In the course of writing her Masters Degree thesis, Jenna Bailey was rooting around in the Mass Observation Unit and there she found a gem of social history. She collected together articles and letters from a group of women brought together by a cry for help in Nursery World magazine in the 1930s. Answering an advertisement for friendship from a lonely and isolated mother they formed a secret club, the Cooperative Correspondence Club, writing a secret magazine of articles on a myriad of subjects. The disparate group covered different ages, classes, religions and backgrounds yet they had one thing in common; a desire to express themselves in the written word. The magazine was circulated betweeen themselves with readers adding comments to the articles proffering advice, support and encouragement (sound familiar?).
The collection is beautifully compiled and describes the lives of these women over half a century through motherhood, the second world war and the many changes of the post war years.
I wasn't sure I would enjoy a book borne of an academic thesis, but with the obvious parallels to 'mummy blogging' I thought I would give it a go. I was very pleasantly surprised. I read half of the book in one sitting!
Many, many thanks to the blogger who brought it to my attention (if you are reading this, please let me know who it was).
I thoroughly recommend it, so go on, click on the picture and order it for yourself!