All posts by Cécile Engeln

About Cécile Engeln

Cécile joined NEHGS with nearly ten years of editorial and project management experience in academic publishing. She has developed a variety of books, ranging from a guide to U.S. citizenship to graphic novels, and managed the production of complex foreign language programs. She graduated with a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in French from Andrews University in Michigan. She received her M.A. in Publishing and Writing from Emerson College.

Watercress and dandelions

Courtesy of

I was scanning the children’s book reviews in Horn Book Magazine when my eyes fell upon the title Watercress (2021) by Andrea Wang. “A girl in cutoffs and a T-shirt is embarrassed when her parents stop the car to pick wild watercress growing by the side of the road; she doesn’t understand why her family has to be so different from everyone else,” read the summary in the review.

I knew I had to get my hands on this book—the word watercress plunged me deep into nostalgia. Continue reading Watercress and dandelions

Famous for its Cabots

There are few things that make me happier than snuggling up with my sons Oliver and Charlie at bedtime and reading. We recently read The Trumpet of the Swan. It was the exact copy that my parents read to me many years ago, cracked spine and all. It was an awesome experience to read it again as an adult, observing Oliver and Charlie as they took in the humor, drama, and thrills of the story. Only now could I appreciate the author’s turns of phrases; only now could I grasp certain references and concepts.

Continue reading Famous for its Cabots

Postcards from the past

Last month my sons Oliver and Charlie each received a postcard from their grandparents—Grandpa Bill and Oma—in Michigan. My husband Tom and I were slightly mystified because the postcards were from Boston and Cambridge and had seemingly traveled through time from the past. The Boston skyline didn’t look quite right. And who talks about beans anymore? Even the style of the fonts and the graphic design are extinct. Continue reading Postcards from the past

Revisiting a classic

Father and daughter, ca. 1988.

I have a distinct memory of my dad picking me up from daycare and presenting me with two of the loveliest books I had ever seen: The World of Christopher Robin and The World of Pooh, by A.A. Milne. At the time, my dad was a member of Quality Paperback Book Club, a division of Book of the Month Club. Members were required to purchase a certain number of books each year. There was a monthly mailing, but members did not have to make a purchase each month. Quality paperbacks indeed – the books were large with many cream-colored pages, and my dad had gotten them with the intention of reading them to me. I was bursting with happiness. Continue reading Revisiting a classic

The Air Zoo

My sons (Oliver and Charlie) and nieces (Claudia and Nola) at the Air Zoo in Portage, Michigan.

While the interests of my young sons and nieces brought me to the Air Zoo: Aerospace and Science Experience in Portage, Michigan, those with ties to aviation in their family history might also be drawn to this museum. Founded in the late seventies by Suzanne (a former member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots) and Pete Parish (a former United States Marine), the Air Zoo boasts more than 50 fixed and rotary wing aircraft on display as well as aviation-themed rides and exhibits. The Air Zoo is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, and has a mission to preserve the legacy of flight for present and future generations. Continue reading The Air Zoo

Family chronicles

George Anson Jewett’s NEHGS membership form.

Recently, Jennifer Jewett Dilley of Des Moines, Iowa, reached out to the Publications office at NEHGS to discuss permissions for a project. Jennifer explained that her father Gerald Anson Jewett Jr. is “92 years young,” and that they are writing a book that chronicles Gerald’s life and the times in which he lived. It currently stands at three hundred pages and is nearing completion. Jennifer mentioned that Gerald’s great-grandfather, George Anson Jewett, was a member of NEHGS many years ago. I wrote down his name and wondered if we’d be able to uncover anything of interest on George. Continue reading Family chronicles