The aim of the VICTORIAN WOMEN WRITERS' LETTERS PROJECT is to make available through electronic publication the correspondences of early to mid-Victorian British women writers in a form that attempts to capture the multiplexity of epistolary communication.

The ANNA JAMESON, HARRIET MARTINEAU AND THEIR FRIENDS database is the first stage of the project. Anna Brownell Murphy Jameson (1794-1860) and Harriet Martineau (1802-1876) were amongst the most active and influential of the professional women writers of the period; they were involved with many of the reform campaigns and related activities; and they travelled widely. Thus, their social networks--literary and otherwise--were extensive. Most of their correspondences remain unpublished. Records of the correspondences of Harriet Lewin Grote, writer, activist, and wife of the Radical politician and historian George Grote, will be the next addition.

The database holds bibliographical information for letters extant or known to have existed, identification and textual documentation of the persons named in the letters, and brief biographical information about the writers and addressees including some pictures and links to relevant web sites. Calendars of Jameson's and Martineau's whereabouts for the years covered by the correspondences can also be accessed. The database can be searched under each writer separately or combined.

All transcriptions have been done by myself from the original manuscripts (or copies where noted) held in the archives listed below. Except where noted, these transcriptions have not been re-checked against the originals. Typescripts of published letters have all been orally reviewed; full documentation of sources is provided.

The next stage of the project will be the addition, wherever possible, of the complete letter texts accessed through hyperlinks from the database records.

The database is offered for use as a work in progress; records are added on a regular basis. The Jameson material is substantial running to approximately 750 records; the Martineau material, approximately 550 records, is in the early stages of development. Your comments and inquiries are most welcome.


I gratefully acknowledge the support of a SSHRC Small Research Grant for archival research and the development of the database, the Work Study Program at Simon Fraser University for project assistants, a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, a London House Fellowship, and the University of Toronto Travel Fund for archival research.

For their support and assistance, I am also grateful to Lynn Copeland (University Librarian) and Mark Jordan (Systems Analyst) of the Simon Fraser University Library, Bill Souder (technical support, English Department), Mary-Ann Yazedjian (research assistant), and work study assistants Debra Eakins, Jennifer Thomas, Rachel Hunter, Catherine Campbell, and Theresa Cowan.

The librarians and archivists at the following institutions have been most helpful and I am very grateful:

Great Britain

Birmingham University Library

Bodleian Library, Oxford

British Library, London

Fawcett Library, London Guildhall University

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Girton College Library, Cambridge

John Ryland's Library, University of Manchester

Library of University College, University of London

Manchester Central Library

Manchester College Library, Oxford

National Library of Scotland

Paleography Room, University of London

Reading Public Library

Religious Society of Friends Library, London

Royal College of Surgeons, London

Royal Holloway and Bedford New College Library, University of London, Egham

Royal Society of Antiquaries, London

Theatre Library, London

Trinity College Library, Cambridge

North America

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe College, Cambridge Mass.

Berg Collection, New York Public Library

Boston Public Library

Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge Mass.

Thomas Fisher Library, University of Toronto, Canada

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