Leave YOUR Mark: at Memoirture

March 16, 2014 at 1:08 pm (europe, history, news) (, , , , , )

UPDATE (APRIL 2015) = Memoirture has been taken down.

The site where I have been s-l-o-w-l-y posting about my Jane Austen Summer (2007) (further posts can be accessed here), Memoirture, is hosting a Kickstarter campaign for a TIME CAPSULE, to be opened at the next millennium. Yep: a 1,000 years from now. As readers of TWO TEENS IN THE TIME OF AUSTEN know, my research is predicated upon finding primary materials: letters, diaries, portraits, biographies &c. I’ve been lucky, in that the Smith & Gosling families not only retained items, they wrote them in the first place! Will your blogs and tweets last 1,000 years? I’m not even sure my paper diaries will withstand that test of time. Memoirture’s ambitious project will preserve both written words as well as sound. Join me in supporting this unique project by checking out the Unified Time Capsule Kickstarter Project Page.

Prof Harris

Professor Ruth Harris, University of Oxford

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Where Were You?

September 11, 2013 at 8:03 am (news) (, , , )

UPDATE (April 2015) = Memoirture has been taken down.

I remember only too well where I was on this day, September 11th, twelve years ago. Where were you? Share your thoughts on Memoirture and then watch the 60 Minutes video, rerun this past Sunday.

Memoirture is a site actively gathering “Where Were You?” memories of hundreds of world events; add your story.

60-minutes

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My Austen Summer, 2007

May 17, 2013 at 9:29 am (a day in the life, diaries, history, jane austen, news, research) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Last year, about this time, I promised to share with readers of Two Teens in the Time of Austen my own research diaries, kept during a stay in Winchester, England, in order to visit the Hampshire Record Office. Now, thanks to Memoirture, where I can post these private thoughts in a slightly less “public” medium of a social network, I hope to get this “project in process” online. [UPDATE (April 2015): Memoirture has been taken down; I’m not sure I’ll repost the diaries anywhere.]

mary_emma_entry

By May 2007, I had interlibrary-loaned the microfilmed diaries of Lady Smith (image above, 1829); visited Duke University to transcribe Mary Gosling’s pre-marriage diaries; ordered the microfilming of Sir Charles Joshua Smith’s late diaries (1826-30). Now it was a chance, I hoped, to learn more about Mary’s life among the Smith family. I had slowly built-up the two families: parents and siblings for both Mary and Charles, and even placed Emma Smith within the circle of Jane Austen. I was writing, and hoping to have published, a story of my two girls.

I had left my job, and pitched headlong onto a plane and into the spare room of a stranger whom I had never met. I would live with Chris for two months. During those two months I met people like Rowland and Peggy — lifelong Hampshire natives; and visited Chawton Cottage with them. I was befriended by Helen Lefroy, and been taken by her to a wonderful luncheon with an entertaining guest speaker, speaking on… who else but JANE AUSTEN! I was given the opportunity to speak to a group in Kinwarton about my dear Fanny Seymour. And I typed and transcribed my fingers to the bone. Letters, cross-written letters! Diaries, the daily life of my Emma and all her siblings.

1833 letter-2

I had a favorite spot, sitting every day – Monday through Saturday – by the window. You’ll undoubtedly read some gripes about those around me, but at present the diary is rather prosaic: flying from my home in Vermont to London Heathrow; getting from Heathrow to Winchester. Meeting Chris and seeing “my home” for the first time. Reading – “in the flesh” – my first letters and diaries from Mary and Emma. The diaries were so TINY. At one point I realized I had all the generations: a Letter written by Lady Cunliffe (Mary’s maternal grandmother), Eliza Gosling (Mary’s mother), Mary Smith (my diarist), and Mimi Smith (elder daughter of Mary and Charles).

UPDATE January 2018 – the Memoirture website is no more (the following links do NOT work); I lost the photos & links, but I have the original “word” documents. Part I is up on this blog. Others will follow in the coming weeks.

UPDATE 5/19/13: Part 2 of “My Austen Summer, 2007” is now online – an account at Memoirture is FREE; you must be logged in to enlarge photos, click on links, and make comments.  At present, all parts will be viewable by the public; future plans will limit parts TWO and beyond to “contacts”.

UPDATE 5/25/13: Part 3 of “My Austen Summer, 2007” is now online.

