Monday, August 15, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - E. Pearl Burgess

I subscribe to a blog called Geneabloggers which helps me keep up with blogs written by and for family history researchers.  Among the features of Geneabloggers are Daily Blogging Prompts which are suggested themes for bloggers to try.  One of these prompts is Amanuensis Monday which provides encouragement for family history bloggers to transcribe materials related to their research.  It was originally the suggestion of John Newmark on his Transylvanian Dutch blog.  Each Monday, when I read this prompt, I am reminded of the following document, some of which I thankfully transcribed before it became brittle and disintegrated.

St. Stephen's Collage
  E. Pearl Burgess has completed the regular course of study and practice prescribed in this Institution and upon a proper examination has been found to be a competent Stenographic Amanuensis and Typewriter Operator and as such she is commended to the favorable consideration of the business community.
December 19, 1913
[The wording of the body is exact; however, I am not certain as to the format of the lines and the placement of the title and date.] 

Edna Pearl Burgess was born in Little Ridge, Charlotte County, New Brunswick on March 26, 1891.  She was the daughter of Isaac Porter Burgess and his second wife Lucy Anne Blakeley.  Pearl joined two older brothers and six older half-siblings in the household.  Two younger brothers and three younger sisters were born into the family in subsequent years. 

Pearl attended St. Stephen's Collage in New Brunswick and completed the course of study there.  I have often wondered how it was that she was able to go to college, as her mother had died in 1907,  leaving six children between the ages of six and sixteen still at home.    Her education was to serve her well in life, although I do not know if she ever gained employment in New Brunswick. 

Pearl followed the example of her older brothers and came to Massachusetts in 1916.  She married Clarence Stanley Lyman in Athol the following year.  Clarence and Pearl began their married life in Athol and moved to Hardwick a few years later.  They operated a poultry farm in Hardwick, from which Clarence had an egg delivery route.  He also sold and delivered wood and ice.  In 1938, the Hardwick property became a part of the Quabbin Reservoir Watershed, and the couple moved to West Brookfield.

Once established on Church St. in West Brookfield, Clarence operated an oil delivery business in addition to his ice route.  The business office, in the dining room of their home, was Pearl's domain.  She answered the telephone, saying "Hello Lymanoil," and kept the financial records using a double pointed accounting pencil with a red point on one end, and a blue point on the other.  Shoe boxes full of receipts, placed in envelopes and bound in rubber bands, were kept on shelves.  I never saw her use shorthand or operate a typewriter, however.  Pearl often shared her business college wisdom with her grandchildren.  Most often this came in the form of lectures regarding the importance of one's physical appearance.  Hair was never to be so long as to completely cover the forehead, as one's intelligence could be judged by the appearance of his countenance.  "Beatle" length haircuts and short skirts of the 1960's were also of some concern.

Clarence Lyman died in October of 1960, and Pearl and her youngest son, Gordon, continued to operate C.S. Lyman and Sons, Inc., for a few years afterward.  Pearl died in September of 1970.

Clarence and Pearl Lyman
They lived in Hardwick but mailing address was Ware.

Edna Pearl Burgess Lyman

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