Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Radio Audience (biographical play)

by Abigail Fithian Halsey | c1934
“Up early this morning, Aunt Marcia,” the young girl spoke.

Aunt Marcia, her shoulder shawl pinned tightly this cold morning turned from the radio. Her face was all alight.

“What is it, Auntie?” said the girl surprised. “You look as tho you’d seen a vision.”
“Seen and heard,” the older woman said, then stopped awhile. “My brother, on the radio, I’ve heard his voice at last.”

“Oh, really, Auntie, when?”

“Just now,” Aunt Marcia paused, the wonder still too great. “He’s out in Colorado, I am here. We’ve never heard him way off here before, never could get him someway, tho I know he speaks. No need to drive the lazy foot this morning, my mind, too, that was wide awake. John set the dial for me when he went to bed, at seven-thirty, I was listening in, and when the time came—why it seemed that I would never get his voice. Jazz there was, and some one singing ould, and then above the rest was ONE-TWO-THREE and ONE-TWO-THREE, that morning exercise, MY BROTHER, his own voice. His well-loved voice, I’d know it ‘cross the sea.”

“How proud his father’d be, his dad who never wanted him to preach, but keep a store or run a farm like all the rest. But no, Dave had ambition—and love, too, love for all.”

“And Mother, then I thought of her—his little mother who had tired too soon and had to leave his childhood to us girls, who didn’t know so well as she the way to care for little boys.”

“But sister Lyd, she was eighteen, she took the baby in her care and brought him up as well as sisters can. If she were here how proud she’d be, how proud she was all through the years when he was growin’ up. And when he preached in the old church first time, his mother couldn’t have been much prouder than dear sister Lyd.”

“And his Aunt Gene, oh dear, how I go on—they’re all gone, all gone, and I alone am left.”

“And then I thought—it came just like a flash—there’s none of them, not one, that NEEDS to hear like this, with mortal ears like me. They always hear, by ways divine, O GOD, the wonder—and the joy.”

“I heard his prayer. I heard him say, ‘Shine on our sorrow, Father, in the light of thy faith, Shine on our broken hopes in the light of thy joy.’ O Brother, Little Brother, we are listening, all, yes, all of us, or here or there—what the matter? Gift divine that man has found, has found at last the way devised by God so long ago.”

“The jazz cut in. I couldn’t hear him now, I thought I’d lost him and I almost snapped the dial off, but no, ‘twas here, the well-loved voice, right in the room, beside me, and I heard, above the jazz, above the strident sounds. Above the interminable ONE-TWO-, ONE-TWO-THREE, I heard his voice, these words, just these, ‘And someway God comes through.’”

The Farther Shore: An Anthology of World Opinion on the Immortality of the Soul

reviewed by Jesse Halsey | c1934

From the Egyptian minstrel of 2160 BC to Sir Oliver Lodge, the editors bring the eternal longing and question. Professor Whitehead’s brief forward speaks of the “simple, concise beauty of the introductions to the various authors supplied by the editors.” They have done well. From the first to the last of these selections we move among friends, with the sympathy of kindred thought and courage. Most of us will need the guiding hand of the editors for the Chinese and Indian and Egyptian sages appear with the classical writers. The Bible is adequately quoted and the Christian tradition well represented—Augustine, Gregory, Bernard, Aquinas, Bunyan, Edwards, and others.

Poets and philosophers, the ancients, the medievalists, and the moderns speak with different tongues, but one catches the same accent of longing in most.

One would suppose it were perfectly legitimate to let the heart speak and, indeed, more fair. To add, for example, Tennyson’s last word in “Crossing the Bar,” or Browning’s in “The Epilogue to Asolondo,” some word of Sir William Osler’s after his Revere had gone west to those here printed would more fully represent mature conclusion. Or Emerson’s “Threnody,” or some passage from his diary, after his little boy had died! In their selections the editors let the mind speak and have suppressed the heart’s deeper expression.

