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Dorothy Mae Birmingham: Two collections for her family
  My Memory Book 1927-1932

. . . begins below.
  Whoopee! Dorothy Mae Birmingham
as college student in 1929
(above), as high-school student,
1927 (left), and as school
teacher, 1931 (right)
  Photograph Album 1926-1933

. . . begins here.

Our mother, Dorothy Mae Birmigham (1910-1985), "Dot" to her friends and family, created two albums between 1927 and 1932, one a "memory book" filled with postcards and concert programs, notes from friends and menus from soda fountains, the other a photograph album. Mother also wrote a short history of her married life in 1979, when she was 69 years old (see below for a copy). Mother's sister, Eleanore Kilcoyne, kindly went through both of these archives. Without her knowledge and memory, most of what follows about these records would have been lost.

Some associated texts:
The Birmingham Family Tree with pictures of Dorothy's grandparents, parents, and siblings (be sure to take a look!).
Mother's 1979 account of her married life.
Eleanore's thoughts on the Memory Book.
My thoughts on the Memory Book.
Looking for a relative? Here is an index of family members found in the Photograph Album.

My Memory Book
  INDEX TO PAGES   Pages 1-10 in this file.   Pages 11-17.   Pages 18-27.   Pages 28-37.   Pages 38-54.   Pages 55-60.

The first section comprises 8 pages of white paper, with notes by mother, followed by 24 pages of stiffer black paper, many with photographs, postcards, or objects
(including safety pins, a fork, nut cups, and others) glued in place.

inside front cover
"From Mildred [Mother's sister, b. 1909, d. 1995] to Dorothy with Regrets" (a joke; clearly not "with regards," the expected phrase).

Page 1: "Senior year 1927." The printed page quotes George Eliot (woman English novelist, d. 1880), "Life's Stories" (the last two lines from this much-anthologized work, to judge from my Google search: "O, memories! O, past that is"). Written in the blanks at the bottom: Dorothy Mae Birmingham, Elma Iowa, October 25th, 1927.

[ Page 2: Blank and not shown. ]

Pages 3, 4, 5, and 6: signatures and notes from mother's friends, most of them rhymed poems and jokes, many dated 5/18/28, others 2/2/29.

page 4

page 5

page 6

Page 7: "My school days," senior year, with various notes, including that mother was president of the senior class. She lists her teachers and, by class, everybody at Immaculate Conception Academy (ICA), Elma, Iowa, and the teachers, also by class year. In the lower right quarter mother lists her classes at Iowa State Teacher's College (Cedar Falls, IA), summer 1928, and then Mt. St. Clare Junior College (that autumn).

Page 8: a photograph of four nuns, the "teachers of senior year" at ICA. "A better class president we could not find," write Sr. M Elizabeth: "A better class president we could not finnd / Than our dear Dorothy, so small and yet so kind. / When absent from school I'll remember that / And take a glance at the seat where she sat." Sr. Elizabeth was the typewriting teacher, according to mother's note. St. Laurentia (Physics), Sr. De Sales, Sr. Elizabeth, Sr. Clare (English)

Page 9: memorabilia from Junior and Senior Banquet, May 7, 1928. Mother, who graduated the next year, gave the Farewell, according to the program.

Page 10: A newspaper article about the banquet above, including mother's place card.

Click here for pages 11-17.

Here are Eleanore Kilcoyne's notes from March 2015 on mother's memory book.

"Memory books were very popular among teenage girls of the 1920s and 1930s and were kept by many girls in the 1940s. Mementos from plays, movies, and letters fill the pages.

"Some impressions that one gets about Dorothy:

1. She had scads of girl friends and not a few male admirers

2. She was president of her senior class a IC Academy in Elma (1928 graduate) "A better class president we could not find / then our dear Dorothy, so small and kind." --Sr. M. Elizabeth, RSM

3. She read widely, fiction and nonfiction.

4. Dorothy, as well as her younger brothers and sisters, loved drama and were involved in many plays, both in high school and (Dorothy) in college.

5. After high school Dorothy attended Mt. St. Clare College and also Iowa State Teachers College in Cedar Falls, IA, for teacher preparation.

6. Several pictures of Dorothy with unidentified babies; one picture looks as if it were taking in a city (see pp. 29-32 above: Chicago)

7. Letter written on black pages by a classmate of Dorothy's at MSCC (see p. 33: from Helen Walsh, Churchville, Iowa, Feb. 1, 1929)

8. Photo on last page of book: Dorothy with her oldest sister, Sr. M. Martin Birmingham. Taken at MSCC, probably 1929, just a month after Sr. Martin make her first profession of vows."

Allen's comments

Notes typed by Allen Frantzen, Wilmette, IL, 28 March 2015.

3-28-15 to 4-15-15. 6/18/16