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Here is the poster for the exhibit beginning February 22.

Leigh_Anne_Casell_Poster

 

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Another reason to love historical fiction!

The first work I read by Joyce Carol Oates was “The Poisoned Kiss and Other Stories from the Portuguese“. Then I read her Gothic novels, “Bellefleur,” “A Bloodsmore Romance,” and  “The Mysteries of Winterthurn.” I took a break from her work for a very long time, and recently picked up “The Accursed” which lead me to my post on Woodrow Wilson, who was a character in this story during the time when he was president of Princeton University (1902 – 1920).

This week, I finished reading the second book from an additional favorite  author, Lyndsay Faye, “Seven for a Secret,” the second of the Timothy Wilde series, the first being “Gods of Gotham“, both of which take place in 1840s New York.

Timothy Wilde, a “copper star,” learned about a particularly vile form of law enforcement, “blackbirders” who kidnapped free northern blacks and sold them into slavery. The book contains several quotes and, not surprisingly, quotes from “Twelve Years a Slave, Narrative of Solomon Northrup, a Citizen of New York, Kidnapped in Washington City and Rescued in 1853 from a Cotton Plantation near the Red River in Louisiana” which won a Golden Globe Award for Best Picture  – Drama and  has been nominated for nine Academy Awards.

A quote that Ms. Faye included in her book was one that struck me particularly. Here is the complete paragraph from pages 206 & 207 of the Narrative:

“There may be humane masters, as there certainly are inhuman ones—there may be slaves well-clothed, well-fed, and happy, as there surely are those half-clad, half-starved and miserable; nevertheless, the institution that tolerates such wrong and inhumanity as I have witnessed, is a cruel, unjust, and barbarous one. Men may write fictions portraying lowly life as it is, or as it is not—may expatiate with owlish gravity upon the bliss of ignorance—discourse flippantly from arm chairs of the pleasures of slave life; but let them toil with him in the field—sleep with him in the cabin—feed with him on husks; let them behold him scourged, hunted, trampled on, and they will come back with another story in their mouths. Let them know the heart of the poor slave—learn his secret thoughts—thoughts he dare not utter in the hearing of the white man; let them sit by him in the silent watches of the night—converse  in trustful confidence, of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and they will find that ninety-nine out of every hundred are intelligent enough to understand their situation, and to cherish in their bosoms the love of freedom, as passionately as themselves.” [emphasis added.]

This Narrative was published in 1853, one year after the publication of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,  or Life Among the Lowly.” Theodore Weld wrote “American Slavery As It Is: Testimony of A Thousand Witnesses” and it was published in 1839.  I can’t help but think that Solomon Northrup was directing this comment toward Harriet Beecher Stowe and Theodore Weld followers. These two authors fell from different branches on the abolitionist tree. Harriett Beecher Stowe was an abolitionist along the lines of gradual emancipation and “returning” the slaves to Africa, otherwise known as colonization. Theodore Weld, who attended Harriet Beecher Stowe’s father, Lyman Beecher’s school, the Lane Theological Seminary School located in Cincinnati, Ohio, was of the immediate emancipation branch. Weld broke away from the school in 1834 when the school’s trustees prohibited the discussion of slavery, and Weld held debates anyway for 14 days in February 1834, while Lyman Beecher was out of town. When Weld was kicked out of Lane, he took the financial backing of the Tappan brothers. Lewis and Arthur, with him to Oberlin College.

In 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act, part of the Compromise Act, was passed to strengthen the existing Fugitive Slave Act of 1783, which was also passed to enforce Article 4, Clause 3  of the United States, which stated:

No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

This was the foundation upon which fugitive slaves were to be returned to their owners. Article 4 on the whole is fundamentally an article outlining the relationship between the states and the federal government. On the up side, it requires the states to recognize the laws of public acts, records and court proceedings of other states. This article is extremely important to civil rights in the United States, starting with slavery, to inter-racial marriage, violence against women and same-sex marriage.

Harriet Beecher Stowe often stated that it was the Fugitive Slave Act which compelled her to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Every once in a while, I have to remind myself that the federal government used slave labor (and was sometimes sued for non-payment for services), so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that congressional representatives at the time would, more likely than not, reflect the sentiments of that government. In the newspaper, Radical Abolitionist, dated July 1856, Dr. James C. Jackson, of Glen Haven, NY said:

What new thing is it with us, that a man like Charles Sumner is knocked down?