On Hocking

Hocking was here today. He spoke three times. Three times I heard him. And we “rethought missions” with him. Some of us have been thinking and rethinking with him for years. Only a few days ago I found Wieman saying about him, what I have long felt. Wieman has wandered much farther from Hockings’ sturdy theism than have I, but that only makes his saying all the more meaningful. He says this—"I distinguish sharply between the profound insights into the religious way of living, which Hocking reveals, and the system of philosophy in which he clothes them. In the former he is, to my mind, unsurpassed among living men. --Jesse Halsey c1934

On Patriotism

Patriotism need not be construed as being synonymous with racial arrogance or national selfishness. Nationalism can run rampant and defeat its own purpose.

The United States should lead in peace, pressing upon other nations a unilateral pact for non-aggression suggested by President Roosevelt in which each nation should pledge itself not to send military forces across the border on any other nation.

The President should be authorized to place an embargo on credits to nations that send military forces across the boundaries of other nations. This should apply not only to arms and munitions, but all credit.
--Jesse Halsey, c1934

Father Forgive Them | Notes on a Sermon | Jesse Halsey c1934

Rendigs Fels: Activities at Walnut Hills High School 1935

So Teach Us To Number Our Days

Books of Worth

--> Jesse Halsey
“The Reason for Living” answers many questions that the contemporary mind is asking religious and other values. Its author is Dean Wicks of the Princeton Chapel. He was long time a pastor in a mill town, knows the life practical as well as scholastic, and represents a warm Evangelical faith in the heart of a real man, and in his mind, as it wrestles with doubt and difficulty, for serious students, in college or out.

“You Can Master Life,” by Jas. G. Gilkey, is ‘rational pep medicine to a college athlete. To a parish minister it appeals as common sense applied to everyday life problems with a modicum of religious verbiage, but with sound religious experience, though the expressions are more often Stoic than traditionally Christian.

In this, and in his numerous other books, Dr. Gilkey has been (unconsciously?) writing something that I should ineptly call, “A Psycho-theology of the Modernist Christian Left.” It is a fearless dealing of real problems as they lie in many minds and to the cautious, judicial, and reasoning mind, of which there are many, he speaks acceptably. To those who want another kind of Authority, there will be something lacking.

When you read, “What Men are Asking?” by Dr. Coffin, unless you are an arch-fundamentalist, you find soul satisfying stuff with an Evangelical fervor and flavor that warms your heart. Likely these are the positions of the majority of the Presbyterian Evangelicals (Liberals or Modernists, call them what you will). Dean Wicks’ “The Reason for Living” takes on a little more scholastic vocabulary and loses a little warmth, but has the same general, ‘though individual, approach. James Gilkey swings over to the Left, stoic common sense rather than (traditional) Christian religious expression. And Dr. Fosdick has at time some of all, trying always to put reasonable argument of emotional fervor. He maintains a good balance, but for five years has been (to the help of many) swinging to the Right.

A transcript from experience, we gather, is Dean Wicks’ book. The questions we asked our teachers (and ourselves) and many others added by a generation more inquisitive, and likely wiser than ours. From the first to the last (Why live? to “ . . . can we preserve the freedom of the human spirit?”) there is reason and counsel, affirmation and constructive suggestiveness.

To those of us who in our day and generation learned a catechism and who since have unlearned and relearned or discarded its answers it is interesting to find young people still asking the same basic questions and we rejoice that they have such wise instructors as Dean Wicks proves himself to be in this book. He never answers his question by simply  asking another question, unless that is a leading question that proceeds immediately to constructive affirmation.

So Teach Us To Number Our Days

Have you enlarged your knowledge of obligations . . . [notes on a sermon]

Rev. Jesse Halsey | c1934

Have you enlarged your knowledge of obligations and increased your capacity to perform them?
Have you developed your intuitions and made more sensitive your emotions?
Have you discovered your mental aptitude?
Have you learned enough about the machinery of society and its history to enable you to apply your gifts effectively?
Have you acquired adequate skill in communication with others?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

ALL SOULS; Acts 27:37

Jesse Halsey | 1934 | Part II 
Private collection
“And there were in all the ship two hundred, three score and sixteen souls.”

