Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Miscellaneous Nonfiction

Today I went through the last few boxes of Holliday Ellwood Hartman's books. Most were nonfiction and provided insight into my great-grandfather's interests.

There are more books about history and government than about any other subject. Holliday received "The History of The United States Told In One Syllable Words" (see photo) for Christmas 1892, when he was eight years old. Two years later, his mother gave him "The Century Book For Young Americans: The Story Of The Government." In 1898, he received "Great Words From Great Americans" which includes speeches by Washington and Lincoln.

H. E.'s interest in history continued into adulthood. He owned, for example, a three-volume history of the United States by Julian Hawthorne, Senator John Sherman's autobiography (which is a beautiful book - see photo), and a biography of Theodore Roosevelt called "Great-Heart." He also had a number of anthologies of stories about honorable men (only men) and great leaders (only men) - "Noble Deeds of the Great and Brave" and "Leaders of Men."

There are a few books that branch out from American History and Government, including a book about South African history and "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" by Edward Gibbon. I loved looking through the Gibbon book because it has notes on every single page - mostly subject headings and underlining (see photo) - through page 292. Dates are also recorded from time to time, ending in 1903. The book belonged to "H. Hartman," which could be my great-great-grandfather Henry Waters Hartman or my great-grandfather Holliday Ellwood Hartman. I'm leaning toward H. E. because most of the other books in the collection belonged to him and he was reading similar books in 1903 when he was 19 ... however H. E. always always signed his books "H. E. Hartman," not just "H. Hartman." I'll have to look at it more closely.

Commemorative Books
There are a few souvenir books commemorating special events. One is called "The Book of the Yale Pageant" (1916) and is a sort of play written to commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of Yale - H. E.'s alma mater - moving to New Haven. There are three books about fire and fire insurance, books H. E. probably owned because he sold insurance. The most impressive is "Conquest of Fire" (see photo), published by the New York Underwriters Agency, A & JH Stoddard, to mark the 50th anniversary of their business. It includes two-page, full-color spreads of gorgeous paintings of fires throughout the ages. "27th Triennial Conclave" is a book about Pittsburgh prepared by the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar in October of 1898. Apparently this military order was officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church in 1129 and fought in the Crusades (thanks, Wikipedia). They are related to the Freemasons, which I guess is why they were still active in Pittsburgh a century ago. There's a Library of Congress photo (left) of their 1898 parade where they received this souvenir book. I think my great-grandfather H. E. was a Mason, and my grandmother belonged to the Order of Eastern Star when she was young. However, H. E. would have been just 14 years old when this event took place, so I wonder if his father Henry Waters Hartman was also a Mason and either went to the parade or received this book from friends.

Besides the "27th Triennial Conclave" souvenir, I found a few other Freemasonry-related books. "History of the Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons and Concordant Masons" (The Fraternity Publishing Company, Boston, 1916) is in very fragile condition, so I didn't look through it very thoroughly. I did, however, notice in the Table of Contents that there's a whole chapter on "comprehensive history of the Knights Templars," so I can find out more about the group that met in Pittsburgh. I also found ten or twelve more Bibles and hymnals, some of which belonged to the Presbyterian Church in Zelienople or Grace Reformed Church in Harmony.

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