Monday, January 14, 2013

Treasures! and From the Archives: "The Common Cause"



Here's the link for this video.

A friend of mine told me of this amazing bookstore that I would love to visit in the next big town over from us. So, on Saturday I went to check it out. Her recommendation was right on - it was used/antique book heaven! I spent a happy half hour or more wandering the aisles full of that lovely dusty old book smell and also spending a great deal of time in the awesome World Wars section. (of course!)

I was thrilled to find a few treasures! One is called Our Mother's War: American Women at Home and at the Front During World War II. This is right up my alley! It's about a true story of a woman who discovers journals and letters of her mother's who served in the Red Cross in the Pacific during WWII and from there the journalist author (Emily Yellin) goes on a journey to find what life was like for the women of her mother's generation.

My next two treasures no doubt sound very dry - a pamphlet called "The Common Cause - Britain's Part in the Great War" and the Sahara-worthy dry Handbook of Federal World War Agencies and Their Records 1917-1921 from the National Archives. Don't they sound thrilling?! Actually both of them had me feeling clammy like all books do from WWI or II that have to do with the British or American home fronts. haha!

From their titles, they aren't obviously home front material, but buried halfway into the British pamphlet it starts talking about food production (yay!), women's war work with a few examples of their uniforms, how the boys and girls were helping, and how the whole family is doing "their bit".
Awesome!
It also had this little gem of a picture:
I just love the humongous loaf of bread!
The uber-dry Handbook from the National Archives is actually, I feel, one of the most valuable things that I found (for $5 no less!). The reason is because the book is a list of nearly all the government agencies that were operational during WWI along with a description of their function. Finding a comprehensive list like this is nearly impossible from my experience and now I actually own a copy! I was most especially thrilled to find the section on the Food Administration and all that it was responsible for. This type of information is surprisingly elusive! And then the icing on the cake was to find that the book was published in 1943 and the Foreword that explains that the purpose of this Handbook was actually to use as research for the current war (WWII) in how things were done in the previous war. This is huge for me, because I've been doing research into that very topic and haven't been able to find anything that comes right out and says that until now. Hooray!! What a find!

Finally, on the back of the pamphlet is a list of a whole bunch of other WWI documents including "The Woman's Part" by L. K. Yates and "Women of the War" by Hon. Mrs. Francis MacLaren. I actually found "The Woman's Part" online through Archives.org for free and through Amazon.com for free on the kindle. I also found that amazing war video above narrated by First Lady Roosevelt. How cool that these things are available online!


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