edited by the Ladies
“Philomathic Literary Society”
Topeka January 24, 1857
Volume 1st Number 1st
To the Officers, Members of the “Philomathic Literary Society,” and friends of the Same—Greeting—Tremblingly as the timid Schoolgirl with her first efforts of composition passing the, to her, fiery ordeal of reading her few disconnected sentences to others, does your present Editor appear before you with the first number of the “Prairie Star”. With the early days of the bright New Year, while the cold Searching winds come Sweeping o’er these broad Prairies, entering every crack and crevice of our Kansas Homes.
We circle round our quiet firesides, each busy with his or her own thoughts, thankful for the measure of peace which now is ours after the distracting Scenes of the past year—
The man of business as he rests from his daily toil, thinks of his prospects, how much he may make by his last speculation. What the receipts of his last years labors were. How he will provide and act, for the future.
The Mother thinks of the home She has left, of the valuable Schools, the many advantages
which formerly surrounded her youthful family and earnestly hopes that the Same may ere long Surround her and hers, in this there far Western Home. The young wife with buisy - thoughts intent, building up in her imagination her little home with all of Nature and Arts adornments, enshrining therein her hearts best beloved, the present happiness enhanced by more congenial home Surroundings—No regrets for the home she has left find a lodgement in her heart, but bright dreams for the future occupy her every thought. And the young man, and blooming maiden full of gaity and mirth, and bright anticipations, Transplant to there new homes, Some of the Scenes and enjoyments of former homes. First, and most valued among we consider our “Literary Society,” Wherein not only the young those in middle life, but the aged may derive pleasure and benefit from its weekly exercises. And, as in our former homes, _females participated in and lent there aid to the upbuilding of such “Institutions.” So here in our new Homes where all is in a transition and forming State the Ladies have been acknowledged the proper
persons to occupy this position in our Society—Thankful for the confidence and encouragement thus bestowed upon us, we have commenced our labors in this new sphere. We have sought to pen a few thoughts that may lend a pleasing variety to the exercises of this “Institution” and tho’ our first efforts may be feeble, we hope to improve that as in the first dawnings, of the Second year of this Societys existence, we have entered the arena of Literary life, the close may find us elevated to a higher degree of Literary attainments, a greater Source of pleasure and profit to ourselves and others, and prove to the disbelieving that “what has been done, can be done again.”
Our paper is before you, and in the language of many an early Schoolboy, I
“Don’t view me with a critics eye,
But pass my imperfections by.”
For a number of years have I lived in a State of single bliss, and having fully tried all the pleasures pertaining thereto, I would like to change my condition, provided, I can be able to find Some Spirit wholly congenial to mine. In an advertisement like this I am aware, that Some general delineations of character and looks are needed, though I am conscious if I am truly loved by anyone, Such things would not be taken into account. Well, I am not handsome So the girls all tell me, but still I believe I have some qualities which may compensate for that. I am rather short, have brown hair, eyes not exactly mates, one being dark, the other a light gray. Nose slightly elevated at the point, which gives my countenance rather a Literary cast. I am also lame, beside having one or two other Smaller imperfections. But with all of this I consider myself quite an interesting gentleman. One well constituted to make Some confiding being happy. Will not Some one answer this advertisement,--and state there own attributes and attractions.
Please also State concerning pecuniary affairs not that Such affairs should
be taken into account in matters of the Heart. But then we should be fully understood
even in these matters. I shall long for the time when Some fair one will answer
through the Same Source that this is made known.
We have received indirectly quite a lengthy communication without a signature
though excellent in itself, we will necessarily be obliged to reject it on account
of its length. We Suggest that the Author with some few alterations, read it
as an Essay before the Society. We would also Say, we shall require all communications
to be handed in to the Editor by Thursday evening to Secure an insertion in
the paper the Same week, and request that contributors practice brevity as much
is consistent with the Subject written.
“Hope is the Anchor of the Soul,” if it were not for hope, Says one, the heart would break. When we look forward with bounding expectation to some happy event Oh! how the heart expands, how Joyous we become, how happy we are; we are all life and animation. The world looks beautiful indeed, in our eyes all Nature Seems to Smile, and we cannot see why others do not partake of our joyfulness. But truly we are creatures of an hour, let a change come, let us be disappointed in our expectations, how the heart sinks; how desponding; all Nature Seems changed, everything wears a gloomy aspect, even the birds Seem less gay in there Song, every thing wears a melancholy tinge. But let one ray of hope down upon us, What a revolution; again we see the Sparkling eye, bounding expectation, and joyous heart. Hope points to the relmns [sic] of Eternal day, where there is continual sunshine and Storms never come. With the eye of Hope we see this our loved “Institution” moving onward with rapid strides, to one of the highest pinnacles of fame, having for its motto “onward and upward.” And the “Prairie Star” a light to the Surrounding country, one of the brightest Satellites of this our Western home.
