Won't you dish us out a little sun?
Days and hours until old April's done.
With coal bills mounting,
We've been counting
Not this one which pierced your winter coat.
Spring is slated
To be dated
From the twenty-first of March, they say;
Waits until the merry month of May.
Greetings and salutations, my home folks! How good it is to be with you again - and find that the By-Ways is not all grown up with weeds - and forgotten! Let's make this little side path so interesting that you will want to take the trail every other week, when it is open to the "public." So many interesting things have happened since I last talked with you that I hardly know where to begin. Our Main Library here had an exhibit on printing during March, and part of April, that was fascinating. One stands in awe, in contemplation of the tremendous pains and patience that our early writers manifested. The oldest form of writing was, as you know, the picture-writing and hieroglyphics on clay slabs. There were long clay slabs on exhibit that dated back to 4000 B.C. Fifty tablets - much smaller - were Babylonian bookkeeping, commercial and legal records, dating about 2200 B.C. One stone, like a smooth round pebble, exquisitely carved, perfectly preserved, had been found in a suburb of Noppur, where there was a receiving station. This stone records the receipt of "1 fat sheep, to be offered to the God Bel; 1 large fat goat, to be offered to the Goddess Belit. Delivered 2300 B.C."
Going to the other extreme in size were the huge books of the 15th and 10th centuries. The largest book in the exhibit was an Antiphonal Choir book, said to have been presented to the Convent of St. Isabella, by Queen Isabella of Spain (1500). The dimensions of it are: 33 inches tall by 24 inches wide. (I should judge, about 5 inches thick). The notes are square. I wonder if a whole choir used the same book. The most precious piece of printing in the world was there: The Gutenberg Bible, printed in the years 1450-1455, in Marenz, Germany. The Book was very large, of course. There were many Bibles - of all types - but the largest one (considered the Magnum Opus of England's greatest type-founder and printer) is the Baskerville Cambridge Bible (1763), measuring 27" x 16" x 8". The smallest book in the world was there; 48 printed pages, bound in leather, with a silver clasp. The text consists of quatrains from the Rubayat. It is one-sixteenth of an inch square, and weighs one-sixth of a gram. The 18th century Persian books were the most elaborate; infinite pains in hand-work, done in gorgeous colors, and much gold.
Poor Richard's Almanac was most interesting. It was dated June, 1765, and was headed:
"June - VI month.Here are some of his pithy sayings:
June hath XXX days."
"Gold and silver were mingled with dirt - 'till Avarice parted them."
"He that can't ride a gentle horse should not back a mad colt." ***
In closing, let me say that when two Cleveland business men, strangers to Saltsburg and Kiski, stop you and say, with feeling, "Jim Marks is dead," you realize how far-reaching is his influence." His widow and children, even in their great bereavement, can take comfort in the thought, "I have lived with greatness." James L. Marks is not dead. His soul is marching on.
Florence B. Taylor
Next -5/15/40 - Trivia Versus Trouble