On Saturday (7/5), I’ll be giving a presentation on Lillian Collier at Centuries and Sleuths books, 7419 W Madison St in Forest Park, IL (just outside Chicago, a few doors down from a really good ice cream place) at 2pm. I have a new Chronicles of Chicago book via Museyon Press this week out that talks about her, and am finishing up a YA mystery novel that features her for Simon and Schuster. I’ll be talking about her life, and how I finally solved the long-standing mystery of what became of her after 1924.
Lillian is the flapper I mentioned her before who was once sentenced by a judge to read a book of fairy tales to cure her bohemianism; I always thought her story deserved to be far more famous, and I’m doing my part to help! Here’s an excerpt from a 1924 newspaper article entitled “Is Today’s Girl Becoming a Savage?” in which Lillian was given the chance to defend flappers from Lady Balfour, a British noblewoman who had spoken ill of flappers:
"Lady Balfour had best know the flapper before she condemns her. Maligners say the same things Lady Balfour has said and add some thoughts of their own. Our open and honest ways are too frank for the mid-Victorian critics. Women for too long have played the role of the underdog. That’s why they have been tread upon since the days of the cave man. Relegated to menial work, it was with fear and trembling that they came to their lords and masters. Now woman has broken the traditional bond. She has emerged from restraint that made the old time demure miss, who was a demure miss simply because she dared not to be otherwise.
“The woman of yesterday a deceit box of suppressed desires. Timidity was her watchword, coquetry another name for hoaxing folks.
“The flapper of today typifies understanding. She is the product of a new age turning toward the light.
“The flapper yearns for good. What then if she does use a bit of powder in the open, smoke a cigarette in the open, and wear the perfume so highly displeasing to Lady Balfour in the open?
“Isn’t that better than doing all these things in the privacy of her boudoir? You can bet it is is. And regardless of what Lady Balfour says, the flapper will survive. She is in process of still further evolution. And since evolution tends ever upward, turn the light on your fears and don’t worry.”