Archive for Sunday, March 11, 2012

100 years ago: Eudora girl wins first place in county spelling bee

March 11, 2012


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for March 11, 1912:

  • "Misspelling but one out of four hundred words given out by the County Superintendent Saturday afternoon, Miss Daisy Cox of Eudora was awarded the first prize in the County Spelling Bee held at the Lawrence High School Building.... The interest in the spelling bee was much greater than had been expected and a total of twenty-two country school pupils took part. There were also a large number of the parents and friends present."
  • "Is there anyone in Lawrence who remembers Ivanilla Miller? She is wanted by friends in Shannon, Kan., where she has been found to be the heir of an estate left her. Nothing definite regarding this estate is known here, but her friends are anxiously looking for her and a favor will be conferred upon them and the woman if anyone in Lawrence can locate her whereabouts."
  • "The seismograph, the official earthquake recorder at the University, recorded a slight earthquake, which Prof. H. P. Cady says he believes occurred somewhere in Mexico or Central America. He located the disturbance as about 1600 miles distant and that from the direction of the wave lines it was either north or south from here, but he thought it was more probably south."


Sarah St. John 3 years, 8 months ago

Are you curious to know what was the ONE word that was misspelled by the winner? I thought you might be. The word was "melodeon." Daisy misspelled it as "melodion." The "melodeon," in case you are not remembering, is a type of pedal-operated organ that some folks had in their homes in the 1800s. There was also such a thing as a "melodion" (Daisy's spelling) but it was a much rarer instrument, invented a bit earlier, and I don't know if they ever made it over to America.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 8 months ago

There is a massive discussion of the Melodeon in 'Men, Women, and Pianos', by Author Loesser. (Simon and Schuster, 1954)

The early ones were not pedal-operated.

This is a transcription of only a very small part of the discussion on the Melodeon:

Melodeon: It is the instrument variously known as the reed organ, harmonium (the favored European designation), melodeon (the specifically American them), or cabinet organ. Its basic tone-producing agency consists of gusts of air forced against "reeds," or blades of metal that support freely vibrating tongues of various sizes corresponding to differing pitches. It operates on much the same principle as the accordeon: and the earlier, small portable American specimens were made so that the player, holding the instrument upon his knees, could work the bellows with one elbow while playing the keys with both hands.

It first began to come up in New England before 1820.

Meledeons seem to have been fairly common in the 1840's, when an important improvement was undertaken upon them. Noting that an accordeon sounds better when drawn than when pushed, the firm of Carhart & Needham brought out a device whereby the wind was sucked across the reeds rather than driven against them.

By 1867 the output of American melodeon factories was about fifteen thousand per year, that is, about forty per cent of the country's piano output, Mason & Hamlin accounting for about one fourth of the total.

A fairly good melodeon could be installed in a parlor for $100 at a time when a cheap piano cost close to $300.

Sarah St. John 3 years, 8 months ago

And WHAT (you may ask) was the deal with this Ivanilla Miller? Here's a bit more on that story. This letter was received by the 1912 J-W editor: "About the year 1872 Charlotte Miller lived in Lawrence. She was setting type for some paper published then, and lived with a family named Faris. She had a daughter, Ivanilla. This little girl was adopted by a family well able to care for her has and has not been heard of by her relatives since. Anyone knowing the circumstances or anyone who can give any information would confer a favor upon the lost heir and the undersigned, and will be paid for their trouble. E. C. EVANS, Shannon, Kansas."

More: "The Journal-World this morning inquired of several of the old timers if they knew anything regarding the case, but none of them were able to give any information. Eli Moore, who was also in the printing business at that time. remembers Mrs. Miller and her daughter, but cannot recall by whom the daughter was adopted or where she went. Mr. Moore and the others well remember Charles Faris who is referred to in the letter. He was at that time connected with the Lawrence Journal, but later moved to Kansas City where he died. Mrs. Faris still reside sin Kansas City, Kansas."

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 8 months ago

Such situations arise from time to time.

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