part of the title page

The Ladies Wreath

Some nineteenth-century American children and teenagers produced magazines to be read by family and friends; "Oliver Onley" -- one of the subscribers to Robert Merry's Museum -- and his siblings included puzzles in their own "Home Casket," and the March sisters in Little Women had their own home magazine. Lucy Larcom and her friends wrote twelve issues of "The Diving Bell" before they became involved with the mill-girls' magazines: it was "a little fortnightly paper, ... filled with our original contributions.... We kept our secrets of authorship very close from everybody except the editor, who had to decipher the handwriting and copy the pieces." (A New England Girlhood, p. 170) In 1861, Emaline Wicks and J. V. H. Scoville produced at least four issues of "The Literary Gazette."

"The Ladies Wreath" is a handwritten collection of essays, jokes, and poems. While "The Literary Gazette" was created from a booklet of paper sewn together like a book signature, the "Wreath" apparently was made from folio sheets, which, document expert Joe Nickell explains, were "sheets of paper folded in half and thus having two leaves and four pages." (See his fascinating evaluation of the manuscript of The Bondwoman's Narrative, by Hannah Crafts, p. 290.) The center of the booklet is made up three such sheets, written on and stacked, to form 12 pages; two more folded sheets were fitted around them and sewn. (The final two pages of the booklet have a different handwriting than the rest of the "Wreath," perhaps indicating that pages 16 and 17 were added after the "covers" were put on.) The last sheet seems to have been torn in half, giving the booklet 18 pages, instead of the expected 20. Some tight buttonhole-type stitching has kept the first page attached to the others. All the sheets appear to be from the same folio, as each has a stationer's crest embossed in the same place; when the sheets were embossed, page 3 seems to have been on top. Unfortunately, the stationer's crest (a shield quartered, with a crown on top, above a scroll marked "Extra") doesn't appear in "Stationers' Crests," by Joe Nickell (Manuscripts 45 [Summer 1993]: 199-216).

The "Wreath" is undated; but it seems to be in imitation of The Ladies Wreath, a monthly periodical published from 1846 to 1862, which was made available also as a yearly bound volume. The long "s" is used often, though not consistently. Apparently in imitation of magazine usage, each page has "The Ladies Wreath" as a running title. Mention of "Alstead" and of "Paper Mill Village" indicates that the little periodical may have been created near Alstead, New Hampshire. The author of almost every piece is indicated ("Cleon" appears to have had a taste for poetry of the mournful variety). The "issue" also features at least two handwritings, many mistakes, and some truly atrocious spelling.

The pupils of "District No. 15" seem to have been both male and female, judging by the names appearing in a humorous piece assigning new meanings to scholars' initials. The editors, however, were female; and essays and poems cover the range of 19th-century subjects familiar to readers of magazines published for women: death, tobacco use, death, pride and affectation, death.... Especially in "Cleon"'s poems, children starve in the streets, young men die far from home, and fair young maidens know not that spring has come, for they have "left this world of sorrow." Some material is specific to the school: teasing "explanations" of scholars' initials, puns on schoolmates' names. The marriage announcement may be real, may be a joke, or may be wishful thinking.

I've transcribed the periodical as best I could, retaining spelling and indicating crossed out passages and added bits. The editors' handwriting is unpracticed (one appears to have formed her "p"s by making the downstroke and then adding a sketchy "o") and sometimes difficult to untangle. Punctuation is nonexistant. In this transcript, bits in curly brackets {} were crossed out in the original; my interpretations of impossible words are in italicized square brackets: [ ]; and bits added above the line are indicated with a carat at either end of the word or phrase, with the added parts in superscript: ex., an ^added^ word.


http://www.merrycoz.org/wreath/WREATH.HTM

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[title page]

The Ladies Wreath
Vol. 1st     Motto     No. 1.
The Golden Gate

Terms
Liberal Contribution.

-------

Edited by         L. E. Temple
    Misses      and
                           M. H. Knight

Published by    
the scholars in
District No. 15.

