Nineteenth-Century letters as a resource: Midlands women as a case study.

Conference Presentation


Flint, Alison Claire 2017. Nineteenth-Century letters as a resource: Midlands women as a case study. Centre for West Midlands History.
AuthorsFlint, Alison Claire
TypeConference Presentation
Abstract

This paper argues that a letter’s physicality is as important to the twenty-first century social historian as the written word. It is not enough to interpret the letter as a literary document nor is it intelligible to take the letter simply as an historical artefact for both lines of enquiry will result in the recounting of one half of the complete whole. A critical evaluation of the archival collection of the Ogston Estate in the heart of the Midlands, indicated that this group of records can deliver more than a concise male orientated genealogical record or history of a Midlands country estate. It has shown that, and most importantly to this study, the majority of the surviving familiar letters from one Midlands family, were written by women, principally the wives, mothers and daughters of the Turbutt/Gladwin family. This offers a unique insight into the personal preoccupations of gentry women in the Midlands, their economic roles and social lives not only from a gentry family focus but also as a vehicle from which to investigate the extent to which the letter and letter writing in the Midlands in the 1800s played a key role in feminine polite society.

This paper argues that a letter’s physicality is as important to the twenty-first century social historian as the written word. It is not enough to interpret the letter as a literary document nor is it intelligible to take the letter simply as an historical artefact for both lines of enquiry will result in the recounting of one half of the complete whole.
A critical evaluation of the archival collection of the Ogston Estate in the heart of the Midlands, indicated that this group of records can deliver more than a concise male orientated genealogical record or history of a Midlands country estate. It has shown that, and most importantly to this study, the majority of the surviving familiar letters from one Midlands family, were written by women, principally the wives, mothers and daughters of the Turbutt/Gladwin family.
This offers a unique insight into the personal preoccupations of gentry women in the Midlands, their economic roles and social lives not only from a gentry family focus but also as a vehicle from which to investigate the extent to which the letter and letter writing in the Midlands in the 1800s played a key role in feminine polite society.

KeywordsLetters; Letter writing; Women; Nineteenth century
Year2017
PublisherCentre for West Midlands History
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/622364
hdl:10545/622364
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File Access Level
Open
Publication datesNov 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited16 Mar 2018, 14:53
ContributorsUniversity of Derby
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https://repository.derby.ac.uk/item/926z4/nineteenth-century-letters-as-a-resource-midlands-women-as-a-case-study

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