By Edith Guerrier
The tale of the existence and several other careers of Edith Guerrier, who embodied the beliefs of the "New ladies" in turn-of-the century the USA
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Extra resources for An independent woman: the autobiography of Edith Guerrier
An obituary in the Boston Transcript, written by Guerrier, commended her old friend as "a master craftsman known ... " 34 Born in Nova Scotia in 1872, Edith Brown had come to Boston to attend the Museum School, from which she graduated in 1895, then stayed on to work as a teacher of drawing and design. She also developed some small reputation as an illustrator, her first published drawings appearing in a periodical called The Churchman in 1899, and later in children's books. In 1907 she became interested in pottery and was chiefly responsible for the development of the Paul Revere Pottery, serving as its director, as well as the director of the school of ceramics that grew up around it, until she died.
Even though many of its worst buildings had been razed on the orders of the Board of Health, under authority granted it by the state legislature in 1897, many of those left were equally unfit. Chandler held that "the personal habits of the tenants are largely responsible for such conditions.... " 5 Despite the uncharitable, but unfortunately rather representative judgments cited above, social reformers, philanthropists, and young people looking for a meaningful calling flocked to the North End: Pauline Agassiz Shaw, Helen Osborne Storrow, women volunteers from the Associated Charities, and the Edith Guerriers of the working world came to provide social services, various kinds of vocational instructionand often the money to pay for themand role models.
11 Although the founders of the library clubhouse and the Paul Revere Pottery shared some characteristics with the settlement house workers and other women reformers of the time, their goals were quite different. Like the residents of Denison House, a woman-run settlement in the South End, Guerrier and Brown did live in the community they served for seven years, but theirs was a more genteel and personal model. Unlike Denison House, whose residents tried to meet the everyday needs of immigrant families and working women, the library clubhouse was open only to young, unmarried Jewish and Italian women who were in school or beginning to work.
An independent woman: the autobiography of Edith Guerrier by Edith Guerrier