Four-twine-bound Collection of Manuscripts, 1909-1911

Many of the manuscripts that came to me in the trunk of Earl C. Davis’ writings were “singles,” individual manuscripts, sermons or other kinds of manuscripts, held together with a push-pin or sometimes a loop of string. In some cases, manuscripts were collected together in a group, as with the nine manuscripts presented under this heading.

While these manuscripts are undated, internal evidence clearly dates them to the years 1909-1911. The United States went through a recession in 1908, and there was increasing labor unrest, including a general strike in Philadelphia in 1910. These difficulties provide some of the backdrop to these manuscripts.

One of the manuscripts, “What about City Government,” has a clear notation that it was written for the “Pipe and Pen Club,” presumably some periodic gathering to discuss issues of the day. It is possible that all–or nearly all (the address given at the presentation of diploma, clearly not)–of these manuscripts were prepared for that gathering. They do not read like sermons.

Among the bound manuscripts was a single page on which ink had spilled. It is curious that it is included among the manuscripts. But it is also surprisingly engaging.