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Picturing a World

Effie's "Lady's Guide"

An early Eureka! moment on this project came when I saw a reference to May Alcott Nieriker’s Studying Art Abroad and How To Do It Cheaply. Wow! Louisa May Alcott’s sister wrote a book for women who wanted to study art in Paris in 1879? And the Boston Public Library had a copy? !!!!! I mined it for concrete details on what to take, what to buy abroad, where to study, how much to pay a cleaning lady, what to do with the underwear ruined by the hard water of Paris (use it for paint rags)—and then I gave the idea to Cousin Effie. Over ice cream with Jeanette and Edward at Café Tortoni, she suddenly sees the possibility of writing “A Lady Artist’s Guide to Living Cheaply in Paris.” I could have her do so knowing that it was entirely possible in the period.

For more about May Alcott Nieriker, click here and here.
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