Tag Archives: Alphonse Bernhard Meyer

Harvey M. Bricker and the Passing of the Great Race’s Memory of Facts: the Culture of Traditional Education

Memories of Memorization, Traditional Education, and the Old Archaeology that came from WASPY Old “Traditional” Harvard.  Education of a kind that almost no one has anymore, from an Educator without fair modern parallels, because of my Memories of a serious man with a wry and dry sense of humor who wore bow-ties and proudly (if somewhat ironically and daringly) sported a Hitler-style “toothbrush” mustache….

Word has come to me second-hand via HSC from the desk of my old honors’ thesis advisor E. Wyllys Andrews V that Professor Harvey M. Bricker of Tulane University passed on, joining his professors and other “Dead White Men” of Academic History in the the Great Symposium in the Sky last Sunday January 15, 2017.  I rarely have occasion to write  or even think about my undergraduate college professors in the 1970s, but Harvey without any doubt was one of my two top favorites out of a faculty of Archaeology and Historical Anthropology that I simply loved, really idolized, and almost worshipped as a younger than average teenager in New Orleans.

It is hard to believe that he must have been 76 or 77 when he died.  Harvey and his wife Victoria R. were among the young generation of professors who totally remade Tulane as a modern university in the 1970s.  (Vicky Bricker was, in fact, my very first professor of Anthropology, and the reason I switched from Political Science to Anthropology as my freshman declaration of major).  

Harvey was an uncompromising traditionalist, an “Old Archaeologist” of the Hallam L. Movius (Harvard) and Francois Bordes/Bordeaux French Palaeoloithic School of careful excavation and stone tool typologies.  Harvey made no attempt to conceal his contempt for the “New Archaeology” of the “Processualists” and for that I absolutely loved him.

He was a great classroom professor, although I’m sad to say I apparently only managed to take two classes from him, namely “Man in the Pleistocene” and “Rise of Civilization”, then catalog numbered Anthropology 625-626.

Today, I am most grateful to him for emphasizing a much maligned feature of learning: memorization.  “Memorization of Facts” is denigrated in the modern world as almost beneath contempt.  “Give me Big Problems; Teach me how to think outside the box; don’t try to lock me in” whine the modern millennial students.

I have always wondered how you ever think outside of the box if you don’t know what’s IN the box.  It’s a serious question.  I firmly believe that thought unanchored in knowledge of all that came before is pretty much worthless.  But that is the way and the story of the modern world: “let’s forget everything that the Dead White Men thought day before yesterday” and “let’s just think whatever we want to think and do whatever we want to do”—that’s a surefire strategy for disaster, and it’s what the cultural marxists are doing with modern education at all levels. 

Harvey Bricker awarded high grades ONLY for recitation of facts.  “Facts are low level observations” which do not require much in the way of comparative thought, while “Theories are Higher Level, synthetic observations.”  Or so I learned another (much  more “Processual”, “New”) Archaeologist, Columbia’s Barbara J. Price, who herself died in New York City, February 18, 2016, at the age of 75.  

To look at the forest or the trees, that is the question.  Except it is really no kind of question: if you don’t look up very close, you won’t, you can’t possibly, know what kind of trees are in the forest, what is the mix of species.  And to really study forest ecology you need a pretty exact census of each tree, vine, and bush in your study area, together with the contents and depths of the soil, the worm and insect population, not to mention the birds and mammals.

So Harvey M. Bricker taught like they did back in my grandparents’ days, back in the time of Madison Grant (the one who wrote of “The Passing of the Great Race”), and Harvey expected students to learn the names of local site phases and radio-carbon dates and the typological contents of tool assemblages.

I was fortunate because my grandparents had required me to memorize lists since I was a kid, and to recite them and test my memory was our family’s version of fun and game time.  My grandfather’s practical point was simple: “Memorization is the key to any kind of business success. I have companies (H.B. Meyer & Son’s, Al Meyer Company, Bell Chemical Company) that depend on sales to very sophisticated corporate and government customers who have “procurement departments” whose employees do nothing but look at the available products’ cost benefits all day long.  If my salesmen can’t remember every single product we have without consulting a catalog, they won’t be able to push the right product to the right customer.  If they can’t remember every chemical component of every product, when it was patented, by us or someone else, and how it was used, they won’t be effective in presenting the substance of what we offer. So these are the same games we play at the office: who can remember the most detail. You’ll never regret learning how to memorize.”

