Woven: A Survey of Salisbury House Textiles

A diverse collection of textiles were among the many fine furnishings and decorative arts acquired by Carl and Edith Weeks for Salisbury House. The collection spans an incredible breadth of space and time, from 1920s Navajo weavings to 16th century French tapestries.

Several pieces are currently on view that suggest the scope of our collection. These textiles, pictured below, are on display for the first time in many years.

Two textiles on display come from our unique collection of Navajo sandpainting rugs. Craftsmen typically incorporated into these weavings ceremonial designs  from the traditional Navajo sandpainting ritual. These pieces were produced for the tourist market in the late 19th century and into the first decades of the 20th century. Carl acquired the majority of his Navajo rugs from the Two Gray Hills Trading Post in New Mexico.

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Navajo sandpainting rug, mid-1920s. Salisbury House Permanent Collection.

 

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Navajo sandpainting rug, mid-1920s. Salisbury House Permanent Collection.

 

In addition to several pieces from the Navajo tradition, the Salisbury House collection contains many Persian textiles. This Kerman pictorial rug was created in south central Iran, and includes some very interesting iconography.

 

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Kerman pictorial rug, c. 1880. Salisbury House Permanent Collection.

 

The Khamseh confederation rug pictured below dates to the mid-19th century. This “Khamseh confederation” was a loose grouping of tribes from southern Persia, and became heralded for their skills in rug-making.

 

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Khamseh Confederation rug, c. 1850. Salisbury House Permanent Collection.

 

Also from the mid-19th century, but from a different geographical location, is this Bokhara piece from Turkestan. These types of rugs, still produced today, are some of the most popular among collectors.

 

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Bokhara rug, c. 1850. Salisbury House Permanent Collection.

 

Tabriz, a city in eastern Azerbaijan, remains well-known for its rug production. This particular Tabriz pictorial rug dates to the first quarter of the 19th century and depicts a pastoral scene.

 

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Tabriz pictorial rug, c. 1825. Salisbury House Permanent Collection.

 

Our survey of Salisbury House textiles concludes with a piece from 1650s France. This verdure tapestry portrays several figures, including an individual on a horse, in a wooded setting. The popularity of French verdure tapestries eventually waned with the advent of wallpaper, which provided a lower-cost alternative for wall coverings.

 

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French verdure tapestry, c. 1650. Salisbury House Permanent Collection.

 

These textiles are currently on view at Salisbury House. Visit us at salisburyhouse.org for tour times and information.

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All About Edith

Our ability to reconstruct the past hinges on the existence and accessibility of primary sources. The Salisbury House archives contain a preponderance of Carlalia (Carl memorabilia), but we lack commensurate material about his better half: Edith Van Slyke Weeks. We’re trying to change this. Recent research has yielded new images and newspaper articles about Edith, and these sources help flesh out a portrait of a well-educated, well-traveled woman.

Edith was born to the Van Slykes of Dubuque, Iowa, in 1882. The family later moved to Des Moines, where Edith completed high school.

1885s Edith Van Slyke Weeks c. 1885Edith c. 1890

Young Edith graduated from North High School around the turn of the twentieth century. Pictured below is her report card from North High School from the late 1890s. Clearly, Edith possessed considerable academic abilities.

 

1899_Edith Van Slyke report card North High School

The importance of education was a central concern for the Van Slyke family. Indeed, Edith’s mother Eva, graduated from Iowa State University in 1874. Edith continued the tradition of well-educated Van Slyke women with her graduation from the University of Michigan in 1903.

1907 Sorosis

During her time in Ann Arbor, Edith joined the University of Michigan’s chapter of Sorosis, a women’s social and educational club.

In 1907, a blurb about Edith appeared in a Sorosis booklet printed to commemorate the club’s twentieth anniversary (left). Her name appears alongside the other alumnae of her year.

By this time (1907), Edith had met and married Carl Weeks. The couple, according to family anecdotes, first met around 1904 when Edith walked into the Des Moines pharmacy where Carl worked. Overcome with affection, Carl followed Edith to Europe around 1905.

Following Edith’s European sojourn, the pair courted through 1906 and walked down the aisle in February 1907.

1907 edith on wedding day_hi resEdith on her wedding day: February 27, 1907

Edith’s life after her marriage comes down to us in even more fragmented terms. Still, photographs from family albums and newspaper articles suggest a woman who cared deeply for her family, actively engaged in her local community, and generously supported the arts.

