Monday, May 12, 2008

A Teenage Future Governor

I love this old tin type photo of Frank Steunenberg Sr. as a teenager. He is maybe 17-20 years old, living in Iowa and perhaps already attending Ames College. This picture comes out of Martyr of Idaho by Frank Steunenberg Jr. I look at it and think that could be me at about the same age as I had a similar pair of boots and dressed about like that too!

I am not sure who has the original tin type as the photos were not referenced but I assume it was in Frank Ju
niors possession. It is the earliest picture I have seen of the future governor.

daho was likely not yet a flicker in Frank’s mind but we do get a peak into family life in the Steunenberg household with his poetic "Bean Soup Tragedy." This piece of classic prose has been down at the end of this blog for sometime but I have moved it up to this posting as it was written by Frank around the same time as this photo was taken. Be on the lookout for a musical rendition of “Bean Soup” that might be in your future!

And right out of Martyr of Idaho, 1974 by Frank W. Steunenberg Jr, here is the complete preceding paragraph to the poem:

“Frank was in his mid-teens when his mother died. It hit him hard, but he did not permit the tragedy to blight his buoyant spirit. Perhaps I can do no better then to share with you two poems that gave us some insight into the life of the shoemaker’s home, while the family was growing up in Knoxville. One poem, if I may be permitted to describe it thus, is a parody. A take off on a poem entitled “Excelsior,” it was written by Frank while a student at Ames College in Iowa. The poem is entitled “Bean Soup Tragedy.” It depicts some of the fun and frolic that must have been ever present with ten frisky children growing up in one house. Without doubt, with a dozen mouths to feed, on a shoemaker’s income, there were times when bean soup was a symbolic staple of important proportions.”

The poem is not dated but being that the family was in Iowa, Frank attending Ames College and about age 20--that would place it around circa 1881. Click on the doc to enlarge.

From Martyr of Idaho by Frank Steunenberg Jr. The poem was written by future governor Frank Steunenberg Sr. as a young man of about 20 years of age living in Iowa and attending Ames College. It appears that each of the five boys...John, Al, Charles, Will and Frank were identified with a specific part. Nothing like Boys and Beans!

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