[United Kingdom]: 1910-1917. Very Good+ manuscript commonplace book measuring 6.5 x 5 inches, with extremities of binding somewhat rubbed but textblock tight and fairly clean. Comprised of 20 handwritten pages and 16 original ink and watercolor art pieces. A total of 36 pages of content largely commenting on turn of the century gender relations and contemporary literature. A testament to the intellect and interests of young women and men not yet touched by war, this commonplace book provides important historical evidence of the changing attitudes of the modern generation compared to their Victorian parents.
Edith G. Lockwood clearly valued this album, claiming both the first and last pages for her own marks. On the first page she writes "Steal not this book away for fear of shame, For here you see the owner's name, Miss Edith Lockwood." Clearly, though, Edith did pass the book among her community of friends, allowing several artists to take it home and spend significant time with it. Among the pages are beautifully colored watercolor landscapes of the UK and the Netherlands, detailed ink drawings of women in hats and headscarves, and humorous anthropomorphized animals that required time and talent to complete. Edith even contributes three artworks of her own, including a satirical cartoon about men and women's relationships during the early women's rights movement; she captions it "Woman was made after man -- and she's been after him ever since." The notes and poetry written by her friends signal a less formal, more free relationship to gender and sex than in prior eras. "Men, men, humbugging men, You're impossible nine out of ten -- You're hopelessly mad things , But still, you're not bad things! I do rather love you, you men" a girl named Flossie declares on a page dated 1911. "King Solomon was the wisest man; but keep him from the girls you couldn't. He loved 'em all, great and small, And who the D---- wouldn't?" notes Thomas Jones in 1913. Getting increasingly cheeky as the years go by, Anna Jackson in 1916 illustrates 18 types of fruit, noting under each what messages each send about the relationship you share with to the person you eat them with. An educated group, the contributors to the album also quote authors such as Robert Louis Stevenson and at least one translates a contribution from English to German.
With research possibilities including but not limited to gender and sexuality pre WWI, education and reading at the turn of the century, history of education, literature, art, gender studies, and cross-continental influence leading up to the modern period. An exceptional manuscript capturing the rising generation's humor, intellect, and optimism before being cast into war. Very Good + (Item #2284)