February 28, 2019

Looking back

From the archives: Beulah McCarty Canterbury, Class of 1909, carved a path for women entrepreneurs.

Seventy-five years ago, journalist, entrepreneur, and Abbot alumna, Beulah McCarty Canterbury ’09 sent news about her life post-graduation for publication in the May 1944 edition of the Abbot Academy Bulletin:

“How many times I have meant to answer the alumnae call for news. It seems to take a 35-year anniversary jolt to arouse my autobiographical ego!

“From 1927 to 1929, I was a newspaper woman writing every sort of thing from what the bride wore to musical criticism and book reviews for the Sunday supplements, and sob-stories for the dailies. It was but a step from newspaper writing to trade journalism. I covered 20 different trade journals for Ohio, parts of Michigan, and Pennsylvania. It was such fun, always interviewing interesting people and dashing about the state in my car with my camera and scribbling pad. Then came the Depression! In the lowest ebb of the phase of our American life, Helen Crain, a Bradford girl, and I started the Canterbury-Craine-Book-House, a bookshop of books only; no gifts, no gadgets, just books—old, new, and rare. We have added stationery and games these last years, and now in our tenth year of business, we have one of the largest bookshops in the middle west. We were written up in the New York Telegram by Harry Hansen several years ago as being the busiest bookstore he had ever been in.

I remembered the first “review” I had ever given, the news at dinner. How my knees trembled those evenings

“All that sounds terribly egotistical but I attribute all the success I ever had in the writing game and much of my part in the success of our shop to the background knowledge gained at Abbot—I can almost say our shop is an Abbot-Bradford product.

“Without Miss Howey’s excellent courses in literature, weekly themes, and history of art, and Miss Chickering’s illuminating history courses, I am sure I could not have entered the writing game so easily and painlessly or be running a shop today. If I had only studied harder 35 years ago! How many times I have wished I could take Miss Howey’s English Lit. course all over again. When I began to give book reviews all over the state to large audiences, I remembered Miss Durfee’s pleas to “throw your voice” and to “breathe deep.” I remembered the first “review” I had ever given, the news at dinner. How my knees trembled those evenings.

“So that is what I am now, owner of a bookstore and having a grand time buying, reading, selling, reviewing books, and meeting authors and lecturers who come to town—for they all come to our shop to autograph their books. Of course I do Red Cross work in my spare time, and was secretary of the Victory Garden committee in Canton. I have a big fruit and vegetable garden, and for recreation ride horseback.

“As to appearance, I am still five feet, no cubits added to my stature but several pounds to my avoirdupois, hair still reddish—no grey in it yet. My teeth are still all my own and I have never worn glasses.

“My son Andrew graduated from Hamilton College, married Marguerite Pugh, is living in Chicago and has a four-year-old son, Charles, on whom I try out all my children’s books. With best wishes to all girls of 1909 for a happy reunion.”

Looking Back spotlights snapshots of alumni letters and Class Notes from Abbot and PA archives This information was researched and compiled for Andover magazine by Alexander Mishkin ’85.

Categories: Alumni, Magazine, Magazine Online

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