Bravo to Mr. Doug Reside, the Lewis and Dorothy Cullman Curator for the Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library (NYPL) for the Performing Arts (Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, Billy Rose Theatre Division) for this piece.
Mr. Reside brilliantly uses the opportunity of the new Broadway musical on Hamilton’s life to open the vaults of The Archive of NYPL & show off some of the recently digitized collections.
In the musical Hamilton, which opened last night on Broadway, George Washington tells Alexander Hamilton, “You have no control…who tells your story.” At the New York Public Library, we preserve the artifacts that allow such stories to be told, and we have an especially strong collection of archives related to the women and men whose lives inspired the characters in the musical.
Monday is opening day of the annual, week-long National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa (August 3-9, 2015). To celebrate the life of these wandering workers here are a few insights and ephemeral facts and documents related to hobos.
“A hobo is a migratory worker or homeless vagabond—especially one who is penniless. The term originated in the Western—probably Northwestern—United States around 1890. Unlike “tramps”, who work only when they are forced to, and “bums”, who do not work at all, “hobos” are traveling workers.”
The origin of the term hobo is unknown. According to etymologist Anatoly Liberman, the only certain detail about its origin is the word was first noticed in American English circa 1890. Liberman points out that many folk etymologies fail to answer the question: “Why did the word become widely known in California (just there) by the early Nineties (just then)?” Author Todd DePastino has suggested it may be derived from the term hoe-boy meaning “farmhand”, or a greeting such as Ho, boy! Bill Bryson suggests in Made in America (1998) that it could either come from the railroad greeting, “Ho, beau!” or a syllabic abbreviation of “homeward bound”. It could also come from the words “homeless boy”
1. "On Hobos, Hautboys, and Other Beaus". OUPblog. Oxford University Press. November 12,
2008. Retrieved 2009-08-05.
2. Mencken, H.L. (1937). "On the road again". The American Language (4th ed.).
grammarphobia.com (July 25, 2009). Archived from the original on 2012-05-05. Retrieved
3. Interview with Todd DePastino, author of Citizen Hobo: How a Century of Homelessness
Shaped America from the University of Chicago Press website
4. Bryson, Bill (1998). Made in America.[page needed]. ISBN 978-0-380-71381-3.
Various periods of American history have stimulated the growth of the Hobo popultation. From the end of the Civil War which saw many displaced veterans hopping the rails in search of work to the surge in the 1890s during the depression of the time. And of course the Great Depression in the 1930’s put not only single people but whole families on the road and rails in search of work.
Britt, Iowa and the Hobos
This friendship began with the aspirations of three Britt men, Thomas A. Way, T.A. Potter, and W.E. Bradford, in 1900. Their desire was to gain some attention for the small Iowa town to “do something different to show the world that Britt was a lively little town capable of doing anything that larger cities could do.”
Way and Potter read a report in the Chicago paper that Tourists Union No. 63 had elected as officers Onion Cotton, of Danville, Illinois and Grand Head Pipe Charles F. Noe, of Sycamore, Illinois. They wrote to Noe and invited him to bring the Hobo Convention to Britt in 1900. Noe wrote them that he would come out to Britt and look the ground over, providing Way and Potter would defray his carfare and expenses. They agreed.
It was an autumn day in 1899 that Noe arrived at the Milwaukee depot and was met by Way and Potter. They wined and dined the Grand Head Pipe, then called in an attorney, W.E. Bradford, to guide the proceedings and see that they were legal. They also invited Phil Reed, a newspaper man connected with the Britt News. The four men must have guaranteed that the Hobo Convention would go over big in Britt, for Noe agreed to bring the convention to Britt in 1900 and the 22nd day of August was set as the date.
Bailey of Britt, a nationally known humorist and an ardent conventioneer, assumed the publicity end of the promotion, and various other men took responsible positions on the committees. The novelty of the convention appealed to newspaper reporters everywhere, and everyone talked it up, taking the matter as a joke – except the promoters.
Another interesting hobo storyline is the work of James Eads How (1874 – 1930) was an American organizer of the hobo community in the early 20th century. Heir of a wealthy St. Louis family, How chose to live as a hobo and to help the homeless migrant workers. The newspapers often referred to him as the “Millionaire Hobo”.
