Books read by Elsie during her Arizona Years

16 Nov

One of the interesting things I did not include in the book was a list of what Elsie was reading.

At the end of her diary there is a list of books read from Sept. 1913 – Christmas 1916.

I am familiar with a few of these. Most I have not read.  It has been interesting to see that some of these books are now available for free on my Kindle.  So I hope to at least attempt to read some of what Elsie devoured. I must admit I have been so busy writing my own book that I have not taken the time to read from Elsie’s list. Nevertheless it is interesting to see what women were reading nearly 100 years ago.

Many of these she read out loud. She loved the sound of words and as a child I loved to have her read to me. This encourages me to keep a list of what I am reading. I have joined an online group called Goodreads ( Within that site there are many different groups and genres of books. Other readers leave their lists of what they have read, recommendations, and reviews of books.  I just joined a group of history readers that is sending me a free copy of a new  biography of Queen Elizabeth courtesy of the publisher

Elsie-Adventure of An Arizona Schoolteacher 1913-1916  will be on a list on Goodreads (with reviews posted eventually).  I must admit I am anxiously awaiting reviews.

It was difficult to read her writing so any misspellings of these books are likely mine.  I tried to decipher her list as closely as possible. Perhaps we  can be challenged to read more classics by considering what Elsie read.

Elsie’s list Sept-April Cornville 1914-1915:

“Some of the books read in Cornville”:

parts of Lais                                                                     parts of LeMorte D’Arthur

Taming of the Shrew                                                     Poems from Browning

At The End of the Rainbow (G.S. Porter)             Quatrocentisteria

Friendship Village Love Stories                              Poems from Tennyson

Being a Christian (W. Gladden)

Books Read aloud to Marguerite:

T.  Tembaron                                                                   Poems from Arnold

The King’s Highway

Adventures in Contentment  (In her journal she said this one made her want to marry a farmer.)

The Gay Rebellion by Chambers (about women rebelling against male chauvinism)

Read to the schoolchildren:

The Little Lame Prince                                                   Alice in Wonderland

Joseph Vance                                                                    Marie Claire

The Spoilers                                                                       Laddie

The Green Bough                                                              The Hollow of her Hand

Alice for Short                                                                   The Promised Land (M. Antin)

Books read during the summer of 1914

The Antiquary                                                                   The Alhambra

The Sketch Book                                                               The Iliad

The Odyssey                                                                       Lower Depths (M. Gorky)

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

General browsing and short stories, books, poems, Bible, studied History, arithmetic

“Some” of the Books read in school year 1914-1915

Browsed in Wordsworth                                               Septimus (Locke)

Girl with the Green Eyes (Fitch)                                Servant in The House

In The Twinkling of an Eye                                           Treasure Island

The Light that Failed                                                       Nigger (Sheldon)

The Test                                                                                The Purple Stocking (!)

Inside of the Cup                                                              Trelawney of the Wells

Gladsworthy’s plays, Strife, etc.                                Riders of the Purple Sage

Quo Vadis                                                                           Paola and Francesca

Francesca DaRimini                                                        My Friend from India

Last Days of Pompeii                                                      Waverley

The Supremacy of Jesus

“Some” of the books the summer of 1915:

Studied in mathematics                                               Some of Arnold’s Poems

The Gods are Good                                                         The Princess

Rob Roy                                                                               Emerson’s Essays

The Barrier (Rex Beach)

The Courage of the Commonplace (read aloud to her by her friend Alice Parker)

Books read (complete) in Williams 1915-1916:

The Ancient Mariner                                                      Horatius

Virginia                                                                                The Tailsman

The Vicar of Wakefield                                                   A Waif of the Plains

Vanity Fair                                                                          Kim

Plain Tales from the Hills                                              Light of the Western Stars (Zane Gray)

Amethyst Box                                                                   Franklin’s Autobiography

Silas Marner                                                                       David Copperfield

Guardian Angel                                                                 Les Miserables

Bleak House (Dickens)                                                   The Marble Faun

The Daughter of Joris                                                     The Passing of the Third Floor Back

Mill on the Floss                                                               Tale of Two Cities

Ivanhoe                                                                               The Lay of Lake Regillus

South Sea Tales                                                                Call of the Wild

The Lady of the Lake                                                      The Breath of Life

On Berwen Banks

Books read in Part:

Poetry of Bryant, Poetry of Burns, Poe’s tales    Midsummer Night’s Dream

As You Like It                                                                  Calhoun on Nullification

The Sea Wolf                                                                     Poetry of the People

Beyond our Power (Bjornson)                                   Spreading the News

The Woman in the Alcove (A. K. Green)                The Merchant of Venice

True Americanism                                                          Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

Pollyanna Grows Up (Eleanor Porter)

Books read the summer 1916:

The Silent Places

Garthowensome of DeMaupassant’s tales

The Hoosier Schoolmaster                                           Thelma (Marie Corelli)

The Right Of Way                                                             Man who Married a Dumb Wife

Lillie – a Mennonite Maid

Books read over Christmas 1916

Great Expectations                                                         Joseph Vance

Twelfth Night                                                                    Love’s Labor Lost

For The Soul of Rafael                                                   Martin Chuzzlewit

The Schoolmarm of Squaw Peak                               Oliver Twist (Partly)

Our Mutual Friend                                                          Cookbooks

Anderson Crow’s Daughter                                         Soul of a Bishop (H.G. Wells)

Girl of the Limberlost                                                    The Puppet Crown

The Great K&A Train Robbery                                  The Bent Twig

The Schonberg Cotta Family                                     Laddie

Following The Star                                                         The Little Minister

The amazing part to me is the realization that Elsie shipped all these books from California to Arizona and then back to California three years later.  It is also interesting to note how many book she read over Christmas 1916. She was married on Christmas day 1916.

2 Responses to “Books read by Elsie during her Arizona Years”

  1. Smadar Belkind Gerson December 30, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

    I loved that you did this. Throughout reading the book I was fascinated by learning about the books Elsie was reading one hundred years ago. It’s amazing how many of these books are relevant to day. It certainly made me want to read those I missed. Now I know where I can find her “recommended” reading list!

    • Barb Waite December 30, 2011 at 11:17 pm #

      Thanks Smadar. Smadar Belkind Gerson has written a very interesting book that is taken from the journals of her Great-Grandmother Minnie Crane. Minnie was a contemporary of Elsie so I found this book fascinating. Minnie left Russia in 1913 when she was 17 years old and her journals relate how several sisters and a brother died in the holocaust. I like Memoirs and I enjoyed this book – written around Elsie’s time period but in a culturally different setting.

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