This little missive however, deals with another one of my projects. I have a great-aunt who always fascinated me. She was remote, rarely visited the family, traveled extensively and had her finger on the pulse of many political and labor issues. She was a journalist. She lady became a journalist when it was a rather uncommon career path for women. Those who chose the path back then, usually ended up writing the society column or offering advice. Few thrust themselves into the midst of the labor movement in its heyday. But my aunt did. I admired her. I wanted to be like her. From the time I was young, all I wanted to do was write. To be able to combine that with travel and adventure seemed to me the perfect form of life. Alas, like my aunt, my family actively discouraged me. Unlike my aunt, I did not show the determination to follow my dream. Now, however, I want to at least share her story.
Most of the family that knew her more intimately have already passed on, so I am trying to reconstruct from sporadic childhood memories. Yet I never really had the chance to know her. My search is now for articles and papers she might have written. Where she traveled and for what purpose. Hopefully, to acquire a few memories from the very few remaining who worked with her or touched her life. I am combing archives, requesting government documents. Mind you, she had a bit of a radical streak in her. I can relate to that, even if I don't agree with all her views. Taking into account her childhood and the state of the country when she came of age, however, I would not dare to judge her.
In my quest I have been fortunate to run across some very kind and helpful people. Some of the best are professors at the Universities who have access to or knowledge about the times and occasionally about my aunt. I can't express how grateful I am for their assistance, particularly since I certainly don't qualify as a scholar. They still offered their assistance and suggestions, even showing enthusiasm for my project. I found that kind of a novel reaction since they are the only ones to express that sentiment. Mostly it bores my friends, and my family, well, let's just say they are less than receptive.
One of those who offered some guidance was Edward Alwood of Quinnipiac University. He is also the author of the book above. That book is probably one of the best scholarly, non-fiction books I've read. He makes it interesting and doesn't try to overwhelm the reader with lofty edification. The most remarkable thing was that he presented it in a fair, open, and honest fashion without taint of any agenda. He allows the reader to make their own conclusions by presenting facts impartially. Quite a feat in my opinion, since his intent is to show the incremental damage to our civil rights which escalated in the hunt for Communists in the 40s and 50s. In this case it is the journalists, so that makes it all the more compelling to me. I firmly believe that our opportunity to remain free of tyranny is to have a truly Free Press. I don't have to agree with all of it, but I would fight to defend it. It is our only outlet to express outrage, discontent and dissent, to expose corruption, and hopefully make a more informed public. The last has slipped, I'm afraid, but that is not the fault of the press as much as the failure of the public. The other reason the book was so valuable to me was because my great aunt was caught up in this whole controversial agenda. His book gave me a better feel for the era and those snared in the fray.
For now, I will leave my first blog here. If you wish to discover more about my research and my late, great aunt, you can join me here. Until then, to Professor Atwood and the many others who offered a little assistance and enlightenment, I thank you.