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Type of Work94 p.
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The research for my play was divided into three major categories: I looked at female romantic friendship at the turn of the 20th century, college life for women around 1900, and the ways in which female-female romantic relationships have been previously represented on the stage. I used both Goucher’s physical and online collections to access these resources, and the materials that Goucher did not own I was able to access through the Interlibrary Loan system. Additionally, Goucher’s archives have proven to be an invaluable resource for this project. I was able to use primary sources such as yearbooks and scrapbooks to delve into my research about life at a women’s college. I found a multitude of details that have helped to provide the play with the appropriate historical texture. While I was primarily focused on learning about daily life, I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled upon mentions of romantic friendships between students. I learned the importance of reading and analyzing primary sources thoroughly and carefully. Since, unlike secondary sources, they rarely include indexes, discoveries are made by examining the source in total instead of immediately flipping to the relevant section. Therefore, finding highly pertinent information becomes all the more rewarding. Furthermore, I learned how to synthesize factual information and creative impulses and to strike an appropriate balance between historical accuracy and artistic license. I found multiple (and occasionally contradictory) arguments about the emerging queer consciousness of the early 20th century and all of them informed my characters’ perceptions of female romantic friendship. I evaluated the differing points of view for evidentiary accuracy and bias and I reached the conclusion that perhaps there are differing theories because there was more than one way of perceiving female-female love at the time. These variations are represented throughout the play.