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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Where GHOSTS Walk

On the heels of a visit in the footsteps of the Ladies of Llangollen, and in honor of TODAY being HALLOWEEN, I invite readers to take ten minutes and read the chapter entitled

Where Ghosts Walk

which is part of Marion Hartand’s series “The Haunts of Familiar Characters in History and Literature“. The chapter included on this site, of course, is her take on Sarah Ponsonby and Eleanor Butler and Mary Carryl.

image008

Harland’s piece is one of many culled from various books. Click on any of the list (at right, or also above), but also check out the whole BIBLIOGRAPHY. This includes not only biographical items, but also has a section on TRAVEL. Enjoy!

Oh, dear…

I’ve been VERY preocuppied lately, and see what happens: no new posts in MONTHS. But, rest assured, that doesn’t mean I’m not around!

Will get around to posting some further incidents in Michael’s wonderful “diggings” for anything and everything Ladies of Llangollen — which I have posted as “A Plas Newydd Timeline“.  We’ve comments about and “sightings” of Eleanor & Sarah from the 1780s through the late 1820s.

The BIBLIOGRAPHY has some links – most of which are working – to useful and unusual articles, book chapters, and such like. Links for some of the *major* pieces, like Harland, Hamilton, and Blackburne are most easily found by “hovering’ over the word bibliography in the menu at the top of the blog, or choosing from among the “pages” on the right side of the screen.

I’ve still a way to go with the Anna Seward Letters. Truly terrible, because I’ve got them all typed up, from when I had a website (before moving over to WordPress). It’s just a case of cutting/pasting/proofing (the last is where I really get bogged down).

There’s a LOT of information here – more to come – and more from anyone who cares to contribute is welcome!

When people are reading — and stats are showing me there IS an audience eager to read about The Ladies of Llangollen — and commenting, then I have to take the time to add more, don’t I. Keep me on my toes!

Thanks for the Memories

A brief post to say THANK YOU to all who contributed to the LADIES OF LLANGOLLEN blog in 2013. Some contributed texts, others images, and some readers posted comments, which are always welcome!

I want to take this opportunity to say that contributions are always welcome – news of a book or article; an image you don’t mind posting here; or just a brief ‘hello’ left in the comments.

I hope to continue with my own longstanding projects: CORRESPONDENCE (where did I leave off!) and also VISITORS, for I’ve a pile of off-prints from books unearthed about six years ago (oh, dear, where does the time go?).

NPG 6243; Lady Eleanor Charlotte Butler; Sarah Ponsonby by Unknown artist

I’ve been working on a silhouettes project for my Smiths & Goslings, and can’t help but post this piece of Sarah and Eleanor. There really is a wonderful, forgotten, craft of doing silhouette images. A favorite place to view them is at Wigs on the Green.

Happy New Year, and Best Wishes for 2014!

Anonymous Gentleman, c1810

My! how time flies…

Just had to rectify the post that announced to the world: Happy September, while December is well underway!

And a delightful treat is in store: Michael in Wales, who has been steadily feeding news of visitors and their reactions, has uncovered a delightful little story. Alas, by an Anonymous Gentleman. Must admit to wanting to know more about the writer after reading this tidbit. There seems such a delightful sense of humor in his comments.

You will find him posted at the head of the page “1810-1819” in the PLAS NEWYDD TIMELINE.

For those of you new to our LADIES OF LLANGOLLEN website, I should explain. You have two ways of finding such “primary” material — comments about the Ladies, especially visitors to the Ladies — by the menus at

  • A Plas Newydd Timeline – see the menu at the right (or “hover” over that phrase on the menu above) and you’ll have a choice of dates; these are often unpublished works not found anywhere else!
  • Visitors – also on the menu at right (or “hover” over that phrase on the menu above), these visitors are mainly those whose published diaries, letters, or writings mentioned visits to Llangollen and the Ladies.

Both place an emphasis on finding what we hope are the “less-hackneyed” reactions, stories, and encounters. Michael made an interesting observation when, in sending this and an 1830 mention that I have yet to post, he wrote, “it seems the later they are in date, the more they build in their expectations and suppositions rather than actual observation”.

That is what makes such *finds* so fascinating to read!

llangollen

I simply could NOT resist this lovely photo of Winter River Dee, Llangollen.
Happy Holidays!

 

No April Fools

After a bit of an unanticipated ‘break’, the PLAS NEWYDD TIMELINE has resumed, with the years 1810 through 1819.

MaryBruntonVisitors, like writer Mary Brunton (pictured), leave their scant impressions of the grounds and the Ladies: Sarah Ponsonby and Eleanor Butler.

The march of time is seen during these years: finally the end of the Napoleonic Wars!

War, however, did not keep Louis Simond from visiting England in the years 1810-11; his published book came out a few years later. I *love* his tale of the Ladies — for he seems among the few who applied for admittance, but was turned away!

New sightings of “The Ladies”

Little brid feeder ion the Plas Newydd groundsAdded today, 4 February 2013, some sightings of Eleanor and Sarah during the years 1805 to 1809.

Of particular interest is Douglas’ entry and tour of the house. He puts you right in the rooms, beside him. A continued thank you to Michael for all these listings.

I’ve also added the Mary Parker (Lady Leighton) watercolors of the grounds around Plas Newydd. They are simply enchanting! My gratitude to Rose for sharing these with us.

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