Tag Archives: free history lessons /curriculum

Vintage Postcard: Holiday Greetings

Vintage Holiday Greeting Card c. 1920

Welcome to Rita Bay’s month of Holiday Celebrations. The whole blog has been refurbished with a holiday decor to celebrate the December Holidays.  Each day guests will be treated to century-old vintage  holiday postcards (from my packrat family’s stash), classic pics, and other treats that scream Christmas.  But, as always, there’ll be loads of info you won’t find any other place. Guests bloggers will take you into the past–ancient Scotland, Medieval England, and Regency Britain–to celebrate Christmas. Test recipes from the kitchens of the past (a centuries-old Spice Cake to die for) and the present (a decadent guilt-free, low-carb dessert). Finally, we’ll look at Christmas in its historical context.

Besides the Christian celebrations, we’ll check out ancient pagan celebrations that predate Christmas, like the Romans’ Saturnalia and the Celtic Winter Solstice. Then, we’ll move to more modern, non-religious holidays like Kwanza, Boxing Day, and Festivus. Visit Rita Bay’s Blog each day to see what’s happening.

Tomorrow, Advent & the Advent Wreath    Rita Bay

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William Penn And The Indians

SOURCE:  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans                                                      By Samuel Eggleston                                                                                                           American Book Co  1893                                                                                                       Digitized by Google                                                                                                                 Available for free download from Google Books

William Penn

The King of England gave all the land in Pennsylvania to William Penn. The King made Penn a kind of king over Pennsylvania. Penn could make the laws of this new country. But he let the people make their own laws.

Penn wanted to be friendly with the Indians. He paid them for all the land his people wanted to live on. Before he went to Pennsylvania he wrote a letter to the Indians. He told them in this letter that he would not let any of his people do any harm to the Indians. He said he would punish anybody that did any wrong to an Indian. This letter was read to the Indians in their own language.

Soon after this Penn got into a ship and sailed from England. He sailed to Pennsylvania. When he came there, he sent word to the tribes of Indians to come to meet him.

The Indians met under a great elm tree on the bank of the river. Indians like to hold their solemn meetings out of doors. They sit on the ground. They say that the earth is the Indian’s mother.

When Penn came to the place of meeting, he found the woods full of Indians. As far as he could see, there were crowds of Indians. Penn’s friends were few. They had no guns.

Penn had a bright blue sash round his waist. One of the Indian chiefs, who was the great chief, put on a kind of cap or crown. In the middle of this was a small horn. The head chief wore this only at such great meetings as this one.

When the great chief had put on his horn, all the other chiefs and great men of the Indians put down their guns. Then they sat down in front of Penn in the form of a half-moon. Then the great chief told Penn that the Indians were ready to hear what he had to say.

William Penn's Treaty with the Indians by Currier & Ives

Penn had a large paper in which he had written all the things that he and his friends had promised to the Indians. He had written all the promises that the Indians were to make to the white people. This was to make them friends. When Penn had read this to them, it was explained to them in their own language. Penn told them that they might stay in the country that they had sold to the white people. The land would belong to both the In­dians and the white people.

Then Penn laid the large paper down on the ground. That was to show them, he said, that the ground was to belong to the Indians and the white people together.

He said that there might be quarrels between some of the white people and some of the Indians. But they would settle any quarrels without fight­ing. Whenever there should be a quarrel, the In­dians were to pick out six Indians. The white people should also pick out six of their men. These were to meet, and settle the quarrel.

Penn said, “I will not call you my children, be­cause fathers some-times whip their children. I will not call you brothers, because brothers some­times fall out. But I will call you the same per­son as the white people. We are the two parts of the same body.”

The Indians could not write. But they had their way of putting down things that they wished to have remembered. They gave Penn a belt of shell beads. These beads are called wampum. Some wampum is white. Some is purple.

They made this belt for Penn of white beads. In the middle of the belt they made a picture of purple beads. It is a picture of a white man and an Indian. They have hold of each other’s hands. When they gave this belt to Penn, they said, “We will live with William Penn and his children as long as the sun and moon shall last.”

