Looking Back at Center Stage — The Gondoliers

Before moving on to what was produced in 1975 and beyond, let us pause for a moment to consider a few special details associated with the 1974 production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Gondoliers at John Bryan Community Center.

Gilbert & Sullivan operettas had a special place in the history of Yellow Springs Center Stage, since it was one of the few community theaters ever to perform the all of the operettas. As one might imagine, they were large productions, calling on the skills of many different participants, both on- and off-stage.

Gilbert & Sullivan's The Gondoliers curtain call

In the photo of the curtain call (jagged white line across the center is damage to photo), one thing to notice is the costumes of the contadine (the women’s chorus). These costumes consisted mainly of a muslin underdress with burlap wrap skirt (extremely itchy) and laced vest. The muslin underdresses would be re-used many times, particularly in other G&S productions.

Scene from The Gondoliers

A second shows at least a portion of one of the most challenging set designs ever built at the Bryan Center, including the moving gondola.

Gondoliers; Center Stage; Yellow Springs; designed by David Battle

Finally, the silk-screened poster was an international graphic design prize winner, produced for Center Stage by David Battle with the assistance of Julie Steinhilber and was one of a series.


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Dealing with a Growing Threat

In a newspaper article discovered by Historical Society board president Dave Neuhardt, it is apparent that  some issues remain problematic through the years.

Vintage Service Station

Early Service Station in Yellow Springs. Photograph courtesy of Antiochiana.

Xenia Daily Gazette, Thursday, July 24, 1913, page 5


Ordinance Passed Regulating Speed of Motor Vehicles in That City—Other News of Village

The village council has passed an ordinance regulating the operation of motor vehicles within the corporate limits. Under its provisions, no motorcycle, automobile or other motor vehicle is permitted to open, or allow, the exaust[sic] of such motor vehicle to be opened or remain opened on any of the streets, avenues or other public thoroughfares of the village, and no motor vehicle will be permitted to run to exceed eight miles per hour in the business, or thickly settled portions of the village, and not to exceed fifteen miles per hour in all other portions of the village. For violations of any of the provisions of the ordinance the fine for the first offense is not to exceed $25, and for a second offense not less than $25, nor more than $50. The ordinance was declared to be an emergency measure and will take effect and be in force at the earliest period allowed by law.

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Martin Luther King at Antioch College

WYSO for Martin Luther King Jr. Day has contributed a post on King’s 1965 commencement speech for Antioch College.

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From the Antioch Bookplate Archives — 1930s/1940s part 3

Just a reminder that some of the original art created for Antioch Publishing (originally Antioch Bookplate) will be featured in an exhibit during the month of January at Antioch University Midwest, with an exhibit reception January 29.

There are no source notes connected with the bookplates shown below, so there is no indication just why the designs or designers were selected. Printer’s ornaments, landscapes and ships were fairly common bookplate themes, but the the reason for selecting F-252 and F-253 may have been experimentation. None of the designs shown in this post were continued beyond 1950.

Antioch bookplate F-240


Antioch bookplate F-245


Antioch bookplate F-248


Antioch bookplate F-251


Antioch bookplate F-252


Antioch bookplate F-253



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Carr Nursery Catalog – Introducing the Firm

(Previous entries in the series — (2345678910 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, inside back cover, back cover)

With unsettled winter weather passing over the area it may be comforting to remember that gardening weather will eventually arrive, and getting gardening catalogs in the mail is one reminder. The 1898 catalog from Carr Nurseries may have been as eagerly anticipated  as those gardening catalogs today, even without the benefit of full-color illustrations.

Page 1 introduced the company and its policies (as before, transcript follows image):


1898 Carr Nursery Catalog-pg1

1898-Carr-Nursery-Catalog-pg1-GirlTO OUR CUSTOMERS

In offering you our Special Catalogue, we propose to give you extra plants to amount of what an extra high-priced catalogue would cost. We will do our best to please. We guarantee every plant to reach you safely, in good growing condition, and as an inducement to every one to give our plants a trial, will make the following liberal offer: Each plant will be labeled and selected from the best varieties that will bloom the first season. The selection must be left to us. Many of the plants in these collections are priced at 15 cents in the Catalogue.


Three beautiful prize-winning Chrysanthemums, yellow, white and pink…..15 cents

Three sweet-scented ever-blooming Carnation Pinks, white, red and pink….15 cents

Three beautiful ever-blooming Roses, red, white and pink………………………..15 cents

Three grand double Geraniums, pink, red and white…………………………………15 cents

Entire collection of twelve plants for 50 cents.

In ordering, please say “Trial Order.”


