Monthly Archives: July 2016

24 July 1994: Young St. Petersburg artist painting en plein air

I suppose my family history blog is as much about me as anyone else in the family tree, so I’m giving myself permission to upload a memory/souvenir from my travels. Below is a photo of a young artist (last name ‘Kozlov’) painting 22 years ago on the grounds of the Peter & Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, Russia. The small painting I purchased from him on 24 July 1994 brings back great memories of a great city that I’ve had the pleasure of visiting at least a dozen times. Perhaps, this young fellow, who must be in his late twenties/early thirties by now, is a successful artist today—and still enjoys his en plein air painting. I’d like to think so.
StPete_artistStPete_painting

Categories: Russia, St. Petersburg | 4 Comments

Elizabeth, NJ: Coleman house interior

Coleman_house_interior This is the northeast corner of Clarence and Jennie (Woodruff) Coleman‘s living room in the house they built at 17 Wilder Street in Elizabeth, NJ, in 1912, I believe. The living room was on the left when you walked through the front door. The photograph was taken professionally, by ‘John L. Soltis’ of Elizabeth, and is undated. The house was torn down in the 1970s and replaced with an apartment building.

The C. Clarence Coleman family home at 17 Wilder Street, late 1930s/early 1940s (Standing, third from the left, is Jennie Woodruff Coleman; Clarence is the gentleman in the hat to her left. Their daughter is to Jennie's right. My dad, a nephew of Clarence and Jennie is standing by the door to the truck)

The C. Clarence Coleman family home at 17 Wilder Street, late 1930s/early 1940s (Standing, third from the left, is Jennie Woodruff Coleman; Clarence is the gentleman in the hat to her left. Their daughter is to Jennie’s right. My dad, a nephew of Clarence and Jennie is standing by the door to the truck)

How did we end up with this photo, you may be asking? After the Coleman’s daughter Jennie (only child; never married) died in the 1990s, we were contacted by a cousin of hers who lived in a NJ seaside town. At the time, my mom was in Florida (dad had passed away five years earlier), and I was living in London. The cousin told us that there were “a lot of family papers and other items that you should have, but it’s a lot and we can’t possibly ship it.” I had some vacation time and mom was retired so we met in Newark and drove down to get all of this stuff. When we arrived we were shown a couple of regular-size boxes, nothing that could not have been shipped… Needless to say we were ever so slightly annoyed, but on the other hand, got to converse with this cousin of Jennie’s and her spouse, both in their 70s by then, on family & family history matters.

Coleman_Charles_Clarence_family

Clarence and Jennie (Woodruff) Coleman with daughter Jennie, circa 1920

These boxes, containing some photos, newspaper clippings, year books and other memorabilia, were all that was left of the Coleman estate, at least as far as family members were concerned. The rest of the estate, which was quite substantial in both money and antiques, was all taken by the executor who moved out of state. A lawsuit was filed by the executor’s sister (all public record), and eventually this individual was removed from the executor-ship of the estate by court order. But, by the time that happened, there was nothing… he’d supposedly spent it all—all the fruits of Clarence Coleman’s labor.

I remember sitting on that beautiful, antique sofa many times. It was unlike anything we’d seen elsewhere as kids in the 1960s, and the picture on the wall above it always captivated me. The books and things in the corner were off-limits to us little kids, of course. I have vague memories of the rest of the room. I believe there was a fireplace on the west side of the room, as well as doors leading out to the covered porch.

I will probably publish another one or two posts containing the rest of the materials we have from this family. There are no descendants, so I think it’s important that their lives be remembered in this blog, especially since (I think) that is unlikely to happen anywhere else, now or in the future.

Coleman_Clarence

Categories: Coleman, Elizabeth, Union Co., Woodruff | Tags: , | 8 Comments

Kitty, kitty, little star…

TAIKO Ah, yes, the “perils” of living in a ground floor flat when spring’s kitten season has come and gone… and left behind all sorts of wee ones wandering about looking for homes before they wind up as some animal’s dinner… No room at the inn for these little ones at the local animal shelters and rescue groups; there are too many to take in :-(.

About ten days ago, this little lassie turned up at our door, quite literally.

If she had been tall enough, she would have rung the bell.

How could we say no? She’s turned out to be a sweet little munchkin with a very endearing personality! ūüėČ

After trying out numerous names, we have settled on

Tiger Lily

.

Categories: Pets | 15 Comments

Circa 1906: Two Trewins in support of immigration

Trewins_immigration_play

‘Aliens or Americans’ – cast members from a church play? Elizabeth, NJ, circa 1906

Leafing through my grandmother’s photo album, I came across this group photo showing my great-grandmother Elizabeth Sargent Trewin standing in the back on the right, and her daughter (my grandmother) Zillah Trewin in the rear on the far left, partially obscured by a gentleman’s hat. On the back, Zillah had written Mother’s class in [???] ‘Aliens or Americans.’ I was intrigued. I scanned it at high resolution to read what was written on the rear left door:

A million immigrants!
A million opportunities!
A million obligations!