So the attack on memorization of facts is part of the modern “dumbing down” of people to serve computers.  Computers are based on memory, but can a computer really sell a product, or an idea, as effectively, or with as much flare and enthusiasm, as a personal conversation can do?

Academics, of course, both creates and consists of (at least theoretically, ideally) the great marketplace of ideas.  Harvey Miller Bricker belonged to this old school that an archaeologist needed to be (in essence) as good a salesman for his ideas as anyone on my grandfather’s well-disciplined sales team.  In the modern world of “safe spaces” and “trigger words” and political correctness gone mad, well, forcing people to memorize facts is tantamount to forcing them to work, and to accept the world as it is.

But if we haven’t studied the world as it REALLY is, how can we even know for sure that we don’t like it?

I remember my big bulging blue spiral ring notebooks with gold embossed “Tulane University” on the covers, chocked with page after page of notes in my fair-to-awful handwriting and internal manila “pocket” containers stuffed with class handouts, quizzes, and graded tests and papers.

For Anthro 625, “Man in the Pleistocene” (a survey of Old Stone Age/Palaeolithic Archaeology) from the first choppers below the bottom of the earliest floors at Olduvai Gorge to the final end of the ice age and dawn of the Mesolithic, Harvey’s lectures were filled with facts, and I basically couldn’t write down the facts he gave in those speeches fast enough.  I wrote my paper for that course, “Comment Vivaient les Rennes a l’Age de l’homme Préhistorique” hypothesizing that the Later Magdalenian people of Upper Palaeolithic France had domesticated the reindeer, at least to the same degree that the Lapp of Finland have done so in modern times.  (It was at least two years before the release of the Christmas kids’ song, “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”… but “L’Age du Rennes” or “the Reindeer Age” is an old-fashioned French expression naming the Upper Palaeolithic.  Harvey made me rewrite it about four times.  It was a great experience.  I remember reading and criticizing the work of an English archaeologist named D.A. Sturdy, and Harvey told me (wrote on one version of my paper) I shouldn’t be so hard on him, that Sturdy wasn’t necessarily “that stupid.”  I was only 17 but Harvey spent a great deal of time with me.

For “Rise of Civilization”, Harvey required us to memorize the local sequence of Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Bronze Age in each sector of Europe, including the infamous “Reinecke” series.  Thanks to Harvey, names like “Starčevo-Körös-Cris”, Vinča, Vinitsa,  Lepenski-Vir, Dolni Vestonice, Dunaújváros, were fixed in my mind and remained ready to resuscitate talking to archaeologists in 1989-90 when my former Greek wife and I toured Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe during and after the fall of the Iron Curtain while I had a Volkswagenwerk Fellowship at the University of Bonn….  In essence, Harvey  in New Orleans had taught us about local sequences as well as and as thoroughly  as locally specialized archaeologists learn about their own backyards in (the former) Czechoslovakia, Hungary, (the former) Yugoslavia, Romania and Bulgaria.

I never got to go on a dig with Harvey at the Châtelperronian site of Les Tambourets in the Pyrenees in southern France or ever even to see him in action, except in the classroom, but I heard so much from him, and found him so inspiring, that I feel like I did.  

http://www.worldcat.org/title/chatelperronian-of-les-tambourets-haute-garonne-france/oclc/907679210

http://www.paleoanthro.org/media/dissertations/Scandiuzzi2008-abstract.pdf

I don’t know how it is now, but in those days the Anthropology Professors at Tulane all ate at the University Cafeteria with the students, and so we got to spend lots of time with them out of class.  Harvey at a table with students was always funny in his stern dry way, twitching his mustache  meaningfully in ways that the Führer himself could never have matched.  He and Vicky had their share of the Anthro Department parties, including the annual Ritual of the Passing of the Golden Bough, at their home on Cherokee Street.  I miss those days…. they were so carefree and fine and fun…. and so very interesting.

