Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: August 2019

Publications

c. University of East Anglia

Writer’s born-digital creations pose unique challenges for literary archives. Copyright UEA.

Back in June we reported that an article on writers’ born digital archives had been accepted for publication. The article from Paul Gooding, Jos Smith and Justine Mann on the challenges of capturing the creative process in born digital literary archives has now been published in a special issue of the Taylor and Francis Journal ‘Archives and Manuscripts’ the professional and scholarly journal of the Australian Society of Archivists. It is based on a paper given at an AHRC funded conference in January 2017.

The forensic imagination: interdisciplinary approaches to tracing creativity in writers’ born-digital archives by Paul Gooding, Jos Smith & Justine Mann. Pages 374-390. Published online: 11 Aug 2019. Read the article.

Enquiries & Visits

Literary collections

Requests have centred on the history of UEA’s Creative Writing course, Doris Lessing and Malcolm Bradbury Archives.

A photograph of a cat and chess set has been requested for a website on the history of chess (from the archive of Anthony Grey, journalist). More.

Pritchard Papers

A London museum has requested an Isobar restaurant dinner menu from the period of the Spanish Civil War for their exhibition on how art influences politics.

A photograph of a bedroom in a 1930s minimalist flat has been requested for an article on Hilary Hinds’ book The Cultural History of Twin Beds; the same image has been requested by the University of Zagreb.

PP.Blythburgh 001

The Pritchard’s Blythburgh house built in the early 1960s by Colin and Jennifer Jones. Courtesy Pritchard Papers.

Photographs of the Pritchard’s early 1960s designer house in Blythburgh, Suffolk have been supplied for a new website.

We’ve also been helping the Bauhaus Foundation with their exhibition on modernist furniture following their visit to our Archives.

Zuckerman Archive

Enquiries and visits have concerned the 1941 bombing of the Café de Paris in London and the national casualty survey conducted by Zuckerman; the UK’s purchase of nuclear weapons from the US; the civilian casualty response to the German bombing in WWII; and the breeding of endangered species in captivity.

The enquiries have come from a journalist and researchers from King’s College; the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine (CHSTM) at the University of Manchester; the University of Waterloo in Canada; and the School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies (PPL) at UEA.

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: January 2018

Events:

• The Snoo Wilson Prize for Scriptwriting 2017 was judged and awarded by scriptwriter Molly Naylor and Adam Taylor (Chief Executive of The Garage) at an events ceremony in Norwich on 31 January 2018. The Award, created in 2015 is in recognition of his legacy and the gift of his archive to UEA. It will expand to include scriptwriting students of Art, Media and American Studies (AMA) from 2018. Read more on our blog.
• Dr Paul Gooding and Justine Mann presented a paper on capturing digital creativity at a two day international Symposium on born digital archives, After the Digital Revolution, which was sponsored by the British Academy and which took place on 25 and 26 January at Here East in Stratford, London.

Teaching sessions held in the Archives

• AMA (Art, Media & American Studies) Teaching Visit: Feminism and Television (Kenney Papers). This session took a look at the 1974 television series Shoulder to Shoulder in which a whole episode was devoted to Annie Kenney. The portrayal of the suffragettes was discussed and the media representations of feminist histories. [19 attendees].
• LDC (Literature, Drama and Creative Writing) module on Feminist Theatres. This session also looked at the representation of suffragettes within film, television and radio; and asked questions on the usage of archive material when conducting research into feminism, theatre and history. [18 attendees]

Doris Lessing Archive

• An academic from a Spanish University has returned for a second research visit. She is reading the Whitehorn letters and other correspondence by Doris Lessing.
• A CHASE placement continues to work on detailed descriptions of correspondence by Muriel Spark. This is assisting us with a recent enquiry from an author and lecturer regarding letters between Lessing and Spark.

Kenney Papers (Suffragettes)

KP.AK.4 (6) • We have provided a citation for an article on Pinner’s Suffragettes (including Elspeth McClelland) for the Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society. The Archives supplied an account by Jessie Kenney of a human letter stunt.
• An MA student from another university is researching suffragette dress.
• A 2nd year history student from a London university is writing an essay on Annie and Jessie Kenney.
• We have been alerted to the change in repository of Rowland Kenney’s archive. Rowland was one of Annie and Jessie’s brothers. His archive has re-located from the University of St Andrews to the Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, University of Cambridge.
• See also ‘teaching sessions’.

Naomi Alderman Archive

A Postdoctoral Research Associate from a London university has requested a visit to further her work on contemporary literature and computing. Alderman’s works include computer games and fictional writing.

