Archive for April, 2009

April 9, 2009

Had a great telephone conversation last night with the woman who owns the apartment building where Dorothy MacDonald lived for several months in mid to late 1943.  Dorothy was born in Poland.  John was in India at this time serving in World War 2. He was in the OSS, but not as a spy; he obtained supplies for the troops.

What made it great was describing the three-room apartment where Dorothy lived, noting that the most recent letter I had transcibed included a section about how warm the fireplace kept the apartment in cold weather.  The owner was very excited to tell me that that apartment, and fireplace, still exist, and is still rented out.  Although this owner has only had the apartment house since 1978 she is going to start asking around to see if her friends and acquaintences might have picture postcards of the center of town from the 1940’s,  which is where the apartment building is located.

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April 3, 2009

As I have noted before the process for transcribing the World War 2 letters between JDM  and his wife, Dorothy, continues.  And will for some time to come–several months I am sure since some letters can take more than an hour to transcribe (Dorothy’s handwriting could be very small, and one needs a magnifying glass to determine words.  Be that as it may I am really enjoyng the task.

The reason for that is that there is another dimension to understanding an author in addition to the works themselves.  Family letters, photos (30,000 slides and 30,000 photos), and memories of those who knew the MacDonalds, all help fill out the portrait.  Even though the 3 biographies fell short (and we understand that another bio is due out this Fall) of giving us a complete picture they at least gave us some starting points.

My personal goal is to have looked at every item in the Collection –all 472 boxes.  Once that is done I may sit back and say:  “Ok, now you have completed that, you’ve read the books more than once, so what do you have?”  I don’t know what the answer will be.  Stay tuned.