My Girls: Emma Austen

April 23, 2018 at 7:41 pm (chutes of the vyne, introduction, jane austen, research, World of Two Teens) (, , )

A month ago I wrote about Emma Smith and Mary Gosling, my two diarists who head this research project, Two Teens in the Time of Austen.

I mentioned how I found the first diary, and a little about the family of both girls.

But, in celebration of this blog’s Tenth Anniversary, _I_ was wanting to go back, to see what was written, who was introduced. It’s damned hard to find! (I need to be in WP-Admin to sort by date.) The “Posts” calendar goes back month by month – but no one will have the patience to do that over TEN years.

On June 1, 2008, I introduced my girls:

Emma Smith and Mary Gosling were two ordinary English girls. They attended the opera and the theatre when their families resided in London for ‘the season’. They were present at court functions, and even witnessed the coronation of George IV. They travelled with family across the country and across to the Continent. They lived among servants in large houses on substantial estates; and when in town were next-door neighbours (No. 5 and 6 Portland-place) on a street south of Regent’s Park. See, just two ordinary girls.

Luckily, they kept diaries, and wrote lots and lots of letters. Some of which still exist.

So let’s take a moment to talk about Emma.

Austen_Emma

She married, on the 16 December 1828, the nephew of Jane Austen – James Edward Austen. Thus was born the title of this blog. She wasn’t the first diarist found, but her family members have been remarkably retentive of their own letters, diaries, drawings! And there were so many of them that the sheer amount of material is voluminous.

Emma’s earliest diary began on the first of January 1815. She kept diaries the rest of her life (1801 to 1876). She was the third child in a family of nine, and it is their interaction, recorded in her diary and in the family letters, that enliven the history of the Regency for me.

I cannot prove that either of the two girls, Emma and Mary, ever met Jane Austen (until there comes a new diary, or an as-yet-unread letter…). But Eliza Chute knew her, entertained her even. Mrs. Chute of The Vine was Emma’s aunt, her mother’s elder sister.

Reading the movements of these people really bring *reality* to the novels of Austen. I don’t mean to intimate that they are like her characters, or that her characters are based on actual people. It’s the milieu, the times, the ethos. I don’t live in the United Kingdom, I wasn’t alive 200 years ago. The novels and the letters & diaries compliment each other in my mind, one helping me to understand the other.

The interests of the girls are remarkably like my own – a taste for reading; a love of music; an interest in travel. It feels like a match made in heaven. Getting to know them all fires my inner Sherlock Holmes. I want to know MORE. And that was the gist behind starting a blog: Finding MORE of their remaining materials. In that, there has been a good deal of success! More letters uncovered, a diary “recovered,” and new sources of information from their friends and close relatives.

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Fanny Smith: before she became…

April 9, 2018 at 9:30 pm (introduction, people, spotlight on, World of Two Teens) (, , , )

fanny2

birth of Fanny Smith, 28 Oct 1803

I invite readers – especially new readers who may not “know” much about the family, to investigate a piece written for a British local history society.

The title is “BEFORE SHE BECAME FANNY SEYMOUR, PARSON’S WIFE.”

Fanny is Emma Austen’s next-youngest sister (she was born in 1803). In 1834 she married the Rev. Richard Seymour, a son of Sir Michael Seymour (a Royal Navy rear-admiral) and nephew of Sir William Knighton (physician to King George IV).

Fanny was rather the “middle child” of the six sisters. Emma and Augusta were a tight unit of eldest and next eldest sisters; while all referred to the three youngest – Sarah Eliza, Charlotte, and Maria Louisa – as “the children”.

My, how that phrase must have discouraged the youngsters! But it was Fanny who paid the price of being the “odd man out” sometimes.

fanny signature

Fanny’s story is continued in the article, “‘Fanny I am thankful to say continues going on very well.'” This follows Fanny from marriage to the aftermath of her first pregnancy — and the heartbreaking death of her little boy Michael John. This second article is posted on my ACADEMIA account.