Tomorrow, Holiday Celebrations      Rita Bay

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The Author Of ” Little Women”

Louisa Alcott

Louisa Alcott (1832-1888) was a wild little girl. When she was very little, she would run away from home. She liked to play with beggar children. One day she wandered so far away from her home, she could not find the way back again. It was growing dark. The little girl’s feet were tired. She sat down on a door-step. A big dog was lying on the step. He wagged his tail. That was his way of saying, “I am glad to see you.”

Little Louisa grew sleepy. She laid her head on the curly head of the big dog. Then she fell asleep. Louisa’s father and mother could not find her. They sent out the town crier to look for her. The town crier went along the street. As he went, he rang his bell. Every now and then he would tell that a little girl was lost.

At last the man with the bell came to the place where Louisa was asleep. He rang his bell. That waked her up. She heard him call out in a loud voice, “Lost, lost a little girl six years old. She wore a pink frock, a white hat, and new green shoes.” When the crier had said that, he heard a small voice coming out of the darkness. It said, “Why, dat’s me.” The crier went to the voice, and found Louisa sitting by the big dog on the door-step. The next day she was tied to the sofa to punish her for running away.

She and her sisters learned to sew well. Louisa set up as a doll’s dressmaker. She was then twelve years old. She hung out a little sign. She put some pretty dresses in the window to show how well she could do. Other girls liked the little dresses that she made. They came to her to get dresses made for their dolls. They liked the little doll’s hats she made better than all. Louisa chased the chickens to get soft feathers for these hats.

She turned the old fairy tales into little plays. The children played these plays in the barn. One of these plays was Jack and the Bean-stalk. A squash vine was put up in the barn. This was the beanstalk. When it was cut down, the boy who played giant would come tumbling out of the hayloft.

Louisa found it hard to be good and obedient. She wrote some verses about being good. She was fourteen years old when she wrote them. Here they are :

MY KINGDOM.

A little kingdom I possess Where thoughts and feelings dwell,

And very hard I find the task Of governing it well.

For passion tempts and troubles me, A wayward will misleads,

And selfishness its shadow casts On all my words and deeds.

I do not ask for any crown But that which all may win,
Nor seek to conquer any world Except the one within.

Later, Louisa wrote many popular books enjoyed by people everywhere.

SOURCE:  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans                                                      By Samuel Eggleston                                                                                                           American Book Co  1893                                                                                                       Digitized by Google                                                                                                                 Available for free download from Google Books

Tomorrow, William Penn and the Indians     Rita Bay

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A Wonderful Woman

 

Dorothea Dix

Dorothy Dix was poor. Her father did not know how to make a living. Her mother did not know how to bring up her children. The father moved from place to place. Some­times he printed little tracts to do good. But he let his own children grow up poor and wretched. Dorothy wanted to learn. She wanted to become a teacher. She wanted to get money to send her little brothers to school.

Dorothy was a girl of strong will and temper. When she was twelve years old, she left her wretched home. She went to her grandmother. Her grandmother Dix lived in a large house in Boston. She sent Dorothy to school. Dorothy learned fast. But she wanted to make money. She wanted to help her brothers. When she was fourteen, she taught a school. She tried to make herself look like a woman. She made her dresses longer.

She soon went back to her grandmother. She went to school again. Then she taught school. She soon had a school in her grandmother’s house. It was a very good school. Many girls were sent to her school.

Miss Dix was often ill. But when she was well enough, she worked away. She was able to send her brothers to school until they grew up. Besides helping her brothers, she wanted to help other poor children. She started a school for poor children in her grandmother’s barn. After a while she left off teaching. She was not well. She had made all the money she needed. But she was not idle. She went one day to teach some poor women in an almshouse. Then she went to see the place where the crazy people were kept. These insane people had no fire in the coldest weather.

Miss Dix tried to get the managers to put up a stove in the room. But they would not do it. Then she went to the court. She told the judge about it. The judge said that the insane people ought to have a fire. He made the managers put up a stove in the place where they were kept. Then Miss Dix went to other towns. She wanted to see how the insane people were treated. Some of them were shut up in dark, damp cells. One young man was chained up with an iron collar about his neck.

