This Was Doylestown, 1941
The Trapp Family Singers perform at Aldie, a Christmas party is held at the Bucks County Home, and Doylestown businesses and homes display "V" for "Victory," 71 years ago this week.
Trapp Family Singers perform at "Aldie" -
Editor's note - In 1938, the Trapp Family Singers emigrated from Austria to the United States and began making concert tours of the country. Martha Mercer, widow of sculptor William R. Mercer, Jr. (brother of Henry C. Mercer), invited the group to perform at her annual Christmas concert on Dec. 22, 1941 at Aldie, her mansion in Doylestown Township. Baroness Maria von Trapp and her seven stepchildren performed; her husband, Baron Georg von Trapp, and their three youngest children were not present. Seventeen years later, Doylestown Township resident Oscar Hammerstein II would co-write "The Sound of Music," a partly fictional musical version of Maria's life.
The Trapp Family Singers performed old carols for about 200 guests at the annual Christmas concert held Monday evening at "Aldie," the home of Mrs. William R. Mercer, Jr.
Baroness von Trapp, mother of the famous singers, said she believes family singing to be on the increase and that they hope to contribute to encouraging it as it was carried on in Europe for centuries, with the Christmas season placing special emphasis upon it.
One of the songs rendered by the Trapp family, composed of Baroness von Trapp and her children, was "Silent Night," which was introduced to American audiences about one hundred years ago by a family of singers named Rainer, ancestors of the present Trapp Family Singers.
The singers also introduced music played on the almost extinct recorders, which were among the earliest musical instruments imported to Europe from Asia. For a long time, the Baroness said, the only recorders extant were found in museums or other valued collections. But more recently there has been a revival of popularity.
The instruments somewhat resemble the clarinet and other larger ones of wood, and have exceedingly rich tones. A spinet was also used and an instrument very much resembling a cello played without the bow.
Music sung and produced instrumentally included famed selections dating from as early as 1559.
The first part of the program was as follows: "Quem vidistis pastores" ["Whom have ye seen, O shepherds?"], "Midwinter," and "The Holly and the Ivy." The second part consisted of "Sonata in F for quartet of recorders," "Adeste fideles" ["O Come, All Ye Faithful"], and "From Heaven High I Came To Earth."
The final portion began with a Tyrolean carol, "Hirten, auf um Mitternacht" ["Shepherds, wake, for it is midnight!"]. This was followed by "Away in a Manger," "Angels We Have Heard On High," and two Tyrolean carols, "Deine Wangelen" ["Thy cheeks so fair"] and "Es hat sich heut' eroffnet" ["Today the heavenly portals open wide"]. The program ended with the singing of "Silent Night."
Christmas party held at Bucks County Home -
A Christmas party for the 120 residents at the Bucks County Home [predecessor of today's Neshaminy Manor Home] was held on Saturday afternoon, with the Village Improvement Association, which originated the idea, and the Soroptimist Club of Bucks County as hostesses.
Miss Helen L. Ryan, president of the V.I.A., and Miss E. Helaine Lintleman, president of the Soroptimist Club, headed the two groups of women who made the event possible.
V.I.A. members who attended included Miss Ryan, Miss Florence B. King, Mrs. Oscar O. Bean, Mrs. Charles F. Freeman, chairman of the committee; Mrs. Edward O. Steely, Miss Helen Buckman and Mrs. Edward Hancock. Mrs. William R. Mercer, Jr., an active member of the committee, visited the home earlier.
Soroptimists were Miss Lintleman, Harriet Hancock, Dorothy Kraft, Ruth Bliss, Emma Ashton, Isobel Purcell and Margaret Shelley. Mrs. Shelley presided at the piano and played Christmas carols, with Mrs. Hancock serving as the song leader.
Gifts of apples, oranges and boxes of candy were presented by the V.I.A. The Soroptimists presented individual gifts to the men and women.
Rev. Charles F. Freeman, Salem Reformed Church pastor, delighted the men and women with the recital of a "Pennsylvania German" poem. Robert Larzelere delighted everyone with his repertoire of magic.
A Christmas tree, which was provided and decorated by the V.I.A., graced the scene. One of the women took part in the program by reciting "A Soldier Boy and Deck Cards."
Refreshments of ice cream and cake were served.
Men and women volunteer as aircraft spotters -
About 100 men and women are serving as aircraft spotters in the County Seat.
Chief Henry Ullman is assisted by J. Roland Schmidt, assistant chief; and Robert Irwin, second assistant chief. Mrs. J. Latta Jones and Mrs. Casimir A. Sienkiewicz are in charge of the women.
The 42 men serve four-hour shifts in the Court House tower beginning at midnight until 4 in the morning, from 4 until 8, and from 8 in the evening until midnight. The 54 women serve two-hour shifts from 8 in the morning until 8 in the evening.
The volunteers, who each week give their time and energy, despite the weather throughout the day and night, never leaving the tower without a "spotter," are co-operating with the Air Warning Service of the U.S. Army, and are members of the first interceptor command.
The men and women recently received a letter, which has been posted on the bulletin board in the Court House tower, from the Albert R. Atkinson Post 210, American Legion, acknowledging their interest and patriotism in self-defense and the emergency now existing [the United States declared war on Japan and Germany following the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor].
"Since the midnight until 4 a.m. and the 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. are the most difficult shifts to get men to fill, I think there must be more men in Doylestown who are willing to relieve the present corps so that their time can be changed," Chief Ullman said.
Applications for shifts and duty will be received by either Chief Ullman, Mrs. Jones or Assistant Chiefs Schmidt and Irwin.
