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Bohemian Poet's Group in Hawaii?

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  • Yvette Fernandez Kama
    Aloha to everyone - I m seeking information if anyone has some about a poet s group that the late Bob Strauss referred to me. I ve been researching Don
    Message 1 of 11 , Mar 8 5:21 AM
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      Aloha to everyone -

      I'm seeking information if anyone has some about a poet's group that
      the late Bob Strauss referred to me. I've been researching Don
      Blanding to find ties to our great-great-grandfather Herbert Milton
      Shakespeare Ayres - he was an Englishman by birth - but spent much
      time in the islands prior to the overthrow and then returned after in
      mid-1890s. He published several poetic works of his own in 1900's and
      was a newspaperman /sportswriter-editor for both the local papers.

      Bob Krauss shared the following with me in April 2005:
      "However, in the back of my mind is a group of writers in the 1920 and
      30s, a bohemian, literary group to which Don Blanding belonged. It's
      seems to me that the name Ayres is associated with that bunch. But I
      can't give you a reference."

      If anyone has information about this literary group or even more
      knowledge of Herbert Ayres - I'd be greatly appreciative.

      Mahalo,
      Yvette Kama
    • keith2draw
      Aloha Yvette, First off, I had no idea Bob Krauss had passed away. How sad. I exchanged Blanding info with him a few years back...he had a wealth of
      Message 2 of 11 , Mar 10 8:59 AM
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        Aloha Yvette,

        First off, I had no idea Bob Krauss had passed away. How sad. I exchanged Blanding info with
        him a few years back...he had a wealth of information on Hawaiian matters.

        I think the literary group that Bob refers to from the early 1920s was a loose-knit bunch of
        newspaper journalists, poets and artists who would meet at Madge Tennent's three-story
        house on Liliha Street (Don, and probably others, rented rooms from her).

        I know Clifford Gessler was part of this group, but I don't know much more than that (I wish I
        did!)

        Keith
      • Cadia Los
        Aloha, Yvette, and welcome to the group! The vibrancy of the Honolulu arts scene in the 1920s, and earlier, never ceases to amaze me. Artists, writers,
        Message 3 of 11 , Mar 10 11:36 AM
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          Aloha, Yvette, and welcome to the group!

          The vibrancy of the Honolulu arts scene in the 1920s, and earlier,
          never ceases to amaze me. Artists, writers, musicians, thespians and,
          yes, the fourth estate provided a creative energy unmatched even by
          San Francisco and New York.

          It helps to remember that, at the time, Honolulu was a relatively
          small town; everybody knew each other and offered support and
          encouragement. Having read the Star-Bulletin inch by column inch for
          the period 1917-1928, I cannot say that I've ever come across a formal
          writers group other than a group of society matrons who dabbled at
          writing and, of course, the venerable Honolulu Pen Women and the Press
          Club. Theater, music and artists' groups abounded.

          But there were many opportunities for creative people to get together
          at each other's homes or studios and to work on various projects.
          Before 1920, Helen Alexander's Laniakea was a social and cultural
          focal point in Honolulu.

          Madge Tennent, who was English, arrived in Honolulu with her husband
          and sons in 1923, the same year that Don Blanding and Frank Moore
          founded Cross-Roads Studio. By that time, Blanding had pretty much
          covered all the arts bases and knew everyone who had ever lifted a pen
          or a paintbrush. So I have no doubt that he knew your gg-grandfather,
          Herbert M. S. Ayres.

          Offhand, I can't recall having seen Ayres' name in my reading of the S-
          B, perhaps because the sports pages are not where I would normally
          find Blanding. When the next batch of microfilm arrives (1917
          Advertiser and 1920 S-B), I'll pay closer attention. However, in both
          newspapers, stories with bylines are fairly rare.

          But the name "Shakespeare" rings a bell. For years, Howard C. Case
          wrote a humor column for the S-B called "Down to Cases." (Please
          don't even ask why a well-respected reporter and fine writer was
          reduced to contributing drivel on a daily basis!) While I made copies
          only of the items that mentioned Blanding, I seem to recall an
          occasional reference to "Shakespeare" -- Case liked to use nicknames
          to protect the innocent, so to speak.

          What else do I know about Herbert M. S. Ayres? Well, there's a
          January 12, 1902 item in the New York Times (p. 1, no less; datelined
          Kenosha, Wisconsin) that mentions his abrupt disappearance from New
          York, reappearance 3 years later in Wisconsin and subsequent return to
          Honolulu. In 1902, Ayres was once again publishing The Volcano, which
          publication got him "ejected" from Hawaii some years earlier.

