HWS member Kerry Eilleen was kind enough to bring a copy of a rare photograph of the HWS founders with her to this month’s meeting. It shows Ada Gentry Adair, Bunny Sutton, and Georgia Campbell in 1899 at Tremlett College.
We know from Bunny’s letters that she wasn’t fond of these dress-alike days when official Tremlett photos were taken for the records. Bunny is standing to the far right. Ada Gentry is in the center of the back row and Georgia with the dark hair stands in the back row to the very left. Why do they all look so solemn? Most likely because they had to stand very still for the photograph. Remember, this predates the “1, 2, 3 Say Cheese!” style of picture taking. Unfortunately, Georgia must have been moving during the process since her face is blurred.
The records don’t indicate which class this is. It could be botany, English, or any of the other subjects that we know our founders took together. With news trickling down through the society about Kerry Eilleen and Amanda Kooser’s semi-fictionalized treatment of the founding of the society, I know we’re all excited to get more glimpses into our founders’ pasts!
Kerry and I are still sorting through the Hardy Women’s Society archives that are on loan to us from Tremlett College. We unsealed a box full of journals, notes, photographs, and memorabilia from the founders’ trip to New Mexico in 1899.
This is the first time we’ve really been able to delve into details of Ada Gentry, Bunny, and Georgia’s first full year after founding the society in 1898. We knew they traveled to the mountains of New Mexico after that school year, but that was about the extent of our understanding. Now, we have a wonderful trove of information to engage with.
As a teaser, we can tell you the ladies stayed near the mining town of Anodyne in the Jemez Mountains. We have pieced together a rather remarkable story about their summer there, which we will be presenting in the form of a second book, a follow-up to The Library of Lost Trees. Until we can share more details, please enjoy these archival photos from their journey.