Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Anne is Dead!: Anne Lives

Queen Anne is Dead! Not a Smith's song, but an upcoming daylong conference on the end of the Stuart queen's reign and the beginning of a Hanoverian king's, appropriately enough on 1 August. (Germans have jumped ahead to the post-Stuart era - unless one is a Jacobite - with a series of exhibits on The Hanoverians on Britain’s Throne 1714-1837. And the British royal palaces aren't far behind (above, and a fuller list). The anachronism of the paparizzi in this video does make one ask, is there no history of the decline of court culture? were all Stuarts and all Hanoverians equally the center of both elite and popular culture? Did the King (then) have the same star quality as Prince (in the late 1980s)?

Anne Boleyn's Execution from John Stow's Annals (ca.  1603)
From one Anne, to another. Former student, Torie Manning, continues to alert me to things Tudor. Writer Clair Ridgway's blog has provided a list of links to "Cheap Anne Boleyn Resources" (October 3, 2013) from British History Online,, Open Library, etc. Student primary source research on the first half of the 16th century begin here. (For a lecture on things Boleyn, and a pro-active Henry VIII, listen to George Bernard's "The Life and Reputation of Anne Boleyn," from November 2013.)

Creative Commons License
earlymodernengland by Newton Key.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

On Not Negotiating with Terrorists

Source from Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers
Early modern sieges were as much a matter of writing to/talking with the enemy as fighting them. Certainly a case can be made for Oliver Cromwell viewing at least a portion of the Irish as terrorists: "barbarous wretches, who have imbrued their hands with so much innocent blood." Yet, his letters include many to his besieged Irish enemies negotiating terms of surrender (Ross, etc.). In any case, this selection from the Edinburgh Evening Courant, 7 Jan. 1746, shows a studied refusal to negotiate/exchange hostages with rebels/terrorists, all the while, in fact setting up the terms for negotiating.

Creative Commons License
earlymodernengland by Newton Key.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Archive is in the Eye of the Beholder?

In a University of Cambridge post, "Q & A: how archives make history," (7 April 2014) researchers at a recent conference meta-cogitate on the relation between archives and the early modern period. My image on the archive then and now (ok, crowdsourcing, electronic artifacts, editing in the cloud, etc., make it a little different in the 21st century) is Richard Burton looking for a file in the Registry in "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold" (ok, this is more recent version of "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy," but stills of archives on film are hard to find). The file is not there, and there lies the rub. I must admit students beginning their foray into the history profession are less likely to see the romance of a system of organization, less likely to ask, why are the sources where they are, organized the way they are, and who decided to keep them like that. How wonderful, then, to have the brief answers to question such as who created archives, what do the silences or lapses tell us, provided in this run-up to "Transforming Information: Record Keeping in the Early Modern World."

Q&A: how archives make history
Creative Commons License
earlymodernengland by Newton Key.

Friday, September 27, 2013

I'm Not Looking for New England...

A recent article maps the major American ancestry by county, and, if ancestry is the reason why folks study a particular type of history, the future of British Studies doesn't look good anywhere in the USA except New England (Jessica Jerreat, “The Map That Shows Where America Came from,” Mail Online, 1 September 2013). And by "British," that mainly means Irish in Massachusetts and Eastern New York. (It doesn't show what is the second largest ancestry claimed in each county, but it is still interesting in terms of identity.) The Appalachians largely think they are American, which might be a political statement, but probably means they are unsure of the background. What might be interesting is to map waves of immigrants over time onto the whole map. Does "English," mean pre-1800 immigration never followed by a significant wave into that area (New Hampshire, Maine) thereafter? (Apologies to the great social history, Kirsty MacColl for use of the title.)

Creative Commons License
earlymodernengland by Newton Key.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Dating Historical Interests: The Little England of the 1930s

Larger version of whole chart here

This is a portion of a 1931 chart encompassing the entire history of the world. “The Entire History of the World—Really, All of It—Distilled Into a Single Gorgeous Chart” (The Vault, Rebecca Onion, Aug. 12, 2013) Europe and especially England and the British Isles dominated the 17th-19th centuries. Few of the rulers or events in England, however, have any link to world affairs: England driven out of France (1453, if one overlooks Calais), defeat of the Spanish Armada, East India Company, Pilgrim Fathers, War with Holland, Unite with Holland, Penn, "Marlborough Wars Against Spain" (not France?), and Gibraltar.

Creative Commons License
earlymodernengland by Newton Key.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Romancing the Stuarts

The 3 May 2013 issue of TLS has an intriguing detail of a Restoration-era beaded basket of Charles II and Catherine of Braganza.  The Holburne Museum of Bath, is seeking to acquire the basket, and a brief video of the Holburne's Direction, Alexander Sturgis being interviewed by the National Funding Scheme, provides a better view of the whole basket.

The Holburne Museum seems to be a deserving resting place for the basket, as they already have an embroidery or "stumpwork" of the story of Charles from hiding in the "Royal Oak," and his flight in disguise to his accession to the throne. Both pieces are intricate. And their existence perhaps suggest some contemporaries' dedicated devotion not so much to the sacrality but to the romance of kingship.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Samuel Pepys, blogger: Happy Birthday

"23 February 1659/60. Thursday, my birthday, now twenty-seven years." I almost missed the birthday of Samuel Pepys. Pepys, as you probably know, blogged his Diary from January 2003 until May 2012, and his site is maintained by Phil Gyford. Gyford began the whole thing again, with new software, in January 2013, as he explains in a posting on his own site. We wish Pepys and Gyford well.

Pepys, App
Yesterday, I began a (very) brief talk to our department Careers Day about blogging in the 17th and 21st centuries, with "What News?": Pepys’s repeated query to acquaintances and bystanders as he walked daily between the City of London and the court of Whitehall in Westminster, according to his diary from the 1660s. (I should note that Pepys is not only a blog, but also an app, reviewed here.) What was Pepys seeking? I suggested that what he was after was not facts, not history, but rumor/gossip. If it was nailed down, it was not au courant, and of less interest to him. Anyway, Pepys would have made a good blogger (and I guess he does).


Creative Commons License
This work by Newton Key
is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.