The passing of a great old fashioned professor like Harvey is a very sad moment.  He and Vicky, starting 42-40 years in the past, so long ago, played a major role in shaping my life, my mind and intellect, such as it is….and they definitely formed a large part of how I look at the world…. through their very conservative lenses of cultural evolution and archaeological prehistory, the evolution of civilization and the development of cultures.  I did not know them when they were focused on Maya astronomy and all that has remained pretty much beyond my grasp until the present day anyhow…. I am ashamed that I do not even own their magnum opus as of today, although I plan on buying it immediately:

https://www.amazon.com/Astronomy-Codices-Memoirs-American-Philosophical/dp/0871692651

But above all I remember them walking across the Tulane campus together looking so dedicated, so serious, and determined.

America in general, Tulane in particular, was different back then.  But if we remember and rebuild, mixing memory and desire, as T.S. Eliot wrote in the Wasteland, perhaps it could be that way again.  Perhaps students will rediscover the joys of memorization and building knowledge carefully and slowly, one brick, one stone tool, one Palaeolithic burin or type of clay at a time…. and both our theories and the world may be better for this.

SEE ALSO:

http://obits.nola.com/obituaries/nola/obituary.aspx?n=Harvey-Miller-Bricker&pid=183715426

http://www.legacy.com/memorial-sites/tulane-university/

Albert Pike: Lawyer, Brigadier General Mason & Spiritual Leader of the South

Despite my great fortune in education and work to have worked and studied under some very great men, including the late Harvard professors Gordon Randolph Willey and Calvert Watkins, as well as the very much alive Federal Judges Stephen Reinhardt, Michael W. McConnell, and Kenneth L. Ryskamp, no man ever influenced my mind and intellectual growth more than my grandfather, Alphonse Bernhard Meyer, who died when I was not quite 20, on the Monday before Mardi Gras, on February 18, 1980.  

Among my grandfather’s most treasured possessions were an autographed set of the works of Albert Pike inherited from his own father Herbert Bernhard Meyer.  Another member of the Meyer family, Elard Hugo Meyer had written extensively on comparative mythology, in particular famous for preparing and updating the Fourth Edition of Jacob Grimm’s Deustsche Mythologie and later for his own magna opera Indogermanische Mythen, Die Eddische Kosmogonie, Die Mythologie der Germanen.  My grandfather himself, although he had formally studied only biology and chemistry, leading to his lifetime commitment to the greater health, safety, and technology of the United States Armed Forces, was a great student of comparative religion and literature himself, keeping shelves of  heavily worn books of Arabic, Egyptian, Gnostic, Heretical (Eastern) Christian, Persian, Sufi, Zoroastrian, Vedic, and Hindic mysticism and literature.  

But my grandfather explained his interests by repeatedly asserting that the study of comparative religion was only the road back to understanding of our own lives, our own truths, and above-all the meaning of death and of our lives in the hereafter, and he connected all of these to doing good works and making contributions to the lives of the living on earth.  In this my grandfather thought that no one had ever contributed more to his own understanding than the writings of Albert Pike.  My grandfather had achieved 33rd degree masonry at the early age of 30, in the same year he had chaired the first $1,000,000 fundraising campaign in the history the Dallas YMCA (his last campaign, in 1979, netted the Y $10,000,000).  

Like Elard Hugo Meyer, Pike had also written on Indo-Aryan Deities and Worship as Contained in the Rig-Veda as well as the Lectures of the Arya and above all, his multiple editions of Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Freemasonry and Morals and Dogma of the First Three Degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Freemasonry in addition to The Meaning of Masonry and Points within the Circle.  Pike’s and Meyer’s writings coincided in bringing together the concepts of Ancient Learning and Language for Modern Morality and Virtue.   Albert Pike was often said to be one of the founding commanders of the Ku Klux Klan and its “Chief Judicial Officer” just as Hugo Meyer was said to be one of the spiritual forefathers of the Artaman League, the writings of Herman Wirth, and Himmler’s Ahnenerbe.  Others say that Albert Pike was somehow connected to the development of international banking and the Federal Reserve, but this appears to be related only to some of his extremely early writings as an Arkansas Lawyer and Court officer.