The Prairie Star
Around these Prairies shining
There is a beauteous light,
A starry garland twining
So radiant and bright.
Its fair and mellow gleaming
Naught can its glory mar
All air this west land Streaming
“The Prairie Star”
It tells of “Hearts and Homes”
By the firesides Altar here
Of partings and of meetings
Of homelifes hearty cheer
Of lovely dells and rills
Spread o’er this land afar
Tho does not love fair Kansas
“The Prairie Star”
It tells of brave hearts glowing
Beneath oppressions Sway
Of Warriors warm blood flowing
And Chieftains warlike lay
It tells of wild commotion
Of bloody strife and war,
Still beams in this green ocean.
“The Prairie Star.”
What tho’ no high toned voices
May Sound its praises forth
We, in our hearts enshrine it
A fair child of the North,
And as its light streams o’er you
Beaming in radiance fair
With pride we bring before you
“Our Prairie Star.”
The following complimentary letter was received by us soon after our Election.
As the writer evidently intends encouragement to us in our new Sphere, we have
concluded to read it.
A note to the Editor
Dear Mrs. Editor,
Allow me to congratulate you on your good fortune in having attained to the high position of Editor. Well do I remember when a lad with what honor, and reverince, [sic] I lookt up to those who bore the title of Editor, considering them beings
of exalted capacities, created for the admiration of such inferior beings as your humble Servant. But I am sorry to Say, that Some of the Editorisms of the present day have tended in a measure to bring this high estimate of Editorship to a lower Standard. Yet now allow me to state, void of all flattery, that when I found in future our Editorial pen was to be weilded [sic] by yourself, my former reverance for your office returned “in toto.” That the Ladies deserve the management of this paper, that they are fully capable of doing it justice, are questions which I never doubted. it bring to me so self evident, and I hope they will be perfectly independent, on the Subject, rejecting with a will, and regardless of all consequences, any and all pieces handed in for publication, which may be long, uninteresting and prosy. And I would suggest that you commence with mine for being an O.B.C. I shall naturally be exceedingly dull in my productions. Speaking of the O.B.C. let me advise you to be exceedingly Severe with them for of all creatures I have found them to be the dullest. I have just come acrosst [sic] a treates[sic] written by one of them just think, forty pages of foolscap paper devoted to the Science of Smoking. Now I hope you will over-
look all there dull pieces, and also, Some of the productions of the O.M.’s,
whose sighing pens are always breathing in lamentory strains of “of farewell
kisses,” “broken Hearts.” Who, and I would cast no insinuations
in Saying it, are always telling of Some hidden Sorrow. Some death bed scene
of woe, as lonely and melancholy reflections. Let me quote for example, a verse
from one of there Albums—
Tis many long years since we parted.
Tis many long years Since my heart bled,
Ah! Its bleeding still.
Oh! I ever, ever Shall remember
That doleful day in November
When I lost Bill.
I am overcome. I can write no more—but I shall ever remain
Yours in all Simplicity—
One day in Cold December’s hours,
While Winter yet was young,
With all their fierce and strong powers,
The chilling breezes sung.
They sung a wild and dirge-like lay,
For Winter lone and drear,
This was the song they bore away,
To wail the closing year.
“Ye windy clouds that darkly float,
And hide the sky’s deep hue,
List, list unto the warning note,
We send above to you.
The winds of Autumn coldly blew,
And robbed the earth of flowers,
And then the cruel frost-king, too,
Laid waste the leafy bowers.
They took from every forest bough,
The robe it once had worn,
That gala-dress of beauty, now
Lies faded there, and torn.
Then give, ye clouds, from out your store,
For mother earth a dress,
That she in beauty may once more,
Be clothed with loveliness.”
The wild winds ceased to sadly breathe,
We see where’er they rove,
That January wears the wreath,
Which old December wove.
Tis not a crown of blossoms fair,
So many-hued and bright,
Nor rubies red, nor diamonds rare,
Shed forth their brilliant light.
But all of snow-drops, pure and white,
That dazzling wreat[h] is made,
As summer flowers though not so bright,
They not as quickly fade.
And when the dew drops lightly fell,
The ice-king bound them fast,
Where’er they lay in grove or dell,
His chain around them cast.
