Saturday, June 3, 2017
Saturday Book Hunting :)
Good afternoon. As you can see, Kristina and I didn't make it to Louisiana this weekend. The weather decided to conspire against us and the entire Gulf Coast for that matter. So she went on the hunt for yard sales this morning despite the rain and I went to the library (yes, I know I said I was going to read what I have at home....and I have...but I was looking for craft books.....I have excuses for everything!! LOL).
After spending some time at the library, I drove over to Springhill College to the Book Nook to browse. I wasn't expecting to find anything, but imagine my surprise when they had a small selection of books by Sidney McCall (real name Mary Fenollosa).
I ended up buying Truth Dexter, her first novel and The Breath of the Gods, her first book set in Japan. Both books are published by Little, Brown & Company. Truth Dexter was originally published in 1901; the book I bought was published in 1907. The Breath of the Gods was published in 1905 and I was lucky enough to buy a first edition of the book :) 110 and 112 year old books in decent condition!!
I absolutely LOVE the decorative covers on these books. I consider it a shame that you don't see that type of workmanship on modern books unless the company puts the effort into presentation of their books or a company is making a 'special' or anniversary editions of a book.
For those of you that don't know Mary McNeil Fenollosa was quite the character. She ended up getting married three times (first husband passed away, second husband divorced her, but kept their child, but the third and final time was true love). Her last husband was Ernest Fenollosa, who she worked with at Boston MFA. He was married at the time, but divorced and married Mary. It was quite the scandal....so much so that he was asked to leave Boston MFA!
They spent a few years in Japan and eventually came back to the United States. Fenollosa was quite influential in people's perceptions of Oriental art. He and his wife were friends with a circle of Western scholars in Japan, which included Lafcadio Hearn, Edward Morse, and others.
Mary began writing novels under the name Sidney McCall in 1901. Her first book Truth Dexter was about a southern woman whose marriage is threatened by a Boston socialite. (Interesting subject matter considering the origins of her marriage to Fenollosa). She would continue to write books until 1919. Several of her books were made into films or plays.
Not bad for a woman who grew up in Mobile, AL. Alabama Heritage magazine has a great article on Mary Fenollosa that they published recently.
Hope you liked learning a little literary history of Alabama.
Until next time >___<