West Springfield Literary Gazette

We have a reproduction of the copy book for the West Springfield Gazette (also known as the West Springfield Literary Gazette). Several young ladies from the westernmost parts of Springfield Township (probably around Crissey) worked on it. The copy is very faint in some parts and blanks have been included where it cannot be read. The picture shown was included in the front of the copy book and reminds us of our intelligent Editresses.

West Springfield Gazette

published semimonthly
By The

West Springfield Improvement Society

Vol. 1st No. 8

Two Dollars per Year

Miss Martha Dean

Miss Sarah Vanwert


West Springfield, Saturday, Oct. 26, 1857

“Great Effect oft result from little Causes”

Once more before you dear friends; once more entrusted with the keeping of the Editors. For ———– ————–, once more surrounded by well known and happy faces and my own heart overflowing with joy and gladness I greet you tonight with a fresh number of the Gazette and as a Christmas present we have been furnished a beautiful new set of type, improved paper, and elegant bindings. Our paper will be as heretofore centered upon all subjects involving discussion proper to all who will condescend to favor us contributions and a liberal remuneration for those of especial merit ourselves (?) judging.

Our terms are two dollars per year invariably indorsed; all subscriptions not enclosing the full amount will be thrown under the table and the partial remittance will be confiscated.

Rates of advertising ten lines one dollar
fifteen lines one dollar and a quarter
twenty-five lines one dollar and a half
for more than twenty five lines a special arrangement must be made with the publisher

Marriage notices inserted free of charge

The Dying Year

Another year is just expiring, passing into our endless Eternity as many have done before. How swiftly the wheels of time roll on. The days weeks and months of another year are gone. The bleak winds and snows of winter yielded to the soft showers of gentle spring. The sweet season of flowers, the right, sunny days of summer and lovely autumn with its fruits and berries have all been with us and gone like the visions of a night and stern old winter has again made his appearance. But what should the dying years remind us of? should it not remind us of our final desolation – that we too must die when necessary, that we should live for our every moment in doing all the good we can for ourselves and fellows while here on earth to prepare ourselves for a higher station. Let us glance back over the past year! Can we not bring to mind many things which we regret doing and many lost chances of experiences? We will not stop —–ment over the past but pursue the present and future. Lest we as a Society ————- with the new year and continue our Society and each ———— try to make it interesting and profitable and I think we shall succeed in the undertaking and reap the benefits of our endeavors in future days.

A Member of the Society

Written expressly for the Gazette

Winter Winds

Winter Winds, ye sadly wail,
O’er the plain, so drear and low,
O’er the hills and through the vale,
Still I hear your voice of woe.

Ratling (sic) thru my casement shutter,
With a loud and clanging sound,
Wildly through the trees ye flutter,
Scatering (sic) all their leaves around.

Winter Winds! ye are wildly roaming,
O’er richest plains and sterile wastes,
O’er new graves sadly, moaning,
Oe’r sweeping now reckless haste.

Winter Winds are ye ever blowing?
Ever wandering to and fro,
Cease ye rider this sad going,
Through this vale of tears and woe.

Julie Jessup


Geography describes to us,
The globe on which we live,
Of all the different kinds of stuff,
A full description gives,
The first it tells the f—– of it,
W—- says — —— ——,
And —– the s— — —- ——–,
— — ——- millions ——.

Diligence Insures Success

It is an undeniable fact that diligence is a necessary prerequisite to success in any undertaking. If it were not so why should we see (as we often do) a person who commences in life with small means steadily progressing and increasing in wealth and popularity and becoming more and more worthy of esteem and confidence while another who perhaps had far greater opportunities for insuring his way to fortune and fame makes no advancement or worse still, squanders his wealth in extravagant living and wastes his time in idleness and dissipation. If the men who first undertook to make the power of steam available in propelling machinery had been disheartened by the first difficulty that presented itself where now would have been the important advantages that have resulted from its use; and indeed is not every new invention the result of earnest and persevereing (sic) toil mental as well as physical. Who ever heard of a man who indulged in habits of negligence and inattention to business that was ever the means of accomplishing any amount of good in the world or of benefiting his fellow man. Such persons very rarely rise to any exalted station or if they do it is not because they are deserving of the honor. But the most forcible illustration of the truth of this wisdom may be seen in the acquirement of knowledge. Every one who has every reached an elevated position on the hill of Science has told us that the only way by which (to advance) and search into the hidden receses (sic) of learning is by resolving that we will brave every difficulty and conquer every obstacle which we may encounter. Constant and untiring diligence will surely be rewarded. It is not by attending school a few weeks or months in each year and merely committing to memory the lessons there required – scarcely giving them a thought afterward – that we can ever expect to store our minds with knowledge. If we study because we love to and for the pleasure it gives us to inform our minds we shall seek other opportunities for gaining information and allow none of our time to pass unimproved. It was by this means that most of the great men of our country obtained their education. It is not the wealthy who become the most celebrated for their intelligence and usefulness; they too often consider the acquisition of knowledge as of little importance simply because they have been taught that money makes the man. How was it that Franklin became so learned? His parents were poor and his opportunities for schooling very limited. And yet he became one of the most learned men that our country ever produced and has perhaps done more for the good of our country than any other man. With such proofs as these of the benefits which result from a diligent and useful employment of our time who would not strive to excel or surpass the great and good of the past who have left the ———-.
We all doubtless have talents which only want to be cultivated to render us the means of accomplishing much good; and patient and persevering effort is the surest way to develop our latent powers and crown our every undertaking with ultimate success.

