William Goodell Jr. or Sentimental Recollection of his youth, written during the years of extreme adolescence, in the City of Pera of Const’ple in the year of our Lord 1845. [manuscript caption title of commonplace book kept by the son of an Turkish missionary].
Commonplace book with literary and religious inscriptions kept in Turkey by young American William Goodell, Jr. from 1845 to 1847. The son of an Turkish missionary and Bible translator, Goodell later studied at Williams College (1851) and Jefferson Medical College (1854) before retuning to Constantinople where he served as a physician until 1861. Subsequent to his return to the United States, he practiced medicine and became a noted medical professor and gynecologist at the University of Pennsylvania.
William Goodell, Jr. (1829–1894) was born in Malta in 1829 where his father, William Goodell, Sr. (1792–1867), was serving as a missionary for the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. In 1831, the family moved to Constantinople and Goodell’s father started the Turkish mission and began to translate the Bible into Armeno-Turkish.
Notably, Goodell’s commonplace book, which was kept during this time, includes various translations of the Lord’s Prayer in Greek, Modern Greek, Armeno-Turkish, Modern Armenian, Turkish, and Arabic, and tipped in translations in Hebrew and an unidentified alphabet.
The poems copied out here by young Goodell show the measure of the reach of polite Romantic Anglo-American literature even to a boy raised in the capital of the Ottoman Empire. The first poem included, though unattributed, is Sarah Josepha Hale’s sentimental favorite “Light of Home.” Additional poems include works by Lord Byron, Sir Walter Scott, James G. Percival, Eaton S. Barrett, Thomas Moore, and William Cullen Bryant’s “Thanatopsis.” Other writers include Ben Jonson, Thomas Dekker, and William Shakespeare.
The tipped-in sentiment from Commodore David Porter (1780–1843), then-U. S. Ambassador to Turkey, is inscribed to Goodell’s mother, Abigail, and is dated October 1835.¹ Laid into the notebook is an 1859 receipt for Goodell’s subscription to the “Armenian Prot[estant]. Church at Pera.”
The commonplace book concludes with some 37 signatures of student contemporaries of Goodell at Williams College, with information on their hometowns, residences and birth dates.
Description: William Goodell Jr. or Sentimental Recollection of his youth, written during the years of extreme adolescence, in the City of Pera of Const’ple in the year of our Lord 1845. [manuscript caption title of commonplace book kept by the son of an Turkish missionary].
[Pera, Constantinople (Beyoglu, Istanbul), 1835; 1845–1847; 1859].  leaves containing  pages of manuscript. 6¼ x 4¼ inches. Notebook. Full black sheep, lower cover gilt-stamped “Bible Student’s Manual;” ruled leaves. Four mounted manuscript or partly printed slips tipped in, including an autograph inscription of Commodore David Porter, then-U. S. Ambassador to Turkey; receipt laid in. Spine and edges worn; lower cover loose; good.
1. Porter [DAB].
Refs. A Biographical Record of the Kappa Alpha Society in Williams College…1833–1881 (New York, 1881) for a biographical sketch of Goodell. General Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates of Williams College (Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1920).
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