Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Discovery

University of Wisconsin librarian Emilie Ngo Nguidjol informed me that we had access to the ProQuest database, Black Studies Center, for a trial period. While searching the historic newspaper, Baltimore's Afro-American, I finally discovered when and why Regina's parents divorced. This article is from the September 30, 1911 issue.

Regina was only 10 years old when her parents divorced. She was sent to live with her maternal grandparents for several years in Normal, Illinois after the divorce.

Speed Dating Is Not New

I learned that Wilberforce University, the historically Black institution that Regina attended in 1919, provided carefully monitored social events in the late 1800s. Once a month students participated in a "period of free conversation" where male and female students could talk one-on-one for five minutes before rotating to the next person. This arrangement allowed female students lacking in personality an opportunity to meet male students (not my words but the words of the author, Frederick A. McGinnis, author of A History and Interpretation of Wilberforce University, 1941).

This is a picture of the Carnegie Library at Wilberforce where Regina obtained her first library job as a library assistant.

The Documentary

I didn't do much work on the documentary during my time in Chicago since my focus was on the book, but I did watch two documentaries about African American women: A litany for survival: The life and work of Audre Lorde and Living with Pride: Ruth Ellis @ 100. Ruth Ellis graduated from high school in 1919 like Regina Andrews. According to Living with Pride, only 5% of African American women graduated from high school that year.

I also found two books that will help me with my documentary trailer and licensing images for historical documentaries: Trailer Mechanics by Fernanda Rossi and Archival Storytelling: A Filmaker's Guide to Finding, Using, and Licensing Third-Party Visuals and Music.

Back in Madison, WI

I've returned from my writing retreat in the Hyde Park section of Chicago. It was very productive! I was so inspired by being there and was able to accomplish a lot of progress on my second draft of the book manuscript.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Regina's Mother

I have found new information that puts Regina's mother, Margaret Simons Anderson Moore in a new light. I must admit that I initially thought that she was a pampered wife who did her art as a hobby. As I've located more news articles about her I have found that she was a serious artist who promoted her work, worked as an art instructor and was a club woman. African American club women were commonly well-educated and financially well-off women who volunteered their time to help uplift the race. Margaret hosted the initial meeting of the Necessity Club in her home at 530 E. 45th Street in 1916. By 1918, Margaret served as the President--but there was controversy... (you'll have to read my book!).

Regenstein Library

I spend the majority of my time in Hyde Park here in the University of Chicago's Regenstein Library. Because I'm a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin I have access to their library resources, can check out books and use the Internet (I don't have Internet access in my rental--which is probably for the best so that I can write). It's right around the corner from where I'm staying.

Hyde Park Historical Society

I went to the Hyde Park Historical Society on Saturday, August 7. They're only open for 2 hours on Saturday and Sunday. I didn't find anything of value there but I had a good conversation with the volunteer worker at the Society. He was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin - Madison in Sociology in the 1950s. The Society is located in a former train depot.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Hyde Park - Homes & Schools

Yesterday I visited the homes where Regina lived as a child and a young adult and the junior high school and high school that she attended (Wendell Phillips and Hyde Park High School). One of her homes, 530 East 45th Street was incorrectly identified in the Cook County tax database. My pictures can't do justice to Hyde Park H.S.--it's truly a magnificent building that takes up almost the entire block--it wouldn't fit into my picture. The final picture is the home that I'm staying in with the large tree blocking the entrance.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hyde Park - August 2009

Arrived in Chicago for my month-long retreat in Hyde Park. I love the apartment and took pictures of the inside but not the outside since it was raining. I already located two coffee shops, the famous 57th Street Bookstore (but resisted buying any books), and I worked at the desk in the living room this morning.