Coming-of-Age Illustrated Journals of Catherine Tyler Erdhardt, 1986 - 1990.
[Richmond, VA]: 1986 - 1990. Three notebooks: 9-1/4" x 6-1/4", approx. 200 pp, heavily painted in black with color highlights, front joint splitting, old mildew stains to rear inside cover and last few leaves, treated; 11" x 8-3/8", approx. 200 pp, black pebbled cloth with painted picture frames (empty), extremities worn, spine perished; 12" x 9-1/4", approx 50 pp used of 100, red cloth decorated with paint and photograph of the author, light dampstaining to boards, one leaf removed. All three illustrated with photographs, clippings and some sketches/ original artwork. Good.
Two journals, primarily covering the period in Catherine Tyler Erdhardt's (b. 1968) life from November 1986 to April 1988, with a few sporadic entries through 1990, plus an intricate photo book/journal from 1987 of "important quotes" said by her friends or pulled from literature, created for a photography class.
Cathe, as she was known to friends and family, lived and worked in Richmond, Virginia, and appears to have been at least a part-time college student during this time. An artistic, well-read young woman with a large group of close friends, she proves a self-reflective, observant narrator of her life, closely detailing her interactions with others and providing a running commentary on her experiences, both external and internal. While her experiences are not uncommon -- she is white, straight and middle class, hangs out with her friends regularly, travels to Toronto, plays guitar, goes to rock concerts both large and local, works (possibly in food delivery?), falls for various guys, gets drunk sometimes, does things she regrets and other things she doesn't regret, etc. -- her life is very much emblematic of her time, and her examination of it reveals a vibrant personality coming into its own at the cusp of adulthood.
Cathe's use of visual material to augment her writing, or to stand juxtaposed to it, gives the journals a particularly fresh and often playful feel. This is most obviously the case in the photo book, in which typescript or holograph stand-alone quotes, many provided by friends, are paired with images of those or other friends and surroundings, or with newspaper and magazine clippings, in unexpected ways. The photo book also includes an index at the rear.
By May 1989, near the end of the second journal, Cathe has married one of those friends, Richard Sebastian. She is already questioning the strength of their relationship (according to state records, the two divorced in 1995), and writes, "I could make more conquests -- I am ONLY 21. I am a wild thing myself. Are we that much different?"
All in all, a visually appealing record of one young woman's coming of age in late 1980s America.