Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Tragic Death for Most Wild Animals

A Letter to the Editor From The Modesto Bee

Artist-naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton stated that every creature in the wild dies a tragic death. No wild animal dies peacefully in bed surrounded by its family and friends. They either starve to death, succumb to disease, or are killed and eaten by other animals. The small percentage that fall to a hunter's gun or bow suffer the least pain and misery. Deer that overpopulate suffer serious malnutrition, coyotes and foxes suffer hideous mange epidemics. Nature finds ways to control numbers, of which the human hunter is the most merciful method. I object to those who say that the other ways are better because they are natural.
I suppose if they came across a sick and dying animal they would refuse to put it out of its misery so as not to interfere with nature. And I cannot believe those who advocate control through contraception. They are promoting an attitude that it is better to not live at all than to ever experience any pain or fear. That attitude, taken to its logical conclusion, would claim that the best thing for all living things would be to eliminate them, including us, immediately.

Boyhood before the Xbox

Virtual adventures didn't begin with 3D graphics and computer games. Neither did parental anxiety
December 23, 2007 Peter MartynTORONTO STAR
The absence of modern paraphernalia would make the boy's world of a century ago seem more alien than deep space to the youngsters on a 2007 Christmas list: no video games or miniature music players, no cellphones, no television, video or movies.
And certainly no political correctness. The post-colonial ethos had not been invented, not by a long shot.
But parents were concerned, then as now, that the seductions of modern life were spoiling the young, particularly those living in the booming cities at the turn of the 19th century. Literacy rates were rising; books were the Xbox of the day. Popular authors joined the movement to instill "traditional values" in the boys of the late Victorian era – stoicism, independence and self-reliance, and a sense of imperial history.
Two historical artifacts still worth putting under the tree for any young teen or 'tween boy today (you can decide if girls might also be interested), are Ernest Thompson Seton's Two Little Savages and Daniel Carter Beard's The American Boy's Handy Book. A third, modern title is The Dangerous Book for Boys by brothers Conn and Hal Iggulden. Published more than a century after the others, but written in a similar vein, the latter title has spent months on the New York Times bestseller list and was book of the year at the Galaxy British Book Awards.
My favourite remains Two Little Savages, inspired by Seton's own youthful adventures in Toronto's Don Valley. Today you can buy a photographically reproduced Dover edition with Seton's original illustrations.
Seton wrote Two Little Savages while a naturalist for the Manitoba government. He was already famous for Wild Animals I Have Known (1898), one in a wildly successful illustrated animal series.
From the illustrations reproduced here and the subtitle, Being The Adventures of Two Boys Who Lived as Indians and What They Learned, you'll realize this book is devoid of political correctness. It is a story of Victorian-era boys "playing Injun." Real Indians only appear in a couple of paragraphs near the end of the book. They are sketched respectfully but adhere to the stereotype of the aloof native. There is boyish "Indian talk" with "Ugh," "Heap good," and "wampum," etc. which some might find offensive – but the boys' frontier dialect is mimicked, as well.
The reader is transported to an imagined Canada in the mid-19th century. Shy, sickly Yan is fascinated by birds and pines for the woods; his home life is horrid – a lazy, abusive, domineering father dotes on introspective Yan's robust but unscrupulous brother; his mother is self-absorbed and unloving. After nearly succumbing to consumption (tuberculosis), 14-year-old Yan is sent to the fictional community of Sanger, "a settlement just emerging from the backwoods period."
Homesick, he makes friends with Sam Raften, the mischievous boy of the household where he boards, and they venture into the woods. Yan's "eddication" wins over Sam's hard but good-hearted father, who gives the boys three weeks off from farm chores – if they agree to really live like Indians.
They begin a blissful period learning woodcraft from Caleb Clark, who Sam says had been "a hunter and a trapper oncet.'' Two Little Savages is filled with lyrical descriptions of nature and drawings of birds and animals – a Seton trademark.
Read it all here.

Academy to resurrect mission at Seton Castle site

Building's ruins from fire in November 2005 will be left as part of garden
By Julie Ann Grimm The New Mexican
12/23/2007 - 12/24/07The burned-out ruin of a historic home known as Seton Castle will become a contemplative garden, and an eco-friendly building downhill from the site is likely to be constructed early next year. The Academy for the Love of Learning is preparing to resume its work as an education think tank after more than two years of delay resulting from a fire Nov. 15, 2005. The nonprofit was midway through renovations on the nearly 80-year-old home in Arroyo Hondo when construction workers reported the fast-moving fire. Before two hours had passed, the roof of the building and much of its interior had been consumed. Today, several stone walls and other features remain from what was a 32-room home designed by conservationist Ernest Thompson Seton. Seton, who wrote more than 60 books and helped found the Boy Scouts of America, was also an artist who painted and drew images from the natural world. His family sold the estate and the nationally recognized home to the academy in 2003. The state fire marshal and a federal agency both ruled out arson, but no cause for the fire was ever determined. It took the insurance company about 20 months to settle the case, said academy founder Aaron Stern. In the meantime, efforts to rebuild the castle fell apart. "Our deepest desire was to rebuild the castle as it was," Stern said. But given the near destruction, any rebuilding would be considered new construction under Santa Fe County's development rules and therefore would need to comply with modern codes. One requirement, for example, was that the structure contain an elevator, he said.
Read the whole story here.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Ernest Thompson Seton's One and Only U.S. Patent

To all whom it may concern:
Be it known that I, Ernest Thompson Seton, a subject of the King of Great Britain and a resident of Coscob, in the County of Fairfield, State of Connecticut, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Steelyards...

So begins the one and only US Patent known to have been granted to Seton in 1911.

See the whole patent here.

