When you run a business
republishing local history and genealogy, frequently historical artifacts --
Americana -- come in the door.
Sometimes it also is better classified as social history.
We would like to share with you some of our Americana collection.
While there are images of some Americana on our CD-ROMs, there is a point where
Americana grades over into what is known today as social history, and this page
includes both. Enjoy the free items, and consider purchasing our
The First 20 years of
the WCTU in New York State (1894)
The full title of this publication is
Two Decades: A History of the First Twenty Years Work by
the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union in the State of New York 1874 –
1894. Your publisher, when we began
the project of digitizing this volume, viewed it as a document that
would fit nicely in our Americana section along with the articles on
speakeasy cards and “tonics” but came away from the project rather
impressed with what these women (who did not yet have the right to vote)
accomplished in their first 20 years. Let it be clear that this is a
history of a state WCTU organization, not a polemic, and while the
authors assume a friendly audience, their discussion of tactics and
their implementation are potentially useful to any disenfranchised
group. We were also impressed to learn of an aspect of the work of the
WCTU in a seemingly unrelated area: until they got legislative
action in 1887 raising the age of consent to 16 years, it was a
mind-boggling 10 years old. One pauses in wonder at what the sexual
proclivities of a legislature that considered ten year old girls
fair game must have been.
New York State Miscellany page for more information.
Edited and with an introduction by Holley Cantine and Dachine
Re-publishing this book in part fulfills a commitment made to Holley
Cantine by a partner of Between the Lakes Group back in 1964, when Mr.
Cantine gave him this book with the request that he make it as widely
available as possible. In those times of the military draft for the
Vietnam War, the relevance of the material would no doubt have been
greater, and if the social value of the type he desired is achieved at
all through this belated publication, it is by raising awareness that
people did, in fact, object to the draft back during the 20th
century by actually going to prison.
In way of personal commentary
by the partner in question, he notes the sincerity which Mr. Cantine
obviously held his views. Bearing the names of and descended from two
industrialist families from the Gilded Age and before (the Cantine
Coated Paper Company, and the Holley Iron interests), he left this
behind to live a simple life that eschewed material possessions and
promoted a world order of fairness, peace, and equality. (Holley likely
had already sensed that the partner in question had made up his mind to
accept the draft and serve in the military when he gave him this book
and the instructions to make it widely available, and, to some extent
this was true – Woodstock, NY was the home of many in the arts and on
the fringes of political and social thought at that time, and he had
already had the first of a series of alcohol-fueled conversations with
the actor (and decorated military hero) Lee Marvin, who ultimately
convinced him – largely on the basis of his own experiences -- that
serving was the appropriate course of action.
In keeping with Holley Cantine’s
wish that we make this volume as widely available as possible, we are
pricing it low, and we are willing to provide a download key for a free
download of this book to anyone who cannot afford even that. Please
firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to avail yourself of
this offer using the subject line “Prison Etiquette offer”. 161+
pages, in PDF format, download now for $2.50.
The 469 Ultra-Fashionables of America -- A Social
Guide Book and Register to Date
by C. W. de Lyon Nicholls (1912)
This volume of what is now
social history coincided with the beginning of the end of a hereditary
upper class in the United States. The Gilded Age was coming to an end,
World War I was about to change everything, the automobile was already
on the scene and prohibition was lurking, both about to become great
social levelers, and the income tax was only one year in the future. At
this point in time, the 469 most socially important people in the nation
could be – and herein are -- enumerated. Yes, you will even today find
some of the family names listed in this book are names to conjure with,
but the lifestyle this book depicts was not much longer to be one to
which American’s nouveau riche needed to aspire. This nation’s attempt
to create its own nobility was virtually at an end. In PDF format,
118+ pages, download now for $4.75.
Robert Grant (1896). This
volume, originally one of a set of four discussing American summer
resorts (the other resort communities in the set covered Newport, Bar
Harbor, and Lenox), had as its subject matter the one of the four that
was already something of a suburb at the same time it was a summer
resort. There is no intent here to suggest that the North Shore
was somehow today’s exurbia ahead of its time. In fact, this thin
volume makes clear that it was not – the Myopia Hunt, with all its
social ramifications, could not exist in an exurban setting, for
instance – and even anticipates a time when people would “live cheek by
jowl with one another in houses built and painted after a stereotyped
model, with exactly the same number of square feet of land in our front
yards, and under limitations as to the number of flowers we may grow in
our pitiful little gardens….” Please see our
Massachusetts page for more
by George C. Boswell (1899).
