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[p. 63]

‘The Telltale’ of 1721

In the treasure room of the library of Harvard College is a reminder of one of Medford's early ministers. It is a leather bound manuscript of some sixty pages (three and three-fourths by six inches) of his clear but curious handwriting and on its fly-leaf, ‘E Turelli Liber.’

It reminds one of the text the parson preached from on the Sunday after his marriage to the ‘handsome brunette,’ Jane Colman, ‘I am black but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem.’ Over two-thirds of its pages are the first known college periodical called The Telltale, from September 9 to November 1, 1721.

We quote the writer's aspiration:

O that I could now ascend on high and pluck sweet Gabriel's wing and gather thence a quill to write your immortal praises on the Caerulian plains.

We had not time to delve into the various ‘disputes’ of the collegians and theologues recorded, and fear that the editor had his troubles, as the closing writing reads:


Be it known to all Gentlemen who do me the honour to Transcribe my Papers that unless they transcribe them Verbatim (faults & all) Their Liberty shall be retrenched & they Severely animadverted upon.



A letter (on Young's Hotel stationery), written by S. Miller, December 17—is inserted, which states ‘I purchased in last Oct. in Newport and E. Greenwich, R. I., 50 or 60 rare items . . . the little book was in one, for which I paid a very considerable amt. of money.’

The remaining portion of the book consists of various observations and dreamy visions, by turning the book about and writing toward the middle. It bears the library mark:

Harvard College
Dec. 23,
1907 Library

Gift of Wm Cary Savage ‘74
Francis Randall Appleton ‘75

It is now just two hundred years since Ebenezer Turell came to the Medford pulpit which he occupied for fifty-four years.

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