Manuscript 4th term English Literature notebook written by Bertha Hopkins. Comprised of 109 handwritten pages and 28 hand-drawn portraits, landscapes, and diagrams. Cloth spine and paper wraps detached from text block; original paper label with ownership signature and information on the printer Wm. K. Potter, Manufacturer of Blank Books, Providence RI. Undated, but the identity of the manufacturer, in addition to in-text references by Hopkins place the book between 1896-1900.
Compiled by teenage student Bertha Hopkins during her 4th term English course, the manuscript notebook is a fascinating look into a young American woman’s perspective on canonical literature. Accompanying the neat and organized class notes on authors including Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, and Tennyson are Hopkins’ own hand-drawn portraits of these authors, as well as diagrams of English landmarks such as Westminster Abbey and Temple Bar. Hopkins further appears to be a creative mind and a reader in her own right. Her drawings also include fanciful landscapes of what she imagines of the English countryside, details of the lace ruff she imagines adorning Elizabeth I’s dress, and she lists recently released books outside the scope of the class that she hopes to read, including Sarah Orne Jewett’s County of the Pointed First (1896) and Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Books (1894-1895). A fascinating and valuable glimpse into a young woman’s education at the turn of the century, with content for researchers in literature, women’s literature, education, history of education, and gender studies.
The US Gen Web Project and the Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Project both identify a Bertha E. Hopkins in the Rhode Island area during this period (b. 1881). (Item #1977)