Interesting! My great-grandmother, a devout Christian, was evidently a proponent of immigration (not the least bit surprising since she was an immigrant herself—from England in about 1870).

The quotation on the door appears to come from a book called Aliens or Americans (by Howard B. Grose) which was published in 1906 by the Young People’s Missionary Movement, New York. I think this is about the time this photo was taken (Elizabeth’s hair has still not gone the gray that appears in photos from the 1910s).¬† The peak year of European immigration was 1907, so immigration was a very hot topic at that time, and the photo may be from a play that was performed in their Elizabeth, NJ, church (St. James Methodist) to highlight the church’s duty to engage in mission work by assisting newly arrived immigrants in the resettlement process.

I’ve pulled the author’s preface and Josiah Strong’s introduction to Aliens or Americans and have included them below to give a sense of what my great-grandmother and grandmother may have been experiencing and responding to. The book is available online through The Project Gutenburg (click the link in the previous paragraph). I have not had time to read it (it’s several hundred pages long), but glancing at the table of contents, it looks like it gives plenty of interesting insight into immigration at that time, the Ellis Island experience, etc. Anyone with ancestors who immigrated in the early 1900s may find something of interest here.

Have a good day, all. As always, thanks for stopping by.

PS: For interesting info and images of immigrants from that period visit: A Look at The People Coming Through Ellis Island, 1906 – Gjenvick-Gj√łnvik Archives Website

***************************************************

Preface

new_americans

Image from Aliens or Americans, published 1906

It is not a question as to whether the aliens will come. They have come, millions of them; they are now coming, at the rate of a million a year. They come from every clime, country, and condition; and they are of every sort: good, bad, and indifferent, literate and illiterate, virtuous and vicious, ambitious and aimless, strong and weak, skilled and unskilled, married and single, old and young, Christian and infidel, Jew and pagan. They form to-day the raw material of the American citizenship of to-morrow. What they will be and do then depends largely upon what our American Protestant Christianity does for them now.

Immigration‚ÄĒthe foreign peoples in America, who and where they are, whence they come, and what under our laws and liberties and influences they are likely to become‚ÄĒthis is the subject of our study. The subject is as fascinating as it is vital. Its problems are by far the most pressing, serious, and perplexing with which the American people have to do. It is high time that our young people were familiarizing themselves with the facts, for this is pre√ęminently the question of to-day. Patriotism and religion‚ÄĒlove of country and love of Christ‚ÄĒunite to urge thoughtful consideration of this great question: Aliens or Americans? One aim of this book is to show our individual responsibility for the answer, and how we can discharge it.

Immigration may be regarded as a peril or a providence, an ogre or an obligation‚ÄĒaccording to the point of view. The Christian ought to see in it the unmistakable hand of God opening wide the door of evangelistic opportunity. Through foreign missions we are sending the gospel to the ends of the earth. As a home mission God is sending the ends of the earth to our shores and very doors. The author is a Christian optimist who believes God has a unique mission for Christian America, and that it will ultimately be fulfilled. While the facts are in many ways appalling, the result of his study of the foreign peoples in our country has made him hopeful concerning their Americanization and evangelization, if only American Christians are awake and faithful to their duty. The Christian young people, brought to realize that immigration is another way of spelling obligation, must do their part to remove that tremendous IF.

These newcomers are in reality a challenge to American Christianity. The challenge is clear and imperative. Will we give the gospel to the heathen in America? Will we extend the hand of Christian brotherhood and helpfulness to the stranger within our gates? Will we Christianize, which is the only real way to Americanize, the Aliens? May this book help to inspire the truly Christian answer that shall mean much for the future of our country, and hence of the world.

The author makes grateful acknowledgment to all who have assisted by suggestion or otherwise. He has tried to give credit to the authors whose works he has used. He is under special obligation for counsel and many courtesies to Josiah Strong, one of the modern patriot-prophets who has sought to awaken Americans to their Christian duty and privilege.

Howard B. Grose. Briarcliff Manor, June, 1906.

***************************************************

Introduction

A million immigrants!
A million opportunities!
A million obligations!
This in brief is the message of Aliens or Americans?

In this country every man is an American who has American ideals, the American spirit, American conceptions of life, American habits. A man is foreign not because he was born in a foreign land but because he clings to foreign customs and ideas.

I do not fear foreigners half so much as I fear Americans who impose on them and brutally abuse them. Such Americans are the real foreigners.

