Morning Dresses, Summer 1798

January 17, 2013 at 9:14 am (entertainment, europe, fashion, history) (, , , , , , )

morning dressesClaremont Colleges Digital Library has a fabulous fashions collection. The link will bring you to the main page with its “small, random sampling of items in this collection.”

This “sample” is called Morning Dresses for August 1798. The descriptive page includes a detailed explanation of what you are viewing.

On a quick perusal: there are fashion plates for men, women; English fashions; French fashions. A nice feature is the ‘zoom’ feature each plate allows.

The plates come from a VAST variety of sources, including Ackermann, Petit Courrier des Dames, La Belle Assemblée; alas, evidently no Heideloff!

Would love visitors to share their thoughts on this digital collection!

*

Heideloff figures in Penelope Byrd’s
Jane Austen Fashion

Permalink Leave a Comment

Churches Conservation Trust (UK)

January 9, 2013 at 8:23 am (europe, history, news, places, travel) (, , , , , )

When indefatigable Charlotte Frost tweeted about The Churches Conservation Trust, I just had to click and take a look. Very useful site!

tring-church-and-town

The above drawing is of Tring Church, a “Smith&Gosling” church – alas not listed. But the Churches Conservation Trust‘s interactive map means you can locate churches — and nearby attractions — but their location, or list churches and narrow your search. For instance, by such as “used as film location” or even “available for bell ringing”! Architectural style is, of course, available for narrowing – say you’d like to visit ALL the Trust’s churches that are Norman or Victorian… Or, maybe those known for their stained glass or carvings; screens or brasses; towers or clocks.

Thanks, Charlotte!

Permalink Leave a Comment

Letters: Unspoken Speech

December 6, 2012 at 3:48 pm (diaries, history) (, , , , , )

A Pinterester got me excited, less for the image than the sentiment written beneath it:

pen and letters

“….when someone can still speak to you even after they’ve gone…”

This sentiment speaks VOLUMES to me. Mary and Emma have lived lives so long ago – and yet, because they left diaries and letters, I begin to feel I’ve known them. When I applied for the Leon Levy Fellowship in Biography, I wrote that these people haunt me. How true! I continually want MORE: more information, more letters, more answers – hell, even more “mysteries”, for that would mean “more digging.”

I’ll take a moment to post a couple of thank yous – to Kildare, to Philip, Michael in London, and especially Michael in Aberystwyth.

And I’ll mention also that Two Teens is also on Pinterest! Visit, drop by and say hi.

Permalink Leave a Comment

London Olympics 2012: Stratford, Newham and Emma’s “Aunt”

July 16, 2012 at 8:22 pm (carriages & transport, diaries, estates, history, london's landscape, news, people, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Few will guess how CLOSE the London Olympics are to elements of the Smith&Gosling story. Take a look at this map of the site:

click on image for Exploring East London’s website

The GREY area is the “Olympic Site” — or as Exploring has it, the “area taken over for the Olympic Games”. The “loop” of streets near the top, to the left of SEE INLAY, contains the street running north-south (to MARYLAND) which is called THE GROVE. The Olympics and The Grove are about a half-mile apart.

Transcribed letters to Aunt — as the Smith siblings called Judith Smith, their father’s only living sister — begin in 1816 and end, with her death, in early 1832. The letters are consistently addressed {later calling her Mrs Smith}:

Miss Smith / The Grove / Stratford / Essex

But WHERE on EARTH did Aunt live?? That has been the burning question for some time.

Now, I don’t suppose for a minute that Aunt’s place survived, but to be able to place it back in time would be a great help.

Thanks to Mike in Surrey, I may be able to do just that.

Richard, at the Archives and Local Studies Library, located at 3 The Grove, believes Aunt lived in GROVE HOUSE. He claims the “Smith family together with Judith Smith” appear in Katharine Fry’s History of the Parishes of East and West Ham. (Good luck, Kelly, in finding a copy of that book…)

No doubt you begin to see my geographical problem: London E15 <– Newham <– Stratford <– West Ham. So many names over the decades and centuries, and all seemingly covering the SAME ground. Plus, I’ve long thought Stratford-le-Bow was Stratford; this map shows them both.

Mike has put his hands on an 1860s Map. Only the most detailed would show a single house, but he was the one who unearthed the very-detailed map of Nos 5 & 6 Portland Place!

