Throwback Thursday: “One Shell”

Willennar Genealogy Center’s collection is full of Throwback Thursday potential, so let’s get our #TBT on!


Illustration from article on Jane L. Hine from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, August 6, 1911

To transition from Women’s History Month to National Poetry Month, I thought it would be fitting to share a poem by DeKalb County’s own Jane Hine, a.k.a. the “Bird Woman of Indiana.”

Jane was an avid observer of nature—of birds in particular—as well as a nationally known author and speaker. Although she is perhaps best known for her writing on ornithology for publications such as The Auk, The Farmer’s Guide, and the Biennial Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries and Game for Indiana (1911), Jane was also a poet.

Below is a one of her pieces, written during the winter of 1911-12, and published in the Auburn Courier two days after her 81st birthday on April 2, 1912.

One Shell

What is one tiny shell
Brought adrift on the shore?
To the great bed of marl
It is one shell more.
Let the waves bring the shells
If but one at a time
For each is an atom of purest lime.

What is one grain of sand
Washed ashore by the sea?
Were there no single grains
Could the sands then be?
Let the waves bring the grains
One by one to the strand;
Ne’er granules too many
Of clean, pure sand.

What is one single leaf
To a forest of trees?
Or a daisy’s perfume
To a wafting breeze?
What is one blade of grass?
Or a globule of dew?
Ne’er units too many
Of things good and true.

What am I among men?
Just an atom, one soul;
but an atom of yeast
May quicken the whole.
Then let my heart be free
From all selfish alloy
Alive with the leaven
Of Love, Peace and Joy.

Want to see more local history? Click here to browse our online photo database, visit the official Genealogy Center Facebook page, or read some of our previous posts for Women’s History Month in DeKalb County.


About Chelsea

I've been working at Willennar Genealogy Center for over two years now, and I've loved every minute of getting to learn more about the stories of DeKalb County and the surrounding area. I'm interested in all kinds of history, but I'm especially fond of the early film industry, old letters and journals, the DeKalb County Fair, and the Interurban line.
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