STRICKLAND, Elizabeth (1794 - 1875). Historian, sister of Agnes Strickland.

STRICKLAND,, Elizabeth 1794 - 1875. Historian, sister of Agnes Strickland


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Autograph Letter Signed (“Elizabeth Strickland”) to Mr Shubert?, 2 pages small 8vo, n.p., Sunday morning n.d. [c. 1845-7].

A letter relating to Elizabeth Strickland and her sister Agnes’s historical writings and their researching and writing practices. Although not explicit, the work under discussion here is probably Lives of the Queens of England (London: 1840-8), a work published in many volumes written by the pair in partnership, although Agnes alone, at Elizabeth’s request, was credited with its authorship. Educated highly by their father Thomas Strickland who believed in teaching his daughters ‘upon the same plan as boys because … it strengthened the female mind’ (Pope-Hennessy, p.5), Elizabeth and Agnes were a formidable pair, fascinated by the ruling families of Europe, with a particular focus on women in power. They researched and wrote both independently and together, choosing topics and historical figures which most appealed to them. As the front of their enterprise Agnes enjoyed a busy and varied social life amongst the notable figures of the day, and although her sister shied away from such bustle, Elizabeth’s importance was never undervalued by Agnes.

Elizabeth here writes to an editor regarding certain revisions to the work, disagreeing with the suggested changes to the political slant and asking that the “M S S letters of James 2nd” be sent to Agnes in order to assist her revisions. James 2nd’s letters indicate that the topic being revised was Mary of Modena whose life was published in volumes nine and ten of Lives (1845 and 1847). An interesting letter that shows how the sisters worked with each other even when geographically distant.

“I do not know whether my sister will approve of the plan you have kindly suggested . . . Your father is so utter a republican or rather Cromwellian that in my own case I should not like my prospects to be in his hands . . . My sister does not like me to give the winding up to her revises – she is right, as the correcting of two persons at a distance from each other occasion tinkering in style – the tinks always making two holes when they stop one. I would wish the M S S letters of James 2nd (not James 1st) to be forwarded to my sister first . . . as she may find something in them . . . I have compared your father’s correcting with my sisters and find them nearly the same excepting politics, which we do not mean alter. There is no danger of the work being injured by our opposition to his views as we continue in the same principles as in Henrietta’s Life . . . the public approved of that. We can proceed very well . . .”

Letter affixed by the verso blank page to part of a leaf from a collector’s autograph book. On the verso is a cut signature (“Aberdeen”) [George Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen, British statesman and Prime Minister], also with the front of an autograph envelope signed (“Nelson & Bronte”) [William Nelson, 1st Earl Nelson, 2nd Duke of Bronté. Horatio Nelson’s brother], 2 June 1808. Both stuck down.

Stock Code: 216639

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