Miss Dix got new laws made about the insane. She persuaded the States to build large houses for keeping the insane. She spent most of her life at this work. The Civil War broke out. There were many sick and wounded soldiers to be taken care of. All of the nurses in the hospitals were put under Miss Dix. She worked at this as long as the war lasted. Then she spent the rest of her life doing all that she could for insane people.

SOURCE:  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans                                                      By Samuel Eggleston                                                                                                           American Book Co  1893                                                                                                       Digitized by Google                                                                                                                 Available for free download from Google Books

Tomorrow, Louisa May Alcott       Rita Bay

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Hunting a Panther

Audubon as an Older Man

AUDUBON was traveling in the woods inMissis­sippi. He found the little cabin of a settler. He stayed there for the night. The settler told him that there was a panther in the swamp near his house. A panther is a very large and fierce ani­mal. It is large enough to kill a man. This was a very bad panther. It had killed some of the settler’s dogs.

Audubon said, “Let us hunt this panther, and kill it.”

So the settler sent out for his neighbors to come and help kill the panther. Five men came. Au­dubon and the settler made seven. They were all on horseback. When they came to the edge of the swamp, each man went a different way. They each took their dogs with them to find the track of the wild beast All of the hunters carried horns. Whoever should find the track first was to blow his horn to let the others know.

In about two hours after they had started, they heard the sound of a horn. It told them that the track had been found. Every man now went toward the sound of the horn. Soon all the yelping dogs were following the track of the fierce panther. The panther was running into the swamp farther and farther.

I suppose that the panther thought that there were too many dogs and men for him to fight. All the hunters came after the dogs. They held their guns ready to shoot if the panther should make up his mind to fight them.After a while the sound of the dogs’ voices changed. The hunters knew from this that the panther had stopped running, and gone up into a tree. At last the men came to the place where the dogs were. They were all barking round a tree. Far up in the tree was the dangerous beast. The hunters came up carefully. One of them fired. The bullet hit the panther, but did not kill him. The panther sprang to the ground, and ran off again. The dogs ran after. The men got on their horses, and rode after. But the horses were tired, and the men had to get down, and follow the dogs on foot.

The hunters now had to wade through little ponds of water. Sometimes they had to climb over fallen trees. Their clothes were badly torn by the bushes. After two hours more, they came to a place where the panther had again gone up into a tree. This time three of the hunters shot at him. The fierce panther came tumbling to the ground. But he was still able to fight. The men fought the savage beast on all sides. At last they killed him. Then they gave his skin to the settler. They wanted him to know that his enemy was dead.

SOURCE:  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans                                                      By Samuel Eggleston                                                                                                           American Book Co  1893                                                                                                       Digitized by Google                                                                                                                 Available for free download from Google Books

Tomorrow, Captain Clark’s Burning Glass        Rita Bay

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How Audubon Came to Know About Birds

Audubon

JOHN JAMES AUDUBON (1785-1851) knew more about the birds of this country than any man had ever known before. He was born in the State of Louisiana. (Rita Bay note: Louisiana didn’t become a state until 1812.) His father took him to France when he was a boy. He went to school in France.

Little John James was fond of studying about wild animals. But most of all he wished to know about birds. Seeing that the boy liked such things, his father took pains to get birds and flowers for him. While he was yet a boy at school, he began to gather birds and other animals for himself. He learned to skin and stuff them. But his stuffed birds did not please him. Their feathers did not look bright, like those of live birds. He wanted living birds to study.

His father told him that he could not keep so many birds alive. To please the boy he got him a book with pictures in it. Looking at these pictures made John James wish to draw. He thought that he could make pictures that would look like the live birds. But when he tried to paint a picture of a bird, it looked worse than his stuffed birds. The birds he drew were not much like real birds. He called them a “family of cripples.” As often as his birth­day came round, he made a bon-fire of his bad pic­tures. Then he would begin over again.

All this time he was learning to draw birds. But he was not willing to make pictures that were not just like the real birds. So when he grew to be a man he went to a great French painter whose name was David. David taught him to draw and paint things as they are. Then he came back to this country, and lived awhile in Pennsylvania. Here his chief study was the wild creatures of the woods. He gathered many eggs of birds. He made pictures of these eggs. He did not take birds’ eggs to break up the nests. He was not cruel. He took only what he needed to study.

