Slumber Sea Chanteys

by david on 26 September 2014

Cover of "Slumber Sea Chanteys"

Cover of “Slumber Sea Chanteys”

Slumber Sea Chanteys (1910) was the only sheet music Paul Elder ever published (there are a few pages of music in Knight of the Burning Pestle). It is a selection of children’s lullabies on nautical themes. It is also the first Paul Elder I ever bought, though I only realized it five years later when I began to collect Elder in earnest.

Composer Carrie Stone Freeman was profiled in the Music section of the Los Angeles Herald on 4 Dec 1910:

Local composers were well represented at the last meeting of the Harmonia Club Thursday afternoon … Among the songs of special interest to club members were those by Mrs. John J. Abramson, president of the club and hostess for the day, and Carrie Stone Freeman. Mrs. Freeman has written successfully for the voice and her publications include not only the Slumber Sea Chanteys, which are proving so delightful for little folk to sing, but are also most beautiful for the trained singer or a real by-land song, but also “Invitation,” Twilight,” “Lullaby” and “Eastertime Psalm.”

Freeman was also profiled in the Oxnard Courier of 16 Mar 1917:

Carrie Stone Freeman in 1910.

Composer Carrie Stone Freeman in 1910.

Carrie Stone Freeman, chairman of music for Southern California Women’s club, has a new theory of learning music from nature. Mrs. Freeman is well known in this section in club work and has visited with clubs in this county many times. This is her advice: Listen to the birds and learn to sing. Try to catch and put into musical notation the clear, vibrant joyous calls of the Meadowlark and the mockingbird. Go where you will, is the big outdoors, land or water, and learn from the greatest music master in the world–Nature.

Here is the unique “teachology” of a brilliant Los Angeles woman who bids fair to catch the eye of the nation with her simple solution for developing one of the primal instincts of man–love of music. She is Carrie Stone Freeman, state chairman of music for the Los Angeles and Southern districts of the California Federation of Women’s Clubs. “Trying to catch the notes of the birds,” said Mrs. Freeman, “not only gives a person the opportunity to learn some of the truest sound values, but it also trains the ear. “Spare moments can be utilized for this study, for instance, while a train stops on a siding, while you are standing waiting for a car, if at some interurban point where the fields are at hand or as you sit in your garden reading or sewing. The birds are everywhere.”

Mrs. Freeman is speaking to club women in almost every part of the state, so popular is her subject proving. Just a few days ago she received a manuscript copy of the new song written by the well known American composer, Mrs. H. H. A. Beach; words by Ina Coolbrith of San Francisco. It is dedicated to Mrs. Freeman and is called “Meadowlark.” The motif of the composition is one of the meadowlark calls which Mrs. Freeman frequently uses in announcing her arrival at the artistic Freeman home at the western terminus of Sixteenth Street. Mrs. Beach heard her using it, while a house-guest, and begged permission to build a song on it.

Asked what she thinks of “ragtime,” Mrs. Freeman said “I don’t think. It was a tidal wave for a while and naturally it is receding. I think it will soon die altogether. I never talk against it. I simply offer something better in its stead.”

Co-author Lucia Chase Bell (1848-1938) also wrote the Elder publication Obil, Keeper of Camels. Her husband, Thomas Cowan Bell (1832-1919), was one of the founders of the Sigma Chi fraternity.

I can find no information about co-author and illustrator Rita Bell James.

Title page of "Slumber Sea Chanteys"

Title page of “Slumber Sea Chanteys”

Page 3 of "Slumber Sea Chanteys"

Page 3 of “Slumber Sea Chanteys”


Title page of "Knight of the Burning Pestle"

Title page of “Knight of the Burning Pestle”

In March 1903, the English Club of Stanford University performed a production of “The Knight of the Burning Pestle,” an early 17th-century pastiche play by the English poet and dramatist Francis Beaumont. The English Club performed the work at both Stanford and UC Berkeley, and went so far as to write a short book about it. That book, The True Historie of the Knyght of the Burning Pestle, appears to have been published just as Paul Elder bought out Morgan Shepard and reorganized the firm: while the title page reads “Elder & Shepard,” the copyright notice on the verso reads “The Tomoye Press,” which did not exist until after the creation of Paul Elder & Company.

Cover of "Knight of the Burning Pestle"

Cover of “Knight of the Burning Pestle”

In 1903, it was thought that “Knight of the Burning Pestle” was jointly written by Beaumont and John Fletcher, but modern scholarship now credits only the former. Francis Beaumont (1584-1616), a contemporary of Shakespeare, is remembered today as a dramatist, but during his lifetime was known as a poet. “The Knight of the Burning Pestle” is a satire on chivalry, along the lines of Don Quixote,  and is considered the first complete parody play in the English language.

