Arts & Culture » Lit

The Blue Doorknob Reading at Rediscovered Bookshop

Thursday, March 27


The story goes something like this: A historically minded young writer relocates to Boise and attends an auxiliary meeting of the Idaho State Historical Museum. After the meeting, the writer is volunteered for the role of taxi driver, which she accepts to ferry home a woman by the name of Cornelia Hart Farrer. A half-century later, the young writer (now quite a bit older) writes a book about that woman.

If the story sounds like kismet or divine intervention, you could be right. In 1971, author Rita Branham Rodriguez did indeed meet Cornelia Hart Farrer after agreeing to drive the latter home following a meeting. What ensued was a long and close friendship--a relationship Rodriguez pays tribute to in her new book The Blue Doorknob: The Artistic Life of Cornelia Hart Farrer.

Your chance to hear Rodriguez reading from The Blue Doorknob will happen at Rediscovered Bookshop. As for the origin of the book's odd title: Cornelia Farrer's 1920s art studio, located in downtown Boise, had a blue enamel doorknob.

As it turns out, and as Rodriguez's book describes, Cornelia Farrer played a substantial role in Boise's cultural evolution--even participating in a 1930s group called "The Hobohemians," dedicated to turning the small city of Boise into a hive of artistic activity. Not surprisingly, Farrer was herself an artist, studying abroad before returning home to, among other things, offer style advice to fellow Boiseans via a regular column in the Idaho Statesman.

While she didn't realize it at the time, Rodriguez's fateful stint as proxy cab driver would launch her into a work of historical significance--local in flavor, but well worth the telling.