Moving Hiatus and “Sunday at St. Louis”

We spent 3 weeks moving books and newspapers into one of the three renovated spaces, but have been in a kind of suspended animation since the beginning of March while the other areas go through their final preparations to receive collection materials.  This pause in trundling book trucks through hallways, into the freight elevator, into the various ‘air locks,’ and back again has given our other technical processing folks time to inventory and wrap more old newspapers so that they (the newspapers) will be ready when the moving starts up again.

 In the mean time, I came across the following item of interest while cataloging bound pamphlets today. 

‘Sunday at St. Louis’

“Sunday at St. Louis is a queer day.  Go to church and try to be as good as gold, but you can’t help being in the world of work and amusement.  The cars run the same as ever, many of the shops are doing a lively business, lager beer and dance houses and [sic] in full blast and the theatre getting double receipts; out towards the fields the Germans are having a high old time, and down at the levee steamers are arriving and departing mid all kinds of bustle, and astonishing your weak nerves by screeching Yankee Doodle, Oh Susanna, &c., out of their steam pipes, as if determined to leave no quiet on earth.  The effect of these horse power melodies is intensely ludicrous, and with the accompaniment of high jinks from a crowd of boys and men who vary the game of bluff, played in the open street, by casual firing at cats and old tiles, the general absence of sanctity is enough to drive a quiet, moral Philadelphian into fits.”

This is from page 17 of the: Philadelphia Board of Trade.  Narrative of the excursion to the West, made by the delegation of the Board of Trade of Philadelphia. Reprinted from the letters published in the “Philadelphia Inquirer,” from its special correspondent.  Philadelphia: Inquirer Printing Office, 1860.  It is a 24 page pamphlet describing a junket through Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Louisville, Cincinnati  from 16 October to 3 November 1860.  According to the OCLC WorldCat, this pamphlet is held only at the Library Company in Philadelphia, at the New York Public Library, and at the State Library of Pennsylvania.

I used to live in St. Louis and especially enjoy this word picture drawn by “a quiet, moral Philadelphian.”

Published in: on 18 March 2008 at 9:42 am  Leave a Comment