And if you don’t recall, Charles Sumner was nearly killed on the  Senate floor two days after giving his speech, The Crime Against Kansas: The Apologies for the Crime; The True Remedy, in May 1856, the same month John Brown and his volunteers killed five men associated with the pro-slavery Law and Order Party  in Pottawatomie, Kansas. So much for the other parts of the Constitution – the Second Amendment.

It was in this same  publication that the Radical Abolitionists nominated Gerrit Smith (one of John Brown’s Secret Six) for President of the United States. It was also reported that at the Republican Convention, Mr. Lincoln of Illinois received 110 votes for Vice President, second to Mr. William Dayton of New Jersey who received 259 votes in the informal ballot.

Dr. Beriah  Green, a close associate of Gerrit Smith, who made a speech at the Radical Abolitionist convention,  made what I think sums up the federal government’s complicity in slavery correctly.

It has been affirmed, more than once, by names making a prominent figure in the sphere of politics, and enjoying a large amount of the general confidence, that slavery, from the very commencement of our political history, has been especially,  prominently, and constantly, a cherished and petted  “institution” of what bears the name of Government.  … The thing has not only been endured by the Government – it has not only been cherished by the Government, but it has been regarded as pre-eminently, controllingly, the object to which, in the measures they might devise, they have been devoted. … I know it  is claimed that the people at large are deceived and devoted to freedom ; … There will always be found a striking correspondence between those who grant office and those who hold office. We have therefore to refer this to a majority of those who wield power in this republic. …. If we look a little more earnestly, we shall be constrained to admit, that slavery without us, has its origin in slavery within us. A man will give expression to his own appropriate character. What he may be, within himself, he will be … in the objects he may pursue. … The fetters, the chains and the whips – whatever belongs to slavery, as it presents itself to they eye, has its origin within the depths of the human spirit.

Readers are reminded that the Republican Party platform at the time did not propose the suppression of the slave trade between the states, it did not propose the prohibition of slavery in the District of Columbia (which was, and continues to be, in many ways, under the exclusive jurisdiction of Congress), and failed to propose a repeal of the Fugitive Slave bill.

Frederick Douglass was present at the convention and was reported to have made two speeches. The second one was directed at the Republican Party attendees who sympathized with the abolitionist cause:

You are called Black Republicans. What right have you to that name? Among all the Candidates you have selected, or talked of, I have not seen or heard of a single black one. (Laughter.) Nor have I seen one mentioned with any prospect of success, who is friendly to the black man in his sympathies, or an advocate for the restoration of is rights. … And then there is the man who was struck down in the Senate; and he is the man you would be  first to elevate, if acting on the tactics of Napoleon. … If you want to give us an example of your Black Republicanism – of your determination to resist and defy the Slave power, take Charles Sumner, and make him master at Washington.

to be continued …

The Radical Abolitionist, July 1856, Volume I, Number 12, edited by William Goodell, is available for purchase at Steam at Harper’s Ferry.

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Steam at Harper’s Ferry is pleased to announce a solo exhibition featuring the works of Leigh Anne Cassell from February 22 through March 30. The Gallery’s theme for this exhibit is “Rêves et Rêveurs – Dreams and Dreamers” drawing inspiration from the book “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern. Visitors are encouraged to participate on opening day wearing theme colors white, red and black.

by Leigh Anne Cassell

by Leigh Anne Cassell

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Exhibit “Winter Themes and Best of Steam – 2013” continues through February 2, 2014

On view through February 2, 2014 are the works of our most popular artists including Eric Holstine’s “Celestial Escape” and “Melton the Mechanical Marvel,”; Leigh Anne Cassell’s “Steampunk Dr. Who,” Jason Edwards’s “Captain Tomorrow Gives Chase in His Red Balloon,” and Christopher Loggie’s “Steampunk Nutcracker,” as well as our most popular 3D images and Steampunk Advent Calendar.

What’s New at Steam

Gil Narro Garcia’s steampunk-inspired pins are now available at Steam at Harper’s Ferry! You may have seen his sculpture at the Artomatic @ Jefferson event in October 2013. Come by and take a look!