The Wolf That Talked Too Much

We are pleased to present you with this audio track of Ernest Thompson Seton telling the story of "The Wolf That Talked Too Much."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Camera Trap Codger: Vile epithets and the dangers of learning foreign language

Camera Trap Codger: Vile epithets and the dangers of learning foreign language: "Vile epithets and the dangers of learning foreign language 'The men of mixed blood jabbered in French, Cree, and Chipewyan mainly, but when they wanted to swear, they felt the inadequacy of these mellifluous or lisping tongues, and fell back on virile Saxon, whose tang, projectivity, and vile epithet evidently supplied a long felt want in the Great Lone Land of the Dog and Canoe.' The Arctic Prairies, 1911, Ernest Thompson Seton"

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Are You a Seton Indian? Whoop!

I believe that is ETS in the canoe...

I like this blog...


Monday, September 17, 2007

From the Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie

Another yearly event that brings forth many choice spirits is our Literary Dinner, at home, our dear friend Mr. Richard Watson Gilder, editor of the "Century," being the manager. His devices and quotations from the writings of the guest of the year, placed upon the cards of the guests, are so appropriate, as to cause much hilarity. Then the speeches of the novitiates give zest to the occasion. John Morley was the guest of honor when with us in 1895 and a quotation from his works was upon the card at each plate.
One year Gilder appeared early in the evening of the dinner as he wished to seat the guests. This had been done, but he came to me saying it was well he had looked them over. He had found John Burroughs and Ernest Thompson Seton were side by side, and as they were then engaged in a heated controversy upon the habits of beasts and birds, in which both had gone too far in their criticisms, they were at daggers' points. Gilder said it would never do to seat them together. He had separated them. I said nothing, but slipped into the dining room unobserved and replaced the cards as before. Gilder's surprise was great when he saw the men next each other, but the result was just as I had expected. A reconciliation took place and they parted good friends. Moral: If you wish to play peace-maker, seat adversaries next each other where they must begin by being civil.
Burroughs and Seton both enjoyed the trap I set for them. True it is, we only hate those whom we do not know. It certainly is often the way to peace to invite your adversary to dinner and even beseech him to come, taking no refusal. Most quarrels become acute from the parties not seeing and communicating with each other and hearing too much of their disagreement from others. They do not fully understand the other's point of view and all that can be said for it. Wise is he who offers the hand of reconciliation should a difference with a friend arise. Unhappy he to the end of his days who refuses it. No possible gain atones for the loss of one who has been a friend even if that friend has become somewhat less dear to you than before. He is still one with whom you have been intimate, and as age comes on friends pass rapidly away and leave you.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A little More on the Wyndygoul Property

Pair take in town's new property

By Hoa NguyenStaff WriterSeptember 11, 2007

Raindrops began falling yesterday as Eric Brower and Denise Savageau began walking the Tuchman property for the first time since the town officially closed on the sale of 31 acres.They made their way under the canopy of trees, passing the shag bark and through a maze of ground vegetation that included poison ivy vines. Overhead, a red-tailed hawk swooped toward distant trees. Nearby was a field of waist-high golden rods with their pretty blooms of yellow flowers. In the distance was a sloping hillside of more meadows and oaks."It's beautiful," said Brower, a land-use consultant and head of the town's property committee who began working on the land deal more then seven years ago.According to Brower's estimates, he and Savageau, the town's conservation director, have visited the property on 200 prior occasions but yesterday was the first time they could finally say they were walking on town property.On Thursday, Greenwich ended seven years of delay by signing a final contract with Lucy Eisenberg and Jessica Mathews, descendants of two-time Pulitizer Prize-winning author Barbara Tuchman, to buy their share of their late mother's land for $8.7 million."Rather than selling to a developer at the appraised value of $18 (million) to $20 million, we sold it to the town," Eisenberg said yesterday. "Essentially, we're gifting it to the town."A third sister, Alma Tuchman, had initially agreed to the land sale, but eventually pulled out because she wanted to have greater control of the land on which she still lives. The other two have long since moved away. In 2004, a judge ruled Tuchman would retain 12.5 acres.The town now owns 200 acres of contiguous open space, which is bounded in the north by the 91-acre Montgomery Pinetum, on the west by the 75-acre Pomerance property and now on the east by the 31-acre Tuchman parcel.Eisenberg said she believes that at some point, her sister may sell the rest of the land to the town so that it could be added to the inventory."That would be my hope," Eisenberg said.Tuchman could not be reached for comment.The Pomerance and Tuchman properties once belonged to Boy Scouts of America founder Ernest Thompson Seton, who later sold it to banker Maurice Wertheim. Ownership later reverted to Barbara Tuchman, his daughter, who lived on 43 acres, and noted architect Ralph Pomerance, who was married to another daughter, Josephine Alma Wertheim, and owned 75 acres.Through the decades, the land has been popular with town residents, said Eisenberg, who remembered ice skaters taking to the man-made pond Seton had built by damming the Strickland Brook."Back in those old days, everyone would come and skate in the winter," Eisenberg said. "Many, many people know about it. It's a beautiful piece of property."The open space also serves as a sanctuary for native habitat that makes the property ecologically important, officials said."We have a nice diverse habitat," said Brower, who also serves on the town's Conservation Commission. "You've got an open meadow. You've got a wet meadow. You've got the steep slope and within the forest, a bunch of significant white oaks."Though the land is now publicly owned, a few other things must happen before the public can use it. One will be to delineate where the town's property ends and Alma Tuchman's begins so that signs can be placed to inform the public, officials said.Eisenberg's and Mathews' Greenwich lawyer, Michael Jones, also said that an environmental cleanup of flyash from the land is still outstanding. Flyash, once a popular substance used to build horse riding rinks, is considered a toxin and requires an environmental remediation."We're hoping to get the work started in the next month or so," Jones said.
Copyright © 2007, Southern Connecticut Newspapers, Inc.

