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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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Spanki Spanglar
    Mar 28, 2018 @ 11:29:26

    Gordon Sherrit had the biggest collection of Ladies memorabilia. He was local author and lived in Froncysyllte by the canal. No idea what happened to it all but he had ornaments, paintings, wall hangings. Amazing stuff. Probably got sold off at auction.

    Reply

    • Janeite Kelly
      Mar 28, 2018 @ 12:17:40

      Oh, I hope it didn’t go to auction. Always hard to hear that a “collection” is broken up for sale.

      Though I do remember seeing some pieces over the past few years…

      Thanks for the heads-up! Perhaps some readers know more about the “what happened to it all”.

      Thanks for writing!

      k

      Reply

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