Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Yearlong Adventure with Gladys Taber and Rachel Peden

Today I am embarking on a yearlong journey with my beloved Gladys Taber and a woman I've newly discovered, Rachel Peden. My plan is to read both Stillmeadow Daybook and Rural Free, month by month. I thought it would be fun to compare these two women - one in Connecticut, the other in Indiana and see what they wrote about each month in terms of nature, the weather, family life, the world. Both women wrote for publications: Gladys for the Ladies' Home Journal and Family Circle, Rachel for The Indianapolis Star and The Muncie Evening News.

This is Rachel Peden's first book, originally published in 1961. Stillmeadow Daybook was published in 1955. Both books have illustrations. Edward Shenton did the drawings for Stillmeadow Daybook and Sidonie Coryn for Rural Free. I just recently found out that Coryn illustrated at least one of Gladys Taber's books, so there is my first connection between these two women! Sidonie Coryn also illustrated Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck!

I'm greatly looking forward to this. I hope to write about each month's offerings on the last day of that month.


  1. What a wonderful idea. I will read Rachel Peden (add to my summer reading list). I am reading Taber's book on Cape Cod. She is a marvelous writer and I am huge fan. Thanks for your book recommendations. I appreciate it very much.


  2. Wonderful idea! And thanks for the introduction to Rachel Peden.
    I have that particular G.T., and adore it.

  3. I'm looking forward to this as I, too, love Gladys Taber.

  4. Love both these authors, though I've only read one of Rachel Peden's. I think it was The Land, The People. I'll have to see if I can find it. The first Gladys Taber I read was Especially Father, not quite like the Stillmeadow books, but really wonderful.

  5. Looking forward to what you share.
    I have Gladys Taber's book.
    Made your sour cream chocolate chip cookies at 6:00 this morning.
    Have to have something sweet in the house. These and the orange cookies a staple in this cottage.

  6. This will be fun! Looking forward to the first installment.

  7. Nan, your year-long adventure sounds like so much fun! I dearly love Gladys Taber too and am lucky enough to have inherited all her books from my mother. I haven't heard of Rachel Peden yet. I'll have to check her out.

    It's interesting that you noted about Gladys writing for Ladies Home Journal. I have collected a lot of LHJs from the 1940s and there are many of Gladys's stories in them. They are so good! I wish someone would do an anthology of all the short stories she published for magazines. Now THAT would be a book worth owning!

  8. I can't wait to see what you write. I have looked for Gladys Taber's book before. I don't think my library has it. I will look for Rural FRee now. I live in INdiana you know. I would be very interested in reading this one.

  9. Each book looks cute! Just taking a look at its cover makes my imagination start wroking. "Ladies Home Journal" brings me back college days memories. I studied American histrory,especially '50 America. It's really interesting period,I think. I cited many lines from a novel titled "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" published in 1955 in order to dipict what the way of life in '50 was like for my graduation thesis. The main character is offered promotion in a big firm,but at the end he turns it down because he considers jobs to be a mere tool to make ends meet,so he hates spending longer hours at the office by the promotion. He thinks it much more important to lead a warm family life. American cutlure and history never cease to interest me!

  10. I love this idea Nan!
    I just can't wait for your reports! I did a quick search on our library website for Rural Free by Rachel Peden...don't have it so I will be even more curious to read your posts!
    Books like this are right up my alley!
    Love your header (again) and love all your wonderful interesting posts which I have finally had time to catch up with again (almost working full time now)
    P.S. You are so good to your readers! Thank you for all that you share!

  11. Sounds like another great NanPlan! I am always grateful for being introduced to Gladys Tabor through you - I find her work a great comfort and joy.

  12. It will be interesting to follow you as you follow them through the year :-) I am looking forward to reading more!

  13. Oh, what a wonderful idea. Could I be so bold as to also suggest another one to read alongside these two? The Country Diary of An Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden is an English book, but so much of what you write about reminds me of England so I thought you might like it.
    Oh, and I meant to comment on the recent poem...I really liked it and I thank you for sharing it.

  14. Gladys Taber is familiar, of course, but Rachel Peden is new to me. Is it hard to find her books? This sounds like an interesting project. So many places for comparing and contrasting.

