Rankin said aficionados loved Spark and during her life she was lauded by some of the greatest literary figures around. So why is she not better known and celebrated? ...Scotland has been bad in the past at recognising writers and artists who leave [emphasis the blogger's]. Many writers have had to leave to find themselves, to get a sense of themselves and to find their true vocation as a writer.
|Gesualda Belmonte with her aunt |
Gaetana (Nangano) Mastropaolo
and an unidentified relative
in White Plains, New York
Roderick, like the Belmonte family, was a migrant; a Scot who had arrived in New York on The Astoria in June 1906 as a five year old boy with his mother Margaret and siblings to join their husband and father, John Black.
[source: The National Archives, TNA_BT27_0486_00_0019_P_0004F].
John Black died in 1910, nine years after arrival in New York from Scotland. He had left his young family of seven children twice - spending five years on his own in a different country - and at the end of a difficult life. He was 57 years old.
|1920 US Census Image from Find My Past|
|1930 US Census Image from Find My Past|
|1933 Marriage Certificate of |
Jessie Belmont and
Roderick Robb Black
New York City Municipal Archives
Both John Black senior and John Black junior were poets. The younger John was also the literary editor of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle and after several years of effort, he was eventually able to publish his father's Collected Poems.
The National Library of Scotland did not know of his work, but almost 100 years after its publication, it was possible to find this poetry using a link provided by the National Library of Australia in Trove. The Library of Congress had made it available to the Open Library initiative for digitisation.
This member of John Black's extended family gratefully used the virtual interconnections between libraries globally to track it down.