Archive for July, 2011

James Agnew – link to Underground RR

July 31, 2011

There is always something more to learn.
James Agnew’s FIRST wife, Mary Caroline Gross, died at a young age of 31. She was a member of the 2nd Presbyterian church. Turns out, this was an underground railroad stop. It had a large clock tower that could be seen from across the river in KY. It is officially recognized as a stop on the Undergrd. RR. It had a basement & a tunnel that went under Main St., New Albany, IN. Anyway, it had some black church members back in those days. TODAY it is a 2nd Baptist (Black) church! Interesting, isn’t it.
Church was built in 1852, she died in 1874. I want to find out if people were buried at the church because I haven’t found any burial record for her yet & don’t know what she died of. Church was sold to the 2nd Baptists in 1889.
What this means is, it is possible our James Agnew & his 1st wife or her family were involved in the undergrd. railroad. Very interesting.


President Obama’s speech

July 26, 2011

The President addressed the nation tonight. He told the American people to call their Congressmen and women & tell them to quit playing games, raise the debt ceiling like it’s been done for every President throughout HISTORY UP TO TODAY, or we are in serious trouble. Then, his short speech ended & Boehner came on to get “equal time”! I was floored. Equal time? to the President? What does this mean? It means that our Congress, our out of touch, self absorbed elected “leaders” consider themselves SO COMPLETELY divided, that they believe the American people want to hear “both sides” because they are diametrically opposed to one another.

I cannot write in a blog the language I used in my own living room, but I have this to say to Mr. Boehner.

SHAME ON YOU! SHAME ON YOU, SHAME ON YOU. Who the “heck” do you think you are? Who are you serving? Who elected you? Who are your constituents? It certainly is not ME, one lowly worker whose husband just got laid off through no fault of his own. It’s not me you’re speaking to. You are obviously speaking to corporations, private companies who are mad its taken so long to let them take over and privatize Social Security and Medicare.

Go ahead guys, stop the presses, make it so the rest of the entire world looks over here and says, “Oh my gosh! The heck with their credit, they can’t even come to agreement enough to prevent a wholesale slaughter of their economy.” I got cold chills listening to tonight’s broadcast, because I realized, “It’s beyond the great divide. They are completely, totally divided, and they don’t care.” We are on our own, folks. We’re about to crumble and fall like a house of cards. We thought this last 3 year recession was bad, wait ’till we see what’s around the corner.

I would like to think that our Representatives will wake up and do something, even just for show, something to make it look like they care whether or not every social program in America is cut down to nothing. People are on the streets already, but the masses that could be there will be WAY beyond what we’re seeing today. Rather than people under the bridges and camped out in parks, we will see people dying in the streets en masse.

But I really don’t think they’re going to do anything. I think they are THAT FAR GONE. There is a point of no return, and it appears we are there. I believe Obama is one of the most progressive, far-sighted Presidents in our history, and could have taken us far. Perhaps we might have caught up somewhat with Europe and Asia. But they’re not going to let him do it. They are hell bent on stopping him, and they don’t care if they take down the whole country to do it.

Caldecotts 1967-71

July 25, 2011

It’s trying to rain but the rain, thunder and dark clouds just keep rolling on by. They don’t stop here.

Counting gender. Caldecotts of 1967-71:

Names in Titles of Books: 15 male, 3 female.

Main characters in titles of books: 12 male, 2 female.

Main character of stories: 17 males, 3 females, some of which are not in the title or front cover illustration.

Illustrations on front cover: 23 males, 5 females.

Illustrations on title pages: 18 male, 2 female.

Male “Single-gender” illustrations, meaning, the # of pictures where ONLY males or ONLY females are represented: 243.

Female ”    ”    ”   : 12.

Total # of MALES illustrated in ALL the pictures in the book: 642.

Total # of FEMALES  ”    ”    ”  : 131.

ROLES assumed byMALE characters in all the books:

Friend, rescuer, boy, son, father, brother,husband, friend, Angry Moon, Drummer, Private, Corporal, Sergeant, Captain, Major, General, Emperor, Monk, Evil men, Czar, Fool (hero), Peasant, Servant, prisoner, Moujik, Ancient old man, Storyteller, Sky God, Poet (hero), Hoodlums, Prophet, fisherman, blacksmith, miller, baker, carpenter, gardener, Chief, the Moon, and Water.

Males were also mice, donkeys, frog, toad, goat, dog, bear, cat, a magic lizard, a pig.