A coronet of pure white gems,
On January’s brow,
More fair it lies than diadems,
That shine in beauty now.
That wreath the month will ever win,
Despite December’s tears,
For January ushers in,
The gay and happy years.
[Mrs Julia Whiting]
“It is not all of life to live”.
Life’s end and aim is not that we may merely live, that morning, noon, and night should find us still the same, that we should leave no lasting trace upon the Sands of time, to tell that we could boldly stem the ebb and flow of life. It is no dream of an idle hour, no toy of every passing breeze. “For life is real, Life is earnest and the grave is not its goal.” It is crowded full of noble and stirring acts, acts that fill the Soul with enthusiasm and urge it on to holy deeds. “Bravely do and boldly dare” has been the burden of its song for ceaseless, rolling ages, “tis whispered in the dreams of childhood, breathed in the spirit of man, and chanted o’er the dying old. There are mighty deed to perform, objects almost as high as Heaven itself to gain, obstacles firm as adamantine rocks to overcome: a mind filled with rich and noble thoughts, gems of priceless worth to cultivate a Soul with feelings rich and deep to enter the portals of never ending day. More is formed in the image of divine mind, with a Soul to appreciate the beautiful, a Soul to love the good,
the noble and Sublime, a mind filled with ideals after which are moulded forms most beautiful and grand. He has but to exert his ambitious power and the lightning leaps from heaven to earth. The iron horse courses his way through our land, and the gallant ship proudly ploughs old oceans bring wave as though its native home was there. And now with lightning, Steam, and ocean for his own, what is there so high he cannot reach So hard he cannot overcome! So deep he cannot pierce its depths? “Ambitions answer is, “There is nothing.” Art is but the creature of his power, her glorious works but the productions of his ingenious mind. Statuary, with all its forms of grace and beauty Splendid paintings with scenes more lovely than Nature ever dreamed of farming. Poetry the innermost breathing of the Soul, that move the passion of the heart as the waves are rippled by the breeze.
Eloquence, Soul String, heart moving Eloquence all, all those are his. Would you know him in his power, when ambitions slumbered not? Go ye back to the classic halls of Greece amid whose Shady bowers, philosophy and Art were nursed, what breezes Oratory first breathed her glowing Strains,
amid whose collassal [sic] piles Architecture first took her place, among the things of earth, and where the Muse inspires the Souls of men, with thoughts So deep, So guarded, that words were to faint to tell ones half there power. There behold him mid the halls of Science, gaining her richest gifts by his unceasing toil, urged on by the angel Hope, and the Worship of his dream—Ambitions. Then let fancy [xxxx] amid Italy’s easy bowers that clime of the Laurel, the Sword, and the lyre, that land where grandure and beauty their banners unroll, and over whose portals “immortality” beams like a time - during Star.”
Now bow down the head before the “Seven hilled city” once the seat of science, and the school of “Taste”. Study with enthusiasm the works of the bygone world, drink in the beauty of a Raphael’s masterpiece, with wonder gaze upon the productions of a Micheal Angelo, list! to the music of her dark eyed daughters, and the eloquence of her manly sons, think of all that once was theirs before their empire city fell.
And now behold him, Man in the 19th century, how vast his power how deep his knowledge, how vivid his imagination.
At will he leaves the earth and soaring upward “braves the lightnings lurid glare, and talks with the thunders in their dwellings”, traces the comets trackless course, and treads the chambers of the sky, untill the wonders of the Starry world are as clear as his own impassioned thoughts. He searches amid the phenomena of earth till he finds the law that governs each; law beautiful and divine; which springing from God travels through creation, governs the Sun, moon; and Stars. He dives beneath the billowy Sea, treads old Neptune’s palace floors, steals from his royal throne his pearls; bright diamonds, from his Sea-weed crown, and rich red corals from the groves, where his mermaids revel among the Spray of the Silver crested waves. He dips his brush, in rainbow tints and paints upon the blank canvass the thoughts that fill his soul with joy, and make an echo in every heart thats tuned to melody. With the Sculptures art he can mould from the rough hewn marble, “the human face divine.” And now shall Such
a being endowed with such noble and God-like qualities, moulded in the image of the Eternal.