UPDATE 8/19/13: Part 4 of “My Austen Summer, 2007” is now online. My father’s birthday; laughter, reading Mamma Smith’s letters; British weather: rain…

morning dresses

Hear part of a letter, written in January 1797, on YouTube

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Pride & Prejudice: Having a Ball

May 11, 2013 at 7:42 pm (entertainment, fashion, history, jane austen, news, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Act now to watch Amanda Vickery’s program Pride and Prejudice: Having a Ball.

Austen! Food! Dance! Music! Wonderfully informative.

You’ll even learn about White Soup.

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Robert Adam, Architect: Portland Place London

April 30, 2013 at 6:21 am (carriages & transport, diaries, entertainment, estates, history, london's landscape, news, places, research) (, , , , , , )

exterior Portland Place

This is No. 5 – renumbered No. 28 – Portland Place, London as it appears today. There is an extra “attic” story that the Goslings would not quite recognize; a traffic island filed with trees and statues parade the avenue; and there’s the Royal Society for Public Health occupying their premises!

I’ve written a couple of previous posts about Portland Place

But today am writing to say that I’ve posted interior pictures — but to keep these public venues a bit ‘private’, invite Two Teens in the Time of Austen readers to go to Memoirture, a new website specifically for memoirs, memories, connections and comments in order to view them. [UPDATE (April 2015): Memoirture has been taken down; I’ll see if I can refind all the interior shots – but I’m making no promises.]

{NOTE: visitors seem to be able to see the Memoirture write-up and the thumbnails for No. 5 Portland Place, but to view the full-sized photos – or any of the “public” memoirs on the site – you’ll have to log-in; creating an account is FREE and easy.}

A fascinating discussion (now that I know the current numbering!) can be found in David King’s Complete Works of Robert and James Adam: Built and Unbuilt. “Portland Place is a street which the Adams formed and lined with houses. They left the street closed at its northern end by Marylebone Fields — now Regent’s Park — and closed at its southern end, just south of Duchess Street, by the grounds of a large house, Foley House; so the only access to the Place was through side streets.” Langham Place has replaced Foley House, and it was in “New Church, Langham Place,” in 1826, that Mary Gosling married Emma’s brother, Sir Charles Joshua Smith.

all souls_langham place

King notes that “Unfortunately, the facades of the surviving houses have all been altered. For example, all have been extended upwards with an extra floor. … Another important change occurred in the last century, when all the houses were given a rusticated finish for their ground floors — except, of course, for 37 and 46-48 which had such treatment originally. Further, the original paned-glass windows in almost all the houses have ben replaced with something more modern, and most of the houses now have continuous iron balconies at first floor level whereas they originally had separate iron balconettes for each first floor window.” As my book opens in the mews of No. 5 (Mary Gosling’s earliest journal records a journey to Oxford in 1814), describing the surroundings from which Mary emerges, it’s great to see King touch on the mews: “Virtually all the houses were given stables behind. It is possible that many of these stables were given attractive facades to face the back windows of the houses to which they belonged. Unfortunately, while most of the stables survive, almost all have been altered so that atheir original house-facing facades have been lost.” Hmmm…, King uses phrases of unfortunately often, doesn’t he?

King mentions No. 28 (ie, No. 5 Portland Place, the Gosling’s London home), specifically: “There are rather less characteristic [Adam brothers] ceilings in the (larger) front and back rooms on the first floor of 28 and in the two drawing rooms of 42; and much less characteristic ones in the ground floor back room of 28, a small first floor room at the back of 36 and the ground floor front room of 58.” In short, you will see what No. 5 looks like today, but — use imagination! — think of Mary and her sisters, running down the stairs to meet that coach coming around the corner of Cavendish Street.

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Boston Marathon: Express Yourself at Memoirture

April 17, 2013 at 1:39 pm (history, news) (, , , , )

memoir

I invite all readers of TWO TEENS IN THE TIME OF AUSTEN to visit a new website called MEMOIRTURE. Several people have been posting about the recent explosions in Boston at Monday’s marathon; I added my two-cents. The gist of the site is to give people a place, and an opportunity, to post their private thoughts (I have a ‘me-only’ diary for my research), as well as weigh in and interact with others who “share your experiences”. Registration is free (and very easy to do).

You can find the Marathon thread by searching the site (once you’re logged in) for BOSTON. Take look around, click on some of the countries listed, or do alternate searches. Our ‘today’ is history in the making.

More later!

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