Please put February 22 and April 26 on your calendars for 2014. Leigh Anne Cassell and Eric Holstine will have solo shows in the gallery on those dates, respectively. We are always looking for new folks to come in and show their work, so there will be a call to artists in early 2014 for our next open call exhibit. Over the course of the year, we will feature several local and regional artists.

3rd Annual Bolivar-Harper’s Ferry Community Art Walk – April 26 and 27, 2014

Getting ready for the 3rd Annual Bolivar-Harper’s Ferry Community Art Walk scheduled for April 26 and 27, 2014. Please keep up with developments on the facebook page.

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Steam at Harper’s Ferry prides itself in its original newspaper collection, which includes titles such as Scientific American, Harper’s Weekly, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated and The New York Herald. Perhaps some will appeal to historians you know as you consider Christmas gifts! Here are some samples.

Harper’s WEEKLY, New York, November 26, 1859 (only 1)

Frontpage illustrations from Wilkie Collins’ “The Woman in White.”  Interior and backpage sketches by Porte Crayon about the “late outbreak.” Doublepage centerfold illustrations “Fall Games” being “The Elephant” and “The Apple-bee” The issue is complete in 16 pages, in good condition, containing additional illustrations and text.

En Route to Harpers Ferry Nov 26 1859

$41.95 plus shipping and handling.

Frank Leslie’s ILLUSTRATED Newspaper, December 17, 1864 (only 1)

Frontpage full-page illustration of Consecration of the Roman Catholic Cathedral at Philadelphia. Doublepage centerfold illustrations “The Hotels of New York City that were set on Fire by Rebel Incendiaries on the Evening of November 25.” Including the Tamany Hotel, Barnum’s American Museum, Lovejoy’s Hotel, St. Nicholas Hotel. The issue is complete in 16 pages, in good condition (some earmarks), containing additional illustrations and text.

 

$31.95 plus shipping and handling

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Jason has been at it again! Here is his latest video featuring Steam exclusive Christmas cards and our new Cogwheel and Spokes Advent calendar!

Steam would also like to welcome the unique pins made by local artist, Gil Narro Garcia! Gil is best known for his work with natural objects and sculpture. He recently created a timely and provocative series called “Surveillance I -V.” His work pins are available for sale, just in time for the holidays. Welcome to Steam, Gil!

This coming weekend, Olde Tyme Christmas continues in Harper’s Ferry. Hope to see you at the Gallery!

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Exhibit “Winter Themes and Best of Steam – 2013” – November 29, 2013 – February 2, 2014

On view from November 29, 2013 until February 2, 2014 are the works of our most popular artists including Eric Holstine’s “Celestial Escape” and “Melton the Mechanical Marvel,”; Leigh Anne Cassell’s “Steampunk Dr. Who,” Jason Edwards’s “Captain Tomorrow Gives Chase in His Red Balloon,” and Christopher Loggie’s “Steampunk Nutcracker,” as well as our most popular 3D images and Steampunk Advent Calendar.

 

 

What’s New at Steam

Thanks to everyone who participated in our in-gallery survey, we’ve brought in more of what you love! More tiny top hats! More prints! More books! The feedback was wonderful and resulted in not only new items in the gallery, but helped us identify our most popular art and artists! Please put February 22 and April 26 on your calendars for 2014. Leigh Anne Cassell and Eric Hostine will have solo shows in the gallery on those dates, respectively. We are always looking for new folks to come in and show their work, so there will be a call to artists in early 2014 for our next open call exhibit. Over the course of the year, we will feature several local and regional artists.

43rd Annual Harpers Ferry/Bolivar Olde Tyme Christmas

On December 6-8 and 15-15, 2013, come celebrate the 43rd Annual Olde Tyme Christmas! There will be live entertainment, children’s activities and extended shopping hours. Not to be missed is the reception and opening ceremony starting at 6:30 on December 6. After the ceremony, take a walk up to St. Peter’s church for a tree lighting and choir performance. Hope to see you this holiday season!

Artomatic in Jefferson County – A Great Success!