We imagine that Carl snapped the photograph below during the early years of their relationship. If Carl was the photographer, his shadow is visible towards the bottom of the frame. The photo’s location remains uncertain, but it’s clear that Carl and Edith often commemorated family events on film.

1909 Diddy 1909

 Like many families even today, the Weeks photo album took a decided turn towards Toddlerville after the kiddos started to arrive. Charles (1908), Bill (1910), Hud (1912), and Lafe (1918) were regularly photographed with their mother.

1910 Edith and...Charles & Edith, c. 1910

1910 Edith Charles BillEdith, Charles, & Bill, c. 1910

1913s Edith.boys.motorcycle

Bill, Charles, Hud, & Edith, c. 1913

1918 Edith Lafe 39th StEdith & Lafe, c. 1918

By the time Edith and Carl started making plans to build Salisbury House in the early 1920s, four rambunctious boys were roughhousing about the Weeks family home.

weeks FAMILY 1921

The Weeks Family in 1921 – Clockwise from Edith: Lafe, Bill, Carl, Charles, & Hud

In addition to photographs of the immediate Weeks family, our archives also include an interesting image of Edith on vacation in Havana, Cuba in the late 1920s or early 1930s. She was pictured with an unidentified friend at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, a famed watering hole for American expats, including Ernest Hemingway. We wonder, in fact, if the Weekses and Hemingway met in Cuba.

1930s Edith Weeks In Havana, Cuba

Salisbury House was completed by 1928. Edith, with her academic training in art history and love of the subject, likely played a central role in acquiring the family’s stunning collection of fine furnishings and artworks.

Edith’s personal interests also emerged in her community involvement. She belonged to a variety of organizations and women’s clubs in Des Moines. A 1928 Des Moines Register article included a photograph of her (second from left) alongside fellow committee-members of the city’s Fine Arts Association.

1928 Fine Arts Club

In 1931, Edith hosted a meeting of ladies involved in the Iowa Association of Women’s Clubs. Dozens of women gathered at Salisbury House for tea and other activities.

1931 Federation of Womens Clubs

Edith also lent her support to charitable organizations. Below, she was pictured (on right) with other prominent Des Moines women at a charity ball in 1931.

1931 The Register 11.26.31 Charity Ball

Edith was again pictured in the Des Moines Register in 1934 alongside a piece from the family’s art collection painted in the style of English artist George Romney. Here, the photograph was accompanied by an article about a meeting of the Des Moines Women’s Club, hosted by Edith at Salisbury House.

1934 Register With Romney

In addition to photographs and articles related to Edith’s community involvement, she was also pictured in the Register with family members. The photo below showed Edith with her mother on Mother’s Day 1935.

1935 with Mom

Although we have added some  Edith-related images and articles to our archives in recent months, we still lack significant sources related to the later years of her life. Details about her, particularly during the 1940s and up to her death in 1954, remain elusive.

The last image we have of Edith Weeks dates to the first half of the 1950s. She and Carl were seated in the Great Hall of Salisbury House. Edith has lost a significant amount of weight, which may have indicated a marked decline in her health.

1950s carl and edith 1950's

The photographs and articles included here expand our cache of primary sources about Edith Van Slyke Weeks. Still, we hope to learn more about this remarkable woman’s life.

Books as Art: The Private Press Movement at Salisbury House

We have a ten-page typed document in our files with a hand-written note atop the first page reading: “Guide to Salisbury House, by Carl Weeks. Prior to or at the time of ISEA possession.” It is a first person narrative describing many of the important objects in the Salisbury House public spaces. Interestingly, it is not actually Carl Weeks’ telling of the tale, as the unnamed narrator often refers to “Mr. Weeks” when discussing the acquisition, provenance or assessment of particular pieces.

There are elements in the narrative that we now know to be apocryphal or erroneous, so the document often has to be taken with a grain of salt from an historian’s perspective. But some of the anecdotes related therein are so unexpected or unusual that we feel they accurately reflect Carl or Edith Weeks’ very unique perspective on their own collections, perhaps representing oft-repeated anecdotes that our anonymous tour-guide of 1955 heard and found memorable. One such anecdote quotes Carl Weeks as saying:

“There have been three great books printed. The first great book was the Gutenberg Bible. Since a Gutenberg costs about $150,000 Mr. Weeks didn’t buy one, but he did have a leaf out of one of them . . . The second great book to be printed was the Kelmscott Chaucer. One was sold the other day for $1,600 that does not compare with the copy in this library. The third great book was the Oxford Bible, and this is the only copy in existence that has the leaf in it that tells how many were printed: 200.”

