The cover page of
the January 3, 1863 issue of Harper’s Weekly showed an illustration by
Thomas Nast of Santa bringing gifts to the Union troops. Some believe
Nast, a German immigrant, used “Pelz Nicol,” a Bavarian Santa, as
inspiration for his illustrations. Others believe the description in
Clement Moore’s Visit from St. Nicholas shaped his characterizations.
Whatever the inspiration, this renowned national cartoonist with forty
years of illustrating this “jolly old elf,” has given us the character
America knows today as Santa.
Nast, a staunch
believer in anti-slavery, was very pro-Union. His cartoon shows Santa
seated on a sleigh pulled by reindeer. He wears a short jacket covered
with stars and trimmed with fur. His pants are a bold stripe. His hat,
with a headband of fur, comes to a point with a tassel. Because the
illustration is in black and white, one must assume the jacket is navy
and the pants are red and white. The picture shows an American flag
flying over an Army camp where a large group of soldiers are receiving
packages. One soldier is pulling a sock from his box. A drum is
nestled into the sleigh, and Santa holds a Jumping Jack that looks
very much like Jefferson Davis. President Lincoln commented about
Nast’s drawings of Santa Claus “as the best recruiting sergeant the
North ever had.”
The large display Santa pictured
above is a copy of our regular Civil War Santa. Only 250 display
Santas have been made.
We have worked with
the curators of Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts to
bring you this Man and Woman dressed in a style typical of the early
1800’s. We really love his tall straw hat and her bonnet. These pieces
will only be sold in New England. For more information about visiting
Old Sturbridge Village, a recreated 19th century farms community,
check their website at
properties of lavender date back to 77 A.D. when a Greek doctor wrote
that it was good for the thorax. At about that same period of time,
Roman soldiers used it for dressing wounds. Over the centuries,
lavender has been touted to relieve migraines, induce sleep, decongest
sinuses, repel insects and even protect one from the plague.
By the 19th
century, the rolling hills of Mitcham, England were covered with
lavender. Most of it was harvested, and the oils were extracted to be
used in the perfumes and soaps fashionable in Victorian England. Today
Provence, France is the center of the perfume industry and,
consequently, the world’s largest grower of lavender.
Harvest time is
critical. It is usually in the end of July or the beginning of August
when the flowers are fully ripe and contain the maximum amount of oil.
Rain can cause disaster as the flowers will brown and drop off. It
takes 350 lbs. of lavender to produce 18 fluid ounces of oil.
"Yo, Ho, Ho and a
Bottle of Rum!"
Our newest Seafarer
is a Pirate. Some say he also works well for Halloween. Whichever you
prefer, we hope you enjoy him. The Ocean Trader and his Wife have
changed their clothes; he from navy to black and she from indigo to
Woman Holding Shells
Outfitted in a
light blue swimsuit with a basket full of shells, this Byers’ Choice
Woman Holding Shells figure is available only through this newsletter.
You may remember last Summer’s exclusive Caroler Chronicle figure,
Girl Holding Shells, which was a huge success. To get your Woman
Holding Shells, simply fill out the form below and take it to your
favorite Byers’ Choice retailer no later than July 31, 2002. The Woman
Holding Shells figure will be sent by Byers’ Choice to your retailer,
where you can pick it up in late summer. The figurine costs $52.00,
and the offer is limited through the Caroler Chronicle.
Seasons to Celebrate
In 1621, after
reaping their first harvest, the Pilgrims celebrated the fruits of
their labor with fellow Colonists and Native American friends at a
three-day feast. In response to many requests, a Native American Man
and Woman have become part of our Thanksgiving celebration.
A Princess, Frog,
Count and Wizard have also joined our Halloween party this year!
All, Do No Harm
Doctors of the 19th
century witnessed many changes in their profession. From the letting
of blood and leeches to patent medicines and anesthesia, the age of
science had begun. The Sears & Roebuck catalogue of 1902 allowed you
to purchase Dr. Hommond’s Nerve & Brain Pills, ‘guaranteed to cure any
disease for which they are intended’ or Dr. Rose’s Arsenic Complexion
Wafers, ‘perfectly harmless when used in accordance with directions’.
Perhaps one of the most significant medical discoveries of that
century was aspirin, which was introduced in 1899.
Doughnut Girl . . .
The Salvation Army
began to fully integrate into American life during the First World
War, when Gen. John J. Pershing allowed 250 Salvationists to assist
troops near the front lines. There they offered doughnuts, coffee,
prayers and small kindnesses. These Salvation Army men and women,
(“Sallies” or “Doughnut Girls”), were a welcome sight for many
soldiers. The inspiration for our Doughnut Girl was an illustration of
Stella, the great aunt of Elsie Busby. This year, Elsie and her
husband, John, are retiring as the Salvation Army’s National
In 1880, a small
group of Salvationists arrived from London and planted a Salvation
Army flag in New York City’s Battery Park claiming America for God.
This spot is but a few blocks from where the Twin Towers would later
be built. When tragedy struck those buildings on September 11th, the
Salvation Army’s divisional headquarters on 14th Street sprang into
action. Twenty-one “canteens” providing food, beverages and words of
comfort were established. Over 300,000 meals were served within the
first 72 hours. Within days, a huge tractor trailer capable of serving
1,000 meals per hour was brought to the site. More than 4 million
meals were eventually served. Everything from food for the rescue dogs
to eye drops for the rescue teams were provided. Salvation Army grief
counselors listened and provided support. Their prayers, compassion
and kindness sustained the weary rescue workers. The selfless helping
hand, wearing a navy uniform with a red shield, has touched so many
and continues, with the help of God, to strengthen us all.
AUNT DOTTIE’S CHRISTMAS CAKE
- 5 cups of sifted
- 2-1/4 cups of white sugar
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 3/4 pound of butter
- 6 eggs, separated
- 1 pint of hooch*
- 1 pound of candied cherries, halved
- 2 teaspoons nutmeg
- 1 pound of pecans, broken
- 1-1/2 cups of white raisins
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
Soak cherries and
raisins in hooch overnight. Cream sugar and butter until fluffy.
Add egg yolks and
beat well. Add soaked fruit and liquid. Reserve a small amount
of flour for the
nuts. Add remaining flour, sifted with the nutmeg and baking
powder, to the
fruit mixture. Beat the egg whites and fold into the batter.
Add the lightly
Pour batter into
a large buttered tube pan lined with wax paper.
Bake at 250˚F for
three to four hours or until cake tester comes out clean.
* Grandma Byers
always referred to bourbon as hooch.