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Book - “The Record of a Silent Life”
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Title: Book - “The Record of a Silent Life”
Identifier: 979.6.1422
Donor: Geoffrey Sayers
Item Date: 1912
Creation Date: 2012
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A blue hard covered book with gold lettering on cover and spine entitled "The Record of a Silent Life." Inside is inscribed "To Mrs. Harris with love and good wishes from the author, Christmas 1912."

Anna Preston (ca 1887- ca 1980) was a local Mississauga artist who enjoyed painting and writing about birds to educate children. A friend to the Harris family, she gave her illustrated bird book as a gift to Barbara Larson so that her vision could be continued. On the front cover of her book, Anna states: "For loan to any child who desires it for any desired period inside the time limit of eight weeks." Her book illustrates several local species of birds such as the Eastern Bluebird, the American Goldfinch, and the Wood Thrush. She also describes many habitats and local naturalist gatherings in Mississauga. She believed that natural areas should be protected as sanctuaries for wildlife. She writes: "that is what the sanctuary is for, to let people who live in cities and can’t know much about birds an other way, come out and study them as much as they like" Anna also published several articles for "The Christian Science Monitor" in the early 1900s. She often humanized the birds she painted and wrote about espousing the moral benefits of watching birds and their behaviours. Barbara Sayers Larson remembers Anna visiting Benares frequently and spending time with Annie Harris, her mother.
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