Shall all of his life be but to live? has he no nobler destiny, no higher aim than this? Was he formed for nothing loftier, holier than thus to live, and the world move on as though he had not been! No, the tempest in thunder tones sends back the answer No, the darkly blue, the heavenly world of waters, echo No. the Scene at the midnight hour in Sad Gethsemane and the cross of Calvary answer No. Everything in Nature whispers No; he was made for a loftier, nobler end than this, his is the Soul, the mind the hand in the power of the “Holiest of the Holy” to work mighty deeds, to accomplish the reformation of the world, to work out for himself a destiny that angels themselves would not despise, and to write his name in the Savior’s blood upon the book of life. “Ages on Ages may roll away” the Earth in her orbit rest, and every star from its moorings drift. Niagra may wear away her rock of ages, and be no more, her voice be but an echo of what it once had been? Yet Mans influence dies not. Eternity alone
Shall reveal the whole extent of his spirits power, for life is only a prelude to the glorious Song of eternity, the stepping stone to a holier existence. Millions may feel the influence of a single man. The tongue of Eloquence [xxx] sway the mighty crowd. The mind of one may work a nations destiny. The words of a Single Sermon Save the souls of many from the “death that never dies”.
Then tell me not that all our life is but to live, for heaven itself has told another tale, has written upon the storm-cloud, by lightnings lurid flash, upon the earth with flowers and breezes, and upon the human Soul, in living, breathing words. It is not all of life to live.”
“A. J. A.”
O!! Topeka, Topeka, what you have come to---and at this your youthful way. Who would have imagined, only two short years since that this sad fate would have been yours. Then you were only a wild potato But now how changed. Only think of what you are, and what is worse what you are likely to be.
O!! that I could snatch you from that fearful precipice you are verging from, beneath which rages fiery billows that yawn to consume O!! that I could gather you in my arms as a hen gathers her brood. but you will not No! No! You are gone, gone. Only think of it. Ah! yes, think, think, before it be to late. Of Clubs, Clubs, Societies Ah! and marriages in your very midst
Why as sure as shooting you will either be clubed or talked to death at a sewing society Why Topeka if you could attend a sewing society as I have done, You would be constrained to inquire have the people again been attempting to build the Tower of Babel. Or why this great clammor, has their language been confounded, for none seem to understand his fellow But dear Topeka this is an age of progress and you do not comprehend all But from the midst of this scene, cast your eye into that
Other Circle called the O.B.C. and there yes there is the club O.B.C. who have the mark of the club on their forehead. And in their faces you can read wo, wo, wo, unto us by reason of the last club L.R.C. who rest neither day nor night—bur proclaim L.R.C. L.R.C. To all O.B.C.
Yours as of Yore
We have Some pieces which we have been obliged to lay over to the next week.
The first number of our paper has been read before you, of its merits we trust you will judge leniently. When informed of our election to the responsible office of Editor, no very enviable feelings possesed our mind, as in the retrospect we Veiwed [sic] the ready wit and talent of the former editor of the responsibility connected with Such a position, of the severe and oftimes unjust criticisms of the present opposition. ‘Twas no enviable thought, and right gladly would we have lain the responsibilty in other hands, and if need be lend our feeble aid to the support of a paper edited by the Ladies of this Society. But we fully appreciate the honor done us by being selected for this new position by the members of this Society, and tender our Sincere thanks for the Same---We have christened our paper the Prairie Star, Seeking a name synonymous with our far Western and beautiful land, and from these broad and fair Prairies we will endeavor to send forth Such Sentiments as will serve a beacon light to those around us, pointing them to all that is Noble, fair, and truthful.
So snatching a few adel [sic] moments from the varied duties of home, and its enticing joys, and with aid from others competent to the task we hope to present to this Society pleasing thoughts for there contemplation and enjoyment. For you, we will court the muse and wreath bright garlands of Poesy, for you we will enter the Sacred precincts of home, and snatch therefrom a few glimpses of Solid joy, of purest affection, for you, we may lift our warning Voice as only Mother, Wife, Sister can do, against those deadly foes, who so noiselessly creep around and oftimes blast our fondest hopes. But we cannot tell all we hope to do, for amid the changing Scenes of even three months of life, all these hopes may be blasted.
We hope to issue our paper regularly to make it all our most Sanguine friends may desire. But to do this, tis not only incumbent on the Editor to use every effort in her power toward making it acceptable in her department. But our lady friends we hope will rally around aiding us with there contributions of Poetry and Prose, and not only from the ladies but we trust our male friends will lend us the cheering smile, and kindly word, and think
it a priviledge to occasionally Send us a few thoughts by the more practicable
pens for our mutual benefit and of wit and humour a share to enliven our pages
and amuse our hearers. These with the bright dreams of Poesy, the tender home
thoughts, which cluster round our firesides, the milder Strains of Friendship
and Truth, will we bind to-gether a constellation of Smaller Stars, that will
shine as a light for our loved Institution, the “Star of the Prairie.”