How was the founder, driving force, and financier of the International Brotherhood Welfare Association, a union for migrant workers which published Hobo News, and organized hobo colleges and hobo conventions. More about James Eads How on Wikipedia
Here are some links to hobo ephemera available for purchase today:
Cincinnati. c.1947. The collection is comprised of : two handwritten correspondences on official “Knights of the Road- Hoboes of America” stationery from Jeff Davis soliciting the newly published “Knights of the Road Scrap Book” along with news concerning recent gatherings and upcoming conventions; A solicitation for funding on official “Knights of the Road- Hoboes of America” stationery with printed notes laid on and bearing the ink stamped signature of Jeff Davis; a handwritten correspondence from Jeff Davis on official “Knights of the Road- Hoboes of America” stationery presenting “Bo Pete” with his 3rd Degree membership credential and signed ” Hoboically Yours, Jeff Davis , King and Emperor; a handwritten correspondence from Jeff Davis on official “Knights of the Road- Hoboes of America” stationery relaying some brief news and presenting “Bruce” with his 3rd Degree membership credential and ” a card from Jack Dempsey’s New York Bar” and signed ” Hoboically Yours, Jeff Davis , King and Emperor; a Knights of the Road ” Certificate of 3rd degree Knighthood filled in and signed by Davis and bearing an official Hoboes of America official embossed seal;another Knights of the Road ” Certificate of 3rd degree Knighthood filled in and signed by Davis and bearing an official Hoboes of America official embossed seal; a small proxy ballot for ratification of Jeff Davis as “King of the Hoboes for Life”, to be used if “unable to attend because of war conditions”; a National Membership Card of the International Itinerant Migratory Workers’ Union-Hoboes of America, filled in and signed by Jeff Davis;Knights of the Road Membership “Certification of Knighthood” card, filled in and signed by Jeff Davis and bearing the gold embossed official seal of the International Itinerant Migratory Workers’ Union-Hoboes of America; Letterhead envelope hand addressed by Jeff Davis and postmarked April 1, 1947.
Luminaries listed upon the official Knights of the Road letter-head are. Jack Dempsey, Carl Sandburg,Walter Huston,Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, Lowell Thomas -broadcaster, and traveller,Joe Louis- Heavyweight Champ, Jack Dempsey-Heavyweight Champ,Walter Huston – Director, “Gen.” Jacob Coxey – Politician and Activist, Arthur Hayday – British Union Leader and Member of Parliament, Monrad Wallgren – Governor and US. Senator.
Letter sheets and certificates folded for mailing.Very Good, moderately soiled Envelope opened at side instead of rear. All other pieces in bright, crisp Fine condition. A charming and evocative gathering of American Cultural relics.
‘Texts and Textiles’ : Finding Manuscripts in Unusual Places | The Conveyor
Most folks know that long before “upcycling” became a buzzword, the reuse of materials was a common practice. However we are still discovering interesting ways that our ancestors put their discards back to use.
Research that began in 2011 reveals how textile conservators discovered fragments of medieval manuscripts lining the hems of dresses. The dresses, made by nuns in the late 15th century, clothed the statues at their Cistercian convent of Weinhausen in Northern Germany.
Proving again that you just never know what treasure you may find and where you might find it.
Read more here about this fascinating find and the research behind it.
On June 13th Cowan’s is offering a remarkable selection of early photographs, letters, documents, flags, political ephemera and more dating from the Revolutionary War-period through the Civil War and beyond, as well as the American West. We are proud to present selections from the Paul DeHaan Collection of items related to Admiral David Glasgow Farragut and his flagship, the U.S.S. Hartford. Additionally, photography from the Tom MacDonald Maine Civil War CDV Collection will also be featured in the auction.
Next month there will be an important auction held at Bonhams in New York. Make sure to check out the online catalog for this amazing auction here
Items are from the 1400s to the present, including an incredible selection of early maps of the Americas.
Here is a some of the history of the Caren Archives pulled from their website:
The Caren Archive is the most significant private collection of rare newspapers and broadsides in the United States. The Archive contains an incredible array of original and historic newspapers, periodicals, manuscripts and photographs — literally documenting how history unfolded on paper. If you’re considering purchasing or selling items relating to major events from the 16th century through the 21st, The Caren Archive is the best place to start.
Eric C. Caren, proprietor of The Archive, began collecting baseball cards, stamps, coins and more when he was 5 years old. At age 11, he discovered some newspapers in an abandoned house and the rest is history.
After graduating from University of Maryland with a business degree, he directed a rare newspaper gallery in London at the then newly opened Covent Garden Market. Upon returning to the U.S. in 1983, Caren founded The Caren Archive and has been a full-time dealer in historical collectibles ever since. In 2001, the <a href="http://www.newseum.org">Newseum</a> in Washington, DC, acquired more than 30,000 historic newspapers from The Caren Archive to build the majority of its permanent collection and feature exhibit.
To this day, Caren is still as passionate a collector as ever.
Eric C. Caren
P.O. Box 185
Lincolndale, NY 10540
914 772 8212
Caren Archive Licensing and Some Highlights of The Archive:
The Caren Archive begun in the 1960’s as a hobby is now acknowledged as one of the largest and most important private archives of original and rare newspapers, manuscripts, photographs, posters, broadsides, postcards, ephemera, etc.
Over one million items containing millions of images and important content dating back to the dawn of printing and coming right through the Computer Age is to be found in our holdings. We are currently licensing material to select companies who are looking for historical and artistic imagery relating to almost every major event, person and genre conceivable. Many of the items in the archive are not available anywhere else including some of the major institutions throughout the nation! If you are looking to expand your product line or have a new product line and want to incorporate The Caren Archive brand into that line, please email us or call 914-248-8038. See list at right to get an idea of the range and quality of some of our holdings of original materials.<>