Our archives are treasure troves – a testament to many lives lived and the complexity of the way we move forward. They contain clues to the real concerns of day-to-day life that bring the past...
Without archives many stories of real people would be lost, and along with those stories, vital clues that allow us to reflect and interpret our lives today.
I’ve found myself moved by letters and diaries in archives as well as trashy, summer blockbusters. It’s possible to make a connection with any kind of writing – as long as the writing is good.
Archive material is a fabulous starting point – individual documents are like signposted roads, heading to a variety of intriguing possibilities.
Occasionally a particular word or phrase in a letter or diary has sparked an entire plot – like an echo from history, still very alive.
We are the only species on the planet, so far as we know, to have invented a communal memory stored neither in our genes nor in our brains. The warehouse of this memory is called...
Social and cultural history is often comprised of whatever diaries and letters remain and that is down to chance and wide open to interpretation.
Although she was a logical, practical person, she believed that in books there existed a kind of magic. Between the aging covers on these shelves, contained in tiny, abstract black marks on sheets of paper,...
History makes my mouth water – and that is as much because of the voids in what documentation remains as what is set in stone.
Dipping into the archive is always an interesting, if sometimes unsettling, proposition. It often begins with anxiety, with the fear that the thing you want won’t surface. But ultimately the process is a little like...
I’m accustomed to reading Georgian and Victorian letters and sometimes you simply know in your gut that a blithe sentence is covering up a deeper emotion.
To me, reading through old letters and journals is like treasure hunting. Somewhere in those faded, handwritten lines there is a story that has been packed away in a dusty old box for years.
Let us save what remains: not by vaults and locks which fence them from the public eye and use in consigning them to the waste of time, but by such a multiplication of copies, as...
Nothing is long ago in an archive, my dear. In the records we treat the dead as same as the living. that’s the whole point of keeping papers. It doesn’t matter if it’s a hundred...
Archive material is vital to the writer of historical fiction.
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