Anecdotal evidence

Anecdotes are charming, but unfortunately they don’t always pan out.

Take the Sarah Lawrence stitch-and-bitch group story, for example (it’s reproduced in the comments here). The story goes that somebody’s grandmother was in a “Stitch & Bitch club” at “Sarah Lawrence University” in 1938, and that this somebody has the 1940 yearbook that includes a pictures of 14 women captioned with “stitchery and bitchery – the ladies of the stitch and bitch club” at McConley Hall.

Some people (exactly who, we don’t know, but we could speculate about the interested parties) have tried to follow up this story by contacting Sarah Lawrence College, and discovered a dead end. Their library archivist has reported that not only could she not find a stitch and bitch club in the 1940 yearbook, but there’s no McConley Hall at SLC. (She has suggested that their might be some confusion about the school, but that Saint Lawrence University, a school with a slightly similar name, doesn’t have a McConley Hall either.)

Please don’t contact the SLC library, unless you’re extremely determined to verify this for yourself. I suspect that their archivist might be getting a little tired of all the inquiries. But you can try searching for “McConley Hall” yourself, and see what happens. I can’t find the source of this anecdote anymore; it was on the old SFSE board, and I don’t know who posted it. But if they see this, I bet a lot of people would love to see that yearbook.

But if you want to pin your hopes on another second-hand source of information, remember that Anne Macdonald wrote about social gatherings during the second World War in No Idle Hands: A Social History of American Knitting (New York: Ballantine, 1990):

In Akron, Ohio, twelve young women, who moved in with parents or in-laws when husbands went overseas, gave their elders a free night once a week (so to speak, since they parked their children there!) to attend “Stitch and Bitch Club” meetings. Loaded with sewing and knitting, stuffed on supposedly “light refreshments” provided by the evening’s hostess, voicing opinions on everything from parenting to politics and exchanging news from each war zone represented, they met until each member’s husband returned home — all but one. The sensitivity of the others to that member’s sorrow has bound them for life, but none could face continuing the club after the war.

That’s on page 302 of my softcover edition. Regrettably, Macdonald’s endnotes do not include a specific reference for this story; it might have come from one of her numerous secondary sources.

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53 Responses to Anecdotal evidence

  1. Bob says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for keeping us apprised of all the goings-on in this matter. I find the whole thing confusing, but your posts seem explain things more clearly.
    …Also, a potentially interesting development showed up on the USTPO when I was checking it this evening: did someone say settlement?

  2. Kristin says:

    Sorry, I misunderstood the “answer” file. The way it was worded made it sound like the answer to the proceedings, and not just the answer to Deb’s petition to cancel. Sorry.

  3. j. says:

    Yup, as Yvonne says, it still says pending here. But if you’re looking at the status of one of Deb Stoller’s applications, you’ll see that there’s a final refusal, which is the reason for the cancellation proceedings against SFSE’s mark.