In 1950, Roger and Louise Amory founded the Johann Fust Community Library in Boca Grande, Florida. After the death of Louise's son John Austin Amory III in 2018, John's son – and Roger Amory's namesake – donated a collection of Louise Amory's papers to the Library Foundation. The archive consists of 140 pages, mostly handwritten. Louise wrote most of the material between 1949 and 1954. As Executive Director of the Foundation, I solicited the help of one of our docent volunteers, and we took on the challenge of transcribing her writing.
I was excited to undertake the resurrection of this 20th-century archive, and I began to research women's life-writing to set a framework. My original expectation was that the work would be diaristic, but my preconceptions required adjustment. An analysis of Louise Amory's writing soon led me to conclude that she wrote to create a record of the library's founding and that her audience was public, not private.
While building the library, Louise and Roger purchased a boat, that they christened Papyrus, to provide library services to the islands around Boca Grande. Traveling aboard Papyrus introduced a maritime aspect to the Amorys' project and Louise's writing as she recorded these island-hopping journeys along with other yachting adventures. I came to see Louise's writing as a travel narrative that is also life-writing.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Marquis, Barbara A., "Resurrecting an American Archive: A Mid-20th-Century Case Study of Louise Amory (1892-1979)" (2021). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 1096.