Publisher / date: Burnham Press, 2013
pages: xxiv + 581
I’ve waited many months, since first seeing notice of this series of diaries covering the years 1773-1809 (there are four diary volumes; a fifth volume of entries not included in the foursome has also been published). Mary Hardy was an “average” Georgian-era woman, living in Norfolk, and writing about her daily life. The books were just released at the end of April, 2013. I took the chance and ordered the set of four from Amazon.uk (Amazon in the US thinks the books “out of print” — which is typically the case when books are released in the US or Canada…).
Editor Margaret Bird has researched the diaries for 25 years, and the level of her accomplishment comes out in these beautiful books. Each of the four is a hefty 500-plus pages, but the books are easy to handle — and lovely to read. Notes line the outer side of each page, making reference that much easier. They are copiously illustrated – with contemporary drawings, maps, portraits, and current photographs.
Two websites have been set up for the series:
- maryhardysdiary.co.uk – which gives information on the books
- maryhardysworld.co.uk – which gives information that will grace the forthcoming “companion” volumes
the other volumes are,
- 1781-1793: Beer Supply, Water Power and a Death (vol. 2)
- 1793-1797: Farms, Maltings and Brewery (vol. 3)
- 1797-1809: Shipwreck and Meeting House (vol. 4)
- The Remaining Diary of Mary Hardy: entries 1781-1809 (168 pages)
I’ve posted a short (little over a minute) preview where you get to see volume one of The Diary of Mary Hardy on YouTube.
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My other YouTube videos are based on my research into the lives of Emma Austen Leigh (aka Emma Smith, 1801-1876) and Lady Smith (aka Mary Gosling, 1800-1842). I hope to add to my “readings” of letters and diary entries, so do check out my Smith & Gosling YouTube channel. Although Mary Hardy does not mention the family (although brief mention IS made of the de Greys of Norfolk, the family of Mary Gosling’s stepmother, Charlotte de Grey), Charles Smith (of Suttons) gained his fortune mainly through a distillery business, so reading about the Hardy brewery business is of great interest.
Upcoming on my channel will be other video-peeks at books you’ll see here on Regency Reads.
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UPDATE: See TWO TEENS IN THE TIME OF AUSTEN for my “conversation” with Mary Hardy’s editor, Margaret Bird.