Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Effie Wood Goes on Holiday


Effie Wood Goes on Holiday, an accordion fold artist book by Judith Hoffman made of paper, collage and drawing.
Effie Goes on Holiday, accordion fold book by Judith Hoffman

Effie Goes on Holiday, ©2021. 3.5 x 4 x .75 Collage on watercolor paper, drawing, family photos scanned and printed on Epson SC P-700 printer. See the whole book on my web site. When I was a kid we had many family holidays at my grandparents house in Cincinnati. There was an assortment of ladies that seemed very old to me. I had two living great-grandmothers on my mom's side. There was also my Great Aunt Anna and her roommate, Effie Wood. When I was a kid I was told Aunt Anna was an old maid, Effie lived with her and they were close friends.

Effie Wood, possibly on holiday

It wasn't until several years ago, talking to my cousin, that I found out they might have been a couple. It was a moment for me, I never questioned the story. It must have been hard to be a lesbian couple in those days. It seems the women in our family didn't know they were a couple but the men did. Would they have been shocked? What a sad situation. Effie was a family member but she was always considered as somewhat outside the family. There are very few photos of her, she isn't in the genealogy records. She does appear in some short videos my granddad took. Luckily my uncle put them on a cd. You can see more views of the book on this web page.

Effie Wood on holiday. 

This is the photo that inspired the book. It looks like a seaside resort to me. The story in the book is  conjecture.


Lori Don said...

Interesting about the relationship. My mother grew up with two women living next door that she spent a lot of time with. Everyone assumed they were a couple but just didn't talk about it.

Judith Hoffman said...

I lived in San Jose years ago. There were two women who lived together near us. Our older neighbors called them “the girls.” They were in their 30’s. The neighbors thought they were two old maids. Of course when I got to know them I found out they were a couple. It turned out there was a fairly large community of lesbians in SJ. And when I needed to move in a hurry four women came over with a big van, and we loaded up all the most important stuff. I would love to know how many lesbian couples there were back then. Last time I read anything about Gertrude Stein it seemed no one knew for sure what Alice’s role was in her life. Most women were not famous and didn’t have money, it must have been very hard for them.