Another new book

Seton: El joven Ernest

Read it all

Cuando comentamos el primer volumen de Seton, la magnífica serie de Yoshiharu Imaizumi y Jiro Taniguchi, ya adelantamos que la segunda entrega confirmaría a este manga como uno de los mejores de entre los que se publican actualmente en España. La aparición de este volumen, titulado "El joven y el lince", confirma nuestro vaticinio.

Continúan pues, de la mano de Ponent Mon, las aventuras de Ernest Thompson Seton, el caballero inglés de finales del siglo XIX y principios del XX, si bien a lo largo de este tomo se nos cuenta un crucial episodio de su formación como naturalista cuando contaba con tan solo quince años.

Seton included in Exhibition of Cos Cob Artists

from the Greenwich Post

Sep 7, 2007
Historic site to feature Cos Cob artist illlustrations

This illustration is from 'Tora's Happy Day' by Florence Peltier Perry. It was illustrated by Genjiro Yeto in 1899

A new exhibition, "Once Upon a Page: Illustrations by Cos Cob Artists" will be on display at Bush-Holley Historic Site from Wednesday, Oct. 3 to Sunday, Jan. 6.

A public opening reception will take place on Thursday, October 4 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

The exhibit will feature more than 90 works, including illustrated books, original drawings and paintings. This is the first exhibition to bring together works by eight artist-illustrators who had an association with the Greenwich area and the Cos Cob art colony from 1890-1920: John Wolcott Adams, George Wharton Edwards, Childe Hassam, Rose Cecil O’Neill, Ernest Thompson Seton, E. Boyd Smith, Jean Webster and Genjiro Yeto.

The exhibition is guest curated by Marilyn Symmes, Director of the Morse Research Center for Graphic Arts, Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum in New Jersey.

American Impressionist John H. Twachtman settled in Greenwich in 1889 and by 1891 began teaching summer art classes at the Holley House, a boardinghouse in Cos Cob owned by Josephine and Edward Holley. Before long, a lively art colony developed around Mr. Twachtman. Known today as Bush-Holley House, the Holley House served as the artistic and intellectual hub for artists, journalists and authors who came to the area from New York and played a major role in the development of American Impressionist art. While this vibrant artist colony flourished, America was also enjoying a golden age of illustration. An unprecedented number of illustrated books and periodicals were produced. Advances in commercial printing and photography gave illustrators more options for replicating their images on the printed page.

The works of the authors and illustrators included in this exhibition cover a broad spectrum of topics from flights of fantasy to discovery of the real world and explorations into the past and present. They also provide insights into American society at the outset of the modern era.

"Once Upon a Page" features works from the William E. Finch Jr. Archives of The Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich as well as loans from Susan G. and James T. Larkin, Robert Russell, the Boston Public Library, the Brandywine River Museum, The Bruce Museum, the Florence Griswold Museum, The New York Public Library, the Wilton Historical Society and Heritage Museum and an anonymous private collector.

The exhibition and catalogue are generously underwritten by The Host Committee of the 75th Anniversary of The Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich and through additional underwriting gifts from Robert C. and Julie Graham, The Overbrook Foundation in honor of the 75th Anniversary and Charles M. and Deborah Royce.

The exhibition is open to the public Tuesday to Sunday, noon to 4. Admission to the gallery, visitor center and Bush-Holley House Museum is $6 adults, $4 seniors and students. Children under 6 are free. Admission is free every Tuesday. Call 869-6899, ext. 10, for more information or visit Hstg.org.

Seton's Wyndygoul Property Now Owned by the Town of Greenwich

from Greenwich Time

Town takes control of Tuchman property

By Hoa Nguyen
Staff Writer

September 7, 2007

Boy Scouts of America founder Ernest Thompson Seton once owned it and so did two-time Pulitzer-Prize winning author Barbara Tuchman.

Yesterday, the land officially became property of the town of Greenwich for $8.7 million, ending a years-old effort to purchase the 31 acres of pristine meadows, wetlands and forested hillside in Cos Cob.

The town has been eyeing the former Tuchman estate for decades, finally getting past the legal troubles and negotiation that has plagued the sale.

"It's been a long road, but all good things are worth waiting for," Conservation Director Denise Savageau said.

The Tuchman estate dates to the early 20th century when Seton sold the land as part of a larger estate to Tuchman's father, banker Maurice Wertheim, also the former owner of The Nation magazine. Tuchman inherited the property, living there until her death in 1989.

Though her two daughters, Lucy Eisenberg and Jessica Mathews, were willing to sell the land to the town, a third daughter, Alma Tuchman, resisted efforts to relinquish total control of the original 43.5 acres.

About three years ago, a judge ruled that Alma Tuchman would retain 12.5 acres, with the rest going to her two sisters. The town then moved to negotiate with Eisenberg and Mathews for the remaining 31 acres, but more delays ensued after fly ash was discovered in the soil. Though fly ash once was a common material used in the construction of horse riding rinks, it is now considered a toxic pollutant that requires an environmental clean-up.

After more months of negotiation, the town and the two Tuchman sisters finalized the sales agreement and yesterday, the papers transferring ownership of the land were signed, officials said.

First Selectman Jim Lash, who helped negotiate the final deal, is the third first selectman to work on the land purchase, which began during Lolly Prince's administration in 2000. He said his successor will have the job of helping the town determine what the land will be used for.

"I'm trying to leave a little work for the new first selectman," Lash said. "That's the thing that will need to be worked out in the next administration."