Kate Whimsical

Choice of Company

This is a subject of great importance and can not be to (sic) carefully considered by the young; in as much as those we associate with have a great influence over us therefore we should choose those for our friend whom we wish to imitate; as our happiness and success through life greatly depends upon the course we pursue and the circle in which we move. How many misguided youths have made themselves unhappy and miserable by allowing themselves to keep bad company – those possessed of ability and advantages of becoming great good and wise have by keeping bad company fallen into silent and unknown oblivion.

Maria Trumbull


How many are addicted to this habit and in how many various ways is it carried on by the people of the present age and how often do we observe it? There is a certain class (who have) so much to say and they are not very particular in what way or maner (sic) they express themselves. If they hear anything they cannot be satisfied until they have told it and nine times out of ten they will make it convey quite another meaning. Now is it not wrong for persons to indulge themselves in reporting everything they hear – it not only causes disturbances between families but is the formation of a very bad habit. Another class always see to other peoples business, and never to their own and are always prophesying that some great event is about to take place; that some Lady and Gentlewoman are about to emmigrate (sic) to the Territory of matrimony because “someone” has seen them looking at each other in church; and they think it so much they finally think it is so and tell it for granted. There again we have Friends who vary with us in regard to amusements and we do something we know they will not uphold us in – yet we think no harm, and in a few days we are chastised for so doing; and instead of being upright and honorable about it they will apologize, and finally, creep out of it and say they did not do it when they know better and others too. I ask is it not more to deny a thing after having done it than to do it. Oh that parents should indulge their children tatling as much as they do and if they seem interested they will tell things to suit them. I think those who have reached the age of reason and understanding should be careful about setting such an example before smaller children. What looks better than a truthful child; one that we can place confidence in and another thing I think will do no hurt to notice briefly. Never condemn a person until you have sufficient reason for doing so. Many times we hear false reports from one and another and we are too apt to say and tell of things we know nothing of and if any one is prejudiced against another they are not particular wheather (sic) they tell it verbatim or not.

From an Observer


This may seem an untimely subject but thoughts will come; how very beautiful a monthly rose looks even now on this cold December evening and in the long summer days how cheering and delicious is their fragrance . Bring them in to the chamber of the invalid how they cheer his restlessness; and in contemplating them he falls into sweet sleep and rests. Take them into the room of the convalescent they will while away and shorten the weary hours of imprisionment (sic) and calm the impatient spirit. Place them in the -ell of the cri-si— whose bloodstained —-d has been raised high against his fellowman, and though they may recall the past and present to him many scenes which he long ago took an innocent part even though the re—- brings a bitter nostrum he will bless you for them for they are a part of the world he is never more to see; yet which he still lives. Wreath them around the cold white stone where death has set his seal they are fit emblems of mortal frailty. Place them in whatever situation you will they are richly beautiful and bring with them quiet and pleasure. Ye bright emblems of innocence and purity our sinful world would be dreary enough without.

Fannie Fragrance

Epigrammatical upon part last evenings doings

Up sprang the evening Bert
And fiercely held her fast
While followed visible Sarah
Shaking Bert with giant grasp!

Company Concern

Farewell! the —— of change
Ha– s—- as all must —- in sh—
And joy like a —— — bird begins
The wing to drop, the —– to fade.

West Springfield Gazette published semimonthly
By: The West Springfield Improvement Society

Vol. 1st No. 9th

Springfield, January 9th, 1858

Terms: two dollars per year, in advance

Miss Caroline E. Barnes

Miss Ellen M. Cressy

Editresses Motto

“Great Effect oft result from little Causes”