In a neighboring factory, one day last week, an emery wheel “let go,” as they say, and flying off into space, worked havoc. Something in the conglomerate composition of the carborundum was not able to stand the stress, and break-up resulted. This is a picture, to many contemporary minds, of our civilization. It is flying to pieces. On the other hand, there are many whose picture is much more moderate. Forces of disintegration are undoubtedly at work, they say, and for better or for worse, changes have come and are coming; but the essential fabric is sound. The emery wheel still revolves and has cutting quality, though its spindle may be slightly eccentric.

No one but the extreme Tory believes that the machinery of our social and political life is in anything like perfect alignment. To begin with, there are no end of personal and party differences. The President last week very pointedly told the bankers that their group did not agree among themselves. There is certainly a divided counsel in the administration itself. No one can predict whether it will swing right or left. Take any church group, and it is hard to find a dozen people who absolutely agree about any one thing.

Four ministers sat at lunch last Friday. After rather vigorously criticizing the President, one of them pointed out that if they four were committed with the destiny and policy of their own denomination, they could not agree among themselves, not only in details of administration, but on some points of, what their fathers would have considered, basic theology.

Everywhere you find it:
Catholic versus Protestant
Jew versus Gentile
Democrat versus Republican
Charter versus Organization
Blacks versus Whites
Capital versus Labor
The haves versus the have-nots
Conservative versus Radical
Pacifist versus Militarists

The list could easily be doubled. It looks like a football schedule, only in this game there is generally less sportsmanship than is manifest on the intercollegiate gridiron. What is it, then, that holds our conglomerate society together? With all the causes of faction and division, what is it that makes the whole cohere? There must be something in the life of our body politics, for in spite of all the disruptive forces, in peace and in war, the nation, for over one hundred and fifty years, has held together.

It is encouraging to note, in the first place, that these divisions are nothing new. The present agitation in political circles, induced by Catholic interest in public school money, is a mere echo of the thunders of the “Know-Nothing” agitations of sixty years ago. We will always have some “Klansmen” with us. Likely, all that we can ask is, that they go unmasked.

The newer and more accurate historians of our Revolutionary War indicate very clearly that sentiment in the colonies was anything but unified. John Adams says that in Massachusetts, likely the most patriotic colony, nearly forty-five percent of the people were opposed to the Revolution. (Curiously enough, the loyal people in those days were those that supported the king. In this case, as often, the revolutionist of one period becomes the patriot of another.)

"We'll Float Tonight or We'll Go to Hell!"

The Circassian Story

RICHARD WILLIAMS, Captain of the Circassian, a Welshman from Liverpool, about forty years old, married, Ieaving two children
EVAN JOHNSON, Third Mate, from Liverpool, twenty. unmarried; just completed apprenticeship
THOMAS ORR, Carpenter's Mate, from Liverpool. twenty-five years old, married with no children
WILLIAM KEEFE, Boatswain, native of Finland. unmarried
HENRY FREEMAN, Sailmaker, from Philadelphia, thirty years old, married, leaving two children
JOHN GRANT, Cook, about forty-five years old, a Negro
FRANK WRIGHT, Apprentice, from Liverpool, eighteen years old
ANDREW NODDER, Apprentice, from Wavertree, England (near Liverpool), seventeen years old
WALTER COLBURN, Apprentice, from Liverpool, eighteen years old
JAMES SCOTT. Seaman, native of England, twenty-three years old; belonged to the Royal Navy Reserve
HORATIO JOHNSON, Steward, born in Liverpool, about forty-five years old, married with several children, a Negro
ANDREW LADAGO, Seaman, native of Italy, thirty years old
JOHN McDERMOTT, the stowaway, from Liverpool, nineteen years old

