Madeleine wrote her first book at the age of 14, as a Christmas present for her little sister. It comprised 72 pages, half of them prettily illustrated. This book would be published 90 years later.
It was Reveries of a Little Girl in 1914
In later years she wrote
Fritz and Caroline, an Alsatian chronicle
Of a Dwelling, a Lady and a Servant
See the site of Jerôme Do Bentzinger: www.editeur-livres.com
L’Inventaire Sentimental (extraits), (The Sentimental Inventory, extracts)
Published by the Alexis Forel Museum).
Other manuscripts on various subjects remain in the archives; they include the exodus in 1940, family life on an island in Lorraine, the Rochetaillée and their château etc.
Her 30-year correspondence with Peter Hiss, the painter from Bâle ( Switzerland), who also created miniature scenes, shows a fellowship between artists, both equally sensitive, who are an inspiration to each other. The Peter Hiss collection is exhibited at the Spiezeugmuseum at Riehen, near Bâle.
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(Reveries of a Little Girl in 1914)
Madeleine Harth was 14 years old. She wrote and illustrated this book as a Christmas present for her little sister. We are in Mulhouse in 1914, and already six months into the war. Every other page is drawn and painted with a sure hand, in vivid colours, and she describes the world as it should be.
The story begins : The good little sisters Misi, Lili and Tiny are hard at work, because, today is the dolls’ big washday !
(Fritz and Caroline, an Alsatian Chronicle)
From the first year of her marriage to Fritz Bicking in Munster, in the Vosges Moutains, in February 1838, Caroline, the author’s great-grandmother, began her household accounts book, and kept it scrupulously for the next fifty years.
» We are all links in this chain and to know where we come from is an infinitely precious feeling. » From the preface by Aimée Clark-Langrée, the author’s granddaughter.
(Of a Dwelling, a Lady and a Servant)
The Lady is the storyteller. The Dwelling, an old mill in Provence, is a haven of peace and grace, welcoming dogs, swallows, toads and owls, as well as visitors from all over the world. The Servant is at the heart of the story. He had never been to school in his native Calabria, he had never had enough to eat, and he came to seek peace and serenity after a lifetime’s labour.
» This is really a story about a paradise, an extraordinary refuge, which nevertheless existed – a golden age … » From the preface by Olivier N.H.Clark, the author’s grandson.
Such a Beautiful Summer
May to September 1940 In 1940 when the news from the front was disturbing,
Madeleine’s husband decided to remain in Alsace, where his mill supplied flour to the whole of the region. Madeleine had only one object in mind… to collect her daughter from her boarding school in the Vosges and to flee as far as possible to the West. They spent two months of that summer in Charentes.In catastrophic times – and exodus is certainly one such – it is vital to keep one’s nerve. Daily life has its priorities but the will to protect her child from fear took precedence over everything. At that time she accomplished it through fun, work and talk. Fear is contagious, but so is happiness.