The likely creator of this manuscript was Rebecca Bailey, whose name appears in handwritten ink on the front cover. Inscriptions following several of the copied verses date the volume to January and February 1852. Following “The Broken Promise” is the inscription “Kennett Square School 1st mo. 23rd.” Franklin Taylor established a normal school in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, in 1852, for the “education of young ladies who wish to qualify themselves thoroughly for instructors in our common schools or higher institutions of learning.” It is possible that Bailey was a student at this school. At the end of a transcription of Lewis J. Cist’s poem “Olden Memories,” the creator has inscribed “Copied by Bec of Grove,” possibly a reference to nearby London Grove, Pennsylvania.
Amherst College Digital Collections. “Be Kind to the Loved Ones at Home,” ca. 1847. (accessed November 3, 2016) https://acdc.amherst.edu/view/asc:86189
“Angry Words.” The Evangelical and Missionary Chronicle, Vol. 26. December 1848.
Bailey, Philip James. Festus: A Poem. New York: James Miller, 1872.
Bogart, Elizabeth. Drifting from the Stream of Life: A Collection of Fugitive Poems. New York: Hurd & Houghton, 1866.
Coggeshall, William T. The Poets and Poetry of the West. Columbus: Follett, Foster and Company, 1860.
Hentz, Caroline Lee. Eoline: Or Magnolia Vale: Or the Heiress of Glenmore. Philadelphia: T.B. Peterson, 1852.
Kemble, Frances Ann. “Faith.” In A Victorian Anthology, 1837-1895, edited by Edmund Clarence Stedman. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1895.
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. “Hyperion.” In The Complete Prose Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and His Later Poems, Vol. 3. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, & Company, 1883.
Mayo, Sarah Carter Edgarton. The Flower Vase; Containing the Language of Flowers and Their Poetic Sentiments. Lowell: Joshua Fisher, 1850.
Morris, George P. “A Ball-Room Belle.” The New Mirror, Songs and Ballads, No. 4. New York: Morris, Willis, & Co., Publishers, 1844.
Songs, Ballads, and Other Poems by the Late Thomas Haynes Bayly, Edited by his Widow with a Memoir of the Author, Vol. 2. London: Richard Bentley, 1844.
Southworth, Emma Dorothy E. Nevitte. The Curse of Clifton. London: Clark, Beeton, and Co., 1854.
Sutton, Henry S. “Untitled.” The Upper Room BulletinVol. 4, No. 8. Ann Arbor, MI: November 24, 1917.
“Teach Me Forgetfulness.” Cataract and Waterfall or Massachusetts Washingtonian. Jan. 17, 1844.
Wickersham, James Pyle. A History of Education in Pennsylvania, Private and Public, Elementary and Higher. Lancaster, PA: Inquirer Publishing Company, 1886.
Information derived from the collection.
This commonplace volume of verse and quotations was likely created by Rebecca Bailey while at school in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, in 1852. While most of the material was copied from popular hymns, poetry, and other literature, Bailey may have written some of the poetry.
Many of the poems, prose passages, and short quotations in this volume appeared in nineteenth-century religious and literary periodicals or other popular publications. They include meditations on grief, heartbreak, beauty, filial duty, religious piety, love, and remembrance. Bailey copied verses from several well-known nineteenth-century poets, including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Elizabeth Bogart, and Frances Ann “Fanny” Kemble. She also included several poems that lack attribution and may have been original compositions. Among these are a poem pledging eternal love and friendship, entitled “The Affianced,” and verses reviewing all of the subjects learned in school.
This volume is bound in brown paper with printed text and images on the front and back cover. On the front cover, there is a woodblock print of a bookstore with several men browsing. Below this is printed text that reads “Leary’s Cheap Book Store No. 158 North Second Street, corner of New Street, Philadelphia. Where are kept constantly on hand, and for sale, over 100,000 volumes of New, Old and Scarce Books, in every Department of Literature, wholesale and retail / All the latest Editions of School Books / Latin, Greek, French, Hebrew, Spanish, Italian and German Books / N.B. Cash paid for rags.” The name “Rebecca Bailey” is written in black ink at the top of the front cover. The back cover has a printed advertisement for the works of James Brown at Leary’s book store. The volume contains 18 leaves of wove paper with faint horizontal blue lines. Most leaves feature handwritten text in black ink and pencil. Five leaves are blank.