“With Love”, National Archives Exhibit (online)

January 20, 2021 at 10:46 am (entertainment, history, news, postal history) (, , , )

Received in my email last week the Newsletter of The National Archives (Kew, England). They have a wonderful *new* ONLINE exhibition centered on their collection of LETTERS!

With Love – Letters of Love, Loss and Longing” covers the famous (Queen Elizabeth I; Anne Lister), as well as the personal and poignant (World War I, for instance).

You can EXPLORE on your own the various topics; or TOUR – the latter can be accomplished with a short Youtube introduction. I watched this presentation last week, and remember one thought that I wanted to add to the presenter’s thoughts, as regards Anne Lister and Ann Walker:

When Anne Lister left her estate to Ann Walker – which Ann would forfeit IF she married, the main meaning stressed, because of lover Mariana Belcombe’s marriage to Charles Lawton, would have been calling upon Ann Walker not to marry a man (the only definition of marriage, as recognized by church and state, at the time of Lister’s will). A significant difference to the speaker’s “should she [Ann Walker] ever marry again“.

I will also point out, again in speaking of Anne Lister and Ann Walker in the youtube presentation — friend had a different connotation in the 19th century. Think of the correspondence between John and Abigail Adams, “My dearest friend.” Certainly, Anne Lister could not have called Ann Walker her “wife” in her will, but there was a “closeness” of relationship inherent in the word friend which we (in the 21st century) have lost.

The nuance of language…

This online exhibition will open doors to new letter-writers, and for all of us to put on our thinking caps and contemplate further how such short tidbits coalesce into a greater, historical whole.

The exhibition, in TNA’s own words:

In our latest exhibition, love letters offer glimpses into private worlds – from a queen’s treasonous love letter, to the generous wish of a naval hero and the forlorn poetry of a prime minister. Expect secret stories of heartbreak, passion and disappointment as you explore 500 years of letters in this intimate exhibition.”

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I’m a Single Lady!

May 23, 2015 at 6:40 pm (chutes of the vyne, diaries, history, jane austen, jasna, news, people, research) (, , , , )

In the post a few days ago: the latest edition of JASNA News – alas without my article on James Edward Austen and Tring. (Humphhh….)

Lots about the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Louisville, on “Living in Jane Austen’s World”. (official website) VERY thrilling to hear the topic Amanda Vickery is expected to speak on: “No Happy Ending? At Home with Miss Bates in Georgian England”. The gist of the talk is “female-only households in Austen’s world, particularly those of declining status [like dear Miss Bates] and modest means.”

My research has several “female-only households” – from the top tier, with Lady Frances Compton (Lady Northampton’s sister-in-law) through to “Aunt,” Charles Smith’s (“Papa”) only living sister.

Then there was Mamma’s bachelorette sister: Emma Smith of Glenville — my Emma’s “Aunt Emma”.

Aunt Emma is at the heart of my upcoming talk for JASNA-Vermont — and if you’re in the neighborhood on Sunday, June 7th please come join us!

The Mystery of Emma Austen’s Aunt Emma
an interactive presentation

Sunday, 7 June 2015
1:00 PM

Champlain College
“Morgan Room”, Aiken Hall
(83 Summit Street)
Burlington, Vermont

PowerPoint slides will illustrate with images of the people & places you’ll never see on this blog – and YOU will help (re)solve the “mystery” surrounding Emma Smith. Is it a “scandal” or “much ado about nothing”? Evidence suggests class-economic-religious tensions, or a past well-hidden for two hundred years. Help us decide! Like Austen’s Sanditon or Dickens’ Mystery of Edwin Drood, this mini-mystery relies on its audience to provide a sense of closure.

Letters provide our only clues! (This one written by Aunt Emma.)

BTW: Prior knowledge of JANE AUSTEN or her NOVELS are not necessary for taking part – the slides will help introduce Emma Austen and the family. Aunt Emma lived 1774-1858, her later life spent in Hampshire; we’ll cover the years (approximately) 1812 to 1843.

FREE and open to the public
parking on the street – and light refreshments

Want to come extra “prepared”? Email me (smithandgosling at gmail dot com) for a full Smith & Gosling family tree which you can then bring with you!

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Revealing Anne Lister of Shibden Hall

January 24, 2012 at 8:55 pm (books, diaries, estates, history, people) (, , , , , , , , , )

There are two connotations to the word “revealing”: to reveal (v) = to expose; revealing  (adj) = enlightening, illuminating.

Either would actually fit the title of a 2010 BBC special that I watched Sunday evening. The wonderful things to see in the special Revealing Anne Lister: to see Helena Whitbread, who published some of Lister’s diaries in the 1980s; and … to SEE THE DIARIES!

You can read more about Helena Whitbread and her Lister books here.

I used to enjoy History to Herstory – a website on Yorkshire Women’s Lives, which used to have a wonderful section on Lister: pictures, extracts of the diaries by Whitbread and Jill Liddington (who’s published some further books on Lister’s diaries). But today I see the website has been “new and improved” — and frankly I’m not sure WHERE to find the bits and pieces about Lister that I loved. If you solve the mystery of their disappearance, do let me know.

The time period of Anne’s diaries make them VERY much of interest to Two Teens; and the story of the publications and the writers working on them are worthy of notice too. A high recommendation for the BBC special.

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BBC discovers Anne Lister

May 28, 2010 at 8:46 am (news, people) (, , , , )

Although the diaries of Yorkshirewoman Anne Lister, of Shibden Hall, have been in print for decades, the BBC has a new special, airing this weekend on BBC Two.

The press calls the series “Bold and Passionate” – and it undoubtedly centers on her lesbian affairs, for which the diaries — as published — are known. Pity no one yet has seen fit to give Anne’s audience a broader view of her highly interesting life.

Maxine Peake, stars. The Secret Diary of Miss Anne Lister, airing in two parts, starts Monday. Let’s hope some fan(s) post it to YouTube for those of us without access to the BBC.

some links:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00snjmd

http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/proginfo/tv/2010/wk22/feature_annelister.shtml

http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/bradford/hi/people_and_places/history/newsid_8388000/8388858.stm – this one features a portrait of the real Anne.

http://www.calderdale.gov.uk/leisure/museums-galleries/shibden-hall/index.html – one of the sites on Anne’s home, Shibden Hall.

http://www.historytoherstory.org.uk/index.php?targetid=5 – From History to Her Story, the best (and the original) web content on Anne, the diaries, the transcriptions and the resultant books. Features Helena Whitbread’s original work into deciphering the diaries.

By the way, Anne met the Ladies of Llangollen (that association was how I found Anne’s diaries, actually); I’ve posted her comments about them. Be sure to click on the actual diary entries and the letter excerpt concerning Anne’s thoughts on meeting with Sarah Ponsonby (Eleanor was unwell).

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