Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Dropping in at Swarthmore...

I have been working the last couple of days at the Friends historical library at Swarthmore, doing research on Joel Bean. They have his papers all boxed and cataloged.

I had a couple of specific questions in which I was interested, and I have learned some things that move me toward answers to those, but I was also curious to read some of the "manuscripts" with titles like "The Light," and "Saul and David," and so on. Turns out that most of these are handwritten notes for sermons or other kinds of talks. It's good that he had good penmanship. It's been very interesting and edifying.

I was especially taken with a composition book in which he wrote, in longhand and rhyming couplets, about his childhood for the benefit of his daughters. It's very sweet and interesting. I wonder how much reality was sacrificed for the sake of the rhyme scheme. For example:

"When Joseph John Gurney went over our State,
He traveled our road, and drew up to our Gate,
We were called to his carriage; my brother and I
A text book received, by Elizabeth Fry;
He wrote his name in it, then pausing to say,
A few words by love prompted, he went on his way."(p 5)

Lots of interesting information. What will I do with it?

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