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Thursday, 17 January 2013

Sometimes being an archivist is frustrating

Recently posted on the Wellcome Library Blog: There are a million stories in the Naked Archive: here are some of them.

 While those stories are tantalising, and there are things that one could probably never find out about about the context to those particular manuscripts, sometimes it might be possible to discover at least a bit more detail, if one had the time to spare.

For example, in the case of Fanny George, Chancery lunatic, it's not improbable that the records of Court of Chancery in The National Archives might have something about how she was declared to be of unsound mind and who initiated the inquisition.

There might be local records about the Rev Joseph Cook and Dr Robert Pringle.

But the likelihood of making a definite identification of who compiled that recipe book, and where (and if there was ever a fatal accident involving arsenic-based facewash in the vicinity), seems remote indeed.  

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