folklore cards offer insights
May 24, 2019 3:37 PM   Subscribe

Cards of folklore in the Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive "offer insights into some of the hardships and preoccupations of domestic life in Newfoundland over the past half-century or so. But many of the cards, which date back to the mid-1960s, lack the full names of the women who authored them and signed them as their husband’s wife, nothing more. Archivists grew so irked by this that they recently launched a mission to find out the writers’ true names." Household names: Archivists take on task of identifying women who captured Newfoundland folklore [The Globe and Mail]

Memorial University archivists rewrite herstory with #MissusMonday [The Telegram]

MissusMonday hastag on Twitter; "The Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA) [...] houses extensive collections of folklore and folklife." MUNFLA_Archive on Twitter.
posted by readinghippo (7 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
This was very interesting, and made me wish they published a book of these folklore tips. Thank you so much for posting.
posted by annieb at 5:21 PM on May 24

So this seems like a very cool initiative - but it makes me wonder: isn't there a more direct way to find the women's names? Aren't there census records or something that would provide the names of Mrs. Arthur Hamlyn, and Mrs. John Bowman, of Tilton?
posted by kristi at 7:03 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]

Maybe this is their way of distributing the work of going into the census records? Although if that's what they want they could be more explicit about it.
posted by bleep at 7:58 PM on May 24

kristi, Canadian census records are typically kept private for 92 years. Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949 and was first included in the Canadian census in 1951, and those records won't be publicly available until 2043. The most recent census data available for Newfoundland is for 1921, 1935 and 1945. It's not nothing, but obviously not as helpful as being able to look at records from the time period (mid-1960s and onwards) that the folklore cards were authored in.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 8:00 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]

I wonder if it's wrong to track down their "real" names. They signed with the names they thought it was proper to be publicly known by. We can disagree about it but why impose our opinions on them.
posted by bleep at 11:06 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]

They signed with the names they thought it was proper to be publicly known by.

If you look at the cards posted on the Twitter feed so far they aren't filled out or signed by the women whose stories are being collected. It's quite possible (even probable given the way some of the stories were gathered) that the person collecting the data had more influence on the name recorded for the subject than the subject did.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 10:25 AM on May 25 [2 favorites]

Oh I misunderstood. When I saw the cards I thought the Mrs. John Smith was the name of the person who wrote the card but it's actually the name of the person who the card-writer heard the story from. Still I find it interesting to think that it just wasn't proper to refer to someone by their "inner circle" persona in public.
posted by bleep at 6:34 PM on May 25

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