Monday, April 16, 2012

Red Sox and Eugenics and Canada as World Power 1912


Well,  a final piece to the puzzle that will be my ebook Diary of a Confirmed Spinster, the follow up to Threshold Girl - about a college girl in 1911/12, the Titanic Era.

Threshold Girl tells the story of Flora Nicholson, of Richmond Quebec and her year at Macdonald Teachers College and Diary of a Confirmed Spinster will tell the story of her older sister, Edith, already a teacher in Montreal, who loses her 'great love' in 1910 an infamous hotel fire in Cornwall. The two stories overlap - and there`s the trick.

As it happens, Edith and Marion Nicholson, both older sisters of Flora, visit cousin Henry Watters in Newton Center Massachusetts in August 1912.

They visit Norumbega Park and go to a ball game on August 14. I found an ad for the same ball game in a now defunct Boston newspaper, placed under an ad for a Burlesque House.

Baseball wasn't classy in 1910! Indeed, this newspaper,the Evening Transcript doesn't cover the games. The sports page has news about tennis, sailing and even lawn bowling.

Now this April 14 newspaper is a real find for me. Because within its pages is a long article on a eugenics conference in London England.

Henry`s House, I think so. Today.

At the end of Threshold Girl I have Edith take Flora to a suffragette meeting in Montreal, where Carrie Derick, suffragist and biologist, is presiding. It's a meeting of the Montreal Council of Women.

Edith points Derick out and tells Flora "She has many strange ideas."

You see, Derick, a botanist, was a supporter of the eugenics movement.

So, here I can have Edith read the article and then ask her cousin, Dr. Henry Watters, his opinion.

It's a great article. Ironically, it begins by saying that the most vocal opponents of this new fad, eugenics, are the Germans.  The Americans aren't too keen either, (although their President was all for it, I believe.) Anyway there is some wonderfully weird stuff in this article, some of it pertinent to today, I mean with respect to how people view  scientific inquiry. (We have NOT come a long way, Baby!)

And better, right beside it an article about Canada: Our Up and Coming Neighbour: How Canada is Becoming a World Power. (Yea, right.)

The same edition has an advertisement for prime real estate in Montreal, on Ste. Catherine. So it is clear, the border is not as defined as it is today. The Nicholsons had many Massachusetts relations.

The reason the US is more skeptical about the eugenics movement, it is claimed, is because Americans marry for love, while Britons still marry for money and status. (The story of the Nicholson women (a true story based on real letters) reveals that money played a  BIG part in all middle class marriages. In fact, money and marriage is a key theme in my Spinster Story, for Edith`s beau is murdered trying to make enough money to marry her.

All so weird. Henry, if he likes baseball, wasn`t for eugenics. (or at least he won`t be for the purposes of my story).

Hmm. I will have to place them in a box seat though. I can`t imagine Edith sitting with the mob.

Funny, back then (and through the century) poor people went to baseball games. Now only the wealthy can afford to go and pay 10.00 for a hot dog, etc.)

It`s been years since I went to a game. To see the Expos, in the late 80`s I think. The roof was up and we were boiling. I had kids then and it cost a fortune, all the drinks. As a teen I went to Jarry Park and spent about 2.00 max!

I think I will have Edith ask Henry how much baseball players earn. He`will say Ì think they work for the  beer.

Now, I MUST get to writing the new outline of Diary of a Confirmed Spinster.  I still want the book to end when Edith faints in front of a painting of a woman breastfeeding mumbling to herself, I will never marry. I will never have children.

And that takes place on May 6, 1910, the day King Edward dies, (I think) so I am going to go back and forth in time.
Maternity, Mary Riter Hamilton. On exhibit in Montreal in 1912, but I`m making it 1910.