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The Longfellow Birthday Book

The Longfellow Birthday Book in possession of the author.
The Longfellow Birthday Book in possession of the author.

This week, I’ve been endeavoring to work with my husband to go through book boxes in a storage unit, figuring out which volumes to bring home to put on our shelves, which ones to donate to the local library’s book sale, and which ones to neatly organize and store.

In the process, I became reacquainted with The Longfellow Birthday Book. A quick Google image search suggests the work was printed in various formats for a number of years either side of 1900, but the book that I own is a 4″ x 5.5″ volume copyright by Houghton, Mifflin & Co. in 1881 and apparently “electrotyped and printed” by H. O. Houghton & Company by The Riverside Press in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

On the left-hand pages there’s a reading for each day of the year. On the right-hand pages there are sequential dates with the names and birth years of famous individuals printed on a small, single line underneath. Generous blank space for recording family birthdays is provided below that.

Penciled on the front endpaper is a note that reads “Flora W. Bassett 1892,” most likely the Flora Wilcox Bassett whose name is written in under the August 26 date along with “1851.” If Flora was born in 1851, she would have turned 41 in 1892, the year the book might have been  acquired. It appears the pages were used as a place to record family names with birth and/or death years however the entries are in multiple hands, suggesting that more than one person contributed to it.

The Bassett surname appears numerous times throughout the book, suggesting the individuals are likely related both to Flora and to each other. As such, my goal is to see if I can figure out how each person is connected.

This is what aspiring genealogists do for fun,

– – – – – – – – – –

Here are the names that appear in the volume:

January 3:
1834 Leah H. Gates 1915

January 7:
Mrs. P. L. Andrews –
1803 —– 1893 —–

January 15
Reba Bassett – 1884.-/94

January 19
Martha E. B. Backley
Aug 2.1894.1827

January 26
H D Bassett 1844-93

January 31
Maria Crumb Lake
1830

February 1
Walter [two names, legible but difficult to read] 1882 – 1904

February 18
Carrie Strietelmeier 18|44

February 27
Louise R. Wheeler-1888-’04.

February 28
Honora Hannon
1871

March 11
Pauline Bassett O’Ferrall

March 13
Sabrina Potter
1813
Died Feb. 2 1904–

March 17
Agnes Wheeler 1892/”04.”

March 27
1856-1894
Myra Wilcox Bassett

May 3
1894 Alice G Vaughn 1856

June 2
Harry Gaylord Lake
1858

June 3
[Jallen?] Babcock
1876

June 6
Katherine Merritt

June 24
Sarah A. Brown

July 4
1857-1894
Herbert H. Bassett

July 25
Agnes Bassett 1880-/94

July 31
1891-1894
Wm Forrest Bassett

August 9
William [C?] Byer
1849

August 22
Constance E Lake
1887

August 26
Flora Wilcox Bassett.
1851 ——-

September 1
Mollie D Potter 1850

September 8
Dwight Bassett Hutchinson.
Sep 8 – 11.45 am – 1919
(weight 7 lbs. 5 oz.)

September 18
1887-1894
Henry Lee Bassett.

September 23
Stuart N Lake
1889-

October 1
Laura Babcock Rider 1873

October 7
George Edward Drury
1885

October 21
Harvey Edwin Hutchinson 1875

December 8
[O? or D?] [A?] Watson. 1816-/94

December 12
Inez S. Byer 1858

December 15
Winifred Merritt.

December 16
Robert M O’Ferrall