I’m sticking with the visual theme again for this post and this time the item that caught my eye was a very unusual telegram sent to A. Muriel Pierotti on her appointment as General Secretary of the NUWT in 1940. It was a telegram of congratulations from Miss A. Jones and Emily Phipps (former Financial Secretary and former Editor of ‘the Woman Teacher’ respectively). Now that isn’t unusual in itself but the highly decorated border of the telegram is. Usually telegrams are pretty dull affairs in terms of appearance – though I do like the typed and cut out words.
As you can see below this one is rather different!
Now, I have to admit here to having a slightly out-of-control stationery habit – I can’t walk past a paper shop without going in and am known to come back from holidays laden down with paper, stickers, envelopes, postcards etc. So, this telegram intrigued me straight away. It’ll be difficult to make out in the image here but I noticed in the bottom right-hand side of the page there is a signature ‘Claudia Freedman’ so I thought I’d look her up just on the off-chance she was well-known.
One of the first hits was a link to this blog post on Barnett and Claudia Freedman. They were both artists and created beautiful lithographs for books. Adventures in the Print Trade points out that while Barnett Freedman is deservedly well-known, the work of his wife Claudia has been sadly neglected. She was born Claudia Guercio and studied at Liverpool School of Art and the Royal College of Art. She began to work under her maiden name but when she married Barnett Freedman in 1930 she took his name and continued to work. The lithographs reproduced in the blog post, from a book My Toy Cupboard are really lovely and it seems so unfair that, once again, the male artist is remembered whilst the female seems to disappear from the picture and from the timeline of art history. Neil Philip (the author of the blog) points out that her output was relatively small in comparison with her husbands so this could also be a possible reason for her obscurity.
This telegram seems all the more precious now knowing a little bit more about the artist behind the stationery!