Monday, July 11, 2011

Old Presidents and Old Leather Journals

Zachary Taylor, 12th President of the United States. The silk bookmark I found in an old leather bound journal indicated he was inaugurated March 5th, 1849 and died on July 9, 1850. What made this even more eventful for me was I found this bookmark on July 9, 2011. One hundred sixty-one years after his death. The book mark was fading and the ends were frayed, but it was still beautifully preserved.

My mystery writer's mind wondered that he died so soon after he was inaugurated, he was only 66 years old. I suppose that was old for back then, but still. How did he die?  Apparently he had helped dedicate the Washington Monument earlier that hot and humid July. Just like it is today. The heat got the best of him and he retired to his quarters early to eat a bowl of cherries and drink a pitcher of milk.

Much controversy over the slavery issues of the time made him a candidate of much ridicule and argument. Did someone poison Zachary Taylor?  Or was it, as one doctor presumed some intestinal infection that did him in? Will we ever know?  I wonder? 

The bookmark and the leather book came from an estate Sale, my mother and my sister used to do estate sales near Detroit, Michigan many years ago. Upon investigating the book further I see that it was made by The New Departure Manufacturing Company, of Bristol Connecticut.  And it was called a Business Year book.  The cover, raised relief pictured scroll work and the name Mr. A Moorhouse in gold-foil inlay lettering graced the front of the journal, the edges were also gold.  I hesitate to deface the pages with my small successes; you see I had planned to use this as a success journal. I would imagine the empty journal, obviously, being housed in a leather zippered stationery holder, complete with writing surface and ink blotter, places for pens, and seals and perhaps postage of some sort, perhaps a stamp or embrossed signature press , gold –foil embrossed in the name of Albert C Marshall are two separate pieces of two different people's lives that really don't matter to anyone any more.  

 I could use it – If I dared. There are so many interesting features in the back matter of the book – a perpetual calendar 1756-1956, Leap years 1756 – 1952, parcel post zone rates – for example a one pound local package would cost you five cents…out to the 8th zone it would cost you twelve cents. What can you mail for twelve cents today?

Each page of the journal has a tiny box that you can place a check mark next to the type of weather for that day-- clear, cloudy, rain or snow. There is a place for addresses, Insurance Expiration dates and other particulars about the policy, 

The American Creed by William Taylor Page, Business Laws, points of constitutional Laws, fifteen don'ts in the use of the American Flag and the fourteen errors of life – by Judge Rentoul as told to the Bartholomew Club(I'm not sure what that was.)
The rules as listed:
Remember these are errors:
1.       To expect to set up our own standard of right and wrong and expect everybody to conform to it.
2.       To try to measure the enjoyment of others by our own.
3.       To look for judgment and experience in youth
4.       To endeavor to mold all dispositions alike
5.       To expect uniformity of opinion in this world.
6.       Not to yield in unimportant trifles
7.       To look for perfection in our own actions
8.       To worry ourselves and others over what cannot be remedied.
9.       Not to alleviate if we can all that needs alleviation.
10.   Not to make allowances for the weakness of others
11.   To consider anything impossible that we ourselves cannot perform.
12.   To believe only what our finite minds can grasp
13.   To live as if the moment the time, the day were so important that it would live forever.
14.   To estimate people by some outside quality, for it is that within which makes the man. "London Standard." 

The Journal's forward first paragraph. "Nothing is new except that which has been forgotten," we will regard the passing of the old ear and the coming of the new one as simply a matter of looking at the calendar, for isn't it true that whatever is, functions as a merger of what has been with what is to come.
The ball bearings this company designed, which also designed and, I suppose, presented this business journal to its employees was:
 New Departure Mfg. Co
De Witt Page, President
Bristol, Connecticut
December 26, 1924

How neat, maybe I will make good use of this journal after all. It will house my successes and help me keep my bearings.

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