Although Albert Pike was born in Boston, lived in New Orleans and New York City, and died and was buried in Washington, where he is the only Confederate General commemorated by a statue, Pike spent much of his life in Arkansas, where he is remembered as the founder of the first legal reports (recording the deliberations and decisions of judges to establish precedent and common law) and the first form books to guide practice in this state known to so many only as the gap along I-40 & I-30 between Tennessee and Arkansas, connected by the lives and military-political careers of both Governor-General-President-Governor Sam Houston and Representative & legendary Alamo Hero Davy Crockett, among so many others.

Albert Pike (1809–1891)
Albert Pike was a lawyer who played a major role in the development of the early courts of Arkansas and played an active role in the state’s politics prior to the Civil War. He also was a central figure in the development of Masonry in the state and later became a national leader of that organization. During the Civil War, he commanded the Confederacy’s Indian Territory, raising troops there and exercising field command in one battle. He also was a talented poet and writer.

Albert Pike was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 29, 1809. He was one of the six children of Benjamin Pike, a cobbler, and Sarah Andrews. He attended public schools in Byfield, Newburyport, and Framingham, Massachusetts. His received an education that provided him with a background in classical and contemporary literature and in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. He passed the examination required for entry into Harvard when he was sixteen. He was unable to pay the tuition at Harvard, however, and began to teach, working at schools in Newburyport and nearby Gloucester and Fairhaven.

He began to write poetry as a young man, which he continued to do for the rest of his life. When he was twenty-three, he published his first poem, “Hymns to the Gods.” Subsequent poems appeared in contemporary literary journals such asBlackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine and local newspapers. His first collection of poetry, Prose Sketches and Poems Written in the Western Country, appeared in 1834. He later gathered many of his poems and republished them in Hymns to the Gods and Other Poems (1872). After his death these appeared again in Gen. Albert Pike’s Poems (1900) and Lyrics and Love Songs(1916).

Pike left Massachusetts for Santa Fe, in what was then Mexico, in 1831, one of many at the time attracted to the developing West. From Santa Fe, he joined in an expedition into the lands around the headwaters of the Arkansas and Red rivers. Somewhere along the route, he left the expedition and walked to Fort Smith (Sebastian County). He taught there in rural schools for a short time, but his literary skills early involved him in Arkansas politics. In 1833, he published in local newspapers letters in support of Robert Crittenden’s candidacy for territorial delegate to Congress. The anonymous letters, signed “Casca” after one of the Roman politicians who assassinated Julius Caesar, were considered very persuasive and secured for him a statewide reputation as a writer. They also attracted the attention of Charles Bertrand, owner of the Whig Party’s Arkansas Advocate, who invited Pike to Little Rock (Pulaski County) to work as the paper’s editor. Pike accepted the job and moved to the capital city. While working for the Advocate, Pike published a series of stories and poems about his adventures in New Mexico, the material later published in his Prose Stories and Poems Written in the Western Country.

In addition to editing the newspaper, Pike secured additional work in Little Rock as a clerk in the legislature. He married Mary Ann Hamilton on October 10, 1834. The couple had six children. Hamilton brought to the marriage considerable financial resources, and she helped Pike purchase an interest in the Advocate from Charles Bertram in 1834. The next year, he became its sole proprietor. Pike studied law while editing the newspaper, ultimately passing the Arkansas Bar exam in either 1836 or 1837. In the latter year, he sold the newspaper and devoted his time to the law. He demonstrated considerable legal prowess early and represented clients in courts at every level, including the United States Supreme Court, which he received permission to practice before in 1849.

Pike developed a lucrative law practice, and his clients included many of the tribes in Indian Territory. Among his clients at this time were the Creek (Muscogee) and Choctaw, whom he represented in a case against the U.S. government that secured payment for lands taken in the Treaty of Fort Jackson in 1814. Pike learned several Native American dialects while working as their attorney.

From 1836 to 1844, Pike was the first reporter of the Arkansas Supreme Court, charged with writing notes on the relevant points in court decisions, then publishing and indexing the court’s opinions. In 1842, he published the Arkansas Form Book, a tool for lawyers providing models for the different kinds of motions to be filed in the state’s courts. His reputation as an attorney also secured him the appointment of receiver for the failed Arkansas State Bank in 1840. As receiver, he attempted to collect the debts owed to that institution. At the same time, the fees he received for this work were lucrative and secured his fortune.

