By Sallie Bingham
Imagine a forgotten blue box containing a snarl of letters, memoir, college bluebooks, yellowed manuscripts, and deeply creased articles—the earthly remains of three ancestors. From just such a discovery, Sallie Bingham has woven a family history centered on her great-grandmother Sallie LeFroy, grandmother Helena Caperton, and mother Mary Bingham.
The narrative spans more than a century, from the Civil War through the Jazz Age; each determined woman had a penchant for the written word. In a memoir, Sallie LeFroy puts forward a squeaky clean history for her descendants; Helena scrapes together a living writing popular stories; and we watch Mary and Barry Bingham’s romance unfold in letters—an agonizing, charming conversation that spans years until it finally results in their marriage.
Born and raised to write, Sallie Bingham published her first novel two years after graduating from Radcliffe College, followed by two collections of short stories. She is the author of nearly a dozen plays, some of which have been produced in off-Broadway and regional theaters. She is also the founder of The Women’s Project in New York, The Kentucky Foundation for Women in Louisville, Kentucky, and the Sallie Bingham Archive of Women’s History and Culture at Duke University in Durham. Bingham is currently working on a biography of Doris Duke, forthcoming from Farrar, Straus & Giroux (2015).
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