THE LIBRARY 4 NTFEN
Published monthly from 0 Ir tolt) r
Hamilton Smith Library t University /
of New Ham /
Entered as second-class matter October 10, 1927, at the post e at *ha i t mpshire, under the
act of August 24, 191 '
Vol. 15 APRIL, 1940 No. 7
THE AVERY HOPWOOD AWARD NOVEL
THE LOON FEATHER, by lola Fuller.
Here is a book written with the beautiful cadences and dignity of phrase to be
found in the speech of all regal beings. And it is fitting that it is so, for this novel
purports to be the personal history of a princess of the Great Lakes Indians in the
early years of the last century. Tecumseh's daughter, Oneta, knew her father
from the legends of her mother's tribe, for that great warrior was killed in 1814,
when Oneta was only six. But she reverenced him and his statesmanship and all
men honored her as the daughter of a chief. A loon feather was a token of joy to
the Ojibways; joy, a serene inner calm, was Oneta's greatest asset. She welcomed
each falling loon feather as a confirmation of her joy in living.
It was no surprise when her mother remarried soon after Tecumseh's death;
it was expected of her. That she should marry Pierre Debans, the fastidious and
scholarly clerk of the trading post, was fitting. Pierre was a fine man, not of
Tecumseh's stature, but outstanding in his quiet way. And although she died
soon after their son, Paul, was born, Pierre and Oneta remembered her gentle
ways, and were bound together by their love for her. During the twelve long
years when Oneta was kept in the convent in Quebec, although she outwardly
assumed the white man's way, her heart was ever in the mores of the Ojibways,
and only her sense of duty to Pierre and her mother brought her back to Mackinac
Island as Pierre's daughter, and not Tecumseh's. But her heritage was not to be
disowned, and it was as Tecumseh's daughter that she fulfilled her destiny after all.
THE GOSPEL OF THE SOIL
THE AGRARIAN REVIVAL, by Russell Lord.
Throughout the last twenty-five years a rapidly growing army of Extension
workers has labored in nearly every county in the United States to help and instruct
the farmers and to improve the standards of rural life. Now Russell Lord, most
famous of Extension editors, puts down in a short and lively history the story of
this organization, its aims and methods, and how it is supported. The Federal
Government, county authorities, and the fifty-five Land Grant colleges provide the
money that keeps this service going. County agents, home demonstrators, and
boys' and girls' club agents are its representatives in the field. But there is more
to it than this: there are directors and political policies, battles that must be fought
if the cause of the farmer is to be advanced, and long-time plans to be made to con-
serve and restore our soil and other resources instead of wasting them for present
gain. It is especially interesting for us in New Hampshire to read here about one
of our own Extension men, Mr. Henry Bailey Stevens, for the tribute paid to
him is a fine one indeed. Many of us have seen his plays and pageants, among
them Lincoln Reckons Up, but few of us realize that in England this was considered
the best one act play of 1934.
LETTERS TO MARY, by Catherine Hayes Brown.
This is a biography of Helen Hayes written by her mother to Helen's daughter
Mary. (It was a nice idea for the family circle, but the salutations and closings
pall after a few pages.) Helen's earliest, and perhaps her luckiest "break" was
having Lew Fields see her impersonation of a Gibson Girl when she was about
five years old. This was at a school concert given at the Belasco Theatre in Wash-
ington. Fields rocked with laughter and then wrote the manager of the theatre
that if her parents should consider allowing her to go on the stage, he wanted to be
the first to see her. Shortly after this, Helen played Prince Charles in The Royal
Family and started on the path which reached such triumphal heights in Victoria
Regina. Helen Hayes is a born actress, but these Letters reveal that her mother
has contributed an inestimable share to her success. Ladies and Gentlemen, Helen's
latest play, was adapted by her husband Charles MacArthur, and Ben Hecht.
Charles pays "Brownie" a fine tribute in his foreword.
A SECRET HISTORY
I CONFESS, by Ben Gitlow.
Gitlow has written this book on a vital phase of recent American history, the
facts of which had to come from someone on the "inside." As a communist in the
United States he had this inside information. Max Eastman says of the book:
"Gitlow has written an historical and political work of vital importance, and one
which will probably never be replaced." Gitlow ends with: "Democracy is some-
thing more than a shibboleth. The history of Man is a sanguine record of stubborn
struggles against oppression, of countless sacrifices for the sake of freedom. We
cannot lightly surrender this dearly-won heritage. . If democracy in America,
precious for all its imperfections, were to be replaced by a Communist dictatorship,
a new American Revolution would have to be fought to reestablish the rights of
Man. Economic security and freedom go hand in hand. Only through the demo-
cratic process can both be achieved."
HAMLET BEFORE SHAKESPEARE
HAMLET HAD AN UNCLE, by Branch Cabell.
Interest in the melancholy character of Hamlet inspired Shakespeare, a long
time ago, to write a rather definitive play, communicating a sense of the unpleasant-
ness likely to attend upon a sensitive intellect's search for satisfaction in generally
unregenerate activity. Well, and now Branch Cabell has turned his attention
similarly to the subject of Hamlet's inner nature, and to the astonishing activities
involving that famous prince. Mr. Cabell is endowed by Providence with colossal
genius in the art of arranging words end to end beautifully, and he has sensitively
explored in the histories of ancient Denmark, Jutland, and England, which Shakes-
peare unquestionably slighted. Yet in this new book, the literary texture of which
is sumptuous, the conviction he most determinedly makes bold as the result of his
researches is to the effect that Shakespeare equipped his characters with insufficient
libido. In a suitably complicated story, Mr. Cabell here supplies that deficiency.
An important distinction existing between the two ingenious versions of Hamlet
now available is, that while Cabell's prince has traits in common with Shakespeare's
misunderstood and introverted hero, Shakespeare's Hamlet could not have been
PORTRAITS OF THE PEOPLE
NEW ENGLAND YEAR, by Muriel Follett.
A Vermont farmer's wife writes this calm, matter-of-fact recording of one
year's everyday events, setting forth in a simple fashion the happenings of their
home life. "Rob had to go to Brattleboro after grain this morning." "Jean made
pancakes for breakfast all by herself." "The white maple trees are in bloom and
their red flowers are gorgeous." These are typical sentences, but far from seeming
to announce trivialities and becoming tiresome, they become vibrant with meaning
as one realizes the fullness of the lives behind the commonplaces described. For
when one lives on a Vermont hilltop and has a taste for beauty and a zest for life
as has the Follett family no task can be too dull or no event 'too ordinary to have
its own significance and charm.
BODY, BOOTS and BRITCHES, by Harold W. Thompson.
This interesting title is a proverbial expression meaning "the whole thing."
However, Professor Thompson explains that the present volume of some five hun-
dred pages of New York State folklore, ballads and local history does not begin
to cover the subject. His class in Folk-Literature of America at the state college
in Albany, gathered much of the material. Here are pirates, horse-traders, sailors,
canawlers, lovelorn maidens and a host of other folk, in some of the tallest tales,
the jolliest ballads you'll meet in a month of Sundays. There is a chapter on place-
names and one on proverbs. If you are looking for a story to start that after-
dinner speech, here is a happy hunting ground, and if you like folklore, this book
will certainly rate a choice place in your collection.
BOOKS FOR THE MUSIC-MINDED
BOLERO, THE LIFE OF MAURICE RAVEL, by Madeleine Goss.
Perhaps it is unfortunate that Ravel is most popularly known for a piece which,
to him, was merely a study in orchestration, the building up of one tremendous
crescendo with one constantly repeated rhythm. Far greater are his charming bal-
lets, particularly Ma Mere L'Oye, written for two children he knew, and Daphnis
and Chloe. These are fantasies of the greatest delicacy and rich color, beautifully
adapted to the ballet, but also popular as orchestra numbers. Strangely enough,
this is the first book on the life of Ravel ever written in English. It seems to be
as thoughtfully prepared, as clear, and as well-polished as one of the meticulous
little Frenchman's own compositions. He wrote continually, yet he probably com-
pleted fewer works than any of the outstanding composers. This is because every-
thing he turned out was absolutely perfect. There were few failures. As much
as it is possible to know so quiet yet individual a man, you will know him in
THE WELL TEMPERED LISTENER, by Deems Taylor.
Audiences of the New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra Broadcasts
know Mr. Taylor well. His brief, informative and dryly humorous comments are
welcome interruptions on those Sunday afternoon broadcasts. That few persons
resent Mr. Taylor's intrusion into this great musical series speaks well for his
skill. That skill, his ability to present briefly relevant or irrelevant musical ma-
terial, is to be seen at its best in this new book. Like its predecessor, Of Men and
Music, it is based on Mr. Taylor's radio talks. With his customary nonchalance,
he ranges widely-from Beethoven in a "jam session" to Sir James Jean's umbrella.
To preserve some sort of unity, the book has been divided into three sections: The
Makers, The Givers, The Hearers, in which the author speaks familiarly about the
composers, the musicians and orchestras, and lastly, his "well-tempered listeners."
AN AUGUSTAN PORTRAIT
CAROLINE OF ENGLAND, by Peter Quennell.
'To quote Mr. Quennell's foreword: "My study of Caroline of Anspach and
England does not profess to be a work of intensive historical research . what
I have-attempted to do is to compose the portrait of a remarkable woman in the
setting of one of the least known periods of English history. . ." One might add
that the book is also a portrait of the times of George II.
CORSAGE IN THE JUNGLE
THE ORCHID HUNTERS, by Norman MacDonald.
..rrchtd-Hunters is distinctly a travel book not a botanical book; there is more
about the hunters than the hunted. And if youf think hunting the rare, delicate
exotic orchid is a tame ladylike occupation takea try at it! Norman MacDonald
and:Frank McKay grew tired of office routine and with no qualifications decided
to hunt orchids; it meant hard work and success or ... I do not know which is
worse, to be bitten by a Colombian chinch or the lure of the orchid.
WHEN PAINTING WAS IN FLOWER
WESTERN EUROPEAN PAINTING OF THE RENAISSANCE,
by Frank Jewett Mather, Jr.
This informative, critical book on painting, from the Van Ecks to Velasquez,
is as full of detail as an encyclopedia. Yet it is rescued from dullness by the touch
of personal opinion. It has over four hundred illustrations which were direct
photographs .of the original masterpieces, including the work of many less known
artists. To read it thoroughly is to assume no light task, but realize the super-
human effort required to compile it, and appreciate the keen enjoyment of the
author in his own discoveries and learning. How well he presents 15th Century
life for us, by the use of his vast reading knowledge and much careful study of
the art works themselves.
OTHER NEW BOOKS
WAR WITHOUT VIOLENCE, by Krishnalal Shridharani.
THE TREES, by Conrad Richter.
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, by Salvador De Madariaga.
HOMEWARD TO AMERICA, by John Ciardi.
THE OTHER GERMiANY, by Erika and Klaus Mann.
I BELIEVE, by Clifton Fadiman.
DAYS OF MY LIFE, by Flo V. Menninger.