Friday, March 22, 2019

Hunting and Gathering - Find of the Month #3

Welcome back to my new feature, Hunting and Gathering - Find of the Month, 
where I share an unusual treasure recently found. 

Today, I'm sharing an interesting find -- a surprising book by author Eugene Field called 
"The Tribune Primer."

I assumed this was a harmless little book by a man I always thought of as a sweet,
loving soul who wrote the well-known children's poem, "Wynken, Blynken and Nod."

(You can read more about Eugene Field in a previous post by clicking HERE.)
I'm especially interested in him as my local library is named for him.

He lived in this sweet little cottage in my neighborhood
that later served as a small branch library. 

Well, hang on to your hat!
This book, written in 1882 and published in 1900, was definitely not meant for children. 

I bought it to add to my collection of Eugene Field books without reading the story. 
Boy, was I shocked when I finally skimmed through it at home. 

As Field worked as the editor of Denver's newspaper, The Denver Tribune,
he must have meant this book to be a sarcastic picture of the culture and politics of the day.

Are you ready for some excerpts?

"Here is a Man who has just stopped his paper. What a miserable looking Creature he is. 
One of these Days he will break his leg or be a candidate for Office and then the Paper will
Say Nothing about it. That will be treating him just right, will it not, little children?"

It gets worse!

"This is a gun. Is the Gun loaded? Let's find out.
Put the Gun on the table and you, Susie, blow down one barrel while you,
Charlie blow down the other. Bang! Yes, it was loaded. 
Run quick and pick up Susie's head and Charlie's lower jaw 
before the Nasty Blood gets over the new carpet."

Can you believe it?
What happened to the sweet man who wrote children's poetry?

There's more.

"Here we have a Knife. If you are Good,
perhaps the Editor will Give it to you to cut off the Cat's tail."

The whole book is like this. Disturbing, isn't it?
However, at the time it was published, these comments were
thought to explore the darkly comic aspects of life and government hypocrisy.

This book sure came of the left "Field!"
So, what do you think of Mr. Field's primer?



  1. Surprised it was published, doesn't appear to be for children and he sounds angry. Not quite a satire, comedy or political, just a man venting in a weird way. Very strange book. I once read a book from a well known author, and this particular book upset me so much I immediately tossed it in the trash. They know they are well known and people will read their book because of their popularity and it is just trash and a destroyer of goodness. Since then, I refuse to read any of his books.

  2. I was shocked. You had told me about him before and the poem he wrote. It sounds as if he was a disturbed man. Very interesting. I wonder how it was received in the day. It does make an unusual addition to your collection.

  3. Wow, Pat that's pretty bizarre for sure. Great find! xo Kathleen

  4. We have such a rosy view of history sometimes.

    We have such violent rants in public these days but we don't realize these kinds of things have been said since the beginning of time. You can find them in so many civilizations going back forever. I think we don't hear about these things often because each generation tries to forget...or even erase the bad parts. I haven't heard of this particular one before.

    What I think will be interesting is to see what is kept back from our current time. With today's technology, the very evil & bad things we do are recorded beyond our control even. Even just the embarrassingly bad things we do when we're young. And the way some people search for bad things about others so they can shine a light on it to the world...future generations may be even more shocked by today's standards than by things like this book.

    I expect when the book was written, most people didn't think anything bad at all about it. I wouldn't be surprised if it was used to teach children lessons.

    There have always been bad & good.....& we are each capable of both whether we admit it or not.

  5. People are complicated and have many sides to their story. Looks like he certainly did.

  6. Great find! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm. xo Kathleen