The girlhood diary of Maud Rittenhouse, a Cairo (Ill.) belle of the
1880's, was published last fall. Almost overnight Cairo found itself in a
literary spotlight. Readers by the dozens . . . and then by the hundreds . .
. began to ask questions. "Where is Maud now?" they wanted to know. "Is the
old Rittenhouse home still standing?" . . . "What ever happened to all those
interesting people with whom the affairs of her daily life were so
The older citizens of Cairo read the Journal and started recollecting . . . "Why, I remember her ... or that." The younger generation exclaimed, "I've heard grandmother tell about that dance . . . that celebration . . . what happened after he left town . . . she had a picture of him in the attic." But simple recollections are often shadowy. The readers of Maud wanted definite information.
This short book pretends to be only what it is: an attempt to answer some of those questions with facts, a supplementary fund of information concerning the post-Journal lives of some of Maud's friends and admirers - and of her Cairo itself. Common hearsay has played no part in the compilation of this information. The source in every important instance has been recorded newspaper fact.
If the interested readers of Maud find their answers here ... if Cairoites find an unpretentious record for their shelves ... if exCairoites, now scattered throughout the country, find their nostalgic gropings into memory satisfied . . . this shuffling of musty, yellowed papers will have served its purpose.
March 1, 1940.
Here was the breeding place not of disease, but of heroes, the best people that ever trod the face of the earth. The country that Dickens so bitterly assailed is now one of the most fertile and productive agricultural territories in all the world, and the dwellers here represent a higher average of comfort and intelligence than the people of any tract of like extent on this continent."
- President Theodore Roosevelt,
In an address at Cairo on Oct. 3, 1907.
Extracted 25 Aug 2018 by Norma Hass from It Happened in Cairo, arranged by Anne West, published in 1940.
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