my Excuses and Frustrations Rant for the conclusion of the Civil War Christmas series.)

Now the previously promised Excuses and Frustrations Rant -- definitely optional "behind the scenes" information:
I had the choice of dealing with a slanted microfilming and decided to let it lean.  However that meant I couldn't make the text as large because the slant on the second segment moves into the sidebar.  I also made the choice to keep the text as close as possible to roughly same size even if some segments might not touch the sidebar.  Then I decided to change text size, however, on the second column as it reproduced lighter if kept to that size.  So much for being consistent.  There also is that curse of microfilming, a small fold in the newspaper, but worse still the bottom of the column was illegible.  That was the first of two spots where information was missing.  I have my own shortcomings in producing this material to remind me the human element needs to be considered.  Surely the person or persons microfilming the newspapers tried to do their best in the shortest amount of time.  I presume time was at a premium with pressure to finish as quickly as possible because of the cost of paying the microfilmer needed to be kept as low as possible.  Similarly I find a day at the Library of Michigan is an attempt to capture the most information in the best condition possible.  Those days can have equipment difficulties including sharing the only machine that lets me save articles on a flash drive.  I've been able to do this twice a year.  Today's microfilm leaves me most apologetic.  It looks as if somehow I omitted Lieutenant Colonel Pulford's speech.  It's impossible at this point to include it.  Considering the difficulties in getting everything quickly found and saved, it's probably surprising this didn't happen before.  It doesn't make me happy that it happened at all and I offer my apologies for it.  Maybe someday the original hard copies will be available for online digitizing.  As long there is public domain availability for such digitized material it would be most welcome.  Until then, this blog will present the best microfilm I can offer.

Vintage postcard by Ellen Clapsaddle
Unlike previous years, because furloughs had the Fifth home briefly, there is no specific mention of the holidays of Christmas or New Year -- although it was a wonderful holiday present.  Christmas news ordinarily appeared later in January of the following year and would have been published in early 1864.
At last the final year of the war arrives in 1865!  Christmas that year has all who were fortunate enough to have survived back, home trying to get back to a "normal" reunited United States.  The fact that Lincoln is assassinated and then the trials and executions occur show "normal" may be a long time coming for all sections of the country.  In 1870 President Grant names Christmas an official federal holiday in the hope it will help unite the nation.
Please see my final comments for this series.

 (This is a quick note from LoiS: The wonderful pictures on the Old Design Shop blog are a gift from Julie, the owner of the Etsy Old Design Shop.  They fit these three Civil War Christmas posts -- which sometimes frankly can be a bit bleak just giving the newspaper accounts as the war progressed -- so I suggest the first link for lovers of vintage artwork and hope you will sign up for her blog there and then go on to her Etsy shop to see if there is something you might like to buy.  Scrapbookers, teachers, lovers of antiques, I recommend it to you.  I'm so happy with Julie's work from her large Gallery on the blog and her generosity there, that I included this credit to their source with each of my Civil War Christmas posts with this explanation.  Initially I said it would open the posts, but this expresses my Christmas wish for you, so I've moved it here to wrap up this series of posts.)

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Civil War Christmas - 1862

From Old Design Shop blog (see note at end of today's post.)

The Detroit area families entered the holidays of 1862 receiving only attention in the Detroit newspapers immediately after the battle of Fredericksburg.  I won't post those articles here (see the sidebar, 1862-Michigan's "Fighting Fifth" Infantry in Civil War , and scroll to the end of the year if you want to see them).  I will give only their labels of topics as they may be what Michigan families saw at home, causing considerable woe and worry.

Detroit Advertiser and Tribune, December 24, 1862 
Victorian graveyard

casualties, dead, Fredericksburg

The aftermath of Fredericksburg continues on Christmas eve in a fuller list of those recognized as killed in action.


Detroit Free Press, December 30, 1862

Fredericksburg, Gen. Berry, Lt. Col. Gilluly

This is the official commendation by Brigadier General Berry of the Fifth at Fredericksburg and especially of the Lieutenant Colonel Gilluly, who died leading his regiment into battle.
That same formal commendation of Lieutenant Colonel Gilluly by the Fifth Regiment officers appeared in

Detroit Advertiser and Tribune, December 31, 1862 

Fredericksburg, Lt. Col. Gilluly, Maj. Sherlock, Rev. Pritchard 

Old Design Shop Holly
  • The usual delay, however, into 1863 finally shows Christmas for the soldiers

Detroit Advertiser and Tribune, January 3, 1863 

Army of the Potomac, Christmas, food, Fredericksburg, Gen. Berry, Gen. Birney, Gen. Burnside, Gen. Kearney, Gen. Sigel, Lt. Col. Gilluly, Maj. Sherlock, Rappahannock, supplies, weather

The correspondent G.W.W. sent this on December 24, so it's publishing was delayed by a week and a half until January 3.  During that time the families and friends had only reports of casualties.  This finally gives a more hopeful update.  It also shows that Christmas dinner for the Fifth was hard bread and salt pork.  To add insult to their situation, they saw other regiments who did far less receiving accolades while they are a "war-worn regiment."

As a vital part of the Army of the Potomac, who were crucial to the Battle of Fredericksburg, I, too, feel these brave men have continued to be overlooked.  Even Michigander, Bruce Catton, in writing about Fredericksburg and the Army of the Potomac barely mentioned them.
As they say in Infomercials, "but that's not all!" 