 

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Mary & Emma, Two Teens in the Time of Austen

March 8, 2018 at 12:11 pm (chutes of the vyne, goslings and sharpe, introduction, jane austen, people, research, World of Two Teens) (, , , , )

Before I go much further, I should talk a little about “my two girls”. THEY are the Two Teens in the Time of Austen. An appropriate post with which to celebrate “International Women’s Day, 2018“, don’t you think?

EVERYTHING goes back to the very first diary of the project – a travel diary, in which people from Roehampton travel across England to Northern Wales, and even make a Dublin visit. Two things stood out about that trip: The Gosling family met and stayed HOURS with the Ladies of Llangollen – Sarah Ponsonby and Eleanor Butler. They also saw money being made in Dublin. That her father turned out to be a London banker made this last event less “unusual” and more of a “busman’s holiday” for Mr. Gosling.

At the time, all I had was a name from the card catalogue: Mary Gosling. She only mentioned “Papa, Mama, my Sister, and myself”. (NB: throughout her diaries, Mary ONLY refers to Margaret Elizabeth Gosling as “my sister”; Elizabeth is NEVER mentioned by name.)

Searching Gosling, Roehampton I happened upon what turned out to be MORE of Mary’s diaries: She was her father’s daughter: William Gosling of Roehampton and Fleet Street (this last, the family banking firm’s address). So her later diaries were ‘tagged’ by her relationship to him, which helped immensely. These are ID’ed as “Lady Smith of Stapleford Tawney”. Suttons being the Smith family estate, and Stapleford Tawney, Essex, being its location. When I first saw the handwriting on these “Lady Smith” diaries, I _knew_ they were the same girl!

Within a year, I was in Hampshire, reading letters and diaries relating to Emma Smith, but “Mary” remained my focal point. And even though MORE material has surfaced for Emma’s family – thanks in great part to her marriage with James Edward Austen, the nephew and first biographer of his aunt, writer Jane Austen. MUCH Smith family material is held at the Hampshire Record Office. Doesn’t hurt that one aunt (her mother’s next elder sister) was Eliza Chute of The Vine (nowadays: The Vyne), a National Trust property in Hampshire. Eliza’s diaries mention Jane Austen. And the blog’s name was born!

But the Smith and Gosling families are QUITE intertwined, so the two girls remain linked together in this project. They were great childhood friends, and even became sisters-in-law in 1826 (Mary married Emma’s eldest brother).

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Mary (foreground) and Emma

I still hope for MORE material from the Goslings. They are a fascinating family. A firm of bankers (and their records still exist), Goslings & Sharpe amalgamated with Barclays Bank, which still is headquartered at the Goslings branch on Fleet Street, London. There are some letters, but I’ve had little luck hearing from Glyndebourne – where there may (or may not…) be further evidence of this branch of the Christie family.

Mary’s sister Elizabeth (Margaret Elizabeth Gosling) married Langham Christie in 1829 – and he inherited Glyndebourne. A major litigation “case”, (as you might guess), since there were other interested parties. But Langham prevailed, and their son William Langham Christie became the first of this family to call Glyndebourne home. (The Langham Christies called Preston Deanery home instead.) At the very least, a Christie granddaughter wrote about the family portraits at Glynebourne, circa 1900, that included Langham and Elizabeth Christie; and even Elizabeth’s maternal grandparents Sir Ellis and Lady Cunliffe.

Ooooohhh….

But whether the family archives include Gosling-related materials, I don’t know. Glyndebourne’s “advertised” archives are opera-centric; East Sussex has some too-early and too-late estate papers. I’m particularly on the hunt for diaries, and any letters from or to Elizabeth and/or Langham Christie.

Mary’s own branch of the family lived on through her daughters, but her only son had sons who did not have sons. The baronetcy jumped from Charles Joshua Smith‘s heirs to those of his brother (Emma’s brother, too, of course) Spencer Smith.