An ambitious public figure, Pike joined others in 1845 in supporting actions against Mexico, what became the Mexican War. He helped raise the Little Rock Guards, a company incorporated into the Arkansas cavalry regiment of Colonel Archibald Yell, and served as its captain. Pike concluded early on that the senior officers of his regiment were incompetent, and he shared his observations with the people back in Arkansas through letters to the newspapers. Following the Battle of Buena Vista, he leveled particularly harsh criticism against Lieutenant Colonel John Selden Roane. After the publication of a particularly vitriolic letter by Pike in the Arkansas Gazette, Roane demanded that Pike apologize or “give him satisfaction.” Pike refused to apologize, and the two fought a duel near Fort Smith on a sand bank in the Arkansas River. In the exchange of fire, neither hit his antagonist, and the two were persuaded to halt the duel, with honor satisfied.

Returning from Mexico, Pike reestablished his law practice. He promoted the construction of a transcontinental railroad from New Orleans to the Pacific coast, writing numerous newspaper essays urging support for this project. He moved to New Orleans in 1853 to further his railroad activities, although he also continued to practice law. He translated French legal volumes into English while preparing to pass the local bar exam for Louisiana. Ultimately, he successfully obtained a charter from the Louisiana legislature for one of his railroad projects. He returned to Little Rock in 1857.

In the years immediately following the Mexican War, Pike’s concern with the developing sectional crisis brought on by the issue of slavery became apparent. He had long been a Whig, but the Whig Party repeatedly refused to address the slavery issue. That failure and Pike’s own anti-Catholicism led him to join the Know-Nothing Party upon its creation. In 1856, he attended the new party’s national convention, but he found it equally reluctant to adopt a strong pro-slavery platform. He joined other Southern delegates in walking out of the convention. Pike believed in the idea of state’s rights and considered secession constitutional. He philosophically supported secession, demonstrating his position in 1861 when he published a pamphlet titled State or Province, Bond or Free?

In 1861, the Arkansas state convention named Pike its commissioner to Indian Territory and authorized him to negotiate treaties with the various tribes. As a result of his experience there, the Confederate War Department appointed him a brigadier general in the Confederate army in August 1861 and assigned him to the Department of the Indian Territory. Pike assisted the tribes that supported the Confederacy in raising regiments. He believed that these units would be critical to protecting the territory from Union incursions, but his belief that the Indian units should be kept in Indian Territory brought him into early conflict with his superiors. In the spring of 1862, General Earl Van Dorn ordered him to bring his 2,500 Indian troops into northwestern Arkansas. Despite his opposition to the move, Pike obeyed, and his Indian force of about 900 men joined Confederate forces in northwest Arkansas. On March 7–8, 1862, they participated in the Battle of Pea Ridge (a.k.a. Elkhorn Tavern), led by Pike. Pike proved a poor leader, and he failed to keep his force engaged with the enemy or in check. Charges circulated widely that the men had stopped their advance to take scalps. After the battle, Pike and his men returned to Indian Territory.

Opposition to Confederate policy over Indian Territory would continue to be a source of conflict between Pike and his superiors. Unhappy with Pike, in the summer of 1862, General Thomas C. Hindman, commander of Confederate forces in Arkansas, attempted to extend his authority over the territory. Pike responded by issuing a circular that refused to surrender control and charged Hindman with trying to replace constitutional government with despotism. Ultimately, the dispute between the two went to Confederate authorities at Richmond. The authorities decided in favor of Hindman and reprimanded Pike. On July 12, Pike resigned from his position in protest. With his resignation, Pike retired to Greasy Cove (Montgomery County). He was appointed as a judge of the state Supreme Court in 1864, but little is known of his activities on the court.

