On Research and the Novel:  The Many Stories Behind The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia<br />
“Set in the 1930s, The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia centers around one magical night when the Middle East comes radiantly ...
“<br />OR, to put it more simply:  “A big-hearted story of a Depression-era town turned upside down by a worldly teacher”<...
 <br />WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A HISTORIAN WRITING HISTORY AND A NOVELIST? <br />“The historian will tell you what h...
My #1 Rule for Writing Fiction That Makes Use of History<br />“Is it historically accurate?”<br />	“It does not contradict...
These are the kinds of sources that helped me “tell you what it felt like” to be part of a Depression-era town in Georgia....
My mother is from Georgia.  That’s mom, sitting in her mother’s lap, with her three sisters—Dottie, Mimi, and Sissie--stan...
This is why I’m not from Georgia.  My father was stationed at Robin’s Field, near Macon, during WWII. He was born in Milwa...
I still take my mother to Georgia to visit her sister—in the middle here.  My mother’s on the right.  We’re on Aunt Sissie...
My mom at about age 11.  This is how I picture 11-year-old Gladys Cailiff, the narrator, but you can picture her any way y...
My mother’s graduation pictureMary Helen McCulloughPeabody High School, Milledgeville GA, 1943FYI:  Flannery O’Connor grad...
Some of the characters in my novel are inspired by members of my mother’s family.  These are two of her aunts:  Aileen and...
My great-uncle Elmo Califf was a dead ringer for actor Tyrone Power, Jr., I’m told.  He’s pretty cute in any case.<br />
This is Tyrone Power, Jr. (He made most of his films in the 1930s, ‘40s, and  ‘50s.  Check out “Suez” and “Zorro.”)<br />
This is how I picture Theo Boykin in “The Cailiffs.” Photo of “Boy at Pin Point” by Malcolm & Muriel Bellfrom Drums & Shad...
This is my great-grandmother, Daisy Califf. I never knew my grandmother Mattie, who died in childbirth when my mother was ...
My great-grandmother’s married name was Califf.  In my novel, I change the spelling to Cailiff.  Both names sound the same...
I found set #395 of Sir Richard F. Burton’s privately printed translation of The Arabian Nights in the Creighton Universit...
Miller, Janet. The Camel-Bells of Baghdad. Boston and NY: The Houghton-Mifflin Co., 1934.  In real life, Janet Miller was ...
The real future doctor Janet Miller (center) is pictured here with her sisters, Minerva and America, who were known, respe...
More old books that were useful (The second one is by Lawrence of Arabia.)<br />Levy, Reuben. A Baghdad Chronicle.  Reprin...
This is an artifact. Sitting in a vintage Model A truck showed me what it would feel like to sit in the middle of the fron...
The Model A I found for sale in a field in Michigan looked more like this one.  The Cailiffs’ ten-year-old truck would pro...
Welcome to DeepstepKaolin Capital of the World<br />A sign like this introduced me to “white dirt,” which became an import...
I toured a kaolin mine (not this one).<br />
Interesting facts about kaolin that are not found in my novel<br />The word KAOLIN comes from the Chinese “Kao ling,” mean...
Research Rule #2: BE READY TO DISCOVER WHAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE LOOKING FOR.Here I am on Nanny Goat Beach, Sapelo Isl...
FromGeorgia: The WPA Guide to Its Towns and CountrysideCopyright 1940, Georgia Board of Education (Milledgeville is near t...
Sapelo Island mansion owned by R.J. Reynolds, Jr (1934)built on the site of the pre-Civil War plantation mansion<br />
Tabby ruins of slave cabins on Sapelo Island<br />
Tabby wall on Sapelo Island<br />
A most amazing discovery in the Sapelo Island Visitor’s Center : This notebook belonged to Bilali Mahomet, a Muslim from W...
Georgia Writers’ Project.  Drums and Shadows: Survival Studies Among the Georgia Coastal Negroes. Photos by Muriel and Mal...
Katie Brown is the great-granddaughter of Bilali Mahomet.  She was interviewed on Sapelo Island. From Georgia Writers’ Pro...