This nice map of Stratford et al in 1800 http://www.newhamstory.com/node/726?size=_original shows just how difficult placing one house in this dense area has been.

Mike says that the abode to the left of the T and H in THE Grove can be ID’ed as Grove House. I’ve circled it, if for no other reason than to make my own eyes see its faint outline:

So what do I think I see?? A large house, free-standing, set back from the road; land that seems to be populated with trees (belonging to Grove House, or were they public??). The place has a rural feel that no one has ever mentioned in the letters. Emma talks of “walking in the shrubbery,” but only at the various country homes: Suttons, Tring, Mapledurham.

Searching through newspapers of the period, I came across this ad:

“AN ELEGANT FREEHOLD VILLA, called Stratford House, situated opposite the Grove at Stratford, four miles from London, in the County of Essex, the property and residence of the Right Hon. Lord Henniker, consisting of a substantial Mansion, with an uniform front, containing numerous airy cheerful bedchambers and dressing rooms, spacious drawing room and eating room, breakfast parlour, library, and all requisite offices, pleasure ground and kitchen garden, surrounded by lofty walls, orchard, paddock, plantations, fishpond, and four inclosures of rich meadow land, containing altogether upwards of twenty-five acres, with sundry cottages, and the Cart and Horses Public-house.”

Did it not sell? Subsequent ads exist for the same establishment, as well as for the Cart & Horses alone. Did either Stratford House or Grove look anything like this building that was St. Angela’s Preparatory School in Forest Gate?

In the newspapers I also discovered this fine obituary: “at her house, Stratford Grove, in this county, in the 78th year of her age, Mrs. Judith Smith, sister of the late Charles Smith, Esq., of Suttons, most deservedly regretted by her family and friends, and by the poor, to whom she was through life a constant and generous benefactress.”

Indeed, The Morning Post in their 31 January 1829 list of benefactors to the Spitalfields Soup Society (serving 7,000 quarts of soup daily) has among the generous, Mrs Judith Smith of Stratford — giving the same amount as her nephew Sir Charles Smith: £5.0.0. Over £1800 pounds were raised in this campaign.

*

Should any reader be able to shed light on The Grove, Stratford, or Aunt Judith Smith, please leave a comment or send an email (see The Author at right for contact information).

Many thanks to Mike, Anne, Richard for their interest and assistance.

Permalink 1 Comment

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!

Permalink Leave a Comment

The Harmonicon

May 26, 2012 at 9:03 am (books, entertainment, history) (, , , )

As a music-lover, especially of “classical” music and opera, I’ve had fun looking through editions of The Harmonicon. So I will try and come up with some handy links to their volumes that I can then make a reference page in the blog.

Readers of Two Teens in the Time of Austen know that I rather have a love-hate relationship with books.google  — missing volumes, sometimes even missing pages, in books. But I sure won’t be heading to Harvard anytime soon (one volume found had that library’s markings in it).

The Harmonicon was a monthly periodical, which published for a decade (1823-1833). They are a go-to source for finding out what was heard at the likes of the Antient Music concerts that the Smiths habitually attended.

Part I covers the informative articles (January – December); Part II is music.

UPDATED Feb 2020: Here’s what I’ve unearthed:

1823 – part I
1823 – part II

1824 – part I
1824 – part II

1825 – part I

1826 – part I

1827 – part I

1828 – part I

1829 – part I

*NEW* See the Hathi Trust for a full list (from the same sources, but I won’t duplicate)

Permalink Leave a Comment

Little Red Bag of Emphemera

May 16, 2012 at 5:38 pm (diaries, history, news, research) (, , , , , , )

Today – 16 May 2012 – marks the fifth anniversary of the take off of this research project. That is the day I left Vermont for two months in England!

It seems a lifetime ago…

And yet, howfarthis project has come!

When I left for England, I knew there were diaries and letters – now I have worked with many of those (more to do!), and oh-so-much more besides. Private collectors have opened their vaults and drawn forth more letters, and a few more diaries, and sometimes pictures! Interested writers and scholars have offered help, tidbits, advice — and, yes, long-distance friendship. I also thank those readers who have found something of interest in this project, as it unfolds. Keep reading, for I must keep on writing.

