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Janet E Tobitt (1898-1984)

Janet Tobitt is essentially Mary Chater's American equivalent. As I added to my song book collection, I discovered her name appearing even more regularly than Mary's. The woman was prolific, but had pretty much fallen off the radar too.

Her role within the Girl Scouts of USA (GSUSA) led me to their fantastic Archive Management System and the full-time staff dedicated to it. It's night and day from the sad situation in the UK, which still has no centralised archive, which continues to blow my mind. Luke, at the archives was able to locate a few documents from their "Personality Records" which was a thrill, but the richest seam was, where I found over 800 articles referencing Janet Tobitt!

Trawling through the articles was quite a job, but the thrill of finding something new amongst all the rather unimaginative replications of a press release made it worth it (I had no idea newspapers contained so many verbatim copies of press releases!).

She lived an incredible life - international travel, contributions to the world's collection of folk songs, and even playing a role in the story of the Hiroshima Maidens.

Next article: Alice M G White, with whom Janet Tobitt co-authored four books.


Photo credit: Dayton Daily News, 27th April, 1942.


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