More fun imagining Mattie's New York: My last post included a link to a jigsaw puzzle set made from Clara Miller Burd illustrations. I followed up the clue and learned from Bob Armstrong's website that the craze for jigsaw puzzles for adults began in Boston, moved to New York in 1908, and was dominated early by—get ready for this—women puzzle cutters! An important one, Margaret Hayed Richardson, called her company Perplexity. Just making up names for an imaginary company would be a hoot. And clearly, if Mattie's immediate artist and publishing friends aren't directly involved in it, they'll know people who are.
Picturing a World
Blog post tip: The workings of Edward Stratemeyer's syndicate, and especially the role of his secretary, Harriet Otis Smith, have contributed to the imaginary publishing office in my not-quite-abandoned ANONYMITY. I was tickled, therefore to run across a set of articles from the Scholarly Communication and Publishing at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign about the Honey Bunch series. Learning that Smith outlined and edited Honey Bunch: Her First Trip in an Airplane, I bought a copy. If nothing else, it will make for more soothing reading than news about drones, oil tankers, and possible air strikes in the Gulf.
Although “Anonymity” is stalled at the moment (I’m writing an unrelated novella), images that belong to my heroine Mattie’s world draw me back into it. Both the beauty of this photograph and the earnestness of the artist would, I think, appeal to a wistfully idealistic side of Mattie. Although she works in the pulp end of publishing, she also fosters young talent and encourages writers and artists to strive for their best. Read More
For more about Weber, click here and here. Read More
In July, Allison and Owen Pataki published a novel set in Paris with the same title. When I learned about it, I thought, “Oh gosh, that’s going to cause confusion.” And I think it has. Read More
I have set ANON in 1908 partly to avoid the need to account for all the glorious woman’s suffrage activity of 1912 and partly because the anxieties, tensions, and precursors to major historical events provide uncertainties that give room for fictional exploration. I try to avoid anachronisms and stay within historical constraints. All the same, Read More
It was published in Cleveland by The Arthur Westbrook Co. I suppose I could have had my Ohio heroine, Mattie, work closer to her native Circleville; but it would have been harder for her to keep her secrets there. She headed for the big time.
Incidentally, New York University’s Fales Library and Special Collections Guide to the Levy Dime Novel Collection is rich source of titles to borrow, alter, or parody. Read More