Historian William McFeely reflects on Sapelo, its history, its people.<br />
Cornelia Walker Bailey, Sapelo Island resident and descendant of Bilali, writes about her place in the struggle to save Ho...
Bilali Mahomet was one of many African Muslims enslaved in the Americas.<br />
From Diouf, Sylviane A. Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas.  New York and London: New York Univer...
Austin, Allan D.   African Muslims in Antebellum America: Transatlantic Stories and Spiritual Struggles.  New York and Lon...
Who says Bilali had only one notebook?What if there were others?It does not contradict what is known.<br />
A page fromThe Book of Ingenious Devices (Kitab al-Hiyal)by the Banu (the sons of) Musa bin Shakir, engineers & inventors ...
In my novel, young Bilali follows the sea route of this 19th-century pilgrim to Mecca. FromAhmad ibnTuwayr al-Jannah & Nor...
In the novel, some of young Bilali’s copied pages from The Book of Ingenious Devices travel all the way from Baghdad, Iraq...
“The objects floated on the lines of script . . . like vessels riding waves in the sea” (275).<br />
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Update stefaniak research for "The Cailiffs" novel 7

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Here's the latest version of "The Many Stories behind Mary Helen Stefaniak's novel, 'The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia,'" winner of a 2011 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction. Go to www.anisfield-wolf.org for award details and to www.maryhelenstefaniak.com to learn more about the novel.

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Update stefaniak research for "The Cailiffs" novel 7

  1. 1. On Research and the Novel: The Many Stories Behind The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia<br />
  2. 2. “Set in the 1930s, The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia centers around one magical night when the Middle East comes radiantly to life in the deep South. Taking her cue from The Arabian Nights, Mary Helen Stefaniak has fashioned a sequence of stories within stories to uncover forgotten links in American history . . . This unique novel delves into the nation’s recent past in order to caution us about the imminent future.” —Judith Kitchen<br />
  3. 3. “<br />OR, to put it more simply: “A big-hearted story of a Depression-era town turned upside down by a worldly teacher”<br />
  4. 4.  <br />WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A HISTORIAN WRITING HISTORY AND A NOVELIST? <br />“The historian will tell you what happened. The novelist will tell you what it felt like.” <br />--E. L. Doctorow<br />
  5. 5. My #1 Rule for Writing Fiction That Makes Use of History<br />“Is it historically accurate?”<br /> “It does not contradict what is known.” <br /> From “The Dolt” by Donald Barthelme<br />
  6. 6. These are the kinds of sources that helped me “tell you what it felt like” to be part of a Depression-era town in Georgia.<br />Newspapers of the place and time<br />Old (i.e., contemporary with the period) books<br />Family stories & other oral sources (interviews & eavesdropping)<br />Vintage photographs<br />Travel <br />Artifacts (like a 1929 Model A truck, or a cotton boll)<br />
  7. 7. My mother is from Georgia. That’s mom, sitting in her mother’s lap, with her three sisters—Dottie, Mimi, and Sissie--standing beside them. Circa 1927<br />
  8. 8. This is why I’m not from Georgia. My father was stationed at Robin’s Field, near Macon, during WWII. He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. That’s where I grew up.<br />
  9. 9. I still take my mother to Georgia to visit her sister—in the middle here. My mother’s on the right. We’re on Aunt Sissie’s back porch in Haddock GA. <br />
  10. 10. My mom at about age 11. This is how I picture 11-year-old Gladys Cailiff, the narrator, but you can picture her any way you like.<br />
  11. 11. My mother’s graduation pictureMary Helen McCulloughPeabody High School, Milledgeville GA, 1943FYI: Flannery O’Connor graduated from Peabody High School in 1942.<br />