In ordering, please use the convenient ordering sheet which accompanies each catalogue. Observe all the blanks and fill them up carefully, especially those which give your name and address, and state in what way the plants are to be forwarded. If it is necessary to write a letter in addition, let it be on a separate sheet. Mistakes are much more liable to occur when the order is mixed in with the letter.


Please be careful to write your full address plainly, and always sign your name in the same way. Do not write at one time as Mrs. William Brown, and at another as Mrs. Mary Brown. We cannot guess that these two names belong to the same person.


Remittances by Postoffice Order, Registered Letter, Bank Draft and Express are at our risk, and we will add a handsome present to offset cost of same on all orders of one dollar or over. We accept new postage stamps for small amounts the same as cash, but prefer money whenever convenient. When coins are sent they should be carefully wrapped in paper or cloth, and care taken to seal the letter securely.


And we will do everything we can to please and help you. When desired, we will select for you, same as if for ourselves, and can frequently give better varieties and better plants than you would be likely to choose for yourself. We follow purchaser’s selections as closely as possible, and can usually give exactly what is desired, but when out of any particular kind request permission to put in another equally as good or better sort of same value, which we are sure will please.


Don’t think you live too far away to order, or that plants won’t come safely by mail. They will; and we can serve you just as well three thousand miles away as if you were here in person. We take all the risk, and guarantee safe delivery, so that if you order of us you can depend on getting the nicest plants in good, fresh condition, postpaid, at your door.

1898-Carr-Nursery-Catalog-pg1-PNeyronSMALL ORDERS.

Are just as acceptable and just as carefully filled as large ones. We give liberal value, and careful attention to all.


Orders are sent by express when requested, or when too large to go by mail. Express charges are at the expense of the purchaser, but we add as liberally as possible to help cover the express charges.


M. L. Carr & Sons, Florists & Nurserymen. YELLOW SPRINGS, OHIO.

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Special Collaboration

The Yellow Springs Historical Society has partnered with the Yellow Springs Arts Council for a month-long exhibit in January and a special evening exhibit January 29, hosted by Antioch University Midwest.


15006-YSAC-Homegrown-Art-Flyer (pdf)

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Challenge to Law and Order (in 1874)

YS Historical Society president Dave Neuhardt ran across a newspaper account of a dramatic event in Yellow Springs in 1874. What caught his attention in particular was the mention of a “Modoc Indian,” considering that the Modoc were associated with the West Coast. What was a West Coast Native American doing in Yellow Springs, and how did he acquire the name of “Gibson?”


A Young Desperado Fatally Shot by an Officer–A Modoc on the War-Path
Special Dispatch to the Enquirer.

YELLOW SPRINGS, O., July 6 –For some time past a lot of young men have been keeping this otherwise peaceable town in a state of uneasiness, on account of their drunkenness and disorderly conduct. To-day, one of their number, William Johnson, resisted Charles Hamilton, the Town Marshal, who was endeavoring to arrest him, striking Hamilton with a club with such force as to knock him down, and when he arose and again endeavored to arrest him, Johnson again endeavored to strike; whereupon Hamilton drew his revolver and shot him, the ball striking Johnson about the right eye, and ranging upward, passed out at the top of the head. He is still alive, but the physicians pronounce his recovery impossible. The sympathies of the community are strongly in favor of the Marshal.

Another affair transpired in the outskirts of the town, which may also terminate fatally. Alexander Callahan got into a quarrel with a Modoc Indian named Gibson, who struck Callahan with a stone upon the head, injuring him very seriously. Gibson has been arrested.

The Cincinnati Enquirer, Tuesday, July 7, 1874

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New Year’s Wishes

Although an early post featured the somewhat idiosyncratic New Year’s Greetings of  free-lance illustrator Art Young whose work was used by the early Antioch Bookplate Company, let this post reflect the sincere wishes of the Yellow Springs Historical Society for the new year of 2015.

Antique New Year's Card courtesy of The Graphic Fairy

Antique New Year’s Card courtesy of The Graphic Fairy

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One Hundred Years with the Shakespeare Study Club – Part 2

Elsie Owen Hevelin

Elsie Owen Hevelin


(Part 1 can be found here)

How One Became a Member

Whenever a vacancy occurred in the group – usually through death of a member, or because one could no longer fulfill one’s duties and had therefore gone on to associate membership – the names of prospective new members were presented at one meeting, and voted on at the next. A majority of votes cast was required in order for someone to be elected, and so the name of the person receiving the fewest votes was dropped each time until someone received a majority. This was a time-consuming process, not noted for its efficiency, bu the ladies of the club considered it “traditional” and felt that efficiency was not what the Shakespeare Study Club was all about. Ties in voting were frequent, and once a persistent three-way tie resulted in the election having to be continued at the following meeting.

