Artist, craftswoman, and author from Worcester, Massachusetts. Collection consists of 39 unpublished volumes of stories, novels, poetry, lecture notes, and family history from Edith Ella Baldwin, including a novel about sex education for women, diary excerpts describing her visits with painter Mary Cassatt, and typescript copies of letters from her aunt, Ellen Frances Baldwin, dating from 1848 to 1854. Edith Baldwin's writings tend to cover timeless themes of religion and love, although some compositions include contemporary issues such as automobiles, labor strikes, and women's rights. Each volume is arts-and-crafts style construction with typed texts, frequently annotated by hand.
The collection and its volumes represent over 20 years of work by Edith Ella Baldwin. There is no indication that any of her writings were published, although rejection letters included in one of the volumes suggests that she did attempt to become published at one point.
Each volume consists of typescript or carbon copy pages, sewn into cloth boards with dyed red cloth covers stamped with gold lettering; two volumes are burlap and one is corduroy. Some of the volumes' bindings are loose or separated from their covers. The texts have been copy-edited with corrections throughout, along with several re-titled in pencil. Most volumes' title pages include notes explaining whether the work is a fragment, unfinished, or complete; how they "must not be changed"; and how many are "the only copy in existence." Several stories also include Baldwin's handwritten introduction, summarizing the action or presenting the theme.
Many of the stories explore love and religion, but several are noteworthy for their contemporary subjects. "The Automobile" is a short story written in 1907 following two women as they tour New England in their Pope Hartford automobile. "Antony the Foreigner," an unpublished 1912 novel, concerns anarchists, labor strikes, worker unrest, and the suspicion of foreigners. The most notable text is the 1911 "Affairs at Farslope," a 140-page novella about a women's refuge for troubled young girls and how proper sex education could have prevented their misfortune.
Along with Baldwin's fiction and poetry, the collection includes lecture notes from several courses she took on bookbinding, cooking, nursing, and art. There are also her efforts at preserving her family's history, including a copy of her aunt's diary, dated 1848-1854; several of her grandfather's sermons; a volume of stories and poems by her younger sister, who died at age 11; and selected excerpts of her own journal kept while studying art in Paris from 1889-1892.
The materials have been arranged by genre, with the Fiction and Poetry Series making up the bulk of the collection; the Non-Fiction Series consisting largely of lecture notes and diary entries; and the Family History Series, which includes her aunt's diary, other family writings, and sermons. Within each series, materials have been arranged chronologically.