LEWIS WALKER, a Shinnecock, twenty-six, married, leaving three children
JOHN WALKER, a Shinnecock, fifty-one, married, leaving nine children, a former whaler
DAVID W. BUNN, a Shinnecock, forty-seven, married, leaving five children, a former whaler
J. FRANKLIN BUNN, a Shinnecock, thirty-nine, married with no children, a former whaler
RUSSELL BUNN, a Shinnecock, forty-nine, married, leaving four children, a former whaler
WILLIAM CUFFEE a Shinnecock, twenty-three, unmarried
WARREN N. COFFEE, a Shinnecock, thirty-three. married leaving three children, a Civil War veteran
GEORGE W. COFFEE, a Shinnecock, twenty-five, married, leaving one child
JAMES R. LEE, a Shinnecock, thirty-three, married with no children, a former whaler
OLIVER J. KELLIS, a Shinnecock, thirty-nine, married with no children, a former whaler
JAMES THURSTON, from Southampton, twenty-four, unmarried

JOHN LEWIS, foreman of the wreckers, about forty-five years old, married, with no living children
LUKE STILLMAN, engineer, in his thirties, married, leaving eight children. from Brooklyn
PHILIP KEARNS, engineer, in his thirties, from Staten Island
PATRICK DONOHUE, engineer, in his thirties, married with several children, from Stapleton, Staten Island

Mary Ann Cuffee

Caption on back of photograph reads: "Aunt Mary Ann, as she was known to her people, was an excellent type of Shinnecock Indian. Her home was visited by many people and she cooked for many years at a hotel in nearby Watermill, L.I. Her dishes and recipes were quite famous and several of them are still prepared in the homes of her descendants today. On the table next to her is a Shinnecock mortar and stone pestle. This was made out of a hollowed pepperide log and was once a standard kitchen item in every Shinnecock home, as well as, among other Eastern tribes. Corn kernels were pounded into meal and herbs and nuts of many types were once crushed by the women in the ever faithful mortar. Mortar and pestle are no longer used by present day Shinnecocks, but may still be seen in use among the Indians of Mashpee and Gay Head, Massachusetts, Narragansetts in Rhode Island, Senecas of New York, Powhatans of Virginia and Nanticokes of Delaware, in food preparation."
Jesse Halsey in essay on  Dr. Morris Fishbein notes:
"Aunt Mary Ann [Mary Ann Cuffee mother to Mary Emma Bunn], the old Indian who did my grandmother’s cooking on the great days of the New England year, like Thanksgiving, town meeting, Fourth of July, and butchering day—old Mary Ann and her daughter after her, who still comes with us in the summer, had no end of superstitions, an admixture of Indian tradition and negroe superstition."

"My father paid no attention to the phases of the moon in the planting operations of the spring. The disappearance of the frost and the condition of the weather were the sole determining factors. Not so with Mary Ann and the Indians. Planting must be done in the dark of the moon, whether it was corn or potatoes. This is an almost universal superstition, not only among Indians, but other primitive peoples. Or should it be called a tradition? That is, has it any basis in fact?"

See also: Clam Chowder

Photo credit: The East Hampton Library, Long Island Collection.

Reverend Josephus

Jesse Halsey |c1927
Reverend Josephus has a big house—and a big family; a big church building and a big congregation; a large parish house with many rooms, but also with many activities.

He has a room designated a study, but it is a perpetual motion office. Parties, dances, classes, conferences, meetings for prayer, for praise, for study, and whatnot. Committees and boards and agencies, meetings morning afternoon and night are held in Reverend Josephus’ church and parish hall. He is seldom alone or unattended. His telephone is like a junebug on the first hot night of late spring.

And his house; in the attic he took an unused room, stacked the boxes, whitewashed the walls, and improvised a desk, for two mornings it was his, unmolested. Then his little girl needed a playhouse—she got it.

One boy went away to school. Rev. Josephus appropriated his room, forgot the trinkets on the wall, covered up the stuffed snakes that gave him the jitters, and began to write. Mother needed a sewing room “where there was sunshine.” She got it.

A study was provided in the parsonage. It had an inside and outside door; it was a convenient pass to the side yard, as such it was successful; but as a study it was not a success—the adjoining garden was the children’s playground.