Detroit Advertiser and Tribune, January 13, 1863

Army of the Potomac, Christmas, food, Fredericksburg, Gen. Berry, Gen. Birney, Gen. Burnside, Gen. Kearney, Gen. Sigel, Lt. Bolio, Lt. Col. Gilluly, Maj. Sherlock, Rappahannock, supplies, weather

Correspondent G.W.W. is published ten days after his delayed Christmas eve letter.  That holiday wasn't as good for them as New Year's.  The same issue also gives brief notice of Lieutenant George Bolio's resignation of his commission and return home.  No mention is made of the lieutenant's condition, only that he had "very complimentary testimonials as to his conduct at the battle of Fredericksburg."
This letter from G.W.W. may have its difficulties in clarity, but the Library of Michigan microfilm had the opposite side bleeding through on my own version, so I'm delighted that John Braden had a copy as good as this.
New Year's is a time of hope for  something better coming, but 1863 (published in 1864) is rather a time when the war continues with full fury.  Will Christmas 1863 be any better?  (Hint: The military sometimes recognizes the need for a furlough!) - lady hanging wreath
 (This is a quick note from LoiS: The wonderful pictures on the Old Design Shop blog are a gift from Julie, the owner of the Etsy Old Design Shop.  They fit these three Civil War Christmas posts -- which sometimes frankly can be a bit bleak just giving the newspaper accounts as the war progresses -- so I suggest the first link for lovers of vintage artwork and hope you will sign up for her blog there and then go on to her Etsy shop to see if there is something you might like to buy.  Scrapbookers, teachers, lovers of antiques, I recommend it to you.  I'm so happy with Julie's work from her large Gallery on the blog and her generosity there, that I will include this credit to their source with each of my Civil War Christmas posts with this explanation.  Initially I said it would open the posts, but the somber nature of Christmas 1862 leads me to move it here.)

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Civil War Christmas - 1861

This Whitney Made antique postcard certainly matches sentiments for Christmas 1861
(This is a quick note from LoiS: The wonderful pictures on the Old Design Shop blog are a gift from Julie, the owner of the Etsy Old Design Shop.  They fit these three Civil War Christmas posts -- which sometimes frankly can be a bit bleak just giving the newspaper accounts as the war progresses -- so I suggest the first link for lovers of vintage artwork and hope you will sign up for her blog there and then go on to her Etsy shop to see if there is something you might like to buy.  Scrapbookers, teachers, lovers of antiques, I recommend it to you.  I'm so happy with Julie's work from her large Gallery on the blog and her generosity there, that I will open each of my Civil War Christmas posts with this explanation.)

Civil War Christmas at Fort Wayne 

Christmas, Fort Wayne

Historic Fort Wayne is where the Fifth Michigan Infantry and many other regiments began by spending the summer of 1861 preparing.  By Christmas of 1861 they were part of the Army of the Potomac away in Camp Michigan near Mount Vernon.  Shortly before Christmas there is a report from there in the Detroit Daily Tribune.  There is no newspaper account about Christmas until January 9 in the Detroit Free Press.  For a taste of Christmas of that time, although they were not indoors in Camp Michigan, I want to recommend the page on the Historic Fort Wayne Coalition's website showing their Civil War Christmas celebration just held last week and annually.
The Fifth mustered in after the disaster at 1st Bull Run and Lincoln didn't issue his first special war orders until Jan. 31 of '62, asking the Army of the Potomac to move "before, or on, the 22nd day of February."  Their action built gradually, but definitely.

December 20, 1861 Detroit Daily Tribune 

5th Michigan Regiment Band, Alexandria, blankets, Camp Buhl, Camp Lyon, Captain Gilluly, Captain LaFavour, Captain Miller, Captain Trowbridge, Colonel Halman, flag, health, Mrs. O'Donnell

LSK: Mrs. O'Donnell is the wife of Lieutenant William O. Donnell, Company C from Saginaw (my label misspells it “O'Donnell”). This is from the Roster at but somehow both the correspondent for the Detroit Daily Tribune and the Detroit Free Press, while spelling it differently, think that's the name. 
Correspondent, Ennius, apologizes for the delay in writing.  Like many soldiers, he tries to provide a positive view of "The Sunny Side of Camp Life - Breaking Up Camp - An Alarm - Preparation for Winter Quarters - Flag Raising - Health of the Regiment - Medical Staff."  At the same time he points to the need for blankets as winter approaches.

Ennius closes with "I will try to make my communications briefer and more frequent in the future."  As the war finally heats up they will indeed become more frequent. 
Next on  the 1862 page, January 9th, is the posting here of the Free Press article about the Fifth's Christmas.  The delay in getting a report to the Detroit newspapers occurs regularly.

January 9, 1862 Detroit Free Press 

Lois: Once again I feel apologetic about the quality of these microfilmed newspapers, but know I did what I could to clean up safely the articles using the accessory, Paint.  It's admittedly crude.  Some of the clarification of this article came from alternate filming by John Braden.  In the meantime know that the Fifth Infantry articles will start to increase as they began to see more action. Also note that the Free Press correspondent calls her Mrs. O'Donnell.
3d Michigan Regiment Band, Ada Worden, Camp Michigan, Captain Trowbridge, Christmas, food, General Richardson, John Braden, Lieutenant Dennison, Mrs. O'Donnell, Mount Vernon, Pohick Church, Richardson Brigade, S.B. Curtis
Here's a bit of clarification of a few things in the following article.
The heading is: From the Fifth Regiment with this subheading - In Camp Christmas Among the Soldiers - A Scouting Party - A Rencon-tre (sic).
The date it was sent to the Free Press was January 2d, 1862, which shows the delay receiving and publishing it.
The article begins: The winter air of Virginia freezes the fingers of our troops as severely as does that
of the Wolverine State, and letter writing is but a painful pleasure...
The crease further down, after talking about Mrs. O'Donnell, states: Like the good angel of the fairy legend, her presence is visible everywhere...

That alternate film cannot be cut apart, but it reveals these final two paragraphs (note also a different spelling of the lieutenant's name from the second article which follows this one). 
 From John Braden:   
And now to come to a piece of news which will present the other side of camp life. Lieutenant Denison, Company I, of this regiment, while in charge of a few men who were ordered to accompany a body of cavalry on a scouting expedition towards Pohick Church, was fired upon by a body of rebels lying in ambush, and wounded, a rifle ball passing through his under jaw and out of his neck.  The wound is a serious one, though not dangerous, and will probably compel the gallant Lieutenant to return home for a time to recruit his health.  I am gratified to be able to say that throughout the affair he behaved with great credit to himself, evincing a quiet, determined courage, which with the bravest of men is commendable, and although our party was obliged to retire they did so in good order, without losing a man, while two newly made graves showed the next day that our firing had done some execution.  Such little encounters as those which occur now and then, serve to keep up a healthy excitement which cannot fail to be productive of good to the cause whenever the hour arrive for us to enter a general action.
  It is understood that there are some officers to be sent home on recruiting service, as our regiment needs a few men.  Are there any laggards behind? If so, let them leave the everyday life they are leading and come forward.  Now is the time to join their brothers in arms.  Will they remain at home in the hour of their country's peril and at the moment when the army is about to march on to victory?  Let those remaining behind enroll themselves at once that they may in after years be enabled to say: "And I too was there."