While passive recreation, such as hiking, will be one of the primary activities allowed on the land, officials said the town will likely consider other uses, such as for the construction of some affordable housing.

"They're talking about a very limited development and basically limiting the bulk of its use as open space," Savageau said, adding that one of the reasons the town bought the land was so that most of it could be preserved as open space.

"If it was sold commercially, for real estate, it would have been developed very intensively," Savageau said. "That was one of the selling points, to avoid the cost of that intensive residential development."

The Tuchman property is adjacent to other town-owned open space parcels, such as the 75-acre Pomerance property and the 91-acre Montgomery Pinetum.

"This Tuchman property was always this linchpin between the other properties," Savageau said. "There's a whole host of things that we're going to be looking at with this parcel."
Copyright © 2007, Southern Connecticut Newspapers, Inc.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Wyndygoul War Dance 1908

Do not miss this photo! http://www.shorpy.com/node/1293

Friday, May 04, 2007

‘Day is done, gone the sun’

Read it all:
"‘Day is done, gone the sun’
Marian Scott, Montreal Gazette
Published: Sunday, April 29, 2007
Calling all former Camp Oolahwan girls: Its time to brush up on your Boom-da-de-ah-da.
Smores and campfire songs like Land of the Silver Birch will be on tap May 12, when former campers and staff of the now-closed YWCA camp gather at the downtown Womens Y.
Founded in 1917 near Ste. Marguerite, 100 kilometres north of Montreal, Oolahwan was Quebecs first summer camp for girls. It closed in 2004, a victim of rising costs and changing times.

In 1964, Marian Scott, 9, waits for the Camp Oolahwan bus on Crescent St. outside the YWCA.
Marian Scott

In its final decade, Oolahwan accepted boys and offered English immersion for francophones.
In 2005, the Y sold the 345-acre property, including a private lake, for $1.47 million to developers, who have subdivided it into building lots.
Former camper Lesley Charters Cotton, 58, learned two years ago her beloved camp had been sold when she tried to donate photographs to the YWCAs archives. The holistic health teacher in Dorval decided to organize a reunion to keep Oolahwan memories alive."

Muddle House: The Preacher of Cedar Mountain

Muddle House: The Preacher of Cedar Mountain: "The Preacher of Cedar Mountain
I paid two bucks for a single page of writing the other day. This page.

'A burnt, bare, seared, and wounded spot in the great pine forest of Ontario, some sixty miles northeast of Toronto, was the little town of Links. It lay among the pine ridges, the rich, level bottomlands, and the newborn townships, in a region of blue lakes and black loam that was destined to be a thriving community of prosperous farmer folk. The broad, unrotted stumps of trees that not so long ago possessed the ground, were thickly interstrewn among the houses of the town and in the little fields that began to show as angular invasions of the woodland, one by every settler's house of logs.

'Through the woods and through the town there ran the deep, brown flood of the little bog-born river, and streaking its current for the whole length were the huge, fragrant logs of the new-cut pines, in disorderly array, awaiting their turn to be shot through the mill and come forth as piles of lumber, broad waste slabs, and heaps of useless sawdust.'

I looked at the faded green volume in my hand, with an uncertain $2.00 written on the first page, as if the people running the tiny booksale weren't sure that anyone would pay that much for a worn hardback printed in 1920. That first page was enough to convince me. If you can read that, and not understand why, then I have no use for you. If you do, then you can pick up cheap copys of 'The Preacher of Cedar Mountain' by Ernest Thompson Seton at amazon.com.

Now, to read the entire book."

Woodcraft in Poland: Who's Who - Ernest Thomas Seton - The Woodcraft Movement

Woodcraft in Poland: Who's Who - Ernest Thomas Seton - The Woodcraft Movement: "Woodcraft in Poland
Welcome to my blog about Woodcraft in Poland. It documents my activities out in the woods along with various ideas, reviews and pieces of research. If you are a like minded person check out the links below or leave a comment. It's great to meet more people interested in this kind of thing or just those who want to look at pictures of the Polish countryside! Currently this blog is only in English as I'm not really up to writing in coherent Polish yet. "

I discovered this blog from Poland...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Ernest Hemingway: Another Seton Fan

The following essay, published in The Hemingway Review, documents Seton's influence n Hemingway. Read the whole essay at www.highbeam.com

From: The Hemingway Review Date: September 22, 2000 Author: HELSTERN, LINDA LIZUT

