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 (NB: not for publication.)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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NEW: Two Teens on YouTube!

May 5, 2013 at 12:08 pm (diaries, entertainment, history, jane austen, news, research) (, , )

Just added a Third video
to my YouTube channel!

smith-gosling_silhouette1

Please watch — comment — subscribe.

As Amazon always says, MORE ON THE WAY!

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Merry Xmas to Two Teens in the time of Austen readers!

December 24, 2012 at 8:54 am (news) (, )

FrancesSeymourSmith_1836

I spy with my little eye someone in need of Christmas Cheer!

Wishing friends & readers around the world

from Australia – to Germany – to the UK,
Canada, and the US

Merry Christmas!

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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.

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Fashion News, Regency-Style

November 20, 2012 at 8:41 pm (books, diaries, entertainment, fashion, history, jane austen, portraits and paintings, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

In today’s mail a copy of A Lady of Fashion: Barbara Johnson’s Album of Styles and Fabrics; this is a book LONG on my wish list and I finally broke down and obtained a copy. In wonderful shape! Can’t wait to have a sit down, drink a cup of tea, and really look and read.

For those unfamiliar with Barbara Johnson, her album is at the Victoria & Albert Museum – a great favorite with me when in London. They do have an online look at the album, into which Barbara pasted and pinned fashion plates and actual fabric samples for clothing she had made up:

This page shows some of Barbara’s descriptions, fabrics and pictures. I talked about this book way back in 2008!

Sabina at Kleidung um 1800 shared some wonder “fan-cheers” about the book – I’ll see if she’d mind my posting them. She has a unique view on the book, given you interest in costume. You will find a project “to die-for”: Sabine has been working on an 1806 Spencer worn by Queen Luise of Prussia. Just FAB-U-LOUS!

Colonial Williamsburg has a useful site containing fashion plates.

More about Barbara Johnson’s Album at Barbara Brackman’s Material Culture blogspot.

Regency History has fashion plates from La Belle Assemblée.

See the list of Ackermann’s Repository of Arts here on Two Teens in the Time of Austen.

Portrait Miniatures to give you added incentive can be found at Ellison Fine Art.

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A Plea to Postal History Collectors

October 21, 2012 at 7:48 pm (diaries, history, people, research) (, , , , , , , , , , )

In conversation with Dave from Ottawa, I had the idea to post something that more plainly laid out what places the letters I seek came from / were sent to and also the people – writers or recipient; and the dates.

The letter that caught Dave’s eye was sent in 1798. It was sent to Charles Smith at his estate ‘Suttons’.

SUTTONS remains an address of great interest from beginning to end: it was the childhood home to Emma Smith and the marital home to Mary Gosling.

Another long-standing address for the Smiths & Goslings would be their residences in Portland Place, London (No. 5 = Goslings; No. 6 = Smiths).

The Goslings also had their country estate, Roehampton Grove.

Of course there are family members a bit further removed: aunts, uncles, cousins. I’ve begun a list, which you can find under the tab “Autograph Letter Signed”.

I honestly don’t know what to search for – ALS will get something far different than an autographed letter. On the likes of eBay, there’s very little about the contents of letters or the addressee in most cases, and I simply tire of sitting at a computer, looking at post marks for hours. Way too many bookseller orders and attorney or banker letters of inquiry are on the market.

I want a juicy letter filled with family gossip!

*

Something which might be of use in helping ID some of the writers are the signatures I’ve posted here, as well as the pedigrees. Even the smallest, shortest sentence about any of these people would interest me!

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A Mrs Delany Trio

August 15, 2012 at 9:25 pm (books, history, people, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Readers might be interested to know what brought about my recent Mrs Delany interest:

I ADORE the title of this book – the way the “sub-title” is inserted in parentheses on the edition I first spotted — and NOT included in the above image, so I’m forced to include this second (Canada) cover image:

Which the eye sees as

Mrs Delany at 72

while recognizing it says

(BEGINS HER LIFE’S WORK)

It’s always a thrill for me, someone in “mid-life”, to remember that others have trod the same path before me: Working on our life’s work out of pleasure, if nothing else.

And that says a lot about Mrs Delany and her flowers – two of which you see depicted on this book’s covers.

I must comment that it was the inclusion of MRS DELANY’s name on the cover that made me stop and look… That, especially, should NOT have gone by the wayside in any redesign….

Molly Peacock describes in her online chapter what it might have been like, sitting by Mrs Delany as she scored and snipped. Made from paper, her “flower mosaicks” look gloriously realistic.

Why did this title intrigue me? I’ve never forgotten reading, in The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, its author (Maria Augusta Trapp) telling a tale about grasping a bell pull to give its bell a ring and shouting out that she wanted to be an author after age 40. Then she was asked if she knew the legend of the bell. No, she said… This spoke to me even before I was 40!

So when I go up to UVM Saturday (remember: no summer classes –> no library open past 5pm at local university!) I’ll also take out titles I’ve flipped through but never borrowed:

This is an exhibition catalogue; you can view more of Mrs Delany’s work at the British Museum.

And the “classic” biography is a must-get.

To READ Mrs Delany’s own words, see my prior post about Mrs Delany’s Letters. Readers of Two Teens in the Time of Austen will know of my fascination with letters, diaries, and their resultant publications (which certainly save perusers’ eyesight).

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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.

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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.

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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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