From Round to Square (and back)

For The Emperor's Teacher, scroll down (↓) to "Topics." It's the management book that will rock the world (and break the vase, as you will see). Click or paste the following link for a recent profile of the project:

A new post appears every day at 12:05* (CDT). There's more, though. Take a look at the right-hand side of the page for over four years of material (2,000 posts and growing) from Seinfeld and country music to every single day of the Chinese lunar calendar...translated. Look here ↓ and explore a little. It will take you all the way down the page...from round to square (and back again).
*Occasionally I will leave a long post up for thirty-six hours, and post a shorter entry at noon the next day.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

From the Geil Archive (14)—One of Earth's Travelers

[a] Dusk in Venice RF
Click here for other posts written by Guest Contributor Amara Pugens:
               1-About Me                    2-Unlike the Others                    3-One of Earth's Travelers

Today's Guest Contributor on Round and Square is Amara Pugens. Amara is from Brookfield, Wisconsin, and recently  graduated from Beloit College with a B.A. in history and anthropology and a minor in museum studies. She is currently working with four other Beloit College graduates to digitize, process, and research the William Edgar Geil Collection at the Doylestown Historical Society in Pennsylvania.
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Please note that all items marked "DHS" are property of the Doylestown Historical Society, and used with DHS permission. If you wish to use an image, you need permission of the Society. Please contact Robert LaFleur (, and he will put you in contact with the appropriate people.

Today was a momentous day—we finished digitizing the  newspaper clippings, all 911 of them (not counting duplicates). We knew we were getting near to the end when the dates started climbing into the 1920s, near the time of Geil's death (in Venice) in April 1925. It was in this time period that I discovered a very intriguing article.  Published in May 1925 in the local paper, only a month after Geil's death, the article pays tribute to the explorer in the form of a poem.
[b] Varied DHS

Mrs. Findley Braden took great care in writing "One of Earth's Travelers : An Appreciation of the Arduous and Varied Life Work of Dr. William Edgar Geil."  It is long, six stanzas with eight lines each for a total of twenty-four lines, with each stanza ending in a rhyme pattern of ababcdcd.  While poetically written, her imagery is fairly straightforward, conveying the significance of the theme.  Because this poem illustrates people's great respect for Geil and his many admirable qualities, it can be defined as an ode to Geil.  She begins by describing his travels  "far and oft, to view strange scenes/ And study races, climes and things remote," romanticizing him as a world adventurer.  Continuing, she writes of his religious work, "his missionary spirit yearned to aid."  By noting "his name and fame an honor to his town," she emphasizes many people shared her thoughts about Geil.

With phrases such as "wise and unafraid" and "strength to do the work of ten," Braden creates a tone of appreciation for his life's work.  She also, however, expresses a great sadness in his passing.  Transitioning the ode to a more poetic despair, she notes Geil "halted now,/ to never more go out, or enter in."  These two ideas--a reader's admiration and sorrow for Geil—create the poem's conflict.  The lines "Pennsylvania's gifted son is laid/ for quiet resting, in her long-loved soil" exemplify this tension.  She finishes her poem in fantastical fashion discussing Geil's "higher tasks" in "the Almighty plan."

After reading and analyzing the poem (a feat I have not done since high school), it is amazing to think how well-known and popular Geil became in his lifetime.  His story could not be shared in a traditional biography; it seems only poetry could fully express Doylestown's thoughts and emotions about Geil's life and work.
[c] Fantastical DHS

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