Then the radio for some reason seemed to fit this study best and night and day if any of the family were home it wailed away.

Reverend hated the radio—except for a few minutes a week—but the family were addicts: Tiny Tim to Fire Chief and School Boy Pete; the Cook to Tink and Wink; Jimmie to ____; and mother to Danroch (Rev always tried to finish his sermon on Friday morning, and Saturday afternoon) and the opera.

In the evening, he hit upon the kitchen; it was warm; the big table could accommodate his books. For a while it worked, but Helen came home from boarding school and fudge and cookies were concocted by night and after she went back Mirandy, the cook, got a beaux and the Rev moved out.

Sermon quality began to deteriorate; people spoke of it. All parish activities boomed, but sermons were thin.

The pastor put a sign on his (church) study door: “Occupied”; but the phone didn’t heed and the beggars who stopped in could read, and the President of the Board, or the Ladies Aid, didn’t. So he burned it up.

One day at the trade show he heard shop management. It worked. The boys carried on their studies in the noise.

Shop Management

Jesse Halsey | 1927

My friend Johnston—he’s a minister—went to the Automotive Trade school to speak on Lincoln’s Birthday. After the assembly, the principal was showing him around. They came into a machine shop with the crack of two decrepit engines being timed, a planer was scraping in one corner and a lathe groaning in another; every half second there was the explosion of the main engine that drove the main shaft over head; there were revolving pulleys and flying belts everywhere—confusion worse confounded, thought my studious friend.

At one side of this busy shop room was a long table and at the table fifteen boys were absorbed in their books—more than less.

“How in the world can they study?” asked the preacher. “It would drive me crazy to read in here.”

When they reached the quiet of his office, the principal explained.

“That’s what we call ‘shop management.’ These boys are going to work in the noise of machine shops and garages, such thinking and planning as they do will be done in confusion and noise. We are training them for their work and purposely have the classes, most of them, right in the shops.”

The preacher went home thinking about it.

His study had become an office. Telephone calls by the score came in each day. Some could be shunted to his helpers, but the bell rang just the same. No sooner was he immersed in reading of the composition of some sermon, than in came a caller on some errand or other.

Fifteen Years Ago . . . To Day

Jesse Halsey | 1934
2726 Cleinview Av
Cincinnati, O

John Harley is always in church. He is proud of his church, is one of its trustees, and is a loyal and friendly toward his minister. He is a capable lawyer, direct and plain spoken, though not profound.

Last Sunday the minister preached on a curious text, “The Holy Ghost saith, Today!” It hardly made sense in itself. And then the minister was—well, he said something about the New Deal and the President’s latest message. Being a Democrat, Harley agreed, though he wasn’t sure that the minister gave entire approval. That didn’t matter.

Then the minister had something to say about that two-thirds of Protestantism who seldom or never go to church. That was true—and that was fine. Harley is always there.

But then he started on war, the minister did. Its terror and its devastation, its awful waste. Harley knew all about it; he had been over there. And just fifteen years ago to the day, and the hour, Harley had been sailing up the Bay coming home. The band had been playing and there was the Statue of Liberty—the world had been made safe!

The breeze, cool from the night’s thunder shower, blew in through the church window and summoned the minister to an extra five minutes—and Harley to his thoughts.

What was he saying? The danger of the hour is in a nationalistic religion whether you look at Germany or America? There was a reference to the MacIntosh case. Harley is a great admirer of Mr. Justice Hughes. So apparently, in this instance, was the minister.

Then bang—“never again”; “the method is wrong”; “naval preparedness is the worst possible gesture . . .”; “Christ said men were brothers”; “I must act that way even in the face of propaganda . . .”; “I can’t say categorically, in advance, in face of any or all conditions that I won’t fight, but I wish I could.”

That was good but likely camouflaged pacifism—(Harley wears a legion button). Hang it, he came here to worship, to get a start for the week and its problems, to get out of himself and find God, and here the minister was shooting ethics. Well, that was a minister’s privilege, his honest soul replied, and likely his business.

