Friday, 31 December 2021
New Year Happy
101 Cities and Towns Where I’ve Used a Typewriter
(In Chronological Order, 1957-2021)
1. Greymouth (1957)
15. Coffs Harbour
16. Surfer’s Paradise
22. Panama City
23. Bridgetown, Barbados
24. Willemstad, Curaçao
25. Porto, Portugal
29. Port Talbot
50. Hong Kong
52. Palmerston North
61. San Francisco
79. Deal, Kent
80. Cowes, Isle of Wight
81. Sutton Coldfield
83. West Kingsdon
87. Hervey Bay
101. Camden (2021)
Thursday, 30 December 2021
The Wedding Bell Was at the End of a Typewriter Carriage
The Reverend Errett Cornelius Sechler of the Central Christian Church knew just what to do when Myrtle Lowany Lawson and Archie Franklin Breedlove asked him to marry them at the Springfield, Missouri, courthouse on Myrtle’s 20th birthday, September 13, 1934. He got out his typewriter.
Neither Myrtle nor Archie could hear or speak. They arrived at the county recorder’s office on the morning of their wedding and wrote out their request for a marriage license for the deputy recorder Mildred Firestone. Myrtle and Archie then asked Mildred to call the Reverend Sechler.
When Reverend Sechler arrived at the courthouse, he was at first nonplussed as to how to proceed. He had no knowledge of sign language, nor did he know whether Myrtle and Archie could lip read. The only solution, he quickly figured, was to take out his typewriter. On it he typed the wedding ceremony directions in triplicate and handed a copy each to the bridge and groom.
As the good reverent read down the sheet, the happy couple nodded their ascent.
Myrtle, from Bristow, Oklahoma, and Archie, from Smithfield, Missouri, had met and fallen in love at the Missouri School for the Deaf in Fulton. They went on to have three children and remained married for almost 14 years, until Archie died suddenly of a heart attack, aged 48, in 1948. Myrtle remarried in 1956 and died in Monett in 1990, aged 75. The Reverend Sechler, born in Buffalo, Missouri, in 1890, died in Seattle in 1976, aged 85.
What typewriter did he use to marry Myrtle and Archie? No-one may ever know. I‘m plumping for a Corona.
20 Portable Typewriters I Once Owned and Wish I Still Did
I've lived a life that's full
I travelled each and every highway
But more, much more than this
I did it my way
Regrets, I've had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption
(In no particular order)
Wednesday, 29 December 2021
1875 Letter Written on a Sholes & Glidden Typewriter: ‘The Prettiest Thing For Your Purposes in the World’
On November 30, 1875, 29 days after Locke, Yost & Bates - then sole sales agents for the Sholes & Glidden typewriter - had entered into a new agreement with E. Remington & Sons, David Ross Locke used a Sholes & Glidden to write to Chicago Daily Tribune journalist William Harrison Busbey on behalf of the writer and columnist “Shirley Dare” (Susan Ann Dunning Power). There was a dispute, Locke said, over payment to Mrs Power for her contribution to James Fred Waggoner’s The Home Cook Book of Chicago: Compiled from Recipes Contributed by Ladies of Chicago and Other Cities and Towns.
Locke, above, ended his letter: “Everything is well with me. How do you like the writing of this letter. My firm controls the machine that writes it, and it is the prettiest thing for your purposes in the world.”
The letter was enclosed in an envelope headed “The Type-Writer. A Machine to Supersede the Pen.” James Densmore’s name is crossed out and replaced with that of Locke, with the name of advertising agent James Hale Bates added as one of the three “general agents”. Also on the envelope is an engraving, the well-known image of a man – believed to be Lucien Stephen Crandall – using a Sholes & Glidden. Printed above Busbey’s (misspelled) name is: “The following address is a sample of its work”.
The design is similar to the first typewriter advertisement ever published, which appeared in The New York Times on December 4, 1875, just five days after Locke wrote his letter to Busbey. The advert was placed by Locke, Yost and Bates and the advertising copy was written by Crandall (1844-1919).
Locke had been interested in the typewriter since he and Mark Twain, on a speaking tour in late 1874, had seen the Sholes & Glidden demonstrated in Boston. The machine had been on the market just five months at that time. Locke was so taken with the machine that, when the humorist, lecturer and journalist Melville De Lancey Landon wrote to him asking for his autograph, Locke sent it, typed! In the closing months of 1875 Locke joined with George Yost and Bates (1845-1901) to take up the selling agency after Densmore had withdrawn from it.
Locke (1833-1888), also known as the bigoted humorist Petroleum Vesuvius Nasby, was born in Vestal, Broome County, New York. He became a journalist and early political commentator during and after the American Civil War. His career started when he was apprenticed at age 12 to The Democrat newspaper in Cortland County, New York. He later worked for the Pittsburgh Chronicle and in 1855 helped start the Plymouth Herald in Ohio. The next year he became editor of the Bucyrus Journal and in 1861 he purchased the Jeffersonian in Findlay, Ohio. In 1865 he edited the Toledo Blade, which he bought in 1867.
William Harrison Busbey (above, 1839-1906) was born in Vienna, Clark County, Ohio. He fought in the Civil War with Company C, First Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, while also serving as a war correspondent. He became city editor of the Ohio State Journal at Columbus and from 1867 was private secretary for two Ohio state governors, including later US President Rutherford B. Hayes. Busbey returned to the Journal as editor in 1868 and in 1873 moved to Chicago to join the Tribune and later the Inter Ocean, where he continued to work until he died.
“Shirley Dale”, the subject of Locke’s letter, was born Susan Ann Dunning in New Washington, Indiana, in late 1844. She began writing articles for the Chicago Tribune at the age of 11, and she later joined the staff of the newspaper, using the byline “Shirley Dare”. She went on to edit the women’s section of the New York Tribune and worked for other New York newspapers. By 1880, five years after her tiff with Waggoner, she was herself a well-known author and syndicated columnist. She married Andrew Felipe Power of the Smithsonian Institute and moved to Boston in 1902, after a nasty falling out with her publisher son in New York in 1894. She died, aged 77, in February 1922 after suffering burns in a house fire.
J. Fred Waggoner (1848-1926) was a well-known publisher of cook books and other works.
Below, a letter to Densmore's stepson Walter Barron typed by Latham Sholes in June 1872: