Jean Webster (1876-1916)
So I was delighted to find that one of my high school students is doing "Daddy-Long-Legs" by Jean Webster, together with her Grade 8 class, as part of their prescribed reading. What an apt choice for an all-girls school right here in Pretoria! I love the story of the feisty and independent Jerusha Abbot singled out by a mysterious, anonymous benefactor to attend an all-girls college and study literature. Remember Jerusha's determination to close the gaps left by her disadvantaged childhood in an orphanage, her amusing correspondence and her romance with the handsome, long-legged Jervis Pendleton, the wealthy uncle of a classmate? She rejects his proposal (even she can't quite imagine bridging the class divide) but then all is revealed. Cinderella discovers her fairy godfather and her lover are one and the same. Such a very satisfying ending! I have never seen any of the many movies based on this film. But I remember my introduction to this story was watching a solo performance of extracts of Jerusha's letters at a school concert when I was very young.
Jean Webster, the grand-niece of Mark Twain, was born in New York. Her father, Charles Webster was a partner with Twain in the Charles Webster Publishing Co. Tragically he committed suicide when Jean was only 15 years old after a severe interpersonal conflict with Twain. Jean entered Vassar College in 1897 where she studied English and Economics and was an ardent suffragette. After graduation she spent her time writing and travelling. Just like Jerusha, Jean fell in love with an older, wealthy man, Glen Ford McKinney; unfortunately in her case he was already married. However, in 1915 Jean married McKinney after his divorce. Less than a year later she died tragically after the birth of a daughter on June 11 1916, apparently of childbirth fever.
What are your favourite golden oldies?
Karen at the lovely Scrapbook of Inspiration awarded me the Brillante Weblog Premio Award 2008 just before I left for overseas. So her it is - proudly if belatedly displayed! The rules of this competition are:
1 You must add the logo to your blog.
2 Add a link to the blog who awarded you the prize.
3 Pass the prize on to another seven blogs.
4 Leave messages on the blogs of your nominees.
For prizewinners I have chosen new blog discoveries:
A brush with colour
Pammiejo and friends
The maX files
The pioneer woman
A whimsical Bohemian
The Lavender Loft
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Thursday, 14 August 2008: Golden Oldies
Jean Webster (1876-1916)