I called this post a little red bag of ephemera for two reasons. First, last night, late – near midnight – I was rummaging for my bits and pieces: diaries, brochures from places visited – or those I had hoped to visit and never did, bus passes, grocery lists maybe too. I didn’t go through it all. Stopped when I found my plane itinerary. It is all stored in a glossy red shopping bag that once held a photo of St. Mary’s Church in Kinwarton — a framed photo gifted to me by Alan, following my talk on young Fanny Smith (aka the soon-to-be Fanny Seymour). Alan had done the legwork to bring in a very good local crowd who wanted to hear more about Fanny. Once I returned to Vermont, the photo got placed on my library table and all these little bits got put in the bag and the bag put away.

But – and here’s the second part – I’ve recently been researching for some new and different avenues of finding more letters and any other bits of paper the Smiths & Goslings might have left behind them. And that’s how I came across the Ephemera Society. Hey! who knew I was right “in style” keeping things like bus ticket stubs! Makes me feel like a collector.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Such a pretty picture

May 12, 2012 at 11:10 am (fashion, jane austen, people, portraits and paintings) (, , , , , )

A reader of Two Teens in the Time of Austen, SUSAN, has sent this photo. She adores this print — and who wouldn’t?! But she’s also curious to learn MORE about the picture.

Can other Two Teens readers help??

Of great interest is the Spencer jacket; the curled hair; the delicate gloves – one on, one off.

I am convinced — since it’s a print — that it must be based on some portrait or miniature. But by whom? Of whom?

Susan and I are all ears to hear more!

Permalink 2 Comments

Coming Soon: Some Books reviewed

April 3, 2012 at 7:34 pm (books, entertainment, history, jasna, london's landscape) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Where does time go… too many things to do, and not enough time for READING. Here are two recent books sent to me that, sooner rather than later, will be reviewed here.

The first is the newer of the two, and what I’m currently reading:

<–The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After, by Elizabeth Kantor (Regnery Publishing).

The second is Louise Allen‘s Walks Through Regency London–>

JASNA members will get a chance in the not-too-distant future to read my review of Romanticism and Music Culture in Britain, 1770-1840 by Gillen D’Arcy Wood (Cambridge University Press).

I’ve been “living” in the early part of the 19th century since this weekend. Lives filled with parties, Balls, travel, upsets in the carriage.  So these two books fit my mind-set of the moment: one discussing Jane Austen’s novels and the other the landscape she would have known. The time period and the landscape, of course, are the same for my two girls — Mary and Emma. Stay tuned!

* * *

A Spanish-speaking Austen fan, interested in fashion, has picked up on my review of Penelope Byrd’s delicious text: Jane Austen’s Fashions: http://hablandodejaneausten.com/2012/04/03/jane-austen-y-la-moda-libros-para-leer/

Permalink 4 Comments

WANTED: One Willing Reader resident near Reading (England)*

March 28, 2012 at 7:28 pm (history, news, research) (, , , , , , , , , , )

*must have access to a digital camera — that’s the only caveat!

Two days ago I found notice of a letter written by Fanny Smith (aka Fanny, Mrs Richard Seymour, of Kinwarton). You can read it for yourself in The Berkshire Echo, volume #55 (April 2011). I *LOVE* how the writer describes dear Fanny as “a rather strong-minded young lady”! I have some letters written in the same period — November – December 1830 — for the Smiths were caught up in what is known as the Swing Riots: crowds of marauders bent on getting better wages by forcing the destruction of farm machinery (ie, threshers) which had been displacing agricultural workers.

The Echo lauded the “contemporary” aspect of Fanny’s letter; I crow about finding another tiny piece of my research.

After reading an email from the Berkshire Record Office (BRO) today, I had even more cause for rejoicing: there exist in their archives six letters and a partial seventh letter!

Oh fabjous Day!

Alas… alas… Isn’t there always an “alas”…

BRO figures each letter as four pages rather than two sides of a page, equalling pages 4 and 1 on one side, and pages 2 and 3 on the flip side.

Their charge is £10 a page!

You do the math: £10/page x 4 pages x 6 letters x 1.60$ to 1£ — my hair stands on end contemplating the bottom line! Even at half (ie, two pages per letter) the charge feels astronomical.

So my plea today, Is there a Smith&Gosling reader willing to visit the Berkshire Record Office in Reading on my behalf?

If you’re on the fence and want to know more – or, if you’re willing to take the plunge, just contact me. My email is listed on the “About the Author” page.

Permalink Leave a Comment

« Previous page · Next page »