WORKING WOMEN IN VICTORIAN BRITAIN, 1850-1910
The Diaries and Letters of Arthur J Munby (1828-1910) and Hannah Cullwick (1833-1909) from Trinity College, Cambridge
Reading Munby's diaries is a rare pleasure - it takes us right back into the Victorian world, whether it be walking in the fields of Lancashire and talking to local pit girls and farm labourers; attending meetings of the Gargoyles - a dinner club devoted to the performance of plays; or jumping into a hansom cab to chat with a noseless woman. These are but a few examples. I could equally have mentioned his meetings with Ruskin to discuss art, with the Fawcetts to listen to their views on woman's suffrage, or the detailed description of one of his walks across London with all of its chiaroscuro.
And that is not all that the Munby archive has to offer. In addition to his 69 volume diary, we also cover all 25 volumes describing his visits to Hannah Cullwick - the servant who secretly became his wife; Munby's notebooks and poetry; Hannah's own 17 volume diary and her letters to Munby; and Munby's photographs of working women.
This archive still has a huge amount to offer scholars of literature, social history, art history and sociology. There is great material on women in the circus, milliners, social conventions, Munby's plans to get Hannah accepted into polite society, colliery life, the Pre-Raphaelites, Dickens, street-sweepers, the cries of London, Victorian prisons, divorce courts, factories, pantomimes and countless other topics.