Thursday, December 6, 2018

1940 Christmas Poems

At a local used bookstore this summer, where I had thankfully done some inventory research before going and created a list of books I wanted to see, because man, the bookstore was jam-packed and I needed to jsut turn over the list to the proprietor to have any shot at finding them, I picked up this little gem of a book, titled "1940 Christmas Poems".  It was published locally in Kansas City as a result of a poetry contest co-sponsored by the Kansas City Star newspaper and WDAF, a local radio station in 1940, now also a television station.  I've included the first few pages explaining the origins of the book, and also a few of the poems.

What is striking to me is the artwork on the endpapers.  In the upper left is a military wife, home for Christmas, by the tree with presents abound, missing her husband.  In the lower right, her husband, fighting in the war, praying to be able to someday return to his home.  In the middle, a stark image of warplanes.  It's a very moving illustration.  And, although it's hard to see in the picture, the cover is embossed with the same picture, sans planes.  One could place a paper on the cover and shade with a pencil to reproduce the picture.  Love it.

The book contains a collection of the poems submitted for the contest.  KC readers - I didn't recognize any of the names of the poets.  I wouldn't expect to know anyone from 1940, but I thought perhaps that there would be a recognizable local name, maybe a Kemper, a Rockhill, a Bodine, or another family name from local media, but there are none that I could identify.

Here are the introductory sections and a few sample poems.  If I can safely scan a few more poems I may add them in later.  Enjoy this piece of Christmas history from Kansas City.

I also found a vintage copy of "Miracle on 34th St." at the bookstore that day.  'Twas a good day of book shopping...