Given Hemingway's personal interest in Ernest Thompson Seton's writing, and his familiarity with the tenets of Seton's hugely popular youth organization, the Woodcraft Indians, it is not surprising that the Nick Adams stories frame the discourse of boyhood in terms of the discourse of the Indian, or more specifically the Woodcraft Indian. Hemingway's stories showcase the progressive evolutionist philosophy of the Woodcraft Movement, echoing Seton's notions of the evils of assimilation for Indians and the import of "reverse assimilation" for whites.
INDIANS, TO USE THE COMMON BUT PROBLEMATIC TERM, captured Ernest Hemingway's imagination at a very early age. His first full sentence--"`I don't know Buffalo Bill'"--was duly recorded by his mother in 1901. He would soon assert, "`I not a Dutch dolly, I Pawnee Bill. Bang. I shoot Fweetee'" (cited in Baker 4-5). The little boy, who also acted out scenes from Longfellow's Hiawatha with his sister in the role of Minnehaha, had already seen his first wild west show--Pawnee Bill's Historical Wild West and Indian Exposition--by the time he was two (Baker 4-5). The fantasy of becoming "the White Chief of the Pawnees" was one the young Hemingway undoubtedly shared with many of his generation, for the number of Wild West shows touring as family entertainment reached its all-time high in the first years of the 20th century (Russell 11, 68). Here, in fictional re-creations of the Mountain Meadows Massacre and the massacre at Wounded Knee, Indians were both the savage enemy and, with their values but not their warrior instincts restructured, scouts who joined the cavalry to save civilization from the Indians (Russell 53).
Given their mass audience appeal, it is perhaps not surprising to find Indians at the heart of the decade's purported solution to the "boy problem": in prototypical American youth organizations, Indians were formally implicated in the construction of white masculinity. Hemingway follows the trend of American popular culture when in the Nick Adams stories he frames the discourse of boyhood in terms of the discourse of the Indian. Indians appear as major characters in four of Hemingway's canonical short stories--"Indian Camp," "The Doctor and the Doctor's Wife," "Ten Indians," and "Fathers and Sons"--all stories of the very young Nick Adams or his very young son. And in "The Light of the World," the only other story published during Hemingway's lifetime where Indians appear, the putative Nick admits to being just seventeen (SS 387).
The idea of turning American youth into American Indians, but only "the best Indians," was conceived by naturalist and writer Ernest Thompson Seton in 1901, the same year Hemingway saw Pawnee Bill, "the White Chief of the Pawnees." Determined to protect his estate in Cos Cob, Connecticut and its wildlife from marauding teenagers, Seton invited the local boys for a weekend of camping. They readily embraced Seton's offer to teach them Indian ways, and so began both the restructuring of their personal values and the Woodcraft League of America. In 1902, Seton began to refine his idea in a series of monthly columns for the Ladies Home Journal called "Ernest Thompson Seton's Boys," directed primarily at readers under the age of fourteen (Keller 163-65; Seton, July 1902, 17). By 1910, when the Boy Scouts of America was incorporated, the Woodcraft Indians enjoyed a nationwide membership of 100,000 and had already become the basis for Robert Baden Powell's British Boy Scouts, as well as several American boys' organizations (Keller 169-70).(1)
Seton originally targeted boys between twelve and twenty for the Woodcraft Indians. Tribes were run democratically with the assistance of older boys, who could become Guides at age eighteen, and adult advisors, known first as "Medicine Men" and later as "Head Guides" (Seton, Manual 10-11; Seton, Woodcraft 20). Seton formulated his original program of activities in consultation with Dr. Charles Eastman, a Lakota graduate of the Boston University Medical School (Keller 164). One of the most visible examples of the "civilized Indian" and a prime spokesmen for Indian assimilation into white culture, in 1902 Eastman published his first book, Indian Boyhood. A testament to Eastman's pride in his Lakota heritage, the book had already been serialized in St. Nicholas: An Illustrated Magazine for Young Folks (Wilson 131).(2)
Although no evidence suggests that Ernest Hemingway was a member of the Woodcraft Indians, his personal library did include the 1917 edition of Seton's organizational bible, The Woodcraft Manual for Boys,(3) and the 1918 British pamphlet, Woodcraft, in which Seton and unnamed editors delineated the progressive evolutionist philosophy of child development at the heart of the Woodcraft movement (Reynolds 180-81).(4) The date of the manual may be significant. In 1917, Hemingway could have qualified as a Guide, although ultimately, it was his sister Marcelline who, as a Camp Fire leader in the early 1920s, would follow her father and grandfather's footsteps in youth work (National Portrait Gallery).
Altogether, Hemingway owned six individual titles by Ernest Thompson Seton, published between 1909 and 1921, and a set of collected works published in 1927 as The Library of Pioneering and Woodcraft. The total ranks Seton among Hemingway's favorite writers, a company including Turgenev, Mark Twain, Ezra Pound, and naturalist William Henry Hudson. Hemingway's books by Seton span the range of his writing--children's fiction, animal lore, and practical woodcraft--and together provide important insight into the anti-nationalist and anti-materialist value structure that grounded the Woodcraft organization. Seton's philosophy, placing true civilization in the realm of the primitive, is most succinctly stated in his signed Preface to the 1915 edition of The Woodcraft Manual: "It was Woodcraft that originally constructed man out of brutish material, and Woodcraft may well save him from decay" (v).

Read it all at www.HighBeam.com

ETS in The Moscow Times

References to Ernest Thompson Seton show up in the oddest places, such as this commentary in The Moscow Times:

The Moscow Times (Russia)02-24-2004URL: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/The naturalist and writer Ernest Thompson Seton ascribed humanthoughts to the mustang; James Fenimore Cooper portrayed his Leatherstockingas a fashionable gentleman; and today Western intellectuals attempt tojudge how far Russia has progressed down the path of democracy during VladimirPutin's first term as president. Of them all, Seton was closest to themark. The problem arises when stock phrases and concepts are applied out ofcontext. There is an old Soviet joke about a Chukchi man in the northerntundra who encounters a group of geologists. He asks them what an orangeis like. The geologists, unsure how to describe an orange to someone whohas never seen one, reply that oranges are like sex. The Chukchi is satisfiedwith the answer. But what does he really know about oranges? Probably noless than the credit ratings agency Moody's knows about Russia. In his four years at the helm, Putin has neither steered Russia towardor away from democracy -- he has been operating in another dimension altogether.In the Soviet era, there arose dynasties of "caretakers" who controlledthe property of the state but never owned it and could not pass it on totheir heirs. In the late 1980s, these caretakers began to seize ownershipof their factories and companies. They were joined by the so- called youngreformers, both those, like Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Vladimir Potanin andBoris Berezovsky, who had previously worked within the Soviet system, andthe kingpins of the semi-criminal Soviet black market. To Our ReadersHas something you've read here startled you? Are you angry, excited,puzzled or pleased? Do you have ideas to improve our coverage? Then pleasewrite to us. All we ask is that you include your full name, the name ofthe city from which you are writing and a contact telephone number in casewe need to get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you. Email the Opinion Page Editor The general public, fed on myths and theexpectation of miracles, remained mute and submissive spectators, especiallyafter 1993, when hundreds of people fed up with the catastrophic declineof their standard of living were gunned down by tanks and special forcestroops. When he assumed de facto power in August 1999, Putin set about tryingto bring order to the system that he had inherited, to make it more durableand manageable. But the system itself, in essence, remained the same: acentralized feudal state. The role of feudal lords is played by governors and big businessmen towhom the president grants the land and/or entire industries that they "feedoff" or build their business empires on. In exchange, the lords furnishthe Kremlin with their loyalty and with resources: financial (not onlyin the form of taxes), electoral and so on. On the governors' home turf and within the oligarchs' corporations,they wield absolute power. There is no independent judiciary, no representativedemocracy and there are no institutions of civil society whatsoever. Noindependent press or even an independent church can threaten them. Putin not only strengthened his hold over the feudal lords, he alsostrengthened their hold on power in the regions and in the economy. Thisprocess began under Boris Yeltsin, but in the 1990s rivalries between thelords created an impression of pluralism because of feudal fragmentation(you had oligarchs pitted against governors, governors against the mayorsof big cities, etc.). Putin "appointed" as the victors of the various conteststhose who would have triumphed in any case, but now they owe the presidenta debt of gratitude. The Putin regime's only innovation was to begin getting rid ofdisloyal lords. The arrest of Khodorkovsky is a case in point, and typicallyit has nothing to do with the market, democracy or anything along thoselines. Predictably, the power structure in Moscow is similar to that in thefiefs. Consolidation of the "federal" authorities is taking place, withdiscipline and order being bolstered. The courts, renowned for their dispensationof justice to all and sundry on a per-fee basis, increasingly deny accessto a whole range of cases, citing the oversight role played by the FSB.On the whole, the institution of corruption in Russia has becomeclearer and more straightforward during Putin's first term. The corruptiontax is a known quantity, no cause for alarm. Bribe-takers generally fulfilltheir obligations to the bribe-givers. This system doesn't really meritthe label of corruption, since in feudal society the practice of gettingfat off one's position and home territory is absolutely normal, prestigiousand patriarchal. It should provoke no outrage -- of the moral variety atany rate. State Duma deputies, who used to sell their votes on a retail basis,are now mobilized wholesale. The Federation Council, once a hotbed of rebelliouslords, was crushed early in Putin's reign and is now little more than acollection of mini-embassies whose task is to provide constant proof ofthe lords' loyalty (and to do a little lobbying on the side). Not long ago, the oligarchs used their financial clout to installministers in the cabinet. Now the presidential administration has the finalsay and money plays a secondary role. Until recently, the military top brass in Chechnya were lining theirpockets as and when they could, slowly turning into a business corporationof generals. But now the process is strictly supervised: Defense MinisterSergei Ivanov, a personal friend and trusted ally of the president, keepsan eye on the army. Putin, as in other spheres, is not looking for a majorbreakthrough here -- just control of the situation. For the army, which since tsarist times has despised "politicalgendarmes," having one at the helm is not great, of course; but on theother hand, Ivanov is not repressing the generals -- he's just keepinga beady eye on them and assessing their loyalty. The army just conducteda major military exercise to test its readiness to fight a third worldwar and in that scenario Russia promptly lost, but that's OK so long asthe army remains loyal to the sovereign. It used to be the case that the press would compete to get storiesfirst, and it covered everything, because if Berezovsky's television stationdidn't report something, Vladimir Gusinsky's would. In the kaleidoscopeworld of the feudal information wars, the situation changed so quicklythat even the journalists on the front line didn't fully understand whatwas happening. Now order has been imposed here as well. Putin answeredhis subjects' questions for hours during a recent live broadcast, and noone -- not a single person -- brought up the war in Chechnya. Everyoneseemed more interested in the president's new puppies. No one asked aboutKhodorkovsky, either -- but then again, he didn't whelp. And after therecent explosion in the Moscow metro, Rossia television channel kept quietabout the fact for several hours, apparently awaiting the green light fromabove. All these signs of the new feudal stability are cause for concern inthe West. But Russia's ruling elite dismisses all the talk about democracyin Washington and Strasbourg as a Western whim -- a peculiar rule of thegame that, like the rule against kicking and punching below the belt inboxing, merely reduces the effectiveness of potential cooperation. Moreover,such whims are seen as the manifestation of Western hypocrisy. And whilethe Russian elite is prepared to adopt Western political correctness aswindow-dressing, such hypocritical rituals (which, in the elite's view,merely conceal the universal drive for power and wealth) should not beallowed to obscure certain basic facts. 1) The West needs Russian resources; 2) it will be allowed to acquirethem only through Kremlin-appointed middlemen, such as Alfa Group PresidentMikhail Fridman, the middleman for BP; 3) these middlemen are Kremlin vassalsand can be replaced -- their relationship with the Kremlin is not somethingforeigners should stick their noses into; 4) no one will be allowed todo business in Russia based simply on the rules of the much- ballyhooed"free market"; 5) the methods used to achieve internal stability are theprerogative of Russia's rulers -- no outside interference will be tolerated.This system is easy to understand and actually very convenient. Justthink, you have arrived in a strange country and everything is new andconfusing; in fact, the country resembles a lunatic asylum. Calling onthe patients to stand up for their rights in this situation would be metwith incredulity. All you need to do is get to know the director of theasylum and he will assign someone to smooth the way for you. Once in awhile you may pity the patients, but don't overdo it: You came here tomake money, after all, didn't you? Yet even if you've come to Russia for no other reason than to make abuck, and even if your working relationship with the "director of the asylum"suits your purpose, you face very real dangers. These dangers arise from the huge disgruntled mass of Russians whoconsider themselves to be poor. They live inertly and almost without strongemotion. They are perfectly happy that Putin is whacking the "blacks" inthe Caucasus and the "Jewish oligarchs" in Moscow. These masses will notrise up on their own -- they will allow Putin to be their leader untilsuch time as new leaders take his place. And those new leaders very likelywill come from the ranks of the Russian middle class so beloved in theWest. They are just coming into being and their numbers are limited. Theyinhabit a semi-criminal world, paying backhanders to the local cops, firedepartment, bureaucrats et al. They keep their earnings off the books andlive without much hope of surviving to see another day. They hate the oligarchsand people from the Caucasus for entirely practical reasons. The oligarchsbuy off the government and don't even pay taxes, while the middle classespay both taxes and bribes, and are forced to register their companies underthe name of the local prefect's relative. People from the Caucasus, fortheir part, with their tight-knit ethno-corporate communities, have a hugeadvantage over the isolated and uncoordinated Russian small and medium-sizedbusinessmen. And Putin, consciously or unconsciously, is sending these people tacitsigns of approval by his policy in Chechnya, the incarceration of Gusinskyand then Khodorkovsky. Whatever the president may have had in mind, themiddle class interprets his actions as National Socialist and fascist innature. The middle class is the only section of the population capable ofbuilding the social institutions that Russia needs. Only the middle classis passionate enough in its desire to free itself from the yoke of thebureaucracy's feudal lords to mobilize the passive, abused masses. Butthe middle class is being led down a blind alley by a president who seemsconcerned with nothing but his own approval ratings. Sergei Dorenko contributed this comment to The Moscow Times.WORLDSOURCES ONLINE, INC.,

