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Women's history: Literature and journalism

Digital resource: Ann Griffiths, 1776-1805

Welsh poet and hymn-writer, Ann Griffiths (1776-1805) lived all of her life in a farm called Dolwar Fach in the parish of Llanfihangel-yng-Ngwynfa (Mid-Wales). Although she died aged only 29 years, she left poems and letters that are considered among the highlights of Welsh religious literature. Her surviving works consist of just eight letters and 70 stanzas, reflecting an outstanding literary talent and deep religious experiences. The collection includes all published editions of her works from the 19th century to the 20th century, and all secondary publications discussing her work.

The Ann Griffiths web site includes introductory material on her life and work by Dr James, the text of her hymns and letters together with English translations, and online access to digitised versions of around 2,500 pages of books, articles and manuscripts relating to Ann Griffiths, including:
• the only surviving letter in her own handwriting
• images of the pages of the first edition of her hymns, published in 1806
• the important memoirs by John Hughes, Pontrobert and Morris Davies
• articles on Ann Griffiths and her work by a wide cross-section of authors, including works in English by A. M. Allchin, H. A. Hodges, Kathryn Jenkins, Bobi Jones, H. Elvet Lewis, Saunders Lewis and M. Wynn Thomas


Archives: Joan Reeder, 1921-1997

Joan Reeder, neé Elizabeth Joan Armstrong (1921-1997) was the first fully-fledged royal reporter on any national newspaper when she became a journalist on the Daily Mirror after the Second World War. In 1952 she was one of the first journalists to hear of the death of King George VI , reported on the Coronation the following year and was among those who broke the news about the love affair between Princess Margaret and Group Captain Townsend. Archives 458

Microfilm: Archives of the Royal Literary Fund, 1790-1918

Microfilmed from originals in the British Library. Humanities microfilm 228

Documents from the full archives of the Royal Literary Fund, set up in 1790 to help struggling authors. The substantial collection runs to 145 microfilm reels, and covers the period 1790-1918. Applications include CVs, which reveal social backgrounds and career paths, and supporting letters from more established writers, which indicate a writer’s circle of acquaintances and influences.

S. D. Munn has written extensively on women applicants to the Fund in her article: Munn, S.D. (1990). Writing for their lives: women applicants to The Royal Literary Fund. Publishing
History (27), pp. 27–49. 


Microfilm: Archives of the House of Longman, 1794-1914

Microfilmed from originals held at Reading University. Humanities microfilm 376

The major publishing house of Longmans was established in 1794. The collection runs to 67 microfilm reels, covering the period up to 1914. It thus gives a major opportunity to explore the printing and publishing history of that period, plus material on a wealth of well-known authors, all of which was during a major period of growth and development.

Longman published many women writers, and the archive contains papers relating to Frances Burney, Maria Edgeworth, Jean Ingelow, Florence Nightingale, Christina Rossetti, George Sand, and Charlotte M. Yonge, among others.


Microfilm: Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849) papers

Maria Edgeworth was a prolific and influential Irish writer of adults' and children's literature. Concerning education, she thought boys and girls should be educated equally and together. She believed becoming an old maid was preferable to an incompatible marriage. She strove for the self-realisation of women, stressing the importance of the individual, and wanted greater participation in politics by women.


Microfilmed from originals held at the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Humanities microfilm 138

From the series: Women, education & literature the papers of Maria Edgeworth. Part 1, The Edgeworth papers from the Bodleian Library, Oxford

Reels 1-25. Correspondence with Michael Pakenham Edgeworth and his wife; Christina Edgeworth; Frances Anne Edgeworth (née Beaufort); [Charles] Sneyd Edgeworth and his wife Henrica ("Harriette"), and general family correspondence. Click here for further details.

Microfilmed from originals held at the National Library of Ireland. Humanities microfilm 139

From the series: Women, education & literature the papers of Maria Edgeworth. Part 2, The Edgeworth papers from the National Library of Ireland.

Reels 1-20. Correspondence, diary, expenses account books, albums of family verses, memoirs of the Edgeworth family. Click here for further details.

Microfilmed from originals held at other libraries. Humanities microfilm 218

From the series: Women, education & literature the papers of Maria Edgeworth. Part 3, Edgeworth papers from other libraries

Reels 1-4. The Helen manuscript from the British Library (BL Add MSS 28524-28525); manuscripts of Maria Edgeworth from the National Library of Scotland, Bristol Record Office and Birmingham University Library; and Edgeworth-Baillie correspondence from the Library of the Royal College of Surgeons, England (Hunter-Baillie Collection). Click here for further details.


Microfilm: Literary manuscripts of Felicia Hemans, 1793-1835

Microfilmed from originals held at other libraries. Humanities microfilm 412

Reels 1-5. An English poet. Papers from Liverpool City Library, Trinity College, Dublin, National Library of Wales, Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin, Bedfordshire and Luton Archives, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Trinity College, Cambridge, Derbyshire Record Office, Representative Church Body, Dublin, University of Liverpool Library, London Metropolitan Archive, Society of Antiquaries Library, Wellcome Institute, Nottinghamshire Archives, and the British Library. Click here for further details.


