• Archivist, cataloguer, historian.

      Flint, Alison Claire; University of Derby (Women's History Network, 2015-09)
      This paper investigates the interrelationships between the nineteenth-century cataloguer, the twenty-first-century archivist and the historian, by focusing on the letter. Taking up Steven Fischer’s maxim to look beyond the obvious the paper considers the little used and un-investigated correspondence of the Ogston Estate families. A critical evaluation of the collection has indicated that this group of records can deliver more than a concise male orientated genealogical record or history of a Derbyshire country estate. The analysis questions why the majority of the surviving familiar letters in the Ogston collection were written by women, principally the wives, mothers and daughters of the Turbutt family. However, what makes this collection ever more interesting for the historian and most importantly to this study is it offers a unique insight into the methodologies adopted by one nineteenth-century family archivist, Edith Sophia Turbutt. Edith Sophia Hall married into the Turbutt family in 1879; twenty-five years later in 1904 Edith Sophia began to catalogue and record the history of her adopted family, the Turbutt family. The paper questions the nature and purpose behind Edith Sophia Turbutt’s agenda in cataloguing the ancestral correspondence of the Turbutt family line and asks was it a gender related pastime. It explores both the negative and positive impact of the methodologies used by Edith Sophia Turbutt in cataloguing the letters into bundles comprising individual family members rather than chronologically as a whole and asks what as a result is lost or gained. The paper investigates whether letter questions remain unanswered or replies appear as simple unrelated fact or if the continuity through the generations and extended family connections becomes distorted or indeed lost. In addition it inquires if Edith Sophia’s methods were the fashionable norm and further explores how and why gentry families were managing their own histories. The paper further argues that the modern archivist who accepts the early nineteenth-century cataloguing without attesting the dates or contents is not only compounding any past inaccuracies but adds further to the distortion of the evidence as whole, and as such, it considers the impact of such action on future generations of the family, and the historian; it goes on to question whether in recreating an/the imagined past the family historian or archivist past, present and future is guilty of misrepresenting the true nature of the facts.
    • Losing people: a linguistic analysis of minimisation in First World War soldiers’ accounts of violence

      Penry Williams, Cara; ; Rice-Whetton, John; La Trobe University (Victoria, Australia); University of Derby; University of Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) (Palgrave, 2019-10-05)
      This chapter examines the First World War letters and diaries of Australian soldiers for insights into the relationships between language and violence, focusing on accounts of violent actions and the deaths these caused. Analysis from a corpus of writings from 22 soldiers demonstrates around two-thirds of accounts utilise linguistic resources to minimise or downplay the realities of violence. Two main approaches are generally used: figurative language (euphemism and metaphor) and language that downplays human involvement (passive voice, simplified register, nominalisation/light verb constructions, and the use of inanimate nouns in place of people involved). Our exemplification and analysis of these strategies provides insight into both soldiers’ experiences of violence and death and how they made sense of these experiences. The chapter thus adds to the understanding of First World War vernacular writing, contributes to existing scholarship by using a linguistic method of analysis, and more broadly considers the way violence is discussed.
    • Nineteenth-Century letters as a resource: Midlands women as a case study.

      Flint, Alison Claire; University of Derby (Centre for West Midlands History, 2017-11)
      This paper argues that a letter’s physicality is as important to the twenty-first century social historian as the written word. It is not enough to interpret the letter as a literary document nor is it intelligible to take the letter simply as an historical artefact for both lines of enquiry will result in the recounting of one half of the complete whole. A critical evaluation of the archival collection of the Ogston Estate in the heart of the Midlands, indicated that this group of records can deliver more than a concise male orientated genealogical record or history of a Midlands country estate. It has shown that, and most importantly to this study, the majority of the surviving familiar letters from one Midlands family, were written by women, principally the wives, mothers and daughters of the Turbutt/Gladwin family. This offers a unique insight into the personal preoccupations of gentry women in the Midlands, their economic roles and social lives not only from a gentry family focus but also as a vehicle from which to investigate the extent to which the letter and letter writing in the Midlands in the 1800s played a key role in feminine polite society.
    • To the Ladies Turbutt: Three women, three wills and three legacies.

      Flint, Alison Claire; University of Derby (Women's History Network, 2016-09)
      The paper demonstrates that three women from one Derbyshire Gentry family, the Turbutt family through wills and legacies influenced, shaped and controlled the matrilineal line for well over two hundred years. From paper and ink to text and the digital screen the consequences of their decisions reverberate into the twenty-first century. A judicious evaluation of the archival collection of the Turbutt family indicated that this group of records would yield rather more than a regular male oriented family pedigree. The paper argues that through bequests in both life and death the three women had agency to help, guide and empower. It explores the choices made by later generations of the same family that society would otherwise have prohibited; in these choices the women would not only enrage their close male relatives but also later generations of the familial patrilineal line. The paper explores how the platform of letters enabled/allowed women to step out of the hegemonic ideal of domesticity and into a world outside the gates of the landed estate. It will see how legacies and letters afforded two women to play the nineteenth-century stock market, and furthermore, it demonstrates the difference a century made in the nature of the financial subjects about which the Ogston women were writing to determine what and whom was of greatest concern.