Book Reviews of Dear Mad'm Who Was She?.

Soon after publishing Dear Mad'm in 1982 fan mail began to pour in, readers being curious to know what "Dear Mad'm" (Stella Patterson) did after the year was up in which she had vowed to live on the mining claim. Wishing to answer their questions these past thirty years, we relied on what little we knew, most of which came from the three Chicago ladies who, with the help of Dear Sir, had purchased her cabin. Also included was a copy of a local newspaper column. We, too, were curious. Had we only known back then the local old-timers who remembered Stella Patterson, we could have learned so much before most passed away.

One lucky day a couple, Peter and Elizabeth Lismer, stopped in at Naturegraph. The husband said he was a distant relative of Dear Mad'm, but like we, knew little about her. We quickly explained how many people wanted to know about her, especially after she left the Happy Camp area. Being related they could locate old family records and letters that had been kept. This started the ball rolling for several years of research.

Dear Mad'm, Who Was She? is a biography of Stella Walthall Patterson (Oct. 14, 1866 - Dec. 23, 1955), orphaned at seven, who, having within her the courageous genes of her ancestors, led a life of adventure and accomplishments—teacher, artist, pianist, wife, mother, adventurer, and above all a writer and storyteller. She was gifted in her observation of life, a foundation for art and of good writing.

Eight of Stella Patterson's original magazine short stories have been found and reprinted for your enjoyment. Each story, like her book, Dear Mad'm, captivates the imagination.

Stella was loyal to Mills College, where she received most of her education, and later traveled to Paris to study painting. She was asked to give the commencement address to the 1956 graduating class at Mills College, but unfortunately died a few months prior. Mill's president White gave the address and eulogized Stella in a way that summed her up: "I wish for you who depart the things Mrs. Patterson had: intellectuality mellowed by insight, warmth without obsessiveness, compassion without sentimentality, and above all, the dual capacity both for being serenely alone even in a crowd and at the same time for feeling akin to all men even in a wilderness."