Emily Shore in Manuscript

March 8, 2023 at 7:28 pm (books, diaries, history, news, people) (, , , , , , )


A reader recently alerted me to news of the 2022 New York Antiquarian Book Fair having shown TWO manuscript volumes of the Journal of young Emily Shore  Born in 1819, Emily died of consumption in 1839. The Shores were related to the Mackworth Praeds, which family included Susannah Smith, herself a diarist, and the politician and poet Winthrop Mackworth Praed. “Sue” Smith (as I call her) was the wife of Thomas Smith of New Norfolk Street, London and Bersted Lodge (in Sussex), and the great aunt of Emma Smith / Emma Austen Leigh (one of my Two Teens). The bookseller had, back in April 2022, called the re-emerged journals their “star item” at the Fair. INDEED!

Emily Shore’s journals were published by her sisters, twice, in the 19th century. The 1891 edition and 1898 edition differ, especially in the inclusion of family images (Emily was an accomplished artist). The newest edition came out in 1991, edited by Barbara Timm Gates.

Published to celebrate the centenary of its first publication, Timm Gates’ introduction speaks to her search for the ORIGINAL Handwritten Manuscripts. One of Emily’s sisters had actually willed the manuscripts to the British Museum. Says Timm Gates, “My jubilant friend writes, ‘Arabella Shore died 9 Jan. 1901 and left a will dated 5 Aug. 1899 with a codicil including these welcome words, “I bequeath the manuscripts and drawings of my sisters Emily and Louisa Shore to the Trustees of the British Museum to be preserved in the department of manuscripts”.'”

Alas! The British Museum had no record of the bequest. Dead End!

Of course, the loss of Emily’s materials is compounded, in my mind, by the loss of sister Louisa’s material as well.

Timm Gates had little choice but to republish the material as presented in the 19th century – but she also found, as her book went to press, that original volumes did EXIST. In the collection of the University of Delaware, (the link is their Finding Aid), are THREE manuscript Volumes. Out of twelve volumes, Delaware holds Nos. 7, 10, and 12: VII (6 Oct 1836-10 Apr 1837); X (14 Apr 1838-5 Jul 1838); and XII (16 Dec 1838-1 Jul 1839). Emily died six days later, on July 7th.

The University of Virginia, publisher of Timm Gates’ edition of the journals, now has updated their website offering to include free OPEN ACCESS to the Journal of Emily Shore. They also provide an up-dated transcription of two of the three Delaware volumes (Nos. 7 and 12); a “combined edition,” which incorporates the manuscripts of Nos. 7 & 12, as well as the “Centenary Edition” complete; some illustrations from the manuscripts are also included.

The most thrilling to see, as an owner of the 1991 book edition (thanks to a gift) are the new transcriptions. Which, now that two more volumes have appeared, begs the questions: Where have the “new found” volumes gone to? and Will Virginia be able to transcribe them (and the Delaware vol. 10)? The University of Delaware has a lengthy biographical offering for those who have not yet discovered Emily Shore.

Jarndyce Books, the UK bookseller at the NY Antiquarian Book Fair in April of 2022, had up-for-sale volume 1 (5 Jul 1831-31 Dec 1832) and volume 2 (1 Jan 1833-7 May 1833). “Entirely written in Shore’s distinctive small, neat, and easily readable hand, these volumes are a remarkable rediscovery more than thirty years after the only other known surviving volumes were sold. …. [H]er wit and intelligence – even in these early volumes – shines through each page.”

BUT the diary is not the sole item to have resurfaced. Part of a Shore novel came up for sale at Bonhams in 2004. Delaware has it in its collection! The manuscript, purchased in 2008, presents chapters 10 to 22 of Emily Shore’s novel “Devereux.”

Of course, one wonders why the University of Delaware didn’t purchase the two volumes (to join their three volumes) – was it the cost? Asking price at the book fair was advertised as $85,000.

So where, oh where, have Emily Shore’s Journals vols 1 & 2 gone?

* * *

In pulling up LINKS for this article, I found a reader who has posted YouTube videos connected to the Journal of Emily Shore:

Happy International Women’s Day (March 8th) and welcome to Women’s History MONTH!

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