* * *
I am grateful to fellow researcher on the Fighting Fifth, John Braden, for his generous sharing of additional material that adds to a view of this same period.  It comes from an unknown newspaper, found in a scrapbook put together by Ada Worden starting in 1861.  Not only is the newspaper unknown, but the first page also is no longer in the scrapbook and, just as with the illegible parts of the Free Press, not everything can be seen.  In some cases Ms. Worden wrote what was illegible even at the time of obtaining the newspaper.  Even with those important omissions it is worth adding to the information given in the Detroit Free Press article as a useful supplement, even clarifying the name of Lieutenant Dennison, who was shot.  The article's author, S.B. Curtis, I had hoped to turn up in future research so I could update this date.
From the Old Design Shop blog in 2011
While those articles reach into more than a week in 1862, imagine the families waiting to see the articles and receive equally delayed mail.

Next week will be Christmas of 1862 with a similar delay.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Civil War Christmas Overview

When the United States became disunited in the Civil War, four Christmases were affected. 

The same day this is posted I will bring back my reenactment of Liberetta Lerich Green to talk about her family and, especially, about her brothers Isaac and William who were in the Fighting Fifth and the Third Infantry during the war. 

Wikipedia's article, Christmas in the American Civil War makes a good overview.  Beyond that, this brief summary comes from Civil War Saga's "Christmas during the Civil War" by Rebecca Beatrice Brooks.  She talks about both the homefront and the soldiers themselves.  I particularly appreciate her mention of the soldiers  "decorating their camp Christmas trees with hard-tack and salt-pork and singing carols such as 'Come All Ye Faithful' and 'Silent Night.' ” I also note her mention of some special dinners for "especially Union soldiers in the beginning of the war".  In the coming weeks in December I will post from Detroit newspaper articles about those Christmases.  It's worth noting how circumstances change for the Fighting Fifth Infantry.

My sidebar gives access to the various articles from those Detroit papers I was able to locate and reproduce.  At one time it was a separate blog, but after the sesquicentennial ended in 2015 I transferred it to this site.  The Fighting Fifth was composed of Michigan volunteers.  They were part of the Army of the Potomac and Michigan's contribution to the American Civil War.  Lincoln responded to us with "Thank God for Michigan!" with good reason.

That first Christmas brought contrasts for specific regiments and soldiers versus those at home.  It still does for our military.

"Tad" Lincoln photographed by Matthew Brady
“And when I turned from these musings upon the bill of fare they would have at home to contemplate the dreary realities of my own possible dinner for that day – my oyster can full of coffee and a quarter ration of hard-tack and sow-belly comprised the menu”  wrote one soldier in a book titled The Story of a Common Soldier of Army Life in the Civil War, 1861-1865 while President Lincoln and his family celebrated Christmas during the first year of the war by holding a Christmas party at the White House.  In later years Lincoln had plenty of reason to visit soldiers in the hospital.  He took along his youngest son, "Tad" who, on Christmas Eve 1863, told his father he wanted to send all of his many gifts sent to him by the general public to the soldiers. Lincoln agreed and said: "Yes, my son, Send a big box. Ask Mother for plenty of warm things, and tell David to pack in all the good eatables he can, and let him mark the box, 'From Tad Lincoln."

Mary Todd Lincoln raised money for Christmas dinners for the soldiers and often visited the hospitals bringing fruit and flowers and sometimes even helping with their correspondence.

Over and over I find reference to one of the most famous Christmas gifts: General Sherman after capturing the city of Savannah, Georgia in December of 1864, a significant military achievement  marking the beginning of the end of the war, sent President Lincoln this telegram, “I beg to present you as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah, with 100 and 50 guns and plenty of ammunition, also about 25,000 bales of cotton.”

Michigan's 21st Infantry is noted for hitching up several of their mule carts and putting branches on the mules to look like reindeer while they distributed food to the Savannah  area.  I've never had a very favorable view of Sherman, although I understood why he caused the devastation he did.  For a more balanced view, including the "reindeer", here's an interview on National Public Radio to read or hear from Stanley Weintraub, the author of General Sherman's Christmas about that area where many Michigan soldiers became a part of history.

For a further look at the homefront, be sure to see "Civil War Christmas" by Maggie MacLean in her Civil War Women blog
During the Civil War, Christmas was celebrated in both the United States and the Confederate States of America although the day was not recognized until 1870, when President Ulysses S. Grant made Christmas an official Federal holiday in an attempt to unite north and south. The war continued to rage on Christmas Day and skirmishes occurred throughout the country.  …
In the United States, the widespread customs of Christmas cards, carols and trees date back to the 1850s. A feature story in the magazine Godey's Ladys' Book initiated the most beloved symbol of the American family Christmas - the Christmas tree. The story was about Queen Victoria's and Prince Albert's Christmas tree, which was a custom Prince Albert brought to England from his native country, Germany.
Godey's Lady's Book on left; Illustrated London News on right
I use both Godey's Lady's Book illustration from 1860 and the Illustrated London News engraving from 1848 in my Victorian Christmas program about turn of the Century Christmas and how it shaped our holiday traditions.  Can you spot the differences between the royal versus American?

While soldier's Civil War trees were decorated with their rations of hard tack and salt pork, at home were strings of popcorn, ribbon, pine cones, and other homemade paper and foil decorations carefully combined with candles.  Traditional greenery, including holly and mistletoe decorated home mantels, windows and doors and even a Yule log in the fireplace, while the soldiers scrounged for firewood just as they would on any winter day.