But why today? Fifteen years ago he had come home after eighteen months in the trenches and all he had believed then was held false now. What was the matter? Anyway, there was no use getting mad about it and—well, the minister had been over there, too. His church had sent him and paid his salary to his family; he had served the government without pay.

The sermon went on to a swift conclusion. God is Lord of the Conscious. The state is not supreme . . . God comes first  . . . In a Christian state there is room for the conscientious objector . . . No Christian should ever cross the boundary of another country with any but good intent, in peace or in war—and then there would be no war. No thorough-going pacifism, but enough to irritate the veteran who was sailing up the bay just fifteen years ago to the minute—allowing for daylight saving time; this careful lawyer.

So Harley tackled the minister, expressing not his anger, but his doubts. “Fifteen years ago we (that was generous) went. Now you advocate a philosophy just the opposite.”

“Yes, because the other didn’t work. Only ideals got us in and none of those objectives were accomplished.”

“That was the miserable politicians,” countered Democrat Harley. “But when the duly constituted representative of the people in congress assembled vote for war, every loyal citizen who can bear arms must respond, regardless.”

“Miserable politicians” then perverted the peace, “high minded statesmen” shall mould the future issue?

The minister’s logic, for the moment, was better than the lawyer’s—and they agree to defer further argument until after the Trustees’ meeting on Monday night.

Meanwhile, Harley is puzzled. Nor is the minister entirely sure. It would be so much easier to be a thorough-going Pacifist than a reasonable (and reasoning) Idealist.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Soviet Russia | 1934

Review of “Russia’s Iron Age” by William Henry Chamberlin
Jesse Halsey

Sentiment concerning Russia seems again to be radically changing. With American recognition a more favorable appraisal had come to the American mind; but recent disclosures of the events of the last three years have swung the pendulum back. There is a decidedly unfavorable reaction.

Some of this, at least, is due to Chamberlin. He has spent a dozen years in Russia as representative of the “Christian Science Monitor” and is the author of authoritative books on that country. His “Soviet Russia” is judged by many discerning critics as the best book in English on the Soviets. Certainly, “Russia’s Iron Age” deserves high praise and wide reading.

Chamberlin, after this long residence, is now permanently leaving Russia for Japan and, likely, feels that he can speak with frankness and abandon.

He is unsparing in his criticism of the stern and sinister aspects of Stalin’s administration, but gives more than grudging admiration of the material accomplishment of the Soviets. There is a fine appraisal of religion. Communism is “a faith without God” and the Communistic organization has a distinct parallel with religious organizations, including the analogue of a class meeting.

In the last years, the peasantry suffered under this government of terror and three to five million have been ruthlessly starved among the Kulak class in order to force their cooperation in the collective farming. It is a government by terror and propaganda in the hands of a ruthless autocrat.

The author discusses the cultural and home life of the people. He indulges in mild prophecy. He gives two long chapters to the consideration of the religious aspects of the revolution. It is a book marked by balance and just and fearless appraisal of all factors.

"so long as public welfare is at stake"

"If I Were An Editor"
Dr. Jesse Halsey

If I were an editor, I would ruin any paper in the land, except one. Because my changes would be so drastic, I doubt if a newspaper could pay its way. At least, all my friends connected with the fourth estate tell me that as things are, so they must remain and, with any changes in the direction of idealism, a paper would not pay, and, of course, beyond all else, a paper must be made to pay; otherwise, it has no legitimate objective!

So, my first job as an editor would be that of a salesman, to find someone who would subsidize the venture, just as the Yale boys who launched Time scraped enough together to make a dummy or two, and then set out to find the money to back their scheme. I am not clever enough to write hypothetical copy, as they did, three weeks in advance, dress it up and sell it. So I must wait until my patron comes along. When he does, our paper will be ordered somewhat as follows:

There will be no scare headlines, and there will be no need of then, for the best of the printer’s art will be engaged to make an interesting, legible page, balanced and attractive.

