When J was born in 1900, film was still in its infancy. She grew up with the "new" medium. By the time she graduated high school (1918), it was a true cultural phenomenon. Since starting this project, I've often wondered about her attitude toward the movies. Her love affair with stage theatricals, especially operettas, was … Continue reading J’s Celluloid Dreams: Publicity or Reality?
You may have noticed the new Ko-fi button hanging out on the sidebar here or on A Small Press Life. First of all, let me assure you that it's truly a no-pressure thing. My content is free, always has been, always will be. I've been running ASPL for nearly ten years, to give some context. … Continue reading Why Ko-fi?
Researching J also means looking into the lives and careers of her producer-musician husband, R, and his first two wives (both singer-actresses). They're all links in the same chain, after all. Although I'm not to the point where supporting players in her life are the focus of my work, when that time comes I don't … Continue reading [Research Notes] Setting Up Google Alerts
And so I did... Let's back up. I've been cataloging the contents of J's main scrapbook for nearly a month. It's slow going and hard on the eyes, so it's not an everyday thing. Far from it, actually. There are plenty of other related tasks to do, meaning I'm almost always busy. New things crop … Continue reading Begin Anywhere
Recently on my main site, A Small Press Life, my blogger friend Ruth (of Silver Screenings) asked a few excellent questions regarding my feelings about J. The helpful exchange got me thinking about the relationship between biographers and their subjects, especially when those subjects are long-dead. (For context, I was born four years after J's … Continue reading Three Questions: January 2021
Stop the presses! Earlier this week, I read a book for pleasure for the first time since I started my research. For those of you not keeping track, I've been working on my bio of J for around three and a half months. After reading three books in just over 24 hours, I got on … Continue reading Reading for Pleasure?
Two weeks ago, I decided it was time to catalog the contents of J's main scrapbook. This is the perfect mini-project for cold winter evenings. I actually really enjoy the work, as I'm the sort of person who finds comfort in the tedious. Aside from to-be-expected hand-cramping and a bit of eye strain, I look … Continue reading Research: January 2021
This little book doesn't seem very promising, does it? 7 1/2 x 9 1/2. No cover. What did it look like the day it was purchased? Was it colorful? Textured? Patterned? We'll never know. Why was it preserved? It looks like trash, inconsequential. Maybe it meant something to someone, long ago. Let's find out. 120+ … Continue reading The Serendipitous Scrapbook