Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Women's mug books!

The current Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly's cover story, "'The Grandmothers' of Aurora" by Michael R. Fichtel, describes an obscure book he found in the Aurora [Kane County] Historical Society: Reminiscences Prepared From Written and Verbal Recitals of the Personal Experience of "The Grandmothers" of Aurora in Early Pioneer Life in Illinois. The book (which does not appear in WorldCat) appears to have been compiled as a fundraiser for a WCTU rally in 1892; it contains 48 biographical sketches of elderly Aurora women, all of which are reprinted in the magazine. (It's a keeper.)

A few months ago, working on behalf of a client, I ran into a similar publication (which does appear in WorldCat), Memorial to the Pioneer Women of the Western Reserve, edited by Mrs. Gertrude Van Rensselaer Wickham, apparently originally published in bi-monthly installments in the 1890s, under the auspices of the Women's Department of the Cleveland Centennial Commission. The inadequate indexing of the book almost drove me crazy but the content is a welcome (and historically beneficial) change from the overwhelmingly masculine and downright patriarchal viewpoints of the ordinary mug books produced in this period.

Have you seen any books like these in other areas?

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