Pigskin cover of the Kelmscott Chaucer

Pigskin cover of the Kelmscott Chaucer; click all images to enlarge

Obviously, no one would argue the import and greatness of the Gutenberg Bible, which represented a fundamental change in man’s ability to widely, consistently and quickly reproduce the written word in a (relatively) affordable fashion. Our library contains what is known as a Noble Fragment of a Gutenberg Bible, purchased after a collector dismantled a damaged copy in 1921 and put the intact leaves on the market individually. We also have a 1920s full-sized reproduction of the two-volume, 42-line 1455 edition of the Gutenberg Bible, and it is plain to see that it was clearly a grand and imposing object of art in its own right.

But why would Mr. Weeks have selected the Kelmscott Chaucer and Oxford Bible as peers in greatness to the Gutenberg Bible? (Note that these aren’t their full and proper titles, but I will continue to use them for ease of discussion). Especially given how common their texts are: you can get a copy of the Bible or a copy of the collected works of Geoffrey Chaucer in pretty much any bookstore, in relatively cheap pressings. So why do these particular editions rise to the status (in Mr. Weeks’ estimation) of the Gutenberg Bible?

Title page from the Kelmscott Chaucer

Title page from the Kelmscott Chaucer

The answer to that question lies in the very high regard that Carl Weeks held not only for books, but also for the art of bookmaking. He was an avid reader, so he viewed books as repositories of information or entertainment, certainly, but he also saw beyond the words into the physical elements that make up the book as an object. He valued the inks, the papers, the typefaces, the binding, the illustrations, the design, and all of the myriad small details that can turn even the most mundane of texts into something sublime.

The library that Carl and Edith Weeks built is filled with books that stand alone as works of art in their own right. And Carl and Edith were particularly fortunate to have been collecting such books during the absolute height of what is now known as the private press movement, when many small, independent publishers were producing extraordinarily high quality books in tiny press runs for discerning collectors, like the Weeks Family.

Kelmscott Chaucer, "The Knyght's Tale"

Last text page of the Kelmscott Chaucer

When viewed through the distinctive cultural lens deployed by private press aficionados, then, Mr. Weeks’ choice of the Kelmscott Chaucer (1896) and the Oxford Bible (1935) become more understandable, because in many ways, they mark the alpha and the omega of the private press movement itself.

The private press movement is generally considered to have been launched with the founding of Englishman William Morris’ Kelmscott Press in 1890. Inspired by John Ruskin, the Pre-Raphaelites and the Arts and Crafts movement, Morris believed that beautiful objects could counteract the negative cultural impacts of the modern, industrial world. He and his many disciples eschewed the cheap, poor-quality, mechanical book production methods that prevailed in their era, and chose instead to return to traditional or classical design, paper-making, printing and binding techniques.  They viewed bookmaking as a manual skill, uniquely suited to human hands, and they considered the products of their presses to be works of art, not just convenient vehicles for the transmission of information.

The Book of the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer (to give the Kelmscott Chaucer its full and proper title) was illustrated by by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, edited by F.S. Ellis, engraved on wood by W.H. Hooper, and printed by William Morris, and it is generally considered to be the apex of Kelmscott’s work, and one of the most beautiful books ever printed. It was completed in May 1896, a mere six months before Morris’ death. Carl Weeks bought his first copy of the Kelmscott Chaucer from rare book seller Philip C. Duschnes of New York for $600 in March 1942, then in November 1944 traded his version back to Duschnes for an extremely rare (48 copies only), $1,300 version bound by T.J. Coben-Sanderson (more on him below) in pigskin. We still have this version in the Salisbury House Library.

Morris and Kelmscott’s influence was immediate and far-reaching, and the private press movement expanded rapidly in Great Britain and the United States through the first three decades of the 20th Century. The Salisbury House Library is home to many fine, limited edition works from a variety of influential private presses, including such titles as:

  • The five-volume Doves Press Bible (1903), printed by T.J. Cobden-Sanderson, who bound the rare Kelmscott Chaucer in our colletion
  • Many books, periodicals and pamphlets published by Roycroft Press of East Aurora, New York, which was founded by Elbert Hubbard, about whom I have written before
  • Nonesuch Press’ The History of Herodotus of Halicarnassus (1935)
  • Numerous works illustrated, written or designed by Eric Gill, now best remembered as the creator of the hugely influential Gill Sans and Perpetua typefaces, many of them issued by Golden Cockerel Press
  • The Revelation of St. John the Divine (1932) and The Lamentations of Jeremiah (1933) from Gregynog Press, which was founded by Welsh sisters Margaret and Gwendoline Davies
  • The Complete Works of Gaius Petronius (1927) and Ecclesiazusae (1929) from Fanfrolico Press
  • Ashendene Press’ The Wisdom of Jesus, the Son of Sirach, commonly called Ecclesiasticus (1932)
Front cover "alpha" on the Oxford Lectern Bible