          I can confirm via census records that a Herbert M. Ayres was living in
          Honolulu in 1910 and 1920. The latter year, he is listed as being 51
          years old (born abt 1871) and head of a large multi-ethnic, multi-
          generation household. His wife's name is Rebecca and the census page
          indicates a Chinese-Hawaiian wife as well. Likely the right Herbert?

          I think Keith's suggestion of a "group" hanging out at Madge Tennent's
          home is worth following up. You might want to contact Elaine Tennent,
          Madge Tennent's daughter-in-law and curator of the Tennent Art Gallery
          Foundation in Punchbowl. Perhaps she has some stories to tell!

          You might also contact the University of Hawaii or the state library
          to see if copies of The Volcano are in a collection.

          And the 1902 story out of Kenosha mentions that Herbert Ayres worked
          for the New York Daily Press prior to his "disappearance."

          Good luck in your research. I'll keep an eye out for Ayres' name as I
          index my accumulation of material from both Honolulu newspapers.

          ~~C~~
        • Yvette Fernandez Kama
          Yes - it is our unfortunate loss of a true treasure - Bob passed on in September 2006. Much of his card index was donated and has been digitized and can be
          Message 4 of 11 , Mar 11 1:23 AM
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            Yes - it is our unfortunate loss of a true treasure - Bob passed on in
            September 2006.

            Much of his card index was donated and has been digitized and can be
            found here:
            http://digicoll.manoa.hawaii.edu/krauss/index.php?c=1

            there may be more DB information to be gleaned from this priceless
            research tool.

            Yvette



            --- In aloha-donblanding@yahoogroups.com, "keith2draw"
            <keith2draw@...> wrote:
            >
            > Aloha Yvette,
            >
            > First off, I had no idea Bob Krauss had passed away. How sad. I
            exchanged Blanding info with
            > him a few years back...he had a wealth of information on Hawaiian
            matters.
            >
            > I think the literary group that Bob refers to from the early 1920s
            was a loose-knit bunch of
            > newspaper journalists, poets and artists who would meet at Madge
            Tennent's three-story
            > house on Liliha Street (Don, and probably others, rented rooms from
            her).
            >
            > I know Clifford Gessler was part of this group, but I don't know
            much more than that (I wish I
            > did!)
            >
            > Keith
            >
          • Yvette Fernandez Kama
            Aloha C - mahalo for the excellent additional leads to try - I had found the 1902 reference from the NYTimes. Much of the information there corroborated the
            Message 5 of 11 , Mar 11 2:42 AM
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              Aloha C -

              mahalo for the excellent additional leads to try - I had found the
              1902 reference from the NYTimes. Much of the information there
              corroborated the storied and "kolohe" past of Herbert.

              It's wonderful to receive all of this new information today. This
              morning when I dropped my son to my mother-in-law's she had a treasure
              of her own to share with me about Herbert.

              but it also now poses new mysteries to solve.

              what she shared was her grandma's personal copy of a book of poetry he
              had published in 1916. Many of the poems in the book <i>Trade Wind
              Lyrics of Aloha Land and other verses</i> were actually written about
              g-grandma - in specific a poem entitled "The Little Brown Maid."

              In addition, she had several other genealogical/historical notes and
              clippings to share with me. The plot number/location of his burial in
              Reno,Nevada; A Honolulu Advertiser clipping from Oct. 1977 page B-3
              about the poetry book being unearthed in the cornerstone of the
              Kapiolani Hospital alongside royal artifacts (the cornerstone was laid
              in 1929 as part of the newer structure); a handwritten note with a
              birthdate - 1864 in England and also a death date - "Died Reno, Nevada
              on June 24, 1918"

              so that would make him 63-64 at the time of his death - and more
              notably - Dead at the time of a 1920 census and not in Honolulu???

              hmmm. another Herbert M. Ayres perhaps?

              One of his grandson's was named after him born in 1924 - but surname
              would have been different...I'll follow the lead anyway as this is the
              first time we've received any information about his Hawaiian wife (who
              we believe is a blood relative of great-grandma who he adopted).

              most of the references from Bob Krauss referenced him from 1905 - 1909
              in both The Star and the Pacific Commercial Advertiser.