There will be a box here and there, occasionally a double column heading, but we won’t rely on thirty-six point type.

The paper will be a unity. Advertising must comport with decency. Our paper will do what advertisers talk about—“Tell the Truth in Advertising.” Liquor ads will not be accepted, though they are the biggest money-makers.

There will be no crime news on the front page. Details and methods of suicide will be eliminated. Consideration of those in trouble will be exercised. We will try to be as inclusive of world wide news as the New York Times, but as discriminating as The Christian Science Monitor. That’s the one paper I wouldn’t change.

It will be a “mugwump” paper, if that is the word to use; anti-organization, whether in politics or economics, fairplay and justice to all groups and individuals, fearless presentation of facts, regardless of where they may hit; so long as public welfare is at stake. The news will not be distorted; but propaganda will be eliminated as far as possible. The news columns will not willingly subvert the announced editorial policies, nor vice versa. Efficient, non-partisan government, the support of good men rather than old parties, some reasonably high literary standards, and a high ethical code will prevail. Fearless and keen political observers, like Walter Lippman and Frank Ken, will write for our columns, through a syndicate of course.

The editorial staff will be composed of men with literary ability and extensive scholastic and practical training. The news of the day will be editorially treated when it is significant news.

There will be a strong emphasis on matters international, believing that our world, because of swift means of communication and travel, has shrunk in size and needs to become a neighborhood in spirit.

There will be a home page, which will include culinary recipes. Every day there will be some book reviews. Discerning feature articles will be developed—things that show insight into life and its problems.

On Monday, there will be a sermon page, furnished each week by a non-sectarian committee, not with scare headlines, as if a sermon could or should contain flashy news, from a paper’s point of view; but headed by a text, as a sermon ought to be. Only one paper in this country, the Brooklyn Eagle, has ever approached religious subjects in that way.

Everything that is interesting and wholesome will be promoted. The things that are detrimental to personal and public good will be denounced and ridiculed. We do not believe that the publication of the details of crime is any deterrent, but rather that it promotes crime. There will be little food appeal, in our paper, for the morbid mind.

Could such a paper, granted that some genius, and not I, were the editor—could such a paper live for six months? I wonder.

“David His Little Lad”

Miss A. F. Halsey
34 Post Crossing
Southampton, N.Y.

May 12, 1934—It is six year today since Billy died. Life in its fullness lived in his seven years. Here is the record of them on the little granite stone—the record the world reads:

Wilmun Haynes Halsey
“The child ministered unto the Lord.”

In one moment of anguish the sorrow of all time had become ours. Yet, today, there is no sorrow in the thought of Billy, only light in the radiance of his life has brought to all who loved him.

This evening, I have been reading THE HEART OF EMERSON’S Journals, edited by Bliss Perry. I have been tracing date by date and year by year the reference to his little boy, Waldo, who died at the age of five years in 1842, when Emerson was thirty-eight. We are told that “this was perhaps the sharpest sorrow” of his life. The child was born in October 1836.

Oct. 31—Last night at eleven o’clock my son Waldo was born to me. A lovely child. A lovely wonder to me, and which makes the Universe look friendly to me.

Nov. 5—This day I have been scrambling in the woods and with the help of Peter Howe I have got six hemlock trees to plant in my yard, which may grow whilst my boy is sleeping.

Apr. 8—Ah, my darling boy, so lately received out of Heaven, leave me not now. Please God, this sweet symbol of love and wisdom may be spared to rejoice, teach, and accompany me.

May 7—This day my boy was baptized in the old church by Dr. Ripley. They dressed him in the self same robe in which twenty-seven years before my brother Charles was baptized.

Oct .16—The babe stands alone today for the first time. A lovely afternoon and I went to Walden Water and read Goethe on the bank.

Dec. 8—Waldo walks alone.

1838 April 26—Lidian came into the study this afternoon and found the towerlet Waldo had built half and hour before of two spools, a card, an awl case and a flower box top, each perpendicularly balanced on the other, and could scarce believe her boy had built the pyramid, and then fell into such a fit of affection that she lay down by the structure and kissed it down and declared she could stay no longer with papa but must go off to the nursery to see with eyes the lovely creature; and so departed.