Most of those who come to us are predisposed in favor of our institutions They are generally unacquainted with the true character of those institutions, but they all know that America is the land of freedom and of plenty, and they are favorably inclined toward the ideas and the obligations which are bound up with these blessings. They are open to American influence and quickly respond to a new and a better environment.

They naturally look up to us, and if with fair and friendly treatment we win their confidence, they are easily transformed into enthusiastic Americans. But if by terms of opprobrium such as “sheeny” and “dago,” we convince them that they are held in contempt, and if by oppression and fraud we render them suspicious of us, we can easily compact them into masses, hostile to us and dangerous to our institutions and organized for the express purpose of resisting all American influences.

Whether immigrants remain Aliens or become Americans depends less on them than on ourselves.

Categories: Elizabeth, Union Co., Methodist, Missionaries, Religion, Sargent, Slaymaker, Trewin | Tags: | 1 Comment

Happy Fourth of July

Independence Day Celebration in Centre Square, Philadelphia, John Lewis Krimmel, 1819. Credit: Wikimedia Commons - US Public Domain image - published in the US before 1923 and public domain in the US)

Independence Day Celebration in Centre Square, Philadelphia, John Lewis Krimmel, 1819. Credit: Wikimedia Commons – US Public Domain image – published in the US before 1923 and public domain in the US

Have we improved upon our manner of celebrating the Fourth? Looking south on Broadway from corner of Cortlandt Street, 1834. Daniel Carter Beard, 1850-1941, artist; Illus. in: Harper's Weekly, July 7, 1894, p. 641. Library of Congress image - No known restrictions on publication.

Have we improved upon our manner of celebrating the Fourth? Looking south on Broadway from corner of Cortlandt Street, 1834. Daniel Carter Beard, 1850-1941, artist; Illus. in: Harper’s Weekly, July 7, 1894, p. 641. Library of Congress image – No known restrictions on publication.

The Glorious Fourth--sending up the fire balloon / C.S. Reinhart, del., 1871. Library of Congress - No known restrictions on publication.

The Glorious Fourth–sending up the fire balloon / C.S. Reinhart, del., 1871. Library of Congress – No known restrictions on publication.

The Centennial Fourth - illumination of Union Square, New York / drawn by Schell & Hogan. , 1876; Library of Congress - No known restrictions on publication

The Centennial Fourth – illumination of Union Square, New York / drawn by Schell & Hogan. , 1876; Library of Congress – No known restrictions on publication

The flag that has waved one hundred years--A scene on the morning of the fourth day of July 1876 / Fabronius ; E.P. & L. Restein's oilchromo, Phila.; National Chromo Co. pub., Phila., c1876; Library of Congress - No known restrictions on publication

The flag that has waved one hundred years–A scene on the morning of the fourth day of July 1876 / Fabronius ; E.P. & L. Restein’s oilchromo, Phila. ; National Chromo Co. pub., Phila. , c1876; Library of Congress – No known restrictions on publication

July 4th - F. A. Loumis, ca. 1906. Library of Congress - No known restrictions on publication

July 4th – F. A. Loumis, ca. 1906. Library of Congress – No known restrictions on publication

Fourth of July Scenes in celebration at Walter Reed; Harris & Ewing photographer; 1919. Library of Congress - No known restrictions on Publication

Fourth of July Scenes in celebration at Walter Reed; Harris & Ewing photographer; 1919. Library of Congress – No known restrictions on Publication

FOURTH OF JULY. GENERAL VIEW OF CROWD ON ELLIPSE FOR EXERCISES, 1919, Harris & Ewing Photographer - Library of Congress - No known restrictions on publication

FOURTH OF JULY. GENERAL VIEW OF CROWD ON ELLIPSE FOR EXERCISES, 1919, Harris & Ewing Photographer – Library of Congress – No known restrictions on publication

A Fourth of July celebration, St. Helena Island, S.C. Photographer Marion Post Wolcott; 1939; Library of Congress - No known restrictions on publication

A Fourth of July celebration, St. Helena Island, S.C. Photographer Marion Post Wolcott; 1939; Library of Congress – No known restrictions on publication

July 4th Fireworks. Washington DC is a spectacular place to celebrate July 4th! The National Mall, with Washington DC’s monuments and the U. S. Capitol in the background, forms a beautiful and patriotic backdrop to America's Independence Day celebrations.

July 4th Fireworks. Washington DC is a spectacular place to celebrate July 4th! The National Mall, with Washington DC‚Äôs monuments and the U. S. Capitol in the background, forms a beautiful and patriotic backdrop to America’s Independence Day celebrations. – Library of Congress – No restrictions on publication

Categories: Fourth of July | 6 Comments

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