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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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.

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  • 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!

Ladies & Llangollen: Websites & Books

 

A new addition — for which I apologize if links aren’t yet working: Websites & More. I put this together after travelling to this lovely part of the world! Some great book finds, and some useful websites.

Enjoy!

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