Back in January I had posted about a series of videos that the Stratton Foundation was going to be posting (1 a month) about Gene Stratton-Porter and her homesites in Indiana. At that time I explained more in depth about who Gene Stratton-Porter was, but I haven’t done a good job following up with posts about the following videos. Today I’m going to share October’s posted video.
Video 10 is called “October 2014: Gene’s Treasures with Dave Fox.” It was published on YouTube on October 30, 2014.
They say: “At the Wildflower Woods State Historic Site, there are all kinds of sights and trinkets that share in telling Gene’s history and continue to carry her legacy on. For the October episode, Dave Fox shares some real treasures not often shown off for preservation purposes. The books Mr. Fox pulls out are unique glimpses into the past of Gene Stratton-Porter.”
We’re back at Wildflower Woods Cabin in Indiana and Dave Fox, one of the rangers who manages it, shares some highlights from Gene’s personal library. It was part of her private collection of books and when she moved to California with the idea of making her books into movies, it was shipped out there (although Wildflower Woods remained in the family). When Jeanette (Gene’s daughter) was closing out her mother’s estate, she offered the personal library to the State of Indiana for the cost of shipping (roughly 18 dollars). Included are a childhood schoolbook with the only known instance of where she signed her name Geneva (a name she disliked and legally changed to Gene as soon as possible), a book from a leading naturalist of the day proving they knew each other, and a book sent by an inspired naturalist from Australia. Fox speculates on the unusual relationship between Gene and her husband and strongly disagrees with the idea often bandied about that it was a “Victorian divorce” because they didn’t live together in later years. For evidence Fox produces a book he found in the collection warmly inscribed by her husband and that it contained a label showing it had been given with a box a chocolates from Charles to Gene on her birthday in 1918 and holds that their relationship was closer than has generally been assumed.
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently acting President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.