The wheels of time in their never-ceasing course have rolled on, and again we have been called upon to bid “Adieu” to the departing year; and welcome with joy the advent of a new; and as this is the first time we have had the pleasure of addressing you in the capacity in which we now stand before you we hasten to improve it, by wishing all the friends and readers of the Gazette, though it’s columns a “Happy New Year.”
Nor do we wish you to regard it as an idle, unmeaning phrase, merely uttered for the sake of compliment, and with no thought of its real import; for the feeling which prompted its utterance is a heartfelt for your happiness both present and future. Not such happiness only as may be found in the existing pleasures of the fashionable world and amid gay scenes of mirth and festivity; but that calm and quiet enjoyment which is conferred by the sweet consciousness of having been of use to our fellow-man, of living for some nobler purpose than the gratification simply of our own selfish wishes.
In this life we are ever subject to trials and disappointments; and though today, your prospects for pleasure may appear undimmed, tomorrow may find the clouds of sorrow over-hanging your heads and hiding from view every ray of hope and happiness. Keeping this important truth in mind, then, that life is not all sunshine, our readers, we hope will so employ their time and talents; while youth and opportunity are granted, as to be able to bear with calmness and fortitude every reverse of fortune, and to render themselves truly useful in whatever condition of life they may be placed. Thus you will win the esteem and confidence of all friends of Integrity and Truthfulness, and will possess within yourselves ample resources of sending every ensuing year of your life a “Happy New Year”.
With regard to our financial affairs, we are sorry to say that, owing to the universal depression prevailing in all public transactions, they are not in so flourishing a condition as we could wish; and we trust that our old patrons will be prompt in renewing their subscriptions as well as procuring new subscribers. For the benefit of any who have never had the pleasure of perusing the Gazette, we will state that its chief aim will be, as it has ever been, the cultivation of home talent, by giving to the members of our Society who desire to improve themselves in writing and composing an opportunity of doing so and at the same time making their thoughts and ideas known to each other in such a manner that all may be benefitted (sic) thereby.
In the editorial of our predecessor we find the announcement that the Gazette is to be “neutral” on all subjects involving discussion; and would most respectfully beg leave to say that we think this should not be. We see no reason why our contributors should be prohibited from writing on some particular subject, or why one should be permitted to express their views and opinions on any topic, if others are not allowed the same privilege. Free discussion of principles and theories, we think is a sure and successful method of promulgating right views of them, and we shall therefor adopt for our motto on this point, Neutral in nothing.
That our paper may have an increased circulation we will reduce the price to $1.00 per year for clubs of ten with an extra copy to the person getting up the club, and for every five additional subscribers a handsome picture book.

Attention! $5.00 Reward

Run away from the subscriber between 9 and 10 o’clock A.M. on the eve of the 13th Dec. his oldest son Peter two years younger than his brother Richard. He is dark complexioned with light hair and blue eyes, and when he left was dressed in a light colored suit of black broadcloth. Any information of this lad will be unthankfully received and rewarded accordingly.

My Native Land

A dearer spot cannot be sought,
Than our blessed native land.
With parents dear we may live here,
A joyous happy band.

When far from home as many roam,
To find a better spot.
After they’ve tried they’re satisfied,
To return to “father’s cot”.

When they have gone from childhood’s home,
Few are the friends they’ll find.
Few pleasures there, they’ll find so dear,
As those they left behind.

Our schoolmates here and friends so dear,
Whom we from birth have known.
I’m sure ‘twould grieve us all to leave,
To seek a distant home.

No Mother’s care shall shield us there,
When in a foreign land.
No sister’s to our spirits cheer,
Nor Fathers able hand.

Back to our home our minds will come,
To our sweet native land.
Where in sweet play we’ve spent our day,
With playmates hand in hand.


Which of our members represent articles we should most need in case of a fire? Ans. Bell and Wells.
What forest tree is represented by one of our members? Ans. Bi—