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[p. 1]

Conundrum
No 1

Why is this school room like the State of Maine Ans. because it contains Augusta

No. 2

What is the most stately of all edifices
Ans. A. Temple

No 3

Why is it so slow travelling this road
Ans. Because there are so many Gates

No. 4

Why is this school room so dark
Ans. because here it is all Knight and no day

No 5

Why is a tobaco chewer like a goose in a duth [dutch?] oven Ans. because {it} he is always on the spit

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[p. 2]

The Ladies wreath


          Editorial

Kind parents and friends
       Will you listen to us
While we read you this piece
       This volume encompass'

Our number is small
       As you plainly will see
But still the more credit
       It will to us be

If we are successful
       In presenting to you
A wreath thats well filled
       Tho' it be simple, but true

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[p. 3]

The Ladies wreath


Marriage

In {Papperr} Paper Mill Village June 1st by Rev. Mr. Davis Mr. John Wilson to Miss Hannah A. Gates of Alstead

This youthful pair is now united
       Their vows at Hymens Altr plighted
May neither e'er regret the union
       But ever live in sweet communion

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[p. 4]

The Ladies wreath



Chapter I.

A death at sea
Cleon
The morning sun rose proudly up,
       And shone with luster round:
Resounding woodlands echoed far,
       With many a joyful sound.

Upon the dark Atlantics breast
       A ship lay rocking, where
The gentle breezes wafted, long
       The dark deep waters there.

Upon a couch reclining lay
       A pale and wasted form,
Whose palid features told too plain,
       The deathful archer'd come.

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[p. 5]

The Ladies Wreath

A few fond friends had gathered round
And dropped a silent tear
They saw that death his seal had set
On one to them so dear

We bade them a long and last farewell
       And told them not to weep
       Then sallied back upon his courch
And closed his eyes in sleep

His gentle spirit took its flight
       To purer realms above
Where ever reigns sweet peace and joy
       And never ending love


Chapter ii.
Mayflowers
Belgin

I think the mayflowers are very pretty

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[p. 6]

The Ladies Wreath

indeed; they have two colors pink and white and are very fragrant I love to walk among the pretty mayflowers and gather thim I have plucked a great many this spring and made them into boquets which kept a great while I hope I shall every spring have the pleasure of seing the sweet little mayflowers




Chapter iii
Stanzas
Cleon
The fields with green were covered
       the mild winds gently blew
The merry rills were rippling
       With murmurs soft and low

Within a room was faded

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[p. 7]

The Ladies Wreath

       By death's relentless hand
A fair and gentle maiden
       She's gone to the spirit land

She's left this world of sorrow
       She's gone to dwell above
Where all is joy and gladness
       And all know endless love

The home she's left behind her
       Is now O, very drear
For hard it is to sever
       With one to them so dear

She's left a darling sister
       And brothers dear to weep
And mourn her sad departure
       In death's long dreamless sleep

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[p. 8]

The Ladies Wreath

"She's left this world of sorrow"
       That gentle form is lying
       Neath the cold grassy sod
But she in Heaven is living
       With a true and living God


Chapter iv.
Tobacco Chewing
Leslie

How often do we see young men just entering into manhood that use this vile and unwholsome weed

How strange it does seem that capable and healthy young men should destroy their health by using this      It would not be so great a nuisance to others that do not use it if those that do would swallow the juice, but they

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[p. 9]

The Ladies wreath

must torment other{s} people some as well as themselves I make use of the word "torment" because I think it must be as much as that to them who use tobacco Oh, it does mak me so nervous to sit near any one that keeps spitting all of the time {and also} if those who use tobbacco would not be so very filthy about it it would not be quite so bad; but some dont know any better than to spit any where, where they happen to be or if they know better they do not do better and that makes it so much much the worse: some gentlemen, as they pretend to be, would as soon spit on a carpet as anywhere else I do not say they all do so

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[p. 10]

