chapter  1
16 Pages

“The Order of the Scroll”: Surveying Girls’ Literacy Performances in and out of School, 1885–2011

ByJane Greer

In the first weeks of 1912, Dorothy Allen Brown, a student at Manual Training High School in Kansas City, Missouri, penned in her diary:

I intend to establish a secret society. This one is something new and extremely secret. No one, in fact, knows anything about it but me. … Even the other members are not to know of their membership, especially as some are dead. … I shall call it The Order of the Scroll because it is through books and reading that we know each other. I want one member from each century, at least one. She may have any country or station. She may be a queen or a scrubwoman. The character may be real or fictitious. The only requirement is that she be one who has done some one thing that “helped.”