“Sympathy is no substitute for action.” David Livingstone

Not every tenement dweller can become the David Livingstone of his generation, but what if that was put forth as the goal? In terms of disease, sanitation and real poverty 19th century tenements were far worse than the modern versions in most western nations today. I wonder if the attitude was better then or was…

James E. West: Orphan and Hero

When my son was six he begged me each day not to leave him on the steps of the large Brooklyn school house. He hated his teacher. Fair enough. When the bell rang and the kindly police officer took my son’s hand and led him inside, my son looked back in panic and I’d have…

Railroad Crush

Railroad crush: Grenville Dodge First, let me just say that Grenville Dodge is probably one of the coolest names ever (William Tecumseh Sherman is up there, too). Maybe white men can’t jump, but this guy doesn’t get his due. Modern bitter professors like to tell us that the self-made man is a myth in America….

Books I’ve Known And Loved

Men and women of integrity, listen up! The popular opinion that most Americans during the Gilded Age were stealing land and involved in corrupt schemes has some holes in it. Maybe not too many–but some. Enter Washington and Emily Roebling. I’ve introduced them to you before from The Great Bridge, but damn they’re good. It’s…

OH, TO BE SUCH A HUMAN!

“And what did Henry White, who was neither witty nor a brilliant talker, nor even, to tell the truth, a man of very deep cultivation, contribute to this gang (British select society)? ‘I really think it was his GOODNESS,’ Lord Robert Cecil suggested. ‘He never said an ill-natured or bitter thing in his life. He…

Before Fair Trade Coffee~ The Free Produce Movement

Once upon a time there was a Quaker kid living on his parents’ farm in the Garden State of New Jersey. He didn’t make it to school too often and back then you had the freedom to skip it. Maybe he just liked plowing fields with his father or getting into small scrapes with his…

A Purpose and a Prayer–Freed Slaves Who Saved a School

Taking every penny from the school treasury  to pay for their traveling expenses the Fisk Jubilee Singers set out on a mission to ensure the continuance of the school they dearly loved. Only a few months after the end of the Civil War John Ogden, the Reverend Erastus Milo Cravath, and the Reverend Edward P….

First Horse and Buggy Ride . . .Seaside Heights 1969

There I am in the hat. My mother sewed a string into it so I wouldn’t lose it at the beach. You know those weird crushes you have on older cousins? The one’s even at age four you know are somehow a little off? Between my mother and her sister they  managed to produce a…