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Picturing a World

Puzzling women

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.

Furthermore, an article on the topic in Collector's Weekly has many links and elicited a reader's comment that points to intriguing short story possibilities, too. The commenter describes puzzles cut by a pair of sisters in Cornwall, England, that came in hand-sewn cotton bags with no picture to guide builders in putting them together. It's a gorgeous detail for a mystery, a fantasy story, a story about a crafter, or one about life in a resort area.
Finally, there are Liberty Puzzles. I love their wooden products and was pleased to learn from the website that the company is paying all seventy of its employees to stay home and wait safely until they can reopen. Stay well, stay safe, and make wish lists for small businesses you want to support when the time comes.

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