20 August 2015

NYC #34: Laura Jean Libbey, Green-Wood Cemetery (4), Brooklyn

OCTOBER 25, 1924'
The grave of Laura Jean Libbey (1842–1924) is very impressive, but then this author was by the standards of the time a very successful and wealthy woman: altogether she wrote eighty-two sensational, romantic dime novels aimed at female readers, and had a lucrative editorial position.
As an indication of the kind of material she churned out, Kidnapped at the Altar; Or, The Romance of that Saucy Jessie Bain and Pretty Madcap Dorothy; Or, How She Won a Lover give a strong clue. The first paragraph of the latter book reads:

'"It's so hard for working-girls to get acquainted. They never meet a rich young man, and they don't want a poor one. It seems to me that a girl who has to commence early to work for her living might just as well give up forever all hopes of a lover and of marrying," declared Nadine Holt, one of the prettiest girls in the immense book-bindery, to the group of companions who were gathered about her. "It's get up at daylight, swallow your breakfast, and hurry to work; and it's dark before you are out on the street again. How can we ever expect to meet a marriageable fellow?"'
'Spew out wonderful literature like this?' I'm tempted to answer.
Green-Wood Cemetery hands out a cemetery map to visitors with the locations of twenty-two remains circled. Although Laura Jean Libbey's isn't one of them, a mere three dollars will buy you another map devised by a certain Jeffrey I. Richman, which locates well over two hundred graves. This map divides the graves into several categories, although the main interest is in people connected with the Civil War, 'Pioneers', 'Entertainers', 'Great Stories', etc. The 'Writers' section contains as many examples as the 'Dogs' and the 'Spirits' sections, and even (and I'm yawning endlessly here) the 'Baseball' section has three characters. Needless to say, this Jeffrey I. Richman guy considers Laura Jean Libbey worthy of note, which she certainly is, but...

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