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Dreams that Open Doors - Pablita Velarde

Elizabeth Cook-Romero I The New Mexican February 15, 2007

A young woman in two worlds Some biographies of Pablita Velarde (1918-2006) say she was only 19 when a stranger knocked on her door, offering her a job creating paintings of Pueblo life for a visitor center that was under construction at Bandelier National Monument. A few biographies say Velarde was 20. Either way, she had already packed a lot of experiences into her short life. A New Deal for Tse Tsan: Pablita Velarde at Bandelier opens at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture on Sunday, Feb. 18. The exhibit features almost 70 of the more than 84 paintings Velarde made for the park through the Works Projects Administration (the successor to the Works Progress Administration) between 1939 and 1945.Velarde was born in Santa Clara Pueblo in 1918. Her grandmother acted as midwife and named the infant Tse Tsan, but that name would change when she left the pueblo. Tsan’s mother died when Tsan was about 5 years old, and her father brought his four daughters to St. Catherine Indian School in Santa Fe. That’s where Tsan’s name changed to Pablita Velarde.

At the end of each school year the girls’ father would return to Santa Fe and bring them home for the summer, so Velarde learned to live within two starkly different cultures as she grew into a woman. In the sixth grade she transferred to Santa Fe Indian School, where Dorothy Dunn taught painting to Native American boys. Girls were taught crafts like basket weaving and embroidery, but Velarde wanted to paint. In a Living Treasures of Santa Fe interview in 1988, Velarde recalled asking Dunn if she could join the painting class. “It seemed like maybe if one girl started, other girls will come in too. ... Oh, those boys were so mean! Honestly, I thought that first month I was gonna quit, you know, ’cause they teased me, they made fun of what I was doing, and — you know? — and poked fun at me because I wanted to be an artist and all that kind of stuff. They said, ‘You do better washing dishes or washing clothes or scrubbing floors.’”Velarde’s father held the same view as the boys, and for a year and a half he took her out of the Indian School and enrolled her in a school in Española where he hoped she would learn more useful skills. “I walked the two miles every day to school, you know, from Santa Clara to Española. And I did take bookkeeping and shorthand and typing, but somehow I just never applied too good at that. ... I wanted to go back to the Indian School, you know, and take up my painting again.”Velarde did return to the Indian School and Dunn’s painting classes. By the time she graduated in 1936, Velarde had spent more than 10 years at boarding schools. There was no market for Native American painting, so Velarde took a job cleaning tourist cabins in Pecos. She moved to Dulce and worked awhile scrubbing hospital floors and emptying bedpans. She returned to Santa Clara to work as an assistant teacher at a Bureau of Indian Affairs day school. She painted at night and occasionally sold her paintings under the portal at the Palace of the Governors for a dollar each.The teaching job ended, and Velarde was hired as a live-in nanny by Ernest Thompson Seton, one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America, and his wife, Julia Moses Buttree Seton, author of The Rhythm of the Redman. With the Setons, Velarde traveled to Colorado, Nebraska, New York, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. “Then I thought, well, I think I had enough of travel and the baby, so I thinkI’ll go back home,” Velarde said during the 1988 interview. She was only back in Santa Clara for three to five weeks when Dale King from the National Park Service knocked on her door. “There stood this nice-looking man, just smiling at me, and he said, ‘Are you Pablita Velarde?’ And I said, ‘Un huh.’ And he looked at me, ’cause, you know, I looked like The Grapes of Wrath — dusty and everything. And he said, ‘Are you an artist?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know.’”The next day King returned to the pueblo and drove Velarde to Bandelier. She stayed for six months; at night she slept in a garage. Then the National Park Service’s art funding ran out, and she returned to Santa Clara. Over the next five years she returned to Bandelier whenever King had money to hire her. King cut and primed the panels Velarde painted on, sometimes cutting the figures she had designed out of masonite. In 1988, Velarde told her interviewers,“It’s sad now, because the backgroundpaint that Dale used is now so dry after 40-something years, you know, it’s so dry now that it’s peeling off the masonite, and it’s flaking off my paintings as it goes off. So they took most of the paintings and put them in storage.”The Bandelier commission was a big break, but it didn’t mean the young artist could make a living from painting. When the WPA money ran out, Velarde moved to Albuquerque and worked as a switchboard operator. Years later she would begin to win major awards for her painting, and she would write and illustrate the children’s book Old Father Story-Teller, which would make her art known around the world. But in 1945, Velarde was just a woman working in an Albuquerque federal building. When Velarde’s paintings were installed in the 1940s, they were tacked or screwed to the visitor-center walls, said Gary Roybal, museum technician and archivist at Bandelier. Velarde created them to support the main exhibits, which were taken down in the