At the end of the Civil War, Pike moved to New York City, then for a short time to Canada. After receiving an amnesty from President Andrew Johnson on August 30, 1865, he returned for a time to Arkansas and resumed the practice of law. In 1867, he moved to Memphis, Tennessee, and entered a new law partnership with General Charles W. Adams. He also edited theMemphis Appeal. He may have become involved in the organization of the Ku Klux Klan at this time, although this is not certain. He moved to Washington DC in 1870. There, he engaged for a time in politics, editing The Patriot, a Democraticnewspaper, from 1868 to 1870. He also practiced law in partnership with Robert W. Johnson, former U.S. senator, until 1880. Although less interested in Arkansas affairs, one of his last major roles in the state would be his support to the Grant administration of Elisha Baxter’s claims for the governorship in 1874.

After he ceased practicing law, Pike’s real interest was the Masonic Lodge. He had become a Mason in 1850 and participated in the creation of the Masonic St. Johns’ College in Little Rock that same year. In 1851, he helped to form the Grand Chapter of Arkansas and was its Grand High Priest from 1853 to 1854. In 1853, he also associated with the Scottish Rite of Masons and rose rapidly in the organization. In 1859, he was elected grand commander of the Supreme Council, Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, the administrative district for all parts of the country except for the fifteen states east of the Mississippi River and north of the Ohio, and held that post until his death. After the war, he devoted much of his time to rewriting the rituals of the Scottish Rite Masons. For years, his Morals and Dogma (1871), still in print, was distributed to members of the Rite. Over his career, he published numerous other works on the order, including Meaning of Masonry, Book of the Words, and The Point Within the Circle. As he aged, he also became interested in spiritualism, particularly Indian thought, and its relationship to Masonry. Late in life, he learned Sanskrit and translated various literary works written in that language. As a result of his work in this area, he published Indo-Aryan Deities and Worship as Contained in the Rig-Veda.

Pike died at the Scottish Rite Temple in Washington DC on April 2, 1891. He was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery there. On December 29, 1944, the anniversary of his birth, his body was removed from Oak Hill Cemetery and placed in a crypt in the temple.

Pike was much honored after his death. His Masonic brothers erected a statute to him in 1901 in Washington DC, making him the only former Confederate general to have a monument there. Authorities also named the first highway between Hot Springs (Garland County) and Colorado Springs, Colorado, the Albert Pike Highway. The Albert Pike Memorial Temple in Little Rock bears his name, and his Little Rock home remains standing. After renovation, the home opened as the Arkansas Arts Center’s Decorative Arts Museum in March 1985. In 2004, it became the Arts Center Community Gallery, a multi-purpose gallery in which local and regional art is shown.

For additional information:
Albert Pike Letters and Documents. Butler Center for Arkansas Studies. Central Arkansas Library System, Little Rock, Arkansas.

Allsopp, Frederick William. Albert Pike: A Biography. Little Rock: Parke-Harper, 1928.

Baker, Virgil L. “Albert Pike: Citizen Speechmaker of Arkansas.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 10 (Summer 1951): 138–156.

Brown, Walter L. A Life of Albert Pike. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1997.Duncan, Robert Lipscomb. Reluctant General: The Life and Times of Albert Pike. New York: Dutton, 1961.

Keller, Mark, and Thomas A. Besler Jr. “Albert Pike’s Contributions to the Spirit of the Times, Including His ‘Letter from the Far, Far West’.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 37 (Winter 1978): 318–353.

Carl H. Moneyhon
University of Arkansas at Little Rock

This entry, originally published in Arkansas Biography: A Collection of Notable Lives, appears in the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture in an altered form. Arkansas Biography is available from the University of Arkansas Press.

Related Butler Center Lesson Plans:
Arkansas Civil War Drama (Grades 7-12)Arkansas Poetry Connection (Grades 7-12)Who’s Who in Arkansas (Grades 5-8)Last Updated 8/2/2012

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in the late 19th Century and his interests were passed on to his American cousins.

What if the world really did end on Friday, December 21, 2012, and the event was so trivial that nobody noticed?

