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Elizabeth M. Ehrenfeld

Byrd & Betta: A Lifelong Friendship

Byrd & Betta: A Lifelong Friendship

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In 2013 Betta Ehrenfeld published a book of letters she wrote home from Sarah Lawrence College in the early 1940s-letters written to her parents and to her best friend Byrd. They are an extraordinary resource for anyone interested in life on the home front during World War II, the adventures of a precocious young woman at a progressive college during the war years, and many of the political and cultural changes taking place then. Even more interesting is the glimpse into the everyday life of another time. Few now could say that they ran into the First Lady walking by herself down Fifth Avenue, as Betta once encountered Mrs. Roosevelt. Those letters became Betta's first book, Letters from Sarah Lawrence: Growing Up in the 1940s.

Much of what we know about women of the past we learn from their letters. While men's letters have always been considered literature, women's letters were, like much of women's writing, disregarded as too intimate, too personal-inferior. Yet they shed much light on the day-to-day lives of women and men alike, as well as recording women's thoughts, many of which they would only confide to each other.

P.D. James, in the Foreword to 800 Years of Women's Letters, says, "...those letters from past centuries which have survived can give us a more vivid and realistic portrait of the age in which they were written than many more portentous literary forms." Betta's first collection certainly gives us insight into a historical period that can not be obtained from a history book.

Byrd and Betta have been friends for over 80 years and this current book of their relatively recent emails will serve the same purpose for generations to come, while enlightening contemporary readers about what two women approaching their 90s do to fill their days-quite a bit, as it happens-as well as what they read, what they watch on small and large screens, what other people do and say, and what they think of it all.

This is, above all, a record of a deep friendship that has lasted longer than most people live.

Author: Betta Ehrenfeld, Byrd Cornwell
Publisher: Elizabeth M. Ehrenfeld
Published: 07/21/2018
Pages: 432
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 1.27lbs
Size: 9.02h x 5.98w x 0.88d
ISBN: 9780985785819

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