Front cover “alpha” on the Oxford Lectern Bible

Bruce Rogers was a particularly prominent figure in the private press movement, achieving acclaim as an illustrator, typographer and printer both for his small press works, and for the high-quality production aesthetic he brought to retail publishers such as Houghton Mifflin’s Riverside Press and the Cambridge and Harvard University Presses. Rogers also later designed books for the Limited Editions Club, to which Carl and Edith Weeks subscribed for 21 years, leaving us a rare complete collection of this legendary publishing house’s offerings.

Back cover "omega" of the Oxford Bible

Back cover “omega” of the Oxford Bible

From 1929 to 1931, Rogers worked at the Oxford University Press in England, and it was here that he received the commission to design a new lectern Bible embracing the best facets of the private press movement. His masterpiece, formally known as The Lectern Bible for Oxford University Press, was completed in 1935.

There were only 200 copies printed of the largest version of this two-volume Bible, one of which was purchased by Carl Weeks for $600 in March 1944, also from bookseller Philip C. Duschnes, who noted that it was a “special copy bound by Wiemeler of Germany”. We can see a tiny impression of the name “Ignatz Wiemeler” in the gold trim inside the back cover of the Oxford Bible, and his exquisite binding work leaves the massive book surprisingly easy to manipulate, its form clearly supporting its function as a working text for church use.

By the time that the Oxford Bible was published, the private press movement was rapidly dwindling as the worldwide demand for such luxury items crashed during the Great Depression. Fortunately, some of the greatest works of that beautiful, brief creative moment — including some of the most magnificent books ever printed — still live with us here at Salisbury House, a lasting testament to Carl and Edith Weeks’ acuity and refinement as book lovers and collectors.

Title Page of the Oxford Bible

Title Page of the Oxford Bible

Objects and Humanity

I spent three days last week in Salt Lake City at the American Association for State and Local History annual meeting, to accept a national award for an interior preservation project that was planned and executed long before I actually started working as Executive Director at the House. I was delighted to be there, of course, and even more delighted to have our Curator and Director of Education, Leo E. Landis, join me to receive this honor in front of a large and enthusiastic gathering of Leo’s museum and history colleagues from around the country, since he’s the person who really deserved it. The trip also gave Leo the chance to do some original research at the University of Utah and Brigham Young University, where we learned some interesting things about Carl Weeks’ days in “Mormon Dixie” (Southwestern Utah) as a young man, but we’ll save those for another blog post later!

I participated in various plenary and breakout sessions during the AASLH conference, one of which had to do with the importance (or lack thereof) of objects when it comes to interpreting history. There was a healthy discussion about whether historic objects have intrinsic value in and of themselves, or whether they need to be linked to specific people or places to gain historic resonance. I really sit on the razor’s edge in this argument, as I sense that some objects are intrinsically valuable simply because they are beautiful or haunting or cool or unique, while some objects gain value only when they are connected via specific personal or physical associations. I guess the real challenge, for me, is figuring out which object are which, and why. And I would probably defer to the philosophers on that one.

As part of the discussion in Utah, I suggested in our group that connecting objects to people and places in history may sometimes be a pointless enterprise if those objects, people and places are not also somehow connected to relevant contemporary concepts, understandings and ideas. At Salisbury House, we’re trying to use our social media initiatives to accomplish this past-to-present connection via objects in our collections. At staff meeting every Monday, we look at what’s going on in the world around us, and then try to tap our collections to find unique Salisbury House-specific objects that link our founding collectors (Carl and Edith Weeks) with current issues of impact and import.

My last blog post here about Banned Books Week was one such attempt to frame a story with modern relevance, using specific objects that were once considered taboo, that were collected by specific people at a specific time in years gone by, and that remain in our collection today, for the cultural and educational benefit of the public. During the course of the week, Leo and I found various banned or suppressed books and posted about them on our Facebook Page . . . which you should follow, if you aren’t already!

