Archives and special collections are often left in the shadows, unvisited and unloved. Here at Augustine House, we are keen to showcase and share some of the wonderful resources that we have. Read on to find out how we are digitising and supporting others to use our collections.
Kent Maps Online
The university’s digital humanities project Kent Maps Online is a visual feast of articles, images and maps about Kent’s history and heritage. Kent has a rich history and has provided inspiration for a number of writers and artists including Charles Dickens, E.Nesbit, Jane Austen and Alfred Cohen. The site is the result of a collaboration between JSTOR Labs and a team led by Carolyn Oulton, Professor of Victorian Literature in the School of Humanities and Educational Studies. The site includes interactive visualizations that are generated from annotations inserted in the text by the essay authors. The visualizations include interactive maps with feature overlays that provide context for associated paragraphs in the essay. The Library is proud to have contributed unique images to this project from its archives and special collections.
The passport of Sarah Grand, feminist campaigner, writer and proponent of sex education for girls is held in the library archives as part of the Sarah Grand collection. Professor Carolyn Oulton was inspired to write an article on Sarah Grand who lived in Tunbridge Wells from 1898-1920 for Kent Maps Online and asked for images to illustrate her article. The passport reveals that Grand was 4 foot 4 inches (1.32 metres), had grey eyes, a straight nose and a fair complexion. Immigration stamps inside the passport reveal that Grand visited Germany.
A copy of A General View of the Agriculture of the County of Kent, with Observations on the Means of its Improvement written by John Boys and published in 1796 inspired Diana Hirst to write an article on Kent agriculture in the late eighteenth century. The book is part of the library’s Historical Collection which has some interesting and rare material. The library was able to supply photographs of a map and inserts from the book along with the title page.
A photograph of a visit to the Kent coast by Mary Elizabeth Braddon and her husband publisher John Maxwell provided a perfect image to illustrate Professor Carolyn Oulton’s article about Braddon’s descriptions of Thanet in her novels Barbara (1880) and Gerard (1891).
When local historian, Stephen Williamson, wrote an article about war correspondent and author G.A. Henty‘s association with Canterbury, the library’s Historical Children’s Fiction Collection was able to provide images of Henty’s children’s novels.
University’s 60th Anniversary Celebrations
As the university prepares for its 60th anniversary in 2022, archives volunteers will be scouring the CCCU archive for items that illustrate the university’s fascinating story. We have hundreds of images and slides to sort through and digitize so if you’d like to help, do get in touch. Here is a menu we found in the collection:
If anyone remembers this event, do let us know, as additional context adds to the richness of our collections.