Can any mother help me?
April 19, 2010 12:08 PM   Subscribe

The Cooperative Correspondence Club started in the 1920s as a postal version of an internet forum - members, all mothers from across the UK, wrote articles about their life - motherhood, husbands, the war and health - until the 1990s. Contributing under pseudonyms, they felt able to discuss topics that were then taboo, and recruited Jewish and working-class members in order to better understand the experiences of women from all walks of life.

Members included the social activist Rose Hacker (Elektra) and Elaine Morgan (Angharad). The magazines are now held by the Mass Observation Archive, which aims to collect a social history of British life. Correspondence Magazines still exist today.
posted by mippy (10 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
This is so neat. I didn't see any excerpts in the links. Are there any online?
posted by ocherdraco at 12:29 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Unfortunately not! Which is irritating, but I would imagine all is hand-written so would be difficult to read. They are available in a book, Can Any Mother Help Me?

If this interests you, you may want to look into Mass Observation - Simon Garfield wrote a book, Our Hidden Lives, with detailed extracts from diaries kept.
posted by mippy at 12:32 PM on April 19, 2010

This is pretty darned awesome! Thanks!
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:08 PM on April 19, 2010

So -- this is like the female version of Penthouse Letters?
posted by symbioid at 1:21 PM on April 19, 2010

This is absolutely wonderful, thank you.
posted by Danila at 1:37 PM on April 19, 2010

I came in to mention Mass Observation too, which I only recently discovered from the book: Their Longest Days.
It is made up of diary extracts from dozens of Mass Obs. volunteers over the course of the war, and I recommend it highly.
posted by bystander at 2:14 PM on April 19, 2010

Correspondence clubs got some coverage in the UK a few years ago, and I kept waiting for someone to say "Just like APAs, then?" but nobody did. APAs date back to 1876 and some have been running for more than seventy years. Just sayin'.
posted by Hogshead at 3:37 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

This is excellent, thank you for the post.
posted by jokeefe at 4:09 PM on April 19, 2010

What a treasure trove. Thanks for the post.
posted by Abiezer at 7:26 PM on April 19, 2010

Wow, this is wonderful. And I love this (from the Observer review of the book):
Good old Yonire, who responds to the unwelcome advances of a family friend after the pair have crept drunkenly into a church in the middle of the night to play Bach (it's a long story) by bashing him over the head with a shoe and then writing the whole lot up for the mag in a piece entitled 'Murder in the Organ Loft or What Would You Have Done, Chum?'
Part of what's so great about it is the proto-internet vibe: the pseudonyms and the interaction and the relationships built up through just text, over such a long time. Wonder if they ever managed to have a meetup?
posted by Len at 4:27 AM on April 20, 2010

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