COMMUNITY VOICES | Gripping collection transcends domestic life: Event features volume that is “gift to women’s history”


Miriam Barber Judd was a prolific letter writer. She could pour out her feelings and experiences much more easily on paper than propriety allowed her to in daily life. The result is an amazing collection of letters (she left almost 2,000) and private writings that give a real-time, first-person account of the life behind a public servant. The Pioneer Press calls it “a gift to women’s history.”

Now her daughter, Mary Lou Judd Carpenter, has put these together in a volume called Miriam’s Words: The Personal Price of a Public Life. This selection gives a chronological, well-written, insightful account of the life of the spouse of a public servant, Dr. Walter Judd, who was a medical missionary to China in the 1920s and 1930s, a 20-year Congressman and a delegate to the United Nations. Miriam kept the home fires burning, and was an undaunted masterful manager of the many worlds she inhabited.

What is seldom heard is the price of such service. The details are all captured here. And it wasn’t all misery. She met with Madam Chiang Kai-shek, Eleanor Roosevelt, Queen Elizabeth and many others. And Miriam was a formidable woman in her own right. She gave speeches to countless women’s groups and was a leader of the Washington YWCA. And Miriam’s Words not only details her own life, but is a valuable record of key events of the 20th century.

A book discussion and presentation event will be held on Wednesday, May 14 starting at 6:30 pm until 8:00 pm at the White Bear Lake Library, 4698 Clark Avenue in White Bear Lake. Mary Lou will provide commentary on her mother’s fascinating life, including a show of historical photos. She will also discuss the relevance these words have for us today. This will be one of the last events held before the library closes for a year-long renovation.

Join us to discuss this fascinating account of a time long past. Miriam’s Words will enrich readers’ understanding of 20th-century politics, international relations, and domestic life, and the creation of the world in which we live. This program is made possible with the support of the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.