WE INVITE YOU to pause with us for fifteen minutes at 4 P.M. and 8 P.M. today [Dec. 24] and join with us in singing Christmas carols, accompanied by our organ...MUSSELMAN'S, The Christmas Store, Doylestown.
Doylestown displaying "V" for "Victory" -
Electrically lighted "Vs," symbol of the conquered peoples of Europe under Hitler, are being displayed during the Christmas season by Doylestown businesses and residents, including the Doylestown Inn, Doylestown Maennerchor, Doylestown Market, Horace Overholt and Nate Gorelick.
Mr. Gorelick said Wednesday that after the holiday season they will still be exhibited with either white, or red, white and blue bulbs.
Mrs. Simpson, of North Main street, who was one of the first of the local housekeepers to display a "V," said that her husband, before he passed away several months ago, made as one of his final requests that she have a "V" in front of their house on Christmas Day.
A "V" now dominates the Christmas decorations on the Bucks County Administration Building [at Main and Court streets, where the Vietnam War Memorial is today]. After Yuletide, the colored bulbs will be replaced by a different type of bulb.
Other "Vs" are being exhibited at Fort Hancock, N.J. and in Princeton, Lawrenceville and other points in New Jersey.
Boys sign up as defense messengers -
Approximately 175 boys attending the Doylestown Public School have signed up for service in the Bucks County Messenger Corps, it was reported by Director Alfred B. Patton, of Doylestown.
This has been accomplished through the co-operation of Supervising Principal [Superintendent] J. Leonard Halderman and County Superintendent of Schools Charles H. Boehm, of Morrisville.
The boys come from a number of towns, including Doylestown borough, 53; Warrington township, 15; Plumstead township, 25; Doylestown township, 13; Dublin, 4; Bedminster township, 4; New Britain township, 7; New Britain borough, 9; Chalfont, 3.
The corps expects to recruit 1,000 boys between the ages of 12 and 21 throughout Bucks county. The boys will serve as volunteers for all sorts of messenger service for the Bucks County Council of Defense.
Various agencies of the council are pleased with the progress being made with the organization of the messenger corps and predict that the boys will have plenty of work within a short time.
One of the latest suggestions made in the way of civilian defense organization was mentioned by Director Patton. It was called to his attention that it might be well to list all the farm horses available in the county, which could be called into service in case of an emergency and used for transporting messengers with medicine in case of blocked highways.
In Europe, this service was organized long ago. It was suggested that the service here be called the "Paul Revere Riders."
TO THE PATRONS OF TROY LAUNDRY...As the Nation's defense programs are using so much paper and cardboard, we can buy only a limited amount of these items. This means that in the near future we may have to return your shirts without the use of cardboard inside the fold. However, if you will save these boards for use and hand them to our routemen, it will keep our supply from diminishing so rapidly. We thank you in advance for this favor and also for your past patronage...TROY LAUNDRY...Phone Doylestown 4605.
Doylestown Town Notes -
Christmas at the Bucks County Prison [on South Pine Street] is being made just as bright as a Christmas could be behind prison walls. Warden Earl Handy has arranged for a special Christmas dinner for the forty-three prisoners incarcerated there. The prisoners trimmed a huge tree in the corridor of the prison. Merchants of Doylestown have contributed a large quantity of fruit, candy and cigarettes. There will be special music programs presented on Christmas Day by the various church choirs of the town.
Lieutenant Charles T. Horner, of Fort Devens, Mass., is visiting his father, Charles T. Horner, over the Christmas holiday.
With Harrison B. Gift serving as Santa Claus, about 1,000 boxes of candy were distributed to the children at the Doylestown Trust Company [on North Main Street, where Team Capital Bank is today] on Monday from 10 until 3 o'clock.
Samuel Miller, who is a patient in the Hamburg Sanatorium [in Berks County], is spending a brief holiday vacation with his parents in Doylestown.
A candlelight service will be held in St. Paul's Lutheran Church on Christmas morning at 8 o'clock. The choir will render Christmas anthems and there will be the singing of carols by the congregation. A short address will be given by the pastor, Rev. Bernard Repass.
Mrs. H. Leroy Kister is confined to her home on West Court street because of a streptococcic infection.
Corporal Arthur M. Eastburn, Jr., of Camp Rodman, Aberdeen, Md., is spending a four-day furlough at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur M. Eastburn, Sr., of East State street.
The huge candy cane on display at the Palace of Sweets on East State street, manufactured by owner Charles Mamounis, has been donated to the Tabor Home.
Private Charles F. Meyer, of West Court street, a Lehigh University student who recently enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps, has been transferred from the training school at the Tulsa, Oklahoma Air Base, to the Navigation and Bombardier Department at Ellington Field, Texas.
Announcement of the engagement of Miss Alma M. Beer, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Beer, of Harvey avenue, to Edward K. Funk, son of Frank Funk, of Solebury, was made at a Christmas dinner on Christmas Day.
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Clime, of East State street, are receiving congratulations on the birth of a son Thursday in the Doylestown Emergency Hospital.
Many friends of Dr. and Mrs. George T. Hayman called at their home Christmas Eve to witness the almost miraculous change of an apparently dead and dried up "Christmas rose" to a living plant dotted with ruby-like little flowers. First the plant was rinsed and then placed in water. In about 15 minutes, it began to come to life, the curled-up branches straightening to some extent--and then the gorgeous red "roses" appearing.
From the Doylestown Daily Intelligencer, Week of Dec. 21-27, 1941