Unlocking the Mary Hamilton Papers

Hannah Barker (Professor of British History, The University of Manchester), David Denison (Professor Emeritus of English Linguistics, The University of Manchester), Nuria Yáñez-Bouza (University of Manchester), Sophie Coulombeau (University of York), Tino Oudesluijs, Cassandra Ulph, Christine Wallis (Research Associates, The University of Manchester)

Miss Mary Hamilton
Miss Mary Hamilton

This ambitious three-year project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, exploits an almost untouched archive to answer important questions about reading, letter-writing and everyday language in Georgian England and the contribution made by social networks to these significant cultural practices.

A multidisciplinary team from the fields of linguistic, historical and literary studies will address questions and combine approaches that contribute to current academic debates across a broad range of research areas in innovative ways. It will shed new light on the culture of English society in this period and will help to launch an exciting new genre of Hamilton studies by exploring a remarkable, but relatively unknown archive, presently scattered over eleven libraries in Britain and the USA.

The project will explore four related research questions on reading, letter-writing, language practices and the role of social networks in Georgian England, and reunite the Mary Hamilton papers in a complete, Open-Access scholarly edition. As the project develops, it will also reconstruct and analyse Hamilton’s social networks. The project builds on the earlier work of the Image-To-Text Project, which began the important work of transliterating the Mary Hamilton Papers held in the John Rylands Library.