Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2009 Issue

A Glimmer in Time

8.12.58

If you can't go west, go north!


President Lincoln, the Hudson Valley's and America's deis ex machina over the next four years, isn't known to have visited Kingston or Rondout but it is known that he made a melancoly stop across the Hudson River when his funeral train paused for a few minutes on April 25, in 1865 for citizens to pay their respects to the fallen President. That train would continue north to Albany, then west on its way to Springfield, Illinois. Lincoln would have been the first to insist that order be restored, the threatres opened, the music played. In time no doubt good spirits and good humor revived and new traveling companies again returned to Kingston-Rondout. But I have to take this on faith as I have no later broadsides to confirm it.

The material is fascinating. It suggests that a complex world of ephemeral printing existed and was mindlessly dispatched as "of no importance." Today, holding such vestages to the light, I would give anything to slip back across the continuum into those long past moments to see first hand the place, hear the voices and sounds, and breathe the air. Then given the chance I would inquire of Rip Van Winkle who slept his famous twenty years nearby. He had long established that there is magic in the place. "I'm just trying to put a lighting bug into a bottle." I would ask what has become of all the broadsides stapled and nailed those many years ago on the signboards of Kingston and Rondout for surely more survive. I certainly hope so. Until I hear from Rip I'll continue to look on eBay. You have to take magic where you find it.

Merry and Marty Lapidus have been selling on eBay for eleven years and have accumulated more than 6,000 feedbacks in that time. Click here to see their listings on eBay.

Rare Book Monthly

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