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Women's Diaries and Related Sources

Part 3: Sources from Suffolk County Record Office and Cambridge University Library

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

Part 3 is based on sources from Cambridge University Library and from Suffolk County Record Office, offering 169 volumes describing the lives of 27 different women covering the period from 1798 through to 1943. These include:

  • Correspondence between Sarah Siddons, Mrs Pennington and Sir Thomas Lawrence for the period 1798 through to 1803.
  • Three commonplace books of Anne Webb, 1801-1851, containing notes, poems and some delightful sketches.
  • The travel journals of Elizabeth Sarah White, 1858-1878, describe her visits to Venice, Florence, the Paris Exhibition, Russia, Dresden and Cornwall. They all include a tremendous amount of detail and some excellent illustrations. 
  • The pocket diary of Elizabeth Rope of Fresingfield, 1861-1871, features a fascinating account of her first visit to London and the Great Exhibition.
  • A complete run of the diaries of Juliet Godlee (née Seebohm) in 59 volumes from 1884 to 1943. She was the wife of surgeon Sir R J Godlee, and the diaries feature the children’s upbringing, relatives, her father’s illness, her marriage in 1891, her husband's work, social visits, lunch and dinner parties.

This is an excellent resource which relates to a wide variety of disciplines, such as literature, social history, gender studies and women's studies.

Editorial introduction
Digital Guide
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