Thursday, August 21, 2008

Girls Annual 1917








While looking for something to share for this week's Vintage Thingie Thursday I came across this book in my collection of my Nanna's books.


What I love most is that it is inscribed in the front by my great-great-grandmother to my Nanna, and dated December 1917. My nanna would have been 11, and I guess this may have been a Christmas present.




But as well as the personal interest as I looked through the book I was interested in the plates and the stories, and also to see the variety of chapters.



"I WONDER WHO HE IS, AND THERE IS NO ADDRESS"


Some of the plates are in colour, and others black and white. There is a mix of stories, fiction and non-fiction.
The obligatory nursing story


NURSE WAS GOING


This is from a chapter entitled Romantic Episodes in the Old Testament (!)

HOLDING HER PITCHER FOR HIM TO DRINK


Another very interesting feature of this book is that there are articles about the war, which had been going for 3 years by now, making the book quite current and relevant to girls at the time.

This illustration is from a chapter on French Girls at War Work - what a French author has to say of the patriotism of the French jeunes filles.

HITHERTO UNACCUSTOMED TASKS AT HOME


An unfortunate-looking man playing tennis

HE WAS UNUSUALLY GOOD AT THE NET
and an adventure story of a young girl whose face does not match the description in the story:

"a face which was a flower of sweetness, a star in its expression of radiant steadfastness", but then, she is in "A Desperate Situation" as the top of the page informs me. I love the old books which summarise each page with a heading.

A lovely domestic scene

"ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL DRESSES I HAVE EVER SEEN"

The chapter "Canada for Girls" is also very interesting - it seems to be information for British girls who may want to emigrate to "the Dominions" (and therefore seems a bit pointless being in the Australian Empire Annual, since Australia was also "the Dominions" and the girls were already ... well ... here).

GATHERING THE APPLE HARVEST IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

"There is a general impression abroad, I believe, that the British
Dominions over the Seas are eager and waiting to accept any kind of women or
girls whatever, so much are they in want of our sex. This idea is quite
erroneous. It is true that women and girls of the type the Dominions
require are welcomed with open arms, and we in Canada are as desirous of
encouraging the right sort of women to emigrate as any such land can be.
But she must be the right sort - not any Clara, Mary or Martha who is unfit for domestic work and service at home, and would be still more unfit for it
abroad!"


The article goes on to say that they do not want girls to take over farm work from men, but to help on farms and other places by "cooking, making bread, sewing, washing and doing dairy-work - with all the more certanty of a very good situation or post if they can add to these accomplishments the arts of pickling and preserving jams, fruits etc." (such a girls is then described as "thus clever"!)

(Aside: the list of desirable accomplishments seems to have changed from almost exactly 100 years before when Mr Darcy and Miss Bingley discussed the topic)

And so above we see the "clever" girl collecting her box of apples to make preserves. Girls are also warned not to plan to marry too soon after arriving in Canada! Also, "she who wishes to spend her evenings at picture-palaces or amid crowds of people is not the girls Canada and other Dominions are calling for"!


I hope you have enjoyed this little trip back to 1917 as much as I have!

10 comments:

Jewelgirl said...

A wonderful family keepsake and
the pictures are wonderful. Amazing
what happens in 100 years, totally
different life for ladies now.

kitchenretro said...

That is a fantastic book! I especially love the expressions on the cleaning girls' faces - like mine when I see a sinkful of dishes every morning, after having left a clean sink the night before!

Lidian

Coloradolady said...

That is very interesting, to look at the pictures and read the captions....I especially like the one of the girl on horseback...you are right, not too sweet looking. What a great family treasure.

Grandma J said...

What a wonderful family heirloom. I love the illustrations, they are so detailed and tell a story all their own.

sista #2 said...

What a great book!
Big F loves looking for the oldies when we go out :)

peace
#2

Elizabeth said...

What a neat book! It makes me think of the Daring Book for Girls which I gave my niece for Christmas this year. It has little how-to projects, games, songs, folklore, etiquette, health, all sorts of tips that a girl today might fight relevant. Maybe someday her granddaughter will find it and read it!

Hill upon hill said...

How lovely, partic. the personal address in the front of the book. Today's equivalent would bethe girls'version of
"The Dangerous Book for Boys".

eileen said...

Ok. I think this one is my favorite VTT this week. What a treasure, and a wonderful post full of details.
I know a woman who grew up on a farm in Canada in the 1920's and 30's. She talks about her childhood, and how they had "hired girls" to do the baking, cleaning, etc. I have to think this must have been what the book was talking about!

I really do love the way books were written in this period in time.

Amy said...

That is SO cool! I simply adore reading and studying books like this :-)

Threeundertwo said...

I absolutely love this book! What a treasure. Especially since it has the family connection.

Such great illustrations. I could spend hours reading it.