A QUAKER CHILDHOOD 1871-1888 by Helen Thomas Flexner


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Striking contrast to Mencken's Baltimore childhood, is this picture of the first seventeen years in the life of the daughter of a Quaker doctor. There is a certain and inevitable primness, immense piety, concentrated devotion to mother, a more normal relationship with a volatile father, and relatives galore who cause much discussion within the family circle (the Whittalis, the Thomases, the Pearsall Smiths, and other familiar names). There's a European trip. There are Quaker meetings and contacts with various phases of the creed, strict adherence to which brought Helen Thomas (later Mrs. Simon Flexner) much unhappiness. The publishers are counting on some impetus to sales from Mencken's picture of a Baltimore childhood -- perhaps for its very contrasts. But I can't see any comparative market. This has a homely, human quality, almost a ""Little Women"" note, which should appeal to those seeking authentic facets of American life a generation and more ago.

Publisher: Yale