FEMALES were: friend (gets rescued), daughter, sister, wife, mother, Grandmother, princess, prisoner, carpenter, gardener, teacher, seller of fish at market, the Moon (Sun’s wife), a fairy, a Sea maiden, a doll.

Females were also donkey, pig.

In 18 books, 4 were completely animal stories, 5 more had both animals and human characters with gender, and 8 had magical characters of some kind.

journal article: counting gender

July 17, 2011

It would seem an easy enough, if not tedious task, to count depictions of gender in children’s PICTURE books. Each character, when it appears in an illustration as male or female, is counted as: male, or conversely, female. Well, it’s not easy.

In most studies, they differentiate human vs. animal. So how do you count: the Sky God? He is illustrated as a human man. Is he human? How about characters named “Grandma” and “Boy” but they can fly and appear in the Sky Kingdom with an African mask for their faces?

How do you count the character of “the Moon” in “ANGRY MOON”? It is neither human nor animal.

How do you count the magical fairy, Mmotia, or the Gum Baby doll made by Anansi the Spider man, when the doll is refered to as “she”?

Leopard is easy enough; he is an animal and refered to as “he”. Male animal. Toad and Frog are friends and they are male animals. But how about Sylvester, who is a male donkey but turns himself into a ROCK by accident, with use of a magic pebble? Do you count 1 male for each time the rock appears? We know it is Sylvester. And we hear his thoughts in the text. And when his family appears in a “photo” on the wall in their living room, do you count them again?

And what do you do with all the villagers in the background of Anansi, the storyteller spider man? Some of them are clearly male or female– the mother in dress, holding a baby in a sling; a wife in dress and scarf, standing next to her husband holding a spear. But then there are all the people of the Czar’s kingdom awaiting the “Fool and the Flying Ship” to arrive and take the princess as his “prize”. Some are clearly male and female, others, it’s hard to say…  You would think the children in dress with hair pulled back and up are female, but then there are two children in only shorts with their hair done the same. Are they male or female?

In “Seashore Story,” Japanese children from a ballet school wander along the beach and tell the story of “Urashima” the ancient fisherman who saves the life of a turtle and then travels with the turtle under the sea to a magic kingdom. The beach pictures depct children with a beautiful swish of the paint brush. Some appear clearly female, others you really can’t say what they are.

In sociology, the important thing is to be as scientific as possible, not swayed into saying male or female by some judgement based on a stereotype, such as only females have long hair, or even wear a dress. In such cases, we are making a judgement perhaps based on our own cultural expectations, or a stereotype. You have to define exactly how you will count such figures and then be consistent throughout all the books in your study. For example, one author takes any picture with MORE than 6 figures and decides whether most characters are male, or female, then counts only ONE for that gender. If they are basically equal in number, then you don’t count them at all. This prevents giving all the villagers in the background the same status as the main characters in the story.

It’s a long and tedious process, always more to it than you think there will be. I first have to do all this tedious work of counting & then at the end, I get to figure out what statistical test makes sense to compare results of each book set, and how the hell to do it! I haven’t done statistics in years. My best talent is qualitative work.


journal article

July 14, 2011

I’m beginning systematic work on a journal article which has been in my mind for over 10 years. First came to me during a qualitative methods class in graduate school. Do you know how hard it is to bring this together after carrying it that long in your mind? I have files and papers, research done by students over the years to corroborate what I found, notebooks, even transparencies. It has to do with gender and race in children’s picture books, a subject overdone in articles already but I have a new “twist”. I’m good at twists. Twists and interesting article titles tend to get you published and into conferences. It will be amazing to bring this project to fruition, one of those long-term goals I’ve had that will feel good to accomplish.

Hidden Words of Baha’u’llah, no.44

July 12, 2011

I was posting these every once in awhile but haven’t for a long time. Going slowly through the small book of Baha’u’llah’s called “Hidden Words” which is said to contain the spiritual truths of all religious traditions. They are all meditative, short and universal. He composed them while banished to Baghdad, and from what I remember, while walking along the banks of the Tigris river. Here is the next one we haven’t yet seen on this blog:

Thy hearing is My hearing, hear thou therewith. Thy sight is My sight, do thou see therewith, that in thine inmost soul thou mayest testify unto My exalted sanctity, and I within Myself may bear witness unto an exalted station for thee.

 (Baha’u’llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)


twins on 3 sides of the family

July 5, 2011


AGNEW line: My grandfather John Wesley had a twin sister, Gertrude Myrtle (“Beulah”).

PLANTENGA: My grandfather had 2 twin brothers, Ralph and Clarence.

