Place item was collected
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
My name is Brittany Fitzgerald. I am a 19-year-old undergraduate in my third semester at Utah State University and intend to double major in English and Anthropology. I was born and raised in Davis County, Utah, and spent a year living in Livermore, California when I was 8. I was raised Mormon, in a large extended family, nearly all of whom are also active members. My favorite hobbies are handicrafts, writing, and drawing.
This is a framed display in my maternal grandfather's office. Walter and Mary Jane Denton Woffinden were his great-grandparents, and Mary Elizabeth was his grandmother. He never knew any of them, as his grandparents died when his mother was an infant and she was raised by Sarah Ellen (the baby in the picture) and her husband Horace (not the Horace in the picture).
[Framed spoon display, with a photo of the Woffinden family, a sketch of the Alaska, a small placard, and two spoons. The larger spoon is flattened on one side. Text of the placard:
"SPOONS BROUGHT TO AMERICA
Walter Woffinden Sr.
Mary Jane Denton Woffinden
Mary Elizabeth (Lizzie)
Sarah Ellen (Nellie)(baby)
Thomas (not shown)
From Liverpool, England
April 22, 1893
Aboard the SS Alaska
Arrived, New York Harbor
May 1, 1893"]
When you ask about this display, the main thing my grandpa will point out is the flattening of the spoon, because it was used over and over, and scraping against the bottom of the pot eventually flattened it. This is one of the only things that our family has of the Woffindens, because Lizzie and her husband died and a lot of their family heirlooms and belongings were sold to get the assorted relatives caring for their orphaned daughters through the Depression, and any photos and mementos that Nellie and her husband had they passed to their biological daughter, Ilene. Whenever this is discussed the reason we have so few items from the Woffindens is an elephant in the room, because my Great Nanny considered Nellie and Horace her parents, and even though she passed years ago everyone wants to respect that, but the impression among the family is that they didn't return that feeling- there's a photo of her as a toddler being held at arm's length like a sack of potatoes.
Semester and year
G8: Other Items of Material Folk Culture
Fitzgerald, Brittany, "Spoons Brought to America" (2018). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 379.