Golden Eagle by Audubon

He would make two little holes in each egg. Then he would shake the egg, or stir it up with a little stick or straw, or a long pin. This would break up the inside of the egg. Then he would blow into one of the holes. That would blow the inside of the egg out through the other hole. These egg shells he strung together by running strings through the holes. He hung these strings of egg shells all over the walls of his room. On the mantelpiece he put the stuffed skins of squir­rels, raccoons, opossums, and other small animals. On the shelves his friends could see frogs, snakes, and other animals.

He married a young lady, and brought her to live in this museum with his dead snakes, frogs, and strings of birds’ eggs. She liked what he did, and was sure that he would come to be a great man.

He made up his mind to write a great book about American birds. He meant to tell all about the birds in one book. Then in another book he would print pictures of the birds, just as large as the birds themselves. He meant to have them look just like the birds. To do this he must travel many thousands of miles. He must live for years almost all of the time in the woods. He would have to find and shoot the birds, in order to make pictures of them. And he must see how the birds lived, and how they built their nests, so that he could tell all about them. It would take a great deal of work and trouble. But he was not afraid of trouble.

That was many years ago. Much of our country was then covered with great trees. Audubon sometimes went in a boat down a lonesome river. Sometimes he rode on horseback. Often he had to travel on foot through woods where there were no roads. Many a time he had to sleep out of doors. He lost his money and became poor. Sometimes he had to paint portraits to get money to live on. Once he turned dancing master for a while. But he did not give up his great idea. He still studied birds, and worked to make his books about Ameri­can birds. His wife went to teaching to help make a living.

After years of hard work, he made paintings of nearly a thousand birds. That was almost enough for his books. But, while he was traveling, two large rats got into the box in which he kept his pictures. They cut up all his paintings with their teeth, and made a nest of the pieces. This almost broke his heart for a while. For many nights he could not sleep, because he had lost all his work.

But he did not give up. After some days he took his gun, and went into the woods. He said to himself, ” I will begin over again. I can make better paintings than those that the rats spoiled.” But it took him four long years and a half to find the birds, and make the pictures again. He was so careful to have his drawings just like the birds, that he would measure them in every way. Thus he made his pictures just the size of the birds themselves.

At last the great books were printed. In this country, in France, and in England, people praised the wonderful books. They knew that Audubon was indeed a great man.

SOURCE:  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans                                                      By Samuel Eggleston                                                                                                           American Book Co  1893                                                                                                       Digitized by Google                                                                                                                 Available for free download from Google Books

Tomorrow, Audubon in the Woods    Rita Bay

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Boston’s First Governor

BEFORE the white people came, there were no houses in this country but the little huts of the Indians. The Indian houses were made of bark, or mats, or skins, spread over poles.

Gov John Winthrop

Some people came to one part of the country. Others started settlements in other place. When more people came, some of these settlements grew into towns. The woods were cut down. Farms were planted. Roads were made. But it took many years for the country to fill with people.

The first white people that came to live in the woods where Boston is now, settled there a long time ago. They had a governor over them. He was a good man, and did much for the people. His name was John Winthrop.

The first thing the people had to do was to cut down the trees. After that they could plant corn. But at first they could not raise anything to eat. They had brought flour and oatmeal fromEng­land. But they found that it was not enough to last till they could raise corn on their new ground.Winthropsent a ship to get more food for them. The ship was gone a long time. The people ate up all their food. They were hungry. They went to the seashore, and found clams and mussels. They were glad to get these to eat.

Governor Winthrop

At last they set a day for everybody to fast and pray for food. The governor had a little flour left. Nearly all of this was made into bread, and put into the oven to bake. He did not know when he would get any more. Soon after this a poor man came along. His flour was all gone. His bread had all been eaten up. His family was hungry. The governor gave the poor man the very last flour that he had in the barrel. Just then a ship was seen. It sailed up’ toward Boston. It was loaded with food for all the people. The time for the fast day came. But there was now plenty of food. The fast day was turned into a thanks-giving day.

