* Adam Matthew Publications. Imaginative publishers of research collections.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
News  |  Orders  |  About Us
* A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z  

Women's Diaries and Related Sources

Part 2: Sources from Birmingham Central Library and Birmingham University Library

"The local record offices of Great Britain hold staggering quantities of manuscripts written by women. Only now is this vast resource being tapped. Women's own writings facilitate the exploration of a multiplicity of themes from the construction of identity to the composition of political communities, from the intimacies of emotional life to the structure of society. The examination of women's manuscripts will enable scholars to engage critically with the categories, modes of explanation, and chronology of recent women's history. Feminist theory can be evaluated and developed by applying it to the range of empirical material offered in Women's Language & Experience."

Dr Amanda Vickery, Consultant Editor
Lecturer in Modern British Women's History,
Royal Holloway, University of London

Scattered throughout the local record offices of England, Scotland and Wales are vital yet neglected sources for the study of women's history: Diaries, commonplace books, travel journals and letters which describe women's lives and experiences in their own language.

This new project brings together such sources for the first time and makes possible a general overview of the condition of women in Britain from 1500 to 1940. It will suggest answers to questions such as:

  • Did women actually conform to prescribed models of authority?
  • How did women's aspirations and fantasies match up with their real lives?
  • Did women employ the rhetoric of submission selectively, with irony, or quite cynically?

This project will encourage work by scholars across many disciplines including English, Politics, History, Sociology, Gender Studies, the social history of medicine, Social Policy and Women's Studies.

Subjects covered include:

  • Sexuality, masculinity & femininity
  • Courtship & marriage
  • Household organization & authority
  • Childbearing, childrearing & parenting
  • Medicine & health
  • Women's paid & unpaid work
  • Informal & institutionalized charity
  • Religion & ethical values
  • Gentility, politeness & snobbery
  • Tourism, taste & commercialized leisure
  • Women's reading & visits to the theatre
  • Political culture & social structure
  • Perceptions of female destiny
  • Female education & professional aspirations
  • Equal rights feminism

The project is based on a nationwide trawl of women's diaries in public libraries, university libraries and county and regional record offices carried out by Dr Amanda Vickery, Consultant Editor for this project.

Correspondence with and subsequent visits to many of the libraries and record offices concerned established that many hundreds of such diaries survive. They vary widely in style, clarity, content and extent.

To create a useful microform edition we have generally excluded diaries which are very sparse, those which are difficult to read, and those which are full but deal exclusively with topics such as weather observations. However, all diary sequences filmed have been filmed in their entirety, and the aim has been to provide as broad a range of diaries as possible, covering as many types of women as possible, over a broad date range.

Editorial introduction
Digital Guide
* * *
* * *

* *© 2024 Adam Matthew Digital Ltd. All Rights Reserved.