The Spencer Smith line married into the Austen Leigh line, and it’s the Austen Leighs (for one) who stayed heavily invested in Jane Austen’s legacy; Joan Austen Leigh (“my” Emma’s great granddaughter) helped found JASNA, the Jane Austen Society of North America (ie, the U.S. and Canada). So my project “circles” around some very exciting history! And by blogging about it, I get to tell YOU, dear Reader, all the little tidbits.

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Seeds of a Project: Diaries and Letters

March 5, 2018 at 4:42 pm (books, introduction, research, World of Two Teens) (, , , , )

Reading through Smith & Gosling: My Project, it dawned that this would be a good way to start talking about Two Teens in the Time of Austen, ten years later. There is so much on the blog, that it would take nearly that long for people to revisit old posts. The most salient ones do exist, in a lightly edited version, available through the Kindle Store at Amazon. (Your purchase helps fund this project!)

Over the past decade, I’ve pulled together the diaries of eight key players. Some constitute only a few years; others run nearly an entire lifetime. A few other diarists sweeten the pot. (And I’m always looking for more!)

diary.jpg

Letters! A goldmine of information. Aided by some found in books (Jane Austen, Walter Scott, for instance), I’ve pulled together over a thousand letters, spanning the decades of the 1780s through the 1880s. Most are manuscripts.

As I’ve said elsewhere, It’s very time consuming – unearthing what’s been buried for 200 years…. 

I’m not sure which is harder – finding relevant items, obtaining primary materials, or deciphering while doing the transcription. One letter sometimes poses a new problem, while solving only a piece of an old conundrum. Still looking for MORE!

My father said, a week or two ago, “When Time Machines come into being, you can go back, meet them, tell them you’ve been reading all about them, and ask them about their lives.” The one downside of that would be: At WHAT POINT in TIME would I go back? When they’re all young, and don’t know what’s about to befall them? Or, when they’re older and can look back and remember?

I’m not sure I could pick.

Eliza-Chute-letters

Writing biography and history, of course means reading. Biography and British history; gardens and estate histories; Regency fashion to late-Victorian fashion; diaries of servants; letters of Ladies of the Manor etc. etc. (You get the drift.)

Thus, the reason you see so many BOOKS and YouTube shows. Anything that stimulates the brain. There are days, though, that I really wish I could just sit down with a copy of my own book. In the meantime, I have to be satisfied with reading such as Sherborne St. John & The Vyne in the Time of Jane Austen, by Rupert Willoughby.

sherborne st john_willoughby

To help YOU “read all about them,” I can point to a few Blog pages that I hope help.

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Now on Kindle = Two Teens in the Time of Austen: Random Jottings, 2008-2013

September 2, 2013 at 11:21 am (books, introduction, news, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

cover-twoteens

Smith&GoslingThe biography A Memoir of Jane Austen, compiled by her nephew James Edward Austen Leigh, was first published in 1870 (2nd edition on google.books). In 1911, daughter Mary Augusta Austen Leigh wrote down Edward’s own life history. Two Teens in the Time of Austen dramatizes events in the lives of Edward’s beloved wife Emma Smith (1801-1876) and her friend and sister-in-law Mary Gosling (1800-1842).

It is Emma’s eventual connection to the Austens of Steventon which gives this project its very name!  (The fact that the diaries of both girls begin in the period that saw Austen’s publications, doesn’t hurt either.)  Celebrate with me five years of uncovering the lives of the Smiths & Goslings. You can even “click to Look Inside“. Lightly edited, and highly rearranged, “Random Jottings” (estimated at 170 pages) serves as an introduction to the world of my Two Teens from posts published since the start of their blog.

For a limited time, Random Jottings also includes the opening pages of their biography (volume 1, Two Teens in the Time of Austen) and *all new* images of Mary and Emma. Available only at Amazon [Amazon.co.uk; Amazon.ca; Amazon.de (alas, not auf deutsch)]

UPDATE: since Kindles don’t (yet) allow for image zooming, the two pedigrees:

 

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Kindle Coming…

August 12, 2013 at 1:02 pm (books, entertainment, introduction, research) (, , , )

After something like SIX MONTHS of dallying, and a good week of shallying — I’ve been PROOFING my upcoming Kindle book, TWO TEENS IN THE TIME OF AUSTEN: RANDOM JOTTINGS, 2008-2013. Rather surprising that what you think is “clean” text, has a typo or two, and some formatting issues. So it will be another day or two before I upload (again… you cannot make changes in the online edition).

