Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Story Behind one of my Books

CUMMINGS, Amos Jay, a Representative from New York; born in Conkling, Broome County, N.Y., May 15, 1841; attended the common schools; apprenticed to the printing trade when twelve years of age; was with William Walker in his last invasion of Nicaragua in October 1858; during the Civil War served as sergeant major of the Twenty-sixth New Jersey Regiment, Second Brigade, Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac; filled editorial positions on the New York Tribune under Horace Greeley, the New York Sun, and the New York Express; elected as a Democrat to the Fiftieth Congress (March 4, 1887-March 3, 1889); declined renomination in 1888, but was subsequently elected to the Fifty-first Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Samuel S. Cox; reelected to the Fifty-second and Fifty-third Congresses and served from November 5, 1889, to November 21, 1894, when he resigned; chairman, Committee on Naval Affairs (Fifty-third Congress); elected to the Fifty-fourth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Representative-elect Andrew J. Campbell; reelected to the Fifty-fifth, Fifty-sixth, and Fifty-seventh Congresses and served from November 5, 1895, until his death in Baltimore, Md., May 2, 1902; interment in Clinton Cemetery, Irvington, N.J. 
What isn't included in this brief biography is that Amos J. Cummings was awarded the Medal of Honor on May 4, 1863 as a member of the 26th New Jersey Infantry, because he "Rendered great assistance in the heat of the action in rescuing a part of the field batteries from an extremely dangerous and exposed position."

Why am I writing about Amos J. Cummings? This afternoon I was looking at this small group of books that I have on the top shelf of a bookcase in our foyer. 

The 7th book from the left is this: "Famous Biography: Heroic Lives, Great Authors". I took the book from the shelf today and opened it to see the Table of Contents.
This is what I found inside the front cover: 
You can see at the top of the page the autograph "Amos J. Cummings, 32 Charlton St., N.Y. March 6, 1892." The next page shows that the book came from the Cummings Library. 
The pencil markings at the top of the page show that I paid $5.00 for the book at a sale uf used books at the Union Printers Home in Colorado Springs, CO. 
The next page has this name: Carrie Beu, 1887. 
The Table of Contents again is autographed. 
A lot of information is available online about Amos J. Cummings, but what I found most interesting is a statement taken from the third paragraph in this New York times clipping: "Mr. Kindelon spoke of Mr. Cummings as a union printer. He said that, although for thirty years of his life it was not necessary for him to earn a livelihood as a printer, Mr. Cummings never forgot his fellow craftsmen at the case, and that when he died there was found in his pocket a card of membership in Typographical Union No. 6, paid up until August 1906." In spite of his achievements as a well known writer for the New York Sun and his service in the House of Representative, he was proud to be a "Union Printer". And I bought this autographed book that belonged to Amos Jay Cummings when it was for sale at the Union Printers Home in Colorado Springs, CO (pictured below).

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