Vernacular Picture-Book Dedicated to New Jersey Music Teacher Bertha Battersby
Elizabeth, NY: 1956. Very Good-. Item #25090
Elizabeth, NJ: 1956. Large quarto scrapbook (33x26cm.); black paper over paste-paper boards; ll. filled to two-thirds completion. Boards rather scuffed and toned, leaves brittle with shallow chips and tears to margins not affecting contents, preliminary leaf separated but present; overall Good to Very Good, contents remaining clean and sound.
This hand-made picture book opens with an autograph poem dedicated to Bertha Battersby (1891-1960) and signed by a Henry S. Hulse, Jr., the presumed compiler of this work. The book includes four leaves of original typescript poetry; eight leaves of typescript narrative; and fifteen ink and watercolor illustrations die-cut where Battersby could put a small cut-out of her photograph if so desired. The work concludes with a local news clipping announcing Battersby's retirement after forty-three years of teaching, the final twenty-five years at Elizabeth and Newark, New Jersey.
A wonderful record of the career of lifelong music teacher Bertha Battersby. The compiler, either a very devoted student, friend, or fellow-teacher, both lovingly and facetiously places his subject in light of major world events, opening with her birth: "There were two-world shaking developments of the very, very late nineteenth century to make their appearance on the American scene. One took place in Detroit--the horseless carriage. The more important event took place in Pennsylvania--Bertha Battersby."
In this version of events, Battersby takes up women's rights ("So we speculatively see Bertha 'Suffragette' Battersby parading down Broad St., Elizabeth, demanding her equal rights--her right to vote"); contributes to the ascension of American capitalism alongside her peers Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Harvey Firestone ("Bea's ever increasing interest in surf and turf was given a new stimulus with the psychic pay she was receiving in Elizabeth, so she allowed herself the luxury of an occasional two bucks at Saratoga or two bucks at Atlantic City"); and dances her way through prohibition ("But due to high caloric content of liquor, Bea wouldn't know anything about 'booze' or 'bathtub gin' or 'speakeasies' or 'grog-shops'").
The final section of the text is devoted to Battersby's career as the Supervisor of Music at the Burnet Street School in Elizabeth, where she mounted the final Christmas pageant to great acclaim. The news clipping announcing her retirement reproduces a photograph of Battersby at the event, looking a right jolly woman.