Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Friday, November 10, 2006

Boreham Remembering Special Days

Observer of Days
F W Boreham was attentive to special anniver-saries and was an avid 'observer of days'. Any ordinary event he liked to attach to some anniversary of significance. In this vein, he commences his autobiography:

"Salvoes of artillery and peals of beals echoed across Europe on the morning of my birth.... I discovered afterwards... that my advent synchronized exactly with the dramatic termination of the Franco-Prussian War. On Friday March 3, 1871, an hour before my arrival, the Prussian troops that had held Paris in a cruel strangle-hold commenced the evacuation of the capital."

Each year in his editorial columns he always included fresh ideas on regular anniversaries. One of these he addressed each year was Christmas.

Everybody’s Day
While Dr Boreham often compared the festivities of Christmas in England with the celebrations in Australia,[1] he also emphasized the universality of this anniversary when describing Christmas as “everybody’s day”.[2]

He was conscious of the breadth of religious affiliation among his readers and he highlighted the inclusive nature of Christmas with its independence of geography,[3] its cosmopolitan attraction in drawing together “men and women of all kinds, classes and conditions”[4] and its childlike simplicity and profundity as the baby “expresses the unexpressable and utters the unutterable”.[5]

Queen of Feasts
On this anniversary, described by Boreham as “the queen of feasts [and] festival of festivals”,[6] Christmas provided the occasion “for the forgetting of old feuds and grudges, [and] for the exercise of benevolence, sympathy, consideration and goodwill”.[7] Boreham named Christmas the “changeless festival”[8] whose reminder became especially important to him during years of war when readers could experience both the incongruity and comfort of “pealing bells and bursting shells”.[9]

Geoff Pound

Image: A symbol of Remembrance Day, 11 November.

[1] F W Boreham, Mercury, 17 December 1927.
[2] Boreham, Age, 21 December 1946; Argus, 24 December 1935.
[3] Boreham, Mercury, 24 December 1941.
[4] Boreham, Mercury, 22 December 1945.
[5] Boreham, Mercury, 23 December 1950.
[6] Boreham, Mercury, 23 December 1944.
[7] Boreham, Mercury, 23 December 1950.
[8] Boreham, Mercury, 24 December 1938.
[9] Boreham, Mercury, 25 December 1939.