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!

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.

_________________________________________________________________________

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.

_________________________________________________________________________

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.

2013: Two Poems @ Bonhams

poem Lady Eleanor

A mystery ‘CH’ affirms that the poem was written by Lady Eleanor Butler of Llangollen. This, one of two poems (the other showing Sarah Ponsonby’s handwriting, though not of her composition), was sold at auction in 2013.

Here’s the catalogue description:

TWO AUTOGRAPH POEMS, one by Eleanor Charlotte Butler (1739-1829), the other written but apparently not composed by Sarah Ponsonby (1755-1832), both identified as being in their respective handwritings by ‘CH’, both being on very small, delicate and neat hands; Lady Butler’s poem ‘On the New Year’, 12 lines, beginning ‘Thus oft, when Youth has fled, when health decays…’, 1 page, small folio; Sarah Ponsonby’s poem, addressed to Diana, 36 lines in five stanzas, beginning ‘Since thou and the stars, my dear Goddess desire…’, inscribed ‘Written but no[t] composed by Miss Ponsonby of Llangollen’, 2 pages, small folio, the paper from the same stock, formerly pinned together

If anyone has information about what happened to these after the sale, or who “CH” turned out to be – do say!


An interesting, more recent, auction concerned articles in the library of Elizabeth Greenly (1771-1839) [see page 83 of the PDF]. She kept DIARIES from 1784  until before her death – though evidently “edited” them during her lifetime. Two volumes once owned by her came from the library of SARAH and ELEANOR!

Happy 2016!

It is New Year’s Day, 2016. Best wishes to all Ladies of Llangollen readers!

Looking for something totally different, I came across Michael Freeman’s site about Wales & Welsh Travellers. It’s a Wordpress blog (called sublimewales)!

early tourists_wales

I was especially happy to find the page entitled Women Tourists, which made me look up the book Fragments in Prose & Verse by Miss Elizabeth Smith [no relation to the Smiths of Suttons; at least I doubt it…]

elizabeth smith

Miss Smith, at the very least, documented a visit with the Ladies of Llangollen in 1796 (she was in the Llangollen neighborhood in 1798, but they did not stop there). I’ve quickly put in the two quotes on the PLAS NEWYDD TIMELINE(s) for those years.

One early volume (1809), in inimitable books.google fashion, had pages missing; but of an 1811 volume – in TWO volumes, I find copies of volume I (different version; 1824 edition) and will link the 1809 Memoir of Klopstock (vol. II), which I hope is intact. Henrietta Maria Bowdler is the editor. She gives a TANTALIZING picture of “letters that used to be” when writing that Miss Smith had written a letter about her visit to the Ladies (in 1796) which was destroyed. A great loss, indeed!

For readers interested in “historical” travel to Wales, your New Year’s Resolution MUST include some of the books and/or manuscripts noted on Michael’s website.

 

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