“I know for some women, men are a household necessity; myself, I’d rather have a canary.” Ruth Chatterton

ruthchatterton ennishouseRuth Chatterton, at the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Ennis House during the shooting of “Female.” When she retired from the screen she started writing.

ruthchatterton homewardborne 1950I found this copy of her book, “Homeward Borne” along with several others I had salvaged from the parental attic. Unlike the rest of the old novels ā€” that I had carefully dusted and read (and known had been turned into movies) ā€” this one went unnoticed until I spotted her inscription while organizing before the remodel.

I’ll try to read it tonight before the return of the construction canaries šŸ˜‰ .

Now, you can find out about the marvelous (and somewhat forgotten) Ruth Chatterton courtesy of the Ruth Moesel Collection at the New York Public Library:

This post is about a fascinating, talented and beautiful movie star of the 1930s named Ruth Chatterton. However, it’s also about a dedicated fan who preserved her legacy. Yes, this is the type of collection many archivists dread: the much-maligned fan collection.

Perhaps I better explain this for any laymen reading. If the library had Ruth Chatterton’s Papers, that would mean that the stage and film actress, novelist and aviatrix (!) maintained her own photographs, scripts, correspondence, programs, clippings, etc. and gave them to us (or her heirs did.) If that were the case, Chatterton would be both the subject of the collection and its creator. In this case, Chatterton is the subject of the collection, but Ruth Moesel is the creator, so we have the Ruth Moesel Collection of Ruth Chatterton Materials.

Ruth Chatterton: A Screen Career in Photographs (In Defense of the Fan Collection) | The New York Public Library.

Tomorrow I travel with the contractor (via a behemoth of a pick-up truck) to collect cartons of handmade tile for the upstairs bath ā€” and then there’s this novel I keep saying I’m going to finish writing ā€” soon!


  1. Heather in Arles

    Well, we can certainly say about the dame that she had good taste…in dogs! I grew up with Danes (before moving onto Goldens for space reasons) and the bigger the dog, the bigger the heart. šŸ™‚
    Can’t wait to see the new tile.

  2. I thought of you the other day. I was surrounded by a group of smart, educated doctors who had never heard of Humphrey Bogart. I nearly cried. I’m writing up the story now.

  3. Pingback: ā€œI know for some women, men are a household necessity; myself, Iā€™d rather have a canary.ā€ Ruth Chatterton | Rogues & Vagabonds

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