Some people say, Fairies! What are fairies? I’ll tell you just what fairies are. They are a pretty race of people always merry when it is still and calm, and when you are in a good humor and your mind is somewhat in a strong imaginative mood. Some say fairies live only in flowers and for food eat the sweets of the floral tribe and quench their thirst with the dew which falls upon their habitations; whilst others say they have seen fairies dancing upon the ice in the evlest (sic) of weather, and that they live under the ice in the little hollow knots of this crystal substance.
But I will tell you what I saw one evening — The sun had sunk below the western hills, the sky was arrayed in all its glory of purple and gold, and the trees were clothed in a dark reddish yellow, and every thing was so pleasant and enchanting that it drew me forth in the evening air to enjoy the beauties of nature. I went into the garden and was admiring the roses when a gentle breeze lifted the leaves of one sweet one, and a pretty fairy peeped up at me and drew the leaf down. I looked around, and seeing no more of these people waited for the appearance of the full moon, when I was quite certain the fairies would come forth to enjoy themselves in the beautiful light of Luna.
Soon the moon made her appearance and cast her rays over hill and vale and the scenery was more beautiful than words can tell. I was watching the light clouds in the sky and had forgotten the fairies in my new occupation, when a gentle breeze blew the leaves from a rose which had seen its best days; and some lit on my hand, thus calling my attention from the clouds. I turned and upon a beautiful damask rose saw the fairies were collected, all dressed in white whilst the breezes swept their silky jet hair around their graceful shoulders. But their fiddler was the firs— of —- a brown — grasshopper perched just above them singing enough to split his throat. But the fairies had not selected a rose strong enough to serve them in their merriment, for it was old and somewhat weak in the joints. I soon saw a great black spider creep up behind Mr. Fiddler and slily (sic) catch hold of the hoary musicians foot. The old gentleman was surprised as well as frightened, and summoned all his strength to give a mighty jump, but in his hurry he struck a rose twig and came tumbling down with the spider among the fairies. The great spider and the over-grown grasshopper were too much for the aged rose, and their weight tore the leaves asunder, while fairies, fiddler and spider came tumbling together upon the ground. The spider ran off as fast as his feet could carry him but the fairies had no notion of his getting off so easy and starting in pursuit soon overtook him. They then caught hold of his feet and dragged him around but finally they thought they might have a fine moonlight ride, so all got upon the back of Mr. Spider and off they all rode in merry glee laughing with all their might. While Mr. Grasshopper stood where he had fallen and laughed in good earnest at poor Mr. Spider conveying these happy creatures around in a very perplexed state. After they had rode long enough they played hide and coup? In the leaves of a great pink rose bud when they were surprised to see Miss Puss came and tap their rose and all came tumbling down again. The moon was soon about an hour high and I returned to the house with a resolution to visit these fairies the next evening. I retired that night to dream of fairies playing “Pussy wants a corner”, and all the funny things they are capable of performing.

Stella Starlight

Ques: For what flower does our treasures manifest a decided
preference? Ans. Rose

Youth’s Fancies

Written for the Gazette

It is a bright and beautiful Sun. evening and all nature demands to be decorated with beautiful attire. The heavens themselves are filled with splendor. The moon is shining in all her transcendent beauty and now and then a twinkling start makes its appearance. The little brooklets flowing on in their course murmuringly get ever onward in their flight, all speak with mute voices telling us to give praise to the Creator. It has often seemed incomprehensible to me how man gifted with those faculties which raise his soul above the brute, can become dead to all the beautiful scenes and varied charms of nature; still it is so with few exceptions. To most men the lofty trees and hills and valleys, and the blue firmament on high assume no aspect of beauty; and all nature seems to them but so much gross material for them to convert into dollars and cents!
Sometimes I cannot help thinking they are not possessed of any soul. They appear apparently but —– living clay it is true without any spiritual life, looking for pleasure and happiness in the dull routine of everyday life, and business; caring nothing for mankind but worshipping the Almighty dollar. There is generally too much rain, and too little sunshine; too wet or too dry and with them things are never right; they are continually fretting at Providence. But enough has been said and I will close by saying we must all take things as they come.


It is natural for us to seek for amusements, and there are a variety of ways which we can find to spend our leisure moments; some find amusement one way and some in another. Reading should be called an amusement, for in what better way can we improve our best? hours, then in reading some useful and interesting book. We can hold communion with those great minds who flourished years ago, but have left an example behind them which we would do well to imitate.
Many of those great and good men had but little opportunity for becoming learned, and obtained most of their knowledge by their own perservering efforts, by amusing themselves with useful and instructive books. Some find pleasure in vain and idle ways and others still indulge in very sinful amusements such as shuffling cards for liquor, and thus becoming intoxicated when they are sometimes led to commit crime. I regret that so many young men who might be smart and intelligent and capable of filling useful stations in society should indulge in these vicious practices. The pleasures of the ballroom also attract great mumbers, but this I think rather a vain amusement, and when carried to excess very sinful, and even if not I think there are better ways of employing our time.
Winter amusements are the most harmless and agreeable of any season of the year. Who does not enjoy these long eves when the broad-faced moon is soaring through the heavens while the clear sky above our heads makes it so delightful for a merry company of young folks to be seated in a sleigh behind a span of smart horses, with the music of sleigh bells ringing in our ears. It is one of the highest physical enjoyments we can partake of. Let not these harmless amusements be checked too harshly. But (as I mentioned before) reading should not be regarded as a laborious task, it should rank among the highest, the purest and most lasting of all amusements. For in it pleasure is combined with instruction. It will make the old forget the sorrows of age and teach the young the pleasures of wisdom.

Kate Knownothing


In the r—— of air my first had its birth
And on doing ——- Ascends to earth,
To gladden the hearts of men,
And noiselessly carpets hill and vale
As with piercing cold and driving gale
Old winter resumes his reign.

If my second you’d know, and when it is found
I’ll quickly explain, in hope it is round
And is used by boys in their play,
And the —– of my first and second combined
Spell what in the Spring in the garden, we find,
And in winter we throw away.

Ans. Snowball Matilda Musty