Search Our New Beta Online Collections!

Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 9, page 34, November 26, 1857

<< Back to search results

View this document

From collection:Part of:

Identifier: DX03429717

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 9, page 34, November 26, 1857

Description: Describes a Thanksgiving visit to the Eldredge family and a charity school on Randall's Island.


[Catharine] Potter’s niece's daughter. Presently to see the boys perform their customary exercises for the day. Some four hundred of them were present in a spacious school-room — looking as though it contained an acre of boys — with a sprinkling of girls. (They are the charity children of the city; and the Island has 800 of them upon it, in all.) All looked clean and chubby. The boys faces were mostly Irish and unintelligent, not so the girls. They did considerable speech-making and some singing. Some of the speeches were rather spread-eagley, others capital and amusing — all turning on the occasion, and their condition. One little chap not higher than a table whistled "Hail Columbia." One boy made up as a street vagabond, with rent pants, dirty face and unkempt hair, while another — a moral boy-hood to descant upon his disreputable appearance. This was rather hard, I thought on the impromptu gamin. There was also a sulky boy who denounced the Ten Governors as "humbugs," intimated that he entertained a desperate intention of turning Mormon, and was, finally, rebuked and put to shame by a virtuous — and of course —contented juvenile. The girls sang sweetly. One was a real little beauty, with soft dark eyes and dark brown hair; she had a delicious contralto voice, and seemed quite the prima donna of the party. (Mr Eldredge told me subsequently that she had a devil of a temper. No matter — there's a soul in that little thing's eyes.) They sang two pretty forceful dittys — one a fairy song. I liked this — as it recognizes something beyond their condition. Also their hair was cut short. One naturally expects that the children of the poor will be made as ungraceful as possible, and is agreably surprised at the reverse. Finally, to the beat of drum, the boys marched out; did military exercises, and so — as old Pepys would say — to dinner. We all dined subsequently at Mr Eldredge's house: present himself and wife, Mr and Mrs Carpenter — the latter Mrs Potter's sister, a jolly, buxom

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1857-11-26

Type(s): Diary

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

Subjects: Children
Thanksgiving Day


| More

Disclaimer: We are working to create a web-based collection index. Information available through this website should be considered "draft only."