Character Matters in 1891

To catch up with what you see in today’s post, you can read “Newspaper Clues” first.

So, what character traits were admired in 1891? Are they the same ones we admire in 2010?  Let’s see…

We can get some hints from a friend’s newspaper tribute to the deceased Arthur Stratton in Lebanon, Tennessee in December 1891.

Death, come when it may, is always a painful surprise.  It finds those upon whom it leaves its sadness are never ready for its coming.  This is specially true in connection with the death of Arthur Stratton.  Those who knew him best could see in his character the promise of a broad, full manhood.  There is a peculiar pleasure in the study of a reserved nature, and specially so when glimpses are caught in the inner life- hidden somewhat from the world by the quiet of everyday life, of true nobility of character and steady, firm principle.  He was entirely unselfish, strong in his conception of right and of honor.  And better still, brave and manly enough to stand by it.  Quiet, but with a burning ambition to fill well his place in the world of men.  Thank God, death does not silence loved voices, but changes them to sweeter tones.  Death does not destroy life, but lifts us up into broader living.  Death does not cut short the development of our natures, but loosens the fetters that cling around us here and leaves us free, unbound; that ere in the fuller light into which Christ calls us, the light that heaven sheds upon us, may reach that development that leads on to a perfect character, to glorious life.  Long ago a voice spoke to us in tenderness, “It is I,” and to-day in warm sympathy, He is saying, “I will comfort, I will strengthen.”  May those whose hearts are hungry for the comfort He only can give hear His voice and know “He is very pitiful and of tender mercy.”  Feel this love and be comforted.

-A Friend

What do you think?  No matter the words we might use, are we still admiring of reserve?  of true nobility of character and steady, firm principle?  How about unselfishness, and bravery in standing by what is right, and living in honor?

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Here is a little bonus- a snapshot of some newspaper ads from 1891.  Click on the photo for a closer look.

ads from 1891 Lebanon, Tennessee newspaper