  12. 12. Some of the characters in my novel are inspired by members of my mother’s family. These are two of her aunts: Aileen and Gladys. (In this picture, Aileen puts me in mind of Gladys Cailiff’s sister May.)<br />
  13. 13. My great-uncle Elmo Califf was a dead ringer for actor Tyrone Power, Jr., I’m told. He’s pretty cute in any case.<br />
  14. 14. This is Tyrone Power, Jr. (He made most of his films in the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s. Check out “Suez” and “Zorro.”)<br />
  15. 15. This is how I picture Theo Boykin in “The Cailiffs.” Photo of “Boy at Pin Point” by Malcolm & Muriel Bellfrom Drums & Shadows, 1940<br />
  16. 16. This is my great-grandmother, Daisy Califf. I never knew my grandmother Mattie, who died in childbirth when my mother was eleven years old, but I did see Daisy many times on childhood trips to Georgia. She lived to be 93.<br />
  17. 17. My great-grandmother’s married name was Califf. In my novel, I change the spelling to Cailiff. Both names sound the same as at least one pronunciation of the word “Caliph”*<br />*which means, as narrator Gladys Cailiff would put it, “the ruler of old-time Baghdad, also known as the Commander of the Faithful and the Slave of God and a pile of other titles and names I won't go into right now.”<br />
  18. 18. I found set #395 of Sir Richard F. Burton’s privately printed translation of The Arabian Nights in the Creighton University library. In my novel, Miss Spivey brings her own 10-volume set to Threestep, Georgia.<br />
  19. 19. Miller, Janet. The Camel-Bells of Baghdad. Boston and NY: The Houghton-Mifflin Co., 1934. In real life, Janet Miller was a traveling physician—a Doctor without Borders—from Nashville, TN. In my novel, she is the one who introduces young Miss Spivey to the Middle East.(I learned from this book when to say “oosh” and when to say “yek” to a camel.)<br />
  20. 20. The real future doctor Janet Miller (center) is pictured here with her sisters, Minerva and America, who were known, respectively, as Minnie (at left) and Mecca. It was Minnie’s great-granddaughter, Virginia Hinds Burton, who sent me this photo after reading the novel. Her email announced, “Janet Miller was my great great aunt!”<br />
  21. 21. More old books that were useful (The second one is by Lawrence of Arabia.)<br />Levy, Reuben. A Baghdad Chronicle. Reprinted by Porcupine Press (Philadelphia, 1977). Originally published by Cambridge University Press, 1929.<br />Lawrence, T.E. Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph. New York: Anchor Books Doubleday, 1991. Originally published privately by the George Doran Publishing Company, 1926. <br />
  22. 22. This is an artifact. Sitting in a vintage Model A truck showed me what it would feel like to sit in the middle of the front seat between your handsome brother and the new schoolteacher.<br />
  23. 23. The Model A I found for sale in a field in Michigan looked more like this one. The Cailiffs’ ten-year-old truck would probably fall somewhere between the two.<br />
  24. 24. Welcome to DeepstepKaolin Capital of the World<br />A sign like this introduced me to “white dirt,” which became an important component of the plot in my novel:<br />The real town of Deepstep inspired the name and some of the details of the fictional town of Threestep in the novel.<br />
  25. 25. I toured a kaolin mine (not this one).<br />
  26. 26. Interesting facts about kaolin that are not found in my novel<br />The word KAOLIN comes from the Chinese “Kao ling,” meaning “high ridge.” The Chinese were the first to use white “china clay” in the making of porcelain.<br /> <br />In the 1700s, the makers of famous Wedgwood china in England imported all of their white clay from Georgia.<br /> <br />Sixty per cent of the world’s supply of kaolin comes from the seven “kaolin” counties in middle Georgia. <br /> <br />Kaolin is used to make paper, paint, tires, fine china, cosmetics and many other products, including toothpaste.<br />There is NO kaolin in Kaopectate, but there used to be.<br />
