Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Fourth tutorial

New readers: see Warning at start of earlier tutorials

Instruction in online research resources

Copac National, Academic, and Specialist Library Catalogue gives free access to the merged online catalogues of many major University, Specialist, and National Libraries in the UK and Ireland, including the British Library
Titles found hereon can be ordered via Univ. Buck.

Public Record Office, now National Archive
[Search the Archives] > [Access the Archives]
National Archive
The Catalogue: Search descriptions of 11 million documents from the UK central government, law courts and other national bodies.
9 other categories
Partner websites
Census records:
Search and download census records from 1841 to 1911. JR: 1861 v useful, with details of who lived there (c.f.
3 other categories
Find records in other archives
National register of archives (not explored: relates only to British material? What about foreign equivalents of DNB?)

Index to theses (
A comprehensive listing of theses with abstracts accepted for higher degrees by universities in Great Britain and Ireland since 1716. 542,369 theses in collection


Presentation (first in series by each student) by JM-J on the relationship between Queen Victoria (V1) and her eldest daughter Vicky (V2). V2 brightest of 8 children – favourite of Prince Consort Albert (PC) – V1 jealous of time given and attention shown – V2's engagement aged 14 to 'Fritz' (Crown Prince of Prussia) and marriage at 17 (parents anxious not to lose this prime prospect) – unusually for royals, a love match, like her parents – with V2 now in Berlin, V1 begins voluminous correspondence, often 3 letters per week – "What are you doing?" – "This is what you should be doing!" (e.g. fresh air and temp. of 56 deg, c.f. German fug and temp of 80) – "You're not answering my letters" – little awareness of huge difficulties faced by V2 in seeking to change anything; young, naive, foreign, friendless – above all, malign influence of Bismarck.

Occasional displays of telling V1 to keep out of it – "I will breast-feed", "I won't postpone state occasion just because it's anniversary of death of PC". V2 expected to help in search for wife for V1's eldest son Bertie, later Edward 7 (PoW) – Alexandra of Denmark prettiest and brightest of Protestant princesses – Schleswig-Holstein question – Palmerston's "Only 3 people understood the SHQ: PC, and he's dead; Prof. X, and he's in the madhouse; and me, and I've forgotten".

Bungling of birth of V2's 1st-born, Willi (W: later "Kaiser Bill" and fomentor of WW1) – 99-day reign in 1888 of husband as Kaiser Frederick 3 – lingering death from throat cancer – her stiff-upper-lip smile castigated by court as indifference – W's anglophobia result of blaming on English doctors his withered arm, resulting from botched breach delivery– his increasing control of her movements and purse – her charitable activities, despite denial of pension – her last, excruciating illness – smuggling her papers, inc. letters, back to England to serve as basis for posthumous restoration of her well-intentioned but doomed life.

[Expressed in earlier session by JM-J: short reign of Fred 3 perhaps greatest "What if?" question; had he ruled longer (and effectively) no WW1, hence no WW2, &c]

Men's autobiographies

Conundrum by Jan Morris

Tortured autobiography of life of talented transsexual James Morris – aged 5 is aware that he should have been/be a girl – nothing effeminate in young manhood (officer in WW2 in British cavalry regiment; reporter for The Times in scooping 1st ascent of Everest) – married, with wife (apparently) aware of his predilection and begetting 4 children – counselling useless – start of sex-changing drug regime – support (?) of wife and understanding (?) of children goes under the knife in Casablanca – description of subsequent physical and mental changes in self.

Predictably vociferous discussion – all other participants female – nuanced viewpoints not well understood then, so inexpressible now – more

Pepys's Diaries

Restricted time to discuss this massive work – core questions about it raised (if not answered):
- Why did he start writing it?
- Why did he stop writing it?

Reference Hist. Journ. 43/2 Refiguring the Diary of Samuel Pepys Mark Dawson

Uncompleted because of presence of Number Three Daughter and her brood for part of half term: she is a very personable Person from Porlock, and won't mind being unjustly blamed for her father's failure to complete this self-imposed task by breakfast time the following day.

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