One day a man sent a very cross letter to Gov­ernor Winthrop. Winthrop sent it back to him. He said, ” I cannot keep a letter that might make me angry.” Then the man that had written the cross letter wrote to Winthrop, “By conquering yourself, you have conquered me.”

SOURCE:  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans                                                      By Samuel Eggleston                                                                                                           American Book Co  1893                                                                                                       Digitized by Google                                                                                                                 Available for free download from Google Books

Tomorrow, The Birdman   Rita Bay

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A Long Journey

Lewis and Clark

A long time ago, when Thomas Jefferson was President, most of the people in this country lived in the East. Nobody knew anything about the Far West. The only people that lived there were Indians. Many of these Indians had never seen a white man.

President Jefferson sent men to travel into this wild part of the country. He told them to go up to the upper end of the Missouri River. Then they were to go across the Rocky Mountains. They were to keep on till they got to the Pacific Ocean. Then they were to come back again. They were to find out the best way to get through the mountains. And they were to find out what kind of people the Indians in that country were. They were also to tell about the animals.

Map of Louisiana Purchase

There were two captains of this company. Their names were Lewis and Clark. There were forty-five men in the party. They were gone two years and four months. For most of that time they did not see any white men but their own party. They did not hear a word from home for more than two years.

They got their food mostly by hunting. They killed a great many buffaloes and elks and deer. They also shot wild geese and other large birds. Sometimes they had nothing but fish to eat. Some­times they had to eat wolves. When they had no other meat, they were glad to buy dogs from the Indians and eat them. Sometimes they ate horses. They became fond of the meat of dogs and horses.

Lewis & Clark Expedition

When they were very hungry, they had to live on roots if they could get them. Some of the Indians made a kind of bread out of roots. The white men bought this when they could not get meat. But there were days when they did not have anything to eat.

They were very friendly with the Indians. One day some of the men went to an Indian village something to eat. The Indians gave them meat to eat. In the Indian wig­wam where they were, there was a head of a dead buffalo. When dinner was over, the Indians filled a bowl full of meat. They set this down in front of the head. Then they said to the head, “Eat that.” The Indians be­lieved that, if they treated this buffalo head politely, the live buffaloes would come to their hunting ground. Then they would have plenty of meat to eat.

SOURCE:  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans                                                      By Samuel Eggleston                                                                                                           American Book Co  1893                                                                                                       Digitized by Google                                                                                                                 Available for free download from Google Books

Tomorrow, Another Hero       Rita Bay

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Colonel Clark Conquers Kaskaskia

Col George Rogers Clark

AT the time of the Revolution there were but few people living on the north side of the Ohio River. But there were many Indians there. These Indians killed a great many white people inKen­tucky. The Indians were sent by British officers to do this killing. There was a British fort at Vin­cennes in what is now Indiana. There was another British fort or post at Kaskaskia in what is now the State of Illinois.

George Rogers Clark was an American colonel. He wanted to stop the murder of the settlers by the Indians. He thought that he could do it by taking the British posts. He had three hundred men. They went down the Ohio River in boats. They landed near the mouth of the Ohio River. Then they marched a hundred and thirty miles to Kaskaskia. Kaskaskia was far away from the Americans.

Fort Kaskaskia

The people there did not think that the Americans would come so far to attack them. When Clark got there, they were all asleep. He marched in and took the town before they waked up. The people living in Kaskaskia were French. By treating them well, Clark made them all friendly to the Americans.

When the British at Vincennes heard that Clark had taken Kaskaskia, they thought that they would take it back again. But it was winter. All the streams were full of water. They could not march till spring. Then they would gather the Indians to help them, and take Clark and his men.

But Clark thought that he would not wait to be taken. He thought that he would just go and take the British. If he could manage to get to Vin­cennes in the winter, he would not be expected. Clark started with a hundred and seventy men. The country was nearly all covered with water. The men were in the wet almost all the time. Clark had hard work to keep his men cheerful. He did everything he could to amuse them.

