Chatelaine Reader Responses
Chatelaine was and is a forum that encourages reader responses, it has a culture of reader interaction. Chatelaine as a magazine centers reader discussions about the material it publishes as having importance. It creates a “friendly, ongoing conversation”21 between readers and authors by allowing opinions and knowledge on who the audience is. Chatelaine created a community within its magazine that granted readers the opportunity to critique and comment on its pieces while fostering a relationship between the reader and the author22 Judith Robinson, as an author of Chatelaine, received many responses about herself and her work (Figure 1). This figure shows the existence of responses in Chatelaine magazine.
In comparison, Figure 2 shows reader responses to her work at the Telegram in March 1953. The difference between these two responses is that one was kept, and one was not. Judith Robinson did not keep a single reader response from her time at Chatelaine. This begs the question of why?
Judith’s time at Chatelaine raises more questions than answers. Publication policies, privacy concerns, only keeping originals, and managing large volumes of correspondence could be valid reasons for not keeping Chatelaine’s reader responses but are not logical. Judith cut out and kept her articles from Chatelaine, thus, she could have done the same with the responses. Judith Robinson kept a vast number of responses from multiple articles; therefore, it is not likely she had too many to keep. Assumptions can be made due to these reasons that she purposely did not keep Chatelaine’s reader responses for reasons unknown. Only speculations can be made as to why this was. Was Chatelaine not a significant enough aspect of her life to keep the responses? After all, she only worked there for a number of months before returning to the Telegram. Were the responses themselves not significant to keep? The responses were not purely positive or negative, so it cannot be that she did not agree with them. Was the lack of keepsake responses an indication of her time at Chatelaine? Did she feel hatred? Indifference? Or a lack of care for the magazine overall?
If Judith Robinson had felt a strong connection to her time at Chatelaine, surely, she would have kept memories from her readers just as she did with the Telegram and possibly even remained there for a longer period. Archival clues point to intentional miskeeping. The drama during this time was extensive, was there a deeper meaning behind why these were some of the only reader responses not held? Or it is possible these responses are being examined too deeply where the answer is Judith Robinson did not care to keep them.