Courageous & Audacious

Two years ago, Duke University announced a “Happy Day for Women’s History“: their acquisition of the Lisa Unger Baskin collection of Ladies of Llangollen items.

Recent news talks about items in the collection! And now thoroughly catalogued, you can see just what’s available by looking through the GUIDE to the LADIES OF LLANGOLLEN COLLECTION.

The largest part of the collection is the letters written by and to the Ladies. Most of the correspondence takes place between Sarah Ponsonby and her cousin Mrs. Sarah Tighe, along with letters from Eleanor Butler, their neighbor Ch. L. West, and the Fownes family, Sarah Ponsonby’s cousins and former guardians. The manuscripts include poems by the Ladies, as well as an account written about the Ladies of Llangollen by Ch. L. West and an album by a visitor to Llangollen. The papers contain items and images of the Ladies of Llangollen, Llangollen Vale, and the traditions of Wales in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Guidebooks, maps, and printed materials make up the materials about the history of the Ladies’ beloved Llangollen. The images of the Ladies and their home in Llangollen Vale make up the largest part of the image files.

Letters begin in 1774. A great deal of them are letters from Sarah Ponsonby to Mrs. Tighe. (see a photo of Sarah’s fairy handwriting) That these letters survive, and in such a large group, is indeed a miracle.

There are poems by both Sarah and Eleanor; but what intrigues me are two pieces by other hands: an 1826 “account of the Ladies of Llangollen” by Ch. L. West (a neighbor) and a scrapbook album amassed in the 1830s.

Other items in the collection are OBJECTS, such as the porcelain basket pictured:

Ladies-basket

Click on the photo above to access the read the full article in The Devil’s Tale: Dispatches from the David M. Rubinstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Keep in mind the items held by The National Library of Wales, and available (formerly) on microfilm by Adam Matthew Publications; as well as early publications based on primary source collections.

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National Waterfront Museum

Norena Shopland invites you to her event, part of the Swansea LGBT History Month offerings:

LGBT month

See the previous post for more information and further “links”. The opening of the LADIES OF LLANGOLLEN exhibition takes place this coming FRIDAY – February 9th.

Swansea Exhibition & other News

An email from Norena Shopland included the following “news”:

  • February: there will be a month long exhibition of the Ladies of Llangollen at Swansea’s National Waterfront Museum (Norena will share the flyer, and more info, as it becomes available!)
  • Also, on February 9, 2018 at 6.30 PM there will be a short play An Extraordinary Female Affection by Jane Hoy and Helen Sandler. This will be repeated the following day at the Pride Cymru event in Cardiff Bay (see the 2018 full program of events). Norena herself acts as host for the evening, and introduces guest speakers after the play.

IMG1065a

  • In Shrewsbury, February 6, 2018 at the Shrewsbury Library 7.30pm £3 at the door. First, Norena Shopland will be talking about Forbidden Lives: LGBT Histories from Wales [her *new* book]. Then An Extraordinary Female Affection (a short play by Jane Hoy and Helen Sandler on the Ladies of Llangollen), followed by a Q&A.

To see MORE events, click for Norena’s website Rainbow Dragon. If you’re able to be in Swansea, Cardiff Bay, or Shrewsbury – stop by and say ‘hi’ to Norena, while enjoying an evening’s entertainment in the company of the Ladies of Llangollen.

 

 

Welsh Costume

I just had to share. Since the Ladies of Llangollen are quintessentially tied to their adopted country of WALES, coming across a site that discusses Welsh Costume wouldn’t be out of place here.

Welsh costume doll

This is one of the dolls in a lengthy and nicely-illustrated entry about “Welsh costume dolls skirts“. Of interest is the discussion of fabrics – and you can see from the above that the COLORS are often spectacular, considering the age of the some of the dolls.

A “companion” site, by the same author, is Michael Freeman’s Early Tourists in Wales. Some of Michael’s VAST research can be found here, on the Ladies of Llangollen site, under the pages “A Plas Newydd Timeline“. Listed chronologically (by month), you’ll find various comments and “meetings” with the Ladies, from the 1780s and beyond their lifetimes. I have fallen down on the job; I know Michael has sent more information than I’ve posted thus far. Mea culpa!

Glamorgan Pottery: Llangollen Plate

Author Norena Shopland – whose book Forbidden Lives: LGBT Histories from Wales is due out on 17 October 2017 (available for pre-order from Seren Books) – alerted me to an article she posted on a certain piece of Glamorgan pottery produced in the early 19th century.

The plate is in the collection of the Amgueddfa Cymru / National Museum Wales. Look closely and you see our two Ladies! click on the photo to read Norena’s article, “The Story of a Plate.”

