“Another Emma”: Emma Wedgwood Darwin

February 17, 2012 at 12:26 pm (diaries, history, news) (, , , , , , , , , , )

It is amazing all the websites, books, etc I’ve collected/seen/consulted — and then “forgotten”. It was while putting in the Carlyle Letters (see the Browing Letters post) – for I am very interested in Jane Welsh Carlyle – that I began to cast my mind back: What else had I forgotten I loved??

Then I recalled finding a site with Darwin letters. As you might, however, have guessed, I’m less interested in Charles Darwin and more interested in his wife, Emma. And what did I spot but EMMA Wedgwood / EMMA Darwin’s diaries! How could I have missed those before…

Once you spot such drawings as this one above, you just have to look through them. This is a page from Emma Darwin’s 1840 diary; someone’s costume, or else an idea for herself, must have caught Emma’s eye; the diary evidently a handy place for a quick “scratch”.

Emma Wedgwood (yes, that Wedgwood family!) was born in 1808 — so right in the midst of all the Smith & Gosling children. Her earlist extant diary dates to 1824; she lived, and kept diaries, until 1896. There are a few diaries from the 1830s; fewer holes during the 1840s; and complete runs from then on.

Don’t neglect the printed materials of the diary-series; they can quite be of use to the historian – with things like postal rates, or even when an eclipse is expected. {note: I do not think all beginning/end materials have been included, so savor those which have.} Then there are the unexpected, like this handwritten addendum in 1894 for a “knitted jacket”! Ah, a woman after my own heart…

{a word of advice: Use your browser’s “history” or the back arrow to get back to the index of diaries. “back” will move you back a page in the diary you are viewing}

I am reminded to mention The Darwin Correspondence Project, and also that Emma was a friend of my dear Ellen Tollet (a book I highly recommend).

Was this 1824 diary an 1823 Christmas gift?

Advertisements

Permalink Leave a Comment

A little time for The Times

May 22, 2011 at 10:52 am (books, news, people) (, , , , , , , , , , )

The Times of course is the great newspaper of London, and with it — on Sunday’s — comes that wonderful Times Literary Supplement. Ah, how I remember my Kingsworthy landlady Chris bringing home the newspaper every Sunday! Not being a subscriber to The New York Times, I’ve never really had such a wonderful BOOK-related piece to peruse.

Somewhere (where?) I recall reading or hearing “The TLS has a wide readership; and people hold on to their copies to look over again and again. Queries sent to them rarely FAIL to turn up responses.” Surely I didn’t dream this kind of thing, right??

Anyway, yesterday I looked up the TLS website and what was in the classified section but this ad:

REQUEST FOR
INFORMATION

* The University of Cambridge Henslow Correspondence Project seeks access to letters to and from John Stevens Henslow (1796-1861) originally dispersed at the Dawson-Turner Manuscripts Sale, 1859. Please contact Prof. John Parker at jsp25 [at] cam [dot] ac [dot] uk.

Now, this Prof. Parker has a much easier task than myself: one person (J.S. Henslow), who lived a fair but not lengthy lifespan, and with a KNOWN collection sold, granted, over 150 years ago. Henslow turns out to have been in Charles Darwin’s circle, and I’ve been reading a bio of Emma Darwin — the former Miss Emma Wedgwood; herself in the circle of Ellen Tollet! (small world) [see my post on Ellen Tollet’s diary]

I’m now honing a brief, succinct ad of my own. Keep your fingers crossed… It’s so hard to read an item like this, from Richard Seymour’s diary:

“…my dear Brother [Sir John Seymour] has just been here to shew me Mrs. S.’s reply after speaking to Miss S. [Mrs. S. = Mamma Smith; Miss S. = Fanny Smith], and I think it more favourable than I had dared to anticipate!”

Richard was making “an offer” to Fanny — through his brother John, he was so unsure of his reception (can you imagine???). But bottom line is, Where is the little letter Mamma wrote? Does it still exist?? Who has it, if it does, and do they know what they have?

I’ll let you know if any juicy tidbits surface via the TLS! (Just wish I had some  “big guns,” like Cambridge University, behind me…)

* * *

Permalink Leave a Comment

Ellen Tollet of Betley Hall

December 21, 2008 at 2:05 pm (books) (, , , )

tolletAm positively engrossed by the “Journals and Letters” of Ellen Tollet (ed. Mavis E. Smith), which arrived fresh from the Nantwich Bookshop in England just yesterday (£12.50; proceeds to UK cancer charities). Cannot compliment it enough – but you will have to wait for a full review to be posted later.  This well-edited journal of Miss Tollet gives an inkling not only into the lives of ladies like Emma and Mary, but even Miss Austen herself – Ellen is writing in 1835 at the beginning, and many things remained as it had in the last decades of Austen’s life: travel, family, church, and books-books-books. Never forget that Cassandra Austen was alive and well for much of the period covered by this journal! The only image I could find is of the BACK cover (I have no scanner – and it’s snowing out too much to go to a library for the use of one). Ellen was friends with another ‘Emma’ – Miss Emma Wedgwood (yes, of that Wedgwood family…), who married one Charles Darwin. See Emma Darwin online here.

Nantwich is a true ‘treasure’ – my father and I stopped there when on our narrow boat cruise (aboard the ‘Fenris‘ rented from Viking Afloat) in 2006. An interesting article found about clock plaques; and here’s an online ‘walk around town‘. Enjoy!

Permalink 1 Comment