While it was really neat for us to find and share some truly incredible art works and early editions of banned, bowdlerized, censored or suppressed books, the most meaningful find for me last week was Carl Weeks’ copy of George Bernard Shaw’s Man and Superman, not for the book itself, but because of Carl’s penciled notes within its margins. The text of Man and Superman clearly meant a great deal to him, as the book is filled with exclamation points, underlines, checks, brackets, and other notes attempting to distill the deeper meaning within and beyond the words on the page.

I provide a visual sample taken from Carl’s copy of Man and Superman, which bears his signature in its inner cover, and the date “8/17/04,” presumably when he purchased it. (This was before the play made its actual theatrical debut in May 1905). The page in question is taken from the controversial and often-censored third act, and it is worth noting that Man and Superman was not performed in its uncensored entirety until 1915.

Sample page from Carl Weeks’ annotated copy of George Bernard Shaw’s “Man and Superman,” circa 1905.

In 1904, Carl was a 28-year old single man, actively courting his wife-to-be Edith (who had far more formal education than he did) and working with his brother at his mother’s family’s drug company. He had experienced some misdiagnosed health difficulties and some painful surgeries as a result (that’s what led him to Utah). I see, in his marks on these pages, a young man at a particularly tumultuous time in his life, seeking to better understand and make sense of both the seen and the unseen worlds around him. I feel I know him better, even though he died before I was born, for having seen these and so many objects that he purchased, protected and passed on in his lifetime.

I am reminded, in seeing this particular facet of Carl’s collections, of a quote I have always loved about the study of the humanities:

Through the humanities we reflect on the fundamental question: What does it mean to be human? The humanities offer clues but never a complete answer. They reveal how people have tried to make moral, spiritual, and intellectual sense of a world in which irrationality, despair, loneliness, and death are as conspicuous as birth, friendship, hope, and reason. — “The Humanities in American Life,” Rockefeller Commission on the Humanities (1980).

I am fortunate to come to work daily in a building that houses the most extraordinary collection of primary humanities-based objects with which I have ever had the chance to interact . . . which is really saying something given some of the amazing collections I’ve worked with in years past. I believe one of the fundamental responsibilities of the Salisbury House Foundation must be to use this collection of objects to help others — scholars, students and non-academics alike — make “moral, spiritual, and intellectual sense of [the] world” by deploying these resources to the teaching and celebration of the humanities as a vital pursuit for our city, state and nation. Through his objects, I can see a young Carl Weeks trying to answer that big humanities question — what does it mean to be human? — and I relish the thought of having his collection assist generation after generation in their own efforts to understand.

Toward this end, we are in the planning phases of a collaborative program with several other humanities-based institutions around the state of Iowa, and will soon announce a Spring 2013 event that will serve as a pilot/kick-off program for a state-wide celebration of the humanities, centered at Salisbury House. We hope you will follow this blog and our Facebook page to keep abreast of this exciting project as it develops, and to learn more about the many incredible objects (and the places and people with which they are associated) at Salisbury House, and how they give meaning, substance, perspective or resonance to so many important topics today.

Carl and Edith Weeks: Book Smugglers?

The Library at Salisbury House contains an undeniably important collection of early 20th Century, English-language literature and manuscripts, providing yet another enduring testament to the high levels of critical foresight and refinement that Carl and Edith Weeks applied when making their various cultural acquisitions. Interestingly enough, the act of purchasing some of the most important books in the Library also likely involved Carl and Edith skirting the laws of the day, as the works of James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, Sinclair Lewis, William Faulkner and many others were banned regionally, nationally or even internationally at the time of their publication.

Consider James Joyce’s Ulysses. There are three copies in the Salisbury House Library: one from the 1,000-copy first edition from 1922, one signed and illustrated by Henri Matisse for the Limited Editions Club in 1935, and one “ordinary edition, 2 vols., in worn box” (per our inventory notes) published in Hamburg in 1932. Now consider the legal and literary environment within which Carl and Edith acquired these books (with thanks to Anne Lyon Haight’s Banned Books: 387 B.C. to 1978 A.D. for reference):

1918: Early installments of Ulysses published in The Little Review were burned by the U.S. Post Office.

1922: Imported copies of Ulysses were burned by the U.S Post Office.

1923: 499 Copies of Ulysses were burned by English customs authorities, 500 copies were burned by the U.S. Post Office, and U.S. federal courts ruled against its legal publication; as a result of this latter action, no copyright existed in the United States and Joyce received no royalties from thousands of pirated editions in the years ahead.

1929: Ulysses is banned in England.

1930: A copy of Ulysses sent to Random House is seized by the Collector of Customs as obscene.

Contraband from Carl and Edith’s Library.