July 9—I like my boy with his endless sweet soliloquies and iterations, and his utter inability to conceive of why I should not leave my nonsense business and writing to come and tie up his toy horse, as if there was and could be any end to nature beyond his horse.

1840, June 4—Waldo says, “The flowers talk when the wind blows over them.” My little boy grows thin in the hot summer, and runs all to eyes and eye lashes.

1842, Jan. 28---Yesterday night, at fifteen minutes after eight, my little Waldo ended his life.

Jan. 30—The morning of Friday I woke at three o’clock and every cock in the barnyard was shrilling with the most unnecessary noises. The sun went up the morning sky with al his light, but the landscape was dishonored by this loss, for this boy in whose remembrance I have both slept and awaked so often, decorated for me the morning star, the evening cloud . . . A boy of early wisdom, of a grave even majestic deportment, of perfect gentleness.

Every tramper that ever tramped is abroad, but the little feet are still.

He gave up his little innocent breath like a bird.

Sorrow makes us all children again—destroys all difference of intellect. The wisest know nothing.

Mar. 20—I comprehend nothing of the fact (Waldo’s death), but its bitterness. Explanation I have none, consolation none that rises out of the fact itself; only diversion; only oblivion of this, and pursuit of new objects.

Apr. 6—I am defeated all the time; yet to Victory I am born.

June (undated)---Charles King Newcomb took us all captive . . . Let it be to his praise that when I carried his manuscript story to the woods and read it in the arm chair of the upturned root of a pine tree, I felt for the first time since Waldo’s death some efficient faith in the repairs of the Universe, some interdependence of natural relations whilst spiritual affinities are so perfect and compensating.

1844, Jan. 30—I wrote Mr. F that I had no experiences nor progress to reconcile me to the calamity whose anniversary returned for the second time last Saturday. The senses have a right to their method as well as the mind; there should be harmony in facts as well as in truths. Yet these ugly breaks happen there, which the continuity of theory does not contemplate. The amends are of a different kind from the mischief.

1864, June (undated)—I too am fighting my campaign. Within, I do not find wrinkles and used heart, but unspent youth.

The evening grows late, the fire on the hearth glows in embers. The desk light falls on Billy’s picture, taken when he was the age of little Waldo. Before I turn it out, I take up Emerson’s COMPENSATION to read again these words, “But the sure years reveal the deep remedial force that underlies all facts.”

Keystone Markers

Jesse Halsey
For some twenty years the state of Pennsylvania has been erecting cast-iron signs at the entrance of villages and cities along its main highways. Two thousand or more have been set up and they furnish the leisurely motorist reliable geographic and historical information. One must drive slowly to read them in entirety; very slowly for they are not large and were first projected when cars went at much less speed.

For twenty years the write and his family has crossed and re-crossed Pennsylvania Drive from the Middle West to the East and the children have made these signs their landmarks of profess to and fro. A considerable amount of local history has accumulated and a notebook entry from time-to-time yields in the aggregate a considerable result. These have been lately checked in the State Office Building where the Commissioner of Highways has a typewritten record of the signs. Some of the information contained in that loose-leaf book in Harrisburg ought to find more permanent form and binding.

It is doubtful if the system is further expanded. Col of the Historical Society, who furnished much of the historical data, is dead. He was its main promoter. Some highway officials think that the signs distract drivers’ attention from the road (they do, naturally, and should) and so are a traffic hazard.

Some of these signs, not many, are inane, conveying the obvious, but apparently because one town had a sign the next must. For example, “Gap,” named for a gap in the hills.
History of the Keystone Markers

*** Keystone Markers "were originally erected by the Dept. of Highways, PennDOT's predecessor, in the 1920s and 30s at entrances to the vast majority of Pennsylvania's towns and villages and include a few facts, such as the date the community was founded and the derivation of its name.  Many creeks, rivers, and trails were also marked."