Artomatic@Jefferson was a great success for the month of October. If you weren’t able to participate this year, I understand that plans are underway for 2014.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from
Steam at Harper’s Ferry!

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From November 29, 2013 through February 2, 2014, Steam at Harper’s Ferry will be featuring popular artists including Eric Holstine’s “Celestial Escape” and “Melton the Mechanical Marvel,”; Leigh Anne Cassell’s “Steampunk Dr. Who,” Jason Edwards’s “Captain Tomorrow Gives Chase in His Red Balloon,” and Christopher Loggie’s “Steampunk Nutcracker,” as well as our most popular 3D images and Steampunk Advent Calendar.

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Even United States presidents get motoring to Harper’s Ferry to enjoy the view!

The Washington Post reported on October 17, 1915 (WILSON AT OLD INN, Motors to Harpers Ferry and Country Dinner is Served, TIPS WAITRESS WHEN HE PAYS) that President Wilson and his fiance, Mrs. Norman Galt, along with his cousins, Misses Lucy and Mary Smith of New Orleans motored to Harper’s Ferry for lunch.  (NYT version here.)

“The party left the White House yesterday morning without telling even White House officials where they were going. It was raining and the roads were muddy, but the holiday makers were not to be discouraged, and noon found the White House car at Harpers Ferry, 72 miles away. At an inn overlooking the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers the President registered, writing ‘Woodrow Wilson and party.’ “

And what inn was this? Hill Top House, of course!

“Hill Top House is run by Thomas Lovett, who took the greatest pleasure in escorting the party over the hotel, taking them on to the great balcony, where can be seen the beautiful country for miles around, including numerous points of historical interest. It happened that it will be 56 years today since the famous John Brown started his raiding at Harpers Ferry.”

They were served a dinner in the main dining room which sounds delicious! Roast lamb, fried chicken, boiled ham, creamed rice and corn dodgers the “well-known southern corn cakes.” President Wilson paid for the meal himself and tipped the waitress, Martha Smith.

Later that evening, the Woodrow Wilson party attended a performance of George Bernard Shaw‘s Androcles and the Lion at the Belasco in Washington, DC.

There you have it! Another reason to visit Harper’s Ferry this weekend!

P.S. The visit to Harper’s Ferry may not have been entirely coincidental. President Wilson was initially supported by W.E.B. Du Bois, as well as many other African American leaders, but President Wilson introduced segregationist policies for federal government employment. Woodrow Wilson has been identified as the presidential candidate who greatly encouraged African American voters to leave the Republican Party and join the Democratic Party. Another Niagara Movement participant figured in Woodrow Wilson’s policies toward African Americans, William Monroe Trotter. In July 1915, United States forces invaded Haiti which drew a lot of criticism from Du Bois. 

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Steam at Harper’s Ferry made it through another year. We are now in the midst of a federal government shut down which will certainly have an impact on all the merchants in the lower town who have come to rely on the Park being open and operating! Hopefully, this situation will be resolved quickly.

In the meantime, here are some positive reflections on our second year. So much was accomplished! In addition to expanding our artist roster and organizing a second annual Art Walk, we started a new imprint, Steam at Harper’s Ferry Press – introduced Steam-exclusive postcards, and participated as a vendor at a steampunk event!

None of this would have happened without the help and support of Jason Edwards who managed to stay a lot more calm than I over the course of this year.

October 2012

Steam was fortunate to have the works of Josh Aterovis and Mark Schumaker in the gallery. Josh specializes in steampunk jewelry comprised of antique watch parts and other embellishments. Mark Schumaker displayed his fantastic door knockers.

November 2012

In November, the popular exhibit “Steampunk Leisure” ended featuring the work of Teresa Dunham Cavagnaro a photographer from Hedgesville, WV and Nancy Kautz, a water color painter from Harpers Ferry, WV. The posters and 3D images by Steam’s resident Artist, Jason Edwards, were a big hit. Kasey Hendricks dropped off prints of her “Sleep in Heavenly Timepiece” illustration just in time for the holiday season!