The Ladies Wreath

there are a few exceptions, but they are few and far between

Smoking is not quite so filthy a habit as chewing, in my opinion, but it is just as bad for the health {Altho'} those who smoke carry the smell with them at all times which is very annoysome to some people But I trust I am wearying your patience so I will end this epistle and make room for others, which I presume will be more interesting than this is



Chapter v.
Lines
Cleon
It was one cold and stormy day
       The snew was falling fast

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[p. 11]

The Ladies Wreath

A starving child passed by the street
       And through the raging blast
That passed so angrily aloud
       with a long [changed to "low"] {with} and mournful sound

She passed {e}along with steady step
       Untill she reached a lane
And when she spied a human form
       A rich but sinful man
dressed in garments rich and warm
       He heeded not that little form

She stepped into the proud man's path
       And with a smile she said
Please will you give a starving child
       A bit of cake or bread
He listened not to hear her cry
       With hurried step he past her by

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[p. 12]

The Ladies Wreath

She looked around she saw a house
A poor but shackled frame
       With courage new she hastened on
A bit of bread to gain
       At length she reached the college door
Wherein were others who were poor

She shared with them their scanty meal
She lived with them in love
Till God invited her to come
And dwell with him above
Now she's gone to {illegible} that land of rest
Where she'll be forever blest


Chapter vi.
dress
Obi

All some people care for is to dress if they can get on their siks [silks] satins

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[p. 13]

The Ladies Wreath

and broadcloths {it is all they care for} they are satisfied they think they are gentlemen and ladies then surely but to come to the case in hand they are just nob^o^dy at all but a mess of flirts I have seen those that would try to nip at a great rate but ^could not make it go off^ throw up their heads twist round and make awful work of it but as to me I like to see folks appear natural



Chapter vii.
Lines

I love to see the birds that sing
So sweetly on each tree
And hear then their joyous songs
So happy and so free

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[p. 14]

The Ladies Wreath

I love again to look upon
       The trees so pretty now
Their branches robed in clothes of green
       And bending to the ground

And most of all I love to see
A sweet and smiling face
That looks so happy and so gay
& Wears a smile of grace


Abbreviations
A. H. W.  Always Has Wisdom
E. S T.  Eliza Speaks Timidly
M. H. K.  Maria Has Kisses
L. A. T.  Lucy's Awful Troublesome
K. S. G.  Katie Still Grows
C. L. G.  Caroline Looks Good
L. J. K.  Lura Judges Kindly
E. D. K.  Ever Dutiful and Kind

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[p. 15]

The Ladies Wreath

J. A. K.  Jennie Always Knows
M. U. K.  Mary's Ugly to Katie
A. S. K.  Angie Shows kindness
A. F. K.  Abby Fears Kittens
E. D. K.  Elmore delights to kiss
E. S. K.  Elbridge Seeks Knowledge
O. A. R.  {A.} Oscar Always Run

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[p. 16]
[Here the handwriting changes.]

The Ladies Wreath

Pride and Humility.

No two feelings of the human mind are more opposit than Pride and Humility. Pride is founded on to high opinion of our selves. Humility on the consiousness of the want of merit. Pride is the offspring of ignorance Humility is the child of Wisdom. Pride heardnes [hardens] the heart Humility softens the temper ^and the^ disposition. Pride is deaf to the charms of concienens [conscience] Humility listens {to} with reverane [reverence] to the monitor within. and fianly [finally] Pride rejects the council of reason the voice of expereance the dictates of religion. and many seek for {relig} riches and honors of this life to {gratly} gratify the Pride of the heart {f} but when they have obtained it how doese it make many of them {apea} appear. Why it lifts them up

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[p. 17]

makes {many} them feel them {selves} themselfs above there fellow men. for when they meet them they cannot speak to them. they look upon them as some low beings, when perhapse they have a mind which is far in advance of theirs. While Humility with docile spirit thoughtfully receives instruction from all who address her in the garb of truth.


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