All objects have stories and by doing a little bit of research it is possible to uncover fascinating details which give meaning and insight to even the most mundane items.
The first two pages of this child’s French language text book provide links to the unique stories of the owners, retailer and author of the book. The stories behind the people linked to the text book provide a richness and depth to an otherwise unremarkable object.
Image: ‘French Without Tears’, Lady Bell, London, c 1910 ORM2017/197 Gift of the Gartrell Family
“French without Tears” was first owned by Miss Doris Maud Gartrell from 1912. Doris was also know by her second name, Maud. Doris was the daughter of Alfred Gartrell and Alison Gartrell (nee Brown) who were married at Orange Presbyterian Church in 1890. The book was passed on to Evelyn Gartrell, Maud’s younger sister, in 1924 and was used at Orange High School.
Hand written in black ink along the top edge of the front cover is “Doris M. Gartrell / High / Orange”. On the inside front leaf is “M. Evelyn Gartrell / 1AC & 2AC Orange High School / 1924-1925” and “Maud Gartrell / High School / Orange. / 7th Class. / Feb 7th 1912 / N.S. Wales”.
The Gartrell family, headed by James and Mary Ann Gartrell, first arrived in Australia from Cornwall, via the United States, in 1877. The many subsequent generations of the family have had a significant impact on Orange, establishing successful dairies, orchards and vineyards. Descendants of the Gartrell family still reside in Orange to this day.
Doris Maud Gartrell, photograph, Gift of the Gartrell Family
Evelyn Gartrell, photograph, Gift of the Gartrell Family
Image: Inside front cover ‘French Without Tears’, Lady Bell, London, c 1910 ORM2017/197 Gift of the Gartrell Family
The retailer of this book was “W.E.G. Satchell – Bookseller & Stationer”, as indicated by an ink stamp on the fly leaf. Satchell was a long term Orange resident and businessman who successfully ran his business in Summer Street for over 23 years. Obituaries published after William Edward Gould Satchell’s death in 1926 shed light on his influence in Orange.
The Sydney Morning Herald, Tuesday 27 July 1926
Death of Mr. W. E. G. Satchell. Orange The death has occurred of Mr. W. E. G. Satchell at the age of 62 years. He had been an invalid for over 10 months. For more than 26 years he was one of the most progressive business men of the town. He was a man of wide outlook in commercial life, of the strictest integrity, and a prominent member of the Church of England.’
Wellington Times (NSW : 1899 – 1954), Monday 2 August 1926, page 1
The Late Mr. W. E. G. Satchell. The following interesting article is from the Orange. ‘Advocate’: — ‘This estimable citizen, whilst temperamentally unwilling to be foremost, in public concerns, but rather a silent and generous supporter of every good and benevolent cause, after a long illness patiently endured, and lovingly attended by the most skillful and assiduous of nurses, two of his own daughters, Miss Edith and Miss Vida Satchell, passed to his rest on Saturday morning, 24th July, at 5 o’clock. He was a native of Liverpool, England, and 62 years of age. Coming to Orange 23 years ago from Wellington, he purchased a small book; and stationery business. His great business ability soon brought him increased trade, and at the time of his retirement Satchell’s was recognised as the largest business of its kind in the west. Mr. Satchell had great faith in the future of Orange, and he erected in Summer Street a most attractive pile of buildings that are one of the features of our main thoroughfare. No name was held in greater respect in the business life of Orange, than that of William Edward Gould Satchell.
Lady Florence Bell was a British writer and playwright who published eight works during her career. These works included three volumes of French without Tears, Twelve tiny French plays for children and two volumes of The Letters of Gertrude Bell.
Florence Olliffe married Sir Thomas Hugh Bell, the second Baronet Bell of Rounton Grange, becoming Lady Florence Bell in 1871. Along with the title, Florence became stepmother to Gertrude Bell. Gertrude was a writer, explorer, archaeologist, and spy during the early 1900s. She worked throughout the Middle East prior to WWI. After the outbreak of war she served with the Red Cross in France before transferring to British intelligence. As an intelligence officer she was tasked with getting soldiers through the deserts she had previously documented whilst working as an archaeologist. Following the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Gertrude was instrumental in the formation of Iraq as a self-governing monarchy. Working with Thomas Edward Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) she oversaw the appointment of Fasisal bin Hussenin as the first King of Iraq.
Following WWI Gertrude remained in Iraq and helped to establish the National Library of Iraq and the Baghdad Archeological Museum. After her death in 1926 she was remembered for ‘her taste for arduous and dangerous adventure with her scientific interest and knowledge, her competence in archaeology and art, her distinguished literary gift, her sympathy for all sorts and condition of men, her political insight and appreciation of human values, her masculine vigour, hard common sense and practical efficiency – all tempered by feminine charm and a most romantic spirit’
Gertrude was heavily influenced by the work of her father, factory owner Sir Thomas Bell, who played a major role in encouraging a change of attitudes towards the welfare of workers and the value of education.
Along with her other literary works Lady Florence Bell published two volumes of Gertrude’s correspondence from her twenty year career prior to WWI.
Image: Gertrude Bell, aged 41, outside her tent, Babylon, Iraq, 1909, ©Gertrude Bell Archive
 Obituary: Gertrude Lowthian Bell, D. G. Hogarth, The Geographical Journal , Vol. 68, No. 4 (Oct., 1926), pp. 363-368