The title page credits the author as “The English Club of Stanford University,” but the book was almost certainly written by Raymond Macdonald Alden (1873-1924), then assistant professor of English literature at Stanford. Two months later, Alden would write Consolatio, also published by Elder.

The book begins with a short introduction called “On Seeing An Elizabethan Play,” followed by three short essays by “R. M. A.” (Alden): “The Theatre”, “The Knight of the Burning Pestle”, and “The Songs and Music.”

Page 40 of "Knight of the Burning Pestle"

Page 40 of “Knight of the Burning Pestle”

Following the music essay, the book includes a number of facsimiles: music to several songs, the interior of the Swan Theatre, and the title page of Thomas Dekker’s Guls Horne-Booke. Lastly, the authors include the text of Chapter VI of the Hornbook, “How a Gallant Should Behave Himself In a Play-house.”

Bibliographically speaking, Elder has made it difficult to ascertain what the title of this book really is. Normally, the title is what’s printed on the title page, which is in this case is The True Historie of the Knyght of the Burning Pestle. The cover, however, reads “On Seeing An Elizabethan Play, with some particular discourse of The Knight of the Burning Pestle.” And in the colophon on page 59, the authors call the book “The Knight of the Burning Pestle.” I have chosen the text of the title page.

Facsimile of "The Guls" on p46 of "Knight of the Burning Pestle"

Facsimile of the Swan Theatre and “The Guls Horne-Booke” on p45-6 of “Knight of the Burning Pestle”

Page 16 of "Knight of the Burning Pestle"

Page 16 of “Knight of the Burning Pestle”

Notice of the Berkeley performance of "Knight of the Burning Pestle" in March 1903

Notice of the Berkeley performance of “Knight of the Burning Pestle” of 28 March 1903

Program from the performance

Program from the performance

Inside of the program

Inside of the program


The Auto Guest Book

1 September 2014

On an inventive twist from a guest book designed for the guest bedroom, here is a guest book designed for one’s automobile. The Auto Guest Book was published in 1906 on the heels of the success of the early Cynic’s Calendars, with the illustrations and aphorisms by the team of Ethel Grant (1876?-1940) and Richard Glaenzer (1876-1937). In […]

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San Francisco — As It Was, As It Is, And How To See It

27 August 2014

After Paul Elder opened his bookshop in 1898, it is perhaps surprising that he waited fourteen years to publish a book about San Francisco. Maybe it just took him that long to find the right author. Helen Throop Purdy’s comprehensive guide to the City, San Francisco — As It Was, As It Is, And How To See […]

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Robert Harlan (1929-2014)

24 August 2014

Today I pause to remember Robert Harlan, professor emeritus at the UC Berkeley School of Information and the Bancroft Library. He died on April 8th at the age of 84. He was an expert on the 19th-century San Francisco printing industry and the Bay Area fine-printing movement of the mid-20th century. He published several books, including a long […]

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4 April 2014

Love (1905) was the last of the Mosaic Essays series compiled by Paul Elder. The first booklet in the series, Friendship, was published in 1902 and sold very well. In 1903, Elder followed with Happiness, Nature and Success in 1903. In 1906 he reissued the five booklets in a single volume called Mosaic Essays. As with the other four titles […]

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30 March 2014

Success is a booklet of quotations in the Mosaic Essays series, compiled by Paul Elder. It was published in 1903 along with Happiness and Nature in response to the high sales of 1902′s Friendship. In 1905, Elder published the last booklet in the series, Love. In 1906 he issued the five booklets in a single volume called Mosaic Essays. As with the other booklets […]

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23 March 2014

Nature is a booklet of quotations in the Mosaic Essays series, compiled by Paul Elder. It was published in 1903 along with Happiness and Success in response to the success of 1902′s Friendship. In 1905, Elder published the last booklet in the series, Love. In 1906 he issued the five booklets in a single volume called Mosaic Essays. […]

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16 March 2014

In a corner of San Francisco’s Portsmouth Square stands a granite pedestal topped by a bronze sailing ship. It is the Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial, designed by Bruce Porter and Willis Polk in 1897. During Stevenson’s brief time in San Francisco in 1880 and 1887, he often came to the Square to sit in the […]

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5 March 2014

Friendship is a 1902 collection of quotations compiled by Paul Elder and published by Elder and Shepard. It proved popular enough that Elder compiled four more booklets on similar inspirational topics: Nature, Happiness, and Success in 1903, and Love in 1905. In a 1904 catalog, Elder notes “the favor extended to these little brochures has been […]

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