Pritchard Papers

• We received a permissons request from an academic at another university for a book he is writing. This relates to the papers on Political and Economic Planning which was founded by Jack Pritchard in 1931. It later became known as the Policy Studies Institute.
• A former UEA graduate has visited to research the history of a sailing boat Nyanza, which was once owned by Jack and Molly Pritchard. The Theta Club was a Norfolk sailing club for young people set up by the Pritchards in the 1940s and still exists today.

Tinkler and Williams’ Theatre Collections

• Heritage staff from the Forum in Norwich have visited to research the history of circuses in Norwich and East Anglia. This is part of Norwich City Council’s Circus 250 project involving primary schools. The collection contains assorted materials including chronologies on circus venues in Great Yarmouth, including the Hippodrome, and performances relating to Gilbert and Russell’s circuses.


• Assorted 20th century theatre programmes from across venues in London, and from Norwich Theatre Royal were used in a teaching session for an LDC module on Theatre and Feminism.

UEA Collection

UEA.S.2.19

UEA Teaching Wall by Denys Lasdun. Completed 1968-70 by Feilden & Mawson

• A heritage consultant working for a firm of architects has visited to read papers on the architect Denys Lasdun and the early UEA development plans. This is in relation to the refurbishment of the Lasdun teaching wall.
• A creator of a website on counter-culture in Norwich norch.co.uk has been reading student journals from the late 1960s and reviewing photos and press-cuttings relating to student protests from the late 60s and early 70s.

UEA Literary Festival Archive

A group of LDC students has been introduced to the recordings of the UEA Literary Festival. They will be scoping clips from this archive and from those already uploaded to e-Stream, for inclusion in LDC marketing material.

Zuckerman Archive

• There have been five enquiries relating to the collection of 2,000 school essays on WWII air-raid experiences, mostly from family members. In addition a UEA HIS (PGR) student is examining the essays from a psychological angle and a UG student from another university has been looking at the impact of the raids on morale and the effects experienced in Norwich.

0090002

c. United Press International. UK & US Naval staff inspecting a model Polaris missile. Chief Scientific Adviser, Solly Zuckerman (second right), 1963.

• An enquiry has been received regarding papers and correspondence on the 1960s decision to adopt the submarine-launched Polaris missile as Britain’s nuclear deterrent.
• A student from Italy is researching the restoration of military sites built in Pantelleria, 1938-1943. Zuckerman led an assessment of the bombardment (Operation Corkscrew) on this island, and was a pioneer in the science of operational research.

Special Collections

There were 23 enquiries.

A module specifically on books as material objects (The Business of Books) was held in Special Collections on 15 January. This provided an opportunity for third year literature students to examine a range of early books.

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: December 2017

Teaching sessions held in the Archives

MA CW Autumn 2017 001

MA in Creative Writing (Prose Fiction)

• The Grass is Singing: an LDC session on Doris Lessing’s first published work. This drew on material from Lessing’s archive including letters she wrote to friends at the time she was writing the book in the 1940s, and correspondence written much later which provides a more reflective interpretation. (LDC = Literature, Drama and Creative Writing).
• MA in Creative Writing (Prose Fiction). This visit enabled students to review manuscripts and correspondence from their predecessors on the MA, including: Tash Aw, Naomi Alderman, Richard Beard and Andrew Cowan. MA Creative Writing dissertations from Anne Enright, John Boyne and Tracy Chevalier were also on display.

Digital Preservation Coalition

An introductory session to launch UEA’s joining of the Digital Preservation Coalition was held on 14 December. We were joined by Executive Director of the DPC, William Kilbride (by video-link to Glasgow).

Inaugural meeting of EasternARC

068Representatives from UEA, the University of Essex and the University of Kent met in London on 19 December. The initial plan is to map collections under shared themes and think about joint initiatives. the Group will meet a few times a year to discuss potential projects and also create a Website.

Andrew Cowan

A visiting academic from China in LDC is looking at Cowan’s novel manuscripts.

Doris Lessing Archive

• A student has accessed Lessing’s 1940s love letters to John Whitehorn.
• A PhD student doing a creative/critical course of study in biography has accessed papers on Lessing’s biography of her parents Alfred and Emily.
• See also ‘Teaching session in the Archives’.

Kenney Papers (Suffragettes)

See ‘Unboxed’.

Unboxed

Students continue to visit, to explore in particular the Kenney Papers (suffragettes), as they prepare to write blogs and digitise selected items.

