“Why didn’t you put more plays into your series Our American Holidays?”
The plaintiff was my friend Miss Eugenia Kruss, Librarian of the Epiphany Branch of the New York Public Library. I pleaded lack of space.
“Then why not bring out some supplementary volumes devoted entirely to drama?”
She drew an interesting picture of the situation in 23rd Street.
“Before each holiday and special celebration we are swamped with clients who clamor for appropriate plays. They must be not too long and not too hackneyed. They must be effective, amusing, interesting, with economical costuming and setting, and fairly easy to act. We hate to do it; but we have to send most of these people away empty-handed. We simply don’t know where to turn for material. And the same thing happens at the other branches.”
Now, any request from librarians always has my respectful consideration, because librarians are so often right. … [A] few years ago, a five minute talk with two of them resulted in the publication of a book of travel and the eleven volumes of Our American Holidays …
From the Introduction to Plays for Our American Holidays: Plays for Christmas and Other High Days, compiled and edited by Robert Haven Schauffler and A.P. Sanford, published by Dodd, Mead and Company, New York, 1928.
Having read the Introduction to Plays for Our American Holidays, I wondered if this
crappy old book was cited in any other of my crappy old books for librarians. It is not cited in my older edition of Anniversaries and Holidays because that crappy old book was also published in 1928. It was cited in the later, 1944, edition. That said, Our American Holidays was cited in the 1928 edition.
|The three books with Peter Rabbit (not the Easter Bunny)|
|Oh my! Look what’s in Plays for our American Holidays!|
“The First Easter Bunny” is set in a “field near a church in Central Europe many years ago.” The characters– boys, girls and a few women– wear peasant dress. The children are on their way to church to sing. We learn from the first bit of dialogue that there’s been an ongoing famine for some years. The children were particularly hungry during the past winter. They are disappointed that there will be no Easter gifts this year but they understand their parents are poor. They are glad that spring has arrived because the chickens have begun laying– so their hunger has abated somewhat.
As legend has it, the mothers got together, dyed some hardboiled eggs, and hid them in the field near the church. As fate would have it, the children discovered the colorful eggs– too big to be robins’ eggs!– as they were chasing a large bunny through the field.
So there you have it. The first Easter Bunny and Easter Egg Hunt.
Now, I ask you folks in Alabama, what’s so objectionable about that?