One became a member after receiving the required number of votes and a letter of invitation from the club secretary, and then signing the Constitution and paying ones dues.

The Club Constitution has been amended and rewritten half a dozen times through the years, but is actually very little changed from early days. The number of members was increased from twelve to sixteen, then to eighteen, and the frequency of meetings varied from once a month to once a week, but remains, now, just where it started – twice a month.

It is traditional that officers not be asked to serve more than once every three years, and yet, on January 16, 1930, it was moved by Mrs. Weston that “the rules be laid aside” and “present officers be reelected.” The motion carried.

After members voted, in one meeting, to “follow the rules,” those rules were suspended at the following meeting in order to elect Miss Harriott Hardman to membership. So you see, the members may cling to tradition, but they are not bound by it!

In April of 1911, there was only fifty cents in the club treasury.

In 1919, a motion was made and seconded that an annual assessment of one dollar was made. Later in the meeting, the motion was withdrawn and the constitution amended to approve dues of one dollar and a half. But club finances were seldom a problem. Dues remained minimal and covered the customary cards or flowers in case of illness or death. Refreshments were usually donated by the hostesses, though hostesses could be reimbursed from the treasury if they so desired. And if the available funds were too low to provide for a book given to the Yellow Springs Library as memorial to a deceased member, then the ladies assessed themselves one dollar each and collected it on the spot. Inflation now having raised its head, we presently pay the enormous(!) sum of three dollars per year.

For most meetings, parts were assigned in advance and plays performed. Nowadays, plays are read by not acted. Sometimes topics were assigned and two or three members delivered papers. For example: After they read “Anthony and Cleopatra”, a talk was given in October on Egypt’s political relation to Rome, and in November, one on the history of the Ptolemy family, followed in December, by one on the religion of the Egyptians and one on the arts and crafts of Egypt.

Women discussed and women played. They put on a burlesque called “Shakespeare’s Hatch.” They put on a skit about “Lucy Bareback’s column in Mr. Wolford’s Sunday issue.” This, of course, had to do with Lucy Wolford and her father Mr. Wolford’s Yellow Springs News, which never put out a Sunday issue. But they put on a skit and had a good laugh at each member. They had a discussion in which Ella Fogg stated that “the heroines of Shakespeare were motherless.” And when they finished “Mourning Becomes Electra,” they held a discussion on the question of whether the play has any lasting value, or whether O’Neill’s acknowledged ability and technique might not better be turned toward a less sordid concept of human life.

In addition to all this, there were many guest speakers. Antioch’s Lincoln R. Gibbs asked “Was Shakespeare a Democrat?” Nolan Miller, also of Antioch, told of his writing habits of the past and his plans for the future. Arthur Lithgow, from the Antioch Players, asked “Should Shakespeare be produced on the Stage?” Professor of English Albert Walker Liddle spoke on “Fossil Expressions in Everyday Speech.” And Bill Hooper, a student at Antioch, discussed “The Elizabethan Theatre and Problems of the Summer Theatre.”

The club minutes tell us that Miss Bessie Totten read an article from Henry Ford’s “anti-Jewish magazine.” I was not able to find that article “on control of the movies,” but I found a collection of similar articles which appeared in Ford’s Dearborn Independent,” published later under the tittle “The International Jew; The World’s Foremost Problem.” This collection has an introduction by Gerald P. K. Smith and ranks with the trash handed out by Knight of the Ku Klux Klan. It seems Bessie hoped to alert the ladies and make them aware of evils in our world. I also found a volume by Jonathan R. Logsdon called “Power, Ignorance, and Anti-Semitism; Henry Ford and His War on Jews,” in which the author says Ford’s book was translated into sixteen languages and had a “profound influence upon the growing Nazi movement in Germany.” Well, there were discussions, and Bessie Totten introduced a serious one.

It has been interesting to me to note how many of the members, and how many of the guest speakers, were either students or faculty at Antioch College, or were married to a teacher or administrator there, or were children of Antiochians.

When we celebrated our first ninety years, there were many new members, one of whom pointed out at her very first meeting with the club, that we were very inefficient and that our constitution need to be rewritten. (!) Discussion then arose concerning the value of tradition over efficiency. New members felt we needed to examine our traditions carefully and bring the club up to date. The constitution was re-done, resembling in most ways its predecessor, and officers then proceeded to ‘do their own thing’ without any real objection from members. Tradition had not been written into either document, and gradually faded away as older members ceased to attend.


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From Us to You

May however you celebrate give you heart’s ease… 315l-a_jpg

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