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Island People

Posted by in Through My Eyes |

A trip to New England sparked my interest in the writings of Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909). An early feminist, ecologist and architectural preservationist, Jewett wrote about the Maine country people she knew so well.  Her best known story—really a novella—“The Country of the Pointed Firs”—is a series of portraits of the lives of ordinary people. A woman...

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Missing: A Memoir

Missing: A Memoir

Posted by in Books |

Cornelia Maude Spelman’s memoir of her family springs from a meeting and subsequent friendship with the late, legendary New Yorker editor William Maxwell. In the 1920s, he and her parents had been friends as undergraduates at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. When Spelman hints at what she thinks of as the failure of her parents’ lives, he...

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These Dear, Ordinary Days

These Dear, Ordinary Days

Posted by in Through My Eyes |

(This reflection by Cornelia on “Life in the Archives” was published in the newsletter of the Coordinating Council for Women in History in August, 2011)   I take my favorite place—a chair at the long wooden table that is closest to the tall windows—and wait.  Soon a librarian rolls to my table a beige metal cart whose three shelves are loaded with...

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