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Aunt Jane of Kentucky

Title page of 'Aunt Jane of Kentucky', by Eliza Calvert Hall, 1907 Title page of 'Aunt Jane of Kentucky', by Eliza Calvert Hall, 1907

Aunt Jane of Kentucky is a collection of nine short stories written by Eliza Calvert Hall. It was first published in Boston, USA, in 1907. Hall was the pen name of the American writer and suffragist, Eliza ‘Lida’ Calvert Obenchain (1856-1935). Throughout the book, Aunt Jane, an old country woman, uses patchwork and quilting metaphors to explore power relationships between women and men.

At the end of the last story (Aunt Jane’s Album) the narrator states: "I looked again at the heap of quilts. An hour ago they had been patchwork, and nothing more. But now! The old woman's words had wrought a transformation in the homely mass of calico and silk and worsted. Patchwork? Ah, no! It was memory, imagination, history, biography, joy, sorrow, philosophy, religion, romance, realism, life, love, and death; and over all, like a halo, the love of the artist for his work and the soul's longing for earthly immortality" (page 82).

The collection of short stories was very popular and was reprinted regularly, the last time in 1995 by the University Press of Kentucky (USA). Hall published other works, including a ground-breaking non-fiction study on mountain weavers in Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky (USA). Her book, A Book of Hand-Woven Coverlets includes detailed designs and colours and resulted in more attention for rural weaving.

See also: Susan Glaspell

Sources:

  • HALL, Eliza Calvert (1907). Aunt Jane Of Kentucky, Boston: Little, Brown and Company.
  • NIEDERMEIER, Lynn E. (2007). Eliza Calvert Hall: Kentucky Author and Suffragist, Lexington: University Press of Kentucky.

SA

Last modified on Sunday, 16 April 2017 19:04