Santa Claus was particularly used in the war by German immigrant, Thomas Nast, creating so many visuals promoting both Union war efforts and Christmas traditions. His images of Santa Claus combine both the Clement Moore 1822 poem called both "A Visit from St. Nicholas" or "Night Before Christmas" and his own German idea of St. Nicholas.  Nast images of Santa Claus and of the Civil War are Public Domain, but some, like Paul's at have been digitally enhanced and are copyrighted.  Nast is often called the father of American political cartoonists.  Lincoln called him "our best recruiting sergeant."  There is much online about him and I would love to use his illustrations from Harper's Weekly, but for now will go on with more about Christmas at home during the war.

Presents were often homemade, but the economy, especially in the South, sometimes made even the materials to make them difficult to obtain.  In many historical accounts I find mothers explained the absence of presents because Santa Claus couldn't run the 1863 blockade of Southern coasts, or that the Yankees had shot him!

Thanks to the Victorian influence Christmas carols were sung both at home and by homesick soldiers during the Civil War along with more secular songs like "Jingle Bells", "Deck the Halls", and, I was surprised to learn, even "Up on the House Top." The latter surely goes back to the importance of Santa Claus by then.

Another song began as a poem when Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the pacifist poem, "Christmas Bells" on Christmas Day 1863 in the wake of his son, Lieutenant Charles Longfellow's serious injuries.  Charles had enlisted against his father's wishes and had been injured once before in the war.  Longfellow's second wife and Charles's mother, Fanny, earlier had died tragically and his grief is obvious.  (That link is also to the Civil War Women blog and provides an interesting supplement to the more traditional Wikipedia article on Longfellow. ) After the war the poem was set to music and became the carol, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" omitting two stanzas from the original poem about the war.  It was a long way from the Christmas of 1861 which saw soldiers full of bravado, still relatively well fed and equipped, and eagerly anticipating Christmas boxes of treats from home. Often officers then authorized extra rations of spirits and men engaged in greased pig-catching.

Finally this comes from Steven N. Cone's American Civil  I give it here as an excellent grouping year by year of Christmas during the war years.  He credits his sources this way:
Information taken from "We Were Marching on Christmas Day:
A History and Chronicle of Christmas During the Civil War" by Kevin Rawlings.
Unfortunately I don't have the book and I'm uncertain how much is originally written by Kevin Rawlings.  It is enough of a standard to find him often quoted elsewhere.  He has graciously given me permission to include work from that book now in its second printing and he is at work on an expanded edition.  He's also planning a new website (that's guaranteed to take time and attention!)  Here's his present site where you can see he portrays the Patriotic Civil War Santa based on Thomas Nast's front page illustration on Harper's Weekly, January 3, 1863. 

His site credits the photo as an Ambrotype image taken by Claude Levet in 1989.

I continue with the information found on American Civil, but, due to the possibility of copyright problems, as explained in "Are Civil War images in Harpers Weekly protected by copyright" I omit the illustrations.

Many southern children were told that "Santa was a Yankee" so Confederate pickets would not let Santa through.
By contrast though, Many northern children still received gifts and treats because the northern economy actually flourished and expanded as the war dragged on.
One soldier described Christmas 1862 in the union Iron brigade.. " two men from company f provided a temporary diversion on Christmas Day. The two got into a fight that ended with one struck the other over the head with a musket bending the barrel so badly as to render it unserviceable.

"Ought it not be a Merry Christmas?"

