Dear Irene ... Lavender Blue

Although, as far I know, the author didn’t die before 1955 I thought you might like this recipe, and its story.

The recipe is held in Murdoch University Library’s Irene Greenwood Collection .

The Library has a project underway to digitise the scripts that Irene Greenwood prepared for her daily radio program Woman to Woman, which was broadcast in Perth and across rural WA between 1948 and 1954 on the commercial station 6PM-AM (she had previously broadcast with the ABC in both Sydney and Perth).  Woman to Woman was sponsored by Corots dress ‘salons’, and Irene Greenwood’s salary paid by Corots’ owners, Mr and Mrs J.H. Stafford.

Whilst we have permission from the Stafford estate and the radio station to digitise the scripts and other material written by Irene Greenwood in the course of producing her program, there is also a wonderful collection of listeners’ letters on the many issues raised by Irene, her guests, and individual members of her audience.  Most of these letters were written in the hope that they would be read on-air; the writers of those selected for broadcast were rewarded with a one guinea credit note to spend at Corots.

The recipe for ‘Family Pudding’, together with two pages of ‘Economical Hints’, accompanied a letter dated 16th August, 1951, in response to a request for listeners’ advice on the topic “How can the Housewife beat the High Cost of Living” (at least a few women’s responses suggested that, rather than scrimping and saving at home, ‘housewives’ should unite to bring about an end to war, which was seen as causing the high costs).  Other topics mooted by Irene around this time included ‘Reminiscences of Federation’, ‘How Peace?’, ‘Are we doing all we can for the old folks?’, ‘Are there other worlds than this?’, and so on.

Many of these correspondents requested anonymity if their letter was read on-air, or gave pennames ranging from “Cocky’s Wife” and “Worker’s Wife”, to “Belle of the Bush” and “Little Girl in Blue”, to “New Order” and “Womanpower”.  We have most of the covering letters, with real names and (sometimes, only partial) addresses, but the thought of trying to track down the writers’ descendants now in order to seek copyright permission to digitise is daunting, to say the least!  But the letters are fascinating, and were written with a view to publication on-air, and would make a wonderful addition to the program’s scripts.

The ‘Family Pudding’ recipe was not read out on-air, so can’t be considered as ‘published’.  A quick search suggests that the author, ‘Lavender Blue’, may have died as recently as 2013, with both her husband and only child having predeceased her; the daughter (if I have the right family) died young, and unmarried.   Surely, at such a remove, her letter should count as an orphan work.

Kate Makowiecka, University Copyright Coordinator, Library & Information Services, Murdoch University, Western Australia