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.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

From the Geil Archives (11)—Killed By Lightning

[a] Sudden RF
Click here for other posts in the Round and Square series "From the Geil Archive":
               Introduction                              1-Southern Mountain Museum             2-Sacred Mountain Map           
               3-Hat and Cattle                       4-Seeking Anthropology                       5-Curly Fives 
               6-How to Write the Book          7-Mortarboard Man                               8-Orator 
               9-Naming (Un)Conventions     10-Unlike the Others                            11-Killed by Lightning
Sarah Conn, today’s Guest Contributor on Round and Square, is a self-proclaimed “gal from rural Wisconsin” with a B.A. in Japanese Language and Culture and a double-minor in Museum Studies and Anthropology. With a mild obsession for Japanese textiles and working knowledge of the order Cetacea and the family Pinnipedia, 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. She and Geil do not always see eye-to-eye on certain subjects, but both share a love of photography, writing about food, and USING ALL CAPITALS WHEN THEY ARE EXCITED.
 ***  ***
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 to have the permission of the Society. Please contact Robert LaFleur (, and he will put you in contact with the appropriate people. 

And now, without further ado, let us go on to: 

A Fascinating Study of Mr. James R. Adam
While perusing the many cabinets containing the William Edgar Geil Collection, one folder, full of pamphlets and books, did catch my eye. Actually, what caught my eye was the Japanese train schedule, but after five minutes of excited reading, I decided to investigate the other accompanying booklets. I had just opened up a boring looking booklet entitled "Some a Hundredfold," when I found it. The moment I saw it, I knew that that was what my first blog post had to be about.

Right smack dab on the inner cover was a photograph of an intense-looking man and captioned below were four fateful sentences.

                James R. Adam
                Born June 20th, 1863.
                Sailed for China, August 25th, 1887.
                Killed by lightning, August 9th, 1915.

Yes, dear readers, you read that right. “Killed by lightning.” On further research into the book, it appears that this James R. Adam person was actually a formidable missionary in his own right, gathering crowds from China's Miao ethnic group, just like Geil gathered Australians.[1] 
[b] Miao DHS

Working for the China Inland Mission (or C.I.M. as Geil refers to it in his Great World-wide Tour), Adams was originally thrown out of the Miao town where he had been sent to preach, but “won their hearts”[2] when he distributed medicine during a malaria outbreak. He also saved a son of a military Commander-in-Chief, which led to him attaining rights for the Miao he converted.

As for Adams himself, the thunderbolt struck him after a sermon, just as he was entering his house—traveling two floors and shattering his bedroom mirror before striking him dead. It is also interesting to note that the replacement sent out died a week later of dysentery.

Reading through this booklet, I realized that the timing could not yet be better—I was scanning Geil’s Great World-wide Tour journal and he was writing about traveling in Yunnan [sic] in 1903—the same time Adams was working! 

While I have no real proof of their meeting, Adams was a contemporary of Geil's and Geil kept a booklet in memory of Adams until it was so battered that it needed tape to keep it together. The cover itself is practically torn apart.

I could weave wild stories about how jealous Geil was of Adams, or how overcome he was at a beloved friend’s death, but for all we know it could have ripped in transit.

And this is the mystery of archives. Maybe, if we picked through the entire archive with a fine-toothed comb, we could find more connection between Geil and Adams…or maybe none at all. But until we find the mysterious grail of the Geil-Adams connection, I will leave you with this somewhat humorous—even if unintentionally so—fragment.
[c] Causation DHS

[1] Marshall Broomhall, M.A, Some a Hundredfold: The Life and Work of James R. Adam Among the Tribes of South-West China (Philadelphia: China Inland Mission, 191?), p. 19.
[2] Marshall Broomhall, M.A, Some a Hundredfold: The Life and Work of James R. Adam Among the Tribes of South-West China (Philadelphia: China Inland Mission, 191?), p. 10.

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