              And post-mortem at least one poem "The Lei" was published again in the
              Hon. Adv. in 1/28/1933 as great-grandma had this clipped and pasted in
              her personal scrapbook.

              from the introduction/prologue of the aged, tattered and well loved
              book now passed down five generations - i leave you with a bit of
              Herbert's musings:

              "ALOHA! /
              Over the seas of sunset, over the water blue,/
              Come to Hawaii's golden isles - we long to welcome you;/
              For you the fairest garlands, for you the sweetest song,/
              For you the best aloha, are waiting --come along!"

              mahalo,
              Yvette



              --- In aloha-donblanding@yahoogroups.com, "Cadia Los" <duchess@...> wrote:
              >
              > Aloha, Yvette, and welcome to the group!
              >
              > The vibrancy of the Honolulu arts scene in the 1920s, and earlier,
              > never ceases to amaze me. Artists, writers, musicians, thespians and,
              > yes, the fourth estate provided a creative energy unmatched even by
              > San Francisco and New York.
              >
              > It helps to remember that, at the time, Honolulu was a relatively
              > small town; everybody knew each other and offered support and
              > encouragement. Having read the Star-Bulletin inch by column inch for
              > the period 1917-1928, I cannot say that I've ever come across a formal
              > writers group other than a group of society matrons who dabbled at
              > writing and, of course, the venerable Honolulu Pen Women and the Press
              > Club. Theater, music and artists' groups abounded.
              >
              > But there were many opportunities for creative people to get together
              > at each other's homes or studios and to work on various projects.
              > Before 1920, Helen Alexander's Laniakea was a social and cultural
              > focal point in Honolulu.
              >
              > Madge Tennent, who was English, arrived in Honolulu with her husband
              > and sons in 1923, the same year that Don Blanding and Frank Moore
              > founded Cross-Roads Studio. By that time, Blanding had pretty much
              > covered all the arts bases and knew everyone who had ever lifted a pen
              > or a paintbrush. So I have no doubt that he knew your gg-grandfather,
              > Herbert M. S. Ayres.
              >
              > Offhand, I can't recall having seen Ayres' name in my reading of the S-
              > B, perhaps because the sports pages are not where I would normally
              > find Blanding. When the next batch of microfilm arrives (1917
              > Advertiser and 1920 S-B), I'll pay closer attention. However, in both
              > newspapers, stories with bylines are fairly rare.
              >
              > But the name "Shakespeare" rings a bell. For years, Howard C. Case
              > wrote a humor column for the S-B called "Down to Cases." (Please
              > don't even ask why a well-respected reporter and fine writer was
              > reduced to contributing drivel on a daily basis!) While I made copies
              > only of the items that mentioned Blanding, I seem to recall an
              > occasional reference to "Shakespeare" -- Case liked to use nicknames
              > to protect the innocent, so to speak.
              >
              > What else do I know about Herbert M. S. Ayres? Well, there's a
              > January 12, 1902 item in the New York Times (p. 1, no less; datelined
              > Kenosha, Wisconsin) that mentions his abrupt disappearance from New
              > York, reappearance 3 years later in Wisconsin and subsequent return to
              > Honolulu. In 1902, Ayres was once again publishing The Volcano, which
              > publication got him "ejected" from Hawaii some years earlier.
              >
              > I can confirm via census records that a Herbert M. Ayres was living in
              > Honolulu in 1910 and 1920. The latter year, he is listed as being 51
              > years old (born abt 1871) and head of a large multi-ethnic, multi-
              > generation household. His wife's name is Rebecca and the census page
              > indicates a Chinese-Hawaiian wife as well. Likely the right Herbert?
              >
              > I think Keith's suggestion of a "group" hanging out at Madge Tennent's
              > home is worth following up. You might want to contact Elaine Tennent,
              > Madge Tennent's daughter-in-law and curator of the Tennent Art Gallery
              > Foundation in Punchbowl. Perhaps she has some stories to tell!
              >
              > You might also contact the University of Hawaii or the state library
              > to see if copies of The Volcano are in a collection.
              >
              > And the 1902 story out of Kenosha mentions that Herbert Ayres worked
              > for the New York Daily Press prior to his "disappearance."
              >
              > Good luck in your research. I'll keep an eye out for Ayres' name as I
              > index my accumulation of material from both Honolulu newspapers.
              >
              > ~~C~~
              >
            • keith2draw
              Yvette, Wow...I played with the Krause card index website a little bit - what a great resource! Thanks for the heads up! Keith
              Message 6 of 11 , Mar 11 12:48 PM
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                Yvette,

                Wow...I played with the Krause card index website a little bit - what a great resource!

