ARCHIVES: SPRING 2020 ISSUE: TOC AND ABSTRACTS

CONTENTS

ARTICLES

Mandy Banton, History concealed, history withheld: the story of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office ‘migrated archives’ and the decades-long international search for redress

Julia Sheppard, ‘Facts are sacred’

Penelope Baker, Preserving the BRA: Cataloguing the Association’s archives at London Metropolitan Archives

NOTES AND DOCUMENTS

Seumas Macdonald and John Saillant, An 1815 Latin dissertation on hysteria by ‘coloured’ Trinidadian John-Baptiste Philip

OBITUARIES

Richard Olney, with contributions from Robin Harcourt Williams, Christopher Kitching and Elisabeth Stuart, Brian Stanley Smith (1932-2018)

Stephen Freeth and Richard Bowden, Ann Saunders (1930-2019)

REVIEWS

The Register of John Salmon, bishop of Norwich, 1299-1325, ed. Elizabeth Gemmill. Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2019, ISBN 9780907239826, £35 – reviewed by Stephen Marritt, University of Glasgow

The Court Roll of the Manor of Wakefield from 5 October 1360 to 28 September 1361, ed. Christopher J. Watson. Leeds, Yorkshire Archaeological & Historical Society, 2019, ISBN 9781916506695, £20 – reviewed by Alan Crosby, Preston 

The histories of Alexander Neville (1544-1614): A new translation of Kett’s Rebellion and the City of Norwich, ed. Ingrid Walton, Clive Wilkins-Jones and Philip Watson. Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2019, ISBN 9781783273324, £75.00 – reviewed by Ian W. Archer, Keble College, Oxford

The Parish in Wartime: Bishop Gore’s Visitations of Oxfordshire, 1914 and 1918, ed. Mark Smith – reviewed by Caitriona McCartney, University of Durham

Archival values: Essays in honor of Mark A. Greene, ed. Christine Weideman and Mary A. Caldera, Society of American Archivists, ISBN 978-1-945246-04-3, $55.99 – reviewed by Matti Watton, Lambeth Palace Library

Laura A Millar, A matter of facts. The value of evidence in an information age. Foreword by Lee McIntyre. Chicago: ALA Neal Schuman, SAA,2019, ISBN 2019943453 ALA members $44.99 – reviewed by Sarah Tyacke

 

ABSTRACTS

ARTICLES

Mandy Banton, History concealed, history withheld: the story of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office ‘migrated archives’ and the decades-long international search for redress

In 2011 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) reluctantly admitted its possession of documentation created by the governments of 37 former colonial dependencies, removed to the UK at independence, and held clandestinely for decades.  The status of the papers, always uncertain, was sporadically debated within the FCO and in discussion with the Public Record Office/National Archives until the FCO obtained a legal opinion, details of which have not been made public, that they are UK public records.  Papers concerning the drafting of the 1958 Public Records Act do not mention colonial governments, bodies which were never considered part of UK central government.  In the immediate pre-independence years changes in document security classification and records management, introduced by the colonial administrations to keep sensitive papers from local ministers and officials, paved the way for the destruction or removal of papers vital for continuing good governance.  As ‘displaced archives’, the records are of continuing concern to the independent states which seek repatriation, or the provision of free copies, and who are supported in their efforts by the international archival community.  The article concludes with a brief discussion of the apparent lack of interest demonstrated by both media and public in stark contrast to the concern for museum collections similarly removed from British colonies.

Julia Sheppard, ‘Facts are sacred’

The issue of lack of trust in institutions and information in our present day society should be of great concern to archivists, record creators and historians. A forum on ‘archives and records in a post truth world’ was convened by the BRA with participants from national  archive and research organisations in the UK. Their contribution and suggestions for tackling this concern are discussed.  A Steering Committee has been set up to act on some of the suggested outcomes including improvements in teaching digital literacy and archiving public enquiries and Brexit.

Penelope Baker, Preserving the BRA: Cataloguing the Association’s archives at London Metropolitan Archives

In April 2017, the British Records Association (BRA) moved to shared office space at Cowcross Street and closed its records storage and distribution service, which had been run by volunteers since 2008. This prompted the transfer of ‘office’ files, many of which dated back to the 1970s and beyond, to the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA). The BRA had deposited records with LMA when the Association vacated its space there in 2004 and LMA received approximately 40 further boxes in six accessions from individual officers of the BRA. BRA volunteer, Alison Cassidy, who had been helping with the final despatches of deposited records, has been working with Sally Bevan, senior archivist at LMA to list these uncatalogued 123 boxes, which doubles the extent of the BRA archives that will be available for research at LMA.  The existing catalogued records were also reviewed, and work is underway to produce an integrated catalogue. This article is a preliminary review of the BRA Archives at the LMA, which provide a fascinating picture of the evolution of the Association, and the major role it has played in preserving and promoting the value of archives and records over the past 90 years.

NOTES AND DOCUMENTS

Seumas Macdonald and John Saillant, An 1815 Latin dissertation on hysteria by ‘coloured’ Trinidadian John-Baptiste Philip

This article contains a translation from Latin of an 1815 medical dissertation presented to the University of Edinburgh.  The subject is hysteria; the author was John-Baptiste Philip, a mixed-race (‘coloured’) Trinidadian.  Philip’s family was French Grenadian in origin.  His father relocated to Trinidad in the late Spanish colonial period and Philip himself came of age in the early English colonial period.  A well-to-do landowner and slaveholder, the elder Philip sent his sons to London and Edinburgh for education.  The existence of this 1815 dissertation has long been known to Caribbeanists, but possibly because of alternate spellings of the author’s name no one has identified it, much less read it in Latin.  The work is remarkable, especially when read alongside Philip’s 1823 petition to Earl Bathurst, Secretary of State for War and the Colonies.  In his works, Philip inaugurated one of the important themes of Caribbean literature and philosophy, which is that racially motivated mistreatment and inequality drive people into extreme mental and emotional states often thought of as madness.  Another element of his works, widely echoed well into the twentieth century, is that men’s hysteria is cured by their gaining political rights while women’s is alleviated by their being secured in domestic life.

 

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