ORNDORF: Earl Black’s mother Romelia had a twin sister Rosalia.

Indian grandmother on my husband’s side

July 1, 2011

This is for the “Black” side:

Earl Black’s mother is Julia Morgan (Grandma Julia, my husband’s grandma Black).
Julia’s mother is Johanna Haniford.
Johanna’s mother is said in family stories to be 1/2 Indian.
Johanna’s parents were Thomas and Julia Haniford. Thomas immigrated from Ireland.
Julia Haniford’s maiden name is Corkley.
Julia Corkley’s father was Irish, by the last name. He probably immigrated and married a full blood Native American wife. So far, I have found an immigration record for a Thomas Haniford but none for Julia Corkley. Now that makes sense.

Secrets and Mysteries: poem for my great grandfather

July 1, 2011

Secrets and mysteries

To my great grandfather

In all families, there are secrets and mysteries,

Connecting generations through time and space,

Blanks in the puzzle

That don’t quite fit,

Amid names and places

closely knit,

I have been studying you,

I know when you were born,

Where you lived and

Where you worked,

When you had children and

how you died,

I could sit down in your kitchen

Share a cup of coffee,

Go over the collection,

Ask you, What fits here? And what goes there?

I can almost hear your voice as you

Call to your loved ones, as you

Worry about where the next meal will come from, as you

Learn of a parent’s death, or

Grieve over a child gone too soon,

It’s all there, on paper, on

Microfilm, transcribed, and then entered online, in

Microchips and megabytes,

Records of decades and centuries gone by,

The records of our lives,

But I want to ask you, WHY did you LIE

to the census taker who came by,

when she asked you, Where were your parents born?

Was it so hard to tell the truth?

Did you think it not the government’s business, and so you

Changed the story 3 different times, giving

Different answers from one decade to the next?

One time they were both born in England, but

The next time it was different –

 your father was born in Virginia, and your mother  came from Germany,

And I think, My God, if you didn’t want anyone to know

Who your mother was or,

WHERE she was born,

Couldn’t you decide to lie consistently,

to at least make it LOOK

As if we came from somewhere?

But instead you — lie, you

change the story, you make

pieces into the puzzle that just don’t fit,

and so I have to think that,

You really did have something to hide,

(And so you lied).

There’s that time when you were

8 years old and

Left there hanging, at the bottom of the census page, like

Someone’s forgotten anecdote.

Why WAS that, Did they almost forget you and

 call to the census taker, already half way down the street

On your neighbor’s porch, saying, Wait!

We forgot – there is another boy here!

Let’s add him to the bottom of the page . . .

as an afterthought,

And the wife of your father there,

She is too young to be your mother,

(Unless she had you at age 13),

I think it more likely there was a-

nother mother,

Was she Indian?

Was her skin too brown to claim, or

Was your step-mother just too

busy holding her new baby in her arms,

to remember you?   

I know you fought for the Union army, you

Came down the Ohio river,

 from Cincinnati to New Albany

and settled yourself in southern Indiana, started your own family,

and never again, that I can find,

visited your Ohio family,

I know your first wife died young,

But I can’t find where you buried her,

And with her you had 2 daughters

Who live into adulthood.

Then you married my great grandmother,

Who was 19 years your junior and you

 live out the rest of your lives in this place where the

Great Ohio river separates Indiana, from Kentucky,

North from south,

And with her you had 6 children,

The 2nd one dying in infancy, but the

5th and 6th were a set of twins,

One of them being my grandfather.

And I wish I could sit down with you,

Share a cup of coffee at your kitchen table,

Because you see, I’ve grown to know you,

And there’s so much we could talk about,

So many pieces of the puzzle never found,

So many blanks to fill,

But you’ve been

Dead in the ground now 105 years,

and your birth was 112 years

before mine,

But you see, that’s part of the problem,

because the men in my family


You, your son (my grandfather)

And my own father, gone before their time,

None of them living to 65,

All of them leaving their families behind,

to pick through the puzzles of their lives and to

Try to make sense of all the truths

And the lies,

 and I

Come to the conclusion that,

We sometimes have to go with what we know and,

Be happy with the pieces we were able to find,

And I hope that you will help me from

the place that you are now because

I know that your spirit is still alive,

and I know that family lines, with all our

secrets and mysteries,

Family lines and blood runs dark,

and deep,

and we all are a part of

those souls who’ve gone before us,

our stories intertwine,

our secrets long to be released.                                                                               

CF Black 30 June 2011