                Thanks for the "heads up!"

                Keith
              • Cadia Los
                Yvette ... Re: a handwritten note with a birthdate - 1864 in England and also a death date - Died Reno, Nevada on June 24, 1918 These dates would translate
                Message 7 of 11 , Mar 12 7:46 PM
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                  Yvette ...

                  Re:

                  a handwritten note with a birthdate - 1864 in England and also a
                  death date - "Died Reno, Nevada on June 24, 1918"

                  These dates would translate to age 54-55 in 1918.

                  The Herbert M. Ayres listed on the 1910 and 1920 census showed a DOB
                  of about 1871 in England. You may want to check the census records
                  via Ancestry.com or Heritage Quest at your local library. I did not
                  have time to look at the 1900 census to try locating your Herbert M.
                  in either New York or Wisconsin. The citations I checked were the
                  only ones associated with both England and Hawaii. The several
                  surnames in the household will be useful in confirming or eliminating
                  the listing. One intriguing thing -- one of the 1920 household
                  members was listed as an adopted daughter!

                  However, if your Herbert M. was indeed deceased in 1918, then it is
                  barely possible that Don Blanding would have known him. DB arrived in
                  Honolulu on December 22, 1916 at age 22 and was associated with the
                  Advertiser (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, at the time) in 1917. By
                  the end of 1917, he had enlisted in the Army and was at Fort Shafter.

                  Methinks you may want to start reading the Advertiser for the decades
                  before 1918. I'll be finishing 1917 and may look at most of 1918,
                  since DB left Hawaii on October 1, 1918, bound for Camp Grant.

                  Unfortunately, neither the Advertiser nor the Star-Bulletin are
                  indexed prior to 1929 -- so it's a blind search. Armed with the bits
                  of information you have, however, you may be able to enlist the aid of
                  the University of Hawaii and/or Honolulu Community College, or even
                  someone at either newspaper, to do some digging.

                  Good luck!

                  ~~C~~
                • Curt Blanding
                  ... Cadia, While you re looking through the microfilm, please check Feb. 12, 1916 and/or 1917 for mention of a play by The Footlights at the Honolulu Opera
                  Message 8 of 11 , Mar 12 8:25 PM
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                    At 07:46 PM 3/12/2008, you wrote:
                    >DB arrived in
                    >Honolulu on December 22, 1916 at age 22

                    Cadia,

                    While you're looking through the microfilm, please check Feb. 12,
                    1916 and/or 1917 for mention of a play by "The Footlights" at the
                    Honolulu Opera House. The play was "In a Persian Garden" featuring
                    Don Blanding and Florence Butler.

                    The Honolulu Community Theater (now known as Diamond Head Theatre)
                    still insists that Don Blanding was in that play on Feb. 12,
                    1916. While we all insist that DB didn't arrive until Dec.
                    1916. Obviously one of us is off by a year.

                    It would help a lot if you could find that play mentioned in the paper.

                    Curt
                  • Cadia Los
                    Curt, I addressed the probable source of the theater s photos in my message #4092 on January 30, 2007.
                    Message 9 of 11 , Mar 15 5:56 PM
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                      Curt,

                      I addressed the probable source of the theater's photos in my
                      message #4092 on January 30, 2007.

                      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aloha-donblanding/message/4092

                      For the record, I have read the Honolulu Star-Bulletin for the
                      period January 20 - March 20, 1916. During this time, the
                      Footlights Club did NOT present a play titled "In a Persian Garden."

                      The Footlights Club did present an "innovative entertainment" at the
                      University Club on February 12, 1916. Quoting from the S-B article
                      in the February 12 Society section (p. 11, col. 1):

                      This entertainment "is taking the form of tableaux and a dance
                      afterwards. The tableaux are arranged from the verses of the
                      Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. It has all been done under the direct
                      supervision of Mrs. F.T.P. Waterhouse, with assistance from Mr.
                      William Lewers. It is going to be truly lovely.

                      "Mrs. Bruce Cartwright has the tableau after

                      'Yon rising Moon that looks for us again--
                      How oft hereafter will she wax and wane.
                      How oft hereafter rising look for us
                      Through this same garden and for one in vain!' [etc.]

