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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 11, page 212, December 1959 [newspaper clipping]

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Identifier: DX03180218

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 11, page 212, December 1959 [newspaper clipping]

Description: Newspaper clipping of article written by Gunn for The Sunday Courier, describing the Edwards family's 1859 Christmas party.



Of what’s to you with pleasure fraught,

When it recurs, pray give a thought

To him who made it.


[newspaper clipping]






We always have a good time of it, but this year I think, our doings culminated. If there were anywhere in this city of New York, half a hundred persons who improved the shining, or rather the dusky hours, to greater advantage, to the production of more innocent mirth and jollity, to the development of all those good feelings which are indissolubly connected with this good time, I should like to know ‘em. At present I don’t believe in their existence.

That my satisfaction may be complete, I will indulge in the pleasure of chronicling our proceedings. I do it not alone for that reason, but because I suppose there are hundreds of persons who will be well pleased to learn how much of entertainment may be derived from a little care and combination, thousands who may sympathize with the occasion. If I stimulate folks into emulating us, all the better. We are not likely to run into excess of fun and merry-making in this working-day world.

So, here’s to begin. One word though, preliminary. It’s none of my ordinary custom to sprinkle printers’ ink on the sanctity of my private life, that being a business which I do emphatically condemn and detest. I believe said ink as composed, among other ingredients of oil and lamp-black. If it be so, by the common misuse of it in the manner alluded to, I should suppose the latter ingredient to greatly preponderate. I have even said instances in which vitriol might be supposed to enter largely into its composition.

So there’ll be no violating of kindly amenities; that is understood. And now to my pleasant task.

We had determined on a play—a pantomime. There had been weeks of preparation, of cutting out and making up of dresses, of painting scenery, of providing and manufacturing properties, not to mention secret rehearsals, the particulars of which were an awful mystery to all those engaged therein. One couldn’t drop in at the basement of the pleasant house [745 Broadway] of an evening without discovering nimble fingers at work on preternaturally brilliant jackets, prodigious bouquets of artificial flowers and the like. JACK [Edwards], it was rumored, had surpassed himself in the carpentering department, while THOMAS [Nast]—not the individual at present writing—devoted whole evenings to the passage—his atelier—and scenery. To NED [Edward Welles] had been confided the double task of authorship and personification of the heroine, while JESSE [Haney]—we’ll call him J.C., for convenience—undertook the part of hero and the general directorship. He is always grand master of our Christmas revels is J. C., being especially qualified for the post by nature, inclination and practice. So, the preparations completed, the great day arrived. It was of course, Monday the 26th—the evening of it.

Suppose a spacious back-parlor, fitted as aforesaid, with upwards of half a hundred merry Christmas folks, intent on pleasing and being pleased, on doing their very best to get the greatest amount of enjoyment out of the occasion, the tables (loaded with gifts pertinent to the season) put away into corners, chairs arranged in rows, benches and stools in front for the smaller folk, and all eyes turned towards the stage. This consists of the space immediately beyond the large folding-doors, which, pushed back, have been temporarily replaced by a curtain—practicable as. . . .

coverage:New York, New York, Cliff Street; Franklin Square; Pearl Street

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1859-12

Type(s): Clipping, Newspaper

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: Christmas


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