  15. You already know of my appreciation of Gladys Taber and now anticipation builds for Rachel Peden. I've not heard of her. Rural Free looks to be something I would enjoy, Nan, so, I will be eagerly awaiting your end of the month posts on these two books.

  16. Wow! Gladys of my favorite authors!

    Reading her a month at a time is great. I have "The Book of Stillmeadow", "Stillmeadow Daybook", "Country Chronicle", "Stillmeadow Sampler", "Stillmeadow Calendar", and "The Stillmeadow Road."

    I also have one of her Cape Cod books and a few of her fiction...but nothing does it for me like the Stilmeadow series.

    It's great to see that there are still a few of us who appreciate Ms. Taber.

  17. What a wonderful idea! I'll look forward to your posts since Taber was a favorite of mine as well.

  18. Sasha, and I thank you for taking the time to let me know. I've not read nearly enough of Gladys' books, and none of her Cape Cod ones. I am slowly collecting them from online used stores. I have one newish pb, and three old hc books.

    Julie, I came upon a couple Rachel Peden quotes which got me interested in the woman, and you know how it goes - I found she had written books, and I bought the first one. Mostly likely, I'll buy the others as well.

    Sarah, have I asked you if you are part of the Friends of Gladys Taber??

    Kristi, the covers of Rachel Peden's books are so beautiful. I haven't read GT's Especially Father.

    Ernestine, I can't tell you how happy it makes me that you are so fond of these recipes. Thank you for letting me know.

    Jill, me too! :<)

    Jill C., you are SO lucky both with the books and the magazines!! And I agree with you about the short stories. Are you a member of the Friends of Gladys Taber? There is a quarterly journal which most always has a short story. I wonder why no one has ever collected them. I know my library has one book of them, but I think there are only twelve.

    Lisa, I thought of you when I learned she was an Indiana woman. If you type her name into google, you'll find out where she lived and much more about her. I believe her son now lives on the farm. I think you could visit!

    Yoshi, I haven't read the book, but the movie was very, very good. I think you'd like it.

    Joanne, I am expecting I will really like Rachel Peden. I wonder how many other women from the past are out there that I don't know about.

    Susan, I laughed when I read NanPlan. I love it. I am full of schemes. :<)

    Librarian, thank you!

    Kay, I have meant to read that book for ages, but something put me off. Did she drown? Was there something sad? This is kind of vague memory. I should look her up, and yes, I will read it, just because you recommended it. Thank you. Some other people over the years have suggested it. It's time I read it. I seem to recall there are beautiful illustrations?

    Pat, they are all at amazon, and have beautiful covers.

    Penny, I am so interested to see what Rachel Peden's writing is like. She's more in your neck of the woods.

    Hughes ap Williams, do you know about The Friends of Gladys Taber? There's a quarterly journal with lots of info and pictures about dear Gladys.

    Barbara, thank you!

  19. What a great idea. I loved Gladys Taber's writings and would love to be reminded of them again. Rachel Peden is new to me so I look forward to seeing what you discover. I'm going to try to find a copy of the Stillmeadow Diary so I can follow along with you.

  20. One of my friends as that exact book by Tabor. I will look for the other name.

  21. I love Rachel Peden and have two of her books. Before reading your post, I had never heard of Gladys Taber. I'll be checking ILL to see if any of her books are available.

  22. Sandy, Rachel Peden's books are for sale. They are beautiful editions.

    LGraves, how wonderful that you know her work. And I'm quite sure you will like Gladys. If you are interested, you may scroll down to the end of the blog entries. After 'blog archive' you will see 'letter topics' in alphabetical order. There is a topic just for Gladys Taber here.

  23. Love Gladys Taber, haven't heard of the other author but she sounds just as good. Did you find the books on Amazon? I need to go look for some, the library has so few of these types of books. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Super idea! I look forward to your observations. (My comment gives me a chance to let you know I'm still reading and enjoying your blog although I haven't written anything in a long time!)

  25. Mary, there are GT books on ebay and in the used bookstores online. RP books are all newish paperbacks at amazon and B&N.

    Deirdre, so nice to hear from you! I've been very happily surprised at the response to this posting.

  26. I haven't heard of Rachel Peden but I do know of Gladys Taber even though I don't have any of her books. A visit to Abebooks is indicated I think:)

  27. Rowan, RP is quite new to me as well. I believe amazon has some of Gladys' work - and links to used versions.


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