Zuckerman Archive

• A researcher has been reading correspondence pertaining to the Advisory Council for Scientific Policy (ACSP).
• An enquiry from France has focussed on the history of cell biology and the correspondence of Dr Peter Leslie Krohn (Professor of Endocrinology at the University of Birmingham).
• There have been 10 enquiries relating to a collection of 2,000 school children’s essays on their experiences in WWII air-raids.

Special Collections
There were 12 requests.

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: November 2017

Highlights

Hull school essays (4)
What happened to me and what I did in the air-raids.

• The Zuckerman Archive has featured in a BBC2 TV programme Blitz: the bombs that changed Britain. The second episode recalls a bomb landing on Hull and the government’s casualty survey conducted by Solly Zuckerman and his team at the Oxford Extra-Mural Unit. The programme brings to light a collection of 2,000 school essays written by 10-14 year olds in Hull in 1941/42.
Children’s essays reveal the effects of Blitz bombing in Hull (blog post)
BBC programme information.

• UEA has joined the Digital Preservation Coalition (following approval from the BACW Executive). This will have a significant impact on the BACW’s work with born digital literary archive material, as well as the management of digitised material. Link to UEA News item. A briefing for staff will be held on 14 December. To celebrate the first ever International Digital Preservation Day, we worked with a HIS student and a graduate intern in the Humanities Media Suite to begin the process of digitising Jessie Kenney’s diary of her trip to Russia in 1917 with Emmeline Pankhurst and the first half of Doris Lessing’s Whitehorn letters.

Teaching sessions in the Archives

Reading and Writing Translation. Year 2 UG

EBellos Translation of W or The Memory of Childhood

Draft manuscript translations by David Bellos

An LDC session looking at the translations of David Bellos including George Perec’s W, ou, Le Souvenir d’Enfance. The English translation W, or, The Memory of Childhood has been added to Special Collections.

“It was also helpful to look at handwritten materials as they show that translation involves serious decision-making and even professionals struggle”

“Very interesting to see the process first hand, relevant and exciting”

“It was very informative to work with archives, as I have never done so before. I enjoyed working with them in a smaller setting”

Fiction ‘after’ modernism: Re-reading the 20th Century (Literature, Drama, Creative Writing (LDC) PGT)
This session led by Tutor Nonia Williams looked at the correspondence between the writers Doris Lessing, Iris Murdoch, Margaret Drabble and Muriel Spark. The challenges and opportunities of evaluating archival papers alongside literary texts were considered.

MA in Literary Translation (MALT)
This session looked at the translation process of translators David Bellos, Anne Born, Anthony Vivis, and correspondence of Doris Lessing with translators of her works. (Literary Translation Archive).

Humanities (HUM) Foundation year visit
This introductory visit to the Archives and the British Archive for Contemporary Writing (BACW) outlined the opportunities and achievements of the Unboxed blog writing project, our experience in working with other archives and museums and our plans for the suffragette centenary celebrations #vote100.

Angela Carter

A Reader in Literary Studies has asked us to check the inventory of Angela Carter’s library in order to establish whether she owned a particular text. (Part of the Lorna Sage Archive).

Anthony Grey Archive

• An enquiry relating to Grey’s book The Prime Minister was a Spy has been received. The book alleges that the former Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt did not drown off the coast of Melbourne almost 50 years ago on 17 December 1967 but instead staged his own disappearance with the help of the Chinese for whom he had been spying all his political life.

• A football supporter has visited to read Grey’s papers concerning Trowse Villa Football Club. Grey played for Trowse Villa in the 1950s and early 1960s.

BACW (general)

The Film Television & Media Studies departmental meeting was held in the Archives reading room in order to exhibit screenwriting manuscripts (from Malcolm Bradbury, Snoo Wilson and Charlie Higson) as potential teaching resources and illustrate what has been achieved in LDC and AMA (Art, Media & American Studies) teaching sessions in the Archives.

Charlie Higson Archive

A PGR AMA student with an interest in religion and sitcoms is looking at Higson’s papers.

Doris Lessing Archive

The Iris Murdoch Research Centre has requested and received copies of the two Murdoch letters we hold.

Frank Thistlethwaite Archive

A researcher has visited to consult the early records of the University for a book being written on the new universities of the 1960s. The Thistlethwaite archive comprises 4 steel cabinets of the first Vice-Chancellor’s papers.

Kenney Papers (Suffragettes)

• A couple of members of the UEA Feminist Society gathered in the Archives to explore the legacy of the suffrage movement. They discussed contemporary feminism & links with past activism. A framework was drawn up for the selection of 100 things for a digitisation project and on-line exhibition showcasing the Annie and Jessie Kenney Archive.

• The Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague has identified letters from Annie Kenney to Thomas Masaryk (first President of Czechoslovakia, 1918-1935). Unfortunately we don’t hold any letters from Masaryk.

