Today (August 21) is the birthday of the author best known for writing as “Onoto Watanna”! In honour of her 145th birthday, we are officially launching the Winnifred Eaton Archive https://winnifredeatonarchive.org.
The Winnifred Eaton Archive (WEA) is an accessible, fully searchable, digital scholarly edition of the collected works of Asian North American novelist, journalist, playwright, and Hollywood screenwriter Winnifred Eaton Babcock Reeve (1875-1954), best known for the bestselling Japanese romances she signed “Onoto Watanna”. It comprises page images and transcriptions of 150+ located publications and manuscripts, as well as supplemental materials—photographs, a biographical timeline, secondary sources–that will aid students and scholars of Eaton’s work. Ultimately, it aims to collect all known publications, manuscripts, and films by Eaton in one location.
The younger sister of Edith Maude Eaton (1865-1914) who wrote sympathetic portraits of diasporic Chinese signed “Sui Sin Far”, Winnifred Eaton is often referred to as the “bad” Eaton sister because of her sustained masquerade as a Japanese author beginning in 1897. But as texts collected at https://winnifredeatonarchive.org show, Winnifred Eaton did much more than this over her 50-year career! Winnifred Eaton wrote one of the earliest short stories about Montreal’s Chinatown. She was a dogged woman journalist in 1890s Jamaica and 1900s New York City. In the 1920s, she authored screenplays, including an early draft of Showboat, and ran Universal’s script department. And from her home in Alberta ranch country, she championed Canadian literature and community theatre until her death in 1954.
Please join us for a virtual launch at 12pm (PDT) on Wednesday, September 16th by registering here: https://forms.gle/Xb2PHQyhz3g5orAF6
At the WEA launch, we will demonstrate the many ways you can use the archive for research, how the archive can be used in the classroom, and how researchers and students can become more involved in Phase Two of the project. We will also have a few remarks and a Q&A session with the current WEA team and special guest Diana Birchall (Eaton’s grand-daughter).
Please join us on September 16th!
Mary Chapman (Director)
Jean Lee Cole (Senior Consultant)
Joey Takeda (Technical Director)
Sydney Lines (Project Manager)
and the team of research assistants, past and present