                      "Those in Mrs. Cartwright's tableau are Mrs. William Lymber, Miss
                      Edith Williams . . . Mr. Fred Ohrt and Mr. Robert Purvis.

                      "The next tableau is that of Mrs. C.B. High and Mrs. Frank
                      Armstrong, and the verse is

                      'A book of verses underneath the Bough,
                      A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread -- and Thou
                      Beside me singing in the Wilderness --
                      Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!'

                      "Mrs. Ingram Stainbach and Mr. Bob Purvis represent this tableau.
                      Miss Louise Churchill is going to sing selections from 'The Persian
                      Garden.'"

                      The article goes on to describe two additional tableaux and their
                      participants. Neither Florence Butler nor Don Blanding are among
                      them.

                      In the April 9, 1917, opening of the Lanai Theater, Blanding did
                      appear in a tableau with Miss Butler, as described in my original
                      response. He also appeared in a second tableau with Mrs. Ambrose
                      Patterson [wife of an artist], titled "Some Passions and Pierrot."
                      This pair posed as both Jealousy and Love. The figure of Pirrot was
                      done by E. H. Steele, better known as Ned Steele, a cartoonist for
                      the Advertiser.

                      "In a Persian Garden," by the way, is not a play but a song cycle
                      for four voices by British singer and composer Liza Lehmann:

                      ". . . her 1896 Omar Khayyam settings, which was her best known
                      substantial work enjoying vogue before the First World War when the
                      Victorian and Edwardian love of exotica, even erotica, albeit held
                      at decorous arms length and seen through the prism of imperial
                      grandeur, could penetrate the tightest of corsets and the stiffest
                      of collars during long country house weekends when much
                      entertainment came out of the piano stool."

                      I maintain that, if the photos are of DB and Miss Butler, they are
                      from the 1917 Lanai Theater presentation. If they are not, then
                      they may be of Mrs. Stainbach and Mr. Purvis or any of the other
                      participants in the 1916 Footlights Club presentation.

                      ~~Cadia
                    • Cadia Los
                      Yvette, thanks from me, too, for the tip on Bob Krause index. While there are only 23 citations for Don Blanding, it does confirm my hope that DB did write a
                      Message 10 of 11 , Mar 15 6:26 PM
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                        Yvette, thanks from me, too, for the tip on Bob Krause' index. While
                        there are only 23 citations for Don Blanding, it does confirm my hope
                        that DB did write a second article in 1924 to describe his Paris
                        sojourn.

                        Unfortunately, that article is dated October 18, 1924 -- within the
                        missing segment of Star-Bulletin microfilm that I've been trying to
                        get my hands on. The period from October 16-31 is on the short list
                        that I gave to Bev Leinbach before she went to Maui last week. If
                        she can't locate it there, I'll start bugging the UH librarians and,
                        if need be, the morgues of both Honolulu newspapers!

                        Another S-B item that shows up in the Krause index is a 1920 article
                        about the Honolulu arts scene. I will be reading 1920 microfilm soon.

                        ~~Cadia
                      • Y. Fernandez
                        fyi - The Krauss index is a work in progress - additional items are usally added on a weekly basis. ... From: Cadia Los To:
                        Message 11 of 11 , Mar 16 12:14 PM
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                          fyi - The Krauss index is a work in progress - additional items are usally added on a weekly basis.

                          ----- Original Message ----
                          From: Cadia Los <duchess@...>
                          To: aloha-donblanding@yahoogroups.com
                          Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2008 3:26:32 PM
                          Subject: [aloha-donblanding] Re: Bohemian Poet's Group in Hawaii?

                          Yvette, thanks from me, too, for the tip on Bob Krause' index. While
                          there are only 23 citations for Don Blanding, it does confirm my hope
                          that DB did write a second article in 1924 to describe his Paris
                          sojourn.

                          Unfortunately, that article is dated October 18, 1924 -- within the
                          missing segment of Star-Bulletin microfilm that I've been trying to
                          get my hands on. The period from October 16-31 is on the short list
                          that I gave to Bev Leinbach before she went to Maui last week. If
                          she can't locate it there, I'll start bugging the UH librarians and,
                          if need be, the morgues of both Honolulu newspapers!

                          Another S-B item that shows up in the Krause index is a 1920 article
                          about the Honolulu arts scene. I will be reading 1920 microfilm soon.

                          ~~Cadia




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