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Showing posts with the label 1910's

Christmas vs. Fourth of July (Book, 1908)

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I wish I were about to tell you about an obscure mystic war between the forces of winter and summer, but instead this is a little message book about injured children and giving to the poor.

The intended message from author Asenath Carver Coolidge seems to be that both holidays should be less about buying things, but that the Fourth of July especially shouldn’t be about buying fireworks.

This book appears to be a Christmas tie-in for the author’s pet issue: preventing injuries from fireworks and firearms. She wrote multiple books on the subject.

While the Fourth of July is still a common time for injuries today, regulation has brought the numbers down from the time that Coolidge was writing. Time Magazine reports that at the height, according to the book Fireworks, Picnics, and Flags: The Story of the Fourth of July Symbols, “Over the course of five consecutive Fourths, from 1903 to 1907, 1,153 people were killed and 21,520 more were injured.”

But let’s run through the book.

We open o…

Book Review: Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories

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Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories
L. M. Montgomery, edited by Rea Wilmshurst
Collection 1995, Stories originally published 1899 - 1910

Premise: A collection of holiday tales by L. M. Montgomery.

They can't all be winners. This volume occupies a weird space between light holiday collection and academic archive only of interest to scholars. There isn’t any scholarly commentary, but I can't imagine anyone reading this entire book who isn't either writing this review or looking for common themes in pieces from the time period for a research project.

Because oh, are there common themes.

The strongest pieces in the collection are the two excerpts from the Anne books: a chapter from Anne of Green Gables and one from Anne of Windy Poplars. Both of these have charm, whimsy and warmth in equal portion.

The introduction explains that the other stories were among many written by Montgomery in these years for various magazines - mostly what we would now call work-for-hire, …

Santa Claus vs. Cupid (1915)

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Two suitors are trying to woo the same woman on Christmas Eve. One steals the flowers the other sent, so we know not to root for him. They both show up at a Christmas party dressed as Santa in order to impress the woman. At the same time, another character with a sick wife decides to rob the party. He holds up the guy we're not rooting for, locks him in a closet, then steals the sack of presents he had with him.

The other suitor runs into the thief outside the house, gets him to renounce his ways, then sends him off with some money. Then the suitor enters and distributes the gifts. After, he proposes to the woman, and the rival is freed from his closet just in time to learn about the engagement.

It is entirely possible the synopsis I've just laid out is the plot for the 99-year-old silent movie, "Santa Claus vs. Cupid." But I really wouldn't swear to that: I found it hard to follow due to the sparse use of speech cards. Clearly, the intent was for the audience t…