The Cooper

In the 1800s there were no corrugated cardboard boxes or padded shipping envelopes. If you needed to store or ship any liquid—and most dry goods—the barrel (and its larger and smaller cousins) was almost always your container of choice.

Anderson, Alexander, engraver. Five Men on a Flatboat With Barrels and Sacks; One Man Operates the Keel from Above the Boathouse, the Others Are Resting on the Freight, circa 1830-1860, Library of Congress.

And when you needed a barrel, hogshead, keg, cask or firkin, or just an oaken bucket for your well, you would get it from a cooper.

Unknown photographer. Occupational Portrait of a Cooper, Three-Quarter Length, With Barrel and Tools, circa 1840-1860, Library of Congress.

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Have you voted?

It’s not too late to cast your ballot in the reader’s poll from our previous post, asking how I should archive the contents of my April 22 Cedarburg History Museum talk here at Clark House Historian. Should I publish the words and images as a series of usual-format CHH blog posts, or as one or more YouTube videos, featuring all the original PowerPoint slides, accompanied by my re-recorded narration?

The polls are still open, and the lines are short. Just scroll down to the Leave a Reply box, below, and where it says “Enter your comment here…” leave your vote for “Blog posts” or “YouTube videos.”  Questions? For the full story, just click this link and read the second part of Monday’s post, beginning at “That was fun!”

In the words of the late, great, Mayor Richard J. Daley, “vote early and vote often!”

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Time flies!

[Editor], daguerreotype with added color highlights c.1855 (slightly cropped, and color adjusted), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Charles Isaacs, (link), Creative Commons CC0 license. Click to open larger image in new window.

Hey! It’s almost been a month since my last post. Sorry about that. I haven’t gone this long between posts in several years, I think, and now I’ve got (the digital equivalent of) a towering pile of half-written posts to finish and topics to discuss. That said, I have been busy…

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Finis, 2022

[The Bible,] Geneva version, published by Christopher Barker, London, circa 1580-1588. Collection of the Jonathan Clark House, photo credit: Reed Perkins, 2022.

What a year!

Finis. The End. Today is December 31, the last day of a long and eventful 2022. I’m not up to the task of summarizing all the highs and lows of the past year. I’ll leave that to others.

But I thought recalling one special summer day at the Clark House might make a nice valediction at the close of the old year and the beginning of the new. And for me, without question, the best day for the Clark House this year was July 23, 2022, the day we celebrated the generous donation of the historic Bonniwell family Bible and papers.

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