The Amazing Mrs Markham

June 26, 2011 at 5:38 pm (books, news, people) (, , , )


I found online a listing of books several “Regency-era” writers recommended. Already own most of them, but was intrigued by a certain title penned by Sarah Markham.

Looking up the book, I was saddened to find that Mrs Markham had died in 2003 (aged 93). But in reading her obituary, I was AMAZED and THRILLED to see that she had published her first biography — John Loveday of Caversham, 1711-1789: The Life and Tours of an Eighteenth-Century Onlooker — when she was 75!

Not that I expect to need a couple more decades to publish my own work (though it wouldn’t hurt, I simply don’t have that kind of patience…), it’s the idea that she published this volume (over 600 pages) of family-related research without being in academia or even having “an education”. Rather gives someone like me a bit of “hope”, an especially good thing when some things seem hopeless.

Markham was lucky in another respect: her biography of both John Loveday and Penelope Hind (her next biography, published in 1990) were based on family papers. Of course it was the Hind book, entitlted A Testimony of her Times, that grabbed my attention in the first place; but I ended up ordering copies of BOTH. Can’t wait for them to arrive!

Read about Sarah Markham (Times) (Independent)

* * *

BTW, one of the twosome will come from England. I’m still waiting to SEE the arrival of the little book The Diary of a Betley Governess, 1812; what’s up with the mail between the UK and the US?? I really have a feeling my book is sitting somewhere in the likes of NYC just waiting for The Royal Mail’s inquiry — which they won’t do until 25 business days have elapsed… Still almost another WEEK to go before that will happen then. Does the government have nothing better to do? Too many people have told the same story lately.

UPDATE 6/29 – the mail kindly brought the first Markham book, John Loveday of Caversham. I had only the shortest peek at it last night (a Netflix film is due back quite soon and had to be watched!), but it seems worthy of the praise it received at the time of its publication. Added bonus: it was in better shape than I might have hoped. Double-added Bonus: it was a signed copy! Well, that last I knew when I purchased it, as the seller mentioned.

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2 Comments

  1. John Markham said,

    You may be interested to see a new website johnlovedayofcaversham.co.uk.My mother spent the last ten or so years of her life transcribing the tours of John Loveday onto 437 pages of Word plus detailed indexes. She had almost completed the task working up to three weeks before her death in 2003.

    • Janeite Kelly said,

      Thanks, John, for the link. I can’t wait to investigate the website! How wonderful that you have taken her work further. I recently finished the Penelope Hinds book and have turned to Austen’s Mansfield Park this weekend — but John Loveday is nearby. How remarkable your mother must have been — to have this passion, as well as the talent, to turn these documents into such fine books. She is someone for all independent scholars to look up to. Will be in touch.

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