Monday, September 21, 2015

Poems of Dawn

The recent piece on this blog about Gertrude Seibert mentioned her contribution to Poems of Dawn (1912) but did not credit her as the compiler. I did not state this in the article because, although some reference works made the claim, they were secondary sources. Unlike Daily Heavenly Manna for example, the various editions of Poems of Dawn do not actually state who the compiler was.

I am very grateful to Miquel for providing me with the entry from Woman’s Who’s Who of America for 1914-1915, which is reproduced below.

Gertrude’s entry plainly credits her with editing Poems of Dawn, and crucially this was published while she was still alive. The interesting comment in the entry “Opposed to woman suffrage on Scriptural grounds” could only have come from Gertrude herself; so as is common with such works, she contributed her own entry. It would make perfect sense for her to compile Poems of Dawn because it contains so much of her work.

The original Poems of Dawn was part of a volume with Hymns of Dawn and an acknowledged compiler then was Maria Russell. CTR specifically mentioned her in the forward of earlier editions.

But by the time Poems of Dawn was issued as a separate volume in 1912, Maria’s association with ZWT was long severed, and Gertrude Seibert had become a sort of unofficial poet laureate for the Bible Students. The 1912 first edition has 286 pages and contains 39 of her poems. In 1915 the book was reissued (still with the 1912 copyright page) with 318 pages and Gertrude’s contribution now ran to 61 poems. There is also a 1919 reissue, but this appears to be identical with that from 1915. The extended version of the book is the one that usually appears in modern reprints or electronic versions of this work.

One curiosity - all editions of Poems of Dawn contain a poem by F C Browning and also one from Mrs F G Burroughs. Eagle-eyed readers of this blog in the past will know that this is the same person, who by 1912 had become Mrs Ophelia G Adams, having married one of CTR’s rivals, Arthur Prince Adams. See the article Ophelia on this blog from January 9 this year.

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