This 5.5” x 7.5” x 2.25” artist’s book consists of a box and 13 pouches. The two-part box, lined with Canson BFK Rives Tan 280 GSM is covered with book cloth, held together by a silk cord and adorned with the medallion of a young lady. Edition of 6.
It was in spring of 2010 when walking through a Flea Market on the Boston South Shore checking out the stands for treasures and memorabilia my eyes fell upon an old, beautiful and battered suitcase, a well-traveled companion. Name tags were still on it, a woman‘s name, the corners fortified with brass ornaments and the lock intact. I felt instantly drawn to it, opened it; it was full of letters. All were still in their original envelopes, stamps attached and bore the same beautiful handwriting. The letters I had found were letters of a mother to her daughter Beatrice (Bee) who left her home in Plymouth, MA in 1927 to go to college in Salem, MA and continue through 1935. The letters led to an investigation of not only the women concerned but the times in which they lived, with the pertinent information on the times: the Sacco-Vanzetti case, the Lindbergh kidnapping, the Great Depression, local industry (in which Bee‘s father worked) The Cordage Company,
their church in Plymouth where they lived (the first church established by the Mayflower colonists), social welfare programs of the time.
I made 6 boxes, each containing thirteen pouches, to hold stories, photographs, excerpts and quotations. The photos of Bee, old postcards, paper clippings, greeting cards and Scrip I scanned and reproduced with my archival inkjet printer. I did research at the Plymouth Public Library, found the High School Yearbook of Bee’s graduation and the Yearbooks showing her as a teacher at the same school.
I talked to people at her Church and at the Museum of the Cordage company and I walked the cemetery where she was laid to rest.
This is a small window in time; 8 years of the seemingly mundane everyday events and thoughts a mother would write about to her far away daughter. A window reflecting an image of a world still so present today in different manifestations that we can well imagine to be the addressee, waiting for the latest news from home.