Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Time Capsule

Mother has a scrapbook which Grandmother Lottie Hart kept from about 1906 until the mid 1940s, when she was in her early 20s until her mid 60s. The fragile, tattered and cumbersome book underneath is entitled Woodward & Tiernan Missouri Edition of the Rand McNally Grammar School Geography. A page in the back says in careful fading script: "To R.N. Hart, from Father and Mother, October 25, 1876". R.N. Hart was Robert Nelson Hart, Lottie's Father (b. 1857; d. 1913).

As was the custom in those times, Lottie cut and pasted (or sometimes just tucked inside) into an unused book countless newspaper articles, including marriage announcements, obituaries, news of local social affairs of her family, extended family, and friends. Significant events in the world around find a place in her book: a picture of the sinking of the Titanic, announcement of the death of Carrie Nation, picture of a soldier in New York City surrounded by confetti at the declaration of the end of World War II. Recipes, cartoons, health and hygiene articles, poems, and pictures (some of flowers) find their way into her book under her careful hand. This scrapbook is a time capsule of her life and times.

I carefully turn through the pages and read selectively those articles that jump into view. One of the 1st articles I am drawn to read describes the curriculum at the Wagner Conservatory and her graduation recital. The date must have been shortly after her graduation program June 29, 1909. The article reads as follows:

The summer school of the Richard Wagner Conservatory begins July 6; tuition for this term but $10. Studies in piano, organ, violin, voice culture, harmony and history of music, method of music, German and French. Studio--506 E Harrison St., just opposite the north ward school building.

Notwithstanding the intense heat a large and select audience assembled at the Baptist church Tuesday to hear the delightful musical program rendered by the members of Richard Wagner's graduating class. The class consisted of four young ladies. Miss Lottie L. Hart, Greentop; Miss Edythe F. Kaster, Greentop; Miss Stella Quigley, Melbourne; Miss Eva H. Stuck, Kirksville. The class was assisted by Miss Grace Foncanon, soprano and Miss Senta Goldberg, accompanist. The difficult music rendered showed the careful training of the master in music, and the entire program was well received by the audience, Misses Hart and Kaster, meriting special mention. Professor Goldberg's address, "Wanted--a Musical Atmosphere," was thoughtful, instructive, timely. At the close of the exercises, the graduates were presented with their diplomas and the musical degree, Baccalaurea musical was conferred upon them.

With this virtual time capsule, Grandmother Lottie becomes a guide and companion as we seek to reclaim our family's stories. We shall be treating this precious text with the tenderness that it deserves as an old sage. We shall be looking into ways to preserve it and to copy articles for our families' archives. What a find!

No comments: