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From the desk of Alison Gibson, Director
Ah, roller coaster to the end of the year has officially started—it is November!
Last week we talked a little bit about how early baby shows became an organized event. We decided to look into a few more local papers to see if it stayed strong in the nineteenth century. There was a long description of the 1854 Clark Co. baby show in the Bee—and it wasn’t just local babies as one from Philadelphia came in third. 12-15,000 persons were present to watch the long and anxious deliberation. By 1855, it was going ‘national’ with a comment in the Bee in 1855 that a baby show was going to be in Boston with premiums totaling $2,400.00. Ripley man Cyrus Howard takes a tour of the western states in 1871 and stops in Douglas Co. Kansas for the county fair, and the baby show took almost the entire crowd away from the horse racing going on at the same time. Again, very specific categories such as ‘prettiest and best developed baby under one year old’ and a twist with ‘handsomest family of not less that three under twelve years old’. Locally, in the Industrial Fair of Ripley in 1884 Arless Stephenson was awarded first premium, with Thomas Mefford second. In a correspondence column it was noted that there were only 6 contestants. Higginsport had a baby show during their 4th of July celebration in 1885.
It is hard to read just one column of the Bee, so while reading Cyrus Howard’s letter, a short piece on Ripley’s Valley Gem Pianos caught our attention. From the Cincinnati Daily Trade and Exposition Bulletin: ‘Its wonderful power of tone, which beautifully fills the immense halls, is admirably combined with a full, broad, and extraordinarily even scale. For elasticity of touch and brilliant action the Gem is unequalled. –As parlor ornament these pianos are indeed a happy success, being elegantly finished in darkly stained and highly polished rosewood. If we consider the construction of the Valley Gem, its very low price and style, its compass and singular union of delicacy and strength with fit it at once for the accomplished amateur or the gifted professional player and the exigencies of the necessarily rough usage of the school room, we need not be surprised that the the company is occasionally delayed in filling their…orders, and supplying their demands for their services. They have recently, however, secured the attendance of mire skilled workmen, and from henceforth the Gem will be, we are glad to hear, promptly supplied.’ Fun to read about a Ripley product, especially in such descriptive writing!
Thanks to the Friends for once again pulling off a successful Trunk or Treat on Monday evening.