Student Museum ‘Musings’ – Emily

Hi there, I’m Emily, one of the summer students working at the museum this summer. I am a fourth year English Literature student at Trent University, hoping to go into Archival or Library Science in post graduate studies. I also volunteered here before this summer.

What I’ve spent most of my summer doing is digitizing a Thomas Henry Correspondence Collection. This collection is what you would get if you took Thomas Henry’s desk and poured it all out. In this collection there are correspondence letters, bill of sales, receipts, and a few essays among others. I finally finished digitizing this collection last week and the final count of items in this collection was 525. By digitizing these papers I spent most of my time scanning, so far this summer. While the collection has 525 items, I ended up scanning 1043 scans. And on an average I probably did about 40 scans per day.

An envelope, addressed to the Rev. Thomas Henry
An envelope, addressed to the Rev. Thomas Henry

Among the letters in this collection there are about 40 family letters, which have begun being transcribed, and being the English student that I am, what I find most interesting about the letters that are in this collection is the lack of uniform punctuation, grammar, and spelling throughout the letters. Within one letter a single word could be spelt different three times, and I really find that fascinating because of how structured language has become in today’s world. I feel like the difference between writing today and writing from say 1863 is a very interesting marker in how different things are today. It seems to me that the evolution of language is equally as important when studying history, as studying the evolution of other aspects of our society, as is more commonly looked at and taught in schools.  It seems that both today’s structure of writing and that of 150 years ago have their strengths and weaknesses. And reading these letters on thing that came clear to me is how these letters seem to flow much easier than a letter of today. Whereas in contrast a letter of today do have much more uniform writing, something that the correspondence of this collection more often than not, do not seem to have.

Thomas Henry - this oil painting hangs in the the Henry House Parlour
Thomas Henry – this oil painting hangs in the the Henry House Parlour

But overall, what I took away from looking at these correspondence letters is that while it changes frequently, writing is extremely important for communication, and while it can change mediums overtime, which is clear as I write this blog post, it still seems to maintain the same weight and importance for a man like Thomas Henry, as it does today.

Month That Was – July 1930

Wednesday July 2, 1930

Pickpocket Suspect Caught At Races

Hamilton, July 2 – Arrested by Inspector Ward of the City of Toronto, and Constable Lyell, of the Hamilton race track, at the Hamilton Jockey Club, yesterday, William Blair, Detroit was remanded on a charge of vagrancy in police court this morning. The officers picked him up after a complaint by a racing man who felt a hand in his pocket and turned to see Blair walking away.

 

Thursday July 3, 1930

Editorial Notes

A New York man killed himself in a theatre. This is carrying dramatics too far. – Chatham News

 

Friday July 4, 1930

Editorial Notes

“Are there any modern day witches?” asks a writer. We haven’t noticed anybody flying about on vacuum-cleaners in our district. – Punch

 

Saturday July 5, 1930

Chimney is Trap to Catch Burglar Entering Store

Saint John, July 5 – Tightly wedged 30 feet down inside the chimney of the N.B. liquor store building on Main Street, William C. Stackhouse shouted two hours for aid yesterday, before police located the source of his smothered cries. Firemen and police extricated him by cutting a gap in the wall and removing chimney bricks.

Charged with breaking and entering the liquor store with intent to steal, Stackhouse pleaded guilty and was given two years in Dorchester penitentiary by Acting Magistrate Williams in police court.

Police said Stackhouse tried to enter the liquor store via the skylight. He had fallen into the chimney and had been unable to climb out.

 

Thursday July 10, 1930

Britain Has Banned Apples From U.S.

Toronto, July 9-A.M. Wiseman, British Trade Commissioner in Canada for Ontario, has received official information from the British Government of an order just issued prohibiting the importation of raw apples from the United States into the United Kingdom, between July 7 and Nov. 15, with the exception of certain fancy grades.

Mr. Wiseman has no information as to why the ban is placed, but it was learned from other sources that it may be due to a fruit fly, known in the United States as the “railroad borer”, which is not believed to be in England.

 

Thursday July 10, 1930

Cheese makers to Compete

Kingston – A very comprehensive competition for the cheese makers of Frontenac County has been organized and five trophies and over $200 in prize money has been obtained. The object of the competition is to stimulate more interest in the dairy industry.

 

Thursday July 10, 1930

Unusual Bible

Kinston – A most unusual book is that owned by Mrs. W. Ashton of 45 King Street West, this city. It is a history of the Bible, printed by H. & E. Phinney, Cooperstown, N.Y., in 1829 and the pages measure only one inch by one and a half inches.  The volume is bound in leather and is in remarkably good state of preservation. The print is very clear and the volume is illustrated by small wood cuts. It is believed to be the only book of its kind in existence and Mrs. Ashton has refused some very high offers for it.

 

Monday July 21, 1930

Young Tree-sitter Injured in Fall

Hamilton, July 21 – Inspired by reports of many and wonderful endurance contests Lionel Clause decided to make a name as a tree sitter for himself.

He started by climbing to the top of a tree in his back yard, but his name now appears in print not because he shattered existing records, but because he slipped. The lad sustained a compound fracture of the skull and is in general hospital in a serious condition.

 

Thursday July 31, 1930

Editorial Notes:

The next man who suggests having a contest in hot weather should be tapped on the head with a large mallet

Editorial Notes:

Some people seem to have all the luck. Here’s one chap getting his picture in all the the papers just because he is wanted by the police.