The Motherhood Book was published by Amalgamated Press in 1930. I have managed to collect four copies in various states of disrepair and have been working with them for six months or so.There is so many things I plan to do with them but I need to focus on just one for now.
The book might have been used as a replacement for motherly advice at a time when it was becoming less common for extended families to live together.
I began to search for and remove all references to the mother. I was thinking about the way a baby experiences the little absences of its mother's comings and goings without knowing when/if she will return.
I also thought about a more permanent loss and the needs that go unmet.
After a few false starts I decided to remove only the words 'mother' and 'mothers'- (I tried removing pronouns too but that got too confusing.) It was an awkward and slow process cutting the brittle paper. It quickly seemed to blunt the scalpel and the paper would suddenly rip rather than cut.
Even finding the mothers was not as easy as it would seem as after a while I would find myself reading and getting involved in the content rather than looking at words. Even after several passes through the book I looked again and still there were more..
The content of the book is fascinating and I think a lot could be learned from it even today..but some of it is just plain funny...like what to do for babies whose ears stick out or how to get a son to take cold baths!
If it is possible to love a book (and it is) then I love this one.
The next decision was what to do with the illustrations..?
I decided they had to go too.
They appear on both sides of the page and to cut the whole figure would leave a shapeless hole
so I removed the body and not the clothing.
....I have to admit that although some of the images are kind of creepy I like them.
I'm following my bliss.