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Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes: ‘A young lady’s scrapbook’

The rights of women – what are they?

The rights to labour and to pray;

The right to watch whilst others sleep;

The right o’er others woes to weep;

The right to succour in reverse;

The right to bless while others curse;

The right to love whom others scorn;

The right to comfort all that mourn;

The right to shed new joy on earth;

The right to feel the souls high worth;

The right to lead the soul to god;

Along the path her saviour trod –

The path of meekness and of love,

The path of faith that leads above,

The path of patience and of wrong,

The path in which the weak grow strong,

Such’s women’s rights – and god will bless

And crown their champion with success.

 

Ref. 2014/75

The above poem, a variation of a Christian verse first published in 1855, was entered into a scrapbook by a Mrs Little on July 5th 1884. Scrapbooking was a very common pastime in the 19th century, especially for women and children, and the example that we hold in our collection is typical of the time. Ephemera such as greetings cards, trade cards, newspaper cuttings and coloured images were cut out and pasted into a book that often acted as a keepsake of interests and memories of the creator. Family, friends and visitors were requested to contribute favourite quotations or verse and the ‘Rights of Women’, as contributed by Mrs Little, is a reflection of the notion of the ‘ideal Christian woman’; a woman who is pious and virtuous.  Also amongst the pastings in this book are images of cultures from around the world which possibly hint that the scrapbooker was interested in the world beyond the domestic, and perhaps even had aspirations to travel and explore the wider world.  At present this scrapbooker is ‘anonymous’ but with a little research it might be possible to identify her and find out if the snapshot contained within the scrapbook reflected her future life.

 

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