Lonely camp scene from an 1862 Harper's Weekly entitled "Christmas Eve".
Even with all the sorrow that hangs, and will forever hang, over so many households;
even while war still rages; even while there are serious questions yet to be settled - ought
it not to be, and is it not, a merry Christmas?"
Harper's Weekly, December 26, 1863
vs. the familiar Harper's Weekly January 3, 1863 edition about separation.
For a nation torn by civil war, Christmas in the 1860s was observed with conflicting emotions. Nineteenth-century Americans embraced Christmas with all the Victorian trappings that had moved the holiday from the private and religious realm to a public celebration. Christmas cards were in vogue, carol singing was common in public venues, and greenery festooned communities north and south. Christmas trees stood in places of honor in many homes, and a mirthful poem about the jolly old elf who delivered toys to well-behaved children captivated Americans on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line.
But Christmas also made the heartache for lost loved ones more acute. As the Civil War dragged on, deprivation replaced bounteous repasts and familiar faces were missing from the family dinner table. Soldiers used to "bringing in the tree" and caroling in church were instead scavenging for firewood and singing drinking songs around the campfire. And so the holiday celebration most associated with family and home was a contradiction. It was a joyful, sad, religious, boisterous, and subdued event.
Before the war
Many of the holiday customs we associate with Christmas today were familiar to 1840s celebrants. Christmas cards were popularized that decade and Christmas trees were a stylish addition to the parlor. By the 1850s, Americans were singing "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem," and "Away in a Manger" in public settings. In 1850 and 1860, Godey's Lady's Book featured Queen Victoria's tabletop Christmas tree, placed there by her German husband Prince Albert. Closer to home, in December, 1853, Robert E. Lee's daughter recorded in her diary that her father - then superintendent at West Point - possessed an evergreen tree decorated with dried and sugared fruit, popcorn, ribbon, spun glass ornaments, and silver foil.
Clement Clarke Moore, a religious scholar who for decades was too embarrassed to claim authorship of the 1822 poem, "A Visit From St. Nicholas," was now well-known for his tribute to Santa Claus. "Santa Claus" made his first public appearance in a Philadelphia department store in 1849, marking the advent of holiday commercialism.
By 1860, many worried about civil unrest, fearful this Christmas would be the last before the outbreak of war. An Arkansas diarist writes:
"Christmas has come around in the circle of time, but is not a day of
rejoicing. Some of the usual ceremonies are going on, but there is
gloom on the thoughts and countenances of all the better portion of our people."
Men of the 5th New Hampshire engaged in a hilarious greased pig chase as their
Christmas entertainment. From Frank Leslie's Illustrated History of the Civil War.
Events proceeded quickly in 1861, hastening war. Abraham Lincoln became the 16th president of the United States in March and the bombardment of Fort Sumter occurred in April. Southern states seceded and the Confederates claimed their first major victory at the first battle of Manassas. For the shopkeeper or farm boy or student away from home for Christmas the first time, melancholy set in.
Robert Gould Shaw, then a 2nd lieutenant in the 2d Massachusetts Infantry, writes about guard duty near Frederick, MD. He would later earn fame as the commander of the heroic African American unit, the 54th Massachusetts.
"It is Christmas morning and I hope a happy and merry one for you all,
though it looks so stormy for our poor country, one can hardly be in merry humor."
. . .
Yet Christmas 1861 also saw soldiers full of bravado, still relatively well fed and equipped, and eagerly anticipating Christmas boxes of treats from home. Often officers authorized extra rations of spirits and men engaged in greased pig-catching contests, footraces, jumping matches, and impromptu pageants dressed as women. Soldiers erected small evergreen trees strung with hardtack and pork. Some were excused from drills, although other references point to the need to haul logs and forage for firewood no matter what day of the year it was.
Artist Winslow Homer depicts soldiers' joy at receiving holiday boxes
from home in this 1861 Harper's Weekly illustration.
By Christmas, 1862, Thomas Nast had allied Santa Claus with the Union Army.
From Harper's Weekly, January 3, 1863.
This sad year brought forth the war's impact full force with battles at Shiloh, Manassas, and Antietam, and campaigns in the Shenandoah Valley and the Peninsula. Many Fredericksburg, Virginia citizens were homeless or fled their town just prior to Christmas.
Harper's Weekly illustrator Thomas Nast, a staunch Unionist, is now depicting Santa Claus entertaining Federal soldiers by showing them Jefferson Davis with a cord around his neck. Abraham Lincoln would later refer to a politicized Santa as "the best recruiting sergeant the North ever had." More moderate illustrations show soldiers decorating camps with greens and firing salutes to Santa. Ironically, it was Nast who fixed Santa's home and toy workshop address at the "North Pole" "so no nation can claim him as their own."
John Haley of the 17th Maine, for instance, wrote the day before Christmas. "It is rumored that there are sundry boxes and mysterious parcels over at Stoneman's Station directed to us," Haley continued in his diary. "We retire to sleep with feelings akin to those of children expecting Santa Claus. We have become very childish in some matters--grub being one of them." On Christmas Day, Haley returned to his tent to endure a practical joke from his tentmate:
On returning to camp, I was informed by my tentmate that there was no parcel at the station bearing my name. My mental thermometer not only plummeted to below zero, it got right down off the nail and lay on the floor. Seeing this, my tentmate made haste to dive under the bed and produce the box, which he had brought from the station during my absence, and in a few minutes we were discussing the merits of its contents. Most of the men have been remembered, and any that have not received something from home are allowed to share with their more fortunate neighbors.
Officers of the 20th Tennessee gave their men a barrel of whisky to mark the day. "We had many a drunken fight and knock-down before the day closed," wrote one participant. But there were other more somber occurrences recorded for Christmas 1862. One account tells of soldiers being forced to witness an execution for desertion and another grim letter describes how men firing their weapons in a funeral salute were mistakenly punished for unauthorized holiday merrymaking.
Children still found Christmas morning joyful in this 1864 Harper's Weekly edition.
Note that the youngster on the right is equipped with sword, drum, kepi and a haversack
with "U.S." prominently displayed.
This year saw the battles of Gettysburg and Vickburg and the beginning of the end for the Confederacy. Thomas Nast portrayed Santa Claus in a patriotic uniform, distributing to Yankee soldiers to raise their morale. Southern parents were gently preparing their children that Santa Claus may not "make it through the blockade" to deliver presents this year. Harper's Weekly depicted a tender reunion scene of a soldier husband and father briefly reunited with his family during furlough.
Holiday boxes and barrels from home containing food, clothing and small articles of comfort were highly anticipated by soldier recipients. Depending on their duty assignment, Christmas dinner may have consisted of only crackers, hard tack, rice, beans and a casting of lots for a single piece of beef too small to divide. Those lucky enough to receive boxes from home could supplement a meager meal with turkey, oysters, potatoes, ham, cabbage, eggnog, cranberries and fruitcake.
One of the dreariest accounts of Christmas during the Civil War came from Lt. Col. Frederic Cavada, captured at Gettysburg and writing about Christmas 1863 in Libby Prison in Richmond:
"The north wind comes reeling in fitful gushes through the iron bars,
and jingles a sleighbell in the prisoner's ear, and puffs in his pale
face with a breath suggestively odorous of eggnog."
Cavada continued:
"Christmas Day! A day which was made for
smiles, not sighs - for laughter, not tears - for the hearth, not prison."
He described a makeshift dinner set on a tea towel-covered box. Each prisoner brought his own knife and fork and drank "Eau de James" (water from the nearby James River.) Cavada reported he combed his hair for the occasion and further related that the prisoners staged a "ball" with a "great deal of bad dancing" during which hats were crushed and trousers torn. Sentries called "lights out" at 9 p.m.
General William Tecumseh Sherman is host at a celebratory Christmas dinner
in Savannah after presenting the captured city to President Lincoln as a holiday.
The final wartime Christmas came as the Confederacy floundered, Lee's Army behind entrenchments in Petersburg and Richmond. Abraham Lincoln received a most unusual holiday - the city of Savannah, GA -presented by General William Tecumseh Sherman via telegram. Union and Confederate sympathizers were hoping this Christmas would be the last at conflict.
Holiday season charity was not forgotten this year. On Christmas Day, 90 Michigan men and their captain loaded up wagons with food and supplies and distributed them to destitute civilians in the Georgia countryside. The Union "Santa Clauses" tied tree branches to the heads of the mule teams to resemble reindeer.
Many other units, however, were on the march, either trying to evade capture or pursuing the opponent for better position. Soldiers left in the squalid conditions of prison camps spent the day remembering holidays at home, as did others in slightly more comfortable settings.
Moods were more bouyant in Washington and New York, where celebrants supped on substantial feasts and attended the theatre.
"Snowy Morning on Picket" from Harper's Weekly January 30, 1864.
After the war
Thomas Nast's most famous image of Santa Claus was published in Harper's Weekly on January 1, 1881.
The events of 1865 again influenced holiday celebrations. President Lincoln's assassination shocked the nation, but by mid-summer, the conspirators were hung or imprisoned for lengthy terms. War was ended and many soldiers had been mustered out of service. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution became law on December 18, 1865, abolishing the institution of slavery. Soldiers and civilians alike were ready to reunite with their families and again embrace Victorian holiday customs.
At the end of hostilities, commerce once again flowed southward, and goods filled Northern shops. Long-held holiday traditions were re-introduced, as ornamental greens and trees filled the markets and toys and other items went on display. Newspaper illustrations were of domestic and wintry scenes.
The final verse of a poem By the Christmas Hearth published in the Christmas edition of Harper's Weekly reflected the sentiments of many:
Bring holly, rich with berries red,
And bring the sacred mistletoe;
Fill high each glass, and let hearts
With kindliest feelings flow;
So sweet it seems at home once more
To sit with those we hold most dear,
And keep absence once again
To keep the Merry Christmas here.
(LSK: After that, the site gives “The Story Behind: 'I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day' “)