Ladies Plate

Detail of blue plate showing an illustration of Sarah Ponsonby and Eleanor Butler © Norena Shopland

Take a look: Brideoake’s new book

Google books has preview access for Fiona Brideoake‘s new book, The Ladies of Llangollen: Desire, Indeterminacy, and the Legacies of Criticism (Bucknell University Press / The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group; 2017). (Amazon Kindle: generous preview there too) [Kindle: $82.49; Hardcover: $110]

Brideoake_Ladies of Llangollen

To whet your appetite, here are the contents:

INTRODUCTION: Casting Butler and Ponsonby: Before “the Ladies of Llangollen”

1. “Sketched by Many Hands”: Narrating Butler and Ponsonby

2. Engendering the Ladies: Romantic Friendship, Gender Difference, and Queer Critical Practice.

 – “The Great Success Story”: Butler and Ponsonby and the Romantic Friendship Model

– Gender Trouble: Butler and Ponsonby and the Masculine/Feminine Dyad

– “Our Matchless Mary”: Mary Caryll’s Place at Plas Newydd

– Butler and Ponsonby and the New Queer History

3. Becoming the Ladies of Llangollen

– “Two Fugitive Ladies”: Ponsonby’s 1778 Travel Journal

4. “Keep Yourself in Your Own Persons, Where You Are”: Butler and Ponsonby’s Transformation of Plas Newydd

– On the Road with Butler and Ponsonby: “Liking One’s Own Sex in a Criminal Way”: Suspicions of Sapphism

– “The Saloon of the Minervas”: Butler and Ponsonby’s Private library

5. “The Spirit of Blue-Stockingism”: Were the Ladies of Llangollen “Blue”?

– A Bluestocking Genealogy

– The Ladies of Llangollen the Canonical Bluestockings

– Were Butler and Ponsonby Blue?

6. “Love, above the Reach of Time”: Butler and Ponsonby and the Performance of Romanticism

– The Romantics “Do” the Ladies

– Sir Walter Scott’s “Great Romance”

– The “Coy Scene” of Sapphic Sociability: Anna Seward’s “Llangollen Vale”

– Depth and Domesticity: William Wordsworth on Butler and Ponsonby

– “Doing the Ladies”: The Llangollen Ideals of Lord Byron and Anne Lister

7. “The Future Arrives Late” Butler and Ponsonby and Their “Spiritual Descendants,” 1928-1937

– “Deeds, Not Words”: The Fight for Women’s Suffrage

– Butler and Ponsonby and the Future That Is “to Be”

– Pursuing Butler and Ponsonby: Gordon’s Chase of the Wild Goose

– “The Future Arrives Late”: Ghosting the Ladies of Llangollen

There is also a bibliography and index, bringing the book up to 368 pages. Among the editorial reviews, included at Amazon:

  • Fiona Brideoake’s is by far the best account of the Ladies to have appeared in some time. It is generous with earlier accounts, deeply learned and engaged with all scholars of lesbianism and the history of sexuality. It also contextualizes the Ladies brilliantly and makes great sense of their choice of a house and how they decorated. I cannot imagine a more informed or more exhilarating account of the Ladies of Langollen. This will be a book that is treasured by students and scholars as well as anyone interested in the history of ‘romantic friendship’ between women. (George E. Haggerty, Distinguished Professor of English, University of California, Riverside)

The Ladies of Llangollen have not been the subject of a major study or biography since Elizabeth Mavor‘s publications from the 1970s and 1980s, nearly fifty years ago. I am excited to see Fiona Brideoake’s book is finally hitting the bookshops!

 

Anne Lister – diaries & discoveries

Been saving up for quite some time some YouTube “finds” on Anne Lister, her diaries, her life &c.

Anne Lister (14:06) presented by JAN BRIDGET  in 2014; includes a tour of Shibden Hall, information on author/editor Helena Whitbread, and later books and films. Bridget also has presented a shorter (10:00) film.

Anne Lister

Decoding Anne Lister (31:58) – Prof. ALISON ORAM on the history of the diaries, in 2011.

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DID YOU KNOW?

  • Anne Lister’s diaries run to “about 4 million words”, making it “about 3 times as long” as Samuel Pepys’ diaries.
  • one-sixth is written in her own code.

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The 2010 film, The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister might go away, but I’ll give one instance that I have found (though not sure it’s the one I watched). I found it a lovely film, and feel that Anne-fans will want to own a copy.

Anne Lister’s last steps (1:19:32) – from summer 2016, Dr. ANGELA STEIDELE discusses Anne Lister’s travels, including her last trip abroad.

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