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Saturday, June 30, 2018

Irving et al about the Declaration of Independence

from a National Park Service photo with Independence Hall in the background
The musical 1776 gives a great view of the fighting involved in signing the Declaration of Independence and how our Founding Fathers were as creator, Sherman Edwards, said "the cream of their colonies. ... They disagreed and fought with each other. But they understood commitment, and though they fought, they fought affirmatively." (Personally I look at our country and its divisions and wonder if such a consensus could be reached today.)

I didn't know Washington Irving had written a Life of Washington, but it gives a glimpse of how we nearly celebrated the Second of July.  (Like the musical, he focuses on John Adams.)

I let that flow into H.A. Guerber's look at the signing as the one followed the other in Frances Jenkins Olcott's book, Good Stories for Great Holidays.  Irving's book, by the way, gets two more excerpts in Olcott's coverage showing better the sense of drama relayed by the author best known for short stories like "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Actually there was very little beyond his best-known work that I knew.  Scanning an article about Washington Irving, I learned he must have had a great interest in his namesake as the Washington biography is five volumes! long, spending much of his life on it.  Also Irving represented the United States in both Spain and England under Presidents Van Buren and Tyler.

Now for an anonymous third look at the event from outside Independence Hall and the ringing of the Liberty Bell.  (It comes from the Fifth Year of Story Hour Readings a textbook popular in the early Twentieth Century by E.C. Hartwell, who may have written it.  There were several illustrators for the book, including Joseph Franke', whose signature is in the left corner.)

I opened this article with a look at the Liberty Bell and want to mention the National Park Service site about Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia. It includes such information as the Liberty Bell was originally the State House bell made in London and taken to Philadelphia for the tower of the Pennsylvania State House. It is inscribed with the words from Leviticus 25:10 “Proclaim liberty throughout the land”. It cracked on the first test ring in 1752, so it was melted down and cast again in Philadelphia. Further cracks occurred, so in 1846 for Washington's birthday, the city attempted to repair it. The repair failed, widening the crack further and silencing the bell forever, but not its significance. The site also has teacher lesson plans. While looking for images of the Liberty Bell, I discovered which has various graphics teachers, homeschoolers, and others might appreciate.  

Here in Michigan next week I'll be doing a program that includes a mention of the War of 1812 with a bit of emphasis on here in Detroit and across the river at Canada's Fort Amherstburg (now Fort Malden) and the wrap-up of that war in the song, "The Battle of New Orleans."

Because that means we had not one, but two wars with Britain, I appreciated this from the N.P.S. site:
There are two other bells in the park today, in addition to the Liberty Bell. The Centennial Bell, made for the nation's 100th birthday in 1876, still rings every hour in the tower of Independence Hall. It weighs 13,000 lbs. - a thousand pounds for each original state. The Bicentennial Bell was a gift to the people of the United States from the people of Great Britain in 1976. That bell is currently in storage.
Considering the way Queen Elizabeth II at the dedication in 1976 mentioned our shared heritage of the principles of the Magna Carta, I hope we dust off that bell and display it, too.

Can't resist this image for a bit of a chuckle.  Even so, remember those who fought in the Revolutionary War were indeed considered traitors and paid with their lives and fortunes.

After two wars, these Ungrateful Colonials are definitely different, but glad to share a heritage and get along again.

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!

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