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Friday, August 14, 2015

Another Stove Poem -- Constance Fenimore Woolson, "The Morning Star is All the Rage," n.d.

Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840-1894) doesn't need much of an introduction from me.  She has a Wikipedia page and even her own Society dedicated to memorializing her life and work, as well as plenty of books and journal articles written about her.  I had never heard of her, though, before I came across this; but I did know that her father Charles, and grandfather Thomas, had been pioneers in US stove making, which explains why The Metal Worker, the leading journal of the trade, marked her death with this article.

"Early Stove Advertising Poetry," The Metal Worker 5 May 1894, p. 46:

The following letter from the Cleveland Co-operative Stove Company of Cleveland, Ohio, will doubtless be read with interest by many members of the trade:

The recent almost tragic death abroad of the well-known writer, Miss Constance Fennimore Woolson, calls to mind the fact that probably her first literary efforts were in connection with the stove manufacturing business. Mr. Woolson, the father of the celebrated writer, was really the pioneer in the stove manufacturing business in the West. He established himself in a small way in the then village of Cleveland, and met with success. At the time of his death the firm of Woolson, Hitchcock & Carter were among the leading stove manufacturers of the country.  After the death of Mr. Woolson and Mr. Carter, one of his partners, the concern was merged into the Franklin Stove Works, who later were succeeded by the present Cleveland Co-operative Stove Company. Almost the initial stove of Mr. Woolson’s production was known as the Morning Star, which had a very large sale, and in the advertising of this the first literary efforts of the poetess, then a mere child, were exerted. There were some eight or ten stanzas, which were printed and used by the trade as an advertising medium for the sale of the stove. Among the archives of the old concern have been found only three stanzas, reading as folows:
The Morning Star is all the rage,
Because it suits in every age.
The people come both near and far,
Just to buy the Morning Star.

It suits the farmer’s wife, they say,
Because it bakes well every day.
It suits the townsman just as good,
Because it burns so little wood.

If you’d have peace, comfort and bliss,
And at home enjoy each cherished wish,
And shun the rocks and clear the bar,
Then fail not to buy the Morning Star.
A part of the third line of the last stanza quoted is not legible and may not be entirely accurate. Perhaps some of the older stove dealers can supply the missing verses.

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The following posts are about her father, Charles Jarvis Woolson, and grandfather Thomas Woolson's careers as stovemakers.

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