Finally I've previously mentioned the network, My Merry Christmas.  I recommend prowling it thoroughly.  I've published some of my Public Domain stories there and back in 2011 Mary Hansel published in the Christmas History section "Christmas during the Civil War", which draws from many of the sources above for yet another nice summary.

I will publish the relevant Detroit newspaper articles over each of the coming December Saturdays.


Saturday, November 24, 2018

Riley - The Bear Story - Keeping the Public in Public Domain (AND "translated" from the dialect)

I confess to mixed feelings about today's posting.  It's great for people who can memorize something like The Bear Story as James Whitcomb Riley wrote it, with or without dialect.  I do think the YouTube version I posted with the article about the original poem back on November 17 shows listening to it is probably easier than reading it.  Personally I prefer taking the story, which is an excellent example of a tall tale and re-telling it (as opposed to a memorized version) with a hint of the style of Riley's original.  For example, my translation today omits saying "purt' nigh" and substitutes "pretty near", but I think the listener can follow it.  That phrase also gives a sense of the teller, in this case the Little Boy.  I also find myself feeling sorry for the two bears.  They are a real threat to humans in their territory, but the Little Boy sets out specifically to kill them.

Last week I told so much about the poem and Riley that I only linked to the original.  For your convenience I'm giving it right after my "translation."  I also found so many great bear picture to start the story, but will stop once they have set the stage for the action which clearly keeps the Little Boy thinking his way through his story as he is telling it.

Bear Story (translated from the dialect)                         

Why once there was a Little Boy went out
In the woods to shoot a Bear. So, he went out
Away in the great-big woods – he did. – And he
Was going along – and going along, you know,
And pretty soon he heard something go “Wooh!”
It's that way – “Woo-ooh!” And he was scared,
He was. And so he ran and climbed a tree –
A great-big tree, he did, a sycamore tree.
And then he heard it again: and he looked around,
And it was a Bear! – a great big sure enough Bear!
No: it was two Bears, it was – two great-big Bears –
One of them was – this one's a great-big Bear. –
But they both went “Wooh!” – And here they came
To climb the tree and get the Little Boy
And eat him up!

And then the Little Boy                                                  

He was scared worse than ever! And here came
The great-big Bear climbing the tree to get
The Little Boy and eat him up – Oh, no!
It wasn't the Big Bear that climbed the tree –
It was the Little Bear. So here he came
Climbing the tree – and climbing the tree! Then when
He got right close to the Little Boy, why then
The Little Boy he just pulled up his gun
And shot the Bear, he did, and killed him dead!
And then the Bear he fell clean on down out of
The tree – way clean to the ground, he did –
Spling-splung! He fell plumb down, and killed him, too!
And lit right beside where the Big Bear's at.

And then the Big Bear was awfully mad, you bet! –
Because – because the Little Boy he shot his gun
And killed the Little Bear. – Because the Big Bear
He – he was the Little Bear's Papa. – And so here
He came to climb the big old tree and get
The Little Boy and eat him up! And when
The Little Boy saw the great-big Bear
Coming, he was worse scared, he was,
Than any time! And so he thought he'd climb
Up higher – way up higher in the tree
Than the old Bear could climb, you know. – But he –
He can't climb higher than old Bears can climb, –
Because Bears can climb up higher in the trees
Than any little Boys in all the Wo-r-r-ld!

And so here came the great-big-Bear, he did, –                    

Climbing up – and up the tree, to get
The Little Boy and eat him up! And so
The Little Boy, he climbed on higher, and higher,
And higher up the tree – and higher – and higher –
And higher than this here house is! And here came
The old Bear – closer to him all the time! –
And then – first thing you know, when the old Big Bear
Was right close to him – then the Little Boy
Just jabbed his gun right in the old Bear's mouth
And shot and killed him dead! – No; I forgot, –
He didn't shoot the great-big Bear at all –
Because there was no load in the gun, you know –
Because when he shot the Little Bear, why, then
No load was anymore in the gun!

But the Little Boy climbed higher up, he did –
He climbed lots higher – and on up higher – and higher
And higher – until he just can't climb any higher,
Because then the limbs were all so little, away
Up in the teeny-weeny tip-top of
The tree, they'd break down with him if he didn't
he Be careful! So he stopped and thought: And then
He looked around – And here came the old Bear!

And so the Little Boy made his mind
He's got to just get out of there some way! –
Because here came the old Bear! – so close, his breath's
Pretty near so he could feel how hot it was
Against his bare feet – just like old “Ring's” breath
When he's been out hunting and is all tired.
So when the old Bear's so close – the Little Boy
Just gave a great-big jump for another tree –
No! – no, he didn't do that! – I'll tell you what
The Little Boy did: – Why, then – why, he – Oh, yes--
The Little Boy he found a hole up there
That's in the tree – and climbs in there and hides
And then the old Bear can't find the Little Boy
At all! – But, pretty soon the old Bear finds
The Little Boy's gun that's up there – because the gun
It's too tall to take with him in the hole.
So, when the old Bear found the gun, he knew
The Little Boy was hidden around somewhere there, –
And the old Bear began to snuff and sniff around,
And sniff and snuff around – so he could find
Out where the Little Boy was hidden. – And then – then –
Oh, yes! – Why, pretty soon the old Bear climbed
Away out on a big limb – a great-long limb, –
And then the Little Boy climbed out of the hole
And took his ax and chopped the limb off! . . . Then
The old Bear fell k-splunge! clean to the ground
And busted and killed himself plumb dead, he did!

And then the Little Boy he got his gun
And commenced climbing down the tree again –
No! – no, he didn't get his gun – because when
The Bear fell, then the gun fell, too – And broke
It all to pieces, too! – And the nicest gun –
His Pa just bought it! – And the Little Boy
Just cried, he did; and went on climbing down
The tree – and climbing down – and climbing down! –
And sir! When he was pretty near down, – why, then
The old Bear he jumped up again – and he
Wasn't dead at all – just pretending that way,
So he could get the Little Boy and eat
Him up! But the Little Boy, he was too smart
To climb clean down the tree. – And the old Bear
He can't climb up the tree any more – because when
He fell, he broke one of his – he broke all
His legs! – and then he couldn't climb! But he
Just won't go away and let the Little Boy
Come down out of the tree. And the old Bear-Story
Just growled around there, he did – just growls and went
Wooh! – woo-ooh!” all the time! And the Little Boy
He had to stay up in the tree – all night –
And without any supper either! – Only there
Were apples on the tree! – And the Little Boy
Ate apples – just all night – and cried – and cried!
Then when it was morning the old Bear went “Wooh!”
Again, and tried to climb up in the tree
And get the Little Boy. – But he couldn't
Climb to save his soul, he couldn't! – And oh! he was mad!
He just tore up the ground! And went “Woo-ooh!”
And – Oh, yes! – pretty soon, when morning came
All light – so you can see, you know, – why, then
The old Bear found the Little Boy's gun, you know,
That's on the ground. – (And it isn't broken at all –
I just said that!) And so the old Bear thought
He'd take the gun and shoot the Little Boy: –
But Bears they don't know much about shooting guns;
So when he went to shoot the Little Boy,
The old Bear got the other end of the gun
Against his shoulder, instead of the other end –
So when he tried to shoot the Little Boy,
It shot the Bear, it did – and killed him dead!
And then the Little Boy climbed down the tree
And chopped his old wooly head off: – Yes, and kille
The other Bear again, he did – and killed
Both the bears, he did – and took them home
And cooked them, too, and ate them! 

And that's all.

I still think bears have the right idea about winter, whether in "torpor" or so-called hibernation (see last week)

The following is the complete original text of James Whitcomb Riley's "The Bear Story."
W'y, wunst they wuz a Little Boy went out
In the woods to shoot a Bear. So, he went out
'Way in the grea'-big woods—he did.—An' he
Wuz goin' along—an' goin' along, you know,
An' purty soon he heerd somepin' go "Wooh!"
Ist thataway—"Woo-ooh!" An' he wuz skeered,
He wuz. An' so he runned an' clumbed a tree—
A grea'-big tree, he did,—a sicka-more tree.
An' nen he heerd it ag'in: an' he looked round,
An' 't'uz a Bear!—a grea'-big shore-nuff Bear!
No: 't'uz two Bears, it wuz—two grea'-big Bears—
One of 'em wuz—ist one's a grea'-big Bear.—
But they ist boff went "Wooh!"—An' here they come
To climb the tree an' git the Little Boy
An' eat him up!
          An' nen the Little Boy
He 'uz skeered worse'n ever! An' here come
The grea'-big Bear a-climbin' th' tree to git
The Little Boy an' eat him up—Oh, no!
It 'uzn't the Big Bear 'at clumb the tree—
It 'uz the Little Bear. So here he come
Climbin' the tree—an' climbin' the tree! Nen when
He git wite clos't to the Little Boy, w'y nen
The Little Boy he ist pulled up his gun
An' shot the Bear, he did, an' killed him dead!
An' nen the Bear he falled clean on down out
The tree—away clean to the ground, he did—
Spling-splung! he falled plum down, an' killed him, too!
An' lit wite side o' where the Big Bear's at.
An' nen the Big Bear's awful mad, you bet!—
'Cause—'cause the Little Boy he shot his gun
An' killed the Little Bear.—'Cause the Big Bear
He—he 'uz the Little Bear's Papa.—An' so here
He come to climb the big old tree an' git
The Little Boy an' eat him up! An' when
The Little Boy he saw the grea'-big Bear
A-comin', he uz badder skeered, he wuz,
Than any time! An' so he think he'll climb
Up higher—'way up higher in the tree
Than the old Bear kin climb, you know.—But he—
He can't climb higher 'an old Bears kin climb,—
'Cause Bears kin climb up higher in the trees
Than any little Boys in all the Wo-r-r-ld!
An' so here come the grea'-big-Bear, he did,—
A-climbin' up—an' up the tree, to git
The Little Boy an' eat him up! An' so
The Little Boy he clumbed on higher, an' higher,
An' higher up the tree—an' higher—an' higher—
An' higher'n iss-here house is!—An' here come
Th' old Bear—clos'ter to him all the time!—
An' nen—first thing you know,—when th' old Big Bear
Wuz wite clos't to him—nen the Little Boy
Ist jabbed his gun wite in the old Bear's mouf
An' shot an' killed him dead!—No; I fergot,—
He didn't shoot the grea'-big Bear at all—
'Cause they 'uz no load in the gun, you know—
'Cause when he shot the Little Bear, w'y, nen
No load 'uz anymore nen in the gun!
But th' Little Boy clumbed higher up, he did—
He clumbed lots higher—an' on up higher—an' higher
An' higher—tel he ist can't climb no higher,
'Cause nen the limbs 'uz all so little, 'way
Up in the teeny-weeny tip-top of
The tree, they'd break down wiv him ef he don't
Be keerful! So he stop an' think: An' nen
He look around—An' here come th' old Bear!
An' so the Little Boy make up his mind
He's got to ist git out o' there some way!—
'Cause here come the old Bear!—so clos't, his bref's
Purt 'nigh so's he kin feel how hot it is
Ag'inst his bare feet—ist like old "Ring's" bref
When he's ben out a-huntin' an's all tired.
So when th' old Bear's so clos't—the Little Boy
Ist gives a grea'-big jump fer 'nother tree—
No!—no he don't do that!—I tell you what
The Little Boy does:—W'y, nen—w'y, he—Oh, yes
The Little Boy he finds a hole up there
'At's in the tree
—an' climbs in there an' hides
An' nen th' old Bear can't find the Little Boy
At all!—But, purty soon th' old Bear finds
The Little Boy's gun 'at's up there—'cause the gun
It's too tall to tooked wiv him in the hole.
So, when the old Bear fin' the gun, he knows
The Little Boy's ist hid 'round somers there,—
An' th' old Bear 'gins to snuff an' sniff around,
An' sniff an' snuff around—so's he kin find
Out where the Little Boy's hid at.—An' nen—nen—
Oh, yes!—W'y, purty soon the old Bear climbs
'Way out on a big limb—a grea'-long limb,—
An' nen the Little Boy climbs out the hole
An' takes his ax an' chops the limb off!… Nen
The old Bear falls k-splunge! clean to the ground
An' bust an' kill hisse'f plum dead, he did!
An' nen the Little Boy he git his gun
An' 'menced a-climbin' down the tree ag'in—
No!—no, he didn't git his gun—'cause when
The Bear falled, nen the gun falled, too—An' broked
It all to pieces, too!—An' nicest gun!—
His Pa ist buyed it!—An' the Little Boy
Ist cried, he did; an' went on climbin' down
The tree—an' climbin' down—an' climbin' down!—
An'-sir! when he 'uz purt'-nigh down,—w'y, nen
The old Bear he jumped up ag'in—an' he
Ain't dead at all—ist 'tendin' thataway,
So he kin git the Little Boy an' eat
Him up! But the Little Boy he 'uz too smart
To climb clean down the tree.—An' the old Bear
He can't climb up the tree no more—'cause when
He fell, he broke one of his—he broke all
His legs!—an' nen he couldn't climb! But he
Ist won't go'way an' let the Little Boy
Come down out of the tree. An' the old Bear
Ist growls 'round there, he does—ist growls an' goes
"Wooh!—woo-ooh!" all the time! An' Little Boy
He haf to stay up in the tree—all night—
An' 'thout no supper neether!—On'y they
Wuz apples on the tree!—An' Little Boy
Et apples—ist all night—an' cried—an' cried!
Nen when 'tuz morning th' old Bear went "Wooh!"
Ag'in, an' try to climb up in the tree
An' git the Little Boy.—But he can't
Climb t'save his soul, he can't!—An' oh! he's mad!
He ist tear up the ground! an' go "Woo-ooh!"
An'—Oh, yes!—purty soon, when morning's come
All light—so's you kin see, you know,—w'y, nen
The old Bear finds the Little Boy's gun, you know,
'At's on the ground.—(An' it ain't broke at all—
I ist said that!) An' so the old Bear think
He'll take the gun an' shoot the Little Boy:—
But Bears they don't know much 'bout shootin' guns;
So when he go to shoot the Little Boy,
The old Bear got the other end the gun
Ag'in' his shoulder, 'stid o' th' other end—
So when he try to shoot the Little Boy,
It shot the Bear, it did—an' killed him dead!
An' nen the Little Boy clumb down the tree
An' chopped his old woolly head off:—Yes, an' killed
The other Bear ag'in, he did—an' killed
All boff the bears, he did—an' tuk 'em home
An' cooked 'em, too, an' et 'em!
                    —An' that's all.

