The 1908 Christmas issue of the Weekly was published on Dec. 19. It contained several Christmas-related pieces, though it’s not clear which, if any, received a prize from the editors. Gideon Stieff related “The Trials and Tribulations of a Santa Claus,” while Allan Davis penned a cautionary tale for naughty children determined to be “Seein’ Santa.” In this story, little Will, who hides under the sofa in an attempt to catch a glimpse of Santa, is discovered, at which point Santa “did not say anything but went over to the stockings and emptied poor Will’s of the toys and filled it with switches and coal.” Needless to say, Will never tried to catch Santa in the act again.
The issue also contains several regular features, including jokes—
A hug—a roundabout way of expressing affection.
A stitch in time often saves an embarrassing exposure.
People who live in glass houses should dress in the dark.
—and sports news. Boys’ Latin, we are told, decimated Loyola Blakefield in basketball, 41-5, while “the Friends School strengthened its hold on last place by losing to Deichmanns by 1 to 0.” (Deichmann’s School was one of several bilingual German-English schools in the Baltimore area that flourished between the end of the Civil War and World War I, after which anti-German sentiment resulted in their demise.) The editors continue, with more than a hint of irony, “We are pleased to note that the Friends School has not scored a single point since the league started.”
The issue also contained additional pieces of fiction, an editorial, and a new feature, the “Children’s Corner,” which Francis Davis instituted as a result of complaints from “the young folks” about being “neglected” by the editors.
In their opening editorial, the editors write, “we have tried in every way to make it as nearly as possible a success and if we say so ourselves, it is a pretty good number.” We think you will agree.
The Weekly was discontinued a few years later, perhaps because Francis left home for work or college. The Davis family also left Bolton Hill, relocating to Roland Park in the early 1920s. As is true of many childhood efforts, the Home Weekly was tragically forgotten, even by the Davis family. Only recently did John Davis rediscover his father’s early attempts at authorship, when he found nearly 300 pages of the Weekly preserved, in pristine condition, in the family safe. We are grateful to him and to his daughter Jenny for sharing these family treasures with the readers of the Bulletin.
Happy Holidays to all from all of us at the Bolton Hill Bulletin and MRIA!