They had to wade through deep rivers. The water was icy cold. But Clark made a joke of it. He kept them laughing whenever he could. At one place the men refused to go through the freezing water. Clark could not persuade them to cross the river. He called to him a tall soldier. He was the very tallest man in Clark’s little army. Clark said to him, “Take the little drummer boy on your shoulders.” The little drummer was soon seated high on the shoulders of the tall man. ” Now go ahead!” said Clark. The soldier marched into the water. The little drummer beat a march on his drum. Clark cried out, “Forward!” Then he plunged into the water after the tall soldier. All the men went in after him. They were soon safe on the other side.

At another river the little drummer was floated over on the top of his drum. At last the men drew near to Vincennes. They could hear the morning and evening gun in the British fort. But the worst of the way was yet to pass. The Wabash River had risen over its banks. The water was five miles wide. The men marched from one high ground to another through the cold water. They caught an Indian with a canoe. In this they got across the main river. But there was more water to cross. The men were so hungry that some of them fell down in the water. They had to be carried out.

Clark’s men got frightened at last, and then they had no heart to go any farther. But Clark re­membered what the Indians did when they went to war. He took a little gunpowder in his hand. He poured water on it. Then he rubbed it on his face. It made his face black. With his face blackened like an Indian’s, he gave an Indian war-whoop. The men followed him again.

The men were tired and hungry. But they soon reached dry ground. They were now in sight of the fort. Clark marched his little army round and round in such a way as to make it seem that he had many men with him. He wrote a fierce letter to the British commander. He behaved like a general with a large army. After some fighting, the British commander gave up. Clark’s little army took the British fort. This brave action saved to our country the land that lies between the Ohio River and the Lakes. It stopped the sending of Indians to kill the settlers in the West.

SOURCE:  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans                                                      By Samuel Eggleston                                                                                                           American Book Co  1893                                                                                                       Digitized by Google                                                                                                                 Available for free download from Google Books

Tomorrow, A Long Journey   Rita Bay

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Thomas Jefferson: The Patriot

The following is a century-old story from a children’s reader.

Thomas Jefferson

THOMAS JEFFERSON was one of the great men of the Revolution. He was not a soldier. He was not a great speaker. But he was a great thinker. And he was a great writer. He wrote a paper that was the very beginning of the United States. It was a paper that said that we would be free from England, and be a country by ourselves. We call that paper the Decla­ration of Independence.

When he was a boy, Jefferson was fond of playing. But when he was tired of play, he took up a book. It pleased him to learn things. From the time when he was a boy he never sat down to rest without a book.

At school he learned what other boys did. But the difference between him and most other boys was this: he did not stop with knowing just what the other boys knew. Most boys want to learn what other boys learn. Most girls would like to know what their schoolmates know. But Jefferson wanted to know a great deal more.

As a young man, Jefferson knew Latin and Greek. He also knew French and Spanish and Italian. He did not talk to show off what he knew. He tried to learn what other people knew. When he talked to a wagon maker, he asked him about such things as a wagon maker knows most about. He would sometimes ask how a wagon maker would go to work to make a wheel.

When Jefferson talked to a learned man, he asked him about those things that this man knew most about. When he talked with Indians, he got them to tell him about their language. That is the way he came to know so much about so many things. Whenever anybody told him anything worth while, he wrote it down as soon as he could.

One day Jefferson was traveling. He went on horseback. That was a common way of traveling at that time. He stopped at a country tavern. At this tavern he talked with a stranger who was staying there.

After a while Jefferson rode away. Then the stranger said to the landlord, “Who is that man? He knew so much about law, that I was sure he was a lawyer. But when we talked about medicine, he knew so much about that, that I thought he must be a doctor. And after a while he seemed to know so much about religion, that I was sure he was a min­ister. Who is he? ”

The stranger was very much surprised to hear that the man he had talked with was Jefferson. Jefferson was a very polite man. In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote these words : “All men are created equal.” He also said that the poor man had the same right as the rich man to live, and to be free, and to try to make himself happy.

SOURCE:  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans                                                      By Samuel Eggleston                                                                                                           American Book Co  1893                                                                                                       Digitized by Google                                                                                                                 Available for free download from Google Books

Tomorrow, Men on a Mission     Rita Bay

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