It was not until 1933, in fact, that courts in the United States finally ruled that Ulysses was legal for importation, publication and distribution to the Nation’s citizens, following a series of cases and appeals spawned by another copy of the book being captured by Customs upon import. Did Carl and Edith own one of their first two copies before then? I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that they did, since there’s clear evidence of their wanting (and getting) things hot of the presses during their peak collecting years. Did they break the letter or spirit of the law, or violate the social mores of their era, to get it? You be the judge.

The Salisbury House Library also contains a massive collection of signed, first-edition works by D.H. Lawrence, along with many pieces of correspondence with and about him. His works were perhaps even more controversial (and illegal) in the United States, with Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Women in Love and Paintings being banned for import by Customs in 1929. Amazingly enough, it was not until 1959 that an unexpurgated version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover was published in the United States — and it was immediately seized by the Post Office and impounded, resulting in a year-long legal battle that finally removed the book’s stigma as a piece of literary contraband.

By the time a reader could legally purchase a complete, domestic edition of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, its author had been dead for 30 years, Edith Weeks had been dead for five years, and Carl Weeks had but one year left in his long life. I think it’s a testament to Carl’s tenacity in pursuit of great literature that he apparently purchased a copy of that 1959 edition, making it one of the dozen or so final additions to the Library in his lifetime. That (legal) 1959 edition of Lady Chatterley’s Lover still shares shelf-space with a signed original (illegal) 1928 edition, as well as two (illegal) pirated American editions published in the late 1920s.

So bravo for our wise book smugglers at Salisbury House, who knew and recognized great art when they saw it. We’re all the better for their efforts.

Note: September 30 to October 6 is the 30th Annual Observance of Banned Book Week. We will be featuring famously banned books from the Salisbury House Library throughout the week on our Facebook page, so be sure to follow us there. We will also be placing a selection of banned works in Lafe’s Bedroom for public viewing, so come and see us . . . the leaves are turning, it’s a joy to see.

A Message to Garcia: Up Close and Personal

Elbert Hubbard’s A Message to Garcia (1901) is an incredibly meaningful document in the lives of generations of United States Naval Academy graduates (like me), as it has long been used as an early and important part of the Plebe Summer training curriculum. It’s fundamental message? When you are a given a job to do, you just go and you get the job done. End of story.

Seems pretty obvious on some plane, but the language of the piece — not to mention the crucible within which most Naval Academy alumni first encountered it — leaves it looming large in our collective subconsciousness. In fact, there are few insults that sting as much as having a fellow member of the august Naval Academy community look you in the eye and say “message to Garcia” when you’re whining about not being able to get something done. It’s a powerful piece that resonates.

A couple of days ago, I was going through the database of rare books and documents contained in the Salisbury House Library, working to pull some records for an Iowa history project we’re working on. There was a long section in the database citing “Hubbard, Elbert” as the author of a variety of periodicals, books, or the initiator of various pieces of correspondence, including a hand-made Christmas Card sent to Carl and Edith Weeks, who built Salisbury House.

It took a few seconds for the proper neurons to close, and for me to realize that this was actually the author of A Message to Garcia. So I scrolled back up into the database, and discovered that we have five rare copies of early versions of this formative masterwork here at Salisbury House, along with scores of other tomes by its author. Hubbard was an accomplished man, until tragically being killed (with his wife) in the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915. Carl Weeks admired him and his writing, and maintained correspondence with him for some period of time, and after his passing, continued what appeared to be an affectionate relationship with his son, Elbert Hubbard II, who provided Carl with some of his father’s original manuscripts.

Needless to say, it was a real treat for me to be able to grab a key out of my file cabinet, walk up a flight of stairs, and see some of these rare, early editions of A Message to Garcia, including a reproduction of the original hand-written manuscript provided to Carl Weeks by Elbert II. I reproduce some images below for those who have also been moved by the power of these words over the years. Enjoy!

Front cover of the 1901 edition; Fra Elbertus was a Hubbard pseudonym.

Front-page of the 1901 edition. Hubbard’s Roycrofters printed high-quality, limited edition books with exquisite designs and bindings.

First page of text of the 1901 edition. Much nicer looking than the smudged mimeograph version I first encountered in 1982!

A personalized manuscript portfolio provided to Carl Week by Elbert Hubbard II.

Cover page of the manuscript portfolio.

Certification of authenticity signed by Elbert Hubbard II.

First page of Hubbard’s hand-written manuscript of “A Message to Garcia.”

Last page of Hubbard’s hand-written manuscript.