30 June 2011

Places in the Autobiography of William Henry Donner

This post is not that interesting unless used as a reference alongside the book.  It is a list of links to Google Maps of places mentioned in the book.

Stuttgart, Germany
Pittsford, New York
Mossley, England
Franklin St & 8th St, Columbus, Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana
Hope, Indiana
Hanover College
North Vernon, Indiana
Jeffersonville, Indiana
New Albany, Indiana
Louisville, Indiana
Sycamore St & 5th St, Columbus, Indiana (This address appears to no longer exist so I've mapped Sycamore & 6th.)
Hastings, Nebraska
Gas City, Indiana
Monessen, PA
Charleroi, PA
Donora, PA
Cerro de Pasco, Peru (Note "Open-pit Mine.")
Oroya, Peru (I have mapped "La Oroya" since that seems more likely what he meant given its location between Lima and Cerro de Pasco)
Buffalo, New York

The Autobiography of William Henry Donner, Chapter 23

The Autobiography of William Henry Donner has disappointed me in some ways, the main one being that it is largely impersonal. It mostly tells the stories of W.H.D.'s business successes (and a few failures). Of course, if that is what I had wanted, it would be great. Anyway, here is a chapter that is more personal and amusing, if you don't mind what might be considered some mild anti-Semitism. (Color not added, i.e. color in the original.)

Chapter 23. See Yourself as Others See You. Year 1895. When living in Anderson I left a pair of shoes with a cobbler to be repaired, but forgot to pick them up on the way home from work. I needed them that evening & asked my brother Fred, who was stopping with us & working in the mill, if he would go down to the cobbler near the post office and get them for me. I explained that Mrs. Donner and I were going out for dinner, that I needed them and was crowded for time. Fred replied, 'Certainly.' He started off, located the cobbler's shop as directed and asked for Mr. Donner's shoes. He was told 'I have no shoes for Mr. Donner.' Fred then asked if there was another cobbler nearby and was told there wasn't, but there was one two squares away. My brother concluded that the shoes must be in this shop and looked around. He discovered a pair which he thought were probably mine. He offered to pay for the repairs, take them home, and return them in the morning if they were not his brother's, to which the man agreed. When Fred brought them home and I said they were mine, he immediately began to roar with laughter & said that when he asked to whom they belonged the cobbler stated, 'I don't know the man's name, but he passes here frequently before seven o'clock in the morning, is always in a hurry, and looks like a Jew.' Fred thought it was a good joke and circulated the story among my friends.

29 June 2011

The Autobiography of William Henry Donner

Okay well my time off work has so far been spent on many things other than my great plans for my blog. But here I am back for a moment. This is off-topic, but I wasn't sure where else to put/share this.

I just got my hands on a copy of The Autobiography of William Henry Donner. William Henry Donner is my great-grandfather, though not biologically. He adopted my grandmother after he married my great-grandmother. For both of them, it was their second and final marriage.

This book is interesting on multiple levels, but the level you might naturally count as the first is its aesthetics. So I thought I would reproduce the text of colophon here. I may supplement this with a photo and/or scan later. Note that the color is in the original, i.e. this was a two-color print, with red headings and black text!

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF WILLIAM HENRY DONNER has been privately printed in an edition of one hundred copies by Clifford Burke at Cranium Press, San Francisco. The type is a variant of Eric Gill's Perpetua from the Stephenson Blake Foundry, set by hand. It is printed on hand made Tovil, from the English mill of Barcham Green. The photographic prints were made by Larry Kunkel, who also supplied the photograph on page 25. The binding was designed & executed at the press by Diane Burke. Fall 1973.