On this December 21, 2012, did our World’s, our America’s Heart of Darkness really stop? Is this really the way the world ends?  Neither with a bang nor even a whimper?  Has the old order really been burnt and snuffed out like the straw effigy of Guy Fawkes on Bonfire Night?  What if the world really DID end and nobody cared?  Are we all just stuffed and masked images of dead white male revolutionaries now?  Two years ago I arrived in New Orleans with my son Charlie from his first Semester in College at Saint John’s in Annapolis—and now without rhyme or reason he never calls me, writes me, nor even sends smoke signals—and yes, that does make me feel really rather Hollow….. I grow old, I grow old, but I shall never wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled…. But is anything really real in this night after the world ended?  Today was the day, wasn’t it?  

The Hollow Men

T. S. Eliot (1925)

Mistah Kurtz—he dead.

      A penny for the Old Guy

      I

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us—if at all—not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

      II

Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer—

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom

      III

This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.

      IV

The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.

      V

Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
                                For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
                                Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
                                For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

1925 was a great year.  T.S. Eliot published the poem reproduced above.  In other events that year, on January 3, 1925 (my wonderful Grandfather’s, Alphonse Bernhard Meyer’s, 27th Birthday), Benito Mussolini asserted dictatorial powers in Italy.  On July 18 of that year, the future Austrian Chancellor of Germany finished and published his autobiography entitled “My Struggle”, and on the date that, 35 years later, would later become my birthday, F. Scott Fitzgerald published “The Great Gatsby.”    

On February 21, 1925, the New Yorker Magazine went into publication for the first time, introducing Eustace Tilley and his Monocle to the World.

One month later, as a direct result of this first publication (and the fact that Eustace Tilley was examining a Butterfly—just as an evolutionary biologist would), on March 21, 1925, the State of Tennessee outlawed the teaching of evolution and immediately “went ape”, immediately proceeding to arrest (on May 5, 1925, 42 years later to become my wife and son’s mother Elena K.’s birthday) indict and prosecute one certain Mr. John Scopes for violating this law in the magnet schools of Metropolitan Dayton, Tennessee.  On July 21, 1925, a mere three days after the publication in Germany of “My Struggle,” John Scopes was found guilty of teaching evolution in his native Dayton and fined $100.00, despite representation by Chicago Attorney Clarence Darrow.  Scopes appealed but later dropped his appeal after a settlement.

In other miscellaneous news, on April 3, the United Kingdom, Australia, and South Africa all went back on the gold standard (that didn’t last too long, though…) and on June 1, 1925, Percy and Florence Arrowsmith were married in Hereford, England. This couple, who celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary June 1, 2005 (Percy aged 105, and wife Florence 100), were (apparently erroneously) acknowledged by the Guinness Book of Records as record-holders for the longest marriage for a living couple and the greatest aggregate age of a married couple.  Percy only survived a fortnight after their anniversary, dying on June 15, 2005.  There’s a French couple that may have been married longer but 80 years is still a really long time….

Two fortnights after the Arrowsmiths were married, a major earthquake struck the beautiful city of Santa Barbara, California, leveling the entire downtown on June 29, 1925.  FEMA did not then exist, so Santa Barbara recovered rapidly. 

Back on the Western shores of the Atlantic, the second (1915 renascent) Ku Klux Klan demonstrated and held a parade in Washington DC including 40,000 male and female members of the Klan marching down Pennsylvania Avenue in front of “Silent” Calvin Coolidge’s White House.  In 1925, an estimated 5,000,000 members belonged to the Ku Klux Klan, making it the largest fraternal and social organization in the United States.

During 1925, several important events in the development of Television took place in the U.S. England, including on June 13, Charles Francis Jenkins achieves the first synchronized transmission of pictures and sound, using 48 lines, and a mechanical system. A 10-minute film of a miniature windmill in motion was transmitted 5 miles by “radio” from Anacostia to Washington, DC. The images are viewed by representatives of the National Bureau of Standards, the U.S. Navy, the Commerce Department, and others. Jenkins called this “the first public demonstration of radiovision”.   In Great Britain, between March 25, and October 30, 1925, Scottish engineer John Logie Baird’s developed and put into service Britain’s first television transmitters at Selfridge’s Department store in Soho.

Finally, on Christmas Day, 1925, for whatever it might be worth to note, IG Farben was formed out of the consolidation, conglomeration, and merger of BASF, Bayer, Agfa, Hoechst, and two other companies.