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If the plans for traveling to Pasadena, California for the 1915 United Universalist Conventions by Pullman train were not elaborate enough, the organizers went to great lengths to ensure that the journey would prove pleasant for everyone. A printing press was brought on board for the publishing of a daily newspaper–the delightfully acronymned UGCWUMAYPCUSS, with three hundred copies printed on board each day. Travelers held regular worship services, featuring sermons by the ministers traveling on the train, some “who can only be heard ordinarily in the big pulpits in the big cities” (Bisbee, 18). Music accompanied the services with portable organs as well as a hymn book produced especially for the journey, “Songs Along the Way” (below).
Periodical on Rails: UGCWUMAYPCUSS
Bisbee notes that “there is no doubt that sometime when the centennial of this pilgrimage is celebrated, this paper will be reproduced in facsimile as a great curiosity” (Bisbee, 31).
Scott Wells has hypothesized that this veritable mouthful of letters stands for nothing so unintelligible as the acronyms of the groups joining for the convention:
UGC: Universalist General Convention
WUMA: Women’s Universalist Missionary Association
YPCU: Young People’s Christian Union
SS: probably Sunday School (Union)
Harvard Square Library is grateful to the Andover-Harvard Theological Library for giving permission to reproduce the July 4, 1915 issue of the Daily UGCWUMAYPCUSS online, and to Anne Callahan for assistance with transcribing.
Because the text of the inner pages is very difficult to read, we have provided a transcription.
[Transcription of The Daily Ugcwumaypcuss typescript, Sunday July 4, 1915]
Editors: Uncle Sam, T.A. Angler, Hen Carley, Leigh Hunt.
A colored preacher introduced a white clergyman as the man who knew the unknowable and could do the undoable, and unscrew the inscrutable. The Editorial quartet humbly accept this modest introduction as their foreword.
EDITORIALS: We are going across our Country and sensing its vast area, its beautiful scenery, its vast area [sic], and marvelous resources, and are thrilled with pride at its material glories. But today has a double significance; it is Sunday and the 4th of July, consecration and country are joined. Tomorrow we may loose our joy in noisy demonstration: today, when abroad international relations are broken, at home we know peace. As we journey, may we pray that we may deserve peace and that it may abide.
The Flag:-Wear our flag today; it is the gift of the committee, but the flag which has no material form yet abides a reality in our hearts, is the gift of God if it stand for Godlike things. This flag was salute today.
Do you wish you lived in Nebraska? *** Our waiting list—see dining car corridors. *** Who’s Who—see our tag list. *** Dr. Shutter and party joined us at Omaha. *** An English Lord had a pain; where was it and when? (Answer tomorrow) *** The situation is getting hopeless when Dr. McGlaughlin takes to tossing toast across the dining car. *** Auntie Brown (92 years old) our veteran Conventioner, is with us enroute to California.
SHOULD CHURCH PEOPLE STUDY?
“A vacuum is a large empty place where the Pope lives.” :::: “A deacon is the lowest form of Christian.” :::: “In India a man out of one cask [sic] may not marry a woman out of another cask.”[sic] ::::: “Thomas Becket used to wash the feet of leopards.”
SLEEPING CAR RULES.
1. Tete-a-tetes shall not begin earlier than 7 A.M.
2. Do not sleep with elbow against the bell button. It disturbs the passengers, and it means nothing to the porter.
3. Upper attic occupants must vacate the same before they are closed down for the day.
DINING CAR RULES.
1. Tip the porters, but don’t shove them.
2. If you cannot eat soup with a knife, ask for a sponge or a straw.
3. Do not use souvenir fans for butter spreaders.
FAMOUS WOMEN: (Refer to the passenger list.)
1. The woman who leads our procession? 2. The one who is a bird? 3. The one who flies tho not a bird? 4. The one we enjoy for breakfast? 5. The one who prepares her? 6. The other one who prepares her? 7. The one who has purposes? 8. The one who has a large bank account? 9. The one who inherits a large bank account? 10. The one of high degree?
NOTE: Carl F. Elsner spilled iodine on his best store shirt. Mrs. Elsner said, “Never mind, Dearie, I can take it out with the scissors.” Help wanted!
ANNOUNCEMENTS: Ask Miss Beulah Cone to show you the Japanese Baby. He has a fine repetoir of selections which he gives, in English, thus saving you the trouble of learning Japanese. His favorite stunt is—but you’ll have to ask him to do it?
Do not fail to join in the Song Services; we need everybody. Rev. L.R. Robinson is the Convention Singer. The car chaplains are Dr. Selleck, Dr. Morrison, Rev. Mr. Henry, Rev. Mr. Marshall, Rev. Miss Kirk, Dr. Huntley. and Rev. Mr. Holden.
“Songs Along the Way”
In addition to a mimeographed periodical, the conference organizers also provided each traveler with a copy of a 31-page book of songs and hymns. The YPCU (Young People’s Christian Union) offered submissions of songs from the several states represented, often providing an entertaining glimpse into their local patriotic flavor (as in the cases of representatives from the state of Minnesota (page 28, below).
“Western hearts, so large and true, always open are to you,
And we’re reaching, friends, to grasp you by the hand;
We are young folks from the State of Minnesota, proud and great,
Which will gladly make you welcome to her land.”