  27. 27. Research Rule #2: BE READY TO DISCOVER WHAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE LOOKING FOR.Here I am on Nanny Goat Beach, Sapelo Island<br />
  28. 28. FromGeorgia: The WPA Guide to Its Towns and CountrysideCopyright 1940, Georgia Board of Education (Milledgeville is near the middle of the map; Sapelo is the large island about mid-coast on right.)<br />
  29. 29. Sapelo Island mansion owned by R.J. Reynolds, Jr (1934)built on the site of the pre-Civil War plantation mansion<br />
  30. 30. Tabby ruins of slave cabins on Sapelo Island<br />
  31. 31. Tabby wall on Sapelo Island<br />
  32. 32. A most amazing discovery in the Sapelo Island Visitor’s Center : This notebook belonged to Bilali Mahomet, a Muslim from West Africa who was a slave on Sapelo from 1802 until his death in 1859.<br />
  33. 33. Georgia Writers’ Project. Drums and Shadows: Survival Studies Among the Georgia Coastal Negroes. Photos by Muriel and Malcolm Bell. Athens: U. of Georgia Press, 1940. This book contains photos and interviews with descendants of Bilali Mahomet and other residents of the coastal islands circa 1939.<br />
  34. 34. Katie Brown is the great-granddaughter of Bilali Mahomet. She was interviewed on Sapelo Island. From Georgia Writers’ Project. Drums and Shadows: Survival Studies Among the Georgia Coastal Negroes. Photos by Muriel and Malcolm Bell. Athens: U. of Georgia Press, 1940. <br />
  35. 35. Historian William McFeely reflects on Sapelo, its history, its people.<br />
  36. 36. Cornelia Walker Bailey, Sapelo Island resident and descendant of Bilali, writes about her place in the struggle to save Hog Hammock.<br />
  37. 37. Bilali Mahomet was one of many African Muslims enslaved in the Americas.<br />
  38. 38. From Diouf, Sylviane A. Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas. New York and London: New York University Press, 1998.<br />Bilali Mahomet—the driver, or manager, of Thomas Spalding’s plantation on Sapelo Island—was buried with his Koran.<br /> On St. Simon’s Island, SalihBilali’s owner reported that he “abstains from spirituous liquors and keeps the various fasts, particularly that of Rhamadan.”<br /> In Jamaica, Abu Bakr al Siddiq kept his owner’s books in Arabic. He was captured in a rebellion at the age of fifteen.<br /> <br />Mohammed Ali ben Said, a Muslim from northern Nigeria (Bornu), was enslaved in the 1830s. He eventually became a teacher in Detroit.<br /> <br />Omar ibn Said ran away from a plantation in South Carolina. When he was captured, he used a piece of coal to cover the walls of his jail cell with petitions, in Arabic, to be released.<br /> <br />LamineKebe, a teacher, was kidnapped while he was on a trip to buy paper for his school and spent 30 years in slavery in the South. He said, “There are good men in America, but all are very ignorant of Africa.”<br />
  39. 39. Austin, Allan D. African Muslims in Antebellum America: Transatlantic Stories and Spiritual Struggles. New York and London: Routledge, 1997. This map shows the homelands of several African Muslims who were enslaved in the Americas, including Bilali Mahomet, from Futa Djallon in present-day Guinea, at left.<br />
  40. 40. Who says Bilali had only one notebook?What if there were others?It does not contradict what is known.<br />
  41. 41. A page fromThe Book of Ingenious Devices (Kitab al-Hiyal)by the Banu (the sons of) Musa bin Shakir, engineers & inventors who lived in 9th-century Baghdad. This is the book that young Bilali’s father wanted him to see.<br />
  42. 42. In my novel, young Bilali follows the sea route of this 19th-century pilgrim to Mecca. FromAhmad ibnTuwayr al-Jannah & Norris, H.T., trans. The Pilgrimage of Ahmad, Son of the Little Bird of Paradise: An Account of a 19th-Century Pilgrimage from Mauritania to Mecca.Forest Grove, Oregon: International Scholarly Book Services, 1977.<br />
  43. 43. In the novel, some of young Bilali’s copied pages from The Book of Ingenious Devices travel all the way from Baghdad, Iraq, to Baghdad, GA.<br />
  44. 44. “The objects floated on the lines of script . . . like vessels riding waves in the sea” (275).<br />

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