December 2012

The 42nd Annual Harpers Ferry Olde Tyme Christmas was held the first two weekends of December. Jonah Knight performed in the gallery on opening day. In the exhibit “Winter Themes and Best of Steam” Steam featured many of our most popular artists, including Pith Helmet Provisions, Christopher Loggie, Kasey Hendricks, Josh Aterovis, Mark Schumaker and Jason Edwards. Steam re-installed our most popular 3D images with a new one featuring a view of Harper’s Ferry from Jefferson’s Rock. We had the good fortune to participate in a “Steampunk Stroll” organized by The Steampunk Family. In addition, we had some new steampunk espresso cups for sale which were made by local artist Phil Berneburg. Theresa Barth contributed to our festive decor with steampunk stockings which decorated our mantle. The letterpress was pumping away with our annual Christmas cards.

January 2013

Steam posted a call to artists for the next exhibit, “Big Top Steam.” We also posted our first guest book review of “Sapphire Blue” prepared by Theresa Barth. Also beginning this month, Steam started promoting the Second Annual Bolivar-Harper’s Ferry Community Art Walk. Harpers Ferry National Park Bookshop, Tenfold Fair Trade Collection, Westwind Potters, Mary Adams and Scoops were the first businesses to sign up!

February 2013

The “Big Top Steam” exhibit opened this month. Big Top Steam’s featured artists were Leigh Anne Cassell and Lindsey Donaldson with special installations by two additional artists, Eric Holstine and Phil Berneburg.

March 2013

Steam was awarded a grant from Aha! for the Second Annual Bolivar-Harper’s Ferry Community Art Walk! Our first Steam-exclusive postcards featuring Harper’s Ferry themes became available for purchase. March also saw the first publication under the Steam at Harper’s Ferry Press imprint “The Acme Corporation, a political science fiction fantasy, by V. Edwards Clarke. We also started our “Steam’s Got Tech” postcard series.

April 2013

This month was filled with preparations for the Second Annual Bolivar-Harper’s Ferry Community Art Walk starting at the Visitor’s Bureau in Bolivar and ending at the Harpers Ferry National Park Bookshop. All told, there were 21 participating venues and over 50 artists. Steam prepared commemorative woodblock prints for the event as well as commemorative bags which held various “goodies” supplied by some participating merchants and artists. Thanks go out to Theresa Barth and Kenzie Allen who volunteered to help greet walkers at the Hill Top parking lot (which looked awesome, by the way). The Big Top Steam exhibit closed this month. On April 26, Steam released its second publication under the Steam at Harper’s Ferry Press imprint “Of Steam and Spring – A Calliope Romance.” Illustrations by Kasey Hendricks.

May 2013

Jason Edwards had a solo show entitled “Aware Amusings” featuring some previously seen and unseen work from this collection. The next exhibit “Around the World” was announced with a call to artists. Steam added a third publication under its Steam at Harper’s Ferry Press imprint “Guide to Creating and Protecting Fictional Characters” which debuted at the Steampunk World’s Fair at a seminar called “Character Development and the Law” held by Cynthia Gayton. Illustrations by Jason Edwards.

June 2013

The “Aware Amusings” exhibit ends. The “Around the World” exhibit begins on June 29 featuring the work of John Hoffmaster and Leigh Anne Cassell. Chris Loggie is a guest artist for this exhibit, along with Steam’s Resident Artist, Jason Edwards, who prepared the promotional illustration. Theresa Barth dropped by some handmade France-themed tiny top hats for decoration. On June 28, Steam had a pre-opening reception with the artists as well as the Artomatic@Jefferson volunteer team.

July 2013

The “Around the World” exhibit continues. Steam began promoting exclusive new hand-painted goggles and handmade tiny top hats.

August 2013

The “Around the World” exhibit closes. Cynthia Gayton made a steampunk in literature presentation at the Bolivar-Harper’s Ferry Public Library on August 15. At the presentation, Steam distributed to attendees the first of a new postcard series featuring Jefferson County inventors. The featured inventors were Estelle Black, Royal Emerson Whitman and John Hall.

September 2013

Steam’s “Travels in Time” exhibit opens featuring the work of Eric Holstine, Leigh Anne Cassell and Jason Edwards. For the first time, Steam is a vendor at a steampunk event! On September 7, Steam at Harper’s Ferry was a vendor at The Steampunk Family’s Steampunk Croquet Picnic! It was a lot of fun.

Thank you, everyone, for your support!

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