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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Potter s niece s daughter.   Presently to see the boys perform
their customary exercises for the day.    Some four hundred of
them were present in a spacious school-room   looking as though it
contained an acre of boys   with a sprinkling of girls. (They are
the charity children of the city; and the Island has 800 of them upon
it, in all.)      All looked clean and chubby.  The boys faces were mostly
Irish and unintelligent, not so the girls.  They did considerable
speech-making and some singing.  Some of the speeches were rather
spread-eagley, others capital and amusing   all turning on the occasion,
and their condition.       One little chap not higher than a table whistled
 Hail Columbia .    One boy made up as a street vagabond, with rent pants,
dirty face and unkempt hair, while another   a moral boy-hood to des-
cant upon his disreputable appearance.     This was rather hard, I thought
on the impromptu gamin.      There was also a sulky boy who denounced
the Ten Governors as  humbugs,  intimated that he entertained a desperate
intention of turning Mormon, and was, finally, rebuked and put to
shame by a virtuous   and of course   contented juvenile.   The girls
sang sweetly.   One was a real little beauty, with soft dark eyes and
dark brown hair; she had a delicious contralto voice, and seemed quite
the prima donna of the party.  (Mr Eldredge told me subsequently that
she had a devil of a temper.      No matter   there s a soul in that little
thing s eyes.)    They sang two pretty forceful dittys   one a fairy song.
I liked this   as it recognizes something beyond their condition.  Also their
hair was cut short.      One naturally expects that the children of the poor
will be made as ungraceful as possible, and is agreably surprised at the 
reverse.        Finally, to the beat of drum, the boys marched out; did military
exercises, and so   as old Pepys would say   to dinner.       We all dined
subsequently at Mr Eldredge s house: present himself and wife, Mr
and Mrs Carpenter   the latter Mrs Potter s sister, a jolly, buxom
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Nine: page thirty-four
Description:Describes a Thanksgiving visit to the Eldredge family and a charity children's school on Randall's Island.
Subject:Carpenter; Carpenter, Mrs.; Children; Education; Eldredge; Eldredge, Jenny; Eldredge, Mrs.; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Mormons; Potter, Mrs.; Thanksgiving Day
Coverage (City/State):[New York, New York]
Scan Date:2011-02-02


Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Nine
Description:Includes descriptions of boardinghouse living, a picnic at Hoboken with other New York artists and journalists, his drawing and writing work in New York, attending a lecture by Lola Montez, visits to James Parton and Fanny Fern and the Edwards family, a controversy over Fitz James O'Brien's story ''The Diamond Lens,'' artist Sol Eytinge's relationship with writer Allie Vernon, the suicide of writer Henry William Herbert, antics of the New York Bohemians, the interest of people living in his boarding house in spiritualism, a visit to his friend George Bolton's farm in Canada, a visit to Niagara Falls, and a scandal involving Harbormaster Willis Patten, who lives in his boarding house.
Subject:Boardinghouses; Bohemians; Farms; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Publishers and publishing; Suicide; Travel; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York; Rochester, New York; Elmira, New York; Paris, Ontario, Canada
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2011 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.