But I must confess: It’s really a THRILL to see, on the computer, this concise text – and to be able to size the font for comfort. Gosh! I wish I could upload things like the diaries and letters transcriptions! (NB: not for publication.) It would be a REAL pleasure to read them then.

Why?

The formatting, where the smallest, page-size, image allows the eye to QUICKLY scan from side to size. So much less tiring than reading a computer screen from side to side.

And the Table of Contents (pictured below) allows for such ease of access!

kindle coming

The upload was quite smooth; the online proofing — I had anticipated a program incompatibility (as with the cover art program) — mimics iPads and Kindles so well that I will download Amazon’s free App, so I can purchase Kindles for my computer.

After six years of blogging — hearing from such wonderful and helpful people — it is a real MILESTONE to reach towards the completion of such an event as the launch of a Kindle book. I just hope these ‘random jottings’ serve as an useful (and enjoyable) introduction to the Smiths & Goslings. They deserve having their lives unearthed. These are fascinating people.

A special note to those who have recently shared items with me: Mark, Emma, Kildare: thank you!

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Visit my NEW “Authors” Page

August 8, 2013 at 10:43 pm (books, introduction, jane austen, jasna, research) (, , , , , , , )

JAusten* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

News ! * NEWS !! * NEWS !!!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I spent last evening “building” an “author’s page” on Amazon.com!

Photos are up, a couple of videos will be there by the time you read this. Having written articles for journals and magazines, I can, of course, only “claim” those items up for sale at Amazon. That currently includes:

  • the upcoming — projected publication, November 2013 — edited volume of Jane Austen and the Arts; my chapter entitled “A ‘Reputation for Accomplishment’: Marianne Dashwood and Emma Woodhouse as Artistic Performers”; you can see the Table of Contents (TOC) at Rowman. Am rather peeved that my name is slightly incorrect: it should read Kelly M. McDonald. Have to see what I can do about that. Unfortunately, it has rather proliferated already – even Amazon (which I have worked to CHANGE) had “misplaced” my middle initial.
  • the essay from Persuasions (No. 30; 2008), “Derbyshires Corresponding: Elizabeth Bennet and the Austen Tour of 1833,” I have actually blogged about before. In July 2009, in a post called JUST TOO INCREDIBLE, I mused as to WHY Amazon had a digital copy of this for sale! (There are other Persuasions articles that have suffered the same fate.) I don’t see a penny of their $9.95 download cost. But worst: the editorial board of Persuasions loved the article so much that they made it available — for FREEonline at JASNA.org! If I say so myself, this is a delightful essay: Using Emma’s diary and an 1833 letter, Elizabeth Bennet’s tour of Derbyshire — a turning point in her story — comes to life.

What will you see soon on this AUTHOR PAGE?

My Kindle book, Two Teens in the Time of Austen: Random Jottings, 2008-2013.

This is a newly-edited, and highly-rearranged, presentation of blog posts from the past six years. I think readers will find it a useful “introduction” to the major dramatis personae of my SMITH & GOSLING family.

I’ve created the cover, uploaded the content, and filled out most of the forms. I’ve let it cool, a bit; changed my mind about a few former choices; and need to REVIEW it all before it goes live.

I invite readers to SIGN UP for my “new releases” –>
you’ll see the link right at the top right of the page when you visit.

If this Kindle experience pleases me, I may release some shorter pieces, written but, having never found quite the right publishing venue, kept to one side. Being deep in the midst of research I really have only these small pieces to present, even though I’d love to put a book out there!

Life in the Country

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One Man Band: Life of an Independent Scholar

June 20, 2012 at 6:56 pm (a day in the life, books, history, introduction, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Curious about what a project like this Smith & Gosling research entails?