Pelman Institute

Papers of the Pelman Institute have been usefully identified for a reader in two collections: Jessie Kenney (suffragette) held exam papers and work sheets of the Institute; and Jack Pritchard (entrepreneur) had a detailed personal psychological report administered by the Institute. Pelmanism was a system of training the mind in order to improve memory.

Roger Deakin Archive

• An overseas PhD researcher has visited.  Her interests include the supernatural in twenty-first century nature writing.

• An LDC lecturer has accessed Deakin’s unpublished poetry.

• An external lecturer has visited to research Deakin’s papers with reference to the writers Ronald Blythe, Richard Mabey and Ken Worpole.

W.G. Sebald

A PhD student in Literature and Philosophy has visited and listened/viewed all recordings in this collection. It took him a day and a bit to complete. A couple of recordings are in German.

Zuckerman Archive

• Blitz: the bombs that changed Britain. See ‘highlights’ above.

• An undergraduate from another university has visited to read papers on bomb raid shelters and morale surveys.

• A visit is being planned by a reader researching the Insurance Technical Bureau. SZ was a founder of the Bureau, its aims being to bring rigour and co-ordination to the scientific and technical advice needed by the insurance industry.

007

Scanning documents in the HUM Digital Media Suite for an overseas request.

• An overseas academic has requested papers documenting the comments of senior RAF and Air Ministry staff in response to the overall British Bombing Survey Unit (BBSU) report (1945) which assessed the impact of the Allied war offensive on the German war machine, with particular reference to transport, oil and the economy. Zuckerman was Scientific Director of the unit.

Special Collections

There were 20 requests and two workshops.

Workshop: Robert Rauschenberg. Dante’s inferno.

DSC_0046

LDC PG CHASE – Latin workshop

Workshop: Cicero. For Residential Latin language training students. (M. Tul. Ciceronis in M. Antonius orationes quae Demosthenis in Regem Philippum Macedon e exemplo Philippici nuncupantur.) A manuscript from the collection of Sir Thomas Phillipps.

“I thought the session with the Latinists was fabulous – they clearly loved the chance to have a little look at the MS and to work with some of Cicero’s Latin in its shadow, as it were.  They’re working with the excellent online dictionary, William Whitaker’s Words:  a happy meeting of technologies old and new, perhaps.  They clearly relished the chance to work in the archive and in relation to the MS.”

Retro ways of capturing and preserving experiences of air raids, love and nature

UEA students from the Year 2 module, Digital Media: Theory and Practice, took a look at some old media in a seminar led by the University of East Anglia’s Eastern ARC Fellow, Dr Paul Gooding: ‘Historicising new media: from analogue to digital media’.

In preparing the exhibits for the session we were reminded of the range of formats lurking within our collections and the ever present challenge of continuing access when technology threatens to become obsolete. Many observers wonder why we don’t simply digitise everything and be done with it.

The complexity inherent in such projects (quality assurance; metadata; storage; resource discovery) require significant time and resource. We are currently engaged in just two proof of concept digitisation projects focusing on two key collections (the UEA Literary Festival Video Collection and the digital preservation of Doris Lessing’s Whitehorn Letters).

We demonstrated the transformation in a digitally remastered clip from a UEA Literary Festival video when compared with a straightforward digitisation of its original.

The students were given a hands on introduction to the following archive material which included getting to grips with microfilm readers, slide viewers and cassette players and considering how analogue items might translate into their digital counterpart with the integrity of its original intact.

A series of over 100 typed love-letters from the 1940s. Complete with envelopes and photographs. [Doris Lessing’s letters to John Whitehorn (BACW)].

Aerial photographs, maps, tables of data indicating bomb drops and bomb damage. Target and attack data 1942-1945. The students considered how to reflect integrated and complex data and the treatment of fragile material. [Zuckerman Archive].

A series of 1930s photographs of Southwold Railway. [Hill Papers].

Handwritten notebooks with inserts. [Roger Deakin Archive (BACW)].

Microfilm and original manuscripts. Over 2000 school children’s essays “What I did and what happened to me in an air raid”.  Microfilm was introduced as a form of preservation; and to show the transfer between mediums when scanned to PC. [Zuckerman Archive].

Slides (mounted, glass). Royal Norfolk Show, 1957; Parliamentary visit to China, 1956. [Hill Papers].

LP (Vinyl) The Sound of New Orleans (A frisbee? Something to create pizzas on?) [Formerly UEA Record Library].

In the next week, the students will compare the experience of using both the analogue and digital versions of one of the media demonstrated.