Litchfield has seemingly always
enjoyed good press. From local writers such as Harriet Beecher Stowe to
the present example, the place seems to have a literary bent, and a fair
amount of the output has been dedicated to celebrating the more socially
prominent members of that community. This book, which is set up to take
every day of the year and assign an historic event involving
Litchfielders to it, is an interesting variation on the theme. There is
history here, to be sure, but it is larded among the anecdotes of the
community’s upper class. An interesting conceit: at the end of the
text and before the advertisements are a series of twelve blank pages,
each headed with a month, so that the reader whose family was
insufficiently prominent to have a date assigned to one of its own
events, can insert dates that are meaningful to them. The
advertisements as the end are interesting: one cannot find any of the
names that appear in the ads mentioned in the text! The book
contains many photographs and other illustrations and we're quite
pleased with how well they reproduce. Please see our
page about Litchfield,
CT for more information.
Ancient History Notebook (1910) -
Canaan High School
by Kenneth C. Hart.
In addition to its role
documenting the times when Canaan had its own High School, it also
documents in great and legible detail what a high school freshman was
expected to know of ancient history back in those times. If you were
fortunate enough to study ancient history in school (a subject rarely
taught except in private schools anymore, unfortunately) you will
recognize immediately how thorough an understanding of the histories of
Greece and Rome was considered necessary for a high school graduate to
possess back in those days. It is really rather daunting!
There is a story behind this
publication, too. During the summer of 2013, Between the Lakes
Group decided to experiment with short-term summer interns as a way to
encourage the study of history among young people, hoping to get back
insights into how so-called “digital natives” view the world. We
took the interns shopping one day at Johnnycake Books in Salisbury,
where one of the interns, Helen Jenks, immediately homed in on this
notebook and began reading it carefully. After reviewing it
thoroughly, she advised me that we ought to purchase the notebook and
publish it. It would serve, she felt, as important documentation
of what someone just beyond a “common school education” was expected to
have assimilated a century or so ago. Parenthetically, Helen
attends a diocesan school in New York City and consequently has been
exposed to quite a bit of ancient history. At any rate, she made a
persuasive case, and we went ahead with the purchase and now with the
publication. Please see the Canaan section of our Litchfield County, CT page for more
Lakeville Horse Show Program (1964).
The Lakeville Horse Show, back
in these days, was an important regional horse show. The advertisements
in the program reflect a time when the Northwest Corner of Connecticut
was a different place. See our Salisbury page for more information.
The Atlantic Monthly and its Makers, by M. A. DeWolfe Howe (1919)
If names from American Lit like
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Julia Ward Howe, William Dean Howells, and James
Russell Lowell, not to mention such luminaries and Longfellow and
Whittier, are of interest to you, then you will enjoy this thin volume.
This is not a “the best of” the Atlantic Monthly – although there is a
list of authors and articles in the back of this book that identify
these in the opinions of the editors of the Atlantic. Instead, it is a
literary, social, and intellectual history of the founding and first
sixty years of that magazine. Bits of dialog that one realizes could
only have been uttered in upper crust Boston in that era appear
throughout. We would be guilty of false advertising if we said this
book is lively, but it is far livelier than the literary output of some
of the major figures of that period to whom we are introduced in these
pages. See our Massachusetts page
for more information.
We have numerous other articles of Americana that we are considering
offering. A few are listed below. Let us know if you would
like to see us offer one or more of these here on our website for
Mr. Cleveland, A Personal
Impression, by Jesse Lynch Williams. Published by Dodd, Mead &
Company in 1909. 75 pages.
We also have several articles of Americana that we are considering
offering on CD-ROM. These will not be free, but will be comparably
priced with our other CDs. Let us know if any of these are of interest to you.
We consider your preferences when determining our publication schedule.
The Communistic Societies
of the United States, by Charles Nordhoff. This volume, first
published in 1875, is a study of the various 19th century communes.
Included are the Economists, Zoarites, Shakers, Amana, Oneida, Bethel,
Aurora, Icarian and other utopian communities of the United States. 439
pages, including index. We've issued chapters on the
Perfectionists, and on the
Harmony Society, as downloads.
Temperance and Prohibition page --
a thread that runs through much of American history.