late 1970s and early ’80s. At that time many of her paintings were matted and framed behind glass and put into storage. Only four or five paintings, including Governor Greets the Tourists, needed extensive restoration, and during recent years the Friends of Bandelier paid for that work. Paintings of everyday experiencesMost of the paintings Velarde made for the visitor center at Bandelier are included in the exhibit, but the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture has an Indian Advisory Panel that found a few of Velarde’s subjects too sensitive. “Times change and politics change; during the 1960s Native Americans started to get involved in movements to protect their sovereignty and culture,” said Shelby Tisdale, the museum’s director and curator of A New Deal for Tse Tsan. “Since the 1980s we have been working with tribal members to make sure art is presented in a respectful way.” The main reason works were not included, Tisdale continued, was for lack of space, but the museum declined to borrow at least four paintings because they might violate religious sensitivities. A three-story Pueblo home with one missing wall fills the left side of Velarde’s Pueblo Home Life. A kiva, a woman baking bread in a traditional outdoor oven, a tree-lined irrigation canal, another multistory building with its walls intact, and a structure under construction fill the rest of the painting. The National Park Service hoped that Velarde’s paintings of ceremonies and everyday life in a contemporary pueblo would help tourists understand the civilization that once existed at Bandelier, Tisdale said. Velarde carefully recorded differences in the outfits worn by members of different pueblos; crafts like drum-making, basket weaving, and silverwork; a rabbit hunt; corn grinding; and the drying of meat. Governor Greets the Tourists, the image the museum has used on much of the publicity for the exhibit, shows the pueblo’s governor holding one hand up near a car with Anglo passengers. Indians stand on rooftops facing into the pueblo’s plaza — a common sight during ceremonial dances. The painting used to be interpreted as an Indian governor telling tourists the pueblo was closed because of a ceremony. But now the painting has been reinterpreted, leaving the impression that the governor is welcomingthe tourists.Velarde painted a horse roundup in a desert landscape with stepped mesas silhouetted against a clear-blue sky. Scrubby plants and rocks recede into the distance, creating an austere Southwestern version of the flower-strewn landscapes depicted in Persian miniatures. One horse has his head pressed to a tough-looking scrub; another appears to be munching on the pointy leaves of a yucca.Some of the smallest paintings in A New Deal are extraordinary; Velarde made tiny casein studies of New Mexican fauna and flora. Her paintings of bears, mountain lions, and bald eagles show a familiarity with the living animals. Velarde’s creatures are not always anatomically correct, yet they embody the power of living beings. A geometric border frames each piece.Her plant studies are masterpieces of composition; an ear of brilliant-blue corn is perfectly balanced by an elaborate yellow tassel and a second ear of corn still in its husk. The colors in some plant portraits have faded, and because the paint was thickest where Velarde’s brush first touched the masonite, those places have faded less, and we can now see the calligraphy of each stroke. A New Deal is saturated with evidence of Velarde’s sensitive attention to detail. She painted the Corn Dance, the Buffalo Dance, and the Taos Pueblo feast-day pole-climbing ceremony from memory. “I read that oftentimes she dreamed these paintings,” Tisdale said. “This commission had to be a life-changing experience for her. The door opened and she walked through it. And it changed her life.”

Monday, January 22, 2007

Animals That Are Also Verbs

I love this stuff. Seton is quoted in the full article.

This is just for fun — a bit like the puzzles I regularly post, but more open-ended.
I was walking over the bridge over the river Cam one day when it hit me: the verb ‘duck’ is related to the noun ‘duck’! Ducks hunt for food by ducking under the water! It shocked me that I’d never noticed the relation between these two words before. I wondered which came first: the animal or the verb. Did people call these birds ‘ducks’ because they duck under the water, or did they invent the verb ‘duck’ after watching what ducks do?
More generally: which other names of animals are also verbs?

Find it all here.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

Woodland Walk

This essay contains the following memory of reading Wild Animals I Have Known as a child... (from nj.com)

Moving along the woodland path, I see a rotted tree stump. It is in the final stages of decay, provid ing a winter home for a hibernating ground hog and countless insect residents. That old stump once supported a huge Norway Maple. I recall Joyce Kilmer's classic poem as I pass by:

A tree that may in summer wear, a nest of robins in her hair ...

And indeed it did. I remember the boy who climbed up to its farthest limits, and in his curiosity, caused the limb to spill out four blue eggs. I remember how pangs of conscience pained him for his terrible deed; albeit an accident.

That old stump once supported the tree I used to sit under as I read "Wild Animals I Have Known" and many of the other wonderful wildlife stories of Ernest Thompson Seton.

Read it all at http://www.nj.com/living/times/community/index.ssf?/base/news-2/1168060142299560.xml&coll=5