Microfilm: Papers of Mary Tighe, 1730-1825

Microfilmed from originals held at the National Library of Ireland. Humanities microfilm 388

From the series: Irish women writers of the Romantic era papers of Mary Tighe (1772-1810) and Lady Sidney Morgan (1776-1859) from the National Library of Ireland

Reels 1-5. Correspondence, verse, book reviews by Mary Tighe 1806-1809, biographical notes on Mary Tighe and her parents, Volumes I-V of Selena, an unpublished novel c1809. Click here for further details.


Microfilm: Papers of Lady Sydney Morgan, 1816-1861

Microfilmed from originals held at the National Library of Ireland. Humanities microfilm 388

From the series: Irish women writers of the Romantic era papers of Mary Tighe (1772-1810) and Lady Sydney Morgan (1776-1859) from the National Library of Ireland

Reels 6-9. Diary, commonplace book, and correspondence. Click here for further details.


Microfiche: Edition Corvey, 18th-19th century

The Corvey library, near Höxter in Germany, houses one of the largest collections of Romantic-era literature in the world. The English language titles of the Edition Corvey consist of just under 3,300 works from the Romantic-era, of which the collection of popular novels comprises nearly two-thirds; also contained are 194 dramas, and more than 400 poetic works.  Of especial interest is the high frequency of women poets and novelists, including over nineteen first editions by Mary Meeke, and a dozen or more by Barbara Hofland, Louisa Stanhope, and Ann of Swansea.  Other prose forms included are fairy tales, legends, fables, and children’s stories, as well as biographies, essays and contemporary literary criticism, travel writing, periodical work, and over one hundred anthologies.

Women authors include Jane Austen, Amelia Beauclerc, Agnes M. Bennett, Bridget Bluemantle [Elizabeth Thomas], Anna E. Bray, Frances Burney, Sarah Burney, Charlotte Bury, Mary Charlton, Emily Clark, Catherine Cuthbertson, Selina Davenport, Emma DeLisle, Maria Edgeworth, Catherine G. Gore, Sarah Green, Elizabeth C. Grey, Elizabeth Gunning, Ann Hamilton, Mary A. Hanway, Anne R. Harding, Jane Harvey, Elizabeth Helme, Barbara Hofland, Isabella Kelly, Alicia Lefanu, Caroline Maxwell, Mary Meeke, Amelia A. Opie, Eliza Parsons, Anna M. Porter, Mary A. Radcliffe, Mary Robinson, Regina M. Roche, Catharine Seldon, Mary Shelley, Mary Sherwood, Louisa S. Stanhope and Mary J. Young.

Sheffield Hallam University’s Corvey Women Writers on the Web (CW3): An electronic guide to literature 1796–1834 is a database containing material on 417 women writers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and 1,071 literary works published by them, based on the holdings of the Corvey Library. It includes biographies, bibliographies, contemporary reviews and memoirs, images, synopses and keyword descriptions of texts, as well as new criticism and contextual material.


Books: Honno Welsh women’s press, 1987-current

The Arts and Socal Studies Library holds a complete set of publications from Honno, a Welsh women's press, based in Aberystwyth, which is run as an independent co-operative. The press concentrates solely on publishing writing by the women of Wales, with the twin aims of increasing publication opportunities for Welsh women and expanding the audience for Welsh women's writing.


A selection of books on or by women writers, 19th century

Jones, Mary. Poems. London: printed for the author, 1826. se PR4829.J54.P6

Evans, Ellin. Telyn Egryn: neu gyfansoddiadau awenyddol Miss Ellin Evans (Elen Egryn) o Lanegryn. Dolgellau: Argraffedig gan Evan Jones, 1850. WG59.199

Hardy, Elizabeth. Owen Glendower, or, The prince in Wales: an historical romance. London: R. Bentley, 1849. WG16.9.H

Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke. [compiled Enoch Robert Gibbon Salisbury?]. s.l. : s.n., n.d., ca. 1850. WG37.1.M

Marshall, Lady Augusta Eliza. A Prince of Wales long ago: a bardic legend of the twelfth century. London: Whittaker; Chester: Prichard, Roberts, 1855. WG16.9.M

Herbert, Frances Georgina; Maria Justina Herbert. A legend of Pembroke Castle: and other tales. London: R. Bentley, 1853. WG16.9.H

Mangin, Edward. Piozziana: or, Recollections of the late Mrs. Piozzi, with remarks. London: Edward Moxon, 1833. WG16.95.P
See also: Reel 26 of Women's language and experience: women's diaries and related sources, Humanities Microfilm 301: Hester Lynch Piozzi diaries, letters and a survey of Brynbella, 1797-1812