Saturday, August 22, 2009


Although a play on the title of my previous post, this is in no way related to it.

If you are on my facebook, you may already know that I recently scored two pieces of research-related historical memorabilia. While I was traveling, I took my sister up to Washington (the state, not the city), where we found the most wonderful used bookstore (Comstock's Bindery & Bookshop in Auburn, WA, in case you're ever in the area).

Many beautiful old books fought for my attention, but what caught my eye in the end was the collection of old Life Magazines. They are like a time capsule of days gone by. Advertisements for Goodyear Airships, Pond's ("She's Engaged! She's lovely! She uses Pond's!"), and Nescafe instant coffee with added carbohydrates vie for space with the call to buy war bonds and conserve meat, and etc., for the soldiers.

The first one I chose was released October 10, 1938, the week after the Munich Agreement--the catalyst for the opening scene in my novel. It's unbelievable to read articles written at that time, to see pictures of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain calmly meeting with Hitler and Mussolini, as well as photos of protesters and supporters of the agreement across Europe. Some believed it would bring peace to Europe, others recognized that it would precipitate a second war. No one, of course, could guess the magnitude of that decision.

The other one I chose was dated May 7, 1945, a week after the death of Hitler and the liberation of Dachau, which is also a key moment in my book. It contains some of the first images released to the public showcasing the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps. It also has features on everyday people in post-war Germany and France, as well as coverage of the homage paid to Roosevelt worldwide after his death.

For me, these are priceless artifacts. An illuminating and remarkable peek into the past.


Kristen said...

So cool, Ang. And that bookstore sounds so fun. Very cool.

Angie said...

Kristen, I'll have to show you the mags. :) And you'd love the bookstore!