By the way, Riley also wrote “A Bear Family” in his TheBook of Joyous Children which I might post here sometime, but that link lets you find it in Project Gutenberg's many Public Domain books.  I hope you go there often and also donate to their wonderful resource for Keeping The Public in Public Domain.
This is part of a series of postings of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."  The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated.  I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century.  My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them.  I hope you enjoy discovering new stories.  

At the same time, my own involvement in storytelling regularly creates projects requiring research as part of my sharing stories with an audience.  Whenever that research needs to be shown here, the publishing of Public Domain stories will not occur that week.  This is a return to my regular posting of a research project here.  (Don't worry, this isn't dry research, my research is always geared towards future storytelling to an audience.)  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my other postings as often as I can manage it.
Other Public Domain story resources I recommend-
  • There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, maybe none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection.  I have long recommended it and continue to do so.  He has loaded Stith Thompson's Motif Index into his server as a database so you can search the whole 6 volumes for whatever word or expression you like by pressing one key.
  • You may have noticed I'm no longer certain Dr. Perez has the largest database, although his offering the Motif Index certainly qualifies for those of us seeking specific types of stories.  There's another site, FairyTalez claiming to be the largest, with "over 2000 fairy tales, folktales, and fables" and they are "fully optimized for phones, tablets, and PCs", free and presented without ads.

    Between those two sites, there is much for story-lovers, but as they say in infomercials, "Wait, there's more!"
The email list for storytellers, Storytell, discussed Online Story Sources and came up with these additional suggestions:            
         - David K. Brown -
         - Richard Martin -
         - Spirit of Trees -
         - Story-Lovers - is now only accessible through the Wayback Machine, described below, but Jackie Baldwin's wonderful site lives on there, fully searchable manually (the Google search doesn't work), at .  It's not easy, but go to snapshot for October 22 2016  and you can click on SOS: Searching Out Stories to scroll down through the many story topics and click on the story topic that interests you.
       - World of Tales - 
You're going to find many of the links on these sites have gone down, BUT go to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to find some of these old links.  Tim's site, for example, is so huge probably updating it would be a full-time job.  In the case of Story-Lovers, it's great that Jackie Baldwin set it up to stay online as long as it did after she could no longer maintain it.  Possibly searches maintained it.  Unfortunately Storytell list member, Papa Joe is on both Tim Sheppard's site and Story-Lovers, but he no longer maintains his old Papa Joe's Traveling Storytelling Show website and his Library (something you want to see!) is now only on the Wayback Machine.  It took some patience working back through claims of snapshots but finally in December of 2006 it appears!
    Somebody as of this writing whose stories can still be found by his website is the late Chuck Larkin -  I prefer to list these sites by their complete address so they can be found by the Wayback Machine, a.k.a., when that becomes the only way to find them.
You can see why I recommend these to you. Have fun discovering even more stories!