Political & Social Letters

Mrs Osborn

Mrs. Osborn, daughter of Viscount Torrington, had her letter collected and edited (by Emily Osborn) in 1891 under the title Political and Social Letters of a Lady of the Eighteenth Century, 1721-1771.

THREE Austen Leigh (Emma Smith) connections grabbed my attention: the Osborns were associated with CHICKSANDS, which Emma visited as a teenager; and Mrs. Osborn mentions the 1767 death of Lady Northampton (née Jane Lawton, mother of the 1st Marquess of Northampton, Emma’s uncle); and there is a Byng (the familial name of the Torringtons) and Bramston marriage in 1730. (The Bramstons of Essex being Smith of Suttons neighbors.) She is, of course, related to the 5th Viscount, who left us his delightful “tour diaries” [published in four volumes, 1934-38] (he was younger son of Mrs. Osborn’s brother).

 

World War I: A Nursing Sister’s Diary

Many archives are getting into blogging (many on WordPress!). It’s a GREAT way to gain awareness about items in their collections, AND a fabulous find some someone like me: one always on the hunt for MORE information.

Yesterday I found several informative posts at the blog attached to the Essex Record Office; this one concerning a World War I era diary – as some of you may know, such things are of GREAT interest to me (even if technically past the “Victorian” era).

This one concerns a nursing sister, Kate Luard (born 1872). She tangentially touches on my Smith & Gosling (Two Teens in the Time of Austen) research in that the Luards are later generations affiliated with the Bramstons of Skreens — and the Bramstons were neighbors to the Smith estate of Suttons (there was also a branch of the Bramston family in Hampshire – at Oakley Hall – neighbors to Eliza Chute at The Vyne and Jane Austen and family at Steventon & Chawton.

Two books are associated with Kate Luard, one is the Diary of a Nursing Sister, 1914-1915 (originally published anonymously in 1915)

diary luard

  • an interesting diversion from reading is having the book READ to YOU: Ruth Golding and a half-dozen others contribute to a LibriVox recording.

The Essex Record Office (ERO) has a few snippets culled from the book, focusing on the Spring of 1915 and an earlier post focusing on Kate Luard herself.

Kate is more fully discussed “on her own website“, with an announcement of a new edition (2014) of the book Unknown Warriors (originally published 1930), which covers Kate Luard’s letters from 1914 through 1918.

unknown warriors

Diary of Mary Hardy, 1773-1809

mary hardy
Publisher / date: Burnham Press, 2013
pages: xxiv + 581
Hardcover
genre: diary

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:

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)

hardy diariesI’ve posted a short (little over a minute) preview where you get to see volume one of The Diary of Mary Hardy on YouTube.

* * *

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.

* * *

UPDATE: See TWO TEENS IN THE TIME OF AUSTEN for my “conversation” with Mary Hardy’s editor, Margaret Bird.

Correspondence of Mary Granville, Mrs Delany

An “online” find – six volumes of letters from the 18th Century!

The Autobiography and Correspondence of Mary Granville, Mrs Delany,
edited by Lady Llanover.

First Series: 

Second Series:

Extensive INDEX located in the sixth volume.

If you want to first learn about Mrs Delany and her flower mosaics, read The Paper Garden by Molly Peacock.

More about Mrs Delany at Two Teens in the Time of Austen.

A Working Bibliography: Regency era England

It dawned on me today, as I reading the intro to the book The Letters of Sarah Harriet Burney (more later on that excellent source) that I’ve TONS of books to share with readers listed in the bibliography to Two Teens in the Time of Austen.

I’ve been researching Mary Gosling (left) and Emma Smith (right) — also known as Lady Smith and her sister-in-law Emma Austen Leigh, for five years now. The bibliography may be a bit out of date (ie, I’ve MORE to add), but there you will find some online books as well as books you’ll discover in used bookstores or in the library.

Books range from Jane Austen — Emma after all married Jane’s nephew, James Edward Austen — to James Woodforde, the Country Parson. Scroll down till you get to SECONDARY (PUBLISHED) SOURCES.

**I’m always LOOKING for such bibliographic lists — can never have enough books! Always at least one hidden gem… Email me (smithandgosling [at] gmail [dot] com) if you’ve come across some useful finds. Keep in mind, I’m looking for “scholarly” primary editions, good biographies, and travel- or art-related items => no fiction please.

Hello world!

An idea I had for a while is a site dedicated to good books on the eras I love in English History, namely:

  • Georgian Gems
  • Regency Reads
  • Victorian Voices

These, specifically, are autobiographies, diaries, letter collections, biographies, histories. If you’re looking for novels, you probably won’t find them here… If you’re looking for the best in old and new books that I’ve met in my travels, well, stay tuned!