We are thrilled to be able to announce the creation of an entirely new collection in the University of Manchester Image Collections for digitised material from the Mary Hamilton Papers. Over the past few years, significant portions of the archive have been digitised and made available; now for the first time they are able to be viewed together in a dedicated collection of Mary’s correspondence and diaries.
Mary Hamilton (1756-1816), was a courtier and diarist, who stood at the nexus of several interlocking royal, aristocratic, literary and artistic circles in late eighteenth-century London. The Mary Hamilton Papers themselves include almost 2,500 letters, 16 meticulously detailed diaries, and six manuscript volumes. Together these form a rich resource providing a window into the intellectual and social world of Hamilton’s day, particularly the Court of George III (Hamilton was governess to his daughters), and the Bluestocking circle. Among the major figures represented in the archive are members of the royal family and other courtiers, members of Hamilton’s own family (including her uncle, the diplomat Sir William Hamilton), and prominent members of the Bluestocking circle, such as Elizabeth Montagu, Frances Burney, Frances Boscawen, Elizabeth Vesey and Mary Delany.
The most recent digitisation project has made available correspondence to Mary from Princess Elizabeth, daughter of George III, who occasionally addresses Hamilton as ‘My dear Hammy’; from Martha Carolina Goldsworthy, sub-governess to the Royal family and from William, 7th Lord Napier, Mary’s guardian.
The papers are already hugely popular with scholars and the availability of these documents online will undoubtedly facilitate new research opportunities and interdisciplinary collaboration for the study of the language and socio-cultural history of Georgian England.
All images are Copyright of the University of Manchester.