Although I worked (as staff) in academia for nineteen years, being an “independent scholar” (ie, without academic affiliation) means you don’t have the “interaction” of colleagues. That I really miss — and that’s why I’m so grateful for the readers of Two Teens in the Time of Austen! If I can’t bend your ears, you at least allow me to bend your eyes. And it’s a two-way street – I value your comments and “likes” and dialogue.

So here’s my summary of Life as an Independent Scholar:

  • the location of diaries, letters, sketch books, portraits and miniatures, ephemera
  • a transcription of handwritten items
  • identification of people, places, and also the political, social, economic history of the era (approximately 1760-1845)
  • “getting the word out” through blog spots, journal, magazine and local history articles
  • finding obscure sources, including private collectors, for single items that once belonged to the Smiths, Goslings and friends/family
  • tracking down book citations
  • tracking down oblique references to family members in printed or manuscript sources
  • obtaining copies (xerox, digital photographs, microfilm) of relevant source material (thereby owing great debts to many blog readers)
  • corresponding with lots of libraries, record offices, and other depositories
  • TONS of internet searching
  • accepting the help of anyone who offers (see “obtaining copies”)
  • asking for help, when the distance is too great to make a personal visit (ditto)
  • spending precious hours/days/weeks at wonderful libraries and archives
  • typing-transcribing-writing-rewriting-proofing-searching-questioning-rewriting-proofing

No research assistants – No typists – No funding = A One-Man Band!

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Emma’s list of people encountered

February 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm (diaries, history, introduction, people, research) (, , , )

A quick note to mention that the Dramatis Personae, drawn from Emma Smith‘s diaries, is now up. It’s a VERY preliminary listing, covering just the first few diaries; but if you recognize people, please don’t hesitate to contact me! Some I may have information on; others exist only as a name.

I’ve been lucky to have a few people ID’ed or at least given fuller names, by readers of Two Teens. This has been a GREAT help!

See, for instance: Rev. Daniell of Ramsgate and Mary Gosling’s Dramatis Personae S-Z

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Pedigrees — Who’s Who in Smith & Gosling

January 9, 2012 at 6:54 am (history, introduction, news, people, places, portraits and paintings, research) (, , , , , , , , , )

Although I don’t have the software to have nice genealogical charts (and these are pretty complicated families in oh so many ways), I’ve added some “Pedigrees” to the bottom of the “Portraits” page {see link at right}.

You’ve long had information on “Who was Mary’s Father and Mother?” or “How many Smith siblings? and who did everyone marry?” Now, you can see — I hope! — how the “inter-relations” were already there. For instance, Mrs Eliza Chute was (1) best friend to Eliza Cunliffe before and after her marriage to William Gosling, but (2) Eliza Gosling’s sister was also “Aunt” to Eliza Chute — having married Drummond Smith of Tring Park (brother to Joshua Smith of Erle Stoke Park).

There’s a pedigree for the Seymour of Blendworth family — which can be confusing: there are TWO Sir Michael’s to content with, for instance. A trio of Doras too, though Richard Seymour called his sister Dora and his cousin (and eventual sister-in-law) Dora K (for Dora Knighton, her maiden name). Richard’s wife Fanny had to contend with a sister-in-law Frances. Who would believe that soon after Fanny Smith became Fanny Seymour, Frances Seymour became Frances Smith?! Whew! {they are pedigree 9}.

More pedigrees will be coming, of course — some fitting in children or parents. I’ve not always fitted in titles and military affiliations, in the hope of keeping things a bit “clean”. Apologies for that. And family historians are welcome to let me know if I’ve missed out on people or gotten someone wrong. Or ask for further information!

As always, I welcome hearing about letters and diaries that can help build up the Smith&Gosling story. So many people, so much material.

It makes for a long page, but rather nice I think to scroll past all the portraits — including the list of “Where are these?” — to get to the pedigrees. But it does make for a LOT of scrolling….

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