Projects with Mary Frances Dunham

These projects are a sampling of Mary Frances Dunham’s (MFD’s ) wide range of knowledge and her deep interest in the life, music and literature of Bengali culture

mfd's book projects

By Mary Frances and Katherine Dunham

Over an intensive three years starting in 2013, I helped my mother document in this 5-volume set of books her archives of our family’s life in East Pakistan during the 1960s. In these books you will learn firsthand through letters, photos and other memorabilia the story of how our family became so deeply intertwined with the culture and people of Bangladesh.

By Mary Frances Dunham

MFD was first introduced to Jarigan in the 1960s by Jasummudin, the late poet laureate of Bangladesh.  At that time, he was writing a book about Jarigan and had asked her help for the western staff music notation. Thirty years later in the 1990s, she was recognized as one of the most knowledgeable scholars of Jarigan and published this book with the support of the Ford Foundation.  Her book provides a comprehensive introduction to Jarigan, its origins and its traditions as well as accompanying field recordings of village performers.

Living in Dacca: A Shopping and Information Guide

By Mary Frances Dunham, Patricia Hill and Dorothy Rutherford. Illustrations by Daniel Dunham

This was the first guide book for Dacca (sic), East Pakistan to be published in English. MFD and her close friends, Pat Hill and Dee Rutherford collaborated on this book because they were tired of answering the same questions for every new wave of Americans moving to the city in the 1960s. The book is filled with practical advice and explanations to help foreign visitors and residents adapt to life in Dacca (now Dhaka).  The maps and sketches throughout the book were done by my father, Daniel Dunham.  The book proved so successful that it has had three editions since it was first published in 1968.

MFD's work on other people's book projects

English translation by Mary Frances Dunham

MFD first met Ahmed Sofa in Dhaka in the 1990s and immediately was an admirer of his writing.  As the two became close friends, she took on the mission of translating these stories into English for a wider audience.

Elise Barnett, editor and Mary Frances Dunham, associate editor

This book was one of the first of its kind to introduce and teach Indian classical music to a Western audience. Professor Elise Barnett came up with the idea to make this book based on the lecture series Ravi Shankar gave to her students in world music at City College in 1967. Over an intensive six-week period Professor Barnett and a team including MFD worked closely with Ravi Shankar to produce the recordings that accompany the lessons in this book. MFD was involved throughout this project as an advisor and associate editor. She also provided the Western musical notations that go with the recordings.

Texts by Patricia Hill and assembled by Mary Frances Dunham

Pat Hill was one of MFD’s closest friends when they both lived in Dhaka in the 1960’s. Pat’s stories of her experiences living in Dhaka and abroad provide a witty alternative take on many of MFD’s same experiences. Anyone who has enjoyed MFD’s Dhaka memoirs, Some Weep, Some Laugh, should definitely read Pat’s stories from this time called “In the Moon-Bazar.”  

mfd family history

By Katherine Dunham

As a birthday gift to MFD and her brother, I made a book documenting their family tree with some snippets of interesting family history. What is provided here is only the family tree.  Please contact Kate Dunham if you would like to see the entire book.  

Assembled by Katherine Dunham

MFD and her brother are the grand children of Samuel Childs a founding partner of the popular Childs restaurant chain.  This book provides an overview of the history of the restaurant with articles, research gleaned from the internet, a timeline, photos and more. 

4 thoughts on “Projects”

  1. Waziuddin Chowdhury

    This is unbelievable. I have the hardcopy of the book ‘Living in Dhaka,’ that I brought back to Berkeley around 30 years ago. I know that book was gifted to my father, then a Superintendent Engineer at Roads and Highways by a Mr. Pecht, who worked as a consulting engineer for Amman and Whitney at Dhaka.

    1. Great to know you have a copy of Living in Dhaka. It was an ambitious project which I know my mother, Mary Frances Dunham, loved working on.

    1. Sadly I cannot share with you the files for the Ravi Shankar: Learning Indian Music” book without the permission of the Ravi Shankar Foundation. I recommend that you contact them so that they know there is interest in this book and that they should make it available. This is the email for the person I have been in touch with at the foundation: [email protected]. you can also contact the general email: [email protected]. Good Luck! It makes me sad that this wonderful teaching tool is so hard to get access to.

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